if you're not prepared to say it to a person's face, don't put it in a text or email

I have a few rules for myself that keep me out of a lot of trouble, even though some days my last nerve is being worn down and I want to let rip:

Even though it’s felt like I have to tape my fingers together at times, I don’t reply in haste (or even at all) to conflict filled emails. Basically, I never reply with my first heated response and distract myself in something else.

I never respond to any form of conflict via text, end of.

I don’t put in writing or say online anything that I’m not prepared to say to someone’s face and this forces me to consider what I do write or say very carefully.

I share my little rules for myself because many of the people I hear from who are struggling with unhealthy relationships or with breaking unhealthy habits have issues around dealing with conflict and criticism, and think nothing of arguing or even telling someone about themselves via text or email. In fact, I’ve even seen arguments take place over tweets and status updates on Facebook but that’s a whole other subject in itself! Why are texts and email a very tempting prospect for conflict?

Because they don’t feel as vulnerable as ‘conflict conflict’, you know where you have to get on the phone and you say something and then they respond, or where you see one another face-to-face. It’s lazy, ‘safe’ ‘communication’.

There’s no real discussion, there’s no full-on arguing, there’s no dealing with potential criticism as you express your feelings and in the immediacy of pressing send, you can feel like you’re on a high that doesn’t take long to disappear. It’s like the ‘perfect’ yet so not perfect way of avoiding conflict in the way that you fear it.

With texts and emails, you’re running the show. It’s one-sided and everything can be said without interruption/criticism or having to see the other person’s reaction, and in those moments, you can forget to keep it real and human. You only have to read the comments section of some news sites to see how people lose the run of themselves when they don’t feel like social norms apply or that they’re going to be interrupted or experience real consequences.

Arguing or telling someone about themselves via text and email is actually a form of passive aggressive and at times aggressive behaviour.

In ‘olden times’, you’d have to go and see the person or pick up the phone, or yes, write a letter. The tricky thing with the latter is that there’s a delayed response – you’ve got to stick it in the post box, they’ve got to receive it and then they may or may not write their reply.

Texts and emails are low effort, can be sent instantly (I know some of you even track to see when they’ve been opened!) and if the other person wants to respond or even go toe-to-toe with you, they can do so immediately.

The instant send and reply is a problem in itself because you would hope that if you had to put pen to paper, get a stamp, stick the letter in the postbox, that you’d consider your actions very carefully. When people share their stories with me about their text and email debacles, there’s a lack of self-control and an element of seeking attention, validation, and instant gratification – it’s like relationship crack that keeps you engaged in the unhealthy dynamic.

Arguing via text and email can give you a sense of control over a person and a situation where you might not feel that you have any.

I’m all too familiar with wanting to be ‘right’ and to have the last word and in relationships or situations where we feel powerless or that someone has done us over and we think they might be getting away with it, sending texts and emails can seem like the ‘easy’ solution, especially if we’re actually scared of having to say it to their face or over the phone.

When you’ve been a people pleaser and played doormat while suppressing your needs, wishes, expectations and your true opinions including where you feel angry or hurt, you can end up doing a couple of things:

  • Using texts and emails to try to assert yourself and appeal to the other person or to express your anger without having to truly assert yourself, which may include delaying raising or dealing with conflict until they’re out of sight and then sending a text/email.
  • You simmer and simmer away and then you erupt. It’s also likely that because you erupt, you end up feeling guilty for erupting and then invalidate what are likely to be very valid reasons for being pissed off.

Texts and emails tend to be read in the way that we think they have been written or the way that we’d like them to sound, which is why so many people are in fantasy relationships based on seeing too much meaning in texts and emails from someone with whom they’ve had very little human-to-human contact.

Words can dress up hot air and package bullshit as roses but on the flip side, when sent in haste without respect, due consideration and used to express anger and opinions about a person, words can look and sound very offensive.

Tone is very open to interpretation and heated texts and arguments can be very intimidating. They can also undermine your credibility because in the wrong hands, the person who actually may very well be in the wrong will seize upon what you send and use it to legitimise their reasons for their shady behaviour. They’re also likely to think that this is all part of a game and that you’re just not that serious about a relationship or finding a resolution.

Conflict is a natural part of life and unavoidable. Our relationships romantic and otherwise evolve and progress out of learning to interact with one another and to navigate the trickier situations.

I still do not like conflict. Sure who does except for the drama seekers of this world that would have a fight with a paper bag? Conflict used to terrify me due to the associations I had with it from childhood. Conflict to me meant that people don’t like you or that the relationship is over or that I was disapproved of or that the person was an asshole. None of these things are true.

Conflict is what arises from misunderstandings and conflicts in opinions and yes, sometimes in values. Conflict is also what needs to happen when someone is creepy creeping or tap-dancing all over your boundaries.

Just like when you stick with a primarily email/text relationship and somehow expect it to turn into a full-blown relationship in spite of minimal face-to-face and interacting, how are you going to be able to learn how to work through conflict if you hide behind your fingers?

If someone sends you a text / email with the potential for conflict, be the bigger person and pick up the phone or respond asking to meet or to arrange a time to speak. Yes they might not respond but the person who is only going to do conflict on their terms where they keep at a distance isn’t really going to be going anywhere fast with you.

If you truly like, love, or respect someone, show how much you value the relationship by raising any issues over the phone or face-to-face. Yes it won’t be ‘easy’ but if you’re not prepared to step up for you or to truly attempt to address the situation in a manner that respects both you and the other party, it’s a code red alert.

A major bonus of avoiding conflict by text and email and stepping up and having the tricky conversations is that you’ll flush Future Fakers and other shady folk out of your life very quickly.

I’ve also found that conflict is very rarely as big as we imagine it to be, which is probably all the more reason why we shouldn’t engage in these one-way arguments where our ego’s, imaginations and fingers run wild!

Your thoughts?

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196 Responses to If You’re Going To Argue or Tell Someone About Themselves, Don’t Do It By Text or Email

  1. shyner says:

    I agree. I have let myself down in that regard. I tried calling and got nowhere. Not replying when there is a real need to is passive aggressive, too.

    • Tee tee says:

      Same, i had a similar scenario, i called no answer or call back, i text same thing. So by the end of the second week i emailed. Immediately i felt and thought it was a crap idea. Live and learn, i definitely let myself down. So, learning from it and hope it doesn’t happen again, at least if that scenario comes up i will leave it at the first call or text. And get on with my own stuff to do. I messed up for real, we’d only been dating 3 months. But up until the houdini vanishing, we’d spent plenty of time together doing things he liked or i liked and then nothing. So i was a bit perplexed. My friend reckons it’s because i didn’t sleep with him, but i did like him and genuinely wanted to get to know him better before escalating things sexually. I don’t know if that’s why or not, and i lost one night’s sleep thinking of it. And that’s no excuse but it was annoying. I know now many people behave like this, my tale wasn’t very unique. But i did feel twatty for emailing as a final resort

      • Shyner says:

        So, after a week what I now understand to be passive/aggressive texting to the man I’ve been living with for a few months, with no reply, is it alright to text him to tell him the code for the lock-up where I took all his stuff today? A £125 text. Because that’s what I’ve done.

        • natashya says:

          you seriously are too kind. i would have sold his stuff on craigslist or donated it to the salvation army.

        • Emerldeyez says:

          Shyner,
          The only thing I can say… “Priceless”

          • Shyner says:

            I don’t get a kick out of calling people names and being needy/emotional/submissive/apologetic/rude/tedious via far too many text and unanswered phonecalls, the whole eBay thing wouldn’t work for me and as Nathalie suggested, it was time to summon up every last ounce of pride and do something positive. I also forced dignity to put in an appearance and thought all those things combined were worth £125.

            • Shyner says:

              So, let my textual intercourse be a lesson to you. My ex has today told me I’m a nutter/mental/bizarre and all his friends think so, too. He has also told me that he’s coming round to my house to bring back some things of mine, (all of which I’ve told him can go in the bin) with a ‘neutral friend’ because he thinks I’m so mental, I might hit him. I have never hit anyone in my life. I have asked him not to come round. He said a load of other stuff and it’s just all hideous.

              • Shyner says:

                (I forgot to bring home a few things when I went to visit him abroad – nothing I care about). He’s back now.

                • yoghurt says:

                  All the excuse you need to BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK – don’t let him get at you to be horrible. You’ve told him where his stuff is and technically, afaics, you have absolutely NO NEED to speak to him EVER AGAIN. So don’t.

                  And if you’re tempted to ponder the truth of his accusations re: your mental health, just remind yourself that you’re a) not an alcoholic b) have a house c) have a proper job and d) aren’t a complete and utter arse to nice people. His perspective is not reliable or informed.

  2. Magnolia says:

    I would add apologies to that list. In one of my fave shows, Drop Dead Diva, that I only started watching recently, one of the characters shows up at her friend’s place and says, “My father taught me to always apologize in person.” I thought, my folks never taught me that, but it’s a good idea.

    Cut to last week, when a new work acquaintance, who I hoped was new-work-friend (I had been to his house and met his wife) starts getting very weird and gushy with me, culminating in him showing up to the drop-in art class I attend (which in itself was fine) but making inappropriate comments that felt kind of gross and walking me to my car when it wasn’t necessary, and trying to carry stuff for me and brush the snow off my car when it was way unnecessary. I said good night to him with a mental note to self to that this married guy was being a bit douchey and that I’d have to be no more than cordial in our professional interaction.

    The next morning I got an email, apologizing for his “boorish behaviour.” Darn right, I thought, but I also noticed that he did it from behind an email.

    I almost didn’t respond, but for the sake of professional ease emailed back with yes, I appreciate that, now let’s move on. I almost said, I’ll believe you’re sorry if you say it in person. But it’s not my place to teach a grown, married man how to behave.

    I haven’t seen him face-to-face since but he has continued to send non-work emails.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @Magnolia,

      Ick! I would just only respond to the professional emails…definitely trying his had with you. So rude!

    • courtney says:

      ahhh nooooo. This incident really reminds me of a coworker from my former place of work. He totally gave me creepy vibes and was also married. He would send me non-work related texts and e-mails constantly saying how much he missed me. At first I naively thought due to our age difference and his seemingly religious ways he was simply socially awkward and didn’t know the right ways of showing appreciation/affection, but eventually I realized it was bad news and totally inappropriate regardless of what issues he has. Finally I stood up for myself and enforced my boundaries & although he hasn’t changed much, it was important for me to be able to detach without feeling badly about my boundaries. It’s great you caught onto the fact that he was trying to disengage from conflict by apologizing through the screen. I think the next time it might be better to just ignore, since responding just gives these types an invitation to keep pushing, apologizing, then go back to busting boundaries :/

      Keep continuing to trust your instincts, stick to what your gut, eyes and ears tell you about this guy. I hope it works out and he backs off!!!

      • Magnolia says:

        Courtney,

        You’re right. I ignored the non-work email about some film work he once did.

        I saw him last night at an event and he was all puppy-eyed, trying to take my picture, NOT acting as though he had decided to lay off, and he later sent a work email that was over-compassionate (I just had a court-related appearance yesterday for which I’d missed a work thing, he asked about it, and then later sends this email offering to ‘get my mind off all that terrible stuff’ when really I’m fine with it, though court is indeed a hassle and yes I’m at risk but I don’t need his ‘support’).

        I came to work this morning and found a cloth bag with a piece of chocolate cake in it hanging from my office door. I believe I know who it’s from – but you can bet I won’t be emailing or calling to ask. I don’t even work in the same building as this person.

        So much for the worth of email apologies.

      • Revolution says:

        I had this situation too. Had a married douche that I worked with when I was 23 years old. Shortly after I started working with him, we had a blackout at work, and this was this nutjob’s chance to sidle up to me and tell me he had had a dream about me the previous night. He would do things like email me all day long, stupid things like, “How are you doing? I like that sweater.” And when I would call in sick, he would call me AT HOME to check on me! Even after he left the job and started to work for another company, he would email and call me. But guess what? (This is where I’m proud of myself.) I ended up sending him a very on-point email, listing EXACTLY the inappropriate shenanigans in which he was engaging. Basically, I told him to KNOCK IT OFF (using more professional language, of course) or I would take legal action. Then, and this was GENIUS for a 23-year old without a pot to piss in let alone a lawyer, I “cc”ed my best friend’s work email address, hoping he would think it was some high-powered lawyer ready to cut his balls off. He totally fell for it and got all freaked out and left me alone. My best friend (and roommate at the time) and I laughed over that for YEARS. What a twat.

        • Revolution says:

          Side note for the above story: The final email was AFTER telling him to his face that I was NOT interested, and also telling my boss that he was being inappropriate.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Magnolia,

      “I thought, my folks never taught me that, but it’s a good idea.”

      Lately I find myself saying this at least twenty times a day :)

  3. miskwa says:

    I agree, texting and emails to avoid confrontation are second only to flat out disappearing. When AC asked me in a very public setting why I was so upset with him, obviously I couldn’t discuss it right there, nor did I want him coming to my home ( I ritually purified it with sage right after his act of supreme assclownery). I wrote him a well crafted, well thought out letter explaining the situation and my feelings about it. I didn’t tell him all about himself as I figured there’s no point. Yep, he may have tried to use it against me but it was written in a way that would’ve shown him in an extremely bad light had he shown it to another (asking me to spend a weekend with him, being on line, pursuing me for two years while being involved with someone else ). After sending it to him, I ritually burned the piece of paper he had written his phone number on for me. He never responded, but what could he say? He had been caught, and lil Miskwa had hard evidence of his cheating. Normally, if I have to confront someone, I much prefer to do it in person, in a private place, and with dignity.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Good for you confronting him: I am not a big “tell them all about themselves” person but at the same time, I know that I can’t let something go if I know a secret and they are trying to obstruct me calling them on it.

      As far as confronting you in public; that is so classically a cowardly way to manipulate things.He sounds like a real AC. My ex was already involved with someone secretly when we broke up but I did not find out about it till monthes later, after we had had a civil breakup under false pretenses. When I found out monthes later when his new gf took it on herself to contact me, and I did some snooping I did email him a pretty calm email, just letting him know,that I knew, and that I was sorry that I had been duped into being “friends” under false pretenses and that the whole thing left a bad tast and he did not respond. That told me ALL I needed to know about him and who he really had been; that suck it and see made me feel so fine in shutting that door lol

      . I gotta say I agree with this article to a point, but I am never going to let someone get something over on me, and not call them out about it. For me, I know myself, and that would break my boundaries too much. But in general, if your relationship is full of email fights…too immature.

      • Hope says:

        ^^^THIS, what DQ writes!! On February 28 it will be 3 months of NC with former EU/MWG (man with girlfriend). Our “relationship” ended when I called him out on information he had withheld from me after telling me I would be the first to know. I don’t know why I was surprised by his lie of omission since an affair relationship is built on a foundation of lies. Nevertheless, like DQ I wasn’t going to let it slide and NOT let him know about. I did it through email. He responded with his own email and goodbye and we were done.

        While it has been a couple of months and I’ve actively been working through all my anger, sadness, and the myriad of other emotions an affair (and its end)bring, I am relieved that it is over. No more unnecessary drama, future faking, lies, broken dates, etc. However,every once in a while I indulge myself in the fantasy that he will write me one more time and then I will respond with the MOTHER of all flaming emails about his inadequacies. Very quickly I come back to earth and ask myself what the point would be. He’s 61, divorced three times, and has been pulling this shit for decades with countless women including his current long-term girlfriend. What could I possibly write that would affect him or make him see the light? Absolutely nothing. Real change comes from within and from hard personal work. Any problems or issues he has HE must recognize on his own. Neither I, nor any other woman can do this for him.

        Nope, no more email arguments or fights with him or anyone else. Anything truly work saying is worth saying in person after careful thought and consideration. There is something invigorating and wonderful about going and remaining NC. While I still struggle at times I can’t put a price on the overwhelming sense of peace I feel with him out of my life. So much of it comes from not having to deal his email bullshit.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Hope good for you for confronting him and good for you for ncing him: confront for your emotional health and nc for your emotional health.

          No need to feel like you should have said anything else. You said it and your actions after, said it also.:)

  4. figuringitout says:

    I LOVE this! I’ve read so many of your posts and this is my first time responding. Oh how I wish this was published before the holidays! I made the horrible mistake of basically “inventing” a fake relationship in my head with a co-worker based almost solely on texts. This whole experience has done a number on me – mostly because I can’t believe my own stupidity. I fooled my self into believing this guy actually liked me and blamed most of the issues on the fact that we worked different shifts. Truth is, he didn’t really give a crap at all. He has a harem of women – mostly co-workers – who give him the constant attention and ego-stroking he so desires. He also has a contentious relationship with his mother and all of his exes are psycho. I know, I know, I basically jumped aboard the “Red Flag Express”. I am mortified by what I allowed for almost 2 yrs….2 yrs – ugh! I have absolutely been an “erupter”. While having a looooong heated message exchange just before New Year’s felt like a good decision at the time, I regret it immensely. Originally I felt somewhat comforted in that I got to say what a needed to say and give him a litany of ways he hurt me. Ultimately he did exactly what you mentioned above and used what I said against me and never really “got it”. He was/is a master of turning things around onto me or saying he was “just kidding”. This is the problem with this new world of text communication. Anything can be interpreted, good or bad, to suit. I am still trying to understand and forgive myself for being such an idiot! During the last heated exchanges he actually typed “f#*k you” then proceeded to added that he “cared about me” and that he “shouldn’t have to say it – I should just know” in a later paragraph. I had never had a man say “f#*k you” to me before, so to have someone type it at you is a surreal experience. I do regret that it went down via long angry messages and I will never allow that to happen again!!! Thanks for such a great post and keep them coming!

  5. Lau_ra says:

    Oh, I wish this post was written several months ago! Thats exactly what I’ve done – sent a text to my latest crush, asking his opinion on the fact he finds time to edit his Skype profile, while he has no time to call or message me the whole month, unless its me who initiates the contact (LDR). He just answered he is sorry that I felt like I needed to write “like that” and that he’d write me an email, cause messages don’t go for him. An email, of course, never came (as I look back now, theres this thought-whaaaat? as if an email is any different from a text).
    To be exact, I would have preferred a video call, in order to see his expressions and hear the voice tone, yet that last month he was rarely on Skype and when he would be, its only for a short time.
    Should have ignored the price of talking to abroad, picked up the phone and called him-that would have saved months of feeling miserable and guessing why he just stopped talking to me, and trials to correct the past – now he has an email where I’m pouring my heart out (though its not like “you ruined my life”, but more of explanation how I perceive his actions) and can keep it as a proof of how crazy I am (cause yeah, unfortunately, all depends on the tone that you use when reading).

    • beth d says:

      My 10 year relationship ended in an email exchange back and forth. He actually wrote me an idiot email trying to explain his latest disappearance. I wrote back I needed time to absorb things. Then I went NC for a few months but finally did meet him for the face to face after he broke me down. By that time I was ready to give it to him and I ended it for good in person. We had many email exchanges after that because of my inability to do total NC but then I just stopped. I refused to do the text email scene anymore. I found it frustrating especially in the break up process.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Beth… I think what really bothers me is the time we have invested in these relationships (yours 10yrs & mine 9yrs) and then at the end it seems like we are discarded-forgotten-betrayed so easily.. I know I was not a victim, I let him bust my boundaries (I had few),didnt demand much, but I guess I took for granted his commitment to us & the relationship. My BAD ..Anyhoo, live & learn. I am so proud of the way I handled the end. Went NC & walked away with my head held high. My heart, well that crumbled into a million pieces but slowly I have put it back together & am in a really good place right now..I am so happy for this blog to share & sympathize & learn from all of the great posters on here & Nat of course for educating me..

        • beth d says:

          Kit Kat Congrats on going NC and walking away. I’m proud of you too. I should have actually done that at the 9 year mark when he started to change and manage down my expectations after getting his big promotion. I broke up with him but took him back after a few months NC. Oh the roller coaster. Then the roller coaster post break up nonsense started Ughh I am grateful too for this blog and the sharing. I feel like this blog has kept me so much stronger than I would have been otherwise and I might have broken over the holidays when he started up again. Glad you are in a good place. I am close :)

  6. thoughtful says:

    Natalie I’m interested to know your thoughts on the following…I was in a 7 month relationship (for want of a better word) with someone who turned out to have a penchant for cocaine…he went on binges…resulting in weekend disappearances that involved him ignoring my calls whilst he was busy perusing casual dating / sex sites for titillation…I encouraged him to start counselling which he did, but he had many underlying problems that compounded his situation.. after having putting up with it on a number of occasions I finally had enough…couldn’t get hold of him one weekend when we were supposed to be seeing each other. On previous occasions I had tried to end it he used a lot of emotional manipulation to persuade me to change my mind so after trying to get hold of him this particular weekend to no avail I chose to email him and end it instead…I felt it was the only way i could deal with…more to the point I had tried to communicate the traditional way but was ignored …I couldnt deal with the tears and the ‘you don’t understands’ question is, is it ever ok to end it by email? But particularly if you are susceptible to being emotionally manipulated by an unavailable man more so in their prescence!?

    • grace says:

      thoughtful
      Butting in here, the gold standard is to meet up in person, in a public place if necessary. But if they’re on drugs, seeing other people, you can’t get hold of them, they won’t see you, or if they are dangerous then an email is acceptable.
      I wouldn’t bother telling them about themselves, keep it short, simple, firm, bland and a bit boring. Especially if they are abusive, you don’t want to provoke a response.

    • Lau_ra says:

      I’m very pro ending things in person, yet in my point of view, you did it OK ending things by email, if you felt you might not be able to resist his persuasion when discussing this live, which wouldn’t serve you at all. Dated a guy who smoked pot a lot(!!!!) and I know how manipulative such people can be – you come with a decision to dump them, and leave the next morning believing all is OK, when its not.

      • beth d says:

        Sometimes the phone is powerful too. I do like saying what I feel as email is too easy to second guess. Sometimes phone is better because I know in my case the face to face was rough at times. They have a better shot to hit your soft spot with a face to face. I have to admit especially in the beginning the face to face got me back in the web more than once. Especially if they show up bearing gifts and tears which mine did. His big thing with the gifts was….take it. No strings attached. Yea my ass!

  7. Dianne says:

    If a guy refuses to talk on the phone or spend time talking about issues in person, what hope is there for the relationship? I am new to texting and found it surprisingly seductive to get into as a main way of communicating. That way you don’t have to feel all nervous about calling or saying something stupid or inappropriate when he calls you.

    Just ended a relationship with a work colleague and am sitting on my hands trying not to text him. I do miss the daily text messages – sort of saw it as proof that he was thinking of me alot and therefore must love me. That’s not necessarily true and when I asked for more of his time he said he didn’t have the capacity.

    Well, at least I found out early on and not after having wasted years of my time.

    I really do like texting but as a supplement to regular communication. It’s a great idea to call and discuss on the phone or in person if there is any conflict raised in a text message.

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Mags. I’m surprised that you even answered him via email, instead of totally ignoring and then when he called you on it in person you could’ve just told him at that time to beat it. I guess because he is a workmate you didn’t want to invite any unnecessary friction? But, he’s continuing to email you. One response that you gave him via his chosen manner of communication was enough for him to keep it up, thinking you’ll bite, eventually. If I’m wrong I welcome your correcting me. Men! It seems no matter how “together” we may think we are, there’s always a situation in which we slip up. But, you’re doing real well, anyway.

  9. Emerldeyez says:

    My ex AC used his lack of hearing as a reason for all the texts and lack of phone calls. And he could be extremely critical, just plain nasty in his texts. I chose not to respond or defend myself and he would get angry that I wouldn’t continue the banter with him. Saying I was ignoring him. I said no, I’m not ignoring you I am chosing not to respond. We can talk about it, which never happened. Because his nasty texts were his way of blowing cold, whether I participated or not. And if he wrote it, it must be true!
    I have another ex that I used email recently to enumerate why I was not interested in his future faking and his fast forwarding because on the phone I could never get a word in edgewise. (He is in another state otherwise I would have done it face to face.) One of the many reasons we broke up years ago.
    This is another reason I have decided I will not go online to meet someone. It’s a lazy form of communication, and I would rather be face to face with someone. Yep, it will take more effort on my part to meet someone, but I’m up for it.

  10. Angela Beasley says:

    This is excellent advice. I have simmered so many times and then erupted on a text and felt guilty when the person was definitely an ass and deserved for me to tell them what I told them in a text to their face. Thanks

  11. zandra says:

    I thought the article was dead on. I have made this mistake myself. It’s best to say what you have to say to someone’s face.

  12. teachable says:

    Nat’s rules here are great :)

    For all those who’ve erupted in an OTT way via text or email in response to shady behaviour (usually after being pushed TO THE BRINK, I would add)& who are now kicking themselves with regret, I say this:

    WHO CARES what an ex AC or how someone who has DONE YOU WRONG thinks of you?

    I refer you back to Nat’s post on ‘not being that desperate to be liked’… ;)

    • Lau_ra says:

      So so true:) Thats the thing I’d also say when my gfs say “oh, why did you delete him from your friendslist? you will only show you are hurt and loose your pride” etc etc. I can see this “thinking about his oppinion” is very deep rooted into the minds even of those girls, who don’t seem like accepting AC behaviour.

      • beth d says:

        Exactly!! One thing I don’t care about anymore is what he thinks of me and that was an issue at one time. I told his ass off so bad our last conversation which was over the phone. I was calm too! I even called him a Narcissist Sociopath and said I don’t even want to have anything to do with such a person or deal with them at any level. I only second guessed myself for one fleeting moment and then I said to myself I don’t care if his last impression of me is a bitch on wheels. That’s right!! I am!

      • dancingqueen says:

        The thing is though, there is a bit of me that would be really upset if someone defriended me. SO I assume that there is a little bit, of these egomaniacs brains, that is like “Man, she defriended me, now I can’t show off anymore to her because she won’t see my posts.”

        I don’t care what they think of me anymore all I care about is if I respect myself, and I do, and at times the last two didn’t so they can piss off:)

        • beth d says:

          I hear ya dancing. I had a friend who was with a married man for years and at the end sent all his letters and cards that he ever sent her to the man’s wife. Of course it ended so badly. I know I couldn’t do that. I felt she deliberately hurt an innocent person in the worst way possible. I wouldn’t respect myself if I did something like that and I know it would bother me. I’m absolutely fine with telling him off badly because I just stated truths and got everything off my chest.

  13. Tracy says:

    Well, I must admit that I did send a final ‘telling you what I think’ EMAIL to that last guy because email/text was the ONLY way he would communicate. Hell, he tried to break up with me via email (Happy New Year’s Eve morning to you, Tracy…), and when I CALLED him to say that was an amazingly shitty thing to do he not only didn’t pick up the phone (natch) but replied by email that he was too ‘fragile’ to speak to me that day, but I was more than welcome to call HIM the next day. That was more BS, because when I called at 11, he, you got it, didn’t pick up the phone. Hours later I got a TEXT saying he took a sleeping pill at 6 am, and he was now granting me the privilege of calling him at 2:30 (yes, an exact time).

    Sort of seemed like he probably a)had a date for New Years (as he blew me off the night before saying he was ‘too tired’) b)had to get the new one out of the apartment before he could speak to me on the phone.

    His answers to my questions and comments (as in “who refers to a woman’s children as his future step-children” and her mother as his “mother-in-law”, and suggests that she should move near him…or in with him…and not think she’s going to imply some sort of meaning to this???) were vague and he basically wanted me to feel sorry for him. He didn’t really understand why I thought breaking up via email was a douchy thing to do.

    BTW, all this took place over three days, after three months of steady dating and daily text/emails (should have been my red flag) and discussions on meeting children and family. Day one, I was the queen, day three I was history.

    However, looking back there was a huge red flag day that I overlooked because I thought if I made a case about it, I would look like a shrew. I had my regular school workday, then taught an afterschool group until 4:30. One kid’s parents were late, so I didn’t get out of work until 5. Then the mad rush home, change, clean up, get my kid to drive me to the train. I got on the train with seconds to spare, I’m sitting happily listening to music and then my phone lights up with a text. It was him asking if I got his email. I replied I hadn’t had time to check email with my frantic afternoon. He said “Oh, I had to cancel”. What the…? I replied “I’M ON THE TRAIN!!!” I got back an apology that he had to stay late for a work meeting…who calls a work meeting on Friday at 6? So I asked if I could just meet him after the meeting because he said he’d be out about 9. I’m thinking, “This is NYC…since when is going out at 9 a problem?” He said he couldn’t meet because he was going to have too much to do the next day…

    Mind you, this was all via TEXT, while I’m on the train, heading straight to the city…no way out. He never had the graciousness to make sure I got the message by at least calling and leaving a message. Or even a text…but EMAIL? Why, oh why did I let this slide???

    So between those two incidents, the email breakup and the email cancellation, I had no problem with the email “Let me tell you a little about yourself” email. I figure it’s the only language he understands. In any other case I would think it’s very juvenile.

    • Vix says:

      Oh, Tracy. Reading your post made me feel so sad. Actually, until I got to the part where you said you live in New York, I started to get a little freaked out because I actually thought MY boyfriend might have been your same AC. Reading this site has made me realize that all of these guys share similar characteristics and display the same shady behaviors. I found out that my boyfriend (yes, I am back with him again for some unfathomable reason) was actually trying to patch things up with his wife behind my back last year. He used to pull the same, “I’m going to bed at 8pm so I thought I’d text you to say goodnight, Darling” stuff with me when he was with her. On New Year’s Eve, he was with her too, and texted me at 11:15pm to say, “Reading has put me down for the night, so I had better wish you a Happy New Year before I fall asleep.” I think it’s safe to assume your ex had another girl (or girls). I am very happy that you got away from him, via text/email or not. I am curious: has he tried to get into contact with you?

  14. claudia says:

    Ah… great post – this is an issue for me. For me, it’s based on the need to take control with a one way conversation. “Let me tell you how it really is!” Additionally, there’s this need for an IMMEDIATE resolution; like you simply can’t wait a second longer with any conflict hanging in the wind. Really destructive behavior. Relieve the rage, ack! Thanks so much for this, just this evening I was talking about this exact same issue with a friend of mine. Breathe. And put. down. the. device.

  15. ms t says:

    Wow, I was dumped via email 3/17/11. I just realize how easy he got off. Such a punk move. Oh well, it was truly a blessing and I didn’t realize it until now.

    • beth d says:

      Ughh It is a punk move!!! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

      • Maria H says:

        So true. It is such a cowardly & impersonal way of dumping someone, but there is an even worse way of being dumped; by being disappeared on. I suffered this in June 2012, but I am over it now. Good riddance AC I say.

  16. Msa says:

    This is very common at work where we do a lot of our communication thru email. Esp since we are restricted on getting up frequently and use it to chat and pass time, I am guilty of this. Is that unhealthy? And any tips to minimize this?

  17. Ejane says:

    I actually made this mistake after my ex and I broke up 6 months ago. First, he was an EUM and I was already feeling horrible that I had put up with his crap for so long. He wanted to ‘slow things down’ after a year, and I felt like he was asking me to take a break. I don’t believe in breaks, so I ended the relationship and walked out of his house. I suspected he might be seeing someone else before we broke up, even though he denied it, and I pretty much found out he was dating her shortly after we split up. So, I sat down one night and briefly blasted him on email, calling him a bad person, and a bad Christian. I sent it, and then blocked his email so he couldn’t respond. Yesterday was the first time I had seen him since we broke up, and he’s already with another new girl. As dumb and unavailable as he is, it really didn’t make me feel any sense of relief by emailing him. I’m sure all of his friends and this new girl probably think I’m a fool.

    • Lau_ra says:

      You are a fool? Read this: a guy vanished, I found out he has Aspergers and wrote him an email saying I understand his need for alone time and space (forgetting his AS wasn’t an obstacle for calling me almost every single day for 3 months) and he can contact me when he is ready. Talk about being a fool:D Still I don’t regret that – I forgive myself for being too empathetic and caring, and keep the lesson “actions speak louder than words” in mind.

      • beth d says:

        Laura You let him off way to easy of course but you know what? You probably saved yourself alot of grief and drama. As the Aunt of an Asperger nephew I will say that they really do employ extremely inappropriate behavior in social situations.

        • Lau_ra says:

          beth d,
          I couldn’t say I let him off too easy and saved myself a lot of grief- I was in pain for months thinking he understood my need for clarity, which I expressed by email, as a “farewell” and thats why he decided to ignore any of my following attempts to reach him (this tricky “its all my fault” thinking…). I didn’t write that email in a haste, I really tried to understand how Aspie mind works. After that I even consulted other Aspies online and guess what? Most of them said ignoring me has little or nothing to do with Aspie-ness and more with disrespect, for AS doesn’t impede his aility to evaluate his actions and their effect on people.When I think of how it was, I agree there was a lot of drama, cause he would act passive aggresive from time to time, e.g. wouldnt answer the questions he doesn’t like, even turn away from me if I happened to mention some issue he doesn’t like to talk about, like, past relationships.
          So I’m still in the process of letting go and still dealing with this trauma of his vanishing, I even go to the therapist.

          • beth d says:

            Disappearing is not a specific Asp trait that is for sure. It is a horrible way to end a relationship and I can imagine how upset you are. It is traumatic but just know it is his issues. It was nothing you did. I hope your pain eases and I have confidence it will once you realize it was his issues. Time really does heal. I hope quickly for you and it is good you are working out with your therapist.

            • Lau_ra says:

              beth d,
              thanks you for your support. I know it wasn’t me and its not the AS thing – many people hear way more uncomfortable questions than the ones I’ve asked him, and they don’t have problem dealing with those questions and giving honest answers. I do know theres nothing I could have possibly done to “save” what was going nowhere – what kind of relationship can there be, if one person constantly evades any possible conflict? It only makes you feel clingy and needy and doubt your perception all the time.

  18. Lucky_Charms says:

    I tried to break up w/EU assclown by text. This led to a Christmas Eve confrontation by him in a supermarket. I totally get that it was passive aggressive on my part. I may be wrong here, but after a year of “Future Faking”, I didn’t feel I owed him anything more than that. I probably could have avoided that whole scene, if we had met, face to face. Assclown and I had many text BS battles. My takeaway from this is to do things in person. Nat, you are right. But like you, I do not like conflict, due to my childhood abuse. Thanks to BR I have looked at myself in a whole new way. Not always in a positive light. I think this is good work. No matter how hard it is to know, how emotionally lazy I was to let an assclown into my life. It was so damn easy. I WAS a Florence, but no more. Sometimes I think I was trying to fix my EU father in this relationship. Crumbs, people pleasing.. ugh. What is the worst is that assclown actually walked me down he aisle at my daughters wedding. Told me how much he loved me and my EU Dad, thought he was wonderful. Thanks Dad. 2 years later, he told me he didn’t now what he wanted.

  19. Tinkerbell says:

    Very often, a man who relies frequently on texts when you know he could pick up the phone and call you, has a very good reason why he insists on communicating that way. Nine times out of ten the reasons are shady. I was first introduced to lots of texting by the MM. As a matter of fact he taught me how to text. I remember his being delighted that I was catching on fast. Silly me, I was too naive and needy to realize why he loved texting so much. It wasn’t because his wife was around, but because this was his way of managing me down, so that I would continue to not expect much from him. Boy, oh boy! I can’t believe I could have been so dumb. LOL! It’s kinda funny, now. I’m glad.

  20. runnergirl says:

    Ah caught again Natalie. My favorite way to tell him all about himself was email/text. I guess I wanted to save the in person moments for…? Yup, it was passive aggressive/aggressive behavior on my part. Low effort, although some text fights lasted all night, and lazy communication. Bottom line, it was a total lack of self-control, attention seeking, and instant gratification on my part. Part of me knew that if we spent all night fighting via text, I had his attention. Totally sad, insert sad face here. Most importantly, I was trying to control a situation where I had absolutely no control via cyberspace. Trust me, I had the last word via text/email and poured out innumerable elegantly written emails telling him all about himself, to no avail. If there is one guy on the planet that should know all about himself, it would be him cos I told him so! I know now that I will never have another text/email fight with anybody. If I’m simmering, I’ll address it first with me. Then, maybe if it is worth it, address it with them. Ah, this brought back so many memories of spending the evening text fighting. You are right, I then spent the next morning via text apologizing for my tone, and the real issue (he was a lying cheating married man) was buried until the next eruption. I’m exhausted just remembering being on the text-coaster. I love real roller-coasters but I’m not so hot on relationship roller-coasters anymore. Text/email is a dead give away for me that there is a problem, not a relationship.

  21. malaise says:

    I dumped my ex AC through text because I was basically reduced to being a call-girl and delivery woman for whatever he wanted. I might have tried to do it in person but after he sent me a text saying, “My cock hates you for making me wait last week” I’d had enough and really didn’t think he deserved any kind of courtesy after the horror he put me through. Months later he comes back at me with a slew of abusive texts calling me a bad person for dumping him via text. I almost felt guilty and thought maybe I should have done it in person, but I was afraid if I did he would find a way to make me change my mind. The man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • Fran says:

      That man is a jerk..I think its acceptable to give someone the boot via text if you are fearful to confront them personally. You definately should not have talked to him face to face if you felt you might give in. I wouldn’t waste my breath or time thinking about this dude and his “angry cock” WTF? He doesn’t deserve courtesy or consideration.

  22. Happy Soul says:

    Natalie, I cant thank you enough! You don’t have any idea how many guys I lost due my angry responses via texts/emails! Time to change!

  23. Mymble says:

    Ooh hit a nerve here!
    Somewhat ashamed to say, I sent that nasty email complete with colourful language and rude names. I had started with a phone call but I got interrupted. Planned to phone him back but the flurry of insincerely apologetic texts and emails (“you deserve better”) provoked me to write and then send the nastygram. Which – yup – I then found myself apologising for. :(
    The things I said were fair enough but the way they were put, not so much.
    However, looking on the bright side, it does mean there is now no going back, for either of us. That I don’t regret. The whole thing was a load of shite. Just a pity I didn’t have the maturity and
    strength to finish it in a better way.
    I think its not so unusual these days. My friend actually ended a year long relationship, on which he had been living with the guy concerned,
    in a flurry of angry texts. Horrible.
    Never again for me. No marrieds, no emails. Probably no anybody ever again, in fact.

    • Mymble says:

      Well I spoke too soon. In spite of all the nasty things i had said, the “big send off”,(and it was him, by the way that gave me the send-off) I yesterday got an email from him , purportedly concerned that something he had heard on the news might have affected some relations of mine. It sent me into a complete tailspin, I was really upset and have been thinking a lot about him ever
      since. In fact I’m off work today with a migraine. I haven’t replied though. I know all too well from experience and reading here that these crumbs are merely bait, and his sole purpose is to see whether i am still an “option”. It’s his ego, that’s all and little to do with any feelings he has about me. No-one is allowed to escape from the harem.
      What I have really, really struggled with is that he appeared to me such a thoughtful, aware, sensitive and principled person. Although on one level I could see that his behaviour did fit to a tee the patterns described in this blog it, I just couldn’t quite get my head round it. There is STILL a part of me that feels – he is a lovely person, really.
      Well whatever he is or isn’t, I know for sure that responding to that communication will go absolutely nowhere. Except possibly back in his bed for “one more time” then left twisting in the wind afterwards, and another few weeks or months of depression afterwards.

      • Lilly says:

        Mymble, they certainly know how to reel you back in don’t they. This reminds me of a scene in the Godfather when Al Pacino says “Just when I thought I was out….they pull me back in”. I can relate to how you are feeling and your struggle. Just keep remembering that you are not an option for him and no longer a part of the harem. You deserve so much more. I’m sending you a big encouraging hug.

        • Mymble says:

          Thanks lily,
          I am reminding myself that he means NOTHING with this. So I’ll treat it as nothing, and ignore. I’ve made a twit of myself enough times already. He would say he is just being a “nice guy”. And I expect that’s what he believes himself. However he is going to be in this town again very shortly for business so I think he is testing the waters. With these people, it’s never over until you decide it is, they’ll string you along until Hell freezes over. I feel okay though and I am well able to resist responding. No more telling him about himself, it’s all attention, and however nasty, it meets some need of his to feel important.
          I can’t believe how ridiculous I have been, how often I’ve broken my promises to myself to cut him off.
          I hope you’re doing okay yourself?

  24. Fifi says:

    Yes, I learned this the hard way in work. Never send an email/text from an emotional place (good or bad) – it’s there forever and can’t be taken back.
    I know of people who have disabled their Send button (I sort of like that:))

  25. rose says:

    Ah… This advice was sorely needed a day or two ago. I recently shot off a couple of passive aggressive texts to a guy I’ve been dating when I felt like he was treating me a bit like a doormat. When I thought about it I wondered if I was being over sensitive, and a bit mean. And, like you said, it would have been totally more appropriate to bring it up face to face! The next day I sent him a much sweeter text asking if he wanted to grab lunch this week. Since then: radio silence. I feel sick to the stomach and I’ve been all teary and a mess since it dawned on me that he probably wasn’t going to write back. I know it goes two ways and if he really wanted to he’d call. I also know the relationship never really had a future. He’s from overseas and will go back soon. But I can’t help feeling like I screwed it up. And I just feel awful about losing my self-control like that. I usually fret over ever character in a text message!

    • Lau_ra says:

      Its true, you should have brought up the things that you worry about in person, but was it really like “he did this and that-instead of saying things I’ll just text him” (which is obviously a bad way to solve things)? Or did you send those texts cause you saw that tete-a-tete doesn’t work and then had a “great” idea to accept his lazy way of communication so he could “open up”?
      I tend ask people things directly, but in the case with my latest crush I’d get very vague answers when asking that while on video call, and I decided to text him and email him just cause he wouldn’t call me on Skype anymore (moved to his boat and said there was some problem with internet cause of that, which would be totally understandable, yet he also didn’t try to contact me any other way, which made me suspicious).
      The bad thing is we often suspect where the things go, yet cause we are accustomed to think of ourselves as over-sensitive and over-reacting (cause this or previous AC taught us so)and we don’t want to end up being called crazy, we text and/or email, expecting it would look more laid back/less needy.

    • grace says:

      rose
      he treats you like a doormat, he ignores you and you don’t think the relationship has a future.
      how does whether or not you send a text change that? I think you overvalue the power of texts. Texts are convenient, ephemeral, slight, and easily ignored. If texts are the mainstay of your relationship then that too is convenient, ephemeral etc. YOU might analyse every text to the nth degree to discern his emotions. It doesn’t mean he does.
      I (think) I understand completely the post, but when it comes to these EU relationships it’s very difficult to do the right thing. It’s hard to meet someone face to face when they won’t see you! for me, the takeaway is that if I’m trying to conduct it via text, that’s a big sign for me to quit the “relationship”. I may try to do the right thing face to face but it they won’t see me then they are the kind of person who prefers the text/email breakup. what can you do? (except not have got into it in the first place, but that option has gone)
      these text-heavy “communications” tend to run through the whole relationship even when there was no conflict, so there is no basis of mutual trust and understanding from which you can resolve conflict. There’s no substance.
      I would never have an argument or heavy convo with my boyfriend via text or email, but we also have complete access to each other. That’s how it should be. Not trying to persuade someone to have lunch with you! You didn’t screw it up, it was already dead in the water.
      What’s he going to do? Wait for you to calm down and then text you for sex or an ego stroke. Ignore it.

    • yoghurt says:

      Hey rose:

      I used to fret about every character in my texts too (kiss? smiley? What can I abbreviate to get it down to two pages, cos that’s what he sent?) until I realised that I am just not a good texter. And that’s okay.

      The richness and depth of my expression (ho ho) cannot be captured in 1000 characters and so what? Who cares, apart from the oddballs who are really really bothered by the quality of a text?

      If anyone is about to start judging me on the quality of my texts then they ought to jolly well pull their finger out and actually TALK to me, face-to-face. If they aren’t prepared to do that then what’s the point, anyway? And if they don’t realise that the essence of a person’s character cannot be adequately expressed in a short message then I probably wouldn’t like them anyway.

      So take heart. If your relationship was going to stand or fall on the quality of your texting then it was always going to be doomed sooner or later. As it happens, I think you’re well rid – lots of men are NICE and will actually WANT to see you.

      • rose says:

        Thanks Lau_ra, grace and yoghurt for your wise words! Yoghurt, you write so well! If you’re not a good texter either that makes me feel much better :)

        I still kick myself over sending those texts. But in some ways, I also think maybe it was better if they made the whole thing end sooner.

        I have to confess though, I made the mistake of trying to call him today (twice)… arrghhh! He didn’t pick up, and I guess that confirmed things for me (because I’m the kind of idiot that needs to be hit over the head with the truth sometimes I suppose!) I guess I just wanted to give him a chance to explain and I was even thinking of apologising for those text messages(!)

        I felt a bit better after calling though (at least for now) despite his not picking up. I don’t know why… I guess the extra confirmation of him being a douche bag and emotional cripple and maybe made it easier to start hating… and hopefully forgetting him?

  26. Discarded says:

    Wish I could even do that. I was left high and dry. Gone from total love to nothing and walked away, and hurts the most cos hes not a walking away person. But his job is his new ‘other half’ no time for me at all. And thrown out in the bin. And he ain’t once tried fighting for me. Yet before the job, I was the one, love of his life, could never leave me again (10yr history). He fought sooooooooo hard to get me back. Then the new job come along and I’m discarded and 3 weeks later. Not even a slip up, just really didn’t care about me

    • beth d says:

      He def sounds like a Narc. Mine relationship also changed once my ex became Ceo of his company. It actually was the beginning of the end. 10 yr history here too. Fought for me blah blah Became Mr Wonderful for a few years. He went back to who he was eventually….a Narcissist. They care for themselves and you are only valuable while you are filling their supply for whatever reason. Your man got new supply in the form of his job. He may be back as mine came running a few months later but I hated him so much by then. Then the post break up mind games started, and failed attempts by me at NC lasted another few years. I still struggle at times but I know for my sanity I had to break the cycle. I feel your pain and trying to accept he was not who you thought he was is agonizing. You do however heal and things get better.

      • Discarded says:

        Def a Narc, was trying to find answers and this can only be the one that makes any sense. I’m just so hurt over the lies and the fantasy he gave me. But the walking away and discarding me? That was more of a shock then anything, as hes an obsessive kinda person. I doubt he will ever come back, been 3 weeks today now. I just feel numb but angry, no-more tears. Just feel abandoned and hurt I meant that little in the end. And I’m so confused, I want to hate him for what he’s done to me. But I just want to forget about him

        • beth d says:

          Not sure if I got his on BR website or somewhere else but I saved this “’ve read that encounters with narcissists take much longer to over come than do relationships with normal people. The reason is that with narcissists you are dealing with a person who has their own reality and only plays by their own rules, which they change as often as need to suit them. They also lie without blinking, contradict themselves and gaslight you. So in the end you are left feeling like you are completely crazy. Part of getting beyond them is realizing there is no logic to their behaviour. It just is. We need to re-direct our focus on to our own feelings and reactions instead. Having been involved with a narcissist, this has been my experience. Very hard to get over because they are like trying to make sense of a Dali painting.”
          Very hard to make sense of this all and it leaves you crazed but you will get better. I hate to say but I don’t think this is the last you will hear of him. That is when you will really need to be strong.

  27. Spinster says:

    Oh wow. This is quite timely. I just had this very conversation the other day, with the main focus being that interpreting things by e-mail and/or text can be very tricky and lead to major misunderstandings. (Actually, the full conversation was pretty much in line with this whole post, but you get my point.)

    Over a year ago, I was in conflict with a few people back home over petty nonsense. One of the things I promised myself was that from then on, if I had any conflict with anyone, I would only accept addressing said conflict(s) over the phone or face to face whether they liked it or not. Nothing less. It helped a lot, and that’s my mantra for life.

    Might write more later.

  28. marie83 says:

    My ex lived half hour away from me and we would only see each other at weekends – text messages became the form of comversation we used. I prefer to discuss things face to face but if we ever had arguments – he would usually send them via text then when I replied or called him to try and resolve it he would just ignore me – it used to drive me mad and I feel it was a form of control

  29. anna says:

    I try to avoid negativity in personal/work email, unless sending the one final note to someone telling him not to call at my house again (the one the police like to see to ensure you actually have made the no contact request quite clear). After that press “block” immediately… Emails can be forwarded to multiple people, and edited before being forwarded. Obsessive people can bombard you with angry emails and that’s very disturbing… best to spot the signs and not engage.

  30. teachable says:

    As my deceased ex AC was interstate most of the time & would DODGE my calls when he knew he was about to be confronted on his BS, I indeed, sent many a text / email telling him what a douche he was (wrapped up in the details of whatever the latest round of douche baggery was). I have NO REGRETS AT ALL. HE was often a PRICK & treated me VERY BADLY. He deserved EVERY WORD. Of course had he been in my city I would have simply driven to his place & confronted him in person. Finding out about the OW he was involved with almost the ENTIRE TIME, I never did feel it worth the waste of my my $ on the airfare!

  31. teachable says:

    I would add, that when someone I end a relationship with has treated me badly, I ALWAYS, let them know, usually by letter, what they’ve done & how their behaviour affected me before going NC. I have absolutely NO PROBLEMS with this & find it puts a stop to any pretensions of the ‘let’s be friends BS’ & also works to stop them coming back, as they realise, I’m.not a person to be toyed with! Bonus! ;)

  32. swissmiss says:

    Once I write the draft, I am not able to conquer the urge to press ‘send’ on any electronic device. My index finger hovers! The only solution that’s worked is carrying a small notebook in my handbag and writing everything in long hand: no ‘send’ button. Two things happen: 1) I am forced to see what a huge chunk of my life is spent airing frustrations, criticims & needs and, 2) The notebook gives me a hardcopy history of these airings—really useful when my resolve gets a little spongy. Always eye-opening reading, and more powerful when I am flipping page after page to take it in.

    • beth d says:

      I actually wrote a good bye letter to my ex that was actually pretty good. When I pushed send I sent to my best friend. She loved it and wanted me to send it but I told her I will tell him this on the phone. I read it recently and still got tempted to send it since I wasn’t sure I covered it all on the phone ha ha I had to delete it so I wouldn’t get tempted.

  33. Lou Lou says:

    I am my worst enemy, so that is what I’m told and I know for a fact. I had this problem just 3 days ago. I texted a guy I was seeing back in October 12 about my Fire Alarm. It was bleeping and I know he had tampered with it when he was at my home. Realisation No. 1 He shouldn’t have been in my home after not knowing him long and No.2 I had allowed him to tamper with my property. Realisation No. 3 I had no respect for my own boundaries just to please a guy I had known for one month, because he had nice hair. Bottom Line:- Don’t text a guy at 6 am in the morning when you have not heard from him in over a month, thinking he has not moved on from you, or if he hasn’t he throws it in your face texting that he’s with another women! I texted about a Fire Alarm. The next day I texted again for clarification on what he had done with it. How did that merge into another woman not happy with reading the tone of my text to him? It went from Drama to Full Blown Opera in the matter of a text. For the Record guys and girls I can honestly say it was the longest text I had ever received from him and you know what? I fell for it! Don’t fall for their games. I ended up being hostile, angry told him I will bill him, (well he did bash it with a broom handle) and that he’s a waste of space. I didn’t really mean half of it only about the Bill. I only texted about a Fire Alarm. Next time I will arrange to speak through someone else.

    • Mymble says:

      Lou
      Your fire alarm probably needs a new battery. Or you could replace it, they cost very little. Oct 12 is nearly 4 months ago. I don’t think it’s appropriate to send a bill, or approach him through an intermediary. Just flush.

      • runnergirl says:

        Lou Lou, I think your text about the fire alarm may be a fire alarm? Maybe call a handyman or try to change the battery yourself. Would you be willing to consider this may not be about a fire alarm?

      • Lou Lou says:

        Mymble, Runner Girl, thank you for the advice.. You missed my point at the very start when I said I was my worst enemy. I know full well about it needing a new battery and that I’m quite capable of changing it myself and yes the Text was a fire alarm to say ‘You treated me with a lack of respect, so please be honest and tell me the truth at least; and yes I got the truth in the end. Too late to say, but I feel better now for saying it and causing the disruption to his BS texts.

        • yoghurt says:

          Hmmm – have to say, I think I’d be unamused by ANYBODY texting me for ANY reason at 6am, unless they were in urgent need of some sort of rescue and only I could help – and even then you’d hope they’d ring. Was the fire alarm actually going off at the time?

          I’d delete his number and chalk it up. He should’ve been respectful and honest when ending it but he wasn’t and instead he chose to let his long absence do the talking. That’s not nice, but it’s done and now you know the score there’s not much to do about it but move on.

          As for the fire alarm – if he broke it four months ago then it’s far too late to go after recompense now (seems rather a delayed reaction on the part of the fire alarm!). Also the money (£8.99?) won’t make up for the potential drama of dealing with him. So don’t.

          • Lou Lou says:

            Yoghurt I like your response:-) Yes the the Fire Alarm was going off at 6, but the last time I heard from him was a 3 weeks ago, and yes I have to say it would have been a drama having to deal with him over a Fire Alarm, as he is. I won’t be an “Exception To The Rule” either. I’ll be slated like his other ex girlfriends, so I feel I know where I stand on that part too.

            • yoghurt says:

              Ah, we’ve all been slated to the next one, I bet. Let them get on with it – what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you.

              I was thinking about the hurtful my-new-gf-doesn’t-like-it message and it occurred to me that it’s all part of the general bigger picture. Whether they’re being nice or nasty, their ultimate aim is to make you understand that You’re Just Not As Good As Them so’s they can feel big – it’s all equally toxic. Doesn’t matter if they come to your door as a good-looking smooth-talking conman or a wild-eyed gunman, you’re going to get fleeced (/made to feel grotty) IF you open the door.

              So my advice would be to close the door permanently on this fire-alarm-breaking broom-wielder and don’t give him another excuse to get at you. FLUSH!

  34. oc says:

    The thing is about me is that when I feel critcized or cornered in conversations I have a tendency to erupt and go off, saying things that they don’t want to say. I know personally that if I can take the time to process and collect my feelings I can write a much better response that is tempered and considerate than what comes out of mouth in a reactive face-to-face confrontation. Sometimes when someone says something inconsiderate or critical to me, it may take me a day or a week to fully process it. At that point it feels like old news and so rather than bring it up, I internalize it. Then, later, it will come out in a volcanic burst of rage when I’ve been mistreated for too long. I am working on managing these issues, my boundaries, and my communication with others and for now, writing out my feelings is the most non-violent form of communication I can find. I would be very interested in reading more posts on managing/improving negative and/or uncomfortable communication patterns. I am a classic co-dependent male that gets in realtionships with dominant, abusive, and self-centered women that want me to bend over backwards for them and then don’t treat me with kindness or respect me when I do.

    • Laurie says:

      Hey OC,
      I can relate. One lesson I learned (yay, I learned something!) in my short-lived marriage was never to have an argument while I was angry and emotional. But rather than internalizing, (or feeling petty about bringing it up weeks later) now I tell the person: “I feel very uncomfortable about what has happened, and I’d like to talk about it later when I have a chance to process everything.” That way, I’m not springing *old news* on them a week later, but I’m also not having a conversation before I’m ready.

      If the person is respectful of boundaries, I’ve found that they respond well. If , however, you’re dealing with someone who has no conception of boundaries; they will probably try to press you to talk about it. Sometimes I cave in, but I’ve given myself some grace in knowing that if this person already has such a blatant problem crossing boundaries; having a rational well-thought out convo with them wouldn’t change much of anything. Pearls before swine and all that. In those situations, delaying the conversation has less to do with their benefit and more to do with me respecting my own boundaries.

      I would say that as long as you define yourself as a “classic co-dependent male” who attracts abusive women, no posts on improving communication patterns are going to be helpful. You don’t improve communication with an abuser; you get the hell away from them. I think the bigger question would be, “why am I co-dependent?” “why do I engage with abusive women and expect that they will respect me as I cater to their every whim?” I’m having to ask myself very similar questions.

  35. Crystal c says:

    I mostly agree with this. Emails texts shouldn’t take the place of face to face discussions over conflict but sometimes can be helpful in addition to a face to face interaction. For instance when trying to clarify a point that your partner seems unable to grasp through verbal communication. I do agree however that some people can use texts and emails as a safer less intimate way of communicating. Whatever you say in a text should be able to be said face to face and that is the preferred way to communicate so that things don’t get misinterpreted. I personally handle conflict better than most people and am able to speak up for myself , set boundaries , and articulate my feelings and needs. However my current partner sometimes has a bigger mouth than ears lol

  36. As says:

    Brilliant article Natalie. Love all your work. Thank you and God Bless You.

  37. redribbons says:

    I spent hours constructing emails to my ex EUM. Wordy, precise and beautifully constructed. He paid no more attention to them than he did in listening to me trying to balance or salvage our one sided relationshit. What a waste of my time and my talents. I should have been writing the novel I kept promising myself I would write.
    Nevertheless, these days I am
    15 months NC.
    My life is totally amazing these days and it is mine once more. Actual real life conversation is the bottom line. I have made real communication one of my values. Now I work on me, not texts to twats. Why should they get the benefit of my insights?
    Don’t waste time on these cockwombles.

    • kookie says:

      cockwombles is my new favourite word!

    • Hope says:

      “No texts to twats…” LOVE IT, redribbons!!

    • beth d says:

      redribbons Sooo true I remember at one point in my relationship writing a great letter to my ex spelling out everything. I even had two friends look at the email and they loved it too. He wrote me back with a one liner…”I know all this but I can’t believe you are ending it like this after all these years” I was in shock. Never addressed anything!!! My reaction was the same as you. What a waste of time. I never answered back and that is why I never sent him emails to resolve things again.

  38. Maria H says:

    Last May after a bank holiday weekend away with ex AC; he started playing the pushy/pully game i.e. organising a couple of dates, by FB chat(pull) & then cancelled on me by text(push), with one excuse or other. After cancelling the 1st date, I tried re-scheduling it so that I could finish with him face to face as I sensed that the relationship was not going to progress. But I got fed a ridiculous excuse as to why he couldn’t see me. I was misled & he strung me along. He disappeared on me at the beginning of June. We were supposed to meet after organising another date by FB chat. I agreed to the dates so that I could break up with him face to face, but because he never honoured any of the dates, I was denied the chance of ending it in person. I tried phoning him to make a point about how disrespectful he was for going dark on me. No answer, he would not pick up the phone to me. So as a last resort, I made my point by FB message. A few days later he replied with a sob story that he was suffering from heavy depression & needed to be alone. I stopped contacting him after that. I thought that would be the end of it, but he blocked me from FB a few days later after his response. He dumped me in the worst possible way, by disappearing on me, & because I dared to make a point; he tried to guilt trip me with his reponse & then blocked me on FB. What a cop out & a coward. I never heard from him since & I never bothered to contact again either. Good riddance.

  39. Revolution says:

    Yeah. I did this. *cowers sheepishly* I told him EXACTLY who he was via text AND email. But I also told him in person too, so does that count? I basically gave him a surround-sound experience of his own assholery. Now if only I could have done it in HD….

    • Mymble says:

      Revolution
      Did you send it in a letter too?

      • selkie says:

        How about a pop up card with the middle finger.

      • Revolution says:

        No way, Mymble. Now THAT would have been overkill. ;)

        Thanks for making me smile.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Carrier pigeon? Smoke Signals?

      • runnergirl says:

        Yup I did it too Revolution, via text after text and email after email as well as in person. The virtual surround sound experience. The only one not listening was ME. I’ll one up you, I only wish I could have done it in 3-D.
        Mymble, I hadn’t thought of a letter, maybe I should try that route…LOL.

        • Revolution says:

          Damn, runner. You won this battle for the ultimate communication of assholery. *I was SO close!!* :)

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Oh Revolution I LOVE this!! I so want to tell my ex off as follows: “You are an asshole. Your relationships don’t work out because you are an asshole. I never liked Carl. I don’t even like cats. I’M ALLERGIC.” My ex would whine to me about his relationships never ‘working out.’ Carl is his cat who he loved light years more than me. And he had this crazy/weird obsession with cats. I used to go along with it, quietly wheezing when I’d hang out at his place. *hangs head in shame*

  40. suzy says:

    oh i love that revolution! Surround sound experience of his assholery!
    I spent months trying to communicate with an EUM,so it all falls on deaf ears. The turning point for me we NML’s post “hurry up and agree with me so i can move on”. Those extended txts/emails, hopelessly trying to make a point were in many ways such a waste of time. They only really served to fan the flames of hurt.
    I got dumped in an email, after 18months. I retyped the email, edited it (keeping his BS) so the truth was there, his bollocks, lies, cowardice,passive aggressiveness, his path of least resistance crap……printed it out….and turned up at his place 2 weeks later,(long weeks, he had gone on holiday with his ex-wife) handed it to him face to face and told him to read it. I stood and watched him read it. I walked away. (Heartbroken, soooo heartbroken….) but he only saw my back.
    I played brave, I was soooo angry and Im glad i did what I did. Life’s good now, and Im safe and away from being handled and managed down by text and email and messenging – yes they are red flags!

  41. Jennifer Tiffany says:

    Ah, yes. I want to tell my ex off in person so bad I’m near crawling out of my skin. Me thinks to myself constantly (Sometimes I see my compulsive self as Smeagol in Lord of the Rings): “No Contact. It will pass. Mustn’t engage. Assclown. Narc. Ego for brains. Won’t listen. No need to tell him all about himself.”

    But I just want nothing more to run into him and say as I walk buy and sigh, “Awww, FUCK YOU.” And then some more choice words. I can’t make any promises this won’t happen. I have been consistently alarming and surprising myself these days with my outbursts. God, he just short changed me so much. I short changed myself. Actually.

    I used to be tormented by fantasies of us, the ex and I, gettin busy. Now they are being replaced with things like *cue cheesy dreamy ethereal music*:

    On our first date when he refuses to pay for my tea (this actually happened, both scenarios that follow did not), I buy the tea, walk out to the parking lot and he follows. I ask him which car is his, he points, and I throw the tea at the driver’s side window, get in my car and leave.

    OR

    I get my tea, walk outside, he follows, I turn to him, stand straight in front of him, stare blankly into his eyes and pour the tea (it is iced, I’m not evil) over his large misshapen head.

    Reality is, if I see him next I’ll probably spill the beans through awkward ramblings of my life that he could care less about, and then hide and whimper in my car.

    *NOTE* I don’t recommend any BR readers do what I fantasize about. Some men may get violent and there could be legal ramifications. But a girl can dream :(. I’m currently reading Natalie’s The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship.

    At least I know I have a problem. The ex thinks he’s great. A sea monkey could please me better and more provide for my needs than he. He’s a big whiny toddler in women’s jeans. With a big stupid, droopy nose ring. And bad homemade tattoos. God, I could only be so lucky as to forget those ugly things.

  42. NeverTooLate! says:

    The AC/MM always “checks” in once a month via text, he knows I hate this, It is a moot point, he lives far away, He never picks up the phone to talk to me, I mean why even bother at all it makes no sense, it gets him no where, I wouldn’t see him now if he promised me the world. But still I guarantee I will still get a text to “stay in touch”. I have never seen such tenacity, but when you used to care for someone so much it is like ripping a bandaid off a fresh wound, but I would never let him know that.

  43. Tinkerbell says:

    The texting ex MM was quite outdone, when I went NC suddenly. Sure, I had the urge to want to tell him all abut himself, but I felt that the less I said but initiated NC without any warning was far more effective. He was a verbose individual who took great pains to give elaborate and endless excuses for his throwing me crumbs. I knew he was shocked as sh*t that I would do that to him when I had been such a doormat. I really don’t see the sense in having the big – send off, texting writing letters etc. All you’re doing is reinforcing to them how important they were in your life. They’re not going to change and couldn’t care less what you think anyway. If they had cared, you wouldn’t be going NC in the first place. IMO, it’s just another waste of time and effort on a bozo. They need to know you’re in a hurry to move on and away from them and will not be looking for an opportunity to tell them off. They ain’t that special and have overstayed their welcome.

    • Little Star says:

      Tinkerbell I just love your comment, you said: “I really don’t see the sense in having the big – send off, texting writing letters etc. All you’re doing is reinforcing to them how important they were in your life”…Yes,that’s what I usually do, suffer inside but NEVER show outside! IT is so hard, I was thinking about EX AC all day, miss/want him, but NO WAY I am going to break NC.

  44. Tinkerbell says:

    Maria H. Why was it so vitally important for you to have the big tell-off, final convo? Were you hoping that by you telling all him about himself that you would magically turn a frog into a prince? This is one of the reasons why I don’t believe in the final drama. You open the door to further humiliation, as happened in your case and the rejection of their assholery gets flipped and they are rejecting you. Not for me. Abruptly going dark (NC) shows them they were no more than a fly in the ointment. Even when you’ve tapped danced to their song for however long, you gain the upper hand in the end.

    • beth d says:

      I really wanted to just disappear at the end with no big drama or explanation since in my relationship insanity I had “been there done that”. Sometimes with certain guys who don’t give up I finally had to do the final tell off. It was pretty brutal and I did feel good doing it. I still can’t believe he was quiet and listened. I would have hung up lol The funniest thing is he said at the end “so we really can’t be friends” I said DUH!!! No we can’t! It did work because he hasn’t bothered me.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      I have another viewpoint on this. It was really important to me to have a final say with my ex as a way of honoring and caring for myself. I simply would not and could not let his behavior pass without comment. It had to be said and put out for ‘real’ into the universe – not a pretend letter, not imagining a final conversation, not role playing – I had to do it for real. This approach worked for me because I have always let things pass in my life, let other people treat me badly and I always pretended it was ok, didn’t bother me, wasn’t important, etc. I found this to be ultimately self-destructive and I vowed I would never do it again. For some people, going silent and never saying a word is the most empowering thing – but for others like me, it can be a very important and necessary way of standing up for oneself.

      Now I must say that the only way this works as a positive, self-affirming and empowering act is to do it entirely as a way to honor yourself and the truth – and NOT to get a reaction from the ex. I can’t say that strongly enough. If the mission is to get a response or affect his feelings in some way, then you’re doomed before you start. You have to speak the truth (or write it) and let it go. You don’t do it to ‘teach him a lesson’, get him to explain himself, make him feel bad, hope he’ll change his mind and come back, influence his behavior, punish him, keep up some kind of a connection, make sure he knows what a shit he is, or for any other reason. You have to do this without expecting ANYTHING to happen on his end. But this is extremely hard to do, which is why most attempts to have a “final say” make you feel worse – because you still want some kind of response. And guess what: you will NEVER get the response you want. Never. So you have to be really clear about your motives or this kind of action will just add to your pain. And I also have to emphasize that as soon as you do have a final say, that you must go NC immediately and stick to it.

      In my case, I sent a very well-crafted letter in which I said absolutely everything I wanted to say. It was a thing of beauty. Now I don’t know if he actually read it – he might have seen it was from me and tossed it immediately. Or read the first sentence and then tossed it. Or maybe he read the whole thing and just smirked. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know if he read it or not. If he did, I don’t know what he thought while reading it. I don’t care. The point was not to influence him – the point was to speak my truth. Sending it forth into the universe was a concrete act of power for me.

    • Maria H says:

      Tinkerbell, thanks for your thoughts. I was stubborn & I felt at the time I had to get my point across by hook & by crook. I wanted answers & closure; but you are right, getting my point across made things worse. I should have started no contact when he disappeared on me at the beginning of June, but began NC in mid-July after his reply. I have now been doing NC for almost 7 months.

  45. Chrysalis says:

    I recently sent a very strong email to my ex because he was involving our children in a relationship that he was denying existed. I found out he was having an affair (phone records) but the only ‘concrete’ proof I had was a list of texts/calls at odd times of the day and night and a propensity to disappear at the weekends. I called him out on it, he fed me a load of bull and then promptly moved out. OK so far so good. Then I find out he is living in the same apartment block as this woman and he is touting her to our kids as ‘the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with’. Bear in mind he is telling EVERYONE else she doesn’t exist. So I crafted a very careful, strong (not abusive) email outlining in specific terms WHY it is highly inappropriate he exposes our kids to his secret relationship (he knows this woman FOUR MONTHS). Guess what, he ignored the email. SO, I printed off a copy and posted it to her, telling her to reinforce the message to him (and passively/aggressively telling her there was no way he was normalising this relationship to our kids). WELL. That was when it went, well batshit crazy. He gave this woman my home and mobile numbers and she called me. What she said to me bore NO relevance to the email. What she exposed herself as was a woman with serious mental issues. I wont go into all the madness she rambled about on this post, but I will say I was seriously traumatised and worried after the call. Was I impetuous to send the mail? Probably. Do I regret it? Not completely. I now know what I am dealing with. However, it doesn’t make it any easier to know my kids Father is involved with a woman who is delusional and suffering with NPD. So, the lesson I’ve learned here. Be careful if you do send an angry email/text, you may not like the reply…

  46. Gina says:

    The last two guys that I was in a relationship with (not at the same time) hurt and frustrated me so much that I sent both an email message, at the end of the relationship, telling them how I felt about their behavior in a nice, but firm manner. I knew that talking to them on the phone would have led to me being extremely frustrated and angry because they would have simply dismissed my feelings, or twisted things around. The relationships were ending anyway and I needed express my feelings of hurt, betrayal, and anger rather than letting it bottle up inside me. I did not do it for them; I did it for myself. I tried to be as respectful and classy about it as possible under the cirvumstances. Of course I realized that they could have cared less, but it made ME feel better. There was no back and forth….I said my piece, wished them well and went into NC mode. Heck? for all I know they may have deleted the message without reading it. It did not matter; the process was therapeutic for me.

  47. Jennifer Tifffany says:

    Tinkerbell,

    I am so glad I read your post. It might have saved me from further embarrassment. *Might* I’m still so seething and would love to tell him off. In all honesty that’s probably my subconscious not wanting to let go and resisting not being emotionally invested. For now I’m just avoiding the places I’d run into him like the plague. Onwards.

    • Hope says:

      Wow, do I know what this is like Jennifer Tiffany! BUT don’t do it. There is something very empowering by not getting sucked into the BS back and forth. Let HIM twist in the wind. So many of these douches count on the fact that we’ll weaken and respond putting them back in the power position. As Nat says, “See, if I were so bad why would she contact me or bother?” Let HIM wonder what happened to you and why you’re not reacting or reaching out. Silence IS golden. Admittedly, it is difficult when you’re emotionally invested, but once you give yourself the chance for the fog to clear you will recognize that you dodged a bullet.

  48. Kayakerkathy says:

    When it hit me that I really needed to break it off with ‘Mr. One Month’ because of numerous issues, including future faking and wanting to put condoms in my bathroom the very first night he stayed over for “when you’re ready”, I emailed him simply because I did not want to deal with his manipulating, condescending, attitude that would’ve no doubt point all fingers to me. He immediately shot back an email not five seconds later demanding that I call him so we could talk it out. Ok. I did. No answer. Now….I KNOW he was either by his computer emailing or doing it from his phone, yet he did not pick up. Talk about game playing and creating drama. So, I proceeded to email him spelling out everything I felt since he would not talk on the phone, and as many of you may remember, I did this AD NAUSEUM because he simply did not get it. He even emailed me close to Christmas because he noticed I had defriended and blocked him on Facebook, thinking I had found someone new and that I did what I did on Facebook because I found someone new and didn’t want him to see, blah blah blah. As if I was lonely…puLEASE.

    I hate conflict and my preferred way of communicating is either email (I’m a flaming introvert) or in person. I was in no way going to talk to this dunceboy in person. It was the right thing to do because a couple of weeks later he decided to join the movie group I belonged to that he had once ridiculed, THEN he shows up at a movie I attended and sat in the middle of two other women. Yeah, like that really made me jealous. “Feel free to call me sometime…if you want.” Um, hell to the no thank you very much.

    One of the best decisions I ever made. LOL

  49. shattered says:

    I’m guilty of sending that ‘final text’. The ex EUM got in touch – wanted to get back together (again!) and said he really did want a long term proper relationship. I really thought I was the exception to the rule – at last I thought! We spentthe night together then came the kicker. We’d arranged to meet again later in the week, but he sent a text to say he wasn’t feeling too good so would have to cancel. I realised I’d fallen for his lies yet again so sent him a text to say I’d wanted more, he clearly didn’t, so lets end this once and for all and move on. He ‘phoned to say we’d meet at the weekend …and stood me up. Never heard another word from him since. I thought he wanted to talk about ‘us’. Feeling very foolish now with egg on my face. He’s had the last laugh after all.

  50. Fran says:

    The last AC I was involved with just fell off the face of the earth after I refused to help him find cocaine. Before that I told him via email that it wasn’t working for me and that we should just not see each other anymore. He came back with the poor pitiful me response about how he didnt’ want “it” to end. I fell for it and went back out with him once only to be left for weeks without contact. He then contacted me, trying to be sweet and romantic to end up asking me to talk to someone about hooking him up with drugs. I don’t do drugs, had an issue many years ago and have been clean for over twenty years. The person he wanted me to ask was an old friend of mine who he “heard” could hook him up. I told him no, that I wasn’t going to do that for him and he disappeared. Its been two weeks and I’m glad he’s gone. I’ve been tempted to “let him have it” but decided to block him from my phone instead and call it a day. I think when we’ve been hurt its hard to not want to give them a piece of our mind via text, email or any other way. Sometimes silence is just the best way to get the point across. I’m glad I went that route.

  51. Gina says:

    Sadder But Wiser

    “I have another viewpoint on this. It was really important to me to have a final say with my ex as a way of honoring and caring for myself. I simply would not and could not let his behavior pass without comment. It had to be said and put out for ‘real’ into the universe – not a pretend letter, not imagining a final conversation, not role playing – I had to do it for real. This approach worked for me because I have always let things pass in my life, let other people treat me badly and I always pretended it was ok, didn’t bother me, wasn’t important, etc. I found this to be ultimately self-destructive and I vowed I would never do it again. For some people, going silent and never saying a word is the most empowering thing – but for others like me, it can be a very important and necessary way of standing up for oneself.”

    I agree with you 100% on everything that you just wrote.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Gina, I’m glad to hear this worked for you as well! And I totally understand those who find it’s best for their dignity and well-being to never have or need a “final say”. The bottom line is to figure out what is the best way to take care of and HONOR OURSELVES in these situations, and then follow that course. Good for you!

  52. Rosie says:

    I once gave my E-mail (not phone #) to a man who was in the same field as I. It was to offer professkonal support only as he was new to the field and was struggling. Well, he E-mailed at lemgth his “woe is me” tale and I replied with support and helpful tips. He replied with more “woe is me” as if he didn’t receive my E-mail. I replied advising him to go back and read what I had already written. Hecontinued to send these E-mails as if I were his Online journal. I had had enough and told him that it was obvious he wasn’t reading my responses so I told him to stop E-mailing me. He didn’t stop, continued on &.I let his E-mails go to junk folder.

    That was about 5 years ago. I ztill get E-mails from him & I made mistake of opening a couple. They’ve gotten really weird. They’re written as if he’s a spurned lover & addresses me as “My Darling”. Before I moved I printed them out as evidence in case he was a stalker (saw him in public a few fimes & he said “hi” as if he were spurned lover).

    I don’t know…sometimes E-mail is the way to go…

    (sorry for typos, doing this by phone & phone won’t let me jump where I need to to make corrections.)

  53. Jennifer Tifffany says:

    Kayakerkathy,

    What a douchebaggy idiot. And the whole condom thing: “when your’re ready.” What a creepster. I bet he thinks he’s one of those real sensitive types like my ex did. About as sensitive as a bag of nails. FLUSH. (My analogies almost never make sense. But I try.)

  54. Tinkerbell says:

    Jennifer T. Please don’t lower yourself and possibly embarrass yourself (especially if you lose your temper and use fowl language) by saying anything further. You are NOT BEING PASSIVE. You just have more important things to concern yourself about than him. Walk away like the strong woman you are capable of being with your head up high. These bozos will make you drag your own self down just as they have done. NO! You are better than that. If you temper your anger by never engaging with him again – the best revenge- you will get to a point that you won’t feel anything when you do have the misfortune to run into him. It’s funny now but the MM was actually driving by my apartment complex on night, and as fate would have it I came out of my apartment at that very moment to go to the laundry room. I was walking rapidly since it was raining. He called out my name, as I hadn’t even seen him. I came over to the car. Now, I had spent considerable time worrying about how I would conduct myself the first time I saw him after giving him the boot. I said a very unemotional “Hello”. He wanted to make small talk, and he reached up on his dashboard and was handing me a CD of mine that he still had. I said, “Oh. Keep it. I’ve bought another one,” as I started to move away from the car. It was true. His face and attitude was priceless and he said “You DID?”. I had blocked his pitiful attempt to reel me back in and rendered him speechless as I went on my way to continue my mission to the laundry room. I cannot explain how victorious I felt. And, seeing him didn’t even affect me because I had truly gotten him out of my system. It took months of BR, therapy, loads of self-help reading materials, and most of all my determination. I had believed it was impossible, but I did it. I took control, and I sure as hell was not going to relinquish it just because he unexpectedly popped up in my space. You can do the same thing by not allowing your anger to lead you to do something you might regret because you’ve let YOURSELF down, once again. Good luck and lots of hugs, Tink.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Tink

      You are right. You are so right. If I blow up, he will know I am still emotionally invested. My goal is to not be emotionally invested in this crackerjack. I want to be neutral. I am getting there. It goes in fits and starts, but man am I trying. Thanks.

  55. buffalogirl says:

    I dumped my EU/Assclown MM via email only because I was afraid if I talked to him in person I would start crying and I would fall for his lies again.He’s a master “game” player who knows how to say all the right lies and lines. I then initiated NC. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction to lay it all on the line to him and as a real zinger I even let him think that I still wanted to be friends with him but when he texted me a week later to say “hi” I responded with the reply “who is this,I don’t recognize this number.” Needless to say he texted back “never mind” and I haven’t heard from his since and it’s been 2 months. So in essence I played him the way he played me and I don’t feel bad about it at all.

  56. cc says:

    natalie,
    thank you for this post’s advice. this past week, i had a bit of a sticky situation with a close friend that was bothering me. i knew to take time with it, just sit until i didn’t feel so fraught over it. but it was good that this post came when it did because we started discussing it in email and rather than let that continue, based on your advice, i wrote her back “can you talk for a minute?”

    she said yes, and i called her to discuss it. i gently told her what was bothering me, was very careful in how i worded what i had to say, used a lot of “i-statements” and took responsibility for my part in it.

    we talked it through and she actually thanked me for being a good enough friend and being brave enough to bring up my problem with her about what had happened. whew! it could have gone either way. i was glad for the good outcome but would have been glad no matter what that i handled it how i did.

    so thanks. rather than wasting time and risking misunderstanding and escalation on email or text, its better to just man up, find a good time, and actually discuss things.

  57. miskwa says:

    Sadder
    I agree with Gina; you were spot on. Sometimes it is important to speak (or write) your truth but with the understanding that this is for YOU. He won’t give a tinkers damn about what he did and what you felt. Keeping it all inside is the dynamic of dysfunction like being abused as a kid and being forced to keep silence. I know that when I sent my letter to AC, I did not want to give him any further opportunity to demean and humiliate me and too a certain pride in knowing full well I am probably the only woman that has called him on his behavior. Though I had solid evidence of his cheating on both me and another woman whom I know, I chose to leave things so that “he knew that I knew” and left it at that.

  58. Foxglove says:

    Lord, please tell me this gets easier…

    Today is my first day of NC. For the past two years, I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man whom I’ve suspected is EU for some time now. There were little signs – at first he was so affectionate, so gung-ho for us — made all kinds of effort and talked about us ‘taking steps’ to be together and possibly having a baby soon (children are something he claims to desperately want — although doesn’t seem to like them that much in ‘real life’, oddly). Then, things gradually dwindled — he calls me at least 3-4 times a week, right up until yesterday. But now always on his way home from work. I began to feel like I was a good option when he was driving and didn’t have anything better to do. I’d start to notice that he’d be up late on Facebook, but not talking to me, as he used to. So who was he talking to?

    We don’t get to see each other very often (live about 1,000 miles apart) — but we used to, um… talk a bit sexy… lol… online. It was really great fun, for us both, or so I thought. Then that stopped, too — it became less and less, and it only happened when he wanted it. If I did, I’d get a curt “lol” and then he’d change the subject. I asked him about this and he assured me that “everything was fine” and I was his best friend — the person he could open up to about anything — and wasn’t that so much more valuable than sex? Should’ve seen the red flag then — he was never interested in anything I needed or wanted. If it wasn’t something HE needed at the moment, it didn’t matter. I began to suspect that he was getting that kind of attention either from someone local, or just someone new. He assured me that this was crazy, and didn’t we connect on a ‘deeper level’ than any of that? We are ‘best friends’ after all…

    Well, yesterday, he called in the afternoon. We’re both writers, and we were talking about some illustrators we’d worked with. He mentioned that he had some drawings commissioned recently of ‘a friend of his.’ Immediately, alarm bells went off. This was her. I asked him who it was — in a very nice, non-accusatory way. He said ‘oh, nobody you know.’ I asked if he knew her through work — he said no, and then volunteered that “nothing had ever happened between them” in a tired-omg-I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-explain-this-sounding voice. I can’t explain it, but I knew — this was the reason, or one the reasons that we were ‘just friends’ now. He’s moved on, but still liked his ‘driving buddy’ to talk to in the afternoons. I just feel sick. I was (am?) in love with this man — but I haven’t been happy with the crumbs I’ve been getting for a very long time. All I do is fantasize about the way things used to be between us — the way he used to make me feel. It was amazing and I miss him SO much in that way. But I have to remember, he’s known how unhappy I am, how much I miss that — and he’s chosen to do nothing about it. So I sent him this last night:

    “I would appreciate it if you would not call me, email me or fb message me in the future. In fact, it would be best if you delete me from facebook altogether, if you don’t mind. I’m really serious. Thank you. — D ”

    He hasn’t replied. I’ve also unfriended him on Facebook. I don’t plan to contact him again — but I feel like someone’s ripped my lungs out. Wracked with pain, crying all day, and not at all sure I’ve made the right decision. Maybe I’ve been cruel, and rash — I didn’t even really give him a chance to explain himself. Maybe our friendship IS more important than sex, and I should just be happy with that? But, then again, there is a lot of evidence stacked against him. What do you ladies think of all this? :(

    • Hope says:

      This must have been so difficult, Foxglove. I must tell you that I admire you to pieces on how you handled the situation and the curt but cordial email you sent. Give yourself some time; you’re a day into to NC and believe me when I tell you that it does get easier. So many of us on this sight can attest to the same. Right now you’re in the fog of remembering better days and second-guessing your very good judgement. Stay strong and don’t waiver. From personal experience I know that each time I went back or allowed my EU back into my life it only reinforced to him that I expected nothing more and/or better and left the door open to continue to treat me only as an option or convenience and ONLY when it suited him. You know what, I didn’t receive more or better either. In my opinion, I don’t think you read the situation incorrectly. The fact that you can point to tangible examples reveals this, really.

      Be kind to yourself and BIG hugs to you.

    • Amy says:

      Dear Foxglove – No Contact is your new Best Friend.
      I could write a book on long distance relationships and what a mess they’ve made of my life.
      In my experience, when you play out a relationship online – only hooking up in person once a month, once every few months, a couple times a year, etc. you really never get to know the person for who they really are.
      Those times that you do get together are like a drug trip – heady, delirious, and not at all real. Then you go home and miss them for a while, talk on the phone or chat online some more, until the communication gets “weird”. This whole thing (for me) would play out in cycles.
      A few times I actually picked up and moved so I could live near (or with! gah!) that person. What a mess. Only once did it (sort of) work out – turns out that the guy I moved for and I were really better off just being friends and not lovers.
      If you are meant to be friends with this person – ONLINE – then give yourself some time to grieve the “romantic” feelings you had for him.
      Get to the point in your head where you are not going to care who he’s sleeping with or what he’s doing on a Saturday night when he’s not online talking to you.
      Get out and interact with other humans in real life, face to face. Change up your routine.
      Once you can face seeing him online and not “care” when he talks about other women – then maybe.. just maybe.. you can resume being “friends”.
      Until then, stay NC. Otherwise it’s just going to feel like you’re picking at a scab that just never heals.

      • Mymble says:

        Amy
        I could not agree more about online/longdistance “relationships”. Men who choose to interact in this way do so because they DON’T actually want a relationship, whether because they are married, or because they are EU. Total waste of time and emotional energy.

    • Jennifer Tiffany says:

      Foxglove (cool name ;)

      I’m not the Lord, but I can tell you, without a doubt, it does get easier if you take Natalie’s advice and put everything you have into getting over these assholes. It is possible and well worth it. Listen, if you think he’s an ass, he is undoubtably an ass. Listen to you. On some level we already know. Everything. Extract it and move with it, let it motivate you, the truth that is, not scare you. You’re too strong for that. We all are. Onwards.

    • grace says:

      foxglove
      i had an online fantasy relationship which ended with me losing over half my life savings, sustaining lifelong injuries and fleeing for my life.
      It’s an extreme example but YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS PERSON AND HE DOES NOT KNOW YOU. the fact that you are both writers is a fantasy relationship hyper alert.
      These things are hard to get over because it’s all in your head. It’s hard to argue with your own head but let me tell you, your head is wrong.
      If my boyfriend and I break up I would be very sad but I don’t think it would be the scene of devastation of my previous breakups from fantasy non-relationships. Because I know him. I would know who he is and why we broke up. Reality puts a boundary around how much pain there will be. If it’s all in your head, the only boundary is your imagination. I wouldn’t be kicking myself that we didn’t give it our best. I will know that we did. I wouldn’t be wondering what perfect heights we could have achieved, because we would have had a real, ordinary relationship. Okay, I’ve got to stop imagining that we will break up!
      What you imagine is not real. You aren’t friends, your friendship is not that special, it’s barely existent, texts and messages are not a relationship, sex IS important(if not actual sex at least physical affection), he’s not faithful, it’s not deep, he’s not honest, it’s not love.
      I wouldn’t hold out for friendship even as a remote possibility. it’s not worth it.
      I’m being quite hard on you. My friends at the time, looking at me (attractive, intelligent, good at my job, responsible) thought I was able to make the judgement call to give up all that I had to go to another country to live with a man I had met online. I don’t know if I would have listened if one of them had said STOP. But, I’m saying to you, STOP.

      • grace says:

        foxglove
        sorry, something to add. I see that your relationship is more than online since there are phone calls. my ex and I called too and we saw each other a few times. It’s still overvaluing crumbs. Like you say, it’s mostly about convenience. For him and, dare I say it, for us too.
        I recommend Nat’s dreamer book.

        • Foxglove says:

          Thanks, all, for your replies about this. Well, I’ve already emailed him. Lol — I hope you’re not all too disappointed in me, it was just something I felt I needed to do. I wouldn’t want to have been dumped like that, no explanation, no discussion — so I didn’t want to do it to someone else. The email was actually very kind, I thought — it wasn’t a laundry list of things he’s done wrong (although it could have been) — I thought it actually accentuated what was positive in the relationship. I’ve already decided on NC — I’ve already decided that THIS relationship and THIS man are not going to be able to give me what I need. I do feel somewhat better now. He’s not replied, and that’s ok. I had a weak moment and looked at his blog — I noted that I’ve been deleted from his list of followers. Wow, wasn’t expecting that — guess he’s angry. So be it. If anything, it confirms that I made the right decision. No more contact. Thanks for your insights — I have Mr. Unavailable — I will also check out ‘The Dreamer.’

          • Foxglove says:

            I would just like to add that I’ve been reading Natalie’s “Mr. Unavailable” — and, ohhhh… wow. This could be about us. Wow. The way he was at the beginning — so intense, so persistent — he’d even talked about moving here and asking if I’d be willing to have his baby right away. He’d be willing to do that because he KNEW I was right. In fact, I didn’t mention this in my first post, but we have been in a “relationship” together in the distant past. 13 years ago, when we were both in college, we became friends and started sleeping together. Want to know how it ended? When one of his roomates told me he’d had a girlfriend at the time. Yeah. :/

            But, he’d changed, of course. One of the “biggest regrets of his life” was not pursuing me and being honest back in school. And he “couldn’t believe he was getting a second chance.” This was all before he unceremoniously friend-zoned me, mind you. He even used to talk about how “unique” our situation was, and how many people are lucky enough to get a second chance, with their college “almost-sweetheart… the person they’ve always known they SHOULD have been with anyway” (his words). Oh my god, ladies… oh. my. GOD. I’ve been SO stupid. I can hardly believe it… Tigers don’t change their stripes and bad apples can’t change their rotten cores… again… just feel so stupid. :(

            • Laurie says:

              Foxglove,
              You are not stupid. You were mindf*cked. I would (and have) fallen for the same thing. Hopefully not anymore! There’s nothing stupid about believing what someone tells you. I try to be honest with others, and I believe that others are honest with me–up until the point when they prove otherwise.

              People can and do change–I just had to give up (and am STILL working) on giving up the illusion that I can *make* someone change ( be honest, act with integrity). I had a friend treat me very badly in the past. Six months later she called and asked for my forgiveness: she didn’t blame me, she didn’t make excuses, and she didn’t expect that we could be friends again. I’m a big believer in second chances, and three years later, she is probably my best and closest friend. She did change. She is honest, treats me with respect, is fun to be around, and genuinely loves me. In the very few instances when we have had conflict, we are respectful of each other, apologize, and change the behavior if necessary. She respects my boundaries, and I respect hers. It’s fairly easy because we share the same core values. The difference is, I didn’t make or persuade her to do anything. Her actions match her words.

              You aren’t stupid for giving someone a second chance. I am so glad I gave my friend a second chance. You gave someone a second chance, and it ended up that they really hadn’t changed and their actions were not matching their words. You fairly judged the situation and opted out. Be proud of you!

              • Foxglove says:

                Thank you, Laurie. I relate very much to a lot of what you’re saying. I try to be honest in my dealings with people, and I assume others do as well. This is one of the few times I’ve been burned. I let so many boundaries get pushed — back when he was in his “intense” phase, he’d push me to talk about certain sexual things that I was not necessarily comfortable with — but he just kept doing it. I ALLOWED that somehow — I KEPT talking to him. It got to the point where I became desensitized to it, even — then, guess what, even that wasn’t enough. I got friend-zoned by the world’s biggest pervert. My eyes are now wide open.

  59. Tammy says:

    I wish I’d seen this article 3 mos ago. I am so darn guilty of texting/emailing my ex about issues that should really be addressed in person. I guess what prompted me to do it was my inability to express myself when I face him. I just couldn’t say the things that I wanted to tell him. To make matters worst, English is not my first language and I also struggle for words which sometimes come out as may be inappropriate or too strong for a certain situation. It was a dilemma on my part. I was comforted by Natalie’s statement, “If someone sends you a text / email with the potential for conflict, be the bigger person and pick up the phone or respond asking to meet or to arrange a time to speak.” I wish he was this. Instead, he also replied through a text message and email. If he really cared much about me and the relationship, he could have picked up the phone and call me and talk to me straight, right? He also knew that I struggle in speaking English especially when I am emotional. The most painful thing he did instead, he texted me back, “Clearly we are not matched.” and broke up with me via text message and confirmed it through email. I am still processing things until now blaming myself why the rel’p had ended. I wish I was bolder and braver and confident enough to tell him honestly what went wrong. I want to move on and just forgive myself for what happened. After reading this article, I will make sure no more text messages and emails for me in my next relationship. I hope. Thanks for hearing me out.

  60. Gina says:

    Beth D

    “Not sure if I got his on BR website or somewhere else but I saved this “’ve read that encounters with narcissists take much longer to over come than do relationships with normal people. The reason is that with narcissists you are dealing with a person who has their own reality and only plays by their own rules, which they change as often as need to suit them. They also lie without blinking, contradict themselves and gaslight you. So in the end you are left feeling like you are completely crazy. Part of getting beyond them is realizing there is no logic to their behaviour. It just is. We need to re-direct our focus on to our own feelings and reactions instead. ”

    Girl, ain’t it the truth?? It has been 7 months and I am still trying to recover from my previous relationship with a man who had a personality disorder! I don’t have feelings for him anymore, I just cannot get my mind around how someone could be so devious, manipulative, controlling, and calculating all under the pretense of being “Mr. Nice Guy.” At least with the so-called “Bad boys” what you see is what you get. It’s those nice ones with whom I have to keep my wits about me.

    • beth d says:

      Gina That’s what makes it so tough. Mine was so wonderful when he was on it is mind boggling. You just have to get it through your head Mr Wonderful wasn’t who you thought he was. It is also a reason you can never be friends. They hold a weird power over you and rough to get out of their web. I am friends with both my long term college sweetheart and my ex husband with no problem. This one claimed I was his best friend and we needed to stay friends. Practically bullied me into the friendship. Trying to be friends with this one was torture! You need to flush them and heal. I love your what you see is what you get with bad boys. Never had trouble dumping a bad boy but the insidious bad behavior of these types of disordered guys leaves you obsessing and analyzing for way too long.

  61. Tinkerbell says:

    Foxglove. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the nagging little inner voice, your gut, is more times than not, correct. You feel as though he is slipping away, that he knows this and is not trying to really reassure you that this is not so. I don’t think you’ve been too hasty and not given him a chance. He’s been showing you that you are no longer that important to him. Why should you stick around and make him carve it in stone. This is how we add fuel to the fire of our hurt and disillusionment. You don’t have to beg for his attention. Move on, chalk it up, and create a better life for yourself. Let him be. Men are really not as deep or difficult to figure out as we may think. Ask yourself “Do his actions match his words?” Good luck and take care of YOU.

    • Foxglove says:

      Hi, Tinkerbell — oh, yeah, the signs have been there. It used to be, if I had an issue with the relationship, he’d respond right away and be VERY reassuring, explaining away my doubts. The last few times I’ve brought something up — he hasn’t even bothered to respond. Seriously, how could I not have seen this sooner. I think you’re right — I’m no longer that important to him, and he’s probably not grieving the loss of me anywhere near as much as I am that of him. For him, I think it’s more about anger — how DARE I cut him off? There’s always been something that scares me a little bit about him.

  62. Amy says:

    No more online relationships for me!! NO MORE!! My “epiphany” relationship… or rather pseudo-relationship (long story!) that launched a flaky MUA into full blown AC category ended with an email.
    I was expecting to be “dumped” via email because he was clearly conflict avoidant (we were PERFECT for each other in that respect). He never picked up the damned phone, and always sounded inconvenienced whenever I called him.
    What I was not expecting was the paragraph in that email related to how he was hoping I would be able to help him get over his ex, and that it was HER he thought of every day, and not me.
    To lay that shit out in an email was cowardly and cruel, BUT… it was the gigantic clue bat across the forehead that I needed.
    I did not respond, and instead went NC, dropped him from FB, and eradicated all traces of this guy from my cell phone.
    I realized that far too many of my most unhealthy relationships were conducted “online”, long distance and/or with very little in the way of quality face time.
    It’s extremely difficult to get to know someone when you spend the majority of your time online “chatting” vs. actually hanging out in the flesh.
    While long-distance relationships can sometimes work out, for me they’re just another way for me to build up an elaborate fantasy around who that person really is.
    Hell, I was in a “long-distance” relationship with someone who lived 30 miles from me!! How stupid is that?
    If the man does not have the stones to pick up the phone and call you to tell you that it’s “over”, or that he’s “conflicted” or whatever the heck is brewing in that skull of his – run…(not walk) away.
    With these types of situations there is seldom closure, it’s never pretty, and unless you can go total NC it takes forever to get over.
    I’ve come to realize that this whole addiction to online vs. “real life” relating is just another red flag.
    These types of men can be “friends” but if it gets physical be prepared to be placed into the “booty call” bucket.
    From now on, any relationship I cultivate is going to start in real life, and grow in real life.

    • Foxglove says:

      Wow, Amy — what a horrible thing for him to say to you! You are so right about these online long distance things being based in the realm of fantasy. Mine used to always say things like “if we were married, would you do this, would you do that? Would you allow me to do THIS?? (sometimes stuff involving other women!!!)” — as if I was being auditioned or something! So weird and bizarre…

      And, I have to realize, I was fantasizing a lot, too. We’d send each other real estate listings of houses we could live in together, stuff like that — but with no real concrete plans to be in the same area. To be REALLY kind to him — I think part of the reason he decided we’d be ‘just friends’ is because we both realized that, with the reality of our job situations, there was no way either could move. Still, every think of being honest and TELLING someone your thoughts — or making that decision together? Oh, duh — that’d be way too healthy. :/

  63. McKenzieM says:

    I almost did this yesterday (told the EU AC I’ve been dealing with for the past 8 months about himself via email). I wanted to list out all the reasons I hated him, etc., but then I realized that would look petty and immature. So instead, I sent him an email explaining my feelings about why I could not remain friends with him after he told me that he didn’t want anything “serious” but that if he got to the point where he wanted to be in an actual relationship, “he would consider me an option.”

    That was the breaking point; the more I thought about it, the more I realized — I am NO ONE’s option. It jumpstarted my self-esteem because I realized I am not a sideline ho to be called off the bench and pinch hit at his whim. So, I told him in my email that I was going no contact and that all communications would need to be professional from now on (since I have to work with him). He flipped out and insulted me. I started to respond in anger and tell him about himself, but then I came across NML’s post about keeping the proverbial door shut and decided not to respond. His email confirmed that I made the right choice and has helped me get through day one of NC, though I know there is still a long road ahead.

  64. McKenzieM says:

    I almost did this yesterday (told the EU AC I’ve been dealing with for the past 8 months about himself via email). I wanted to list out all the reasons I hated him, etc., but then I realized that would look petty and immature. So instead, I sent him an email explaining my feelings about why I could not remain friends with him after he told me that he didn’t want anything “serious” but that if he got to the point where he wanted to be in an actual relationship, “he would consider me an option.”

    That was the breaking point; the more I thought about it, the more I realized — I am NO ONE’s option. It jumpstarted my self-esteem because I realized I am not a sideline ho to be called off the bench and pinch hit at his whim. So, I told him in my email that I was going no contact and that all communications would need to be professional from now on (since I have to work with him). He flipped out and insulted me. I started to respond in anger and tell him about himself, but then I came across NML’s post about keeping the proverbial door shut and decided not to respond. His email confirmed that I made the right choice and has helped me get through day one of NC, though I know there is still a long road ahead.

    • beth d says:

      “His email confirmed that I made the right choice and has helped me get through day one of NC, though I know there is still a long road ahead.”
      It sure did!!! Hang strong You made the right decision. That song “Somebody I Use to Know” is so true. They act like assholes but they can’t get why you need to cut them off. Selfish jerks!

      • jewells says:

        Yes exactly, they don’t have any insight into their ACness, so any backlash from us, they just chalk up to instability and phsyco tendancies on our part and then they think THEY had a ‘lucky break’ that they stayed distant or broke it off. DON’T give them the satisfaction.
        Yesterday I came up with an analogy, in case mine turns up again and I need to remember to stay strong, is to think of people as planets. If you visit one, and even though you had a good time for a short time, something in the atmosphere made you very very ill, would you go back for another visit?

      • Lau_ra says:

        I’d actually say “Somebody I thought I knew”.

        • beth d says:

          Omg I love i Laura “somebody I thought I knew!!!” Ain’t it the truth. Love your analogy jewells. Good way to look at it. Of course we wouldn’t visit. Our health depends on not visiting.

      • McKenzieM says:

        Beth/Jewells/Lau_ra:

        Thank you all for the support. He’s being so nice now that I started to wonder if I made the wrong decision. I keep reminding myself of how horrible I felt when he was a total AC to me, and that is what prevents me from reaching out to him. Day 2 down! LOL

        • beth d says:

          McKenzie Of course he is being nice since you cut him off. Are ya kidding? I did the NC thing before I even knew about NC It was instinct for me since I had never b4 encountered the crazy disrespectful behavior of my ex. Mine was not only nice but the longer I went the nicer he was and if he convinced me to meet him in person which he did way back….. he came with diamond jewelry, designer bags and heartfelt cards. He would throw in a few tears for good measure. Ughh I wanted so bad to think I was wrong about him and I was totally attracted to him so I would melt. Now I see it for what it was. Narcissistic manipulation at it’s best. He was the master of the game.

          • McKenzieM says:

            Beth –

            WOW. Jewelry, bags, and heartfelt cards? That’s a new level of narcissistic manipulation. I don’t think my EU AC will get to that level, but nonetheless, I’m glad I have this site and the commenters here as well as a couple good friends IRL to remind me that him being nice is just another manipulation tactic. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

            • beth d says:

              There were points in the relationship, he was so distraught at losing me he would do anything. It is about loss of control for a Narc/Ac’s. I believe he thought he loved me and couldn’t live without me as his cards would say. I wanted to believe him. He just didn’t know he is not capable of loving anyone in a healthy way. I didn’t know it either till after my final break up when I got a total devaluation after 10 years. None of his old manipulations worked any more.

            • beth d says:

              Enjoy your weekend and stay strong! You sound like you have good friends. They really do help in these situations as well as the great posters on BR and Natalie.

        • Victorious says:

          mcKenzie you need to read this
          http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/why-youre-nobodys-option/
          We all feel for you as most of us have walked in your shoes. Please trust us when we tell you to stay NC. If you put your hand back in the fire it will BURN. When I went back to my ex narc (after the kind words and lovely cards Beth mentions) I got hurt even worse than before. He actually pulled NEW SHIT on me!

          • beth d says:

            I loved that post too V My ex tried to make me his option post break up under the guise of friendship. I am glad for that time cause yes I put my hand in briefly a few times and boy did I get burnt! And yes there was new shit! The good news is his true colors came out more than ever post break up. NC all the way. These guys are dangerous to your health!

            • McKenzieM says:

              Victorious – I read that post. I’ve actually been going back and reading the posts on here tagged NC. VERY helpful.

              Beth – Thanks. I’m 5 days into NC, and yesterday was the most difficult so far. A mutual friend posted something about him on Facebook hanging out with another girl and it just really bugged me. I can’t wait until I get to the point where I don’t care what he’s doing, where he is, etc. because I know he probably doesn’t give two sh!ts about what’s going on in my life right now. And, THAT is actually the part that bugs me the most. ugh

              • beth d says:

                McKenzie It’s very helpful to read the NC posts. You are doing good. It will get better. At some point when you are ready you will cut off the social media checking up thing. This will be one of the hardest things you do but keep thinking of it as a new beginning to peace and sanity.

                • Lau_ra says:

                  I can only agree that NC on social media is very very effective. I can honestly say I only started to heal after I unfriended the guy, deleted his contacts from every single communication means I have and stopped watching what mutual friends post for him-just seeing his name on my contacts list actually made me feel sad and fantasise of how things could have turned out, instead on focusing on the fact he is gone and not in a respectful way.If a guy cares aout you, he simply doesn’t do nasty stuff to you. If he does nasty stuff-he doesn’t care-its as simple as that.
                  My therapist introduced me to a concept of life scenarios and I’ve noticed that in many of them the main thing with women is that they keep giving their love and affection to those who don’t deserve it. And lots of them live their whole lives thinking its just the way it is and you should’t expect more – this actually shocked me.I say lets re-write our scenarios starting just now.

                  • McKenzieM says:

                    The problem I’m having is we have like 30 mutual friends, none of whom know what went down because neither I nor AC have told them anything. People suspect something happened, but have no concrete proof except for the fact that we are no longer Facebook friends. So even though I don’t have him added/follow him, he still shows up in my feed because of retweets, posts friends make, etc. It’s enough to make me want to delete all my social media accounts, lol.

                    • Lau_ra says:

                      If you can’t edit the settings so that you wouldn’t see things posted to a particular person, maybe you should tell something to your mutual friends? Not neccesary all the story in details (for that only gives “fuel” for gossip), but something that it didn’t work out and ended in way that wasn’t very nice, or smth, so they would be more conscious when posting things and maybe edit the list of people who can see their posts? Mutual friends of mine asked how were things with the guy (for we met through those friends), and I told them he vanished without going into details, so they were really diplomatic about that, and I never saw any post for him on their behalf while he was in my friendlist.

          • runnergirl says:

            Shoot, you got cards, jewelry, and fancy bags? Then you were informed that you were an option? Your comment re-jumped my self-esteem. You are nobody’s option, cards, jewelry, and bags nothwithstanding. Note to self…neither am I, despite the lack of material goods. I just got sex or the hope of sex, if he had the time! And I could cook dinner too if he gave me 30 minutes warning. So now I feel like telling him what an effing loser he is all over again. I won’t. But he is an effing loser. McKenzie, don’t put another moment into that loser, whether by text, email or in person. (Note to Runner.)

            • McKenzieM says:

              Thanks, runnergirl. I’m working on it. :)

            • beth d says:

              Runner I left myself open to being an option. I did end it for good after his last “freak out” Then after months of NC I broke and answered his call. He begged me to at least be friends. I buckled cause I missed him. Mistake!! Let him get in my life and my head again and then I became his option. The post break up bs was worse than the relationship. If I didn’t do NC it would still be going on. I lol at how you feel like telling him off. I have had those moments where I think of something he said or did and wanted to call him right there and then to blast him. I just call a friend and end up laughing about it.

  65. miskwa says:

    I am of mixed opinions about long distance relationships. Other posters are correct in that a man in a ldr could well have something else going on unbeknown to you but hell, I had someone who had something else going on and got away with it for a long time due to our conflicting work schedules and he did own property out of town. I found that if you work, he is retired, or you work at night and he does not, you are vulnerable to being cheated on if that is his inclination. Because I live in a small town where the men in my age range are generally folk that do not come even close to sharing my values, my only option is to go on line and look for someone who is retired and about 75-100 miles away. I also have learned the hard way that in a small place relationships that didn’t work out are difficult to escape. I have one problem child whose house I must pass by on the way to work and the narc at work. You check the cars in the parking lots of restaurants before you go there, you avoid other places they might be, it’s very uncomfortable dealing with their business partners and friends. Really bad problem children who cannot take no for an answer know where you live, where you work. For me, it is easiest to delete with impunity when my spidey senses tell me something is not right knowing that I will never have to deal with them again. Lie about your physical appearance and health-poof! Look great but start making racist remarks- poof! Meet me for lunch, show up dirty and smelly and spend the next hour complaining about your health- double poof! Maybe this makes me somewhat EU myself but it’s a lot safer and less aggravating in the long run.

  66. oc says:

    Thanks for your reply Laurie. =)

  67. teachable says:

    Mags. This guy is bordering on TOO MUCH. Not sure what the fallout might be but you might consider being more direct & less ‘nice’ in how you handle him. It sounds like sexual harrassment to me. I’d be documenting it & more direct that his attention is unwanted & considered inappropriate (the chocolate is reason enough for this). You could try an email, firmly & respectfully worded. It might say, ‘I don’t know if you are the person who left me this chocolate, however, if so I need to make myself clear. Then perhaps mention some things he has been doing, that it’s making you feel uncomfortable & you request he desist from all such behaviour (ie non work related emails etc). The beauty of this is you can say, ‘if you didn’t leave the chocolate, I do apologise, however my request still stands. Include a link to your HR sexual harrassment policy & say the matter will ‘go no further’ if it stops now. Then, make him strictly work interaction only. You may feel uncomfortable around him doing this, but you will feel more uncomfortable if his inappropriate behaviour continues, & you don’t assert yourself. This is just a.suggestion of one way to handle this. An email in this case is better than talking to him about it as it creates a document trail of evidence, you can draw on, if he continues.

  68. nancy says:

    After sex recently with my AC, the traditional disappearing act until yesterday when he sent an email that said, “I have something I want to say to you.” I responded “which is?” And the usual crumbs response “Soon”. I have yet to hear anything else. Arggghh. My son was just sent to prison. Naturally, no correspondence to ask how I am doing.

    • Victorious says:

      Nancy, you refer to this “man” as “My AC” Do you really want one of these? In your life, which is, like all of ours, shockingly short? He sounds like a POS. You would not treat someone like this would you? Please stop accepting it from him. Can you just block him? Think of the shock when desparate and needy little Nancy blocks him and goes NC? It sounds like you have other priorities and maybe instead of wasting your energy on this idiot you can apply the same care, thought and love to yourself and your family and real friends? You may think I am being tough here but once you have put some time and distance between yourself and the Bad Man you will look back and say “What Was I Thinking?” And you will be HORRIFIED.

      • beth d says:

        I was thinking the exact same thing as what Victorious said. Nancy this guy is a sociopath! How little regard he has for you! I think in a way this guy may be a distraction for what pain you are feeling for your son. The truth is you need to be surrounded now with positive people who truly care for you. This horrible louse needs to be flushed immediately if not sooner! I would cut him off here and now with no explanation and focus on yourself.

  69. McKenzieM says:

    Foxglove: At least your EU AC deleted you. Mine won’t unfollow me and has actually started trying harder to be friends with me again… I was tempted to give in on NC and respond since he was being so nice, but remembered that this was probably an attempt to get me to open the proverbial door and decided against it. That was the right choice… right?

    • Foxglove says:

      Hi, McKenzie — yes, he did delete me — although, I can still see the blog (it’s public), so I’m not sure what the point was. To “teach me a lesson”, I’m sure… lol. I’m beginning to wonder if I did the right thing in writing to explain my actions to him — I was WAY too nice. I got the main points out there — but also stuff like “I think the world of you, and I wish you all the best in life…” *cringe* As for your ex — yes, I really believe this was him trying to get the door open. If you’re committed to NC, you did the right thing — esp. if you think being ‘friends’ with him is not a great idea…

      • McKenzieM says:

        Foxglove – He finally unfollowed me. I should be glad, yet strangely enough I was tempted to email him and see how he was doing. So weird. I didn’t, though… mostly because I knew my best friend would kill me and all the stories in the comments on this blog have said that breaking NC never ends up going well.

        Oh, and today officially makes one week of NC.

  70. runnergirl says:

    As I was on the treadmill today, a rainy soggy day, and the anniversary of my my mother’s death at 62, I wanted to tell my father all about what a scum-bucket of a father he was and how he killed my mother via a fatal STD back in the day before folks were aware of STD’s. I guess I need to write the unsent letter to my poor mother. But I still want to smack my father right upside his 70 yro head. He gets to live and screw women up one side and down another, and my mother is dead due to his indiscretion and unprotected sexual encounters. Thankfully it is late, otherwise I’d call him (after years of NC) and give him nine kinds of grief for being the biggest asshole on the planet. My father could see any AC on the planet and raise them.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi Runner,

      Those are very painful thoughts to have on top of the loss you’re thinking of at this time. Your father is damaging selfishness incarnate and you have done worlds of good by distancing yourself and your kids from him. I hope you’re able to ride out the grief without calling him. He doesn’t deserve to hear your voice or know that you care if he breathes.

      • runnergirl says:

        Hi Magnolia, I rode out the grief without calling, emailing, or smacking my father upside the head. Apparently, it was a of a bit clash this past weekend. Anniversary of my mother’s passing and the “anniversary” of getting involved with the exMM. Weird, it’s the same day.
        I hope you are doing well with your new job?

  71. runnergirl says:

    BTW, my father is 70-something and still a raging AC. So if there are any folks out there thinking that age has something to do with it, not in this case. Watch out for a striking 70-something. He, he, he!

    • Victorious says:

      Runnergirl my father died last year aged 73 from alcoholic liver disease. When my siblings and I (all NC with him) cleared his flat, we found 752 condoms, 2000 porno mags, and photos of various women in a state of undress taken on his mobile phone. At the funeral, a range of women sidled up to us to whisper ” I had a very close relationship with your father.” We just tactfully replied, ” Yes, we know, he thought very highly of you.” We said this to each and every one of these poor deluded women who each thought they were special in his eyes. The only time we lost it was when one lady said, “I was very close to your father, I used to do his cleaning for him.” and my little brother replied, “yeah, I’ve seen the pictures, you cleaned naked!”
      I think they get WORSE with age, not better. There’s a sobering thought.

      • beth d says:

        It is a known fact that narcissist get worse with age. Omg you had his entire harem at the funeral? Ughh Your little brother sounds like a riot!

      • Lau_ra says:

        Oh yeah, skills come with practise… long years of practising being an AC! So we could actually say they get *better* at that:D and think if any of us really needs such a “better” version of a particular AC.

      • Magnolia says:

        Victorious, holy shit. I … just, holy shit. Wow. I’m laughing (sort of) because you sound strong about it. But also yuck.

  72. Tinkerbell says:

    Victorious. “…..yeah, I’ve seen the pictures. You cleaned naked.” Priceless and hilarious – out of the mouths of babes. Tell will tell it in a heartbeat. LOL!

    • runnergirl says:

      As per everyone’s suggestions and so many of Nat’s posts, the urge to tell my 70-something raging narc father that he is a raging narc and then some, passed. I sat through, acknowledged, and felt the sad and angry feelings. I’ve still got to do the Unsent Letter to my mother who I blamed for my father’s illegal behavior.
      Thank you Victorious for the funerary tips, although I am sorry you and your siblings had to live through it. And I’m sorry for the passing of your father. I do appreciate how you and your siblings tactfully replied to his harem. I will definitely remember your response as I’m sure we will be faced with the same scenario. It would be me, however, that would have to say what your brother said…priceless.
      So the moral to the story for me, is run, flush, and don’t look back. Narc’s, in my experience, don’t get better with age no matter how many times you tell them via any means. I don’t want to be one of the deluded women at some narc’s funeral who thinks she was special. 752 condoms? I guess at least he had condoms? Once again, I guess I’m not alone. Thank you so much. No more arguing.

      • Victorious says:

        The 752 condoms was a rough estimate. One of my brothers put one in the pocket of dads funeral jacket. I should probably point out that my “little” brother is in fact 17 and as camp as Christmas so he gets away with saying ANYTHING!! Actually I didn’t know he existed until our Dad died so that was an unexpected pleasure. See there is an upside to having a Dad like this, bonus half siblings! There are 5 of us ranging in age from 50 to 17. As well as breaking many hearts, he also owed many of these women money :)

        • Magnolia says:

          omg – maybe I’m in a weird mood, but your attitude towards it all makes it hilarious, Victorious! The dearly departed with condom-in-pocket put there by someone whose very life might only be because he had forgotten a dome that day. Priceless. 50 to 17! The old man was busy! Bonus half siblings indeed!

          Reminds me of my great-grandfather, whom everyone calls Old Man So and So. Eighteen legitimate children, three recognized children from different mistresses, and who knows how many others. My family says, gotta love those Muslims, but I don’t know, not every Muslim is out there fathering his own small nation!

        • runnergirl says:

          Okay Victorious, you cheered me up immensely. A condom in his pocket! That little bro sounds cool and quite the unexpected pleasure indeed. Thank you for the heads up about the half-sibs. I have 5 full siblings but expect there are some half sibs out there and I’ll look forward to meeting them. What a wonderful perspective.
          Seriously, you really helped me place the last pieces? of father baggage where it belongs. There is no arguing with the dearly departed.
          PS. I think I have an idea for his x-mas present next year! I like your little bro.

          • Victorious says:

            Glad to help! The funny thing is it’s my mother that is the full blown narc!!! Story (stories) for another day. Yes although I was very sad about my Dad dying, he was pretty useless as a father and so he didn’t exactly leave a huge hole in any of our lives. We HAD to see the funny side of it all.
            A friend of mine had a similar situation where she found she had a half brother but only knew about him when her father died so it must happen more often than you would think.
            We felt sorry for the harem, and for those, including our mothers (two of them dead) who had been used up and discarded by him.
            All I can do now is learn from it and make sure I don’t end up like them.

  73. Lucy says:

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I always make a point not to open up an argument over email or text. It’s easier for it to get out of control, and once you’ve written something in a physical form you can’t retract it. Well words count too but the memory of them being said fades a lot easier than a text that can be looked over again and again.

    I tend to ignore texts like that but I do make an effort to raise the subject in person.

  74. True partner says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. There are times when keeping it to text or email is totally appropriate! Breaking up an affair that’s hurting another person and your own honor- no need for debate, no need for respect (they deserve none for being in it in the first place), and any criticism you’re avoiding is worthless, look who it’s coming from!

    Just dump him/her hard and don’t look back. Who cares if they’re hurt? They deserve to be and they’ll never hurt as much as the innocents who were hurt.

    No debate would be appropriate. And they don’t deserve the time of day.

    I knew text was invented for a reason, also as often affairs are mainly conducted by text it’s so karmic to dump them the same way,

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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