When someone is indecisive about you, they're on the fence instead of being in the relationship with both feet firmly planted in.

If you’ve ever been with someone who blows hot and cold by one day professing their love for you and talking about the future to the next day getting cold feet and saying “I don’t want to hurt you” or even ‘going dark’, you’ll know that being on the end of someone’s indecision isn’t good for your soul or your self-esteem.

A friend was excited when her boyfriend said that he was taking her away and that he was going to buy “a ring” all without any prompting from her. On the day that they were due to fly off, he showed up weeping and saying “I can’t do this”. Somehow she forgave him and then he flipped and flapped for another few years until she ran out of patience and sympathy and made up his mind for him by removing herself out of the equation.

When someone is indecisive about being with you, it’s not sexy or acceptable.

Being vulnerable is something that the great majority of people have some degree of fear about but it’s a necessity for something as basic as feeling our own feelings and taking in reality as well as being a fundamental component of our relationships. None or limited vulnerability equals intimacy issues equals commitment issues equals balance, progression and consistency issues equals you dealing with someone who isn’t available for an available relationship.

They’re on the fence instead of being in the relationship with both feet firmly planted in.

Indecisive people have commitment issues. They appear to make decisions and then afterwards start to panic and backtrack to relieve their fears. Then when they feel calm again based on the change in decision, they then worry if they made the wrong decision. And round and round they go.

You can end up falling into the trap of trying to help them make up their minds and even attempting to allay their fears and in the meantime, you end up forgetting your own needs and cross into over-empathising instead of recognising what indecision means in the bigger picture. You can also end up internalising their anxiety. Maybe I should I have doubts too?

Indecision is actually a decision in itself and to be on the receiving end of it can be torture. Someone who truly cares for you and is empathetic will recognise that it’s not acceptable and will not continue the flip-flapping or take advantage of your own decisiveness about them.

When someone then starts telling you that they’re being indecisive because they don’t want to hurt you, it raises the question of which crystal ball they’re using? It’s more like self-knowledge and experience. They may be afraid of being honest and assertive or they just lack the self-knowledge to understand their own needs which would in turn help them make a decision that reflected not only who they are but also had some respect and consideration for you. If they don’t understand their own needs or feelings, they’re certainly not going to be able to empathise either. They tend to be reactive and will reel you in on a whim and then flush you back out of their hot attention with a bump back to earth.

It’s not ‘bad’ to have a wobble or to be a little afraid of stepping forward. I think it comes with the territory with relationships. The difference though between the person who’s indecisive and the person who has both feet in is that the latter knows that vulnerability is needed and weighs evidence against their fears and proceeds based on the feedback.

Both of you may be afraid but you’re taking the leap of faith together.

The person that’s indecisive keeps wobbling and after a while, you can end up being uneasy because you’re trained and attuned to expect a wobble. You end up feeling distrusted. You end up feeling like you’ve got to campaign for you and make them feel better about the last person that they were with. It’s not your job to help someone get over their previous relationships and trauma. You can be empathetic and sympathetic but if these issues are getting in the way of them being able to differentiate between past and present and forge a mutual relationship with you and they’re not making it a priority to resolve the issue, you have to step away.

The biggest problem with this whole indecision malarkey is this expectation whether it’s communicated directly or not, that it’s you that’s got to do something to relieve that indecision when actually, the indecision is about them, even if they try to put it on you. The next biggest problem is this inherent assumption by them that you’re supposed to be ‘OK’ with this indecision (like a show of your commitment to their uncommitted selves) and if you respect what they’re saying and don’t want to participate, you’re ‘pressuring’ them. NO, you’re respecting what they’ve said instead of letting them have it both ways.

This is how so many people get downgraded to casual. “OK I’ll let you test drive me in casual mode until you’re over your wobble.”

Relationships require a leap of faith. You don’t want to be taking that leap and then being dragged back or left hanging and pleading for the other person to join you. It takes the joy and the fun out of the relationship and after a while, it’ll begin to erode at your sense of self because it’s human nature to wonder what you’ve ‘done’ and that’s just not fair.

I’ve learned this the hard way that if you’re faced with someone who’s indecisive about you or the possibility of a relationship, let them make up their minds on their own time, not yours.

Don’t see it as a challenge and an opportunity for validation – see it as great big red warning that whatever it is that you thought you both have had going on, they aren’t on the same page as you and have their own issues. If you blame you for their indecision, you’ll miss some very vital feedback about this person and your relationship. If they come back, they return decided and if they then start to passive aggressively roll it back after a time or flake out again, cut ‘em loose.

Ultimately there’s something so not right about you being decided on a person and a relationship that the other party isn’t. You think you’re copilotting when the other person is trying to make an emergency exit. If they’re on the fence and you’re waiting on them, you get put on the fence too. In the end, you’ll have to do for the both of you what they clearly can’t do – make the decision that puts an end to all of this indecision and leaves you with your sense of self intact as well as being available for an available relationship with someone who isn’t resisting you with their indecision.

Your thoughts?

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328 Responses to Indecision About You Isn’t Sexy Or Acceptable

  1. Espoir says:

    I just don’t know how are you doing it…this is ME – right NOW – in THIS moment !!! You are talking to me !!! Thank you, Nathalie – so many answers to all my tormenting questions.
    I did all the mistakes, by the book : ignoring red flags, amber alerts, my gut feeling, allowing to be an option, fed with crumbs,romantic home cooked suppers…I won’t continue…you guys know very well what I’m talking about… I’m in NC for one month and I feel strong and empowered :thank you Nathalie, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU

  2. Lavender says:

    “I’ve learned this the hard way that if you’re faced with someone who is indecisive about you or the possibility of a relationship, let them make up their minds on their own time, not yours. Don’t see it as a challenge and an opportunity for validation.”

    Wow, I wish I knew this years ago. I wasted four years on a guy who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be with me or not. I should have left him to his devices while I went out with guys who wanted to be with me. It makes me really sad that I wasted all that time waiting for him while he said he needed to think about it and ended up having three other girlfriends in tow in various places.

  3. Wise ol owl says:

    So tired of these middle aged men that can’t make a decision. Of course, no decision IS really a decision–they are rejecting you in a cowardly way. The next woman will get the same treatment, the ride may last a bit longer, but it’s sure to end the same way. Love your take on it, Natalie. So right you are, make the decision for them and move on with your wonderful life. It is such a turnoff to deal with men who never know what they want, esp. on the other side of 45! Take back your precious time and extract yourself asap, someone better awaits!

    • Maz says:

      I totally agree with wise ol owl about the 45+ range, it’s like they’ve hit boyhood again, “I dont know what I want” is usually the answer and leave us dangling while going hot and cold all the while. Even when we ask for a direct answer and it’s a basic yes or no, they still cant deal with it. It’s unfair. Takes too much time out of our lives for someone who is planted firmly and does love them and does know what they want. Time, indecision, I’d like to say Im committed to listening and adherring to all those red flags and ambers and gut feelings for the next endeavour I may come across, but Im human unlike some of the men I’ve dated. Agreed, let them waste their time and someone elses, of which there always is when the void we create upon leaving the conundrum has to be filled. God forbid they deal with their own feelings, that’s a taboo word.

    • Grizelda says:

      Wise and Maz, I agree totally. These mid-life guys who say “I don’t know what I want”, actually mean “I know exactly what I want but I’m not going to tell you because I’m devastated, disappointed and catatonic with disbelief that I’m too old for it.* I can’t believe I have to socialise with people your age now. What the hell happened to my life? What did I do to deserve this? WHY ME?” etc ad nauseum.

      Nothing like making up a man-child’s mind for him like flushing him away.

      *’It’ being one or more of the following: a career as a professional sports player; a career as a professional sports coach; a career as head of a global record label; a career; a girlfriend who isn’t likewise in middle age; a girlfriend who hasn’t been married or in a serious long-termer before; a girlfriend who hasn’t already had children; a girlfriend who’s a hot virgin escapee from the local convent whose 18th birthday was yesterday and until meeting me has never laid eyes on a man before…

      • Anon says:

        Now, that made me giggle. True, true and true again :) I think I will memorize it and say it at the bar tonight when I meet one of the 50 yr old men that think “I’m too cool for any girl 35 plus”. Gosh, it is heartbreaking, they are every where (online, work, the bar) and they think the same, & their numbers are legion! You could meet five a week!! Evan Mark Katz should write about this in his advice column, and tell us where on earth to buy the serious delusion kool-aid these guys are drinking.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Griz
        “a girlfriend who’s a hot virgin escapee from the local convent whose 18th birthday was yesterday and until meeting me has never laid eyes on a man before…”
        that was fantastic! I will add to that

        ” ‘it’ being…playing mindgames with women who can’t understand me and who I can deceive, dating women who have unabashed admiration for everything I do,even if, in fact, I have done very little, being able to explain my divorce to someone who won’t question that it was all my ex’s fault, having the possibility of not being held accountable for my actions because now I look immature for it, rather that just a “bad boy”, having a girlfriend who is 25 and who just wants me for my body, not my money. Okay I am a bit pissy but it is true….. and finally… having a woman who is my age and better kept up than me, and who has more going on than me rejecting me because I just have nothing to offer and my attitude towards her was that she should be lucky that I asked her out, because I really could date someone 25…

      • sushi says:

        Grizelda,
        that is sooo funny and true. My last couple of guys belonged to the “it” brigade…would check off most items on your list. It must be so great for them to think they are so special and live on that lovely cloud of delusion, bless them.It`s even greater to have them flushed. I have the misfortune to work with one of them and have been subject of his expressions of attention after five years- translate trying to press reset button. It`s hillarious watching him do that but it does make me gag.There were apparently no virgins around…..

        • Ellyb says:

          Hilarious! Besides, I’m convinced those guys don’t suddenly become EU once they turn 45 (or 55 or 65 or whatever). They’ve always been that way. I can already picture some toxic guys I met at 25 behave EXACTLY like that 20 years later. It’s somewhat comforting.

          • Lilia says:

            Ellyb, I actually met the EUM I had a non-relationship with when we were both 25 and in hindsight he must´ve always been EU.
            He never took any initiative to pursue women, the only ones he got (briefly) involved with were the ones who threw themselves at his feet. He did blow hot with the ones he couldn´t have – like myself (I was engaged at the time and didn´t take his compliments and lamb-like looks of adoration very seriously). His apparent devotion for me continued until I was available 15 years later -at that exact moment the hot-cold treatment, ff and complete bs began.
            I don´t think it´s an age thing. These guys were weird from the onset.

      • Victorious says:

        Classic Grizelda. Really made me laugh. Mine still listened exclusively to the music from his teen years and showed me photos of himself aged 19, telling me how great he looked then (didn’t we all?) Poor mite “didn’t know what he wanted.” but of course you are right…catatonic with disblelief just about sums it up! Thanks!

      • MRWriter says:

        I don’t know who posted about the “hotness delusion syndrome” so I’m responding to you Grizelda since it was so funny and in keeping with my comment…I googled the above phrase and about had to crack open some Patron this morning.

        Ah-ha! So this is one of the myriad of craptastic attitudes I’ve been running into. (Disclaimer: I live in LA so I think this may be worse than in other areas).

        I usually date 5-10 yrs older since younger men seem so clueless and want or need a mother. I did the young guy once and it was a total turnoff. He even admitted that “I needed to train him.” No thanks!

        So, as I age I’ve been dating the 40-48 lot and have been shocked by the level of immaturity and narcissism. These weren’t your classic “Mid-life crisis” men either, at least not the stereotype driving a flashy car with a hot bimbo beside them. They seemed down-to-earth and together but they acted like they were doing me the favor being with them. And they weren’t even remotely hot…marginally attractive but certainly not Adonis.

        And they believe it! I thought they were just managing me down (maybe they were) but after reading about this new syndrome, I have to wonder.

        So now what am I supposed to do? Date men my age exclusively between 35-40? Then what? When he reaches mid-40’s is he going to suffer this same weird affliction of delusion and cheat or leave me for another woman because he thinks he can upgrade even though he should feel lucky to have me (or whoever).

        I know, I know…looking too far ahead but now I’m just throwing my hands up in the air.

        Almost all the men I was with beyond a date or two were delusional about their looks, what they had to offer and were completely willing to overlook the obvious standing right in front of them. What the eff has happened to all these men??

        • Grizelda says:

          Sad, isn’t it? And society coddles these menopausal men, strokes their little heads, tells them how lovely and manly and hot they are, and how sexy they look on their new kawasaki racing motorbike.* While, lest we forget, their heartbroken wives, who have not once been invited to ride on the back of the mean machine (because carrying his ‘old pair of slippers’ pillion would just be embarrassing for him wouldn’t it?), shut themselves in the bathroom regularly for a good long cry, a heavy session of self-criticism and blame, and a good look in the mirror at what a few bouts of full-blown surgery on their faces and bodies might do to stop their husbands hurting them so much every day.

          Yes we could say this particularly common style of man is a poor indecisive fella who just doesn’t know what he wants but who needs to behave like this — yeah, needs to behave like this. We could also say that Wall Street bankers are a misunderstood bunch of kindly people who somehow got waylaid along their intended route of total global economic equality for all.

          (*Thinking. Do they always take a sudden liking to motorbikes because it requires them to wear helmets — so that all those hot babes walking around out there obviously in need of men twice their age can’t immediately see how old they are, I wonder?)

          • MRWriter says:

            You always make me laugh. I’m not sure if you’re in the UK, Grizelda, but I’m sure you’ve heard about the Petraeus scandal? It’s all so demoralizing. President Obama was giving a press conference today and when asked about the general and his affair, I yelled at the TV and said, “Tell ‘em that he’s just succumbed to the “Hotness Delusion Syndrome.” Now that would’ve been hysterical!!

  4. Beth says:

    This is so incredibly refreshing! I’m in a happy, committed relationship right now but I remember my days dealing with indecision and I will NEVER tolerate it again. Men who engage in indecision disguise it as innocent doubt when really it’s a time-buying way to keep their options open. This also shows why Natalie’s 3 don’t are so important. Don’t have sexual contact, don’t let more than a month pass, and don’t become emotionally involved in any way (did I get those right?) until you know if they are available. A month should be enough time to sense indecision and weed them out with very little attachment or investment from your end. Flipping and Flapping? There’s the door! Indecision is a decision in and of itself. It’s a “nope, not on MY time!”

    • Learner says:

      Beth,
      “Men who engage in indecision disguise it as innocent doubt when really it’s a time-buying way to keep their options open.”
      This is so true! It was so easy for him to keep me hanging around, waiting for him to “decide”, by claiming to want to be with me, but not knowing how to “make it happen”. And he was one of those 45+ers, too. I had no right to want him, anyway, as he had already “decided” when he got married. My big mistake!

      Congratulations on your happy, committed relationship :)

      • sushi says:

        Beth,
        great to hear you are in a happy relationship :)
        I have two major bottom lines : trust yourself and don`t let anyone treat you as an option.

  5. Espoir says:

    I just wanted to add that I just read this link from your post http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/a-tale-of-two-commitment-resistant-birds-are-you-hiding-your-commitment-fears-behind-someone-elses-more-obvious-commitment-issues/
    and I had another revelation. You pinpointed MY problem. You have a gift.

  6. Emerldeyez says:

    My AC’s sitting on the fence was a little different. The amber alerts, the red flags, were all there, but I pushed them aside and listening the the flapping of the gums, instead of believing my own eyes and trusting my gut. When I finally could no longer ignore the bells and whistles going off in my head, I ended the relationship ( one of many endings) He at that time gave me a ring, and wanted to get married, immediately. That was just too suspicious to me. ( turned out he was no longer covered under his ex-wife’s insurance) So I said let’s plan 6 months out. Well that was too much for AC. There was no talking about the fact that I had 6 months left on my lease, he said he was going to shut down his business, 6 months ago and hadn’t, which I saw as probably having to support because it was failing. So when I said let’s sit down and talk out the financial details, I heard, I don’t love him, I didn’t trust him, I thought I was better than him, i have no right to the details of his financials. It’s I’ll commit as long as it’s on my terms. Well that is not a relationship to me. So no wedding, no relationship, and no contact. It’s getting easier every day.

    • RAVE says:

      Oh my God,
      The financial issues and the EU man!
      Nat, you need to write something about it.
      There is also financial flip flapping – one day they spend a fortune on you and lavish you with dinners and presents, the next day, you find yourself at Mc Donald’s or at their house “hanging out” = watching a DVD and drinking cheap wine.

      Beware of these so-called self-employed men who are doing well financially when you meet them, with all the trappings of success, nice car, nice clothes, super ( fake) self-confidence. They end up being technically unemployed and often broke and parasitic.

      They are with money the way they are with feelings.

      • MRWriter says:

        Rave — Thank you for pointing this out…it seems like we dance away from the financial aspects of EUM’s. Maybe I’ve just been incredibly unlucky, but the vast majority of my EUM’s & AC’s were all cheap to either galling degrees or just very thoughtless. They prey on successful women and are all too happy to have her foot the bill.

    • Grizelda says:

      Emerldeyez, that is classic. Love the “hey, look, what’s that over there?!” approach to discussing important matters before making important life decisions.

      You’re right in its seriousness. One of my best friends was married just 18 months before her husband ‘went on a course’ (actually went away on holiday with another woman), came home and immediately announced he was leaving her for said woman. My friend was all of 24 years old at the time. In sorting out their tangled financial matters, she was hit by a tsunami of charged-up credit cards he’d taken out that she didn’t know existed, loans he’d taken out, expenses of his… and in court it was ruled that they were both equally 50/50 responsible for, er, ‘their’ debts. The long and short of it was that she indirectly footed the bill for the little love-nest holiday her husband took with his other woman and much, much more. How’s that for injustice. (As an aside, karma struck back. Within a year after he walked out and set up home with his replacement woman, he was struck down with prostate cancer. He survived it.)

    • Demke says:

      Good for you, Emerldeyez. That’s coming from a strong place and ‘woman’ing-up!’ :)

  7. Shay says:

    Exactly and all those indecisive people become hurt when I decide to no longer have them around. The audacity of it all. Asking them where they would like it to go so that I have an idea about where it’s going even if it’s just ‘let’s take our time and get to know each other’ is a whole lot better than ‘what do you want it to be’ or ‘you did this so I take back my words of marriage’ or ‘you could my partner or my friend or my ____ ( insert variation of the types of realtionships there are)’. It’s frustrating but at the same time gives me the answer I need without the drama or the challenge. They don’t know what they want so I dont want them. Nothing long about it. I’ve come to realise that asking someone what they want from me and they don’t have a clue lets me know that they haven’t thought about it enough and expect a shag. They may get it but they won’t get my respect or another session. Sounds harsh maybe but they want to use and will get used accordingly.

    • Learner says:

      Shay,
      Loved your post, especially this:
      “They don’t know what they want so I dont want them.”

      Perfect! I’m taking this one-sentence summary of Natalie’s post to heart, Thanks!

      • Lilia says:

        I liked the “will get used accordingly”… may apply that myself.

        • Shay says:

          The first comment was to Learner.

          Lila… hahaha :)
          I found it to be true. They want to use me on the flip flapping sly so why not use them and end it on my terms?! If they just want to have sex then just say it outright so there’s no confusion. Not this undercover scheming on my goods. And these are the same people who want to be mad. I just don’t get it.

      • Shay says:

        Thank you and it’s ok. :)

        I’ve come to realise that if you don’t put up with the flip flapping and tell them to step then they’ll just be there messing you around. Too many people think I’m nice and that I’ll just have them there but I won’t. Or that I’ll come back and it will all be the same again. It won’t. Cut them off and move on to the next. My self respect, pride, humility and dignity are worth more than that.

  8. sarah says:

    “If they come back, they return decided and if they then start to passive aggressively roll it back after a time or flake out again, cut ‘em loose.”
    This is me, now. Dude and I dated last year for about 4 months, and when things started to get good, he flaked and we broke up for another 4 months. He was very clear in that time that he cared for me but wasn’t ready for a serious relationship (this was about 1 year post-divorce for him). We were ‘friends’ during the breakup but it was hard for both of us– lots of crying, him saying he just wasn’t sure, wasn’t ready.
    Then, out of nowhere, he decided. He was ready. He was in it. And really, he was– for 7 months. Things once again were great, but this time around we were very committed and into each other. He was at times distant, but I took that as him just being busy at work. We do the same job, pre-tenure university professors, and it is a TON of work. I also have a 2 1/2 year old from my previous marriage, so I spend half my week caring for him. Dude and I saw each other only about twice a week, but that was what I preferred, and it was consistent and stable.
    Then, two weeks ago, out of nowhere, BAM. Over. He suddenly doesn’t want to be with someone with a child because he thinks he’d be a bad father figure (btw, he has no desire for his own children, and I don’t want more, but he always said he was cool with my one). He suddenly says that he prefers working to doing social stuff (this I believe– he’s a work addict, much like me). He’s concerned that he might not get tenure and he’d have to move. Whatever, he wants it to be over.
    Ok, so clearly this Dude is not right. Twice sabotaging a great relationship over fears of the future. Not talking about his concerns (like children, work-life balance) for months on end. Pulling away whenever things start to get more serious. Clearly, although he doesn’t talk about it, he’s got some indecision issues.
    So why in the hell do I want to be with him? Why am I agonizing over our 5+ days of no contact? Why am I secretly wishing that he’ll change his mind again? It was so damn good with him, so healthy and balanced and great. It’s really hard for me to do much more than pity him, because he’s just such a nice guy who has yet to figure his shit out. Also, just to make it more frustrating, he’s a psychologist who studies, among other things, the dynamics of intimate relationships. Bahaha the irony…

    • Learner says:

      Sarah,

      This man sounds like a classic EUM with his flip flapping hot-and-cold indecision.
      You said “It was so damn good with him, so healthy and balanced and great.” yet, the net effect of the relationship seems to leave you feeling hurt. Healthy relationships have a net positive effect.
      I am no expert, but could you be missing the relationship you *thought* you had, or *wished* you had with him?
      He is telling you what he doesn’t want – he doesn’t want to be a father. he doesn’t want to emerge from his workaholism to have a social life. He doesn’t want to be your life partner. I know it hurts like hell, but it sounds like he HAS decided. He is not good for you – you deserve a man who knows with all his heart that he wants you. Hugs xo

    • Demke says:

      Well… it’s feeling that little sting of rejection. But you have to question, what kind of man is rejecting you. An assclown who’s unavailable. It’s not a reflection of who you are as a person. And I think once we take that element out of the equation… we instantly start to feel a little better, and stronger.

      This “dude” has shown you before, he can’t ‘stick’ around… no matter how great things seem to be going, he blows cold eventually. How can you trust that? you can’t. So, question why you’d want someone you can’t even trust cause’ they don’t know what the hell they want. If he wasn’t ‘sure’ about you… he probably really won’t be sure about anyone until he is being authentic with himself. A lot of men, unfortunately, don’t look too deeply into any of these, like we do. They just go about their lives, move on with other women, and lather, rinse, repeat, lol.. Until maybe one day they get it somewhat ‘right’.

      Let’s face it, we ALL have baggage that we carry, men do too. The thing is, we need to trust our insticts…we need to have a pretty damn good relationship with ourselves first, before we have one with anyone else. Or else, when things like this happen to us, it makes all the difference in how well we ‘cope’ with the situation at hand, the ‘assumed’ rejection.

      It’s not about us. It’s only been 5 days NC, and this guy has really messed with you… so just keeping taking one day at a time, try to take the focus off of him by occupying your time and energy on good things, and with the people in your life who matter the most. It will take time, and committment on your part… to keep moving forward.

  9. miskwa says:

    Sooo right
    Ambiguity, hot/cold behavior means flush! Wish I’d known that three years ago.

  10. Poppy says:

    My goodness this is so spot-on! This totally describes my previous relationship. All I can say is, I cut him loose, regained my self-respect, and have never felt better. It’s been 6 months so I have had a good amount of time to recover from all that assclownery and BS that I put up with. I know I will NEVER be in an unavailable relationship again, and coming back here reading the blog is a good reminder not to go there again, and how much I have learnt so thank you so much, Natalie!

  11. Freya says:

    Hey ladies, I am terribly sorry if I made anyone feel like I was looking down on them. That was not the point of my post about not wanting to be a BR woman; quite the opposite. It felt to me like there was a lot of man hating talk going on and I don’t want to hate men.

    I have been a stripper, a prostitute, sexually molested, psychologically abused, and myriad other things that would give me good reason to hate men, and yet I don’t. I don’t ever want to. I think men’s masculinity and propensity for tenderness is magnificent and beautiful.

    Thank you very much Natalie and everyone else for letting me air my grievance with ya all without judging me or beating me up. Your kindness will not go unnoticed. In fact, it made me cry tears of joy. I think my heart just expanded.

    Oh! And thanks to whoever posted the quote from Women Who Run With the Wolves. I loved it.

  12. lawrence says:

    This can be a hard lesson to apply, because you know that there may be good reasons for having reservations about the relationship, and there are no time limits written in stone for how long commitment or falling in love should take.

    And yet, at some point, indecisiveness is in my opinion one of the clearest signs you can have that this relationship is not working for you. I think you reach that point when you see an obvious divide between how you and your partner feel about commitment – when you find yourself pleading with them to “get off the fence” and “take a leap of faith” (those later words, echoing Natalie, left my lips more than a few times), and when you feel the constant need to prove that you’re worthy of fence-departure.

    At the end, when you finally can’t take any more of this ambivalence, you may hear, as I did: “A-ha! This proves I was right all along! We weren’t right for each other!”

    Which is true. Things can never be right with someone who isn’t emotionally available and who demands that you fix that for them; and if you can’t fix it (which is surely near-impossible if not simply impossible), then that’s *your* fault, of course.

    By holding back from full commitment, by not trusting, by demanding something akin to a religious sign that things will be perfect forever, you are actively sabotaging a relationship – and are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that it won’t work out.

    • yoghurt says:

      “By holding back from full commitment, by not trusting, by demanding something akin to a religious sign that things will be perfect forever, you are actively sabotaging a relationship – and are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that it won’t work out.”

      Well said and very very true. A relationship works purely when both people in it decide that they want to prioritise making it work.

      I remember all those conversations along the lines of “I do want to be with you, but…”, “I don’t want to hurt you, but…”. I was always bemused, like “so be with me, then!”

    • grace says:

      Lawrence
      Yep, I was looking for a sign from God re my relationship, literally as we are both christians. then i realised God gave us our faculties for a reason. we are allowed to make decisions. i made the conscious decision to put aside my anxieties and fears, and commit to my relationship. It was scary but once I took the leap of faith we haven’t looked back. He leapt too.
      It took two months of consistent dating and discovery to get to that stage. I thinks that’s appropriate timing. Slow but not a standstill.
      You can’t hold a relationship indefinitely in the comfort zone.

      • lawrence says:

        That’s funny, Grace, because I said more than once: “It’s as though you’re looking for a sign from God that I’m the one for you!” And she actually never denied that. :) I liked how you responded, and it’s heartwarming to hear that you took that plunge of faith.

        Kendo: “That’s helpful – is the indecisiveness because of a vulnerability which we all have – and when its there needs to be taken in context of the relationship….I have been abused in relationships for such a long time I am genuinely very wary of ever trying again – especially as I’m ok on my own.”

        I wanted to acknowledge, as you have, that being vulnerable and indecisive at points in our lives – particularly about something so important as committing to another person – is natural and understandable. I don’t blame people for being indecisive; and they may have very good reasons for holding back. But just as they’re looking out for their own interests, we have to look out for ours. And it’s rarely in our interests, in the long-term, to be with someone who just can’t make up their mind.

        • Lou says:

          I too said ‘are you waiting to be hit by a bolt of lightening or for some sort of sign?’ more than once. The ex came back saying that he wanted to ‘talk’ about getting back together. It was what I had been wanting for a year. We talked and talked and agreed a whole range of things and then he sat on the fence for 3 months.
          He told me that ‘I love you, I love being with you, I miss you when you went we don’t see each other, we click and I don’t think that I will ever click with anyone else the way we do, BUT I am not getting the overwhelming feeling that it is the right thing to do.’
          And I, like an idiot then gave him even more time where he continued to flip flap and not choose me.
          I talked to him about taking a leap of faith and that that he needs to decide to dip his toe back into the water. But he kept saying that we had already been swimming and it didn’t work out and that it was all so complicated and he was stuck.
          More time went by and I eventually backed him into a corner where he said that he ‘wanted to be with me but didn’t really, really want to be with me’. It was a soul destroying experience and heartbreaking.
          Nat’s line about coming back already decided really struck me.

          At least I put myself out there and was vulnerable and said what I wanted …. a first for me as I used to be the unavailable one.

  13. Jessica says:

    This is soooo me right now Nat! I always get strung along with that “I’m sorting my feelings out right now” and “I don’t want us to end up fighting” excuse and I’m sick of it. Thank you for this.

    I’d love it if you can write more about the whole “I don’t want to hurt you” excuse that everyone keeps on dishing. I think I’m deluded into thinking that this EUM is actually sincere with this one. If there’s anyone who could drill that thought into my clueless brain, it’s you.

    • Learner says:

      Jessica,
      I believe Natalie has a post called something like “I don’t want to hurt you and other translations”. Try searching her site for it :)

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        I looked these up and there are several posts on this theme. All are absolutely brilliant!! Here’s the first one in the series: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/reader-question-what-does-i-cant-give-you-want-you-want-mean/

        • MRWriter says:

          I second this. My problem has been that they’ll say they’ll give me what I want but shortly after start punishing me with passive aggression, or demanding so much from me for their benefit I can barely have enough left over to give to myself. They overwhelm. I’ve chalked it up to the fact that they genuinely did not want to step up so they said they would but their actions didn’t match. Sucks to believe otherwise even for a short time but they probably just didn’t want to lose the sex and companionship so they said whatever it took to keep me. Yuck!

  14. Karina says:

    My ex is back in my life and trying to slowly weave into my day-to-day…and this I needed so bad. Thanks Nat for remindin me that I am much better than that and have so much more going on!

  15. Lilia says:

    Indecision is plain evil.
    To me, at least.
    I´ve come to think it is a form of being cowardly passive-aggressive because how hard is it to know if you want to be with someone or not? Hey, you either like someone or you don´t. I find I know pretty acurately what my feelings towards guys are, I can´t imagine not knowing. And when I don´t feel any attraction I do everything possible not to lead him on.
    So I think that is why it has been so devastating to be on the receiving end of my exEUM´s indecision. Never again!

  16. sagenlava says:

    Thank you. This is why I ended our relationship. It seemed like I was being downgraded every year. So I simply asked how much was he committed to our relationship. He told me he did not know…..I suffered for a few more months, thinking he would eventually “know” if he still wanted our 4 years plus relationship. I finally had to walk and cut contact. I did not want to be with someone who couldn’t tell me they still wanted to be with me or not. It was a very difficult thing for me to do. Thank you for reminding me of this fact.

  17. Learner says:

    Natalie. I offered my throat to the married wolf with the red roses and the armor of steel who “didnt want to hurt me” but had such a hard time making a decision because he “felt like he had cement shoes on”. I am finally getting to the point where I can laugh about this more than cry about it.It feels SO good to be back in my own life. Thank you Nat and BR!

    • runnergirl says:

      Good for you Learner. A cheating MM, and in your case, a double cheating MM, is the perfect example of a fence sitter. In my two year battle to convince him to get off the fence, I realized he had convinced me to join him in sitting on the fence. Ouch. It hurts sitting on the fence. I fell smack into the trap Natalie describes.
      Good for you in making the decision and getting your own life back.
      Cheers to you and to Natalie and BR.

      • Learner says:

        Aww, thanks runnergirl,
        I agree, that fence-sitting sure hurts and leave imprints in ones behind! Sometimes I feel like the biggest loser in OW-land, not knowing I was an “OW to the OW” all that time. Ignoring my values and my gut ached like nothing else ever could. So happy that you, and me, and many others here are now back in reality and back to living. Thanks for your continued encouragement.
        Cheers to you, too, runner!

  18. clare says:

    Yet again, ANOTHER post delivered on time. Two words beautiful Natalie…YOU ROCK! Thankyou…Ok, that’s three!! LOL! xx

  19. Little Star says:

    Natalie, this is a best post ever, I love it! Thank you:)

    You are not only talking about my previous ACs, but you also talking about me…I am EU woman, and I do not know how to be available myself:( Your words of wisdom yet again: “Indecisive people have commitment issues. They appear to make decisions and then afterwards start to panic and backtrack to relieve their fears”…Regarding AC, they used to call me “my future wife”, but I NEVER really believed them, actions speak louder than words and I always remember that, thanks to BR!!!
    But for now I am concerned about myself, even I want to have a committed relationship, I am scared and panicking, maybe I just used to be to be blown hot/cold that I cant imagine any other ways???

  20. Maria says:

    “Indecisive people have commitment issues. They appear to make decisions and then afterwards start to panic and backtrack to relieve their fears. Then when they feel calm again based on the change in decision, they then worry if they made the wrong decision. And round and round they go.”

    Omg you’re talking about me here! I’m the one who is indecisive, it’s me who lacks commitment!That was definately a lightbulb moment for me, I need to learn how to make better decisions.

  21. Tired says:

    Not making a decision is cowardly . The ex mm in the final days ‘didnt know what he wanted’ me the wife or new ow. As the rose tinted glasses smashed i extracted myself with the help from here . Oh he remained un happy for a month then supposedly left , still not knowing what he wanted ( it really is keeping the options open). He told me in a text he like the new ow and have been out for a coulple of drinks but wait for it still doesnt know what he needs . Maybe that was to sparey feelings . But his wife has now also walked . Three options down to one so hes got yo make it work or hes on jis own . Knowing him hes flirting up a storm to get his options back up to at least three as he doesnt know what he wants . Two made a decidion for him . And maybe given enough time the third will as well as the yrs tick by and she gets the same . Glad i got out when i did .

    • SM says:

      Tired I think these people know exactly what they want. They want to have a harem, they want to keep their options open. This claiming of ‘indecision’ is just to keep you there until they find some other new and interesting person. Two of my female friends are doing this right now to the guys they are dating. One has had a guy staying with her for 2 months but tells me on the phone that he is not the one and she has options at work (of which for the 14 yrs I’ve known her has never taken advantage of). The other kept telling the guy she didnt want a relationship but stayed around acting like she was in one all the while flirting and trying to hook up with others. All the sudden she tells me, he’s the one and she’s taking him home to meet the parents. I was like, what?! You just didnt want him last week.
      See, I cant even figure my own friends out.

    • Demke says:

      I think it’s scary how many unavailable people there are out there.

      I have had the experience of letting my ex back in after he claimed (they’re JUST words… remember that) to have ‘decided’. I mean… the things he was ‘saying’, would’ve had anyone convinced. But 3 weeks later, back to his selfish self. And this was after our longest break up, so, I was thinking for sure, he must mean it ‘this’ time’ Umm… no, just more seemingly convincing hot air.

      It’s a good thing this past year I really did some work on myself, because I wasn’t as emotional or reactive to his shady behavior like I used to be. I was watching his actions. And I finally walked when I knew, without a doubt, that his hot/cold, crap behavior… was not about me. But I only saw it for what it was by not being scared to see it for what it was. You have to be courageous, un-messable, and stop being so damn scared to watch what they do, not what they say. Fear will make you give these morons another chance. And you’re definately not paying attention.

      Their unavailability is causing you to be unavailable too. Maybe you were a little unavailable when you started up… but it just snowballed from there. What these people are about.. will rub off on you in a negative way, and that’s where the low self-esteem kicks in, the self-doubt…and no self respect.

      Available men (I’m dating one… :)), they don’t play games. They’re consistent. They are respectful, generous and caring. And the difference in how I feel with the EAM, compared to the EUM, is amazing.

      When you’re with someone who’s unavailable, blowing hot/cold… it does effect how you feel and think about yourself. You will become unavailable because you won’t trust this person (and why should you?). Being with someone who’s available… after some time, you will become available too… you will begin to trust, because they are consistent. They demonstrate integrity because their words and actions match.

      I’ve had the experience of both. And believe me, availability is like heaven.. unavailability.. umm… like hell.

      Not so long ago I was balling my eyes out after seeing my ex out (he was walking in town with a guy friend), and the flood gates opened. 15 minutes later, the ‘good’ egg calls me, has me laughing hysterically for an hour… hmm… crying vs. laughing. I think I’ll stick with the consistent, respectful, generous, no game-playin’ available ‘man’. And keep laughing… and feeling at peace.

      Trust me, get rid of these on the fence people… they are causing you to be on the fence… and it makes you unavailable yourself. It’s stressful and it’s not what you want. Stop self-doubting yourself, thinking that it’s not working because of something you did or didn’t do. I did this ALL the time to myself.

      I even had some anxiety after I ended things.. that he would find someone younger, have a better relationship, blah, blah… then I realized. I have to stop torturing myself.

      I made the decision to let him go. And to be at peace with it. These people need to figure out their issues on their own, on their time, or someone else’s. It’s not our responsibility or our job to show or help them learn to become ‘available’ for us. We shouldn’t have to. We’ve got enough going on in our lives.. and our families and careers to think about. Stressing about these ‘unavailables’ will negatively effect every aspect of your life. Let them go.

      Being confident, strong and ‘available’, is about keeping people like that out of our lives. We may grieve the loss of them (for whatever reason, lol), but we are absolutely capable of letting go, moving on… and eventually being with someone available who’s wonderful. I met my available man the night my unavailable one pulled shady behavior on me and went ‘dark’ (it would be his last time). Go figure, lol…

      • MRWriter says:

        Demke — It is scary. I don’t think I had a clue about the majority of EUM men until the last 5 years being left scratching my head in confusion.

        I’m so happy to hear you met a good one that is as you described above. I’d like to think after everything we’ve all been through, we’ll better recognize and appreciate the select few who are emotionally available.

        Congrats on your “good egg.” (-:

    • Demke says:

      Tired… yes, absolutely be glad that you got out. He sounds pathetic.

  22. Tigger says:

    I’m doing this to my BF right now. Maybe I should show him the article. I feel awful for it.

    One poster has asked “how hard is it to know how you feel”. When you been emotionally retarded for most of your life and you’re still carrying a lot of pain and anger, it’s incredibly difficult to untangle it all. Its spot on that you have to leave them to sort their own issues though

  23. Victorious says:

    Natalie thank you so much for this post which really hit a nerve for me. Ex Narc/eum did the whole FF/idealization thing and I was in heaven. then he started blowing cold, then hot, maanaging down my expectations, smashing my self esteem into tiny pieces. I didn’t even want the relationship to go forward, I was happy seeing him once a week, talking once a day, making plans a month in advance maybe, nothing heavy. He withdrew verrrrry slooowly and every time I finished things he begged for me to stay. Poor little mite he just “didn’t know what was wrong with him.” He was “so effed up.” It was “him, not me.” Eventually I could stand no more of his indecision/increasing indifference and I ended it. He said he didn’t know what he wanted and he knew that wasn’t good enough. Will he let me go though? Keeps flip flapping around sucking me back in. I just finally had enough and went suddenly NC which has been 3 weeks now. He keeps calling and texting but I have stayed firm/not answered. The only problem I have is that I feel like the bad guy for pulling NC out of nowhere but I feel like I just don’t know what to say to him that would explain how I feel without sounding like a drama queen. I guess he knows really that I love him and I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much he has hurt me. The thing is, his indecision has hurt him too and will continue to do so. He is another of these over 45 men who has never married/lived with anyone and seems incapable of committment. A very sad “Flush!”

    • Grizelda says:

      Ah Victorious, you mustn’t feel guilty for going NC. Especially if he’s a narcissist. He’s going crazy trying to contact you not because he wants to make a relationship out of whatever’s left but because he can’t stand not to have you under his control. Remember the cartoon characters who hypnotise other characters by making their eyes turn into spinning pinwheel swirls? That’s why he wants to get back in front of your face. He wants to make spinning pinwheel swirly-eyes at you so that you continue to follow his orders. Hold tight — you cannot make a life with a narcissist.

      • FX says:

        Love this Grizelda! I’m committed to staying out of reach of those Narc pinwheel swirly control eyes forevermore, too!

        • Grizelda says:

          High five sister. I was there for five years. Waking up to it and getting over it is like trying to bring yourself out from under general anaesthetic.

      • Victorious says:

        God Grizelda that is so right and yes he is definitely a narc. Pretty textbook but I had no idea until I was in way too deep. Getting over a narc is a major endeavour for me. I have plenty of relationship splits behind me, including 2 divorces, but nothing compares to this. The SPINNING EYES!!! Yes, like Kaaa the snake in Jungle Book, my fave ever Disney movie. That is exactly what he was like. He used to gaze right into my eyes. I thought he was doing it to make the most of the adoring gaze in my eyes, so he could absorb it and stock up on his narcissistic supply. Maybe he was also hypnotising me!

        • Learner says:

          Victorious,
          “He used to gaze right into my eyes. I thought he was doing it to make the most of the adoring gaze in my eyes,…Maybe he was also hypnotising me!”

          Ha, YES, I think you may be onto something here, lol. The exMM would want to “eye-gaze” for long periods of time after an initial period of squinting whenever I looked into his eyes. Later on, at times, he would almost stare at me, with his eyes getting bigger. It was a bit creepy. And I also remember one time after one of our many “breakups”, he told me in an email that he wanted to take me for lunch, and look lovingly onto my eyes so I knew he cared for me. Now I think that may all be part of his control techniques. *But*, really, who comes out and TELLS people they are planning on looking lovingly into their eyes?

  24. kendo says:

    I’m going to be really honest and say this is me. I have shown that indecisiveness and like Lawrence says my indecisiveness was a big hint that I didn’t really want the relationship but I was so fixated on making it ok when it wasn’t that I carried on – and that wasn’t fair to either of us. Its like the post that espoir put up.
    That’s helpful – is the indecisveness because of a vulnerability which we all have – and when its there needs to be taken in context of the relationship….I have been abused in relationships for such a long time I am genuinely very wary of ever trying again – especially as I’m ok on my own. If a guy shows interest in me I don’t want it…will that come with time? Will I ever feel ok again? Will I feel like I can be ok in a relationship? I’ve come so far and I know I’m ok (mostly), I know my values and I’m worthy…I HOPE I won’t make the same mistakes again, I HOPE I have learned from my past but as soon as someone shows interest in me … I WANT it to be ok but inside I’m running for the hills….I feel I’m super sensitive and having to tell myself they are not the exes.
    For instance..I asked a male friend for dinner to say thanks for some work he has done for me. He is kind and funny and hasn’t shown me any dodgy behaviour. My friends tell me he likes me and I’m not picking up on the signals…I don’t know. Anyway, I asked him for dinner and he said yes and then a while later he sent a text saying ‘ha I said yes before checking if you could cook’…..my exes would both say hurtful things and pass it off as a joke and I found myself thinking ‘is he trying to get out of it now, does he regret saying yes’ and I had to think who am I dealing with? He is not like them, he has’t said or done anything hurtful to me so I mustn’t apply the same rules to him. But sometimes this all seems so DIFFICULT I don’t want to do it!
    Sorry a bit off topic…I’m learning from this site and grateful

    • EllieMae says:

      Kendo – I know that feeling. I got to the point where after dating a couple senior citizen major league assclowns in a row, I felt like I had to use waaay too much brain power dating again to discern whether a comment or an action meant that this was yet another jerk.

      It made my head hurt and was no fun, so I opted out. I think Natalie would say that if you are suspicious about the guys intentions by their words or actions, there’s probably a reason why. For now, I’ve turned the page on dating. But I haven’t burned the book yet so if I met someone who truly seemed authentic, I’d give it a shot, hoping that I’m wiser now thanks to BR! Good luck Kendo!

      • MRWriter says:

        This is exactly where I am. I appreciate and will apply Natalie’s advice when I’m ready to date again. It feels like going into war though. I find it hard to imagine relaxing enough to be open and judiciously vulnerable, especially when the red flags are so easy to see now. Sometimes, I wish I knew less than more but knowledge is power.

  25. Mary says:

    Thanks for this post. I recently dated a guy who, after 4 or 5 dates, told me that he wanted to date other people. This was while we were half way to actually having sex for the first time. I asked him to leave.
    Discussion over the next few days was me explaining to him that I date one person at a time. I don’t assume it’s a ‘relationship’ already, but see how it goes. I said I would like to see him again if he wanted to date on those terms. He replied but it was like he hadn’t even read half my message, asking what “format” we should use since he was enjoying dating others and had a great date earlier that week blah blah. He hadn’t made a decision and instead wanted me to.

    I told him that that we are not looking for the same things (me a relationship; him play the field).

    While all this was going on, I read a lot on Natalie’s website and the Mr Unavailable/ Fallback Girl. It helped me realise that I HAVE to heed the red flags (there were others here) and I must have boundaries and stick to them.

    It was all quite hurtful but whenever I feel bad I imagine how much worse I’d be feeling today if I’d agreed to his plan, wondering who he dated last night and whether they had sex etc etc etc.

    I am working on self esteem issues!

    • Learner says:

      Mary,
      All I can say about your indecisive man is – Ew! Asking about “format” and telling you about great dates with others – WTH? So glad you flushed this player and are being good to YOU instead!

    • dancingqueen says:

      Mary,

      “Format”? What a loser. Flush. I am so sorry that you had to deal with this child,

      They mention other women, imo, in an attempt to inflate themselves, cut you down and deflate you and your confidence, or to try their hand to see if they can make you jealous. There is NEVER a postive reason to tell a woman ( that you are dating, or have recently broke up with), about a good date or even a bad one. It is all ego.

      I recently refused a coffee invitation with my ex who liked to mention other women after our breakup, after reflecting on the two other times we have seen each other since the breakup-the first time he felt the need to bring up dating and told me that he was dating 4 different women, after we had been broken up a month, and the next time he tried to get me in a bikini to swim at his place, which i did not-both times left me feeling irritated, sad and a bit freaked out. So I asked myself ‘Hmm would I like to spend today irritated, sad and freaked out, or would I like to make soup and be happy?” No brainer. So he had coffee by himself and about a week later I got several Facebook messages from some woman who he is apparently dating, asking me if we were still a couple and seemingly confused and wanting to know if it would affect his and my “relationship” if they dated…it was eye-opening to say the least.

      Okay I admit, I was dying to know the back story! Lol. But you can hardly ask that and I am pretty much nc; my guess is that he is probably yanking her around and giving her reason to be unclear about their relationship already, by trying to say that it would somehow hurt me if they dated…which frankly it won’t, I am so done and I don’t even care, except for being disappointed in how lame he ended up being. Glad he is flushed. Keep flushing too Mary and head up!

      • Allison says:

        Dancing,

        He sounds pathetic!!!!

        Why in the world would he disclose that he is dating four different women!!! I also feel sorry for the new one, it doesn’t sound like he wasted much time screwing with her head.

        You’re lucky you’re out!!!!!

        • dancingqueen says:

          Hey Allison,

          I was wondering that as well; I actually felt a bit sorry for him when he told me that. He said something to the effect of that he had dated 4 women since we broke up and none came close to me…but really it was not a compliment; it was a way to 1) make it like he could date up a storm, 2) try to manipulatively make me think he still felt something for me, while 3) creating a disclaimer.

          He is 52; yes, I can do better than a man who pulls crap like that, that is 20 year old stuff.

          I felt badly for his new freind though to be honest. She sent me two emails, through facebook, even though she does not know me. One as I mentioned and the other ( I had not responded to the first because it felt odd) apologizing profusely and saying that she felt “sophmoric” and “embarressed” because she had felt confused, reached out, and realized how inappropriate it was. I actually responded to that because I imagined how embarressed I would be if I had done that. I told her that people do things when their feeling are strong, that I was actually not really in touch with him and that she had a misunderstanding about us being close. I told her that our breakup was little drama ( at the time it was not) and that I was dating others and wished him the best to make his life happy. It was about 4 lines.

          I do agree; he probably is making her a bit crazy, to have contacted me when she did not know me. It is tempting to say something to him,but I am not going to:) Maybe I should send her this link though,as it looks like she might need it in the future;)

          • sushi says:

            dancingqueen,
            it would be a good deed if you sent her a link to BR, she sounds like she needs it now!

          • Allison says:

            Dancing,

            Maybe you should send the link.:)

            I think he may have given the impression that you were still present, to protect himself from being in a committed relationship, and to keep her off-balance – my ex did the same thing to me with his ex wife.

            You are lucky to be rid of Mr. Mind F*^k!

    • Grizelda says:

      Mary, I’m sorry but that man is disgusting. Like Dancingqueen pointed out, you don’t tell someone you’re dating about the great date you just had with someone else.

      Everyone knows that the words ‘date’ and ‘sex’ become interchangeable after a certain amount of time together. He was trying to make sure that when you start having sex (which seemed on the cards) that you’re okay with him having sex with other women simultaneously. He wasn’t even prepared to sneak around behind your back — he wanted you to volunteer for active service in his Sloppy Seconds Tour of Duty. He would have expected you to be grateful too, for the kind invitation. What kind of man does that??

      Can you just imagine his response if you told him that you’re ready to start sleeping with him… so long as he knows you’re already sleeping with four other men? And that you’re prepared to schedule him in for either every other Tuesday or Friday, but not both?

      • dancingqueen says:

        lol Grizelda, seriously…how funny would that be to just be able to say that? Just to see what they would say? Mary too bad you could not have just whipped out your iphone and pulled up the calender “Okay, so I am getting shagged on Monday the 12th by that hottie, but I might be up for it again on the 15th…oh no, actually he is more well endowed than you, so I might need a few more days to recover…okay what about this format? I could slate you in on the 18th if he does not show up.” Okay mean but really what a db lol.

      • Allison says:

        Actually, I think it’s better that this clown was upfront, as it gave her an out. Much better than to find out down the road that he is cheating with multiple partners.

      • sushi says:

        Grizelda, you come up with the best plots, I think it`ll be great to mess with their heads a little, why not….

        • Mymble says:

          Unfortunately there is a certain kind of man who finds that kind of thing a massive turn on. One might find out that the idea of you sleeping around was very much to his liking.

  26. Jelby says:

    Recognising that they’re on the fence and indecisive. Check
    Stop giving them the time of day. Check
    Giving them a second chance when they turn back up saying theyve decided. Check
    Recognising that their old ways are back and they’re blowing hot and cold again. Check
    Flush. Check
    My story plays like the bullet points of this article. But what I can’t seem to do (and what I really still need help with ) is the fact that now he is in a committed relationship with someone else and I’m still single. I left a flip flapping mr unavailavle so that i could be available to others but instead he became available to someone else. I feel like i was the bait to pull him in to relationship land and now some other chick is reaping the benefits. I’d love to think “better her put up with his hot and cold ways than me ” but I honestly don’t think it’s true. I think he’s changed. For her. And it’s killing me. Advice please

    • Learner says:

      Jelby,
      Natalie has written posts on “why her and not me” and also on EUMs not changing without doing serious work on themselves, and not spontaneously combusting into healthy, available men. It is unlikely he is EA with this new woman. You are better off without him, Hugs xo

    • natashya says:

      what makes you think he’s ‘committed’ to her? you think he’s changed? what makes you think that? unless they’re doing a lot of work on themselves, they don’t change. it took me 2 years of working on myself to go from emotionally unavailable to emotionally available. i didn’t even date in that time. what you see is often not what you get. don’t have any illusions that he’s miraculously changed. he hasn’t. he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, at best.

    • Victorious says:

      Jelby, someone, might have been Grizelda but might not, made a comment a while ago about how the ex is probably making the “new girl” feel “a little bit awful” just as you are thinking how wonderful their relationship is. You already know how the story goes and it will be just the same for her. These particular men should come with a health warning and you should feel sorry for her. Only for a second though, then start thinking about you instead and how life is short and you are going to make yours wonderful.

      • yoghurt says:

        Me I think, Vic.

        jelby – I recently typed a very long account of my experience with people ‘changing’ a few weeks or so back and I won’t subject everyone to it again. But basically my ex-EUM HAS changed for someone else (or else is doing a very good job of pretending to).

        As he’s also the father of my child I’ve had front-row seats to this (which you don’t need to have! Hurray! Make the most of THAT happy thought :) ). But it took a lot of seriously weird and unpleasant events to make it happen and it hasn’t happened overnight – he’s made lots of mistakes in the meantime.

        I don’t believe that anyone who habitually treats their partners badly is EVER going to change in an instant purely because they meet ‘The One’.

        It’s a popular concept in various silly films and PUA circles and so on, but it’s rubbish. In the first place, if you took the concept of partnership THAT seriously to begin with then you wouldn’t blithely (sorry for the language but I can’t think of another way to put this) p!ss all over it beforehand.

        And in the second, behaving with integrity is a muscle that needs developing. Someone who never ever concentrates on anything is not suddenly going to be able to sit down and apply themself to a boring task for two hours without a break, someone who doesn’t ever think about other peoples’ feelings is not going to suddenly find that they’ve magically acquired the powers of the Incredible Mr Considerate.

        It’s also worth pointing out that although my experience has not been very nice (aka: Every FallBack Girl’s Worst Nightmare) I’m alright and, give or take the odd Bad Day, I don’t really mind anymore. Even if yours is the 0.000000001%-chance spontaneous combuster, it’s not the end of you and YOUR story. Like Victorious says, the more you focus on those things, the less it’ll bother you.

        Stick to your own path and let him follow his. His path smells.

        • yoghurt says:

          “someone who doesn’t ever think about other peoples’ feelings is not going to suddenly find that they’ve magically acquired the powers of the Incredible Mr Considerate.”

          I posted this and then started thinking about how difficult it’s been for ME to become more decisive, punctual, reliable and considerate. Seriously, this stuff takes EFFORT and TIME.

        • Victorious says:

          “His path smells” I am falling off the sofa laughing!

        • Sadder but Wiser says:

          “Behaving with integrity is a muscle that needs developing.” What a great way to put this! And how true.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Jelby,

      Probably because she treats him like crap.

      If you had treated him like crap, he would probably have stayed with you. Most of these EU men like women who dump on them, so they can keep trying to “conquer”. It is a no-win to be with a guy like that; do you really want a man whose leash you need to yank all the time? Good job flushing:)

      • yoghurt says:

        “Most of these EU men like women who dump on them, so they can keep trying to “conquer”.”

        That, and also I think because it’s ‘safe’.

        He’s with you and he can’t commit, you have a rubbishy half-relationship which requires no genuine intimacy.

        He’s with her and she can’t commit, they have a rubbishy half-relationship which requires no genuine intimacy.

        Spot the similarity…

    • Grizelda says:

      Totally agree with the others. He hasn’t made himself available to a new woman in the same way that a leopard doesn’t avail himself of a new set of spots.

      She just hasn’t yet discovered what you already know. Oh but she will.

      And Jelby don’t believe for one minute that it’s somehow your fault. You didn’t ‘make’ him relationship-ready — that’s magical thinking. I’m sorry but you (or I, or any of us here) are just not that powerful that we can magically transform an emotionally devoid man into one who’s just bursting with love and affection… without him even noticing, no less taking part in all the mental and emotional upgrades he requires. This isn’t the Shoemaker and the Elves fable where you’re the Elves that do all the work behind the scene. You haven’t transformed the maker of crummy falling-apart shoes that don’t fit anyone into some kind of Manolo Blahnik.

      Mark my words, he has not changed. He has just changed women — for now.

    • Demke says:

      We want these guys to change, for us. It’s impossible. So, they blow hot with the next fallback girl, they find women who will accept them for who they are.. or who they ‘think’ they are, just like we did. There are women who are ok with crumbs. We’re not. It’s a matter of what you will accept and not accept. Not so much that he’s morphed into this Mr. Wonderful. He’s who he is. Just a different woman, willing to accept what he has on offer. We know, it’s crumbs. To the new fallback girl, it very well could be a loaf.

      What you need to understand is that this is not the man for you. He did not treat you how you needed to be treated. Give yourself some credit that you left… he probably knew you were done. These men don’t waste time finding a new fallback, he probably blew red hot with her to keep her because you just took away his ‘option’, you.

      Don’t you want better than that? I have a few stories where the women thought the same thing.. that their ex’s morphed into Mr. Wonderful with the next one… so not true. At least not in any of the examples I know of. The next woman usually experiences the same issues, it’s just she may handle it differently by not saying a word.

      I remember when my ex and I first started hanging out, I overheard him talking to one of his ex’s girlfriends. Now, I was with him for about 3-4 months.. they were broken up for almost 6. He said to her friend, ‘I’ve tried calling her a few times, she won’t answer my calls’. So, his ex went NC on him too. He was still reaching out to her while he was with me. I still think of that til’ this day sometimes. I should’ve ran then. And he also talked about his ex a few times to me in the beginning… then he ‘fell inlove with me’, while going behind my back, etc.. I honestly cannot see how these guys ‘really’ change all that much. They will be with someone who allows them to get away with their crap behavior.

  27. Lilly says:

    When I arrived at BR I was a grieving, miserable wreck – a shadow of my former self. An affair with an EUM/AC/MM had completely eroded my self-esteem, I’d allowed all my boundaries to be busted, I had been living a lie and had compromised my values, was in denial and could hardly believe what I had just lived through. Fast forward several months I’m still grieving because I lost my baby and that is going to take some time, but after months of reading BR and taking in others experience I can truly say that I’m well on the way to recovery. I now have a firm grasp on what happened, why I allowed it and will NEVER let it happen again. I had been living in a fantasy of my own creating albeit encouraged by the MM. I have paid a very high price for that fantasy, I have been in much pain, but I have learned.

    Here’s an example, over the last few weeks I have been working on a manuscript with him (via email). He didn’t want to just use email (ironic really given he ‘managed’ our entire ‘relationship’ via email), but I refused to work with him via Skype or phone. I’m following Natalie’s advice for NC when you have to work with someone and it is working. He has made several attempts to try to break my resolve, has asked me what my future plans are, has offered his services as my interview coach (again), has provided me with fantastic references and I’m sure expected a fawning, grateful response (he got a polite thank you), wished me happy birthday and has tried to be funny. A couple of days back he sent me an email saying he was sorry he had missed my call and would I like him to call me. What call? I hadn’t called him! Well, I’m not playing anymore and I haven’t responded to any of it. No more fantasy for me I’m keeping it real. I remember once asking him about our future. His reply “the future is hard to predict – let me see what happens in the next few months”. Well for me the future isn’t so hard to predict at least where he’s concerned. I’ve taken my life back, no more seeking validation, no more waiting for him to make a decision, no more ambiguity, no more accepting crumbs and best of all no more cruel dismissal of my emotions.

    I’ve shed my last tears over this man. I will shed a few more for my baby boy, but I’m slowly, slowly accepting his loss. In the previous post (Tulipa and Little Star) there was a discussion about becoming a ‘BR woman or man as may be’. Thanks to BR and all who post I think I’m on my way to becoming one.

    And Learner, I’m so happy to hear that you are doing so well. We’ve come a long way!

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh wonderful Lilly. “I’ve taken my life back, no more seeking validation, no more waiting for him to make a decision, no more ambiguity, no more accepting crumbs and best of all no more cruel dismissal of my emotions.” Someone on the last article started a list of what it means to be a BR Lady/Man. These should be added to the list for sure. Congratulations and an extra big hug for you and your little one.

      *I’m thinking we need “I’m a BR Lady/Man” T-Shirts. That way we would be able to recognize one another!

    • Grizelda says:

      Lilly I’m so pleased for you! I was hoping you’d come and give us an update on yourself.

      The CLARITY with which you write these things is entirely different from where you were a couple months ago when I was new to BR. And it’s not just clarity you’re conveying but a much more comprehensive eagle-eye view of what has happened and is happening. You know what playbook your ex is using on you — you’ve read it! — and your response is inspiring. How does it feel now to be so STRONG?!

    • dancingqueen says:

      Lilly,

      You sound better every time that you write; keep it up! Forward, no wondering who he really was…you know…not your problem. You are strong and you can do it!!!!:)

    • yoghurt says:

      Lilly:

      I’ve been following your story for a while (even though I haven’t commented – I’ve felt unqualified and words have failed me) and I’m so glad that you’re feeling stronger and happier. Lots of hugs xx

    • Learner says:

      Oh, Lilly, it’s so good to hear you sounding so strong. I am so glad you are managing to keep your contact with him to email only, as you refine your manuscript. It sounds like he is grasping at straws to get you back to his FBG, but you are resisting wonderfully, and keeping your boundaries. Brava!
      I can relate to your story of how you felt on arrival at BR, compared to how you feel now. You are right, we HAVE come a long way. Let’s stay on this new, healthy path. Hugs xo

  28. Changing says:

    Oh they know what they want most of the time.. and it’s not you. They’re just not ready to go solo. So they’re either in the process of withdrawal/ justifying to themselves why it’s ok to do it to you or are looking around already. Either way nothing for you to wait for. Mind you not being able to make a decision is not a masculine trait and not attractive. In most cases quite the opposite of they way they were selling themselves or the way you saw them at first. So they’re not that person. Of course there’s an emotional attachment and history together, but they’re not that person. So who the hell they are? One thing for sure not the one you fell for;)

  29. Marina says:

    Truth.

  30. Tired says:

    Sm exactly . He wanted to keep his options open as he prob didnt know how it was gonna pan out with the new ow . But i was to smart and sussed it . Even now it will be i dont know what i want. Im glad im gone and i told him that im not fighting for scraps , flush , in the end hell lise everthing as he cant decide . He can play around with orher peeps feelings im looking after me x

  31. Sejal says:

    I ve just started following this site..when i had a breakup recently.i just cant explain how much ur posts and articles have helped me out..i m so thankful that i ot to know abt this site…
    This is indeed a reality..a factual truth..even a suffered a bitter separation coz i was so damn serious about this guy.i had planned my entire life…with him.and even not in my wildest dreams i have ever tough of someone else..but this guy..he is indecisive everysecond day..despite the fact that four years ago he only came to me…to be with me..he made me so adamant about this relationship and now i could see that when he was satisfied that i was into him only…he started slowly withdarawing out..
    At slightest of things he wud get mad at me.stopped talking for days..and even abuses..
    And then when i stop talking to him.cox of his misbehaviour..he just opens his mouth and blindly makes a statement that***why wud i talk to him..i have many others to pass myy time with***
    And for the abuses .he makes and excuse that i only make him so angry that forces him to abuse him..had there be any one else he wudnt havve abused..
    Please help me out…sometimes i feel that i m being so negatively judgemental abt him..or what i m thinng i ethically right..

    • runnergirl says:

      Sejal,

      The abuse issue is serious. Abuse is not about indecision. Please see Natalie’s post on “choppers”. You do NOT make him so angry that it forces him to abuse you. That is pure BS and dangerous. Is there someone you can talk to? Can you seek some professional assistance ASAP? Additionally, from what you have written, it does not seem like you are being negatively judgmental. You must make a decision to protect yourself. My thoughts are with you. Please let us know how you are doing.

      • Sejal says:

        I m protecting myself…but i just dont know why i love him so much…he hurts me with his rude and raw behaviour everytime..even i think to aanswer him in his own lang.uage,,,but somehow my inner soul dont allow me ti be harsh with him..i feel guiltyy,,of hurting his f eelings….i often wonder,..why doesnt he think so…..can i b.e so wrong in judging him..i mean why cant i see that there is so much wrong in him..my mind knows it..but my heart just cannot accept this..and thats the reason..i vant forget him..is this a normal thought process..or i m being overly into him..??

        • dancingqueen says:

          Sejal,

          Everything that you wrote states that you are with someone abusive. You cannot fix him or change him. You can only, I am sorry to say, stay and choose to be abused or leave, and choose yourself.

          Choose yourself. Always,

          ((Hugs))

  32. lo j says:

    “Both of you may be afraid but you’re taking the leap of faith together.” … beautiful.
    The fears are communicated to each other and are worked on together, creating a closer bond … not one verbalizing needing time and space, setting up fear and panic in the other, creating chaos and dysfunction and a disproportion of power. Ugh.

  33. MissBliss says:

    Being committed to someone who is uncertain they want to be with you has got to be one of the most soul-destroying insults of all time. It is an act of self-hatred to stick with that.

    I know I’ve quoted this before, but I love what Maya Angelou said: “Never make a priority out of someone when they are making you an option.”

  34. Confused123 says:

    Ladies, I need your advice. How does ‘exclusivity in dating’ play into this whole indecision ascpect.
    Here is my situation, I’ve been dating this guy for about a month and grown to like him. However, he has been very clear that he is dating some else beside me from date 2.
    I was fine with that initially but lately he’s been pulling back. Less date and seems to want to hang out with me less. He says that everything is fine and that he busy, tired and sick. And yes; he is still dating this other women and want to get to know us better prior to making a final decision. Is this normal behavior in dating? I’m new to this whole dating scene and a lot of behavior confuses me. I’m the most monogamous person on the planet and cannot date multiple folks. So this whole thing is baffling to say the least.

    • runnergirl says:

      Confused123, I’m new to the dating thing too so you should take everything I say with a grain of salt. However, I’m not new to BR. I’ve been reading and implementing Natalie’s advice as well as the BR community for two years. It’s paid off, particularly Natalie’s advice with regards to dating as a discovery phase.
      For me, one month of dating someone hasn’t been enough time to figure out whether I would want to be exclusive. Within the past 6 months, I’ve only dated one guy three times and, apparently, he expected things to get physical. But I didn’t know him enough even though it had been a almost a month. It wasn’t that I was indecisive or sitting on the fence, I just didn’t know him. I’m hugely monogamous too but don’t confuse monogamy with actually getting to know somebody.
      Dear lord, I can’t believe I could possibly know a perfect stranger after one month. Am I operating in the stone ages? With speed dating, online dating, and the internet, it seems like things go from zero to sixty in a nano second. A month seems like a lifetime? Confused 123, after a month, what do you know about this gentleman that makes you so sure you would want to be exclusive with him? You don’t have to wait around for him to decide between you and another woman. Question: What has he got on offer that would cause you to consider being exclusive after one month? Answer: “Tired, busy, and sick”?

      • Confused123 says:

        Thanks Runnergirl:
        Honestly, I’m exhausted wtih dating. Either they throw-up more red flags that a communist convention or they are half decent but have issues like multiple dating, which I have a hard time understanding. I think I need a break.
        I’ve gone off dating considerably lately. Closed my Match profile.
        The way I’m looking at this situation is as follows,
        1. I’ve pulled way way way back. No unnecessary calls, txts, check-in etc. if he contact, I reply but only as needed.If he wants to get to know me, that’s great but I’m not going to chase him.
        2. I’m going in this with the attitude that he will break-up with me and decide to date the other women. So be it.
        3. Stop dating till May 2013.
        I honestly need a break.

      • Confused123 says:

        Oh and Runnergirl, you are right. I am confusing the lack of red-flag with knowing someone. I should’nt.

    • Scarlet says:

      Confused123

      I have been reading some information from another dating coach and she goes on and on about how women should always be dating multiple men (not necessarily sleeping with them) and that men cannot do the same thing. I don’t get it at all. It’s called circular dating and in theory it looks good because the theory is that it will make the man step up, not because the woman is playing a game, but because her vibe is so uplifted and she is happy that the man will just want to be with her. But I would not be comfortable doing this because I would not want the man that I am dating to be dating someone else, so how can that be fair if I am doing it. That’s apart from the fact that I can only concentrate on one man at a time and if I like him I want to just be with him and could not stand dating someone else. Anyway, the whole concept is supposed to put a stop to all this indecision because the man will only want you if you are so busy with your own life (and other men). It apparently works for some, just not me.

    • yoghurt says:

      See, this is where I have a problem with the term ‘dating’. There’s a definite statement of intent in there.

      In its best form, dating is what I used to call ‘hanging out with male mates’ (the vast majority of whom I didn’t want to be with, or them with me, or one or both of us was attached etc). From that point of view then of course it’s great if they have other mates who they also hang out with, in fact it would be weird if they didn’t.

      As soon as you call it ‘dating’ though, it becomes clear that it’s an audition for both parties to work out if the other is a good fit for a relationship, and then your situation, confused123, seems icky to my mind. No way would I want to be faffing about with someone who effectively made it clear that I was in some sort of gerbil-race with another contender. He could bog off.

      Being aware that you’re in ‘competition’ is hardly going to bring out your best side, or at least it wouldn’t with me. Plus, then it starts to feel like a WIN or LOSE??! situation and he starts to feel like a prize, which he may well not be. I think that runnergirl’s advice is really good but ugh, no, it’d be a red flag for me.

      (As a disclaimer, I should add that my social life currently consists of second birthday parties and I’m British, which means that the whole concept of dating is less established in my head. So it’s not like I’m an expert).

      • sushi says:

        Confused123,
        I`m with Yoghurt on this. I find the whole concept of multiple dating normalises the making of people into instant options and that`s an idea I strongly disagree with. I know lots of people do it but I think it`s totally disrespectful. Internet dating has probably played a mayor role in spreading this idea, it used to be called two-timing and for a good reason. If someone doesn`t want to give me enough of a time of day and respect to get to know me outside of some harem they are busy creating, they are not worth my time. Exclusivity becomes a precious prize, a carrot instead of being normal and basic. I also don`t see that a point where you become exclusive is a safe point to start sex, it should be when you feel comfortable that the relationship is going forward. If you are seeing a multidater there is no chance of the relationship going forward because you`ll have a hard time trusting them and you will feel what you are, an option. I stopped reading “expert” relationship advice shortly after reading Natalie. Some of these people dishing it out are seriously messed up, possibly under pressure to produce something innovative or shocking to get read, don`t know but a lot of them talk absolute rubbish. It`s just their opinions and we have a right to our own. We do have perfectly good minds and guts and feelings to make our own conclusions.

        • Sadder but Wiser says:

          I agree. Two timing is right. How in the world can any budding relationship have a chance if one party is trying on other potential relationships at the same time? Going on dates with multiple people as in, “let’s meet for coffee, let’s see what we have in common” at the very beginning of looking for a partner is one thing. But it would seem that once people make it through the “getting to know you” dating stage, (which should NOT include sex/moving in/lending money/giving your heart away, etc.) they are at a point where they want to see if this relationship can deepen and go forward – and how can you possibly give it a fair and honest shot if you are seeing somebody else as well? I don’t get why this is ok.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Confused 123

      It is NEVER appropriate in my opinion, to date someone and talk about other people you are dating. One can say “I am taking my time in getting to know someone, before we see if we are exclusive” but telling someone outright that you are dating another person is a power play; it is a way to set it up to have the power.

      Honestly flush, he is taking you for a ride and he is being an ass already. You also need to ask yourself why you are interested in a man who told you that he thinks that HE is in the position to make that choice between you two. You are BOTH in that position. Bounce him or you will be back on the merry-go-round that brought you here in the first place my dear.

      Sorry for the harsh words, but imo, that is the reality and I want you to see it.:(

      • Confused123 says:

        Hi Dancingqueen:
        Actually, he mentioned the other person when I asked. He’s actually not an AC. Trust me, I’ve been with enough to know when I’ve see one. This exact reason is exactly why I like him a lot. So different from the usual crowd and he is genuinely a nice guy but to Runnergirl’s point I need to get to know him.
        He exact words were “I am taking my time in getting to know you both as I like you both, before we see if we are exclusive. You need to be patient and I won’t rush this. You need to be yourself and honest.”
        And I am honest with him. Brutally so. He know’s I don’t anyone else once I have a commection with someone.
        My issue is he’s lack of effort to get to know me has diminished. Not sure if this is he’s pulling back because, a) he more interested in the other women or b) this is him slowing thing down.
        Either way, I’m totally diging him but I am clear in this mind that it may not work and he may not feel the same way.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Confused123,

          Okay so what about this; ask him what is up? If he is honest, he will tell you. Just say that you have noticed his cooling off, and you would like to know what it is. Good luck.

        • yoghurt says:

          Nyeh.

          “You need to be patient and I won’t rush this. You need to be yourself and honest.”

          Jolly nice of him to give YOU a point-by-point instruction manual on Landing His Wonderful Self. ‘You NEED to…’? Seriously? ‘I won’t rush this’? I bet.

          Sorry, I’m sure that he has many fine qualities and I’m equally sure that his behaviour is perfectly acceptable and culturally-sanctioned in the wonderful world of relationship advice.

          But, honestly, I can’t think of anything more guaranteed to turn the actually-supposed-to-be-quite-pleasant process of getting to know someone into an experience akin to lying on pins. Surely no-one is THAT great.

        • sushi says:

          Confused123,
          I`m so sorry, but I think that you are already getting crumbs and trying to justify his behaviour. You don`t know him yet, nobody unfolds in a month, on the other hand a month is plenty of time to know if you are intersted in getting to know someone or not.He is sitting on the fence already, managing down your expectations to you must be fine with him dating someone else too. Boy do I remember doing that and it was just the beginning…. I think you are looking at the potential here rather than reality. Maybe ask yourself how this whole thing is making you feel? Are you really comfortable knowing he is considering a relationship with someone else as well as with you? The issue here is not why he does it but THAT he does it.

    • Little Star says:

      Confused123, my God I cant believe what he said to you!!! Not even trying to hide and keep his “harem” in the secret…Please do not waste your precious time, DUMP him honey and go NC!

    • Sunyata says:

      Confused, it doesn’t matter whether it’s “normal” or not, what matters is DOES IT WORK FOR ***YOU***???

      If it doesn’t, flush him, let him go.
      I’ve dated men who were dating other women who tried to play us against each other and were lying and manipulative, and dated men who, despite dating other women, made me feel secure and appreciated and respected. I have friends ranging from true monogamy – married the first person they ever dated and have never been with anyone else and have been married for decades, to sexual libertines who have many lovers who are also true friends, to poly friends in all kinds of configurations and it really all boils down to..what works for YOU.

      Decide how you want to feel, what you want, and if he’s not living up to it, let him go. It could be as normal as the day is long, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t try to wrap your mind around it, just toss it and move on.

  35. nicky r says:

    Experienced all the above indecisive crap recently. I won’t get into a rant, but I feel proud because after initially (the first couple of days after I broke it off) responding to his emails/phonecalls), I haven’t been in contact at all for three months, have ignored emails and phone messages, and have finally (now) unfriended him on Facebook. Flush – and no regrets.

  36. nicky r says:

    And I have to add that reading these posts and the responses, has been really fantastic in helping me keeping my resolve not to contact. Thanks everyone.

  37. Revolution says:

    Oh yes, I’ve dated some indecisive SOBs in my time. I’ve heard it all. Let’s pull out the laundry list, shall we?

    “I’m not ready for a relationship.”

    “I don’t want to get married again.”

    “You really are the perfect girl for me, but I’m just not sure if I’m ready to be in a relationship with ANYONE right now.”

    “No man knows what he wants. Even the man who SAYS he knows what he wants and goes after it with determination doesn’t know what he wants.”

    These were (literally) my responses:

    “Well, when will you know for sure? Should I wait?” (I know, ugh.)

    “That’s okay, because I’M not even sure about YOU yet either.”

    “Listen, you’re either in or you’re out.”

    These were different ACs at different times in my life. The thing of it is, Natalie is right. It really is soul-destroying when you’re the target of ambiguity. It’s also hard because I’m not exactly chasing the ring (or anything else for that matter), but these guys come at you like, “Whoa….slow the wedding wagon down!” when all you’re doing is going out for some friendly dinner. Ummm…..HUH?! WTF?

    I remember one AC was trying to decide (unsolicitedly from me, might I add) if he wanted to marry me. I was like, “WTF? I’m not even TALKING about marriage!” Then I added, “And what makes you so sure I want to marry YOU in the first place?! It takes TWO to make that decision, you know!” He had this stunned look on his face that I’ll never forget. Like it had never occurred to him that, I don’t know, maybe I WOULD HAVE some sort of say in the future of our JOINT relationship.

    Ass, meet elbow. Sheesh.

    • AHM says:

      Your post reminding me about the FF AC iwas last involved with. I think we had been dating a month, when he told me to reach in the top drawer of a dresser to find this ring that was in there to see if it fit. I said oh is this cinderella – oooops the ring does not fit, I must be the wrong girl – God these guys are just gross. What an a**, can’t even believe I wasted my time and energy. Very, very painful experience – watch out for those high school sweethearts and crushes!!

  38. Changing says:

    I must admit I feel bad about not treating my ex worse and keeping him on a leash. I feel that this is the main reason he disappeared. it wasn’t too hard, even a notch or two down at times would do. I feel foolish for not understanding it at the time.

  39. Lili says:

    I fully agree with the conclusion of your post.

    The last time I saw and spoke to my ex boyfriend, he clearly admitted he was being undecisive and hesitating.
    Spontaneaously, I responded that if he was being hesitant, things would not work out in the future, and that I did not want be with someone who hesitated to be with me.

    I felt arrogant afterwards, but now I am fine with it, all the more so that I feel ‘validated’ by your own perception, Natalie.

    Thank you again. If you knew how much help and support I’ve found since I’ve been reading you, you’d be amazed.

    By the way, I’m French and willing to translate your articles, should you need people for that!

    • Lilia says:

      Great idea Lili, I could translate them to Spanish if Natalie needs us to!

      Thanks for your feedback, I was just wondering the other day how French girls deal with these topics, French men are so charming that they apparently seem to be better partners but I guess I just got caught up with images.

    • Linden says:

      Lili — I have a question. As yet another U.S. official gets taken down over an extramarital affair, the argument is trotted out again in our media that French and Italian women don’t care if their men cheat, with the clear implication that American women shouldn’t care either. Is there any truth to that?

      • Mymble says:

        Linden,
        Well I am not Italian, but I did notice that Berlusconi’s wife was publicly absolutely furious with his shenanigans, sex scandals and “banga banga” parties and is now divorcing him. Then again she started her relationship with him as an OW when he was still married to wife number one so perhaps it only goes to prove that what they do with you they will do to you.

      • Teddie says:

        It’s not that they do or don’t care about their own men and women it’s that the French tend to not care so much about their public figures’ private. They are just not intersted in this kind of stuff, you cannot fill newspapers with it, one quality I appreciate about the French (I’m not French myself, so I’m not biased when I say this).

        • dancingqueen says:

          I lived in France for close to two years, I could be wrong but also there is much more legal right to privacy there for public figures. You can sue someone for exposing too much of your private life, in the public eye, if they do not have your permission.

          As far as infidelity; none of my French friends would stand for it, but I think that there is more acceptance of the fact that it is very possible to want to have a lover, during a long relationship. There is not the super judgmental attitude that Americans have. I don’t think that they cheat more or feel blase about it, but they are not so hung up on religious convictions nor is the press there; it is more laissez faire.

          • Teddie says:

            Yes, I agree that atheism is a major factor to consider in Europe which is atheist for the most part as opposed to US where 40 percent of the population subscribe to radical fundamentalist religion.

  40. CatNils says:

    Well, you hit the nail on the head! I have just pulled out of such a relationship, I wasted a year with the indecisive man…I’m starting to believe those men are narcissists. They seem to enjoy watching us struggle, up and down like a yoyo, I bet some of you experienced his meltdown, his stress, his lack of purpose, his lack of enthusiasm…etc, all along making YOU feel guilty for it all? Oh let me guess, did yours ask you for space, time all alone, with no details on when he would be available again? Yep that’s the one? Never will I ever waste time, I know them now…

    • AHM says:

      My AC’s excuse was chronic pain, I tragically sat on a bench for 3 months “waiting” for the “love of my life” cause we were on break due to his pain, even asked him if this meant we were dating, seeing or sleeping with others – his answer “no”. After the break, when we got back together, he had slept with a woman and was trying to pick up on another. Uhhh – I thought you could not be in a relationship because of your chronic pain??? Huh – FLUSH

  41. Emerldeyez says:

    The EUM I was in a relationship for a little over a year, after I accepted a job, planned to make a move across country to live with him, said I don’t think this is going to work. Well, he changed his tune, but the day I moved, he came and got me, he left me and my two dogs, in his driveway, saying it wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have a car, no place to go, and a cell phone that was dying, yet he tossed me an extension cord to charge my phone. Why oh why did I go back to him, time and time again after those two situations??? Somehow, I believed allthe lies that he really did love me and somehow it was my fault. I never knew what would trigger his temper and uncontrolled anger. I had never been exposed to it before. I know today, I had been so dependent on him, he took total advantage of it. Thanks to the internet, I got into an apt in 24 hours, close to my new job, and slowly started to buy furniture, and a car. Today I know he is a narcissist, borderline personality disorder, a cheater, a liar. I will never put a man in charge of my happiness, or give over my life. I have to respect myself before I can find someone who will respect me. I have to trust myself. Stay out of the fantasy and stay in reality. I have been doing a lot of journaling, being gentle with myself, but brutally honest. the longer I stayed the more painful it became.Everytime, he decided today he didn’t want to be in the relationship, because maybe today, I talked about my day, and he got jealous, about something I said happened at work. He got jealous my boss gave me a card for my birthday ( my boss is female) Then he would come back and hit the reset button. I began to question my sanity. Everyone here, has been there, so i know i’m not alone and that there are men out there like that. I’m not crazy. Only crazy trying to make something normal that isn’t. Thank you all of you for being here.

    • sushi says:

      Emerldeys,
      that man is absolutely appaling and a waste of oxygen on this planet.You have such great attitude.”I will never put a man in charge of my happiness, or give over my life”.And that does NOT equal never trusting a man and never having a mutual relationship. It is a condition FOR having that relationship with someone normal, because he certainly isn`t and you absolutely are, normal and a great person. I did it too, ” trying to make something normal that wasn`t”. Love your post!

  42. Wise ol owl says:

    Grizelda–your swirly pinwheel eyes is something I think we can all relate to. hahaha,thanks for the humor! I’ve been reading lots of articles about middle aged “hotness delusion syndrome” which many men suffer from. These are also good for a chuckle, but oh so true. Thanks for your support and Im hoping maybe we middle agers can save some of the younger ones heartache and trouble. Keep smilin’!

  43. Scarlet says:

    Indecision is just terrible. It causes so much stress and insecurity. And we are the only ones who can remove it from our lives. But we hope that the next time he blows hot and makes promises, he won’t go back on them and say he’s just not sure again. I found out it was because come the weekend when “he wasn’t sure” about us, it was actually because he wanted to use drugs and did not want to be accountable to me.
    Either way, it left me a mess and I have put a stop to the cycle. 8 days no contact but I feel like I want to die.

    • Espoir says:

      Scarlet – same here…It took me 4.5 years to realize that in fact I was an option to his pot habit all the time : everything was scheduled around that : rushing dates, feeling sick, being ”blahhhh” and us… always being the ”cheerleaders”, happy and content with a few hors/week and weekend (early/shorts) ”hangouts” AAARRRRGHHHHH !!!!
      And don’t make me start on the EUM/financial responsability part…

      • sushi says:

        Scarlet and Espoir,
        me too – option to alcohol and every aspect of his life revolving around that. Yes it leaves you in a terrible mess. Addictions are a red flag, no go, abort mission. I think it`s so simple and self-explanatory now but I felt tortured just like you Scarlet. Keep strong, there is no other way.

    • MissBliss says:

      Scarlet,
      I know how it feels. It took me months to start feeling better. But you won’t die from the grief. You might have died a slow death if you’d stayed with the AC. They can do major devastation to a person, destroying your self-esteem for a life time. The longer you attach to this toxic sort, the more dangerous it becomes.
      We have to take these ACs very seriously. They are not to be toyed with. We have to exit the relationship and commit to doing daily healing.
      You’ll do it because deep down you know you deserve better.

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      Scarlet, a wise teacher once said “don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons.” Pain and grief can be a great teacher, and if you can learn to see it as this, it DOES lessen the intensity. Some people along the wisdom journey actually learn to welcome their grief (I’m certainly not there yet myself!) – what a mind-boggling thought that such a thing might be possible. In any case, I know and we all know what that ‘wanting to die’ feeling is like. Take care of yourself during this time, only self-love and kindness, no beating yourself up with reproach.

  44. Changing says:

    Confused123,

    My humble advice is to leave him NOW. He makes you two compete for his attention, not a good sign. At the very least you can get online and start going on other dates. As many as you can get. Do not commit to half exclusivity (your side only) after one month when he says he is dating others. Let him and take care of your romantic life. Take a good good care;) even if you think you are not in the mood to go to another date, force yourself to do it. You may discover a lot if interesting things about this indecisive guy and mainly yourself.,also I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him that you’re doing it, but in a light friendly way, with a big smile! You can do it.

  45. Changing says:

    Funny enough I never had to listen to this indecisive tune with my ex. Every time I had a lightest doubt and asked him he said things were great and he really really liked me. he would list my great qualitis ( and be right btw) and I’d think – wow, he understands and cherishes me. He would explain every twist in his mood or behavior blaming it on his own stuff. Not that I asked much, hate to interrogate anyway. My doubts I would put aside thinking – it’s his uniqueness, he is geniously smart and also diagnosed with some maniacal behavior, taking medication, I have to be sympathetic. So I was! Until the day he disappeared;))

  46. toby says:

    A lot of your stuff resonates, but this is by far the post that best describes my ex and our relationship.

    However, the questions that still haunt me are:
    -“how the hell did it happen” and
    -“how/why was I so clueless”.

    Thanks NML. I’m add it to the posts I re-read from time to time.

  47. Lilly says:

    Runnergirl, Grizelda, Dancing queen, Learner, Yoghurt, I would love to come and give you all a great big hug. I’m tearful right now because of all the amazing support and kindness. It is in such stark contrast to his treatment of me and I’m truly grateful. You have all helped me grow stronger and get through this. I love reading all of your posts, runner you inspire me that there will be a time in the (distant) future when I may, dare I say it, date again. NOT on the top of my list of priorities right now of course, but by then I will have regained my self-esteem and be armed with a set of tools allowing me to spot an AC and deal with him accordingly! DQ, great advice and I agree, who cares who he really was. I’ll leave him to it because I’m out of there. I hope your thesis is coming along well. Grizelda, what can I say. Your posts are inspiring. I see so much of my own experience in what you write. I also see you as a strong woman and I swear after reading your posts I feel myself plumping up and growing stronger. Yoghurt you are another wonderful, strong woman. I’ve been following your posts from the beginning and always look forward to reading them. Give your little one a hug from me. Learner – my wonderful NC sister. I feel a special connection to you and your experience. You deserve all the happiness that is coming your way. Thank you ladies, thank you Natalie and, to everyone who ever responded to me. You’re all amazing. And to all those in pain right now keep reading and learning because there WILL come a time when it all starts falling into place.

  48. Emerldeyez says:

    Sushi, thank you for your support. My adult kids would kill me if they knew I had continued this relationship with this man. they all thought he was the scum of the earth, because my daughter long distance helped find me an apt on her internet. I cried when I sat and told my story as to why I needed an apt in 24 hours, because I had no place to stay and a job to start on Monday and it’s Saturday. I have guardian angels everywhere. I was so isolated and believe that is why I stayed in this sick relationship as long as I did. So many shaming and embarassing things have happened. But it has been a journey of the denial slowly dissolving, and there was no longer any kind of emotional payoff being with this person. I have no interest today in dating, but I know in time that will come back. Right now I need to take care of myself, and re establish trust in myself and forgive myself for staying so long, and grieve the loss of my dog a week ago ( he fed her a bone, that I wasn’t aware of, she went into acute pancreatitis, became septic and died, within 24 hours) And he got mad at me and told me to leave because I put on a robe, because I got a cold chill over me, I was beside myself in shock and grief after telling the veterarian to put her down, not to let her suffer. He was mad because I didn’t ask him to hold me because I was cold. I think I was in shock. I left, and went to the emergency clinic where my dog was. It was three am. Very very sick behavior and a very sick man. Funny thing, I’m sure he is with someone else right now. He had an ex wife in the wings all the time, that he would throw in my face, when ever I would stand up for myself. Ya know, she can have him. The spell has been broken.His gravy train has left the station.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Emereldeyez,

      I am so SO sorry about your dog. That man is horrible, evil, just….please please take care of yourself.

      I can imagine how much it hurts, to have lost your beloved pet. Now he is okay though and not in pain. He knew that you loved him I am sure. Please take care of yourself and know that we are all here for you. ((hughs))

    • Rave says:

      I can’t believe how strong you must have been to endure all this pain. You are special if you have angels looking out for you in your darkest hours.

      I’m sorry for the loss of your dog. This man is a sick man for adding pain upon your grief.

      I know from experience how easy it is for some people to abuse you and hurt you while you’re at your lowest.

      I think being numbed to the shock is a defense mechanism, so that you put your energy where it’s most needed. In this case, accompanying your dog on its journey.

      You can only take care of one thing at a time, and sometimes, that’s why you don’t immediately react to the abuse.

      I hope your new life is going gloriously. How strong of you to even have the strength to keep that job and go to work on that Monday. You sure are a trouper and an inspiration.

    • selkie says:

      Emeraldeyez,

      I’m so sorry about your dog. I know that’s really hard. I lost my 19 year old kitty a couple months ago, and I cried for days. I still miss him terribly. It’s such a shock when we lose them. Sending you (((hugs))) and strength during your sorrow.

    • sushi says:

      Emerldeyez,
      I`m really sorry about your dog. Don`t beat yourself up about any of this, it`s in the past and the rest is not important. When you with these abusive, narcisstic people you lose yourself, they make you feel like it`s you who is going crazy, it`s a terrible ride.People stay in abusive relationships for decades, you got out. Take care.

    • Learner says:

      Emerldeyez,

      Wait – so this man was responsible for the death of your dog, and then got mad at you for putting on a robe? Instead of asking *him* to hold you? WTH?

      I am sorry but this made me feel so sad for you. You lost your beloved pet, and then had to deal with his pouting for not making *him* the centre of the universe? I agree with you – let his exwife keep him. You deserve so much better. Hugs xo

      • Lilia says:

        Emerldeyez, I´m so sorry for your loss!
        It always tears me apart when I lose a pet. Take good care of yourself, big hug to you.

  49. Learner says:

    Natalie et al,

    I had an ephphany of sorts in the shower, regarding this whole tolerating/propagating indecision thing. Here it is:

    When I was a child, my father once told me I was his “favourite” of his 3 children. It felt a bit uncomfortable, but part of me liked the idea. I tried to live up to his special approval. Later on, my sister (7 years younger) seemed to usurp me as “Daddy’s favourite” – actually, she seemed to be the favourite of *both* parents. I could understand – she was so cute, lovely personality.

    Of course, this new favoritism bothered me, and I think it sent me into a tizzy trying to regain my spot in my parents’ hearts. I became an over-achieving workaholic, since I could never achieve my sister’s “cuteness factor”.

    Fast forward a few decades, and here I am in a similar place with the exMM. I wanted to be *his* favourite, too. The one he truly loved, the one who loved *him* more than anyone else before. His flip-flapping and fence-sitting, and insistence that he “cannot predict the future” should have been recognized as red flags and deal-breakers. But I couldn’t see that at the time.

    I have been trying to figure out why *any* of us may be so tolerant of this indecision in these partners.I knew my childhood affected my self-esteem, I knew my father’s alcohol abuse made me feel “at home” with dysfunctional relationships, but now I think I have discovered something else that may have led to me sitting on the fence with the exMM.

    Does this make sense?

    • Learner says:

      “epiphany” not “ephphany” sorry, typo

      • Lilia says:

        Learner, yes that does make absolute sense.
        I guess we get into these dysfunctional relationships as a result of some poor parenting attitudes by our parents, I know I did. With my latest EUM I finally understood that his pull on me was that he made me feel just like my father did – emotionally and physically abandoned, ignored, being lied to, having to compete for his attention.
        It is a very good thing that you had this realisation, now you can begin to heal and make real changes in your life.

        • Learner says:

          Lilia,
          Yes, thanks, it’s amazing how these revelations and insights can suddenly hit you, isn’t it? The pieces are all coming together to make sense for me. I think I may have been raised by a narc dad, now that so many have mentioned their characterisitcs. maybe the ex is a narc, too, I don’t know.You are right – time to heal and make changes that are beneficial, and don’t lead to feeling badly again!

      • Lilly says:

        Learner,

        “I have been trying to figure out why *any* of us may be so tolerant of this indecision in these partners”.

        I think you’re onto something here. Your tolerance of his indecisiveness may well, as you say, be related to your childhood need to once again be ‘the favourite’, not to be pushed aside in favour of someone else. You may have tolerated his indecisiveness in order to avoid the feeling of being rejected again. Maybe tolerating indecisiveness and not setting boundaries acts as a sort of defense mechanism,e.g.if I don’t push him to make a decision then he won’t leave and I’ll avoid more pain.

        I applied your question to my own situation. I tolerated his indecisiveness because I was afraid he would just pack up and leave if I voiced my true thoughts. I was already hurting, but I was trying to avoid more pain so did nothing much to resist and didn’t set appropriate boundaries. I believe this was related to my father’s abandonment of me as a child which was deeply wounding. For some reason the exMM triggered my childhood injury (probably not hard to work out given he was in a position of ‘authority’ overseeing my work)and I believe all my old fears came to the surface so setting aside any resistance meant he wouldn’t ‘abandon’ me. Less resistance equals less pain.

        But what is it that actually hurts? What is this pain that I’ve been trying to avoid? I think it was a feeling of being ‘less than’ or worthless even – the childhood logic that I wasn’t good enough that’s why my father left. If I feel worthless then I can easily justify not resisting bad behaviour (like stringing someone along and sitting on the fence). Behaviour that clearly degrades our value. In other words, I tolerated his indecisiveness (or tolerated my own lack of resistance) because I didn’t believe I deserved better.

        I’m rambling a bit and this may not be very clear, but it seems to me that the next step out of all this is to tackle those feeling of unworthiness. I will start by refusing to listen to those self-depreciating thoughts. I want to stop living in fear that I’m not worthy of love and respect. The most awful part of all this is that I carried this feeling over to my little one. This makes me angry, how dare he behave as if my child was not worthy of love, but then again I need to stop acting like we’re not worthy of love. I think I’ve already started, but I have a lot of work to do! Learner, great question you’ve really got me thinking.

        • Scarlet says:

          I think I tolerated the indecision and poor treatment because I am terrified that if he goes, so too does the hope that I will have someone to share my future with. Someone to plan weekends and holidays and not face the terror of being alone forever. I am so scared that I will never meet a man who I can have a healthy relationship with.

          • Victorious says:

            Scarlet, seriously? You are able to make future plans with this guy and you can count on him to support you, to encourage you, to be the one you turn to in the storm? I think you are kidding yourself. Why are you so afraid of being “alone.” It sounds like you were very alone in this relationship. Find some positive older role models who live alone and have full and meaningful lives. Hopefully that will take some of the fear away.

        • Learner says:

          Lilly,
          yes, I agree with all you have said!
          “You may have tolerated his indecisiveness in order to avoid the feeling of being rejected again.” Yes, that’s so true!

          “I tolerated his indecisiveness because I was afraid he would just pack up and leave if I voiced my true thoughts” – yes, this makes sense that you would think this.

          Those feelings of being unworthy, of being afraid of rejection, fear of reliving the negative feelings that our fathers created in us as young children. yes, yes. I still feel so badly about your dad leaving your family while you were so young. I love your idea of refusing to listen to self-depricating thoughts.
          You are worthy of being loved.
          I am worthy of being loved.
          We are not “less than”
          We do not need a disordered man, or anyone for that matter, to decide our value.
          Your baby is worthy of love, and of being remembered lovingly.
          We may have a lot of work to do, but the great thing is, the work has begun!
          Thanks Lilly, I am smiling now. We are going to be OK!

  50. Magnolia says:

    I was so indecisive when with my long-term boyfriend in my twenties. I knew I didn’t want to be with him long-term but he was sweet and attentive and begged me to try. Both of us could have used this article back then!

    I dithered and complained for six years and when I finally made a decision to get out, he was very hurt and I was torn apart wondering why I couldn’t just stay with someone who obviously cared for me.

    My indecision was only peripherally to do with him, really. There were many reasons why I chose to be with him even though I never felt 100% about him, mainly around not knowing myself, not believing I could choose what I wanted in life, not knowing what boundaries were and being chronically depressed. I wasn’t strong enough in myself to act on the red and amber flags I saw; nor was he able to act on the many red flags I was waving at him. He was keen on being my hero/rescuer – a guy Florence.

    It has now been almost a decade since I left that relationship. Had I known what kind of soul-searching and pain growth would entail, “out here” on my own, I probably would never have left. I would have stayed my whole life in discomfort, forcing myself to try to be happy when I had never learned to handle and expect the risks around decision-making.

    I’m glad I did now: I’m single, and may not ever see the family life I hoped for, but at least I’m not tortured inside as I once was.

    I’m not saying all the EUMs who are indecisive that we meet are tortured souls. More that being able to make tough decisions is a life skill, so important to relationships that its absence should mean one or both people aren’t ready for commitment.

  51. Magnolia says:

    Another little anecdote:

    I keep getting these poems from my students, who range in age from about 18-20. So many of the girls are writing love poetry that smacks of FBG!

    One of the latest was a fairly long poem that basically said: “I see you across a dance floor / classroom / church social. You are strong and your decisive manner captivates me. You seem so purposeful, what makes you that way? I don’t know where you’re going, but wherever it is, I want you to take me with you. Oh strong one, I’m yours wherever you want to take me.”

    I responded to her work by (as always, as per best practice) assuming that she’s not writing about herself but is creating a character, and said that she’d really done a good job giving us a character who had little mind of her own!

    The thing is that the character in her poem is super decisive in the sense that she “decides” that being with him is what she wants. I suppose because after that, he can make all the tough decisions for both of them. It’s a common fantasy and one that motivated me for a long time.

    I do think she’s writing about herself, of course. And I just want to write in red, on her paper, noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

    I can only imagine that when we stick with an EUM who is indecisive, it’s in part an avoidance of making tough decisions on our own. EUM attracts EUW, no?

    I just wish there were some way to educate the young women out of that fantasy before they hit 40!!

    • yoghurt says:

      “The thing is that the character in her poem is super decisive in the sense that she “decides” that being with him is what she wants. I suppose because after that, he can make all the tough decisions for both of them. It’s a common fantasy and one that motivated me for a long time.”

      Wow – that hit home for me, too. Fantastic point.

  52. Kat in Canada says:

    You hit the nail on the head for me Natalie!

    For the two past years from before he broke it off with me, I always lamented to him that I was frustrated that I wasn’t further in life (in terms of career, being able to get married etc) but at the end of the day that all that didn’t matter because with him I already felt like I was “Home” with him even though we hadn’t made it official yet. The reply I used to get was that he felt like he was stuck in “Waiting room”. My confidence and self-worth had been broken down by myself for so long I thought it was acceptable for him to feel like that and I felt even more guilty because of it . I literally thought that I was copiloting while in the meantime he was trying to grow a pair to make an exit. No one should ever make someone they love and are committed to feel that guilty without having the guts to cut it loose if that is what they really want. At the end told me all of things that I didn’t seem to want in life without ever asking me how I really felt about them. Now I know why I always felt like I was fence sitting myself, luckily I know realize that no one will ever try to put me in a waiting room again. Knowing who I am, loving and accepting myself and being authentic every day is enough for right now, along with reading articles like this so I continue my re-education.

  53. Tyla says:

    I spent waaay too long with an EUM who was on the fence of commitment our ENTIRE relationship (years, in fact). This did nothing good for me. I lost myself during this time. I had ZERO self esteem by the time I left that relationship. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I was left so insecure, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d never subject myself to that again. It was so damaging. And NO ONE is worth that! Ever. If you’re losing yourself and in that much pain, feel that damaged – do yourself a favor and leave! So not worth it.

  54. lo j says:

    Confused 123 … is there sex? You may have said … on my phone … hard to scroll/read/remember. I dated a man who preempted with “I can’t be exclusive.” I saw him w the other woman. He thought I was so cool to be so accepting. Me too. *eye roll*. We had sex and I was cool. I saw him meet her for lunch one day — that night on OUR dinner date, after knowing I had seen him because I had honked my car horn and waved at him AS HE WALKED UP TO GREET HER WITH A KISS (I had no clue he was there or meeting her) he reminds me he can’t be exclusive, absolving himself of any wrong. As it was so in my face now, and it really wasn’t okay with me, I had to cut ties. In a big drunken emotional scene. Pity party.
    Since you’re asking us what our take is, I don’t think its okay with you. Choose you for you.

    FYI … my “man” married the other girl. Then showed up at my front door not a few weeks after his honeymoon … without his wedding ring. I’m glad I’m not his wife.

  55. Tired says:

    Its hear wrenching enough being messed about . Least of all when you find there dither bout which one they want . No i couldnt do it , hes seeing her now and maybe dithering but hes doing it to her not me . I never ever thought id get here . Ive done 11 days no contact . Whats different ? I dont want him to get intouch because it causes me negative pain , the pain of it ending ill get through it by myself. Ill mature and become a stronger person , i have moments of calm now and joy . I have moments of overwhelming sadness but they dont last for ever . Im finding things to do wheres id sit still once . Im slowly returning to the real world . Yes i miss him but ill know that fade. And i know he wont change ito a fabulous guy overnight for the ow . She gets the reality now .im putting up not a wall but boundries and if i can get through this i wont be clinging on to any ac in the future ill be flushing with strength.

  56. NK says:

    Hey all,

    Ive posted before about casual sex and my sexual past. I am still in a battle of wills between two sides of myself and failing. I have/had two FWB’s (friends with benefits) and in August after dating a guy for a month I feel pregnant. He didn’t want to see me anymore after a month and I drowned my loss in alcohol and called my FWB that night. We did it unprotected. I got the morning after pill.

    So naturally when I realisedI was pregnant I thought that the FWB was responsible. It turns out that the guy I was dating in July/Aug was the father (even though we used condoms). FWB came with me to the clinic for the abortion and supported me.

    After this experience (my first and hopefully, last termination) I vowed to stop my sexual behaviour. I stopped using contraception due to problems with pms and thought condoms would suffice. I told my FWB that we shouldn’t hook up anymore. Its is now November and I said to myself that I was going to take a break from sex and only sleep with the next serious contender after a long period of time to reset myself!

    In the end of October I ended up sleeping with my OTHER FWB. After this session i told him that I won’t be calling him for sex no more and if he cares he’d do best to leave me alone. Then last week I slept with my ex boyfriend (who I wouldn’t mind trying again with but he’s just finished a relationship so not much chance of that happening right now). Then last night I got with FWB after seeing him socially in the week we have been texting all week. We were both going home after a night out at 5am…

    I have just told him the same thing – how I shouldn’t do it again and how he should refrain from contacting me. He most defo does not want anything more than sex. Now I need to sit on my hands when tempted and not drink during ovulation!

    I guess I am just looking for any advice from anyone whose been in a similar situation. Its like I’m trying to change a part of myself that is stubborn and just keeps taking over, like a compulsion. My self esteem has VASTLY improved over the last three years (after my narc ex destroyed what little I had at the time). It was after I left a healthy 4 year relationship to cheat with the narc and left that relationship to be treated like crap for 18 months by the narc before leaving and just sleeping with many guys in a short space of time. I tried to date seemingly suitable guys with relationships in mind but nothing has worked out so far…or they turned into FWB.

    Any insight into why I can’t seem to take responsibility for behaviour that I know will bite me in the behind soon…..

    • grace says:

      NK
      It’s bitten you already. How bad does it have to get? This is rather beyond me, I can only beat the counselling drum again. And be really honest about how it’s making you feel. For as long as you tell yourself it,s okay then you won’t be motivated to change. You could even convince your counsellor you don’t need to change. Big waste of time and money that would be.

    • Lilia says:

      NK, do you think there is something you are avoiding through sex? Like this is a thrill that distracts you from real life and taking responsibility for yourself?
      In that case, you might look into sex addiction – I know that sounds a bit exaggerated but it seems to me you may be avoiding real intimacy by covering it up with getting physical.

      • NK says:

        Lilia, I do think I have a ‘compulsion’ for these experiences. Im at a point where I have recognised it but am still doing the same behaviour.
        Either I secretly don’t want to change or I actually can’t right now, not ready?
        grace, TBH I don’t actually ‘feel’ that bad about these casual relationships. I seem to fall off when I do try and get to know someone through dating and non sexual contact. The last few guys whom I tried to date just didn’t work out. My issue is that I know I would like a meaningful relationship and this behaviour ain’t going to get me one. Also, my partner number is higher than I’d like and thats something I am not proud of. In a way I feel like other forces want me to change and not myself.

        I change my mind all the time…is kind of exhausting

        SM – I’m going for therapy soon just have to wait for another referral due to finances being ultra low. Although, i need to make sure that the therapist understands that this issue is causing me inner conflict. My last therapist didn’t see my issue with it which was odd to me. Because I couldn’t commit to her program she removed me from the referral so now i need another referral to someone with the time to see me.

        grace – I am actually telling myself its NOT ok but then still doing it anyway. Like i don’t really believe that right? x

    • SM says:

      NK you need therapy, stat! We cant say anything here that will help you help yourself. I think its a good starting point that you recognize you have a problem. I’m sad for you.

    • titi says:

      NK, this post deeply saddened me. Sex compulsion is not the problem, it’s just a symptom of a much bigger issue (as well as heavy drinking). It seems you are used to fight for attention from assholes (maybe it as somethin to do with your father?). No matter how much they want to have sex with you, you won’t feel validated by them afterwards. Just remember how empty you feel after every casual sex. And ask yourself why you want to feel like that, and why you don’t want to stop this circle of self-destruction.

      Sorry, but you won’t feel better even if you manage to find the most perfect guy in the world. No one’s love will be ever enough, nothing will ever satisfy you, because you are denying love to yourself. Until you learn to love and value yourself, you will feel miserable.

      If you *really* want to change, start by changing small actions. Stop going out and drinking. Find some new hobbies and friends. It seems like a stupid, ordinary advice, but just try it. It just doesn’t seem to me you want to change, it looks like you’re thinking the problem is in the assholes you are having sex with. I mean, they are obviously fucked up, but remember, water seeks its own level. The only way out is to rise above their level.

      • Lilia says:

        NK in addition to therapy you may want to go to some AA and SLAA meetings, just to get a feel of how your situation matches theirs. Not saying that you´re an alcoholic or whatever, but it seems things have gotten out of control for you, they may be able to help you.

      • NK says:

        No offense Titi – I do than kyou for your response, but I don’t actually think ALL the guys I get with are assholes. I KNOW I’m the issue.
        The two FWBs I’ve been hooking up with I would not describe as assholes at all. I see both of them as male versions of myself ‘kinda’. They have never treated me with any disrespect accept for low level boundary busting (because they no Im likely to say yes again) but to me thats not being an asshole, thats just being an EU opportunist. They have both been very supportive if I’ve ever asked them for some. Even though the guy who got me pregnant pissed me off – he actually spoke to me about not taking things further and its more full me for sleeping with him so quick, either i wasn’t a fit for him or i put him off or he was intending to do that anyway whatever the case he spoke to me about it in a respectful manner too. His loss.

        I do not like my reaction I had to that ‘rejection’ though. Ive faced other rejections before but I collapsed as I liked him (he future faked me btw I always let them lead it these days and he came on hot then cold typical). I got drunk and thats emotional drinking. I cut down my drinking for most of my socialising and I only seem to get drunk when I’m emotional (which is not good). So yes, I can cut that out.

        I have that approach about finding new ‘friends’ and ‘hobbies’ yada yada and I see the benefit in it. Ive done it in the past. I am changing career path and in quite a creative mindset right now so thats a good thing.

        Anyway, the problem is most certainly ME not them

        • NK says:

          also, I wouldn’t describe myself as feeling ‘empty’ tbh – I don’t actually feel that bad afterwards. I would rather have a meaningful relationship but every time I see to give a chance to something promising it has not worked out. Sometimes its been fine, others Its completely crushed me and I just go back to my FWB which is a safe way of feeling intimate I guess. Whats pissed me off is I have actually learnt from past mistakes and I don’t give too much to soon, I don’t take the lead, I don’t think the increase I attention is because they like me a lot, I don’t sleep with them for an extended period of time (although the last guy I did slip up on that one), I don’t drop my life for them, etc…..I am completely cool with them and do not rush and yet they seem to pile it all on and then go cold…
          its pathetic. no wonder i keep running back to a FWB at least I know what I’m getting.

      • NK says:

        I am also aware of this ‘love’ yourself stuff – I have cut out MANY other arseholes in my life and how bloody long does it take to ‘truly’ love yourself?
        As I said, I don’t actually feel that casual sex is that bad but I keep getting told that I do because i don’t ‘love’ myself. Aparently I won’t find or attract a decent man because Im nudging in this behaviour TBH the whole issue has confused the crap out of me now.

        • NK, in life there is such a thing as patterns of thinking and behaviour. Often we don’t realise that we have repetitive themes. One such theme with you is that every once in a while, you come back and do the “I’m trying to change the casual sex thing but then I had sex, then I said I wasn’t going to do it anymore, then had sex with an ex that I bumped into, and lather, rinse, repeat”. You then ask for people’s advice and then as soon as you get it you shoot it down.

          Here it is: you’re an adult who has personal responsibility for herself whether you choose to uphold it or not. If you want to sleep with a thousand people, you can and it is really down to your own comfort level. It is not about our comfort levels. If you’re hunkydory with it, you don’t need to come here and get validation from BR readers. It is up to you to do what is right for you. If you don’t feel that you should change, if it’s generating the results, if you don’t think you have anything that you could do differently and are basically going to go ahead and repeat the same pattern, if you don’t want to have self-control, then rock on. That is 100% your choice and responsibility. Nobody else’s.

          Your issues (and that’s if you want to call it that as in a few comments you’ve switched in a different direction again) are not going to be solved in an anonymous comments box here at BR. When I see a theme with someone (and it’s happened a number of times over the years) where someone complains about something, asks for advice, counters it with objections, goes off and does the same thing, comes back and discloses, asks for advice, counters it with objections, goes off again for a few weeks/months, and lather, rinse, repeat, I think that as readers here, we have to be careful of stepping into something and fulfilling a need for a periodical emptying out and collecting validation. You would be better off doing this cycle with a support group like therapy, AA, SLAA (for sex addiction) and other types of support groups where you have a level of accountability rather than coming online, courting advice, validating the perspective you’re holding onto anyway, and then going off and doing the same thing. Your comments leave a trail and there are regular readers here. It may feel like every post is ‘fresh’ and that you can press the Reset Button, but actually, you can’t. It is entirely up to you if you seek help but I don’t take my responsibilities lightly with this site and when I see this kind of thing happening, I am concerned for you but I’m also concerned about unwittingly helping to fulfill part of your pattern.

          And I should add: you’re under no obligation to take people’s advice but if you come here and do this cycle of posting and requesting advice, don’t be dismissive. You are amongst a lot of people who are going through their own turmoil and who will also look out for others. There are people who will read your plight and be concerned for you and worry about what you’ve written here, not realising that this is a cycle or that you’ll be shooting it down.

          • NK says:

            I am NOT shooting anyone down. I know I have before but this time I am not trust me. I am seriously confused about this issue and |I don’t expect straight solutions. Comments on the internet or elsewhere often lead me to small achievements. Not all the replies I receive on here get where I’m coming from and thats not their fault, its just how it is.

            I am actually on the look out for people who have had a similar experience to me and I don’t always find them.

            Yes I could drink less
            Yes I can go back to therapy (again).
            Yes I’d LOVE to join a support group and am looking for one.

            I guess I feel like I do love myself and I get a bit miffed when people suggest otherwise.

  57. Emerldeyez says:

    Thank you all for your support. Buddy, princess’s pal ( my other dog) misses Princess dearly. While we were sitting in the emergency clinic, he is talking to the vet about being a vet tech and didn’t think the meaty bone he gave my dog should have been a problem. I just glared at him, and told him to shut up. She was asking me, the dog’s owner what happened, not about one of his failed careers. It was then I had such a lightning bolt of reality, that if I could have I would have absolutely lost it. I looked at him like he had grown horns. I still am in utter amazement how he took my dog’s acute illness and death a time to talk about himself. it became crystal clear he was a nut.

    Learner, I too recognize that my behavior is the same relationship that I saw between my parents. My mother would make excuses for my father’s alcoholic behaviors, his verbal and emotional abuse, and she stayed because she had seven kids. When my father died, my mother never remarried, nor even dated. She said she would not make him an angel, in death, or make him out to be something he was not. But I saw her excuse him, and kept the peace. My role in the family was the good kid, and as oldest took care of everyone else. I continue to be a caretaker, to adult kid-men. because it is familar. but so unhealthy for me. So yes, I too have had some ah-ha moments.

  58. Donna Lopez says:

    I know I’m adding to this conversation late and hope I get some feedback. I’m trying to learn from this site and act on the things I learn but I don’t think i have the confidence to feel good about doing the right thing yet. I’m sure there’s a post about that too. Which I’m greatful for. I got a call this week from an ex I saw over the summer because he wanted to know how I was doing in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. I never thought I’d hear from him again. I really liked him and was upset when we broke up but he wasn’t over his divorce yet and he told me I was “filling a void” in his life. He was honest, but hearing that made me feel like a blow up doll.
    I shouldn’t have taken the call but I did and we ended up chatting for a while on several different days. But he never addressed the issues we had. he just called like nothing had happened. Last Sunday he expressed interest in seeing me but there was really no transportation at all. It all got inside my head too much and I let myself believe that there had been a change in him. The thing is it’s been a week and I hadn’t heard a word from him in 7 days. This morning I felt I needed to confront the issue because churning over it was giving me a strain in my chest.

    We sent each other a few text messages and he agreed not to send me any random texts or calls and he apologized for “making me think he was leading me on.” he said he thought we could be “cool with each other”. I told him I would never be ok with him calling me once in a blue to hang out.It just isn’t me. Especially when our previous issues hadn’t been resolved.After reading so many posts about guys who try to call again I never thought he would attempt to contact me unless he was ready to be in a real relationship.I learned a really expensive lesson.

    • Claudia says:

      Well Donna, just think it could have been more expensive if you hadn’t stopped his bullshit this time. Well done! In the future you will smell EUMness from a distance, detect it and avoid it.

      • Donna Lopez says:

        Thanks, Claudia
        I wish I could have been strong enough to just ignore him. Maybe next time. I knew I needed to put an end to this when it was making me physically I’ll. I was walking around toward the end of the week with tightness in my chest.

        Also, there was a time in my life where I would have rushed out to see him on my 1/2 tank of gas, slept with him, called in sick for work the next day,& thought we were back together.I think those days are over and I’m happy it only took me 37 years.

        • seriously nuts says:

          Boy, I read this and just shook my head. I thought I was the only person who called in sick or planned a work week around seeing someone. My counselor once old me “it’s not the people, you can take the characters out, and insert new ones, it’s the behavior that’s the same ” and predictable apparently.

    • Victorious says:

      Donna, I have learnt from what you posted. I have been in the same situation with the ex and he would dip in and out of my life at will, despite me begging him not to. He also claimed that he just wanted us to be friends and didn’t see what the problem was so long as he wasn’t seeing anyone else. However, I could never find the words to explain to him how I felt, but it is just as you said, you would never be Ok with him calling you once in a while to hang out, it just isn’t you. So simple, yet I have really struggled to find words that didn’t make it sounds like I was still in love with him or being a drama queen. I am now ignoring his calls and texts and trying not to feel bad about it. He is toxic to me and I have to protect myself. You have done a good job of protecting yourself so well done!

      • Donna Lopez says:

        Thanks, Victorious
        You are doing well to avoid his calls. It takes a lot of strength, I think. I was worried about how I would come across too. But why should I worry about the impression I make when I stand up for myself if he isn’t worried about the impression he is making? The most important thing I’ve learned from this site is that it’s ok to think about and focus on you! It’s more than ok, it’s expected of emotionally healthy people to act in line with what you say you want.

  59. Jelby says:

    You people make things feel better. Sometimes by being my salvation and motivation. Sometimes by making me feel like I’m not alone and sometimes ( in this instance the award goes to yoghurt with her ” his path smells” comment) by just making me laugh really hard. Thanks

    Ps. Tyla…well put. Kat in Canada…from now on I’m going to view it as my re-education. Love it

    Pps confused 123. Is he definitely that much of a prize? Sometimes men have a way of putting us in situations where we feel in competition with another woman and it becomes more about winning than it is about getting a decent relationship. I need to take my own advice on this front I know. But have you thought about saying to him ” come back when you’ve decided?”

  60. SleepingBeauty says:

    What’s a bit scary to me is what some of you here have already stated which is when someone is indecisive, if they finally do commit, how do you know it’s the real thing?

    • grace says:

      Sleeping
      His words and actions align. I think it may really be that simple.

      • Jennifer says:

        Grace,

        Such a simple idea. But so key. So important. One of the most important things to watch. Thanks for the reminder. I’m not ready to date yet but the thought of it is overwhelming and then I read a statment like yours, and, ahhhhh, I come back down to the ground again and am level. :)

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Got me! That’s a really good point.

      • SleepingBeauty says:

        While I agree, I’m not sure that’s a definite tell. There have been commenters that said “he/said they wanted commitment, we were for 7 months/12 months/2 years, then he/she flaked again.” I’m just trying to gauge if there is any other way when you are dealing with someone who is habitually off/on again.

        • Lilia says:

          My ex husband was like that. We dated intermittedly in the beginning because he was indecisive. I was clueless enough to take him back after he broke up with me. He didn´t want to put a “label” on our relationship. We ended up living together, with two kids (he didn´t like weddings so we didn´t get married oficially).
          This was a case of his words not matching his actions the other way around because he was always voicing his doubts about being with me. It was completely idiotic, he was in fact in a commited relationship only he wanted to think he was still “free”.
          Whenever I told him to go away if he wasn´t sure, he pulled back. Until finally he didn´t, and left for someone else.
          His emotional wishy-washyness left me with my self esteem in tatters. I wouldn´t wait for anyone to make up his mind about me again, they never really do.

          • SleepingBeauty says:

            Thank you, Lilia,for answering my question. I do believe that sometimes people are genuinely unsure about moving forward for various reasons, but your unfortunate experience tells that if someone is consistently off/on or hot/cold, once they do finally make a “decision”, it’s not really a decision. I guess it’s best to just leave people like this alone.

            I was just curious because I’ve seen couples get married after YEARS (sometimes 10+) of on again/off again. Unfortunately, it’s usually the woman who pushes for the marriage and when it finally happens, I will admit, it seems that they are both on the same page at the time, but I wonder if that ever really lasts with someone who is habitually indecisive and EU to begin with. Do they just want to see if things will be different with this new found title of marriage or do they know it will be the same? Is it an age thing? Most of the people I know in this situation, have been, as many commenters have noted, in the 45+ club.

            • SleepingBeauty says:

              When I say age thing, I mean are they just at a point in life where they feel they “should” settle down or do they become self-conscious about not being settled down at that age? I’m sure not many women are okay with being someone’s gf for 10+ years, so even from their perspective, are they getting married to this indecisive EUM just to say they didn’t waste their time? Is this the ultimate justification to be able to say “see, I know we’ve been together 10+ years and he’s cheated relentlessly, and we’ve broken up and gotten back together more times than I can count, but he really does love me because he ALWAYS comes back and I’M the one he finally married?”

              Just a thought…

              • Grizelda says:

                SleepingBeauty it’s hard to add to what you’ve already written, but just to say I agree that a lot of men are indecisive on a permanent basis — and I mean permanently, as in to-the-grave indecisive. In those cases, their indecisiveness isn’t just a thing in itself (which maybe they get over but largely they don’t) but it’s just one symptom of a much bigger problem and an instilled belief that ‘I reserve the right to abandon who I want, when I want, whenever I want’ they will never, ever resolve.

                So to wonder ‘how can you tell when they’re no longer indecisive’ is like wondering… oh god I feel faint, like another one of my metaphores is coming on… is like wondering how you can get some kind of guarantee that someone who’s been caught stealing won’t ever steal again. It’s impossible to tell, and only in the fullness of time do they prove themselves one way or the other. Who wants to gamble on that? Anyone? In the immediate future, their pleading and promises and vows and indignant cries about how ‘you’re so unfair’ are NOT to be believed.

              • Kit-Kat says:

                Sleeping Beauty.. I am 52,have a good job & can support myself,have a home I purchased when I got divorced 12yrs ago. Have 2 children in their 20’s (one still lives with me) & 2 grandkids.I can honestly say I dont know if I ever want to get married again. But I do want a committed relationship w/someone at some point when I am ready. I worked very hard to get everything I have and have worked extremely hard to get my house the way I want it. To give it up, well, he would have to be very special :)..These are things I have been thinking about since being single for the past year. Anyway,I still trying to figuring it all out :)

                • Kit-Kat says:

                  (cont) SO I think many men are in the same position as I am.There is a saying that goes “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”…So they get all the benfits of a relationship without committing to a relationship..

  61. searcher says:

    Hey ladies. I’ve been following this site for the past three months, right before the break-up with an EUB (emotionally unavailable boy, not man). I have got to say, these posts and your comments have brought great relief to me as I am still trying to cleanse my mind of this boy and trying to quit blaming myself for his behavior and everything that went wrong. It’s been hard to move past this, as everyone I know just says to move on, but some insight into the situation would be helpful.
    I went to elementary school with this boy so I grew up seeing him around, but we never became friends. He moved away right before Junior High. We became “Facebook Friends” in 2011 but never really talked. So when I received a message from him this past May asking how I’ve been, I was a bit shocked. Now, I thought I was over the ex that came before him, which had been a tumultuous 4 year relationship, so I was flattered with the intense attention I was receiving and excited about the prospect of moving on to someone new after 2 years of being single. This new guy had said “I’ve noticed your posts and I think you’re really pretty so I decided that you’re worth it.” That didn’t hit me as a bit strange, instead I was even more flattered. He began texting me every day, morning to night, trying his best to get to know me, as I was guarded and aloof. Apparently he liked that. We began talking on the phone, having great conversation and he seemed like the perfect guy. Sweet, attentive, non-judgmental, open-minded, funny, down to earth, and didn’t have a string of ex-girlfriends. In fact, and I did find it odd, that he is the same age as me (24) and only had two girlfriends ever, the first was a 2 year relationship when he was 19 and the second was a 2 week relationship after that.
    A week after talking to each other every day, we went on our first date. He picked me up, went to a restaurant, had great conversation although I could tell he was nervous and then he asked if I wanted to go back to his place to continue talking. I didn’t really want to, especially since it was our FIRST DATE and he still lives with his parents, but the night was still young so I decided it couldn’t hurt. On the drive to his parent’s house, his personality changed. He went from this cool, mature guy to this desperate, immature boy. At his house, I told him I wanted to sit outside and continue talking but he pushed the idea of going into his room to “watch a movie”. When I told him no, that I was uncomfortable with that and found it more appropriate to not lie in his bed on our first date, he looked really upset and soooooo pathetic. I wanted to leave. I couldn’t believe how Jekyll and Hyde he turned out to be, but it was a sign of what was to come, although I ignored those red flags.
    I knew after I went home that night that I was not interested, but somehow he grew on me after texting me and calling me nonstop every day. I felt bad for him, as he’d tell me all these personal stories about his family, like his dad cheating on his mom and the divorce that was in the works for them. I knew in my heart to let him go, but I didn’t. I had gone 4 years in a codependent relationship, so I just couldn’t let go of this attention that I was getting. Anyway, this EUB fast forwarded me, laying it on thick with extreme intensity, asking how long it would be before he could “claim” me as his girlfriend, how he wanted to “show me off” to his friends. Don’t get me wrong, this guy is attractive, but the things he said just seemed really off. He wanted to get to know my personal history, but it was like pulling teeth getting to know his. Come to find out, his dad was a recovering alcoholic and had abused him and his sisters when they were kids, and according to him, his dad’s side of the family were not good at showing emotion and were pretty mean people. (I should have definitely run at this point.)
    He asked me to be his girlfriend pretty quickly and that’s when things went downhill. The very night he asked me this, I tried to help him change his Facebook status on his phone (as that’s what he wanted to do right then and there because Facebook was his addiction) but he jerked his phone away from me and said he could do it himself. He had things on his Facebook that he didn’t want me to see. Then I found out he had tried to flirt (through Facebook) with my cousin’s cousin just a few months before he started talking to me, but she rejected him because she felt he was weird. Then…(the list keeps going) he had hundreds of local single girls on his Facebook that he REFUSED to delete after becoming exclusive with me because even though he didn’t know them, he didn’t want to hurt their feelings and even said that he didn’t like the fact that I was trying to keep him from possible competition. SERIOUSLY!??! Then he’d say he didn’t mean it like that and wanted to make it work with me. The fights started to ensue, which primarily began because of his constant need to always be right and to prove his point. Then of course, it was all my fault for even participating in the argument. Every single thing was my fault in his eyes, and I helplessly watched my confidence and self-esteem go down the drain. He told me many times I was too sensitive and that in order for us to work, I had to change myself. He would emphasize that I needed to accept him for who he was and that he was not changing, but couldn’t accept me for me. I would try to get him to see how he was hurting me with his extremely harsh words but he said I pushed him to say those things. Examples include calling me a bitch, weak, crazy, psycho, argumentative, clingy, needy, too sensitive, all because I would get upset when he’d say something off the wall that was rude and thoughtless, and especially when I’d stop talking or start crying quietly to myself. When I’d cry, he never once consoled me. He said crying is for weak people and that I did it for attention, not because my feelings were hurt, and that I needed to grow a backbone. Of course during this time, he had pulled back, become distant, said he was confused as to what he wanted when in the beginning he was SO SURE and quite forceful of the fact that he wanted a relationship and he wanted it to be with me. The moment things went from pursuing mode into serious mode, he backed off. I decided we should take a break during my vacation to Las Vegas and California this past July to give him time to decide if he wanted to be with me or not, to which he agreed. He was supposed to drop me off at the airport, but then back out at the last minute. During the third day of my trip, he texted to say he wanted to break up because I was ignoring him and it felt like he didn’t have a girlfriend, and proceeded to make me feel guilty for leaving him for my vacation. I had had enough, so I told him if that’s what he wants, then fine. I had tried so hard to please him and make things right, and if he was going to pull this while I was across the country, so be it. He apologized and said he wanted to make things work, talking to me every single day of my trip after that. Telling me he thought things over and wanted to make changes for us because he wanted to be with me. Things seemed to be looking up at that point.
    Unfortunately, when he picked me up from the airport, I received no hug or anything. He put my luggage in his car and got right back in. He didn’t seem so attentive and sweet in person, and it bothered me. And of course, after sleeping together back at his place, we had a fight. Things didn’t get better after that. He still blamed me for everything, became distant again, said that he was trying to make an effort but the first fights that we had in the beginning changed his feelings towards me and it would take time for him to feel the same about me. I couldn’t believe it, since those fights stemmed from his need to challenge everything I said to prove he was superior in one way or another. A few weeks later I moved into an apartment with my sister, and shockingly, he agreed to help, but insulted me that day and really tore me down. Then after I had moved into my place, he told me that I lived too far from him now (30 minutes…….) and he didn’t like where I lived anyway, that he never drove to this city and wasn’t going to start for me.
    He had told me many times he thought we should break up but he wasn’t going to be the one to break things off. There were times when he’d just come out and tell me to break up with him. Angry as I was, I left that up to him to do, although I know it was passive-aggressive and a big mistake on my part. He ended up dumping me, then every day texting and calling to ask how I was and if he had made a mistake. With the way he was acting, I felt like he was going to say he was wrong and wanted to be with me, but then that was shot down when he’d say he needed time to be single, followed by “do you want to come over and talk about this?” Stupidly, I’d drive to see him, which led to him not wanting to talk and wanting to shag instead. Several days had passed after that with no contact when he called me one night to ask if he made a mistake, that he missed me and couldn’t quit thinking about me, that I should come over after work the next day and hang out……………………….so I did. Everything went perfectly the next day. It was as if he was a brand new guy. He asked me to be his girlfriend again, and I said yes. Then I noticed a comment he had posted on Facebook the night before right before he had called me. It said something like “Don’t get upset when a girl rejects you. There are a million other girls out there.” I knew this comment had NOTHING to do with me. Then I remembered a comment he had made during our phone conversation the night before, which went something like this: “why chase after someone who’s running away from you instead of going after the one who’s chasing after you?” I had been so caught up in the moment that I completely ignored what he had said. It all made sense now. He had been trying to hook up with another girl after we had broken up, and once she rejected him, he came back to me, the one who was “chasing after him”. Turns out, I was right. He denied everything, even with the evidence I found on his Facebook profile, and the next night he talked to me like I was a piece of sh*t so I dumped him. He told me he had not even started to fall in love with me, didn’t see himself ever falling in love with me or ever having a future with me. He said he knew we should have broken up long before but held on because he “cared” about me and wanted to see if it could work.
    This relationship only lasted three months, LAUGH OUT LOUD, but it was the most intense three months of my life. It was a roller coaster of emotions, with him blowing scalding hot, to cold, to hot, to cold, to lukewarm and on and on. He was glued to his phone a few weeks into us dating, and was constantly posting things/liking things on Facebook. He would tell me that he was with me all the time, that if he wanted to look at things on his Facebook the whole time that we’re hanging out, I should accept it. Pretty much, I had to accept everything, from the verbal abuse to the disrespectful treatment in front of his friends, to treating his parents like shit, everything. Having come across this website and reading Natalie’s blogs, I have been able to step back from the situation and clearly see those red flags that I overlooked, not only in this past relationship but every relationship I’ve ever had. I realize that he noted that he could cross boundaries with me and I would put up with it. He knocked down my boundaries until there were none left, although I’m not sure I set that many at all. I’ve also realized that since the onset of dating at the age of 15, every single ex of mine has turned out to be an EUB/EUM and an AC. The same pattern follows behind each guy I’ve been with, and I have spent years blaming myself for these failed relationships. I am choosing these guys that reflect what I believe about love, men and relationships, because I never had parents to show me unconditional love. I’ve been searching since I was a child for something to fill that void, and these men…err boys…that I’ve chosen have only harmed me. It has been almost 3 months since the EUB and I broke up. I’ve noticed he has moved on and is living his life, not contacting me once since then. I was so sure he’d come back around but I realize that he will not. He admitted to never seeing his faults and flaws, so therefore he will always believe he did nothing wrong. It has been therapeutic just typing this all out but I’m also ashamed to have fallen for this lame a**hole who took me for granted and treated me like sh*t. Why, oh why, am I still not completely over him? Why do I still think of him and become really depressed, wondering “maybe this and maybe that” when I know it wouldn’t have changed anything if I had been the most agreeable woman on the planet. I know this is a long rant, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it, but my self-esteem is shot and I’m so depressed after this long string of emotionally abusive relationships that I don’t know who I am anymore. I had been single for 2 years, trying to get over the ex of 4 years that kept popping into my life and then doing the disappearing act, to finally meet a new guy after believing I’d be alone the rest of my life, only to be sh*t on all over again. I don’t know why I can’t let go of this EUB, or why I still haven’t let go of the EUM before him, who has also happily moved on with his new girlfriend after two years of stringing me along after the four years we were together. Any insight/advice will help. Thank you.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Searcher,

      First of all, this EUB seems to be more than “just” EU. He sounds seriously controlling and abusive. So first off, thank your lucky stars you got out and STAY AWAY!

      That said, you have a lot of insight into yourself already. You may want to consider talking with a therapist. It will help immensely with building your self esteem so you quit chosing these guys. Also, I have had the same problem…picking the wrong guys. It started to actually click for me when I turned the questions around one day. I was always the one doing the work, trying to win over the a-hole. And it dawned on me, Do I want him in my life? Instead of the other way around. My honest answer was No. And it was astounding to me. Start thinking about what YOU want, instead of what the guy of the moment wants. By chasing them, we are giving away our power. It’s time to take your power back hon!

      • searcher says:

        He definitely was controlling and abusive. It sucks because I’ve went through the same sh*t before, so I KNEW what was happening to me, but I did not want to face the fact that I was putting myself through that AGAIN after promising I’d never let another guy treat me like that.

        I’m glad you understand what I went through and am still going through. I just can’t seem to understand the “logic” behind it all. How can these guys live with themselves after treating every woman they meet like they are sh*t?!

        • Allison says:

          Searcher,

          More importantly, focus on why you stuck around? You cannot change his behavior, but you can change your own.

          • searcher says:

            To be honest, I can say I stuck around because I was lonely and I felt like I couldn’t deal with being rejected again after everything I’ve went through. So I tried, tried and tried some more to make it work. I see now how abusive I’ve been with myself, by allowing myself to deal with abuse from others and making excuses for them.

            I’m getting to know myself more and more…and it makes me very sad.

    • FX says:

      searcher, My heart and brain hurt while reading your blow by blow of you romanticizing complete assholery. He may be a garden variety asshole but he also fits patterns of the M.O. of Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Idealize, Devalue, Discard. (You may want to check out Lisa Scott’s The Path Forward site.)

      It seems you have some insight by referring to your childhood issues and my first recommendation would be to print out your post and find a good therapist to bring it to pronto. You need to stop the insanity by getting the help to give you the tools to fill that void in yourself.

      It sounds like you can see that you did not just miss red flags, you were bleeding out red blood in the flashing red lights of an ambulance and wanted/want to go back for more damage. Stop! There is nothing to miss in these men. You need to figure out why it “hurts so good” and fix what’s broken so being abused loses its appeal to you.

      Read, read, read here, too, of course! NML and all the BR folks have stories that led/are leading to growth and we will support your efforts to say “I am not that woman.” (I think that’s the name of one of NML’s post’s you should read here ASAP.) Sending you a hug and best wishes that you have the epiphany that “He’s not that special.” Or, even special at all – but you are and deserve so much better.

    • SM says:

      Searcher wow here’s my advise for what its worth. Stop dating, make a life around friends, building a career, etc.. Read Nats book, Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. You said right at the beginning that you didnt even want to see the guy again after the first date. If possible get therapy to help you learn why you dont heed your own warning system. Or just start practicing listening to yourself on small things and acting on it. Get serious about working on this now, dont do like I did and keep repeating this pattern til you’re 40.

    • Sejal says:

      Hey…
      I too somehow faced a similar reltionship…
      But my guy was diffrent..
      He assured me that he wont even talk to another woman and that i m everythng to him..but in return he shattered me in everyway possible..i m still graduating and he is 26yrs..he wanted me to not to go to college..classes.he dint want me to do a job..even though i m a studious person and have always been a topper on school.he never appreciated me of what i am.
      He asked me to leave all my friends..he asked me to disjoin my colege..even when i go to my charterd accountancy classes..he would calll a million times..just to see that i m not talking to anyone there…
      I tolerated all this..coz i wanted my guy to be mine nly..he shidnt look at other women..i just wanted this..and in return..he bounded me completely..i failed in my exams..i had no peer group..plus he wud syop talking to me at slghtest of things..he wud ge abusive..to the extent of saying me a whore.
      I belong to a decent educated indian family..and having relationships before marriage is so unacceptable here…but i was so sure he would marry me.so i accepted his proposal..
      Now when he trapped me into all this..he completelly knnew that i cannot back out..as his parents know abt me..
      Everysingle day..he would try to cut my wings..as in..i had to compromise on my little.little wishes..infront of him..
      He would always doubt at me..that i meet other guys behind his backk…and i swear on god,,forget about guys..and have not even met my girlfrinds behind his back..
      Just imagine u not living ur life,,but living a
      Ofe which any one else expects u to live..
      He would abise my dad..insult me in public places..and instaed og being soorry..he wud say,,this all is becoz of love..he loves me..and therfore he can treat me anyway..he was such a dual personality..that i cannot recognise his trrue colours.for a long time..
      I was so againdt this boyfriend concept years back..
      And when thus guy came..he claimed to live me like no one else can..bring me stars frm sky…give me heavenly life..i was so swayed by his feeling..(whichi now realise was to only bring me closer to him..))
      I feel so stupid..so dumb..so cheated..an emotional fool.
      I wuld cry for hours in the night..and he would swithch hic cell phn down and go to sleep…next day..in e morning..yell abuses to me..and go to his work..i was in hell..
      But i tolerated all this coz my heart felt that i cud nly be happy with him..

      This was my story..only a bit of it..which i wanted to tell you..
      I m now enjoying my life..i m rejuvenating my lost selfesteem and ego..
      I want to now develop a high self confidence..,to face the realities of life..
      This is just a little beggining..life is abt harsh realitied and not a bed of roses…
      This is what a believe..
      U forgot that guy..
      The one who will truly love you..wil come to u..god will himself send him to you..So stop searching for animals who just want to mae us weak..and vulnerable..
      A true man.who genuinly love..will make us stronger,..

      • searcher says:

        Sejal, you’re so right about that. A good guy will come along and to stop searching for animals (that’s exactly what they are) who just want to make us weak and vulnerable, because that’s exactly how low we’ve been broken down when they decide they’re done with the abuse and move onto the next.

        I can resonate with your story because I too put aside my education, friends and family for a guy years ago who told me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me. Then the controlling started, where I wasn’t allowed to have ANY friends (I lost every friend I had ever had at that point in time), I wasn’t ever allowed to look in the direction of another guy or I’d be accused of staring at them. I couldn’t even have friendly conversation with the men in his family or he’d accuse me of flirting with them. My life was a living hell as well. Since then, I’ve grown a lot but I obviously still need help to sort out my issues.

        I can say though, I feel grateful everyday that my life is not like that anymore, and I am very happy for you that you no longer are putting up with the abuse from that guy. We both need to take back our self-esteem, confidence and power. I also hope that you have continued your education, as it really saddens me that he took that away from you.

        Hugs!!

        • Sejal says:

          Searcher.

          But sometimes..infact most of the times..i think he had given me the greatest love which i could ever get..whenever we used to be together ..watching tv.or having meals together..he had shown me love that never had imagined..and that is why i cant forget him..he had shown me concern that only parents can show..but at this care and concern was till the time i am with him.once i m out of the house for some work..or with mom..he would statr doubting me .whehther i m with someone..
          I just can make out who is the real him..the loving and caring..or the doubtful one would think me a roadside bitch and never respected me for what i am..when i think about the incidents on which he insulted me badly..i make an excuse to me..that what if he insulted me..he loves me also…and that the insult was not planned neither he deliberately did it..but then when my mind starts taking over..i feel like giving him a piece of his own cake.so that he cud never insult anyother woman in his life ever..
          But frankly .i could never do this..
          Why was he so inconsisitent in his behaviour..?? Can u tell..
          Also ..he would always tell me..not to cheat him..especially when he knew.that i was so damn serious abt him..i have planned my life ,kids,,with him..and that is not a small thing..he could understand that i want him only…
          Is anger the cause of his behavioral ups and downs..or his lack of trust in me..??

          • Allison says:

            Sejal,

            This guy sounds incredibly insecure, it will not matter what you do, he will never be capable of trusting – I would also question his fidelity to you, as you have never been unfaithful.

            This man will not change, he is highly manipulative and emotionally abusive, unfortunately, this behavior will only get worse.

            I know it is close to impossible to divorce in your culture, but I would strongly consider it if you want some form of peace. What do you parents say about this?

            • Sejal says:

              I not married to him.
              I wanted to marry him..
              I will tell everything to my parents soon.

            • Sejal says:

              Yea i have also started thinking the same way..i have now realised that he is wrong..
              You are correct..i have also seen his insecurity..many times…
              his parents know…i m 19 right
              Now..i wanted to marry him in another 2-3 years.

          • searcher says:

            Sejal,
            You are still with him, am I correct?

            He sounds exactly like my ex. My ex always accused me of flirting with other men, when he also knew how serious I was about him and that I would have never done anything to hurt him. But that’s the thing you have to remember: they KNOW you are serious about them so they use that to their advantage to get what they want. It turns out, after all the accusing my ex did towards me, HE ended up being the one cheating on me the majority of the time we were together, using me for all that he could get and then dumping me for his ex when he was finished. People tend to blame and accuse others for the very thing that THEY are guilty of.

            You should not trust this man, nor should you feel that he is treating you badly because he loves you. Love does NOT hurt. Love is not controlling, abusive, jealous, or manipulative. Love is respectful, caring, honest, accepting. I’m sorry but he does not know what love is. It took me YEARS to finally realize the truth of my situation with my ex. I realized that he didn’t know how to love because he didn’t even love himself. He was insecure and extremely jealous and controlling, and projected all of those awful things onto me, trying to make me feel like I was the one doing something wrong. Your guy’s inconsistent behavior is due to the fact that he is an ABUSER, he has serious issues that he needs to resolve before he can truly love someone.

            I know it’s hard for you to figure out who is the real him: the good guy or the bad guy. Sometimes I think the good side of them can be genuine, but it’s rare. My ex, deep down, had a little bit of goodness in him. I knew him very well so I knew that he did at least have somewhat of a heart. But the bad side of him was more dominant, and that WAS his true self. You have to realize that, regardless of how your guy may treat you when you’re alone together, doesn’t excuse the fact that he manipulates and mentally abuses you. If he truly loved you, he would treat you with respect at all times. And what has all of this abuse caused you to do? It’s caused you to doubt yourself and to believe that you could be wrong when you know that it isn’t right. You HAVE to trust yourself. We all do.

            I really feel for you, as I used to think that the “love” I had with my ex was the greatest love of all. The connection we had and how we had almost everything in common with each other, how good he COULD treat me at times, among other things, used to make me think that he’d change, that we were meant to be together, that I could be the exception. But through time, and especially from reading Natalie’s blogs, I’ve realized that none of that shit matters!! I can have all of those things, the connection and all, with someone who ACTUALLY respects me and treats me the way I know I deserve to be treated, and forget about being the exception. You have to wake up and see that too. I’m saddened that it took away years of my life before I realized this, but I hope it doesn’t take you long to see the light. I was scared of the pain I’d suffer once I left my ex, but the pain was totally worth it now that I’m free and I know the truth.

            If it were true love, he’d ENCOURAGE you to finish with your education, keep your friends and family around, to do things that make you happy, to keep your LIFE! Your life is about YOU and it doesn’t revolve around the other people in it. You deserve so much better than that. Listen to yourself.

    • Victorious says:

      Hi searcher, two things struck me as I read your post. 1. He was attracted to you because you were aloof, and 2. He was Jekyll and Hyde. Along with all the rest I think he does sound like a narcissist. Be very careful. He may try to come back again. These people are dangerous. Think of him as if he has leprosy and do not go near him. No contact at all. Good luck.

    • Allison says:

      Searcher,

      This guys is emotionally abusive, manipulative and controlling! He is dangerous! It is time for you take some control of your life by seeking therapy and by blocking all access this guy has to your life – get a new phone number.

      You are on a highly destructive path!

    • Grizelda says:

      Searcher, no contact ever again is especially important for you. You think three months NC is a long time? It isn’t — there are ladies on BR who will tell you how their EUM, MM, narcissist, abuser or garden-variety AC came back well over a year later for no other reason than to attempt to play merry hell again with their lives. You have to fortify yourself against this.

      I’m not going to advise you to ‘move on’ or ‘let go’ — you’re obviously still standing there in the smoking wreckage. That’s not the right time or place to be told ‘you have to get over it, you have to move on’. It’s too early for that kind of talk. So I’m just going to say ‘work on getting rid of your feelings’ instead. That comes first. That comes well before (and leads directly to!) getting over it and moving on.

      How to reduce your feelings? You probably know the drill. First is NC, and I mean de-friend him on Facebook forthwith. Second is remove all physical traces and reminders. Third is keep reading BR and any other useful sites for support and relief. And the rest is whatever you need to expel your bad emotional energy (give yourself an hour a day to scream and cry, get a bunch of pens and a notebook and journal everything out, write his name a thousand times on a sheet of paper and burn it — whatever you do, just expel expel expel).

      What NOT to do? Do not think about him ‘getting on with his life’ or whatever because women, when they do that, have a way of inventing, selecting, and contemplating whatever imaginary scenario hurts them the most emotionally. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Don’t tell me you haven’t been there because I know you have! We all have! And it feels awful doesn’t it? Like your fist keeps coming up and giving you a black eye? Well isn’t that pointless?

      Work on getting rid of your feelings and the rest will come easy. Then you can start examining how to avoid repeat performances in future.

      • searcher says:

        Thank you Grizelda! I LOLed at the part where I should write his name a bunch of times and then burn it. I’ve been feeling like I need to burn something lately to get some of this anger out, so I may have to do that. Holding it all in is not doing me any good.

        I blocked him on Facebook months ago, deleted his number and all of his pictures, and I have been reading these blogs for awhile. I think I just need to be more active in stopping my thoughts from turning to him and our “good times”, and as FX said, “romanticizing complete assholery”. I need to actively stop these thoughts once they start and replace them with something else!!

        And yes, I have a bad habit of thinking of him getting on with his life and treating some other girl the way he treated me when he was in “hot” mode. It hurts like frickin hell and makes me feel so much worse, so thank you for saying that because I will definitely quit doing it. I didn’t realize how detrimental that can be.

        Getting over it? Hopefully one day. Getting rid of my feelings for him? Actively starting that as we speak. Thank you so much.

        • Learner says:

          hi searcher,
          I agree with what the others have said about this boy, and I am glad you have decided to stay away from him. You spoke of replacing thoughts of him, and decreasing your feelings for him, and I want to share something with you that may help.

          I call it “Project Memory Replacement”

          I found myself romanticizing about the A-holery too. Thinking and wishing and dreaming about “what might have been”. I got sick of it and it was making me feel stuck, especially when I saw things that reminded me of him. So I purged myself of almost all the things he ever gave me (except for the hoodie I am wearing right now – it will go when I feel completely over him -which may take a bit as I stuck it out for 3 years)

          Anyway, the Memory Replacement part is this:
          Anything that I associate with him, I am now making new memories with someone else. For example, I was taking courses with him, that leads to a certificate. I almost dropped out, but I decided to continue taking the courses with a best friend. So far I have been lucky that he hasn’t signed up for the same course – I would drop out if he did.

          Second, I have started visiting the places we used to go with new people – friends, family members. As I forge new memories with these other people, the memories of him become a bit more distant, and the romanticizing diminishes.

          What do you think? Could this work for you?
          Hugs xo

          • Learner says:

            oops, I mean I would switch courses if he signed up for the same one I did. He is NOT going to ruin my chances of getting this certificate!

            • searcher says:

              Learner,
              You are a GENIUS!!!!! How long have you been using this technique?? And unfortunately, after the purging, I still have an old hoodie too.

              I definitely have an issue with things that remind me of my last ex, and the one before him. I always thought that I’d eventually desensitize myself to the pain when recalling memories that were attached to specific places and things. Wrong….that gut-wrenching agony never seemed/seems to go away.

              Memory Replacement is exactly what I need to do! I agree that forging those haunted memories with happy new ones will completely replace them and then one day, an old memory may pop up and you’ll feel….nothing!!! This reminds me of my ex of 4 years, how there is this one specific Mediterranean restaurant that he took me to in the beginning stages of our relationship and we would go there quite often throughout our time together. There are so many memories at that place that just driving by it would cause me to cry hysterically. After the breakup, some friends of mine wanted to go to a bar just a few buildings down from the restaurant. While my friends and I were walking to the bar, they pointed out that we should go to the restaurant afterwards. Keeping myself collected, I told them that, although that is my favorite restaurant and the food is amazing, I could never set foot in there again. Ever. Since then, I’ve moved away from that city where my ex lives, to get away from him and all the memories there, but I have to wonder, if I had forged some new memories there with my friends that night, I may have been able to actually enjoy my favorite restaurant again while I still lived in that area. If only I had known of this sooner…. :)

              I’m glad your ex hasn’t signed up for the same course with you! And I’m very happy that it didn’t cause you to drop out. Go you!!! Doing what we love and aspire to should always come first, regardless of these ACs!! I’m definitely going to start using this technique ASAP!!

              XOXO

          • Soozie says:

            Oh Learner -that is so smart!!!!

            I am going to do the same thing.

  62. Lilia says:

    Confused123:
    This guy sounds just like my father. When you don´t know him well he can be the most charming, funny, laid-back person in the world. He is understanding, supportive and a bit irreverent.

    But beware!

    After a while you discover that he is terribly manipulative, indecisive, selfish. And one of his typical “games” is to put women against one another. When he was a boy, he liked to make his mother jealous by being extra sweet towards his aunt. When he was with my mother, he would flirt with other women in her face and even had an affair with her youngest sister.
    He even tries to make me jealous of his partner´s daughter, she would sort of be my stepsister and I really like her so luckily I´m aware enough now not to fall into his game.

    But it is soul-destroying to have any emotional relationship with someone like that.
    Please take care of yourself and flee asap.

  63. grace says:

    Searcher
    We know you’ve no problem meeting men so you can shelve that anxiety.
    If, like me, you bounced from one crappy relationship to another, there is likely to be a moment when you think, hang on something isn’t right here.
    Your moment has come! Scary but wonderful.
    Start with mr unavailable and the fallback girl. It really helps to strip the mystique from these relationships and reveal them for the sorry commonplace state of affairs that they are.

    Don’t see these guys anymore. No Facebook, nothing.

  64. Jelby says:

    Sleeping beauty. It hasn’t happened for me yet but I guess it’s when their actions match their words. When they say they’ve changed and their actions over a prolonged period of time show they’ve changed and you feel respected and cared for and you don’t have to make excuses to yourself or others about them, then maybe it’s the real deal?

  65. Jennifer says:

    Exactly. I got the “I don’t wanna hurt you” bs from my ex. It’s like, we’ll then don’t asshole. I also got the “You’re so sensitive” bs too. What a jackass. Stringing me along until something better came along or until his ex decided to talk to him again. A real piece of work that assclown. In all fairness, I was so on the fence about him too. I chose to deny and ignore the red flags. I was secretly happy they were there because I thought it’d buy me time until I was ready to committ. All I purchased was a big far bag of heartbreak. I want my money back. Refund please, you a hole, you effing wasted mt time. Actually, I learned a lot if difficult and very painful but necessary lessons. At least the a hole gave me a shit load of damn good music. Musicians. Ha.

  66. Nicholas says:

    I just ended a six year relationship with a woman who kept me jumping through endless hoops proving my worthiness to her, including her having and affair with an old flame.
    Although I am heartbroken – I love her two children as if they were my own – I know that it’s the right thing for me to do for myself. I can’t tell you how many times I was promised the moon – classic future faker – and then had the rug pulled out from under me. I am not only heartbroken, I’m exhausted. After I ended things she sent me email after email, and even showed up at my door under the pretense of me helping her with her iPod. She wanted to talk about our relationship. I basically had to break up with her all over again. The bizarre thing is that she doesn’t seem to understand how her appalling treatment of me led to my ending things with her. Anyway, she can’t be that heartbroken, as she’s been out socializing every weekend since we broke up. I’m a wreck, and she’s partying like its 1999.
    One of the hardest things to accept is that I hoped that she had some depth, but it turns out she’s shallow as a summer puddle…

    • Green says:

      Hey…
      Cna u please tell me..if a man doesnot give his time..he doesnt tell u anything about his family..his business..how his relationship with his family is..
      Can be true to his lover.,??
      Can a man be so much aggresive that he uses foul language..and thrn makes the excuse that he loves..also..
      Would u let ur gf call u a 1000times..and then also not pick the phn..and let her dialling u again and again….!??

      • NK says:

        If a man doesn’t tell you anything about his business or family then your’e either a booty call, short time fling or he’s already in a relationship with someone else.
        If he’s aggressive thats maybe a amber or likely to be a red flag (look at this on another post).
        Not picking up the phone is not cool either. Sounds like he playing a game with you. Are you willing to accept this behaviour? or do you want more form him?

      • lavellh says:

        That isn’t love. When there is no effort, quiality or consideration there can’t be love. I know that it is hard but you have stop doing this or shall I say letting him do this to you.

      • Allison says:

        Green,

        There is no relationship here. What’s worse, is that he emotionally abusive and manipulative, and showing no respect.

        Remember, words mean nothing! His actions show he is not incorporating you into his life and treating you like crap! Why are you sticking around?

        Is he involved or married?

        • Green says:

          No..he isnt married neither he is involved..
          He assured me that i m only one he in his life..
          Everygorl wud ant that her guy shudnt cheat on her..i also wantes the same..but in return he doesnt give the place which i think i deserve..
          People often say why are u so crazy about him..but i dont know why..i just can see him..we have planned together our future..our kids..our room..
          I think in my heart that he is the hero..nut my mind knows his reality.

          • Allison says:

            Green,

            Only look at reality! Can you imagine what type of father he would be? Do you plan to raise your kids on your own – he would not be an active partner?

            If everyone is telling you to get out, then they are clearly seeing unhealthy behavior you ignore.

            How much of the time do you feel good with this guy? How much of the time are you stressing over his disrespectful behavior?

            Please know that if you think his behavior is bad now, it will get much worse. This guy is not relationship material!

            Time to examine why this is OK for you. Please get out!

            • Sejal says:

              I know u r right.
              Infact my freinds say the same..u also said the same thing..i guess i am overshadowing the truth..

              Thanks..for advicing me..

    • Allison says:

      Nicholas,

      I’m not try to be mean, but she showed you who she was throughout the relationship, but you choose to ignore. Even after all this, you are hoping she will have some insight, I would ask yourself, why this is of concern after the way you were treated.

      I would do some self examination, and try to understand what kept you there so no long, as this was not healthy. Once you recognize your participation in the ‘relationship’ you will be on a road to healing, but if you see yourself as a victim, you will continue the pattern.

      • Allison says:

        Also, why do you keep calling this guy when he doesn’t return your call?

        Please get out of this craziness!

    • Revolution says:

      Nicholas,

      Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer. It’s a bitch, isn’t it? Sorry you had to deal with this type of treatment. It’s so painful to be on the receiving end of such (at best) neglectful behavior.

      I did want to say something about your ex and her partying. It’s a possibility that she is dealing with “losing” you (even though she instigated it through bad behavior) by numbing out and seeking sensation as a way to dull her pain and/or confusion.

      At any rate, now that you’ve seen that she’s been jerking you around all this time and that this is not a healthy dynamic, use the tools here on BR to realize that it wasn’t anything you did to make her EU, nor can you “fix” her. That’s her job. All you can do is damage control, and then look to see that it doesn’t happen again, for the sake of your own poor, battered heart. Be cautiously optimistic in the future with relationships. And while you’re grieving, come talk to us here if need be. We’re rooting for you. ((Hugs))

  67. Jule says:

    This is my problem and I don’t know what to do. I have to admit, I feel like I’m the confused one and the indecisive one these days as I dip my toes in the dating pool. It seems most of you here KNOW you want a long, committed relationship. You all sound like you have the time to invest in what I WILL have time for SOME FINE DAY. It’s not that I don’t want love and happiness and commitment by someone (I do!) but I don’t know if I can do the 24/7 girlfriend thing for anyone. I’ve been divorced for almost 3 years so I’m ready to do so emotionally but my life is pretty strapped. I think I’ve been struggling a lot lately with deciding to either cut ties or stick with this guy JUST FOR NOW on his terms because in a way, he does take care of a some needs of mine occasionally and doesn’t ask so much of me and my time. I know that sounds bad, but here’s the thing – I’m a single mom of a young child (under 7) and I work a LOT and my child’s father lives far away. The father does see our child but not a lot and so most of the child rearing falls on my shoulders (surprise!). So, I don’t have a ton of free time for a relationship to develop. I can’t just leave at the drop of a hat to go do something fun. I’ve had to turn men down because I can’t get a sitter quickly and they never call again. Even my girl friends don’t get it. They can’t seem to understand that I can’t just go here and there whenever I want to. Their kids are grown. Meanwhile, when my child gone, I see a man who is sexy to me, is single, but is not open right now to full on bf/gf commitment. He is an EUM and he admits it. He went through a bad divorce. He’s been pretty straight about that from the beginning. He hasn’t hidden the fact that there have been other women he slept with and yes he is online dating. Now, when we are together, we have a great time and it’s very freeing to me. We have a connection on more levels than just sex too but a big part is the physical.

    He has told me he likes his space. I have to admit, most of the time, I need mine too. And I need it to do the other very demanding parts of my life.

    I suppose I’m having trouble with the whole “casual” thing and just letting it be what it is without full expectation, without being the love of his life, etc. I’m not used to this!! I was married for most of my adult life so I guess I still expect a one-on-one LOVE affair. If I didn’t have the major responsibilities I have, I probably wouldn’t put up with this pseudo relationship but I’m just trying to balance everything and he makes it easy that way. The thing that rips me to pieces is my desire to be loved and respected by the man I sleep with. I wouldn’t be with anyone else right now even though he would. I’m old fashioned. I’m in my mid 40s with a young child (most men don’t want to take that on), a full time job and other major commitments. No one else is breaking down my door to have a real relationship with me now and I would probably have to pass on it anyway unless he is a homebody and doesn’t mind staying in night after night with a mommy. I’ve been having trouble with this since mid summer. Yes there are some red flags and yes he has AC tendencies but it’s not like I want to marry him. To be honest, I’m prepared to be alone for the rest of my life. I have already made peace with that idea. So I am ok with being alone and I’m very independent. I just want the occasional break from it all. Does that make me crazy or immoral or ?

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      I don’t think you’re crazy or immoral but it’s clear from your post that this situation is not satisfying despite the fact that it seems almost reasonable. Busy single mom is getting some attention and affection from somebody, getting some needs met without a heavy relationship, which is all either of them want at the moment – everything is peachy, right?

      But look what you wrote “the thing that rips me to pieces is my desire to be love and respected by the man I sleep with.” Meaning that this is not what you’re experiencing at the moment. You say you can’t do the casual thing, that you’re old-fashioned. You’re uneasy about it, you know you want more. Clearly, you are engaged in a “good enough for right now” situation, but it sounds like he is getting the better end of the bargain. It seems like this is better than being alone, but is it? Only you can decide if the “great times” you’re having outweigh the discomfort you’re feeling.

      • Lilia says:

        Jule, I´m in exactly the same situation, only with two kids.
        They are emotionally very dependent on me since their dad ran off with someone else a little over 3 years ago. Also, I can´t just get out whenever I want to, I think that just goes with child rearing.

        The thing is, I´ve been in these setups of pseudo relationships with men who don´t demand too much of my time and it seemed very convenient in the beginning but left me feeling terrible at the end. I just ended up feeling used and worthless because what I really wanted was to be loved by those men. I also developed feelings for them, I can´t separate sex from love as they seemed to do.

        There was this 45 year old divorced father of two who on paper looked like the perfect fit but he ended up being a player and unavailable for something more serious. After coming on strong he displayed the typical AC behaviour of texting me to have sex in the middle of the day, even skipping going out on a date before. So his lack of respect for me made my sexual desire for him cool down completely.

        I´m not sure if I´m all that ready to jump into something new at this moment, I feel I have a lot of healing to do. A lot of my (emotional) energy goes into raising my children and I´m thankful to have them in my life. I do think, however, that I need to step away from “good enough” guys because I´ve found that it´s better to avoid all the stress that goes with those relationships.

        A friend of mine was also a single mom for years until she met a single dad and they got married. So those things are possible, there are men who enjoy being with a mommy, only you have to change your preferences to be able to see them through all the supposed glamour of “only okay for some sexual attention” guys. Not sure if that makes sense.

        • Jule says:

          Yes Lilia, your last comment does make total sense. It has to do with being ok with humdrum. It is starting to look more and more appealing to me every day.

          Thanks for responding. Sometimes I feel so alone in this situation but I know there are other mommies dealing with this.

          My first two kids are grown and gone so I know how fast it goes. My youngest will be 6 and is amazing — she is the love of my life and I’m blessed to have her in my life. Honestly, just being with her feels like enough love I will ever need — I just know that she will grow up and have her own life eventually and I don’t want to heap the responsibility on her of making her mommy happy and not lonely.

          We will get through this time and enjoy the precious moments, with or without the nice guys or assclowns. Thanks again for sharing!

      • Jule says:

        Thank you Sadder but Wiser. Yes, he is getting the better deal for sure. He doesn’t have to try at all. I like how you asked the question
        “better than being alone or is it?” that is a good question I will ponder — because being alone really isn’t all that bad. After I posted, it was a little clearer to me that if all was well, I wouldn’t be on this board and bringing this up. I think I know what I have to do.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Jule. I know exactly where your coming from. I am trying to find a way to make this a short and a to the point post. After my divorce 12yrs ago I was single for a couple years. Then met the ex-EUM on a dating site. He was very attractive,educated, polite & did all the right things to make me fall in love with him. He also traveled alot for work so I had my free time (which I treasured & felt I needed). We were together 9 yrs. In the beginning it worked great. I had 2 children to raise,work full time, keep a roof over our heads ect and he had a bi-polar ex wife & 2 kids of his own to help raise. I did express my desire to be exclusive & he agreed. Looking back I am unsure of his exclusivity during our time together but it really doesnt matter now. I was naive in the world of dating after being married a very long time. I trusted him, had him on a pedastal,and was committed to us. I didnt push for anything more because I was content & happily living my life. Part of me would have married him in a minute and the other part was scared of giving up my independence & freedom. Anyway,he met someone one night at a bar and it was an instant bolt of lightening that he wanted to explore a relationship w/her. Knowing him as well as I did I suspected something different immediatly and confirmed my suspicions by looking thru his text messages (which I had never done or thought about doing B4).Anyway, I was devastated . I had just lost my mother to cancer 2 mths prior & was trying to grieve her loss and now I had to deal w/this. She told me right B4 she passed that this man was not the man for me. That she wanted me to find someone to love me & take care of me for the rest of my life and he was not the one. She was so right, he was not the one for me. Sometimes I think back & realize I was always walking on eggshells waiting for what happaned to happan. I had suspicions for a long time but didnt want to face them because I didnt want to loose him/us..I was living in a fantasy relationship in my mind and I paid a very high price in the end. I had to go NC for my sanity..It was so hard, he had become such a huge part of my life but it was over,done & I had to take care of me. This site has been a god-send in so many ways. SO my words to u are to proceed w/caution. Be true to yourself. Your wants ,your needs & ask yourself if your willing to waste years on someone who in the end w/tear your world apart. If I had to do it again knowing what I know now ?? IDK . They say to love & lost is better to have never loved at all..HMMMMM

      • Jule says:

        Kit Kat, your message actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that pain after 9 years together! I just don’t understand how he could have done that. Thanks for sharing your story and understanding where I am coming from. Actually, I know that if I stick with this guy I’ll be in the same boat. I know he can’t be trusted. He cheated on his wife (I didn’t know him then but he admitted it to me) and now he’s been divorced for like 5 years and won’t commit to being exclusive. He answers my questions like a politician — very careful not to give too much about himself, his intentions, his feelings. I know I need to move on from him. Just that one little part of me wants to reserve him for fun in the moment stuff. Last weekend I felt terrible after I spent time with him. I guess that says a lot.

  68. Claudia says:

    Dear Natalie,

    Finding your blog some months ago and still following it has been of great help in my detox process. Like many of your readers, I have lived the devastating experience of spending time and energy on a relationship with an EUM while of course ignoring all the red flags and that little voice inside that’s always right. After all that abuse I was inflicting on myself by letting him trespass many of my boundaries, my body couldn’t take all that self-neglect any longer, I literally collapsed, but survived. I will not bore you with the details because it is a long story and because it belongs to the past, all I can say is that you have brought light to what I refused to see within myself and that is the best contribution a friend can make.

    Thank you.

    I’ll keep reading your posts for reminders :)
    I live in Colombia…just wish so many women I know could read your blog…but they can only speak Spanish :(

  69. tired says:

    I had some of his stuff left and had and i admit that hed get intouch to get it back . but it slowly dawned on me its replacable . so i went down where we first met and it all started and threw it in the sea and ended it . i cried got it out me system and on i go x keep strong br girls keep on keeping on

  70. Soozie says:

    This satirical article in The Onion may not be super relevant to this post but I think it is relevant to BR in general and it is kind of funny.

    “My Ex-Girlfriend Must Be Getting Pretty Desperate To Keep Answering All Of My Calls”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/my-exgirlfriend-must-be-getting-pretty-desperate-t,29704/

    • Lilia says:

      Oh God… thanks for posting, Soozie.

      I´m never ever answering any calls again, lol.

    • Victorious says:

      Baaaaahaaahaaa!!!!!! I laughed out loud. Over and over again! God I can never call him ever again after reading that. Funniest thing I have read in ages, thanks so much for posting the link!

    • P. says:

      OMG, my ex from the 80s just called me up after 10+ years and I totally talked to him. he was concerned about my divorce and my “sexual life”… Now I don’t know what to think!!!
      Excellent article!

      • Freya says:

        P.

        I had an ex call after roughly 10 years and want to talk about sex and whether sex is just sex or does it contain feeling. I was genuinely really happy to hear from him since I was going through a terrible break up. Once I got talking to him it came out that his wife was cheating on him with her ex so he decided he would start calling his exes and NOT have sex with them. That way he wouldn’t ACTUALLY be cheating. I curtly told him to bugger off!

    • searcher says:

      OMG!!!

      Thank you for posting this. I am NEVER EVER answering the phone when the past calls again.

      Total wake up call.

    • FX says:

      Soozie, Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  71. Wise ol owl says:

    Natalie–thank you for your post on this thread. Ive always thought of BR (and im relatively new here)as a place to improve. I have taken the advice given out by not only you, but the many readers/posters without even having to go into minute personal details. Suffice it to say, NC works when you are not thinking/behaving in a way that will benefit you. It ALWAYS works because it frees us. I do also agree that we get a bit emotionally invested and worry about the women who get stuck, repeat the same cycle, come online for advice, reject it, and as you would say, “lather, rinse, repeat.” Thank you for not only trying to protect the integrity of the site, but the integrity of all who come to BR for advice, support, & enlightenment.

  72. Confused123 says:

    Ladies:
    Thank you all for your feedback and opinion. I truly appreciate it. My biggest issue is that I don’t know how dating works now a days. After being married for 15 years, I’m re-entering a world that I’m clueless about. I took a solid year off after the divorce to find myself, love myself and be comfortable being alone. Now, I’m dating for about 6 months and I’m baffled to say the least.
    I’m clueless, like how often should a guy contact you? Daily? Weekly?
    I’ve been reading this blog a lot lately but I also bought a lot of dating books and I’m reading about things like “men being rubber bands”, “uncertainty” etc. I’m horribly confused and my heart has been bruised lately and I’m a little too trusting for my own good. So many many red flags, EUM and AC it’s scary.

    • searcher says:

      It is scary when you read how, once a man gives you too much attention, they pull back and disappear into their “cave” because you’re getting too close for comfort, and how you should not even ask them what the problem is for fear of coming off as desperate and clingy, to just let them disappear and once they come back, pretend like nothing happened and you’re not phased. SERIOUSLY?! How love and intense feelings scare them, that a question about how they feel and what’s going on when they’re acting like an EUM will cause them to run away, it’s all bullsh*t. Guys are said to be so simple, yet to me, they seem so complicated. Your post struck something with me because I remember reading books like that a few years ago and thinking the same thing: this is really confusing.

      • Jennifer says:

        Searcher,

        I’ve read books like that. And actually had a few very unavailable men recommend them to me. I remember being confused at advice like that. This is why baggage reclaim is so special: it’s honest. The “man cave” advice is bs. Unavailable men are authors, host seminars and basically do what they gotta do to keep lying to themselves and sucker people into believing the hype just as they do women. I remember thinking something was “off” when I read popular “relationship” advice books. Something was off–way off. Trust that gut girl! We now what’s right/shady. On some level we know everything. Search for it. It’s worth it. Stay strong. There’s a lot of dumb ideas that get written into books and sold to naive women. I was one of them…until BR. Super glad I made it here.

        • searcher says:

          Jennifer,
          I KNOW RIGHT?! I read a lot of that stuff with my last ex, excusing his behavior due to the fact that he may be “scared of his feelings” for me and that he just needs some space to come back around. What a crock of sh*t. I think you are absolutely right, those EUM are writing these books. And that Evan Marc Katz guy is just about THE biggest joke out there. Reading his website just one time had me fuming and ready to send out some hate mail due to the way he seems to always put down women and excuse men’s bad behavior, as if we need to just shut up and let them do what they want, regardless of how it makes us feel.

          I’m not even going to get started on him. Anyway, I think deep down we know everything too. We just need to stop….and listen. Oh, and of course, read BR!!!

    • Victorious says:

      Confused I was also in this state when I met the Narc/EUM. I had not dated anyone new for 18 years, had been separated/getting divorced for 2 years. I DID NOT HAVE A CLUE. I was really vulnerable and happened to fall into the evil clutches of the narc, who no doubt sniffed out my vulnerability like the emotional vampire he is. I had no intention whatsoever of getting into dating/relationships, but was so bowled over by the idealization stage of his cycle that I fell into it and gave him everything I had emotionally/physically/financially. Please do not think you are alone in this. You will make mistakes just as I did but we grown stronger from them and maybe there is a reason for it all. we live and we learn. There can’t really be hard and fast rules. I have a very busy life and am happy to see a partner once, max twice a week. Others might find this totally insufficient. What BR has taught me is that you should be looking at what makes you happy, and what behaviour falls inside your personal boundaries, rather than applying someone elses limits to your relationship life. If you are happy to speak 2 or 3 times a week then that is clearly fine. If you are unhappy if you don’t hear from your partner every day then that is also fine. It is time for us to speak up and ask for what we want. I for one have tried it the other way and it certainly didn’t work for me.

    • Freya says:

      Let me guess…the book was written by a man. :)

  73. Confused123 says:

    Natalie:
    Please can you do an article on “re-entering dating”? It would really really help me.
    I’m so lost on even the basics.

  74. searcher says:

    FX, SM, Victorious, Allison, Grace, thank you SO much for your kind words! I absolutely NEEDED to hear someone else say what I already know: that this guy is CRAZY! A waste of my time and he is dangerous. Grace, I’m glad the moment has come where I realize that something is very, very wrong with this picture and now I can seek the help that I need. I’m currently looking into therapy, as trying to handle all of this “baggage” on my own obviously is not getting me very far. I need this support right now and you ladies are awesome!

    I hope he never contacts me, but I blocked him on Facebook months ago and can only hope that he’s deleted my number. But I’m sure he’s found some new girl from Facebook to abuse by now. I believe that he put me on a pedestal in the beginning, or at least it felt that way. He was crazy about me, so it seemed, telling me how beautiful I am, how I’m so intelligent, that he’s surprised that I was interested in him, blah blah blah. And I’ll admit, I liked it. I could sense his low self-esteem when we were out in public together those first few weeks. But once I fell off the pedestal and he realized hey, she does have flaws and she’s NOT perfect, that’s when the constant criticism and mental abuse kicked in. I can’t seem to understand how these guys operate but then again, I wouldn’t know because I’m nothing like them. How could he go from seeming so insecure and not confident at all, to being a narcissistic a**hole who felt superior to everyone else?!

    SM, I tried to date another guy two weeks after dumping this loser, but realized quickly that my heart was just not in it. I can’t do rebound. I’ve FINALLY realized that I’m content with being single, that I don’t need or want another guy, but also because I don’t have any energy left for it. I’m completely depleted. So dating is on hold, until I know that I have picked up the pieces and have gotten my life back on track. You’re right, I need to work on me now, not somewhere on down the line.

    FX, I’m going to look up NPD and I’m sure he will have every symptom of that disorder. He really was crazy, but I kept hanging on to the illusion of him, the guy that he pitched himself to be within those first few weeks of dating. I’ve read a lot of Natalie’s blogs but I haven’t read I’m Not That Woman, but I will get on that. Her blogs always give me more insight into myself and help me to see things objectively, as well as bring relief that I’m not alone in this.

    • Sejal says:

      Searcher
      U actually wrote everything in this posts..which i also feel..
      Yeah..u are actaully cent percent correct..
      These actually put u on a pedestal.and that too.the highest pedestal..and once they get a hint of anything imperfect they would strart mental blocking..and emotional clutter..
      Thats correct..i m so dam relieved..noe that after reading similar experiences frm u all.atleast i know.that i m not wrong…it was him who was wrong..so thats what i needed to gain back the self esteem which he snatched away frm me…
      Thnks.love sejal

      • Victorious says:

        Ladies, a narc has the following cycle, idealize, devalue, discard. Repeat. Do your research. Searcher your guy sounds textbook narc.

        • searcher says:

          Victorious,
          I just read about that cycle and I’m floored right now. It is exactly what I went through. I feel better knowing this but d*mn!!

      • searcher says:

        Sejal,
        I’m glad you know you’re not alone and that there are plenty of us who’ve gone through the same thing you have gone through. You’re not wrong in any way. You’ve actually been right this whole time and all of your doubts were there for a reason. Listening to yourself is the first thing you should always do. If something feels wrong, you better believe you are right!! In that moment of clarity comes the biggest sense of relief you’ll ever have. You’ll have all of your self-esteem back one day and you’ll look back on the relationship with that twat, laugh and think “what in the world was I thinking?!”

  75. still standing says:

    Have you ever tried to change yourself? You know, go on a diet, exercise more, stop yelling at your kids, get up earlier, drink less…blah, blah.

    How hard is it?

    Yet we think we can change how our EUM’s feel, and are? We think we have that much power…when we don’t have it for our own selves?

    If they can’t decide; we think we can decide for them. They don’t want that! They like where they are.

    I feel the “power” of NC stems from the fact that so many women answer the phone…or make up…or offer up sex…when they know they have been devalued. NC rules enforce that you “change”. In YOU changing how you behave…the AC or EUM is forced to change, too. He is no longer getting the goodies that he has come to expect. Until, of course, you stop changing. But here is the thing…as hard as it is for us to change…for them it is even more difficult. At least we are looking to our own selves for insight…they will be looking for someone else to validate their emptiness. While we are busy loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves, they will be busy wearing their mask. I think this is the power of “choose you”. But it is hard, hard work. These EUM’s are attracted to our kindness like moths to a flame. And we are only to eager to show them some light…until it starts to feel dark in our soul…

    A story I read, a long time ago, (so paraphrasing)….A young woman lived in an apartment building and befriended an older woman next door. Many nights, the young woman would cry; and visit her neighbor to discuss the man she was dating. “He says he will stop by, he doesn’t. He comes over, I expect him to spend the night, he leaves. I have cooked him dinner countless times; only to put it in the refrigerator because he doesn’t show. In fact, one time, he promised to take me on a trip, I had my bags packed, and he never came! Why, or why, does he act this way??!”

    The older neighbor replied, “I have no idea why he acts this way; and frankly, there is nothing I can do for him. He must like the situation. My question for you is, if it makes you unhappy…why do you put up with it? Why don’t you close the door when he comes knocking?”

    It’s all so simple, yet so hard. All she has to do is stop seeing him, stop answering his calls. But that means CHANGE. Her, not him.

    You can’t change them. You don’t have that kind of power. (Which is a hard thing to learn, as well.)

    They blow hot and cold, because, well…we let them. In the end; it isn’t always easy to stand up for you…it is much easier to cast blame on someone else. For me; that has been a hard lesson; and one I must practice every day.

  76. Jennifer says:

    I just realized something and maybe the problem is that, at 27, I am just now realizing this: I can’t make anyone fall in love with me. On our first date w/ my ex unavailable, I thought, “He said he’s moving on a few months, but I can make him fall in love with me and he’ll stay.” My father left my mom and I for the mountains when I was a baby. He didn’t fall in love with me. I fell in love with him. He was still in love with his ex gf. He went back to her. I don’t have the kinda power to control someone’s feelings and desires. People aren’t my puppets or extentions of me.

    • Jule says:

      right on Jennifer. But don’t lose site of the fact that you are loveable and someone can and will, when it’s right.

  77. lisa says:

    Natalie,
    thank you for your post on the comments thread to this article.

    I think I did something similar to what the poster you answered to did here: I looked for advice and then kind of turned it around. In my case I was ashamed of still being so weak after so much time. I really want my life to be smooth and happy and “flowing” and any obstacle scares the hell out of me. I panick.

    I’ve looked for a counselor but it’s hard: I have trust issues after realising that a psychologist I went to was, in fact, a manipulative woman, a narcissist.
    I’m still looking, though, because I am aware I can’t make it alone. I’ve come a long way, thanks to sites like yours, books, and friends. I realise though that it is now time to actively change things in my life: I’ve thought about this all long enough, I recently finally understood how things were with my alpha male/narcissist/pot addicted/cruel ex, blah blah blah, NOW it’s time to build it all anew, on my own, knowing finally who I am and that I don’t need no man to be it, nor any friend, nor any external validator.

    I set boundaries with the guy I met last week (I waited for him to call, like all the girls suggested and like I knew was right; then he wanted me to watch a movie at his place, I said “no, I want to meet in a bar and talk more”, he insisted, I refused, off he went) and it worked. I don’t need to ask you or the girls here if they are legitimate or not because they are mine, and he or any other stranger should respect them without trying to lure me into making an exception.

    Next time I’ll be strong enough to ditch him at the first code amber: at least I took notice of them, unlike in the past.

  78. teachable says:

    Lilly I’m so glad you’re making progress. I remember back when you were still struggling & you’ve come so far! Well done! I know the loss of your baby will take time but I admire how you’re coping with that too. We are both grieving so I understand.

    I haven’t been around much but popped by to say slivers of light are appearing on the horizon here too. Firstly, uni has agreed not to kick me out after all (I’ve had in excess of the usual amount of time off due to illness) & instead EXTENDED the completion date of degree allowing me to do my final subjects, one at at time, if needs be. My marks are consistently in the top 2-3%, (including for subjects many people fail & have to repeat) & I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but only know I’m very grateful. Dropping out & losing a bunch of subjects due to the ’10 year rule’ & having to start over way behind where I am now would have been a huge blow.

    Otherwise I’m starting to process my grief over my deceased ex now in an overt way that I couldn’t before. The slideshow memorial I made has helped with this enormously. Whenever I feel the need I watch it, sometimes cry, think of him, feel sad but then get on with my day & focus on attending to
    my health. I couldn’t do this before. I was too scared to think of him at all. A couple of nights ago I allowed myself the luxury of imagining he was cuddled up in bed with me as I went to sleep. I don’t know why but for some reason I found this comforting. I figure it’s not harmful given he’s dead. That’s probably why I can do that now I think. I know I am safe & that he can’t hurt me anymore. Something in me though is obviously still slowly saying my goodbyes, so I’ve decided to just let that be ok, even whilst it rests up against the sadness & anger I felt toward him while he was alive.

    He was the king of indecision. In the end it took his life. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately on how radically my life has changed these past two years. How I fell from close to a six figure salary, to ill & unable to work, lost my career (due to illness, not him, although he didn’t help), the $ worries that came with such a radical shift, the threat which existed to my edctn, & above all my health. It really has been a spectacular undoing of a life. I am slowly inching my way back though. Very very slowly. I can feel it.

    Love to all.

    Xx

    • Victorious says:

      Teachable that is brilliant re your uni! Hopefully that is one less thing for you to worry about. I also cannot stop myself from imagining the ex cuddling up to me in bed sometimes ( and he is still alive.) I hate myself for it but I guess he doesn’t know and I am totally no contact so if it is getting me through this difficult time then so be it. I am sure I am not alone in here in being so grateful for all you insights and in willing you on.

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable, that is fantastic news and I’m so happy for you. The university recognised a brilliant student and did the right thing. I understand how stressful study can be so I admire you immensely for keeping at it.

      Your slideshow memorial was a wonderful idea and a good way to help you process your feelings. Just thinking about you watching it makes me cry, but I know it’s a powerful source of comfort and will help you through. The lovely nurses at the hospital encouraged me to do something similar. I have a beautiful little box filled with memories, not many, but each item is precious. Among the contents are my baby’s hand and foot prints. The searing pain I used to feel when I looked at those has lessened. I’d asked the ex if he wanted to see them and he’d responded with, “I don’t have strong feelings about the prints — to see them or not”. I’ve now realised that I can keep holding on to this painful memory or I can choose to let it go. I’ve chosen to try to let it go. It’s not easy, but, for the most part, I can now look at those prints and feel the connection between my baby and me. It’s our connection and we don’t need him.

      Teachable, I can relate to all the mixed feelings and I can also relate to the need for a cuddle even if in imagination. I cuddle my baby every night before I go to sleep. We are grieving and any comfort we can find will help us. Take good care of yourself and keep looking out for those slivers of light xxx

  79. teachable says:

    Yoghurt: his path smells. Love it! LOL

    Emeraldeyez Please STAY out & get counselling if needed to boost yr resolve. That guy is an abusive whackjob. You deserve so much more. x

  80. Sejal says:

    HAPPY DIWALI ,,!!!!!to all BR readers..

  81. teachable says:

    Lilly I think you’re onto something re looking to our childhoods for clues as to WHY we tolerated such indeciveness.

    I’d never thought of this before but it fits perfectly. Deceased ex (ie helwas already an ex from yrs prior) was indecisive for two years about going to rehab which meant zero hope of a r-ship between us, although this was held out as a ‘maybe if he gets it together’ (we’d planned marriage & children from early on in our lives together & had again mused about such things).

    So here I am trying to be supportive, wondering why he isn’t just up & going to rehab like he was supposed to (little did I know there was an OW pulling strings in the opposite direction on the other end), repeatedly cutting off with long periods of NC (which I always broke until the final time, which I succeeded at), worrying out of brain for his welfare (rightly so, he’s now dead!), & generally getting sucked back in to tolerating his flip flapping in the meantime! Absurd!

    So what does this remind me of from my childhood?! My parents! Every year my sister & I, raised in orphages & children’s homes, were told for 13 years,of my childhood, that we were going to get to go home! So every year, we would await these special meetings, where invariably, lo & behold, our parents, had suddenly changed their minds!

    Talk about well trained to tolerate indeciveness! Your parents deciding if they want you or not, & deciding year after year, after building our tiny hearts full of hope for an escape from those miserable hellholes, that nahh, just leave em there, well… need I say more?!!!!!

    Penny drops!!!!!

  82. teachable says:

    & may I add, that along with my parents 13 yrs of flip flapping indecision, came 13 yrs of ABUSE endured in those hellholes! Why is this relevent? Astonishingly, my deceased ex, whilst he was putting me through the wringer with his indecision re rehab for those 2 yrs (should he go in his state or mine, public v’s.private, short term v’s long term. In the end I said who cares, just go OR U WILL DIE) was emotionally abusive!

    Strike me down with a feather @ the uncanny similarities of the two situations! How did I not see this sooner?! Lilly, you are brilliant!!

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable, as much as I’d like to take credit it was our brilliant friend Learner who alerted me to the connection between our childhoods and these relationships. I’m happy that she did because I’m now going to try to overcome my abandonment issues and not let my childhood experience define me or my future.

      Also, could I just say that I’m in awe of your resilience! The pain your parents inflicted upon you and your sister was truly horrendous and my heart goes out to you. That you have overcome all this adversity shows an amazing strength of character. Hang in there. There are wonderful things awaiting you.

  83. Skadia says:

    Indecision was quite painful to live through for the last year and not something I was wholly prepared for in retrospect. I have read through almost every article on the lefthand navigation panel and yesterday the discovery of this site (initially) filled me with a sense of a person I thought had completely disappeared. I thought I had really made peace with myself this week. I have instituted a no contact rule, something I routinely did in the past – a relationship that is over, was over. For some reason with this person, not so. I notice that a lot of people on the site have the ability to completely cut the other person out of their life, I was not so fortunate as I work (and closely, on a daily basis at least electronically) with my ex. I am fairly certain he is a EUM but still not sure I am qualified to make a diagnosis if you will on someone other than myself (and even most days myself truth be told). I would like him to be a EUM because that thought helps me move forward but I seem to slide from hills to valleys with alarming speed and I am just wondering, if he is respecting the no contact in our personal lives, could it be the work contact that is interfering with healing and moving on. I might mention that he has some influence on my job as he is a business partner of mine and at times his demands, emails, political maneuverings have been condescending bordering on aggressive. I don’t know if this is all in my head or if he would really be coming at me in this way as a EUM. Some days I wonder if I make it up to stay mired in the bad relationship. He always used work to get back in touch with me. I have little fear that he wants to be with me as one of my friends saw a girl in his FB profile picture. It was then that I realized he had blocked me there. I started to wonder if I was the EUF in the situation (or just generally insane) because everyone here seems to have issue with people not leaving them alone; I have quite the opposite – someone that only contacts me at work to antagonize me with challenges to my deliverables and who seems quite content with his new girlfriend? (won’t lie, it hurt to know that he had someone already and was googling about it which led me to this site. Not sure where to go from here.

    • Jule says:

      Skadia, that must be so hard if you work with him. You did the right thing to do NC for anything personal. Keep it up and keep coming here, reading and sharing. You will get stronger. I don’t have a ton of advice since I’m struggling too but here to lend support and listen.

      • Skadia says:

        Thank you :) I am new to the site so I wrote a thank you below too but then realized it might be more appropriate here. I, too, have very little inspiration to share with others in the moment so thank you for the offer :)

  84. teachable says:

    Lilly, it’s ok re my unconventional childhood. It got a LOT worse, but I’ve come to terms with it & achieved truely amazing things (incredulously) as a result.

    Vic, it’s a strange thing huh. I only did that the once, I think trying to comfort myself in his death ie you are dead but I can still imagine & ‘remember’ what it was like to ‘feel’ you here with me. There was indeed unfinished business with us when he died. He did eventually make it to rehab. The OW convinced him to leave after only 3 weeks. He was reaching out to me, wanting to go back to rehab, when he died. I had gone NC my final time & maintained it by this time. I like to think if he’d lived he’d have found his way back to rehab of his own accord & had a happy life. Who knows. It’s over now. I’m sorry to hear that things did not work out with your ex either.

  85. teachable says:

    And thankyou lilly xxx

    Vic. Yes great about uni. I can’t feel excited abt it though until I know for sure if I’m going to manage to save the house or not. $ worries you can’t fix b/c you can’t work due to illness are underpinning a pretty heavy depression here. Losing my house would crush me. It’s almost paid for but I don’t know if I will make it. My insurance runs out soon. After a childhood like mine, & never trusting a man to provide for me (no offence ladies, but in my world & exp, who would?)… let’s just say I’m taking each day as it comes. Trying to stay positive. :)

  86. Demke says:

    No, it’s definately not sexy or acceptable. Also, what I just learned the hard way, I’ve been NC for about 40 days. I found out today that my AC ex was going behind my back w some Miss Piggy, lol. Probably for the last 6 months. During this time, I fell for a whole lotta future faking, betting on potential… A lot of I love you’s, miss you… I mean, emails going on and on… Coming to my house, wondering where I’ve been, yada yada. I fell for it, again (months ago). For a couple minutes I felt like a deer in the headlights. I thought I was doing great. However, I was over it no time. I shouldn’t have been shocked. He was always disappearing, re-appearing… My point is… And I learned a very valuable lesson and hopefully y’all will pay attention… If your ex or current AC isn’t demonstrating any efforts for a future w you, or he’s duped you before. Please. Don’t think w your heart, that’s being blind… And you’re being used. Don’t be afraid to see what they’ve done, and are doing. Don’t feel the way I did today, realizing that you should’ve got out a long time ago, and you’re wasting so much time. My ex seemed so sincere. I am not sad or angry at him. I’m actually humiliated that ‘I’ was that stupid for not leaving years ago and actually believing what he said! Think w your head… Be smart. And do whatever you need to to keep him away for good. Trust me, in the end you’ll be kicking yourself bigtime if you don’t. Natalie doesn’t write all of these articles for nothing!! Just keep reading them, and I pray you all ‘get it’ soon, and move on because when you finally wake up and see them for who they are… You won’t even recognize them (can anyone say… Illusion? And delusion? Lol). After my initial shock today, that’s what hit me. Instead of wondering ‘what does she have that I don’t.’ I’m pretty turned off and disgusted! He never loved me, never cared. And that’s the reality. It’s always been the reality… I chose to turn a blind eye and that’s stupid. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right… He’s not right, etc… Listen to it. My gut was telling me something all along, I ignored it… I shouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have wasted even more time, been miserable, confused, or agitated if I listened. Stop thinking about past wrongs… And get over it. No one is worth that. I am overwhelmed with regret. But better late than never.

  87. teachable says:

    Thanks kit kat. That was very thoughtful of you. I’ve bookmarked that post. I was lucky in the sense that I was a bright child & simple logic told me that a 3 yo could not possibly have been responsible for the hell & evil which had befallen me. As such, I ALWAYS knew I was not at fault. How could I be? I was only 3?!!

    I also recognised & CHALLENGED evil even if this was in indirect or inappropriate ways. This I think is what saved me. I was loudly defiant, uncooperative, & not on your nelly about to listen to any crap about there being something wrong with ME. If people had a problem with me it was their effin problem! If they’d lived my life they’d be like me too!

    I’ve softened since then but I still lean toward that way of thinking. If peeps don’t like me, no probs!

    I can’t be assed wasting my time caring about what anyone thinks of me! Instead, they should be worried about what I might be thinking about them!! LOL

  88. teachable says:

    Thanks lilly. I take your point that Learner suggested our childhood conditioned us to accept indecision. I seem to have missed that. Apologies & due credit to learner.

    Otherwise, I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn resiliance. We all have choices to make in life. Do we allow things to pull us under or make us stronger? Some, sadly, are not equipted to follow through on the latter choice. Like my ex & my Mother. They may want to but they just don’t have it in them. There are all sorts of reasons for that. I had an enormous amount of support & help along the way to become who I am today so I really can’t take the credit for anything I’ve achieved. I’m a product of all the people who’ve believed in me & loved me well when I did not yet know what self love was. Now I know, & now I spend at least some of my time trying to pass that knowledge on.

    You see that in me Lilly because it is in you too. You havelbeen
    through significant grief & loss. That you are managing a working relationship with the xMM is a testimony to the huge amount of work you have done on your personal bounderies & self love. I applaud you & wish you all the very best. Keep your guard up though. You will never be 100% safely out of the woods where that cretin is concerned (because HE will never stop trying to get you to bite & it only takes catching you on one bad day, in one bad moment, for all of that hard work to come tumbling down). I say that with love. X

    • Learner says:

      teachable and lilly,

      thanks for the credit re: the childhood – accepting indecision link, but I can’t accept all of it either! Through many of Natalie’s posts, she mentioned the childhood link to being involved with EUM’s. I just had a “lightbulb moment” re: striving to win favour (from my ?narc/alcohol abusing father)as a child, and Lilly took the analysis one step further. And, my goodness teachable, you have posted about your past and how you have evolved and grown, and that is truly inspiring, too! We all have strength, we all have the ability to grow and learn and help others. I cannot say enough about my gratitude for hearing about the wonderful people here on BR. Cheers to all xo

    • Rosie says:

      teachable, you do deserve credit. Ok, not *all* the credit as some traits are inborn and others we learn through our life experiences with people and circumstances. However, you participate in your own growth. You can take full credit for doing your part in your successes!

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable, I am managing the working relationship with him quite well, but it is difficult and sometimes I have to fight the urge to re-engage. He’s seems to have stopped trying to engage me on a personal level, but just in case I’ve armed myself with some strategies. The best is a big poster I’ve put up which simply says ‘KEEP IT REAL’. No more fantasizing for me – I’m determined. I will heed your warning, thank you xxx.

  89. teachable says:

    It’s ok Jule. It was sad but it also made me the strong powerful woman I am today. I’m dealing with ill health right now but make no mistake. Underneath my surface circumstances I’m a force to be reckoned with & I truely believe this stems from having learned to deal with extreme adversity from a very early age. Sometimes I feel sad about my childhood, of course, (on mothers or fathers day for example), but mostly I feel grateful for the silver lining I eventually managed to find in those stormy clouds :)

  90. Revolution says:

    Hey Teach,

    Atta girl. You keep fighting. We’re here, babe.

    And I had to chuckle at your 3-year old persona basically saying, “NO effin’ WAY is this MY fault! All ya’ll best STEP!” :) Brill.

  91. lynette says:

    i agree that it is frustrating and upsetting to be on the receiving end of someone’s indecision. currently there is this guy who i have gone out with, sort of, a couple of times, and i don’t know what it is — mostly a waste of my time. i get little emails, saying “i think about you. crazy me.” what is that? not worth my time. i have stopped replying. if he wants to see me, he can ask me out.

    but i was in a torturous cycle of indecision in my marriage which formally ended this summer. 18 years married. 20 years together. there were very very good reasons for my uncertainty about being in the relationship — his bad behavior for one. i was open and honest and wanted him to step up and work with me on our marriage, our family. i loved him very much. but he was bad for my health, and for our children’s mental health. sometimes indecision can be a symptom of something that is fixable or wrong in the relationship. it’s not always black and white.

  92. teachable says:

    Rev. Hugs hun x Yep. You got me. This don’t even *think* about messin with me persona was born at an early age. I was a mother to my baby sister at 3 yo also as I had to try to protect her too when we were taken from our parents at that parents when I was only so young. So I *had* to develop that persona straight up, right then & there & 3 yo (I kid you not) to protect us both & survive! The stories I could tell you of me aged 3 protecting my baby sis! Very funny! Anyway, prolly why there’s no long line of ex AC’s or EUM’s in my history. I did a lot of this work in my late teens / early 20’s, learned the lesson’s & have only stumbled at this one experience with this one ex. No-one had the power to do that to me b\c no-one else was my ‘the one’… sigh… he’s dead as a doornail though now hey… righty ho.. guess that’s that then!!!!!!! (I say this flippantly but don’t worry, I am actually doing ‘the work’. I will let serious posts on that unfold as they may down the track…)

    Lilly, I wanted to pick up on your special memorial box for lost baby. I’m so sorry to hear of what yr ex said abt that. Callous prick. Glad to hear you’re going to keep your guard up & pre planned strategies are a great idea. The special box touched me deeply. You may have read back a ways that I too lost a baby, mine in rather traumatic circumstances. My unborn unborn child was essentially murdered in utero by the violent pedophile father while I was pregnant. I was an underage teenage girl at the time. I have no such special momento to remember my baby but 27 yrs after the fact the police are now investigating a series of violent rapes perpetrated by that man against me & the assault which caused the loss of my baby. I would give anything to have something to remember my unborn baby but all I have so far are police reports & a series of court cases in play. When my own situation is over I plan to plant a special garden & tree. It’s all I can think of to do. One day when people ask me how many children I have I hope to be brave enough to also say two & not one. I want to remember my child that I lost. The circumstances were terrible but that was my child & no-one should lose children like we have. Stay strong x

    Thanks Rosie. I guess I can take credit for choosing to grow & learn. :)

    Learner, kudos girl! We’re all in this together huh! x

    • Revolution says:

      Hugs back, Teach. The 3-year old vigilante. Us against them, with your sis. Yeah, I get it. Not that I had your upbringing or even close, but I was raised by a single mom and had my older brother to take care of me. Thank God he was a natural nurturer. But yeah, I get the “us against the world” feeling. Don’t know who was protecting who, though. My dad jokes about my brother and I that my bro is the nurturer and I’m the warrior. I guess it’s true.

      And this: “he’s dead as a doornail though now hey… righty ho.. guess that’s that then!!!!!!! (I say this flippantly but don’t worry, I am actually doing ‘the work’. I will let serious posts on that unfold as they may down the track…)”

      I get it. Reminds me of a George Bernard Shaw quote I once heard. Something like, “Life doesn’t cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

  93. miskwa says:

    Skadia
    Dealing with at work exes is damned hard. Is there any way you can get in a situation where you do not have to deal with him daily? Go ahead and think of him as eum if that’s what helps you heal. My at work AC is probably a narcissist at least. It helps to know it is indeed not me that was the problem. Your dude may also cycle from hostility to false caring and back. This is what my AC is doing; right now it is hostility. Some manchildren hate to be ignored.

  94. Skadia says:

    Jules, thank you, I too have nothing for the other posters on the blog and so I understand and appreciate your offer :)

    Miskwa,
    I never thought of that Your dude may also cycle from hostility to false caring and back. Yesterday my management pulled me from my project and I told me that because of budget cutbacks the work would be delayed until late in 2013. I don’t know if my AC had anything to do with it but I am definitely suspicious. Though he exhibited almost all the signs of all these articles the one thing that he hasn’t exhibited (this time) is a fervent need to get back together with me. I suppose it was a one time deal. It seems he has returned to his pattern at least looks wise(short, petite, brunette Italian Americans ala jersey shore versus me tall, not petite but not large, Irish american redhead). It sometimes occurs to me that he was just a jerk and I am so damaged that it is a much bigger deal in my mind than in reality. I spent a year with a textbook narcissist. It was so bad my therapist actually gave me an armchair diagnosis of a narcissist and called my ex a predator. I suppose after that the newest ex (Mr. EUM) seemed wonderful, or maybe as many articles point out, I wasn’t EA and so I attracted a EUM. As you can probably tell by now I tend to try and take responsibility for things like this – I figure it’s the low self-esteem, allbeit I am trying to remember where I lost my self-esteem and when ;). My friends, my family, even my exes that are my friends (there’s two and they were my friends before we tried dating – ah the blush of youth ;)) are shocked and appalled that I am this wrought over someone that consistently treated me so poorly. I am at a loss to understand it too. it does help to read the experiences of others on this site, though in retrospect I wish I had found this site back in February when he was hounding me to be his friend and had the guts to say NO. I think in some respects the fact that he doesn’t try to get back together with me makes me think attributing his actions to some of the motives mentioned in the articles is just my way of not taking responsibility.. do you ever read back over texts and once the situation is stale think Wow I really lost it? At one point he accused me of playing head games when I confronted him with people at work mentioning he was asking if they knew of anyone single. Everyone at work knew we were seeing each other and I told him it was so disrespectful – I being completely insane had allowed for an open relationship with his assurances that he was not seeing or sleeping with anyone else but that he didn’t want to be constrained by what he considered relationship restrictions such as not being allowed to flirt with other girls. SMH I was an idiot….

  95. teachable says:

    Skadia whatever has happened draw a line under it. YOU ARE taking responsibility now. So perhaps you agreed to things which in hindsight, did not play out so well. Whatev! It’s all learning & we ALL make mistakes. Mistakes ARE allowed. It’s making the same ones over & over that’s problematic.

    Concentrate now on rebuilding your self esteem, however that looks for you. I’ve been where you are emotionally & my friends too could not believe that I was so strung out over someone who had treated me so badly. It sounds as though you may still be in the withdrawal phase from this person. That WILL pass. Hang in there. It DOES get better. Promise! T x

  96. Katie b says:

    Natalie- you are simply brilliant. Thank you for bringing me back to myself when I have gone on lovelorn walkabouts. Your baggage reclaim site has helped me immensely and more help than any ‘self help’ book. I look forward to your words of wisdom every week.

    Thank you !

  97. dove says:

    Once again I find myself here; I have had to make the decision to flush the same eum thats been in and out for the last year. Maybe this time will be the final time, one can only hope I will be able to step away and move in a different direction. He even said that this is my choice, like he had nothing to do with me walking away when I found out he’s been sleeping around. I said he chose this as well by his actions. There were a lot of red flags, ones I recognized and chose to ignore to my own peril. I would think it was better to have this man, than be alone..but really I can’t say it was. When we were together things were great, but soon as I left to go back to my place, he’d be talking with other women, arranging dates and other things and all the time telling me how he loved me. Actions and words did not match and confused the hell out of me. I don’t understand why I kept trying to stay together. The lies, the ambiguity, all of it rolled up into him being a textbook EUM and its scary to me to see that he is just the way that Natalie calls it because that means there are many men out there like this. That makes me wonder why are men so emotionally unavailable in the first place? Is life so hard for everyone of them that they just don’t know how to be a good man? I sincerely hope that the next man I choose will be able to treat me with love care trust and respect; and I will be able to treat myself that way so I can treat the next man with love care trust and respect as well.

  98. miskwa says:

    Skadia
    Yep, your boy is not getting his way and is lashing out. That and you called him on his behavior, those lil boys don’t like that. Getting over a narc has been likened to getting over PTSD. You were traumatized and healings gonna take time.

  99. teachable says:

    Nice quote Rev! ;) And OF COURSE you were the worrior even though you were the younger of the two of you! That strong enduring spirit shines through in yr posts here without a dount!

    In my case there was no choice as to who took which role. Baby sis really was still a baby at the time ie still in nappies! LOL Moreover, personality wise she was timid & shy as a mouse! LOL Hence, that left the one who could yell at the top of my lungs, & punch & kick like a demon to lead the charge! LOL Like I said, some very funny stories there, starting with giving the lady from one home (me aged 3) a bloody great bruise mid shin height (giggle) within the first 10 mins of us arriving when she tried to insist on taking baby sis (not yet toilet trained) to the toilet! Baby sis said she didnt WANT to go to the toilet & the lady insisted on trying to take her anyway! Big sis (knowing bad things can happen to children taken away to toilets alone) was not having a bar of it! Hence, KICK!! And again, (for good measure) KICK! (giggle)

    As you can see I’m still trudging through life kicking & screaming along the way, as I try to learn it’s many lessons! LOL

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!
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