Sometimes you can find yourself ‘trapped’ in this cycle of doing the same thing over and over again on the basis that in spite of evidence to the contrary, you still believe there to be the possibility of the original reward or ‘big payout’. There are a number of people I correspond with who it doesn’t seem to matter how many times they are disappointed by the same person, when that person gets in touch, they respond and do all manner of things. Then they feel disappointed and vow to do differently but yet the next time the person does the same thing (or variations of it), they will respond in a similar way.

The person calls and asks for something —— >; They spring into action even though they have reservations —>; They think that maybe ‘this time’ it’s for real —–>; They feel validated by receiving the call and doing whatever it was that was asked (they feel needed, valued, more important than someone else they’re involved with etc) —>; The relationship doesn’t materialise —>; They feel despondent —>; They wonder why what they did wasn’t enough —>; They think about how they need to move on and forget this person —->; Some time passes (possibly the same amount of time as usual) —->;The person calls but doesn’t ask for something —— >; They are curious and take the call —–>; They feel validated and hopeful along with other short-term feel good emotions although they no doubt feel cautious —>; They’re afraid to tell them to jog on because what if this time is different? What if this time it’s for real? —>; They sleep together / hang out —->;The relationship doesn’t materialise —>; They feel despondent —>; They wonder why what they did wasn’t enough —>; They think about how they need to move on and forget this person —->; Some time passes (possibly the same amount of time as usual) —->; And…. lather, rinse, repeat.

Now if you’re looking at these as isolated situations, you might think that they were different, but in reality, in this example, one time the person called and asked for something and one time they didn’t ask for anything ‘upfront’ although there is an ‘understanding’, the other party sprung into hopeful action thinking that they would get the ‘big payout’, it didn’t happen (again) and they felt bad afterwards (again).

they say i've change

What’s catching you out in these situations is being hopeful for the ‘big payout’, i.e. the relationship you want or whatever, but being side-tracked by the short-term or even instant high. Sometimes you get sidetracked by your ego. At some point you need to be saying “Er, this ‘reward’ doesn’t exist / it’s not worth it.” At some point you need to opt out of the The Disappointment Cycle that you’re in with the same person. If you stop viewing the situation in the same way that you have previously, you will recognise the pattern of disappointment and learn from the insights gained – you certainly wouldn’t continue responding because that would be insanity – doing the same thing and expecting different results.

If you look at how long you feel good for when the latest cycle first starts and then evaluate how long this lasts for in minutes, hours, days, and weeks, you’d be surprised how you can be putting yourself on the hamster wheel for what may be a matter of minutes. One reader has been doing a ‘cycle’ with her ex for several years for feel good highs of as little as fifteen minutes!

I’ve asked a few people why they keep doing this to themselves and all answers led back to this anticipation of something that’s not actually there but they hope for it to be there because it would make it ‘all’ worthwhile.

When they think about responding differently, they don’t think about not responding at all or saying NO – their idea of not responding is to make them wait a while or to not make it ‘easy’ for them. But what is the point if at the end of the day, it’s going to wind up at the same net result at the end of the cycle? You could add in another few steps, but a person who is hellbent on doing things ‘their way’ will passive aggressively and sometimes aggressively get things to where they want them to be.

If you keep winding up with the same net result from someone, it’s teaching you who they are and their real agenda. Even inconsistent people end up being consistent about being inconsistent with the net feedback to you being Don’t rely on this person.

It’s like when you only hear from that person when they want something. It’s all very well hoping that on the 51st occasion they’ll be different but you have 50 occasions where they haven’t been. They’re a user.

If you look back over an unhealthy relationship, you will see that there’s a ‘cycle’. The time periods may vary a little but you will notice that certain things happen or they do something, you respond, they do something else, you respond, there’s a fallout, and lather, rinse, repeat. I know people whose relationships break down every Christmas and just in time for Valentine’s day. I know of people who ruin every birthday, weekend away and holiday. I know of people who hear from an ex every time they’re in between a relationship. What do you do with these people? Keep hoping each Christmas, Valentine’s etc will be different? Keep being available in between their breakups?

People really do teach you what to expect from them – you could expect differently but that will only set you up for pain especially when they’ve been giving you all the information you need to choose a different course of action. Without them. Listen to your feedback from your experiences and recognise where you’re being sucked into responding to their cues.

They’re just not that different. If you broke down each occasion and plotted it against a calendar as well as did a blow by blow list of moves, you’d be frightened at how damn similar the situations are and each of your responses.

If someone is blowing hot and cold, then you know that when you get hot, cold is coming and vice versa and lather, rinse, repeat. You don’t try to get them to do hot all the time – you recognise that playing switcheroo is their thing and get off the rollercoaster (disappointment cycle) before you throw up your self-esteem or continue to give them time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere.

Your thoughts?

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273 Responses to Is It Time For You To Opt Out of The Disappointment Cycle?

  1. Lady Lisa says:

    Natalie. Damn. Just damn. This was exactly what I needed to read at this very moment. Thank you!

  2. Aem says:

    “If someone is blowing hot and cold, then you know that when you get hot, cold is coming”

    That’s awesome! This blog is awesome. hehe Thank you!

  3. PhoenixRises says:

    This is another timely post for me. My ex’s bday is coming up in several weeks and the thought popped into my head of whether I should contact him to send a simple ‘Happy Birthday/enjoy your day’ type of message. I stopped myself and asked why I wanted to send a card or even break NC, and I realized that no amount of time has suddenly sprung him into a person who is worthy of being my friend or receiving my warm wishes. Furthermore, just because I pity him or feel badly for him doesn’t mean I am responsible for his feelings or his life. He makes CHOICES that put him in the corner, and he CHOOSES to live life with a victim mentality.

    And even if I did send a card, what would that accomplish? It would put me back in the circuit above, where he would perceive it as interest or acceptance of his behavior, and I don’t want to put myself back in that situation where I get any ounce of hope he has changed. These people take advantage of good-natured, empathetic people. Better to stay away completely than let anything convince you it’s ‘okay’ to wish them well, giving them a peek into your life!

    • Lisa says:

      Wow PhoenixRises…I am in the exact same boat. My ex wished me a happy birthday last month (which I would not reply to). His bday is in a few weeks as well and I have been debating to break the NC. Your exactly right on. We would be putting ourselves in or back in a cycle. They dont deserve our acknowledgment of their day, that’s other people’s jobs now.
      SO Glad you posted your comment. It is definitely NOT okay for them to receive an ego stroking. Thanks again! :)

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Phoenix.. You are correct, it would accomplish nothing by wishing him Happy Birthday… Dont’t get on that hampster wheel again.. I know its hard to sit on your hands when you are a good person just trying to wish someone well but they are not worthy of it.. Their just not that special :)

    • Thatslife says:

      @PhoenixRises great response and truly I understand I did exactly as you described in the past with the AC/EUM I was dealing with.

      I also came across a quote: “Never make a person a priority that makes you an option”- Unknown.

      Like you I now enforce the NC rule and stay away.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Phoenix, I did that this past August with the EUM/AC I was involved with at work and I can assure you that nothing changed, it was business as usual. I texted him on his birthday (it was a good excuse) and we spent the next three hours text-flirting. The next day at work, he acted like it didn’t even happen, like I was just another co-worker. I felt like a fool! That was the last straw for me. I went NC. That was my last text to him. I found another job, and worked my last day while he was off, and left a note saying “goodbye” to all my co-workers by name except him, which I hope really hurt his ego! So trust me, you will regret contacting him, so please don’t!

    • JR says:

      Phoenix, my ex AC’s bday is coming up soon too. I’ve been wanting to make it something for him. I will keep reading your post until DUH! Get it and move on. I just skip that day entirely.

      • AHM says:

        I have to say – don’t forget what a disappointment his bday was when you were with him, let alone broken up.

        On my exAC’s bday (when we were TOGETHER)- I showed up surprising him in a beautiful silk nightie under my coat and sexy white high heels – I had bought him a hockey stick and puck signed by one of the famous Hockey players in the US. I said “Hi I’m soso, AHM’s twin sister and heard you might like a BJ for your bday” – then pulled out the the stick and puck and said do you want to wrestle on the ice or would you rather puck?

        This was “mr all the girls want him for his sex or money”‘s response – his phone rang – answered it and then proceeded to tell me he was in too much pain and where did I get those boots – TALK ABOUT DISAPPOINTING!!!

    • runnergirl says:

      I fell into the disappointment cycle many times and it was precisely as Nat describes it every time. Most of the time it was him initiating contact, and I’d think, this is it! He finally realizes I’m the one, he can’t live without me, and I’d respond. Only to discover, he simply wanted to hit the reset button and resume the affair. Here’s the thing though, some times I’d initiate contact, such as what you are contemplating. When I initiated contact, it was still for the same underlying reasons, let’s see if he’s changed and finally realizes I’m the one blah, blah, blah. It was the same net result no matter who initiated contact, him or me. It was scary as to how similar the “convo” went. And the post break-up contact was way more consistent than being involved with him. I could practically cut and paste from the previous convo.
      In any event, you reminded me that his bday is coming up but for the life of me I can’t remember the day, although I remember it’s early in December. I couldn’t remember last year either and so I skipped the entire should I or shouldn’t I because I didn’t remember. BTW, that didn’t stop him from sending me a little bday gift to which he got no response. So I suggest getting really busy on his bday. Being the exception to the rule is rare, which is why it is called an exception.
      Love the diagrams Natalie. They also work when I’ve broken NC to check up on whether he finally combusted into the imagined guy I thought I loved. Nope, just the same 50-something married guy, a few extra pounds but nice hair, a great sense of humor, good jeans, and totally smart, still willing to cheat on his wife. Deal breaker. I’m scrubbed shiny clean from the lather, rinse repeat scenario.

    • Teddie says:


      Nat has a great post on birthdays/occasions, search it up! The message is basically “It’s not your birthday. If you are hoping to get a stroke of attention, look elsewhere.”

    • AquaGirl says:

      Hello PhoenixRises and All,

      I too have a birthday coming up that will be on exactly 2 months of NC. I am so tempted to send him an e-card (we use to do that often for various occasions). But I thought to myself “What would that get me?” Maybe a “How are you? Hope all is well.” from him. And I would have ruined all that time of NC. Every day has been a struggle, though it is getting a LITTLE easier as time goes by…but it’s such a long process that I do not want to go backwards. Reading all your posts really helped and I may need to read them until I get through his birthday. He is just not worth it.

      “These people take advantage of good-natured, empathetic people.” I couldn’t agree more with this comment. I have been putting myself down as weak and vulnerable to allow myself to get into this situation for the past 2 1/2 years. But now I feel a little better about myself.

      Thanks again everyone.

    • cc says:

      exactly, honey. good for you.

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Thanks! And a big thanks to all here on BR. You guys are so supportive and it’s great to hear others share their experiences and wisdom.

  4. Max says:

    I am NEVER disappointed in the Accuracy of Nat’s comments/articles….

    I think that is can just be sooo hard to face that someone is an ASSCLOWN…..they do exist…they are everywhere..and they are As worthless as the air they breathe

    Thank you Nat for your wealth of Advice!!!

  5. FeelingLikeALoser says:

    Oh yea, I’m finding these blogs are coming with perfect timing.

    I dated this guy last year who I really enjoyed being with, who was simple and we laughed a lot and had a great connection.

    But, he was lame about ever getting together. I always had to be the one to figure it out and he kept getting my hopes up then letting me down. I’d had enough and sent him an email and we stopped talking after that.

    A year later and I am thinking about him again. I bring him back into my life, hoping that maybe things will be different. A whole year has gone by. Maybe it was one of those things. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe he was going through something, or had issues or had just broken up with someone.

    We hang out, we get friendly again and what an amazing thing starts to happen…I’m getting disappointed again! Gee, imagine that. No calling me, just texts. Weekends without kids for both of us and I don’t hear from him to do anything. He makes a big deal about going out, sets up the date, my hopes get up and BAM!! Tells me this morning he may not be able to see me tonight and he’ll let me know. Then, BAM, after wondering all day I finally hear that he has to work and can’t go out. He’ll have to take a raincheck.

    Meanwhile, I’m sitting here with a night off, crying because this lame guy has done this again and I can’t seem to just tell him to f’off and go away. And, WHY??? Because I keep thinking something will be different. Anything. He’ll realize he really likes me. He’ll want to do something with me. Whatever.

    Guess that’s my lesson for today.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      FeelingLikeALoser… U need to re-group about this guy. He is treating you like an option and you deserve better than that..Did u read Mr. Unavailable and the fallback girl ??? If so , go back & re-read some chapters. U really need to get your power back. He has ALL the power right now and it needs to STOP ASAP….Kick this guy to the curb. Go NC , delete him from everthing.. Sending you a cyber hug :)

    • Allison says:


      History is the best indicator. I think you know this and need to understand why you stick around.

  6. K says:


    Great post!

    I find that people get stuck because they project their empathy onto others who do not possess this ability. As long as there is a refusal to accept that this person is without empathy or conscience and is a GAME PLAYER, we will continue to engage, hoping that we can project enough empathy to share so they “spontaneously” have it or get it.

    The ONLY reason AC’s/EUM’s get away with what they do is because WE LET THEM. This is why there are so many “victims”.

    BOUNDARIES WILL SAVE YOU a lot of hurt and pain from those lacking in empathy, as well as paying attention to the red flags and then HONORING them by exiting the situation immediately.

  7. Sad Buckeye says:

    Oh my Natalie were you describing me when you wrote this? I keep doing this but I’m trying to get to the root cause of why. I usually end up thinking I’m not good enough, or, just get tired of waiting for Mr. Right (there doesn’t seem to many good, single, mid-40s, men out there that haven’t been screwed up some how).

    So, as a result I go back to accepting less than I deserve. I think if I got side-tracked with someone who treated me as I deserve then maybe, just maybe, I could escape the wash, rinse, repeat!

    Where are these great guys??!!!

  8. Karina says:

    Thank you! I needed this reality check today after the lat two weeks of my ex contacting! Douche to the umpth degree! SMH

  9. Tinkerbell says:

    Yes, yes, yes, Natalie. They teach us what to expect from them, and how to treat them but we just don’t “get it” and we’re treated accordingly. But, here it is, we teach them what to expect from us and how to treat us, and they (AC/EUM’s ) learn in record time they “get it” amazingly fast. They win, we lose. Eff that!

    • Cat says:

      Spot on Tinkerbell! Natalie somehow, someway, I have to remember your words of wisdom, “People really do teach you what to expect from them.” That is so, so true! It’s just that when it comes to affairs of the heart, I have an abundance of reasons why someone is acting a certain way. Since I don’t want to give up the dream, I roll out a reason each and every time so I can keep the illusion that I will one day obtain what I desire.

  10. I'm the one you speak of says:

    Yes, I’m the one who gets 15 minutes of feeling good when he’ll grace me with a response. The lather rinse repeat is a perfect analogy – because I do get all lathered up and angry and disappointed and work **myself** into a mess. I do it to myself. Thanks again for always setting me straight.

    People will generally be what they have consistently been…words I try and remember from the wise Natalie!

  11. Tulipa says:

    I think most of my relationships have been stuck in this cycle at one point or another.
    With the AC I wasn’t aware of it a counsellor pointed out to me how it is a cycle of abuse I am in Thigns explode, things are good, you start walking on egg shells, things explode and round you go.
    With the eum I was stuck in the cycle above but I have to point out I have been equally guilty of chasing him and calling him and putting myself in the situation where I knew with no doubt it would all end up as a pile of crap. I’d go away do repairs on myself come back with a higher tolerence level and boom.
    I don’t know why these cycles are so hard to get out of especially when your intellect is telling you that you don’t have any hope of a healthy relationship with the person.
    The ex eum ruined the relationshit every time his birthday approached it was like if I shared his birthday then we were a real couple. I took it to mean that I had to be reminded of my place in the relationshit in which I was extremely unimportant to him. And yes I kept hoping that every birthday would be different and I would share it with him.
    Lots of food for thought here especially in regards to the role I play in the cycle to work out what the hook is.

    • AHM says:

      “The ex eum ruined the relationshit every time his birthday approached it was like if I shared his birthday then we were a real couple. I took it to mean that I had to be reminded of my place in the relationshit in which I was extremely unimportant to him.”

      When I was with the AC I asked him what he wanted to do for his bday – and he replied that “he didn’t know, that he has always been single on his bday even when he was with someone” I remember thinking that’s odd – that comment made no sense – but it does now!!

  12. Georgia says:

    Tracking the cycle in journal or chart form really is a good idea for the relationship addict. Pay close attention to what kind of apology is offered, each time, and what is promised. Over time, you’ll see an amazing pattern. The apologies start out strong, in the beginning, and fade to shadowy things, over time, that may not even resemble an apology. Promises of change come early on, but those tend to get watered down as time goes on, as well. Eventually, you may reach the point where there is no apology offered at all, no explanation, nothing. And, when this point is reached, you are exactly where that emotionally unavailable person has so cleverly been working to get you, for some time. Being with you is EASY now, because it requires NO EFFORT AT ALL. No thought. Nothing. And that is exactly what YOU are getting from the relationship at that point. NOTHING.

    • Fearless says:

      Yes, Georgia. That’s exactly what it looks like – this was more or less describes my epic experience with ex EUM. I was EASY for him to be with me. I took no effort. None. In the end it was really hurtful and demoralizing – I’d even say dehumanizing. I didn’t really matter. I get it now.

    • Kitka says:

      Great post, Georgia, seeing things tangibly (diagrammed, journaled) cannot be easily rationalized away!

    • Allison says:


      If I have to track a relationship in a chart, there is a big problem!!!

      We should only expect people to be reliable and honest; otherwise, why should we waste our time and energy.

  13. Summer says:

    This is so me! I have been in this kind of relationship (?)for years!!! He only calls me when he wants something. Why do I put up with it??? I think its because I have such low self esteem. I feel like I can find anyone else, that nobody will ever want me. So this is better than nothing. :(

    • Summer says:

      I ment to say that I “feel like I CAN”T find anyone else.

      • Revolution says:

        Summer, honey.

        Maybe I shouldn’t be the one to answer your comment, being that I just had a pity party for myself on a comment I made on Nat’s last post. But, then again, maybe that qualifies me even more to respond to you.

        I know the feeling of low self-esteem. I also know the fear of not being able to find anyone else. My advice for you is this: read the comments on this site. Really allow yourself to LOOK at HOW MANY intelligent, loving, empathetic, beautiful, accomplished, vulnerable, strong, articulate women on here are struggling with low self-esteem and/or being treated badly by ACs or EUMs. It’s not just you. You’re not alone in this fight. And there are (HAS to be) good guys out there that aren’t complete asshats. Rally yourself up for the fight (of low self-esteem) and roll on with us to greener pastures, my dear. :)

  14. Heartache Amy says:

    You’re right, Tinkerbell, we “don’t” get it. Well, at least some of us don’t (I’m speaking of myself). I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person and this is the second time in two years that I’ve been hurt – by two different people, nonetheless. I feel like an idiot.

  15. louise says:

    oh how i wish i had kept my ego in check when he came back a second time and reconised the whole “lather rinse repeat” cycle.I wouldnt be 5 months in to our second breakup.However I now have This amazing site to help me through.Always comforting to know your not alone.Thanks Nat and thanks girls for all your comments.

  16. Learner says:

    Natalie, this cycle of disappointment sounds so familiar. I cant believe I went round and round for three years with a mm. I am surprised that his oow is in the “replay loop” for over ten years now. Thank goodness what little self esteem I had left kicked in and I managed to give an ultimatum. Thank goodness I discovered the truth that short-circuited the insanity. Thank goodness BR kept me AWAY from the merry-go-round. Cycles are fine when they are rewarding. Unending roundabouts with emotional layabouts are like hell on earth. Lets stop the insanity ladies! Spirals are preferred, as they grow and change and lead to sustained, real highs!

  17. Learner says:

    upward spirals that is!

  18. dancingqueen says:

    Ugh..another “home run” with this post; I am hoping that at some point in my life, these posts will not be relevent to any part of my life…but unfortunately now they always connect.

    So my pattern with my family, specifically my dad; he is abusive, I act civil because he is only starting to be a jerk…then he acts jerky again, and I assert myself,,,then he yells, swears or acts totally mean and I remove myself and get bitter and also, stupidly, feel guilty.

    The other day I actually found myself feeling guilty because he and my stepmother did not call me for my bday, that is right, he did not call me even though she I am sure, remembered. but I felt guilty because I should love him enough to call him.

    I need to draw out that graph and put my own pattern in it and just look at the hamster wheel of dsfunction that it is.

  19. Magnolia says:

    I love the little diagrams! I was on the disappointment cycle with the exAC – he did ruin every weekend away and holiday, but because he did something big and material (a trip, a nice dinner, a spa outing etc) for most of these events it was hard for me to admit that no matter what he was paying for he was still an asshole. He made me realize I’d rather share a bag of pretzels with someone I like than a bottle of Veuve Cliquot with a jerk-off.

    I had a realization moment recently that may have bounced me off a cycle I didn’t even know I was on.

    I don’t know if you all around the world have heard about Amanda Todd, the girl from my area who was cyberbullied so severely she killed herself last week. She had made a heartwrenching youtube video that had already gone viral, and had been news here, so when she died, it affected a lot of people. When I watched the video it triggered so many memories of my own youth. And knowing that she died, and seeing the sympathetic response of *most of the internet-sphere*, I wept to remember what I had been through, and how my family didn’t respond at all, or suggested my smarts were to blame, when I tried to tell them what was happening.

    I’ve been dabbling in visual art lately – painting, drawing on ‘real’ media and on its tablet-interface equivalents. My parents are visual and ceramic artists and I was getting this weird feeling at their response to my first few drawing and painting attempts (posted privately to them on FB). They were really excited, and wanted to talk to me about the drawings and praise them. I hadn’t felt like a kid beaming at having pleased mom and dad like that in a long time.

    After the Amanda Todd stuff I started producing work at a rate I haven’t in a long time, feeling very freed up. I made some colorful visual poems that use text and color that I was really proud of – they use the impulse of graffiti and the context of the cyberbully’s note to write back some eff-you tags that I hope play as resisting bully culture.

    My mother, who has been checking my FB page and jumping on any art post, was strangely silent about these graffiti pieces. We even had a Skype talk, and considering that the last three conversations have been intense discussions of art practice, it felt weird to have to ask, like a kid:”So, did you see my new painting-type poems”?

    She looked uncomfortable, and said, “yes, I saw the one that said, I don’t know, back off you something,” (“back off you fucks” is what it says), and then she entirely, changed the subject. And instead of asking what she actually thought, I registered that she didn’t want to talk about it, that I had been offensive to her, and I felt guilty and shut up and moved on to the next topic.

    Once off of Skype, I thought of telling her how I felt when she changed the subject, but I realized I’ve been trying not only to get my father to pay attention to how he treated me and his neglect when I was getting assaulted, but I have been trying to get my mother to realize her own avoidance (and how her avoidance has disappointed and hurt me) my whole life.

    Change the subject. Pretend that what was said wasn’t just said. This was how she dealt with my being bullied back then – both by my male classmates and by my father. By changing the subject. By smiling and insisting we sing a song. By frowning and suggesting I’m unforgiving of others’ shortcomings.

    Something about her doing it this time made me see the cycle and I slowed my roll when thinking about telling her all about herself. She hasn’t just disappointed me this time, it’s the same old disappointment. I never realized I keep thinking one day she’ll be able to talk to me about this in a way that heals something in me, that feels like mommy actually listens to me, and it never happens.

    There’s a positive dating side-effect to this realization. But I’ve taken a lot of space so I’ll save it for another time.

    • AHM says:

      @Magnolia – I think it so awesome that you are being inspired to create!!

      My mom’s friend who is a pyschologist had a very abusive mother (not saying that your mother is) and was doing therapy – her therapist said “would you go to a person who has no arms and expect them to hug you – that’s cruel”

      We all do this – expect from our mothers, fathers, brothers, cousins – ACs!!

      My AC is emotionally unavailable and abusive as were my parents at times (that’s where I learned the inconsitency and to tolerate it) – go get the hugs from people that have arms(I’m saying this to myself as well)!! Get the inspiration from people who can give it. I for one think what you are doing is absolutley AWESOME!!

      • Spinster says:

        “My mom’s friend who is a pyschologist had a very abusive mother (not saying that your mother is) and was doing therapy – her therapist said “would you go to a person who has no arms and expect them to hug you – that’s cruel”

        Ooooh. Simple yet profound; gotta remember this for myself. Wise words from that therapist.

    • cc says:

      again, i think we have the same parents. and brava for you for EVERYTHING – giving over to your creative impulse, creating, noting her behavior.

      you’ve got it – its all about her and her comfort. similarly, it was a big day when i realized that my mother’s changing the subject (favored tactic!) was not a reflection of how i wasn’t worth standing up for, it was a reflection of how she was incapable of standing up for anybody.

      and now we’re both standing up for ourselves. *does the happy proud dance*

      • cc says:

        and this:

        I’d rather share a bag of pretzels with someone I like than a bottle of Veuve Cliquot with a jerk-off.


    • Magnolia says:

      Thanks AHM and cc.

      AHM, my mom’s not an AC at all. I just don’t think she can handle that I have been through sexual violence. She’s also codependent (I don’t like that word) in one of those high-functioning, non-complaining martyr ways that disallows getting actively angry at being mistreated. It’s like the censor button on ‘angry’ for my mom, at least around men, is stuck on “on.” Her anger is diverted and squished down before it’s ever conscious. It’s always been like this but I never connected the dots between my particular experiences around bullying and why I have been unable to let go. I really never thought that it was HER I’ve been trying to connect with about it all this time. Maybe now I can finally grow up and leave “home”.

      CC, indeed! I just had my drop-in art class tonight and I can’t tell you how much I wanted the instructor to come over and say how brilliant I am (showing signs of genius in my early work, right!) – it was very mommy/daddy issue and I just felt it all with fascination. (Not to mention I found myself swearing at the light and the paper – “fuck you, you block of light, I will capture you” – what was that? I never swear at my art when it’s words!) I think I’m finally enjoying some self-expression just for what it is rather than having art there as just an outlet for a lot of pain or vehicle for recognition! Feels good.

  20. Lynda says:

    Natalie, you have described that infamous definition insanity with a twist. When we subscribe to the cycle, or live ‘lather, rinse, repeat’… we are actually looking for a different outcome when the actions are the same over and over and over again. If you don’t like ‘what is happening to you’, stop being a spectator and do something. Take charge of you. Know you deserve better, even if that better is alone with your dignity. This prize – and trust me, he isn’t a prize – will keep dishing out as much as you will take. First time shame on him… second time, shame on you.

  21. Demke says:

    Wow! I love this post, honestly one of the best one’s I think I’ve read! probably cause I can and unfortunately relate too well, lol.

    After I finally ‘got it’, and finally had ‘enough’ of being disappointed and opted out, there’s some important things I realized that I felt tremendously guilty about.. and helped me get over ‘him’ even more. So, I will share…

    We say over and over, how selfish ‘they’ are and all they do is think about themselves. Well, we’re guilty of that too. Think of how much time you’ve spent, your energy… feeling sad, angry, having family, kids, and friends (who need our attention and love more than these douchebags, pardon my French, lol). The ones that are there for us.. consistently… we owe them and ourselves all of that giving and caring.. and thought-energy. AC’s/Eum’s don’t deserve an ounce of it. If you’re going to blame yourself for whatever you said to ‘them’, did or didn’t do… think about what you’re not doing for yourself and the people around you who actually do show up consistently and are really there for you. That’s where our energy belongs. Why is it that we don’t feel guilty about that? too busy thinking about… we’re not good enough. Well, take a look around you, and see who’s really suffering because of our false perceptions about ourselves. We don’t only pay the price, the ones closest do too. They are watching us suffer… kind of like how a family watches the one kid in the fam struggle with a drug addiction. They say they’ll stop, everyone thinks ‘this is it, they’re sober’, then… they fall of the wagon, rinse, later, repeat (as NML would say). Really, these morons are our drug, and people around us are hoping we ‘quit’, waiting until we ‘wake the eff up’.

    It’s selfish to believe that our involvment with these kinds of people, who don’t bring us consistent happiness and love… isn’t effecting those around us, our jobs, etc…

    Stop being nice to these people who clearly don’t deserve it, stop feeling bad about leaving.. second guessing your decision, and being ‘afraid’ to leave. Be afraid of when you really lose someone that matters to you in your life… and the guilt you will feel because you had your head to far up some AC’s arse… that you didn’t give THEM the love and attention they deserved.

    You only have one life, damn it. Quit being scared and go after what you want, grow a set, stop feeling ‘bad’ about it.. and do what you should’ve done ahwile back and move on already.. quit ‘dwelling’ and stop listening to them. They are JUST words. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. Listen to NML… words and actions.. match, match, match. Quit giving tons of chances… you don’t have the time. Quit being a freakin’ hamster, lol..

    But we’re too hell-bent on ‘feeling’ good about ourselves… and trying to fit a square peg in round whole with these losers. We’ve got it so wrong. It is very selfish. It’s another ‘thing’ we’re obviously not ‘getting’.

    How we feel when we get another disappointment from these men, it effects those around us whether we like to admit it or not. It really does. If you have kids… if you’re sad, they feel it. Another disappointment… it shows. People around you feel it.

    Just wanted to share that with you ladies… :)

    • Mymble says:

      That is absolutely true. When I was 13 my mother was cruelly cheated on and dumped by her AC. Until that happened i had felt like a total sad sack, ugly little inconvenience to her. After he left she took to her bed, stopped eating. Eventually she started functioning a little better, but only a little. I felt so sad for her and helpless but looking back I really needed a parent myself (father long gone) and some kind of positive input. Only now am I beginning to challenge some of the very negative beliefs I have held about myself for so long. Some of these she explicitly told me (you are so fat/dirty/lazy/selfish, that is why I cannot be a mum to you), and some she showed me with her behaviour. Anyway I’ve been guilty of some of the same shit -‘preoccupied with the AC and then depressed and miserable although my emotional collapse was nowhere near as total as hers was. What I remember about her was that from a young age she would deal with the minimum of practicalities very efficiently but there was no interaction or input other than relentless harsh criticism beyond that. I have been focussing recently on making a point of doing something nice every day with my kids – while they are still young enough to want that from me. It isn’t always easy bc I work full time.

      While you’re preoccupied with the machinations of the AC/MM/EUM it is inevitable that the people who really do
      matter will be neglected.
      The truth of the matter is that if you are on the treadmill you ARE Putting the AC first, over and above everyone else.
      Not a comfortable thing to admit to yourself.

      • tired says:

        Very true i was very absorbed in my first son and when i got involved with ao/mm i slowly switched off to world around , i was happy when he intouch , distant when he wasnt and my kids suffered . i admit that and im now back in reality and back with them . i hug em everyday and tell em i love em. i hope i can make ammends to the real people who lve me back .

      • Lilia says:

        you are so right. Actually the thing that forced me to try to get out of the hamster wheel was that my son started to be affected by the stress I was in. He would start crying for no apparent reason when he was in school, and was always scared something would happen to me though he didn´t really know what. He even had trouble sleeping and didn´t want to be separated from me – not even when he was with his friends or family.

        Once I started to take anti depressants and anxiety medication, and really work on my issues, he completely calmed down. He is a different boy now, confident, popular, doing well in school.

        Now I wonder what I was thinking giving so much importance to this silly EUM who was not at all worth it.

        • Demke says:

          That is why I mentioned it in my response. It’s so important…

          We are not the only ones being disappointed and feeling hurt, sad, angry.. it’s those important ones around us too. I know my kids were affected, no doubt. Our ‘minds’ our ‘hearts’ are really not present when these men are around. And we’re unfortunately, sooo focused on them and ‘giving’ to them (and wanting.. ‘needing’ that quick fix of validation)… we completely neglect giving to ourselves, and those around us who desperately need it from us. The ones that matter (our kids, especially), what are ‘we’ showing them? they will be left disappointed and knowing what to “expect” from us. Which is what we’re getting. Inconsistency. Feeling unlovable. Distrust. It’s a Domino effect. It travels down to those closest to us.

          Do you want to show the people around you a strong, confident woman who won’t take sh!t from no one? regardless of what ‘happened’ throughout your childhood or adult life. it happened. Quit dwelling. let. it. go. Or, continue to let it effect every aspect of your life. You choose. Confident. Or, a weak.. validation-seeking, shell of a woman? I’d much rather the latter. Because this ‘validating’, ‘not good enough’… I’ve had enough, it’s for the birds!

          We think we’ve got it under control, and we can ‘fake’ it and put on a good show in front of others. We’re just lying to ourselves. They know. How many friends do you actually still have in your life? how often do you go out and do things YOU enjoy… that you’re actually not thinking about ‘him’? Your life belongs to you, no one else. So what if he’s w/ someone else? or ten women? be thankful you’re not involved in that mess.

          You want to give? great! give your time to charity… get your kids involved. Plan a ‘girls’ night, take your parents out for dinner, or cook them dinner. Get involved in your kids’ school, see how you can help. Meet people. Get involved in good things.. and you will be amazed at how your life will begin to change for the better, and you will wake up one day… thinking, ‘wow.. I haven’t thought about that douchie douche in days/weeks!! yay! and look at all of these awesome people in my life.

          Ask yourself.. how much ‘good’ have you really had in your life since YOU’VE allowed this crazy disappointment cyle to continue? He won’t change.

          Do you really want out? block him from your life. I blocked my ex’s #, email, FB messaging. Every avenue I could possibly think he could contact me. It’s blocked. I used to wonder, am I being immature by doing that? Umm.. no. It’s doing what I have to in order to live a better, happier life.

          No more sadness, no more anger… certainly, no more disappointments. Right after I cut him off… I started my own business, I work from home, I make dinner for my kids every night… stay in touch with friends more often and ask ‘them’ how ‘they’ are doing (not about me), how are ‘you’ doing. Open your eyes, ladies.. there’s a whole world waiting for you… be a good example for those around you. Don’t wait for or try to find another man. Find yourself and re-establish important relationships around you first.. the right one will find you.

      • ixnay says:

        Yes. I let my cats down at the end of their lives, when both were sick and needed my love, I was crying over him and neglecting them. Feel terrible about it. They were only ever good to me, and always forgiving and affectionate. I hope they know how sorry I am and how much joy they brought me, even as i was emotionally all over the map.

    • onward and upward! says:

      Thanks, Demke,

      My coach was just saying so many of these things to me this morning!

      I just sent my final text to my AC…”right…bye”.

      I don’t know how to block him, so I just threw the SIM card away. My 8 y/o dtr said, ‘Yay, Mama!’.

      It is time to face my fear of showing up as my authentic self in this life! It IS scary and he has definitely been my drug. Awareness is a major step forward!

      thank you for posting this and thanks to you, Natalie and everyone. I would not have come this far without you. You have all helped me to see the truth. big hugs! I’m rooting for all of us-stay strong. Face your life. Don’t get back on that merry-go-round.

      • Spinster says:

        “I don’t know how to block him, so I just threw the SIM card away. My 8 y/o dtr said, ‘Yay, Mama!’.”

        LMAO! Priceless. Out of the mouths of babes. 😉 They’re not as stupid as we (general) think they are. Hell… they’re often more intelligent than adults.

        Good for you for throwing out the SIM card.

    • Michelle says:

      Demke – Wow. What you posted is exactly what I needed to hear. I feel like one of the biggest struggles I have with my situation is that my EUM is totally honest about all of his shenanigans. He tells me literally everything, tells me he knows that he gets a high from the “chase” of other women and that as soon as they are into him, he’s done. He tells me ALL of this. He knows what he does. He says it makes him feel young still. (He’s 44, never married, no kids) And for whatever reason he says verbatim “I just can’t let go of you (me) no matter how hard I try” Everytime I try to break contact with him he comes back. And I eventually give in and let him in again. I’ve known him for a very long time, we went to HS together and reconnected 3 & 1/2 years ago…he has never ever been able to talk about this stuff to any other woman in his life and talks of how we have this “special” connection but that he just doesn’t know what to do with it or how – but that he just can’t “quit” me. He said that verbatim last night. I saw him this morning for a few minutes before work, we talked and kissed and it was amazing as usual. He said that if we were together, he knows in his heart that it would be permanent and he’d have to quit his shenanigans. He says he has never felt the connection that he feels with me and how much it scares him. That when he is with me, it feels like “home” to him but he is scared to death of it.

      I’m so caught up in all of it. I’ve done NC many times with him, only to eventually give in and resume again. It’s such a vicious cycle. It’s not about sex either. We’ve been in this pseudo-relationship for 3 years and it only turned physical at the beginning of this year. I can count on one hand the number of times we actually did have sex. So I know it’s not about that, it’s deeper. Up until last week, I hadn’t even seen him since July b/c of me trying to stay away. He told me he loved me last week. I told him the same. He asked if I was “in-love” with him and I said no, we haven’t spent enough time together to be able to answer that appropriately.

      After reading this, I feel like I’m able to let go again. I told him this morning that I just wish he would push me away to make it easy. He said I can’t let you go…I can’t quit you.


      • Michelle says:

        I think I can describe my situation as: I’m his “drug” and he’s my “drug”. I’ve quit before. I need to quit again. Each time the time between contact gets longer and longer before I give in. I’m just floored this time by him saying he loves me and doesn’t even understand himself as to why he can’t let me go/why he can’t lose me.

        • yoghurt says:


          “I’m just floored this time by him saying he loves me and doesn’t even understand himself as to why he can’t let me go/why he can’t lose me.”

          replace the words ‘let me go’ with ‘let me move on and have a fulfilling life’ and see how that sounds.

        • Mymble says:

          I think the term is “relationship crack”, however it’s you, not him, whose on it.
          You are making the mistake of imagining that because you feel a particular way then he must feel the same way too. If you are a
          drug, then he appears to have many other sources of supply.
          Any man who claims to love you so much he’s “scared” is having a laugh.

      • Mymble says:

        It sounds like stalemate, then, doesn’t it? He won’t quit you but he won’t quit other women either, and he apparently doesn’t love you as much as he loves other other women.
        Are you going to stand by being his ever patient, helpless, spineless FBG for a year, five years, ten years,
        waiting for him to change? This is your time he is wasting with his assholery. Time you can never get back.
        His WORDS sound so romantic ….he can’t help himself ….he LOVES you…but his actions are very unromantic. Turn down the volume and watch what he DOES. then you get a true picture of what he really feels for you – not a lot.

        • Michelle says:

          Mymble – you are spot on. I know all of this -I’ve repeated what you say to myself many, many times. I have to pick myself back up again and get off this ride. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

      • Demke says:

        Michelle – I hear ya loud n clear. And I swear, you just described my ex… except mine was 5 years younger and lied about the same things yours is “honest” about.

        Your AC can’t quit you, because why ruin a good thing? the connection he’s talking about, most likely… is that with you, he has his cake and eats it too. You know it. And you’re accepting it. Most wouldn’t. You’re the best shoulder to lean on (home). You accept him for the AC that he is..

        You can’t quit him either, because by him saying those things (they’re just WORDS), it makes you feel like… ‘wow, he’s picking me out of all these other women he can have, he comes to me’, makes you feel special. However, on the flipside, he can’t commit solely to you because he needs those ego strokes! and who knows what he’s ‘not’ telling you.

        Ask yourself… if he really loves you, why WOULD he want to let you go? and forget all the others?

        A few months back, when I was getting wise finally, my ex said after not being together for two months (and him coming back, of course, lol) “I’m afraid that I’ll never get over you, and I’ll always be inlove with you”. I looked at him point blank and said, “why is it so terrible to be inlove with me? why are you afraid that you’ll never get over me?” doesn’t make any sense when you are emotionally ready and honestly love someone..

        It’s not love. It’s an addiction. Some sick, twisted ‘validation’ seeking… if it works, great. If not, cut it like a bad addiction. Cold Turkey. And yes, if I can do it after 7 years of torture (let me tell you, I had some real low points), anyone… I mean anyone can do it.

        • Lilia says:

          you could use Pia Mellody´s book, “Facing love addiction”. It describes your situation perfectly, and clarifies what both of you are going through – which are two very different things.
          I was in a similar situation, with this long time friend who was supposedly too scared to get emotionally involved. So to me, this sounded like he really loved me. Not true. Reading the book made me put away those rose tinted glasses at last, and understand that he was in it for completely egotistical reasons, that in fact he felt aversion to being close to me.
          It was very painful to find out the truth, but it freed me – that sounds like some bible quote but it´s true, you can´t live in delusion.

        • Michelle says:

          Well, it’s over. I know it is this time. I texted him last night and said please, if you care about me at all, let me go and stay away from me. I gave meaning to you coming to see me last week and I shouldn’t have. He immediately replied “I’m letting you go” – few mins later said “And I promise to stay away. Best of luck” I didn’t reply to him. He has never vowed to stay away from me before. I think he finally realizes how much hurt I allow him to cause me. I went onto Verizon this morning and blocked his number. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt. But I will get over it as I’ve done before. Wish I could rewind to last December when I didn’t want anything to do with him. I want that “ME” back.

          • Mymble says:

            Good for you. However notice how quickly and easily he changed his tune. He’ll change it right back as and when it suits him. He’s had no deep realisation or epiphany, that would have required him to have given a rats ass and sat down and had a good think.
            I think we pay way way too much attention to their random BS utterances. I certainly did, it’s like reading tea leaves trying to find meaning when there is none.

          • Demke says:

            Good for you Michelle.

            I think however, he played it so ‘cool’ about letting you go (thought he said he couldn’t “let you go” and “loves” you…?), because he knows darn well you’re hurting… and that if he were to come back, he’d get the same result. Especially if you’ve told him to go away before.

            That’s what this post is about. Patterns.

            Glad you didn’t respond to his texts, and that you blocked. But the hard part (especially if you’re truly not ready) is keeping it that way.

            I’ve blocked/unblocked (prior to opting out). It won’t work if you’re truly not committed to keeping it that way. And being committed takes hard work… cause you actually have to put YOU first. Make you a priority.. and stop listening to that negative voice in your head… (blaming yourself, wondering if you made the right decision, maybe you were too needy.. blah, blah..). When you start thinking those things, just say to yourself… ahh.. ‘it’s FEAR talking to me now… tell fear to go eff itself, lol.

            • Michelle says:

              Mymble and Demke – thank you for your support. I know it’s going to be hard work to keep it that way. There is just this weird part of me that is telling me it IS finally over. It’s hard! I haven’t felt this sick to my stomach all the other times I pushed him away as I do right now. Guess cause he has never actually said I promise to stay away from you. He SAYS alot of stuff though doesn’t he? And none of it means anything. I just want my life back, my confident, happy ME back. I have a list of all these negatives about him that I just sweep under the rug and then pull them back out when I’m disappointed, to remind myself I don’t really want a self absorbed, narcissist like him anyway. So many friends have said to me that if he were ever to jump in 100% committed to me that they’d give me a week or two before I told him to hit the road. It’s crazy but it is more than likely true.

              Thanks for listening and being here :)

    • Little Star says:

      Demke, what a inspiration post! Thanks! I do not know what I would have done without Natalie and BR community:-)

    • Spinster says:

      Well said, Demke. Great food for thought. Thanks.

  22. Kitka says:

    I so needed this post today… I’ve been journaling and have really raised my level of awareness about how my EUM and I do the same, painful dance over and over again! He pulled his usual crap last weekend, I told him to eff off… And then I sat back and waited to see if it was going to play out the same damn way it always does (even though this last time he was sooooo earnest about how he was going to not be such a self centered, avoidant prick).
    Not only did I call the date he would ping me (today) but also exactly the mealy mouthed text would say.
    It’s to the point now that I’m cutting bait, it’s ridiculous and painfully obvious he has no respect for me- and I’ve perpetuated the madness for too long!

  23. Jen says:

    “Even inconsistent people end up being consistent about being inconsistent with the net feedback to you being Don’t rely on this person.”

    Yep. That is spot on. Basically, every guy in the last few years has been consistently inconsistent. It’s almost like they do come around like clockwork… But it’s really up to me to opt out.

  24. Thatslife says:

    This is a great diagram of how to recognize the cycle of an AC/EUM that is an “Opportunist”. While identifying what the end results are when you engage in this type of cycle with a AC/EUM = Pain.

    I was once an active participant in the type of cycle that Natalie describes with an AC/EUM (professional guy). Until I got tired of repeating the diagram (like a scientific experiment/mouse).

    With enough said I had to regain my esteem, self worth and dignity back.

  25. 4wardMovement says:

    Did this cycle for 15the months. Went back for the tinest crumbs. “I miss you.” “Let’s go have a nice dinner.” Never was the reason for the breakup discussed. The fights just got worse every time. He brought out the very worst in me and I realized it was time to get off of that merry-go-round from hell. 6 weeks NC. He was back with his ex within a week. I feel stronger every day.

  26. Pass the Cold Water please! says:

    I love this blog. You are unflinchingly honest and not afraid to say it as is. I have to admit it sometimes feels like someone took the back of my head and dunked it in ice water over and over while shouting “Wake Up” but that’s what the situation warranted I guess.

    I have been reading your blog for months. Obsessively. Key word being Obsess. I hate that you can lay this out so clearly, that it is just so freaking obvious..well to you, anyway.

    I hate that I participated in such a cliche relationship and that so many women are learning the same lesson I am. I want the invite to the I got it figured out now club, not the oh no- is that me in that blog she’s describing club?

    I will not even go to McDonald’s because I pride myself on being the exception. Exceptionally stupid is more like it. I should have had the fries I really wanted and drove past him. Boyfriend or fast food drive-in I was probably the millionth served either way.

    I hate that I was better than how I was treated, smarter, and acted so weak. I hate that I gave without limits to someone who had defined his own from the start.

    I hate that when he told me for the fourth time we needed space (after a particularly obnoxious encounter where he was too rushed to even get me water- W.A.T.E.R. not precious jewels) that I feel guilty that I said… Need space? Take the rest of your life…

    I hate that I can not be the friend I want to be to him, or call him on his birthday or even say happy holidays because it would be like sitting on the BBQ without pants.

    I really hate that some days I am still angry and I know that carrying anger in my soul and physical body is the same thing as injecting myself with rat posion.

    Mostly, I hate that I just didn’t get it. That I didn’t buy in to the ultimate albeit true cliche which is you get the love you think you deserve. Uumph-still kind of bitter even if true!!

    Little by little, I am appreciating what I love though.

    And it’s not him.

    I love that I can focus on a movie or a book again because my heart does not feel like someone used it as a stress ball.

    I love that when I listen to my friends and family I am present and not distracted about thinking about someone that was not thoughtful about me (at all).

    I love that when I get my hair highlighted or buy new clothes that I am doing it for me. Because no matter how much I loved him no man is worth frizzy hair or runny mascara.

    I love that I am fighting my incessant good girl urge to make it better to avoid the pain or save face to be oh-so-cool when it will just never be better. Well, for me anyway.

    I love that even though I wanted to crawl up in a ball and cry too many times that I am still hopeful for a better day with a good laugh and a possible martini.

    Mostly, I love that I fighting my own big fat ego which whispers in my ear daily “Why hasn’t he called?” and that I can have a schizophrenic conversation with myself and slap that bad girl down and say… “Be thankful, and because you told him not to call you idiot. LET.IT.GO.”

    Thank you for your blog. I have been unable to talk to friends about this. Seriously, can you imagine? You and I have had a lot of conversations, while they are entirely one-sided, they still were heard loud and clear.

    Keep showing us the forrest through the trees. You rock. Thaks for letting me purge.

    • tired says:

      No that is how it is . was there like you working it on it now . keep on :)

    • SM says:

      Love it!

    • Lois Lane says:


      That was just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Actually brought tears to my eyes. You’ve EXACTLY expressed so many things that I have felt. And still feel sometimes.

      Demke, Mymble, and Lilia…..
      My son was a big motivator for me. After things ended, I was a zombie. I wasn’t present at all. But I finally decided I wasn’t going to let my experience with that vile creature affect my young son, our relationship, or my abilities to be the best mom I can be. Or friend, or daughter, or professional…….

      My sincerest and humblest thanks for Nat and the Baggage Reclaim Community.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “I hate that I can not be the friend I want to be to him, or call him on his birthday or even say happy holidays because it would be like sitting on the BBQ without pants.”

      yes it would; and anyone who causes you so much pain is not worth Happy Bdaying, much less roasting your butt into a rump roast.

      “I love that I am fighting my incessant good girl urge to make it better to avoid the pain or save face to be oh-so-cool when it will just never be better. Well, for me anyway. ”

      I think what I learned here somewhat is to stop being so nice. I used to be too nice. Trying to make things look good on the outside, despite what they really are, and make everyone feel better is a form of control and it not only hurts you, it deprives others of their consequences and thus, their own much-needed wake up calls.

  27. Aileen says:

    I agree with Lady Lisa, I really needed to hear this at this moment. Just when I thought giving in AGAIN.. I come here & read this. I’m back to reality, thank you once again :)

  28. Susan L. says:

    Natalie you are so right, lather, rinse, repeat.
    It seems he runs short on victims around the holidays, so I end up being his Christmas girl.
    It usually last until late March or by early April. That is when the dating site gears up with new users that he can take advantage of.
    I have to tell you that he is rejecting me, and I feel I am dieing on the inside. After our first holiday together(2010) he broke it off and went 8 months and didn’t contact me. Then I sent him a birthday card and it started all over again. It wasn’t until the 2nd go around that I found BR. I ordered the book, Mr. Unavailable and the fb girl and my eyes have been forever opened.
    But that doesn’t stop the pain, it just never seems to go away. I just stay sooo sad all the time and I can’t seem to pull myself out of it.
    I have started seeing a “life coach” and he feels that based on what I have shared with him that this man has “Borderline Personality Disorder”. He makes it clear that he can’t diagnose him properly without treating him but he has all the symptoms. Actually he has all the symptoms of every ac on here.
    I am co dependant and he says I am addicted to him. I just know what I feel and if it wasn’t for God bringing me to Natalie I would still be in the dark.
    I sent him 2 unanswered emails, it has been 6 weeks of n/c. As a codependant, my addictions are food and people, namely one person.
    I just wonder how long my heart is going to break, sometimes I feel like I can’t stand it any longer and I’m so tired of crying…

  29. Revolution says:

    Natalie and Ladies of BR,

    I’m back from the road and ready to kick some AC ass.

    *kicks the dust off my boots*

    Now. I really liked this post, because it reminded me that we don’t want to waste ANOTHER MOMENT on these ASSHOLES. Like you said, Nat, that these “lather, rinse, repeat” cycles can last months or even YEARS. *cringe*

    Reminds me of something. After my last AC “debacle”, I ran into a family friend (a woman in her 50s, whom I’ve known since I was 16). She has always been a kick-ass woman, someone whom I’ve admired for years, and who always tells me that I remind her of herself when she was my age. Anyway, in “catching up” with her, I told her that I had recently ended things with the AC, the “relationship” that had lasted a little over a year. Her matter-of-fact response, I’ll never forget: “You wasted over a year on this guy. That’s a lot.” It kinda took me aback and pissed me off at first. Then I realized that she was right. She wasn’t judging me; she was merely commenting on the fact that I had wasted time with this fuckface when I could have better spent my time on someone worthwhile.

    I learned the lesson. I’m turning 35 in seven days. I don’t want to waste any more time on men that can’t find their ass with both hands.

    End rant.

  30. valleyforgelady says:

    If you listen carefully to a man talk about his previous relationships….you can be certain that history will repeat itself. We delude ourselves when we think we will be The One to change his patterns. No Way!!! All of my ex’s treated me like their ex women and the next girl he dumped me for had it happen to her!!! The common ground here is that these self centered guys are never happy with the woman they have….they always have an eye out for something different. All of my exes seem to come around for a sniff to see if I am still interested. Thank God I am NOT!!!!!! I will admit to sometime playing with their heads just for sport but they never get what they want since I am on to who they are. It is very liberating to realize that I did not fail in these relationships…BUT My Picker was really shitty!!! I am taking my time to really vet the men who come sniffing around on line. Most of them are only looking at my photos and have no idea that I am very religious and cultural. I am glad to be single and not vulnerable to the vultures who prey on women!

  31. Tonya says:

    I’m on that cycle right now! Smh It’s so disappointing. Right now things are good and I know it’s only temporary. I need advice on how to break that cycle. It’s so hard.

    • Demke says:

      Tonya… make it permanent. What’s holding you back? if you know the disappointment is temporary, you also know that the happiness that will follow when you go back, is also temporary. You don’t ‘need’ him. There’s no ‘changing’. And is your time and energy, and how this is really effecting you, worth it? No. Time is precious, treat it as such… and be present in the moment every day, the people around you, and most of all be present with yourself. Pick yourself up, no one else will do it, especially Mr. Unavailable. He’s not your answer. You are, and the people around you who are there for you are.

      I’m not saying that we won’t think about them… but the pain and obsessing can be lessened a great deal if a conscience effort is made to focus on more important things in your life. It’s a no brainer, yet we find it sooo hard to do. It’s really not.

      ‘We’ are not getting off our butts and getting busy with life, and making it count where it really matters. We are, in fact, being very lazy in life. We are ‘stuck’ and not moving… until we wake up one day and realize… dang! I’m getting old. I’m too old to have a baby. My kids have grown so much… who the hell are they? my parents are getting old… maybe I should help them out more.

      Do you see where I’m going with this? you are putting your love and energy at the wrong person.. wasting time. And we’re getting nothing but ‘wrong’ in our lives, and definately not enjoying it..

      We need to think outside the Mr. Unavaiable ‘box’.. and venture out. Be around better people so ‘we’ begin to feel and think better about ourselves… it’s the only way.

      • Lilia says:

        this is going to sound cruel. But once you really, truly get out of the cycle, guess what he´ll do?
        He´ll get into the same cycle but WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

        The same hot-hot-hot (and then ice cold), the same lovely romantic promises (unfulfilled), the same intense (seemingly passionate) sex.

        So, instead of having your ego bruised, you can accept this and try to evolve. Get out of the madness, heal, be the best person you can be, love yourself, and open up to someone really worthwhile who will not treat you as an option.

  32. Tinkerbell says:

    PR. Please do not send him a BD card. You don’t know him anymore. You don’t remember that he is going to have a BD. Your mind is elsewhere. Right?

    • PhoenixRises says:

      Don’t worry, Tinkerbell! I just wanted to explain my thought process here because I figured other people on the forum can relate to that inner dialogue too. In the end, I know it’s just not worth it!

    • dancingqueen says:


      Tinkerbell does have a point; obsessing about a man whose birthday you can’t remember is like stalking a guy whose name you can’t remember lol.

      • Revolution says:

        LOL dancingqueen!!!!! That was FREAKIN’ PRICELESS!!!!!

        I have a similar saying: “Fighting to ‘win’ an assclown is like starving yourself to fit into an ugly dress.”

        If these idiots only knew how replaceable, predictable, boring, and forgettable they REALLY are, especially in comparison to the REAL men that are out there!

  33. Miss Kitty says:

    Oh wow, Natalie! This post has brought me out of the reading shadows to say— Yes it’s time I opt’ed out of the disappointment cycle I’ve stuck myself in. It is never going to be good-just been having a hard time acccepting the reality of him. I’ve been coming to your blog to read your articles for over three years, practically since he came back into my life, trying to make sense of it all-was it a relationship, or was it not, etc etc. Hope(in the form of many cords) kept me bound to him and while I have been slowly cutting those cords, via your enlightening posts, there seemed one left and now with this very special post I believe the last cord has been cut. This post seems to cover so many issues. It is very hard when the man you’ve always loved comes back into your life after so many years & tells you lies(till you uncover them because you just knew things were not adding up) Throw into the mix not being able to see each other very often due to schedules & travel distance(while not super long distance was still between an hour and two). Plus add in his’quirk’ (cuckold desires) and lots of disappointments- which all created one hell-of-a draining cycle, but through your blog reality kept showing it’s light on so many things I didn’t want to accept. I couldn’t give up the hope. He is a l’user (loveless user) & I don’t want him anymore.
    I really believe you are part angel here on earth who is used of God to help so many woman(& men) Thank you for helping me see my life, my reality as it was and how wonderful it can be in the future.
    I can hope can’t I :)

  34. GettingBetter says:

    I must admit to laughing at the diagrams, but with an aching heart. The last time I was here, I felt brave enough to say that I broke the cycle. I was confident and free. My phone rang 2 nights later, the ex was on the other end. I got the old speech and the next thing I know, I was reaching for my car keys, only to hear 3 hours later that we needed to be friends. Again. What was I thinking? It was a total waste of gas and the sex was terrible. Worse, I’m back in the same shame spiral. Ladies, I’m seriously considering taking this diagram and getting it tattooed somewhere. Maybe if I see it everyday, I’ll stop making the same stupid mistake.

    • Scarlet says:

      Getting better, don’t beat yourself up too much. This stuff is hard work. I’m with you girl.
      I have done exactly the same thing. Took him back because he said he couldn’t live without me in his life. A few days later he just wanted to be friends again. AGAIN. That has happened at least half a dozen times. I have felt incapable of going no contact, because he rings me two and three times a day and I think I became addicted to the contact. Anyway, I asked the universe to help me detach and a few nights ago I found (Facebook stalking) evidence to add to my suspicions about he and his ex 6 months ago. I flipped, accused him and I haven’t heard from him since. And what do you think I’m doing? Fretting for the contact, feeling rejected by someone who has given me nothing but a cycle of disappointment.

  35. Tired says:

    Spot on , we do shut our attention off from the people who matter most and i was guilty of that. As i woke up to stuff , through reading on here , i have made more effort with old and new friends , spent more time with my parents and been there more for my kids instead away with the faries as one friend said . Plus the longer you stay off cycle the calmer and stronger you begin to feel . Perspective comes back with a good kick up your behind . Id rather have peace of mind and nothing than crumbs and insanity . To all the ladies about birthday cards and wishes dont , they are focused mind effing with who ever there mind effing with . Save it or treat someone to a birthday card or dinner who derserves it for being there for you .

  36. Sunshine says:

    OMG, reading this and all your posts kind of comforts me:) I’m not the only one that’s been doing this!!!:) My ex broke up with me but then I engaged in this big disappointment cycle with him, always hoping he would change and I’d eventually get the relationship that I wanted from him!! “People really do teach you what to expect from them” — that’s soooo true!! Cruel, but true:) I guess I’ve always known this deep down, rationally, but emotionally it’s just so damn hard to grasp this! After two years of being apart and seven months of NC (since he met his new girlfriend) I’m still struggling … It’s getting better, but I just can’t cope with seeing them together, all happy and in love. There’s a wedding coming up this Saturday and there’s a chance they’ll be there too, because a mutual friend’s getting married and she invited both of us. And I’m simply dreading it!!! I don’t want them there!!! Because it’ll simply ruin my entire evening if he’s there with her!! I know I have to get use to this “new reality” of him, but I don’t think I’m ready yet! Everyone’s telling me it’s high time I moved on, but to be frank, it’s only been seven months of NC, and one and a half year of disappointment cycle for me before that!! I’m consider myself quite an intelligent woman, but why the hell can’t I let go of this jerk?!!!!

    • Demke says:

      Sunsine- you can’t let go of him, because you simply won’t. If you’re not dating anyone… it’s because you’re allowing thoughts of him and not letting him go hold you back.

      You’re putting way to much thought-energy into this person that you’re still putting on a pedestal. And for what? Cause you ‘love’ him? Come on… where’s the love in that situation? You are clearly not focusing on yourself, loving yourself, and those around you who deserve it a hell of a lot more.

      If you got your booty in gear and did more positive for you, AND for those good ones around you.. you still wouldn’t be stuck on this AC how many months/years after it ended? I’m sorry, I’m not coming down on you… just hate to see someone waste such time.

      Instead of “getting used to” the “new reality of HIM”, …what about getting used to the idea of the NEW reality of YOU? What kind of woman do YOU want to be? be it. Stop torturing yourself. If there seems to be no ‘good men’ out there… so what. Go out with good friends and family, do for others… and eventually the right one will find you, but not if you’re not doing right by you first. Which, you’re obviously not.

      If you’re dreading this wedding so much… Why are you going? If you can’t handle it, don’t go. Don’t worry about what whoever might think. The wedding will go on without you. Send a sorry note, and a gift. Bride/groom will get over it.

      • Sunshine says:

        Wow:)) I feel like a kid being scolded:))) I know everything Demke and cc said is true. And I am working on it, don’t get me wrong, there’s been an improvement!! I am doing things for myself, traveling a lot, hanging out with my friends and family, taking up new things that I’ve always wanted to etc. it’s just that certain things I hear about still put me down … Like the fact that he moved in with his girlfriend after just a couple of months, whereas with me he wouldn’t settle down after five years!!! But once I process this kind of stuff, it’s better … It’s actually a blessing that he found another woman now because that finally made me stickmto NC!!! I know I’m still putting too much thought in him, but I am trying!!! :) Definitely this half a year of NC has helped a lot!!! I’m gaining new insights into our relationship …. OMG, I was so naive!!! He even told me directly he kept pushing the boundaries and then started walking all over me!!! It is high time I woke up and move on because he sure has!!! I agree it would help if I started dating again because that would stop me from focusing on him, but I just don’t feel like it!! I just want to be happy on my own for now, enjoying life as an independent, confident young woman!!!! Don’t need some guy to mess with my head!!! And I have come a long way in these past two years — finally starting to feel my old self again!!!! Reading BR definitely helps a lot!! I wish I had found this blog sooner!!!! Thank you guys for all your advice — and straightforward
        opinions;))) Love you all xxx

    • cc says:

      demke nailed it.

      it has nothing to do with intelligence – you can’t let go for the same reason we all can’t when we’re not letting go. because:
      1- we think we’ll solve some previous hurt if we solve this
      2- we feel hurt and rejected and can’t let go of the dream
      3- we worry what it means about us if we let the full weight of (brace) it’s over hit us

      and what we don’t realize is that it means NOTHING about us. let go of the shame – you have no reason to be ashamed. you are NOT less than.

      what i had to learn the hard way was that my holding on to my exEUM was me trying to solve something in ME that had made a connection with him and my judging myself for that.

      stop judging you. you’re doing it 100 ways to sunday. a guy gets to reject us once: ONCE. after that, the back and forth cycle is just destructive to you and SELFISH from him.

      YOU must opt IN for yourself. demke said it – take the quotation marks of the “love” that you think you feel for him and give it, FOR REAL, to you. because he is SO not worth it. but you ARE.

      you can’t erase him until you draw you in. so get your crayons, your colored pencils, your oil paints, whatever you need to draw you in and start, now. and you will find – i promise – that if you really do this, you won’t think about him anymore. at all.

      and i agree – if the wedding is too much, don’t go. this is part of appropriate self care. it will go on without you. you go on without it.

  37. Grizelda says:

    It’s the curse of Pandora’s Box. When Envy, Hatred, Cruelty, Disease, Despair and all the rest flew out into the world, the last to be released was Hope. I think the fable intended to convey that Hope is what helps us through all the horrors. But for us in our situations, Hope is what cruelly keeps us hanging on despite all the evidence and all the hurt. Hope is what makes everything hurt not just once but many, many times.

    • Sunshine says:

      So true, Grizelda :(

      • Lilly says:

        Grizelda, I agree with Sunshine, so true. Your comment reminded me of a quote by Nietzsche:

        “In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s (or woman’s) torments”

        I’ve now given up all hope that the exMM will step up and properly acknowledge his son, and I’m glad all the hope is gone. It’s an amazing feeling to finally let go. For the first time in months I’ve felt a sense of peace; not all the time, but the moments are there. The last couple of nights I’ve slept right through the night, today I ate dinner and actually enjoyed it and surprised myself by laughing at something silly on the radio. I also laughed out loud at Revolution’s comment above and oh how I would love to be described as a kick-ass girl. I’m taking it one step at a time, but I will tentatively say that I’m beginning to heal. One thing’s for sure I’ve definitely opted out of the disappointment cycle. Thanks to BR there is no going back.

        • Revolution says:


          Glad I made you laugh. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it’s wonderfully humbling to be included in another person’s healing process, no matter how little a role. Glad to hear you are sleeping and eating better, dear.

          And FYI: anyone that can make it through grief with a gentle and loving spirit like yours IS a kick-ass woman in my book! :)

      • Teddie says:

        Anxiety is only there where’s hope. Erase the hope and the fear goes with it. Call this acceptance.

  38. Gina says:

    Fear of being alone is what keeps people–both men and women–in unhealthy relationships. The rationalization is that it is better to have somebody rather than nobody. However, it is far worse to be in a relationship and lonely than to actually be alone. I recently started reading, “The Art of Being A Woman Alone” by Florence Falk. I highly recommend it!!

    On a slightly different note…

    I was getting ready to go to bed last night when I get a text message from one of my colleagues. Turns out one of the teachers that I work with has been fooling around with another teacher behind his girlfriend’s back. When the girlfriend found out, she called the teacher and told her off…BUT she is still with the boyf. I am an itinerant teacher and due to being on the road a lot, I give my number out to my colleagues so that they can reach me. If this woman calls me, thinking that something is going on with me and this guy, I am referring her to this site. LOL!! The word is spreading like wildfire about BR. I meet women everywhere who are aware of it. Nat, you are on your way to being famous!! :-)

  39. Warrior Princess Emerged says:

    Pass the Cold Water Please!
    How well you have articulated me at this stage in my life. I am a very slow learner, I have had this ass clown in my life as a ”friend” for 17 years. I held a fantasy, that THIS TIME, he would see how wonderful I was, that if I let him walk all over me, be at his beck and call, twist myself inside out like a pretzel, compromise all my values, think his lies were funny, think his irresponsibility was a character trait to behold, let him lead me totally astray because I wanted him to accept me, all to get him to see the advantages of being my friend and how I would go to the end of the earth for me.
    NUTS OR WHAT???? Finally I saw the light, thanks to Natalie and her blog and books. I have been to so many psychologists/life coaches/done courses over the years, because deep down I knew that I had to rid myself of this addiction to this assclown, which I feel is too complimentary a word to describe him, but nothing worked. I wasn’t strong enough to pull away. To give up the game of cat and mouse. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, told him he was a liar, a cheat, he would sell his own grandmother, and he even told me he had no conscience, and actually told me the last time I saw him that he could tap 25 women on the shoulder at his workplace and have any one of them, and he said that he has had sooooo many women in his life, but STILL I PERSISTED, I thought I was special, I thought he loved my company, I thought, I am different than all the others, I thought I saw in him something no-one else could see. Turns out – I’m not discerning, or a good judge of character, I believe in fairy tales and I didn’t recognise the wolf in sheeps clothing with that charming smarmy smile, was willing to ”future fake” to get his own needs met and then walk away. AHHHHHGGGG only to have me turn into an insane mess and look like an absolute fruit cake, and then apologising one million times to get him back, only to go through this whole damn destructive cycle over and over and over and over.
    But thanks to Natalie and her wisdom, wit and straight talk, I have been able to see this snake for what he is. Í used her books as text books. And let me tell you, he was everyone in those books. He doesn’t even realise how famous he is, that there is a book written about him. Yet I didn’t have the strength to walk away. I confronted him about his lies, I wanted an apology (okay stop laughing) he told me I was crazy and then I said goodbye. This cycle has been going on all these years, over and over again, except the cycles were getting shorter and shorter, as I was becoming more wise and unable to tolerate someone that didn’t value me.
    And now I am wondering why he won’t contact me anymore. And I get on my knees and thank the universe that he doesn’t contact me. Because I deserve people that respect me and value me. Not some user who doesn’t care whose heart he rips out, as long as he gets his selfish needs met.
    I still find it hard to believe that these people exist in the world. I still find it hard to believe that all his charm was a facade. He would win the Golden Academy Award for acting hands down. In fact he would scoop the whole Academy Awards night with directing, best screenplay,cinematography, best script, best actor, best costumes etc., etc.,
    Don’t let my sarcasm fool you for a minute. I am very sad that I have been so niave. I can’t believe I have wasted so much time waiting for him to see me as a friend.
    Ho hummm, it’s so good reading this blog and seeing that I am not alone. It makes it easier to become stronger and have a place to vent where people understand exactly what I am going through.
    Natalie thank you. This article is absolutely amazing.

    • cc says:

      warrior princess emerged-
      you have the most AWESOME name. so don’t be sad, honey. be your name, for you. because its ok – we none of us know until we know. now you know. thank god.

  40. GettingBetter says:

    Scarlet, The strange thing is that we know for a fact that these guys don’t want us(they’d) sooner die before they claim us to the world) & in our hearts, we know we don’t want them either. Male friends have told me that men know the instant they meet a woman what her status will be in his life, whether it be the love of his life or long-term one night stand. Only us women meet men with the need to want to turn each relationship into the great loves our lives, no matter the pain, hurt, and downright disrespect. And the worse, absolute worse part of it is that it hurts even worse everytime they walk away. The only good I can say is that it may have shattered my faith in relationships, but not in love.

    • Lainey says:

      That’s an interesting comment about men knowing immediately what status a woman will have in their lives. I’ll have to mull that over. That reminds me of another possible “truism” that I’d like to get some feedback on. My cousin has been a relationship therapist for 25 years and her conclusion after all this time is that she thinks men (who really aren’t that complicated) go for the woman who makes them “feel” a certain way, immediately and in the moment. There is no anaylzing, it’s not a cerebral decision, and it’s not based on how the relationship might unfold in the future. It’s just – bam! – I feel good around her, right now.

      In my cousin’s experience, this is in stark contrast to what we women do – that we go for the man who we think has “potential” whether or not we feel good with him at present or not, and we analyze him, his motives, his behavior, etc. to death. Look at how many posts have been written here and on other blogs by women who are holding onto men who make them feel absolutely miserable! But they are still holding on because he “might” change in the future. How many women do we read about time after time who are who are desperately clinging to some (drug addicted/homeless/mentally ill/serial cheater/sponging off their mothers/chronic liar/can’t hold a job/shameless user/etc.) lowlife who can’t possibly be making them feel good in the moment but they “still love him!”? What is going on here???? Men don’t seem to be doing that nearly as often.

      Do you think this idea has some merit or not? It might explain part of the answer to that bewildering question that torments so many of us: why her and not me? It wasn’t that he analyzed all your differences and you came up short. He just “felt” better around her, for whatever reason, and it probably was mostly unconscious.

      • Lois Lane says:

        I’ve heard that from others as well. I think it has a lot of merit. In the beginning. At the start of a relationship anyway. When things are still new and people are still getting to know one another. But I do believe at some point, a man will consider what he knows of this person and how he feels and applies that to gauging the future. Whether a real committed, long term relationship with this woman is possible. And then proceed.

        At least with a semi-normal, healthy man…… 😉

        It seems as women we jump into future mode too quickly, instead of focusing on the present and letting things unfold without becoming overly attched right away. Of course we look for potential. That’s all we’ve got. We don’t know them that well at first. I think part of that is hardwired in our genetic code when looking for a mate though.

        I know I’ve slowed my roll WAY down. And boy does it work. Dodged a few bullets in the last two years. With only a bit of hurt and ego-bruising. Yay! Having better self-esteem, stronger boundaries, not being afraid of being alone for a while or being afraid of making a mistake, have really liberated me. And I may be Baggage Reclaim educated but I’m still learning. Just my opinion……

  41. miskwa says:

    What you described about your mother is really typical of abusive/ neglectful parents who KNOW that’s what they were. When confronted with having to face their past actions, they shut down, change the subject, go into denial. The story and your work relating to that poor girl made them remember. My dad does this all the time, I can be talking about some issue important to me such as helping disadvantaged kids here and he will start talking about his orchids as though what I said never happened. They cannot face themselves, not your fault but you are stuck with it nonetheless. Gonna go out and put down tobacco for Amanda.

  42. tired says:

    i think we just ponder more , think and over think . Men just up and at it , i was doing a bit of home work on the baggage reclaim course , writing a letter . i had to send it to nat and she will answer like shes the ac . i didnt want to as idont want to think about him anymore , i dont want to be counting so many days of nc , he deffo wont! keep going , just keep going . im off to buy a guitar strap so i can get use to playing guitar standing up instead of sitting down because i will do this jam night if it kills me and if i die of embarrasement who the frigg cares lol

  43. AHM says:

    Wow – another great one Nat!!

    “You don’t try to get them to do hot all the time – you recognise that playing switcheroo is their thing and get off the rollercoaster (disappointment cycle) before you throw up your self-esteem or continue to give them time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere.”

    It’s unbelievable that when I am in deep stress, lonliness or sadness – I automatically go to missing the “good” crumbs in my mind.

    The above comment brought straight to the front of my mind – couldn’t show up to mom’s funeral, but could go to his friends baby shower, didn’t remeber my bdays, or show up to the concert I bought tickets for, but could go gambling in the mountains all day 2 days later and on and on and on and on- all because he was a chronic pain patient -LMAO. Oh and didn’t think he could be in a relationshit or sex w/ me cause of this pain, but he could pick up on other women and have sex with them.

    I am a sick puppy – at least I am not with him anymore – but once again the low self-esteem is rearing it’s ugly head and saying it was all my fault, he just wasn’t into me, and he’ll treat the next one, especially if he’s into her, better.

  44. colororange says:

    I have been NC with ex MM (I think they’re separated now)since earlier this year. He’s contacted me three times since then and the first time I basically told him to hit the road. Well, the other morning at 4AM while I was asleep….not supposed to be up for another 2 hours for work, I hear a text and knew immediately it was him. His pattern is to text me either at midnight or at 4AM….I have no idea why. Figure he’s drunk. Anyway, he left some baited comment about him being grateful for me and that was it. (Grateful for what??) I never responded. I figure if I said anything it’d just egg him on. The second text before this one he said he would leave me alone. Then he sent this one 2 months later. But the issue is he is waking me up while I am asleep. Should I break contact to tell him to F##k Off and quit texting me or just let him hopefully get a hint with my silence? I’m really annoyed that he’s waking me up. But I can bet in 2-4 months there will be yet another text from him as that seems to be his pattern of when to contact me. I don’t want his roller coaster ride of craziness and really want him to leave me alone. He’s not different than he ever was. Just as manipulative, selfish and ambiguous as ever. He does not value me at all. So what to do? May just block his number instead of saying anything else to him.

    • sofie says:


      “I don’t want his roller coaster ride of craziness and really want him to leave me alone.”
      MAYBE block him?
      Djeez girl, block him right now!
      Or are you somehow, in a small part of your subconscious or conscious mind, waiting for your phone to go *bleep*?
      Are you thinking: ‘this could be the night I get a text?’
      Because if this is the last thing you want, you’d ‘ve blocked him by now.
      Or have changed your number. Changing your number is not the end of the world. Not knowing whether this man texts you or not, isn’t either.
      Waking up in the morning by his text every 3 to 4 months and thinking about it because of it, for weeks perhaps, should be. Because now it’s about you, your rested mind and body, your time and your life. Not if he is thinking about you or not. Let them think about you all they want. (every 3 to 4 months…) They had their moment. They toyed with it.

      • Demke says:

        That’s why I blocked my ex from everything I could think of. I don’t want to even get back into the whole idea of validation in any way, shape or form.

        I don’t need a random txt out of nowhere, or a phone call… making me feel all icky like I used to. I don’t want it. It’s self-preservation.

        So…I won’t be waiting for a call or a text.. like I used to, thanks to me (for validation and hope). It will never come. No emails, or messages.

        I made it very difficult for him to get in touch. Because I am committed to moving on. I am committed to me, my family… and being happier. It’s that simple. I am not scared of being alone, because technically I’m not. I truly believe that when I am at my best self (…workin’ on it :)), the right man will come along. Negative, wishy-washy, disrespect and selfishness doesn’t belong in my life, or around my kids. Period.

        Jeez… I obviously had a lot to say today, lol…

    • intuitive says:

      On most smartphones you can set it to where there is a different ringtone for different numbers that contact you which are stored in your contact list, and you can set his to be silent.

      But yeah, just block him, not only do you not want to speak to him in the first place but he is also harassing you.

    • Allison says:


      I put my phone on silent, every night. I would also block he may decide to make a daytime call.

      How disrespectful to send a text at that hour, shows exactly how he feels about you. What a creep!

  45. Cija Black says:

    Awesome article. It’s amazing how much slack we are willing to give people with the mere hope that they might finally come around. Not only do “People really do teach you what to expect from them” you teach people how to treat you. If you put up with that cycle and behavior, THEY have no reason to change. They are actually rewarded for their crappy behavior, because you let them back in without really expecting them to do any changing on their part. The only person you can control is you and if you don’t set boundaries those users, will continue to use. Thank you for a great break down of that cycle.

  46. Excellent! This blog is a life saver- I can’t tell you how many times I have done this to myself in my life. I also used to obsess over past relationships , beating myself up thinking if only I had another chance I would do it right “this time.” Thank you for your blog!

  47. jewells says:

    Thank you Nathalie! I am sooooo grateful to have found your site, I was searching ‘how to mend a broken heart’ and ran into you. I’ve come to recognize that I have dated too many AC’s to name. But this last one was the ‘epiphany AC’, he made so many promises, used possessiveness, jealousy (I mistook for being really into me – now I recognize it for what it is), told me he loved me, missed me, wanted to be with me…but still lived with his wife, but that they were just ‘roomates’ as they decided a year ago that they were done, but only were staying together for the sake of appearances for her child (by a previous relationship)to help him get through a court case.
    So, bottom line, I was fast tracked, future faked, fed B.S. constantly, THEN when I mentioned that I should apply for the new series ‘the mistress’ that I might need help to ditch my married man…he ditched me! He saw that I wasn’t going to put up with the situation very long and decided to pull the plug first! He did try to explain, apologize, he ‘wanted to be friends’, he cried, but he did me the favour of trying soooo hard to make things ‘ok’ between us that he let too much info slip and I began to see what he actually was. I flipped, and told him that I would give him a short time to tell his wife about me, as it would sound better coming from him than coming from me armed with his text messages and emails. He did, then he had the audacity to call me and thank me for ‘saving his marriage’, finally doors had been blown open and he finally has hope for the future with his wife.
    I did grieve the ‘relationship’, I had allowed his B.S. to dominate my life and make him the centre of my universe, and I had fallen for him (more like the illusion of him). So, there was heartbreak, there was the physical pain, but I’ve gotten through most of that and am regaining what I lost while I was with him – myself.
    I also am lucky that his wife and their counsellor both stipulated that he had to cut ties with me in order to work on the marriage. Otherwise this process would have taken longer and I would still be being swayed by his B.S. everytime I confronted him on his behavior – his favorite tool is to spring into tears and apologize profusely, calling himself and idiot, something to scrape of your shoe, anything to avoid ME telling him that that is how I feel about him. ALL ABOUT HIM….STILL He got me in my sympathy, empathy, compassion place and blinded me with fantasy and B.S. Ultimately he is cowardly, insincere, untrustworthy, completely lacking in integrity and I’m happy that he is now completely his wife’s problem and no longer sucking my energy into his sick fantasy world.
    I am soooo happy to have found this site to have given me the tools to recognize his behavior and my own that allowed this behavior to take root in my life. I am now working on boundaries, yesterday I emailed my uncle who came to visit recently who has the same AC attitudes as the original AC in my life – my father, I told him that he disrespected me while he was here and that if future visits were going to hold the same, I won’t be interested in participating. I’m working on boundaries with ALL in my life, I know we allow certain behaviours from ‘family’ that we would NEVER allow from anyone else – being family does not give a ‘pass’ for bad behaviour. I learning to recognize what ‘bad behaviour’ is so that I can set the barrier for it. I now have hope for the future that I didn’t have before, as my old negative beliefs are being exposed for what they are. No more AC’s are going to prey on that ‘weak’ area of mine, as it won’t be there in future…

  48. UkGirl says:

    he calls – I respond – I get hurt
    I wasn’t even doing the hopeful bit or expecting a relationship in the end, I’d got so used to this cycle of events

    I finally did the right thing and said I couldn’t do the “Friends” witn “benefits” thing anymore

    but, doing the right thing is proving hard for me

    it’s only a matter of time until I get a call or see him around – here’s hoping I’m stong enough not to get back on the cycle of disapointment!

  49. intuitive says:

    Natalie, these diagrams impacted me on a fundamental level. For those who are familiar with personality psychology, I have frequently tested as INTJ and visual models like this can resonate with us.

    I also can pinpoint the exact place where, in difficult interactions, the cycle is sabotaged because the other side does not come through with their end of things, and I am left picking up the slack. But nothing has really been built, it is the same bad thing and I am just walking along it, over and over, lost.

    Someone in another comment above mentioned the difference between this structure and a spiral. A spiral builds on itself because the other person contributes on their end, building something up, and it helps both of you move to a higher and better level.

    These disappointment cycles are like running around in a circle at the bottom of a deep hole.

    Now I know how to get out of it, and how to be careful in my other interactions in the future. Once I sense that cycle being sabotaged… I am done.

    • Learner says:


      Yes, that’s what I was trying to convey re: the spiral – both people building up to a better place. All the best in your journey out of the disappointment cycle xo

  50. jewells says:

    UK Girl,

    Don’t respond! I know it’s easier said than done, and granted I have it easy as I put my AC in a position where HE can’t contact me nor respond to my epiphany texts I occasionally send him. You MUST be strong, NC and keep reading these blogs is the only way to go. He is no good, he has no idea how no good he is, it’s up to you to recognize it and put your foot down to bad behaviour once and for all with EVERYONE in your life. Onwards and upwards, there are plenty of people out there who will treat you as you should be, only YOU have to believe it and let it in! The emotional ties are the kicker, allow yourself to go through the pain of the cut, go through it, don’t avoid it, especially by keeping the fantasy going…that’s why you keep getting hurt, you’re keeping some ties alive – feel all the hurt, it WILL subside and you will be stronger and wiser for it!

    • UkGirl says:

      Jewells – thank you, I am planning to stay strong, but just get a bit sad and feed up in the process, hense why I’m on this website today, to try and remind myself I’m doing the right thing, as I know that it is the best for me long term – the problem is avoiding a “quick fix” to cheer me up, from someone who Temporarily makes me feel good!

  51. sofie says:

    We were together for 1,5 months the first time we fought because I was conducting some boundaries (I do think I always tried to maintain them, but looking back that was partly a facade, since I STAYED with him, or kept going back).
    Not soon after, the first break up came (initiated by him). After a fight where I tried to make clear he was busting my boundaries. He never came round but always started to contact me again. Never said sorry *of course* and INVENTED good behaviour from his part. He actualy said that he always came by my door to make up and say he was sorry. The times I stood there with my mouth falling open at so much selfdelusion, I used to say *or mumble really* ‘but but but, you didn’t!!’
    He probably ment that ONE time where he busted my front door at 4 am in the morning, drunk and stood by my bed.
    I didn’t took them as lies, because he believed his own delusions so firmly and I was so confused by him, but if it DIDN’T happen, then they are lies. Pure and simple.
    This happened for a period of 3 years, every 3 months or so.
    After that first 1,5 month I became 30 that week. A milestone yay! Since he acted up only days or hours before an event and I tried to defend my ground no matter what, I celebrated alone. (notice that he always had something to do, a place he could go to, fallback YES fallback friends, because that’s what they are. It’s not that I didn’t have friends, I was just too damn STRUCK to want to see anybody at a moment like that)
    Christmas and new years that year: alone.
    Next year: birthday. Yip, had a fight: I was alone.
    Last year’s birthday? I don’t have to ask you for the answer. Aswell as this year.
    We’ve been NC for almost 3 months now.
    His birthday is coming up this week.
    I made some very fun plans to do.
    No chance in h*ll am I going to think of somebody who let me celebrate the day I was born ALONE for 3 whole years.
    Or ever again for that matter.
    My grieve has turned into REAL anger and REAL aversion for this person *I spitted* for the very very first time throughout all these years, I know I’ll get over that aswel, but for the moment it serves its purpose. NEVER will I let somebody take away moments that are important in MY life. Ever again! The cycle is broken for sure. Forevermore :-)

    • Jemma says:

      Good girl Sofie :-)

      I’m at the anger stage too and this is one of the reasons why we fell out – he had promised to be at my 30th and let me down, only made worse by the fact that according to him I made his birthday yet he couldn’t be arsed with mine. Well screw ’em babe xx

      • sofie says:

        exactly, why in heaven’s name bother about somebody’s birthday when they dragged you through hell and all they could think of at the time aswel as now is their massive selfinflated ego being hurt.
        They don’t care if you sent them wishes. They pack ’em with the rest, of probably other selfdeluding girls they have in their backpack.
        They care if you don’t. Not becàuse of you. But because of the lack of attention. Or the fact that somebody dislikes ’em that much that even an empathic person won’t go to the trouble anymore of wishing them well on Their Day. They know we are caring women. They know because they chose us for that very reason.
        They’ll be waiting for a sign on their birthday, with a cookie in one hand and the remote in their other, firmy relaxt. Don’t give it to them.
        Indeed Jemma hun, screw ’em! x

    • Revolution says:

      I love the anger stage.

      • Sofie says:

        hi Revolution,

        the anger stage, for me, is an important stage.
        I used to get angry and feel helpless in the same time.
        My anger used to be mocked by him, in that way that he ridiculed the way I talked (I’m a dutch speaking person but for some reason when I get angry I use a lot of english :-) dunno why, I just do it, it’s funny yes, but vicious mocking isn’t)
        or he would bring up personal stuff of me that had nothing to do with the issue we were fighting about. In hindsight, soooo childish. He said in times like those, ‘I’m like an animal in a cage at a moment like that and I’ll use anything to ‘defend’ myself, I can’t help it’
        Yes you can, you’re an adult. Or wait a minute, no you’re not! That’s the problem. You’re not some animal in a cage, you’re a Big Baby!
        I have been so calm these last 3 months, and I still am, but I’m allowing myself to get réally angry. Like venom that has to come out. Doesn’t frustrate me though, it feels liberating.

        • Revolution says:

          Hi Sofie,

          I’m sorry to hear that you were mocked by this overgrown baby. My ex used to do things to rile me up on purpose (which, I’ll admit, isn’t hard sometimes) because he loved to see my “hot Italian-bloodedness”. Turned him on. Until I used it to smack him down when he went too far. Then he tried to play a “Father Knows Best” on me (he was 9 years older) and chastise me. I wouldn’t have it.

          Yes, I’ll admit that I need to tame myself sometimes. But I truly believe that the tiger stays in the cage when a guy is civil and respectful. After all, I have no problem being kind, calm, loving, mild, and gracious with men who don’t pull that shite on me.

          So yeah, anger is liberating sometimes. Even the Bible states, “Be wrathful, but do not sin.” In other words, anger can be righteous when it is in view of unrighteous behavior. You are right to let it leave your body, as it IS venom that would poison us if we didn’t.

          So, in conclusion: Should we feel anger? HELL YES. Should we dwell on it forever and let it lead us to angry/vengeful actions? No.

          • sofie says:

            I’m glad I got a *sort of* conversation with you here because when I read your comments and how you experience things I feel the same a LOT. Like for instance, my ex was exactly 9 years older too (not that I’m referring to that similarity only 😉 )
            You sometimes speak -either specifically or more often not specifically- of feeling, or being, very outgoing on the one hand but being very vulnarable and insecure about that on the other. And I feel a lot like how you describe yourself in your comments.
            But what I DO know is, that however loud or outgoing or harsh I may sound to certain people, (and these days I accept myself for who I am and I will never go back again, I’ve learned to accept and love myself for it little by little) I always remain to have respect for other people’s integrity. When somebody falls out with me or me with them, I will NOT throw their issues in their face to justify myself. Even if that person was my ex who did a number of precious little acts (like reading ALL of my journals from when I was 14 up until the recent ones because I moved out and he had access and has ever since been throwing MY personal information in my face with the remark ‘if I had known that stuff I wouldn’t have started a relationship with you’. It has been extremely difficult to overcome that, it was like being put down by family, school, bullies all over again, like I had no right to feel angry frustrated and furious about stuff in my life he had no business with, and that’s how I felt initially, but I have overcome this. To the extent that I am proud that at least I use a journal to write of my frustration and anger and not USE it to hurt those very people I write about, and I have been thàt clever since I was 14. He is ‘soooo’ much older and hasn’t come that far yet. So, who’s loss right? Anyways, (I sometimes found it hard to express myself in the right way in another language) I don’t want to dwell on another subject that this particular article of Nathalie, but I did want to say this to you. I always read your comments, I support everybody here, but feel very connected to you :-)
            And also, anger is an energy, if you use it wisely. And that’s one of the things this relationship has taught me. Do not let anger rule your life, learn to process it, but first FEEL it and acknowledge it and work with it. It càn become a good thing. It has for me.

            • Revolution says:

              Hi dear Sofie,

              First, your English is near perfect.

              Second, thank you for relating to me so closely. Though I don’t know if that bodes well for you, dear. 😉 It’s been a hell of a rocky road with this personality of mine. I hope it’s smoother for you. Sometimes I feel like the snorting mustang here on BR, while the beautiful strong thoroughbreds like Grace and Runnergirl are just like, “Yes, yes, calm yourself, dear. We’ll get there in the end,” as they trot past me while I waste my energy bucking. :)

              Third, the fact that your AC read your journals (!!) is unconscionable. The fact that he went behind your back and read your personal thoughts and then used them against you (again, !!) further disqualifies him as being moral judge over your character. What a dipshit.

              (As a side note, though: It fascinates me that your AC would read your journals. I, too, have journals that date back all the way from 13 years old and I doubt that my ex-AC would give a flying f*ck enough to read them.)

              • sofie says:

                hi Revolution,
                no haha, it definitly hasn’t been smoother, far from it. I get the ‘people are intimidated by you’ remark so often I got extremely insecure about it. People trying to give me ‘tips & tricks’ to communicate differently,(and I do appreciate them)but sometimes it’s because they can’t handle somebody who doesn’t dance around a fountain to make something clear. But you can’t force nature. I can not be quiet and introvert and be dancing around no fountain. I feel icky when I try, and insincere. I feel like I’m pulling strings on people when I don’t speak my mind. I don’t think beautiful people like Grace and Runnergirl are that more gentlier than you are though Revolution, I get your messages of care and your sincere concern about others aswel as yourself just as clearly as I do theirs and I read both your comments with a big appetite. Different package, same message :-)

                About my AC reading my journals, trust me big time, he could’ve read those and be proud of me, for the very reason that I have taken things and people serious enough to want right about it and try to put it in perspective, from an early age on, to get rid of frustration and anger that way (and really, who uses a journal to be all lovely dovely in ALL of the time, who are they fooling?) He read those to get black and white proof for himself and everybody for that matter, but above all for me, that I was the ‘bad’ one, I had the personality disorders, he told me based on my journals, that I had deserved to be cheated upon by my previous LTR’s, that my best friend would eventually see me like he does ‘now’ and even my parents wouldn’t love me if they knew me like he did.
                All the while I haven’t killed one fly with my journals, not even by smashing them into corners out of sadness. They have been with me all my life, and are very very important to me. (naturally right? I think so)

                Although I could see, that only a very sad little boy would say and use things like that, only a sad sad sad man would try to tell somebody is not worthy of the love of their parents, (I have a very good relationship with my parents after years of alcohol abuse of my father who is now sober since 6 years and we get a long perfectly now) still I can not forgive him. I don’t think I ever will. I know the anger will fade. But I will never forget. He made me feel bad about every little aspect and fiber of my being, and it has been a road to hell and back to recover. But one thing though, I hàd to face all these insecurities because of it. Because out there was somebody, who would use any trick in the black book to hurt me, and I hàve to learn to trust myself so I can not fall in the same trap. Still working on it, but feeling much much better. Thanks for letting me rant and listening or reading. I absolutely love zen-like and soft people, but I sure as hell love the mustangs too, in a way they relax me more than introverts. Personal flavor of course. :-)

                • Revolution says:


                  That is a broken, miserable man you speak of. Anyone working THAT hard to make you the problem and create doubts in your mind about yourself and those you love is NOT coming from a happy place. Leave him to his misery. I daresay even pity him. But pick up and move on. Don’t take anything he piled on you (emotionally) with you. It doesn’t belong to you anyways. Those who love you, love you. He doesn’t have that, and he’s envious. Let’s pray that someday he finds a way not to bite the hand that feeds him.

                  Glad to “know” you here on BR, Sofie. Stay strong, and thanks for the words of encouragement from one “mustang” to another. 😉

    • hopeful says:

      I feel as though we had the exact same relationship except I was with my ex for 6 years which isnt something to brag about. As of today I have been 73 days no contact except yesterday i went to the gas station and saw him mind you he was in the car with a friend I didnt know it was him until I pulled up and as soon as he saw me he put his hand over his head like he was scratching it so I couldnt see his face. In my mind I was very hurt because here I havent spoke to you in months and just happen to run into you and you put your hand over your face in hopes that i didnt see you. Needless to say I just pulled out of the gas station and kept going there was no point in making it worse. Why would he do that?

      • Lilly says:

        Hopeful, that would have hurt. Perhaps he was feeling ashamed at the way he had treated you and didn’t want to face it or maybe he thought you were angry with him and was trying to avoid a potential confrontation? Perhaps he realises that he is a shallow, disrespectful person and didn’t want to see that reflected in your eyes. I’m sure my ex would try to hide from me too. Cowards. You did the best thing by driving away, keep driving xx

        • Hopeless says:

          Thank you for your response. That is one thing he always was was a coward when anything difficult happened or was being talked about he would leave because he didn’t want to deal. I definitely have work to do because my initial response was “what did I do” because I couldn’t understand why he would do that.

    • jiffy says:

      Hi ladies. The posts here and your comments are all helping me go through a very difficult time now. After taking back Mr. Unavailable after leaving me for a few weeks due to a “moment of confusion” (his ex with whom he has no closure suddenly arrived in his life again and he was confused for a while)…After giving him a second chance and try to make things work out with him, he has again left me to “find himself”. He said he gave it a try but I was to hung up on our past with what happened, that I was not giving him room to breathe. He has since left me again, on my own once again, trying to piece everything back together, to get my life back. How do you start over when you’ve given your heart, body and soul to someone who can just leave like that?

      The posts here are making me realize it is not my fault why he left. He has issues to be given with and if I have only heeded the warnings and noticed the red flags, I will not be suffering as I am now.

  52. Vamp says:

    This is just what I needed to read right now…After 10 months this is getting to be a cycle with a ‘Mr Unavailable’…. from now on FLUSH!!

  53. selkie says:

    I’ve been in that cycle many times. The worst was with an abuser for four years, where he would push me away until I’d leave and then would stalk me until I let him back in. It was a force cycle on his part, and a desperate for validation cycle on my part. I almost lost myself. It’s been two years since I got out and I no longer hurt over this man, but I’m still rebuilding myself. If this had never happened with him though, I might still be rolling along blind in my own life. It was my wake up call, and I needed it (sadly). It sucks it had to be four years, and that I needed such a degrading experience to wake me up. I grew up watching dysfunction unfold like a circus show as a child, so I really had NO IDEA what love meant, what it looked like or how to find it. I thought someone coming back, no matter how horribly they treated me meant they cared. I was like an abused dog hiding under the table desperate for any scraps that got dropped. The scraps became survival to me, even though I was starving. You become less picky when feel you’re starving. I’ve had two relationships since, both failed, but at least they didn’t limp along tattered and broken so we could both find ‘fifteen’ minutes of bliss here and there. I know happiness in my life involves me feeding myself, properly, not waiting for table scraps someone might drop. I get lonely, but my heart is not bleeding all over the place anymore. The loneliness scares me sometimes. I am not content with it, and not happy, but being in a dysfunctional relationship as a cure is not an option for me anymore. That’s progress for me, to not let myself settle just to fill the void. In this rebuilding, I’ve gained and lost. I’ve gained a sense of self, and some vision, but I’ve lost people in my life. These people had to go, they were friendships and old loves that were based on my old complete doormat approach. So, I sit in this new place, lonely but not living off crumbs. I am making an effort to get out of this zone though, even though it feels safe hiding here. Loneliness is not an acceptable replacement for desperate. Rebuilding means coming out of old comfort zones but moving FORWARD into new unknowns, which can be uncomfortable too, because of fear. The old saying that courage is acting in the face of fear is so true.

    • runnergirl says:

      Wow Selkie, I’m moved by your comment and your amazing progress. I did the abusive (emotional) force cycle (perfect term)for a year and it was truly scary. I got to this point too: “I thought someone coming back, no matter how horribly they treated me meant they cared. I was like an abused dog hiding under the table desperate for any scraps that got dropped”. That’s low and I’ve been there too. Being in a dysfunctional “relationship” (we need a need word) is NOT a cure and NOT an option for me anymore either. It does get lonely. I feel that loneliness too. For me, the pain of being in dysfunctional dynamics from friendships, to family issues, to males has finally outweighed the loneliness. It’s up to us to heal and move forward. Your comment is amazing girl. It builds on Nat’s post beautifully and is so empowering. Thank you Natalie and Selkie. I’ve been moving forward into the unknown with my BR bags fully packed filled with boundaries, values, and even a little bit of self-esteem. It’s a lot less scary with my childhood baggage semi unloaded and re-filled with the aforementioned. I’ve adapted the hokey cokey: One childhood issue out, one boundary in.

      • selkie says:

        I find your posts just as inspiring. I am watching you put all your BR knowledge into action and learning through you what it looks like. You sharing your recent dating experiences is so helpful, your resolve is encouraging and contagious. It’s like, ‘If Runner can do it, then maybe I can too.’

        So, this healing, it’s like the time after a huge storm. You aren’t in panic ‘survival’ mode anymore, but the wreckage around you is visible. You have to get up and rebuild, one nail at a time. It’s up to us. It’s a process, for sure as we are finding out, but oh so much better than consistently getting walked on, then signing up for more.

    • hopeful says:

      I know your story all too well because that was mine for 6 years. When Natalie speaks about excepting crumbs as a relationship I think I had become an expert at that. I have been 73 days no contact and although that makes me happy I saw him yesterday for the first time at a gas station and when he saw me he literally put his hand over his face like he was scratching his head as in hopes that i didnt see him. Mind you I simply left the gas station and kept driving. i was actually very hurt becasue I didnt understand why would he do this when I havent spoke to you in months. I just dont understand. can anyone help me understand why he would have done that?

      • sofie says:

        biologicaly: it’s an gesture of feeling shame.
        In our modern society it’s an gesture of cowardy.

    • jiffy says:

      Selkie, I really felt what you said. It was very emotional for me, going through your comment. I am inspired by how you are trying to rebuild yourself. By not settling with crumbs and accepting that sometimes, people need to go. I needed to read that – I myself am going through a tough time right now with a guy I thought was the one but whom now I realize was a very unemotional, disconnected man who has more issues than Vogue. This is a blessing in disguise, what has happened, otherwise I will still be stuck in a one-way relationship that has no future, that was squeezing my self esteem out of me.

  54. Tired says:

    I had a good shout in the fields today with the dog , called him all the names under the sun , no i wont be going on the cycle again got rid of some of anger :)

  55. GettingBetter says:

    Lainey, I think you make a good point that some men go for the women that make them feel a certain way. Men: I like you so much right now. Women: I’ll love you so much 10 years from now. The down side of this situation is that you’re his midnight you’re-my-dream-woman & 6am you’re-still-here? This is a good thought. But I also had another thought after being dumped for the baby momma who cheated on him & gave him 2 std’s: Men love *itches. W or B, take your pick. You love him & take care of his every last need, you’re a sucker. Spit in his face, ruin his credit, & sleep with his best friend, you’re misunderstood & he needs to save you. For real?

  56. Lia says:

    “If you look back over an unhealthy relationship, you will see that there’s a ‘cycle’. The time periods may vary a little but you will notice that certain things happen or they do something, you respond, they do something else, you respond, there’s a fallout, and lather, rinse, repeat….I know of people who hear from an ex every time they’re in between a relationship.

    Yup. I think most people recognize the pattern, we don’t always want to see it for what it is. I made the mistake once of calling a guy out for his consistently inconsistent behavior and he told me that I was wrong. Even tried to flip it on me with the whole “the phone works both ways” thing, the phone only works two ways if the other party actually picks it up or calls you back…I had known him for years so I was actually able to give him like 5 or 6 different examples, yet I was wrong according to him. He didn’t only show up when he was between girls and he didn’t pick fights or get angry so he could disappear without warning and feel justified, all according to him at least. The last time he disappeared was the last time, he got angry over something that no sane person would ever get angry about. And like a fool I went back and tried to smooth the situation over, good thing for me he wasn’t being reasonable cause then I never would have gotten off that roller coaster of foolishness. I don’t deal with him anymore, but I know what happened. Sometimes the best thing a guy/girl can do for you is be exactly who they are. I used to spend hours upon hours trying to dissect his brain, tried to figure out which screws I could tighten back up. But to be honest, I really had no idea nor do I care at all anymore. The last time he cut out was the last time, so he’s not my problem anymore. Time really does heal all wounds…

  57. jewells says:

    UK girl,
    I hear you babe, the fed up and sad is part of it unfortunately. I took alot of long baths and drank alot of chamomile tea, and that made me at least feel calm enough to let things process while reading this blog and everyone’s posts for almost 2 weeks straight. I had friends ask what was going on in the beginning of this as they started to notice I wasn’t the same and losing weight (I’ve lost the extra 2 stone that I was carrying around since a knee injury – I’m not unhappy about that :) , I told them I wasn’t ready to talk yet, still processing – and feeling numb and dejected too. But I had to contemplate and let things filter a bit before I could talk. Then I opened up to a good friend who instantly understood as she’d been through something similar…that helped loads! So, I was also fortunate that I had someone there who understood and that can make all the difference in the world as she was able to help me put things in perspective and said similar things to what’s being said on this site. I’m still processing, that’s why I’m still here, but I’m no longer in pain over it. The breakup started a month ago, and came to a head 2 weeks ago with me forcing him to ‘fess up’ and him ‘having’ to go NC. I am no longer full of regrets about this ‘relationship’, in fact it needed to happen to cause me to have another look at ME and make changes to how feel about myself and why I consistently allow myself to be ‘downgraded’ and taken for granted. It does stem to my parents modelling, but I’m not going to wallow in self pity over it, I’m going to learn from it and make the most of what I’ve learned, I know that’s the only way to get the relationship for real that was presented to me in fantasy – it opened my eyes to what I DID want, it’s just not going to happen with an EUM, AC or MM, I just have to be smarter and wiser and keep my eyes open to not fall into their traps. I have gained soooo much insight into relationships from these blogs and posts I can’t begin to express. I just know that I am going to take from it what it was created for and find me a ‘good one’. So remember, he was smoke and mirrors reflecting back to you the attention and intimacy you crave while blowing smoke up your butt. He’s done you a favour and awakened that part of you, it’s now your job to find someone who will actually give it to you.
    You can do it, it IS in you…leave loser on the floor where he belongs and keep your head up!
    XO Jewells

    • UkGirl says:

      Darling Jewells
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me, you seem very strong considering your break up was so recent, well done you x

      • jewells says:

        Uk Girl,
        I am only so strong because I went through the pain, I was devastated, then despondant, stayed in bed for most of a week, I left the house only to go to work (at that, only part time and casual as timing would have as my work sometimes is as I am freelance), I read the ‘girl with the dragon tattoo’ trilogy, this blog, drank chamomile tea, took lots of long baths and cried and let the feelings run their course, and then when I was ready, began to open up to close friends and found understanding allies (to some I couldn’t divulge his name, my guy friends would probably DO something, and that’s in no one’s best interest). I have allowed myself the indulgence of going through the process completely to see where it takes me, and where I find myself is in a much stronger position and sense of self than I had even BEFORE I met my MM EUM (jury is out on AC as I thought he might be, but as I process, I ponder that one still). So, I’m coming to a place where I do not regret the ‘relationship’ but have gained much from it and what it did to wake me up, find this blog, bring me closer to my friends and accept myself more fully. BTW if my EUM was to show up on my doorstep tomorrow hat in hand….I would close the door in his face. He’s a prolific liar and I couldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him…

        • FX says:

          Jewells, The jury’s still out on whether he’s an AC?!! Prolific liar to both you and his wife on whom he was cheating? Wow! If that doesn’t define an AC, I don’t know what does…

          This is at the core of why I refer to my ex as an AC. Doesn’t even matter that my ex did get divorced and I lived with him as his gf. Cheating and lying are top line and bottom line info telling you someone is an AC. End of.

          • jewells says:

            Hey FX,
            Well, I’ve been doing alot more reading and processing and indeed, I do now see him as AC. I read a site on abuse, and saw many psychological tools he used on me also in the FF/FF, grooming, outrageous behavior, veiled threats. Yes, AC all the way. I think I may be over it all now as I’m starting to really see the patheticness of him. I was in two minds about the fact that I made him expose himself and that I’ve been exposing him myself to, in a way, forwarn any women in my circle about him. But I realize that was just based on my own self doubts, low self esteem, left over ‘floing’or protecting him. I see more and more that it was the perfect thing to do, it got him in counselling with his wife, forced him to not be able to contact me and mess with my head anymore (I’m certain if I’d just left quietly, he would have remained ‘friends’ and continued to mind f*** with me. So, my knee jerk reaction was correct, my anger protected me from future abuse. Now I’m on the journey of true self introspection and life is looking rosier everyday :)

  58. Andrea says:

    Did this ever come at the right moment. It’s almost like I was meant to see this. I just literally changed my cell phone number this afternoon to help stop this cycle. I have tried to tell the ass clown to stop contacting me, only to have him stop and start..and stop and start..blow hot and cold etc and of course, like above, I thought that “this time” it would be different. Maybe this time he really does miss me or care for me the way I wish he would. Frankly, why the EFF would I want this guy to care for me when he doesn’t have much self-respect for himself. I’ve gone days without checking my phone, my way of preventing me from sending a text message response or even to start a conversation. I know most is my own ego needing validation as well and this whole thing has done nothing but turned me into a person I don’t like very much, and haven’t for the past 12 weeks. I wasted 3 months on this and I don’t want to waste another day. He’s drained me emotionally and physically. He is also a high school boyfriend from grade 9 (we are both now in our 40’s) and he was my first love. I’m wondering if I was just trying to “recapture” something from high school, sort of like out of the movies except that this is definitely not a movie ending!! He is not going to change and he is not going to suddenly want me for more than the occasional shag and ego stroke that he has been getting from me. It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into this trap however and I sympathize with everyone who’s going through this as well, as it’s not easy to cut ties. I hope I can start a new day with a new positive outlook and move on from this experience!

    • runnergirl says:

      Andrea, Natalie has some great posts on this blog and in her books and fabulous insights on the “returning childhood sweethearts”. You aren’t the only one to get duped by this phenomenon. You summed it up: “I thought that “this time” it would be different. Maybe this time he really does miss me or care for me the way I wish he would”. That’s precisely what fueled my continued entanglement in the disappointment cycle. Nat’s diagrams are stuck permanently in my head.
      PS. Last summer, I heard from a returning childhood sweetheart who was married with 3 little kids and because I’d read Nat’s stuff, I managed to dodge that bullet. You can dodge the bullet too and break the disappointment loop. Otherwise, you’ll end up as shiny scrubbed as I am from lathering, rinsing, repeating. Folks say I look great. I think it’s cos I’m scrubbed so clean from my past, pun intended.

      • Andrea says:

        Thank you Runnergirl for your insight! I have bought Natalie’s book, it is great. I’ve been in this cycle with a couple of men in the past and why I always think that there will be a different result, I don’t know. I especially love the comment “when he blows prepared the cold is coming” and it’s SO true! I am glad you managed to dodge your high school sweetheart bullet. Thanks again.

  59. caught says:

    I have been doing this for four years! I know I am doing it…I see the flaws I don’t even have the expectation of something else happening, I live for the highs knowing full well that they will be followed by lows. I am not very good at flirting or meeting men and he just gives me that boost to get through life. I don’t know how to end it and I know for sure I am afraid to, almost 25 and only ever been with one man…I am terrified that this is it, the best I can hope for, that fear keeps me from opting out. I don’t love him but I cant seem to give him up. I am currently unemployed, just finished a masters so I cant really afford much self indulgence in self esteem growth, if anyone can offer some free advice on here I would appreciate it.

    • Grizelda says:


      I think you’ve given yourself a lot of support right there in your email. See it? You see the problems, the obstacles, and what solution you need to achieve. Therefore it IS within you to take courage and leave him and start afresh.

      Your situation with studying, being unemployed, and being skint (‘poor’) is hard enough. You don’t need Mr Downer making your situation worse, yet that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s weighting you down and draining you of time and energy. Opt out.

      You’re attending COLLEGE my friend! So you are in a HOTBED of eligible single males! Get cracking, I say. Don’t study alone in your room/house — do all your reading in canteens, coffee shops, laundromat, the library, any common areas, and then make a pledge to yourself that you’ll speak at least FIVE words to the person nearest you. Even “Excuse me, but is anyone sitting here?” will do. You can even do a drive by — as you pick up your book to leave, just say “Excuse me, but I really like your watch. It’s very cool.” as you’re starting to walk away. He’ll at least say ‘what, oh thanks’ and may say something else to you the next moment — if not, you’ve just paid him a compliment and made your escape, but if so, you’ve got a conversation! No bravery required, just good manners. And every time you do it, it’ll get easier and easier.

      Putting the focus on other men and getting a nice response from them will boost your self confidence enormously. It will help you to feel stable enough to disengage from Mr Downer.

    • runnergirl says:

      Caught, first of all, you are NOT caught. You are only 25. You have so much before you and you don’t have to settle for this guy’s crumbs. Trust me and everyone, this is NOT it. Face the fear because it is not grounded in reality. If you don’t love him (great insight), don’t hang in the disappointment cycle for fear that there is nothing else out there. There is. It is you. Self indulgence and self-esteem doesn’t cost money. It takes work. Congratulations on finishing your masters. That is fabulous and took work (and money) so you can break the cycle with the guy. Sweetie, I’m 53 and barely out of the woods with regards to the disappointment cycle with men. I have a 23 yro daughter who may be in the same lather, rinse repeat cycle with men. I wish I could tell her just flush. If they don’t treat you with love, trust, and respect, flush. So if it is any consolation, even at 53 there are plenty of guys. Self-esteem doesn’t cost money otherwise we’d all be buying some. It costs work and you are well on your way. If Nat would allow it, I’d like to sponsor you in her next self-esteem workshop.
      PS. Natalie, can you set up sponsors in your e-courses? We do it in public education and call it scholarships. I’d be willing do donate to a baggage reclaim scholarship fund. I’m thinking maybe some others may be willing to donate as well? Your insights, advice, and guidance are brilliant and I’d love to give the opportunity to others and support you as well. The self-esteem e-course has been invaluable to me…but what if others can’t afford it even though it is so reasonably priced? Just thinking aloud? Count me in for the first baggage reclaim scholarship fund,if it can be arranged. You are one amazing lady and need to be compensated. Let’s do this!

    • grace says:

      You are 24 years old. This is not the man you will marry. Don’t wait to feel better before leaving him. You won’t feel better until you do. All of us, your age, younger, older, much older (ahem) have not known how to leave or “couldn’t”. But most of us have and not one of us regrets it. We don’t enjoy the transition period, or the mourning but, like childbirth, it’s worth it. And yes you do forget the pain. You do.
      He’s like a big ball and chain. Get rid of it and you’ll be surprised what you can do.

  60. jewells says:

    Oh, I just got a good analogy story…I bought a brad nailer so I could finish the renos on my place: the box says ‘comes with bonus kit’…I just opened the box – no bonus kit :(
    I think this is indicative of AC’s an EUM’s…they make promises that they won’t deliver on…don’t emotionally invest until you’ve opened the box!

    • sofie says:

      Jewells, haha (sorry in the same time)
      ‘no bonus kit’!
      You meet a man and you think, oh but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Much good will be underneeth this initial (often) awkward feeling you get, a mix of excitement (because of your hopes) and anxiety because your subconscious does read the red flags.
      You’re sailing on this proud and beautiful big ship of hope, looking at an iceberg and go ‘waw’.
      Little do you know that only days later you’re on the Titanic.
      Your choice if you’ll be the violinplayer that continues no matter what or if you’re going to take the FIRST lifeboat :-)

      • sofie says:

        I got so excited that I answered an analogy with my own version. Still laughing at the bonus kit though!

      • Al says:

        Great analogy both of you! Makes the ‘lesson’ all the more memorable. Good to read this at this time…Im trying to get out and open up to new guys etc, and there is this one in particular who caught my attention. A lot of good and exciting but also a few flagable things….Id just be looking for a short fling as Im moving away in 5 weeks…so I was questioning whether I should ignore the flag-ables and ‘see what happens’ anyway…. now I’m thinking I should just flush though. may not be worth it even in the short term. And I guess its easy to forget that short term things can have long term consequences (ie emotionally, etc). In all reality Im far too busy at the moment for a new guy anyways…:/

        • jewells says:

          Well Al, if you are looking for a 5 week no strings fling…I think that may be a flag to a guy who’s looking for a relationship. If you can go in with no expectations and just have fun for the now, great, go for it! The hurt comes with the attachment and expectations of a relationship, so barring that, why not sow your wild oats too? Be sure and tell him that you’re gone in five weeks just to do your due diligence for him.

          • caught says:

            Thanks everyone for the advice and good thoughts, this was really helpful in so many ways. good luck to everyone on their own journey’s and I will keep an eye out for the scholarship programs as they develop and one day I can give back as well. :)

  61. beautifuldreamer says:

    To all the early commenters contemplating saying Happy B-Day to their AC/EUM ex…don’t, don’t, don’t. Step away from the phone/birthday card/door slowly.

    It was so hard for me especially this year because it was not only my ex’s birthday, but the same day as what would’ve been our 2 year anniversary (had the relationship lasted, which it didn’t. Fell a few months short). A few months before my decision to go NC on him, I FB messaged him Happy Birthday and got some “thanks” back. I asked him in casual convo if he was doing anything special and no response….a few days later, I saw pictures pop on my news feed of a birthday celebration he had with his friends and his NOW present girlfriend. Boy did that sting…since he never sent me any invite to that celebration at all EVEN THOUGH HE WANTED US TO “REMAIN FRIENDS.” Nothing. And we had only broken up recently. HE SPENT WHAT WOULD’VE BEEN OUR ANNIVERSARY WITH THE GIRL WHO WOULD BECOME HIS GF.

    Never again will I do that with an ex. They are NOT worth it. THEIR birth is not something to celebrate, especially if they caused you a ton of pain/stress.

    Ladies if you feel you need something to do on HIS birthday, go treat yourself to a massage at a spa, buy yourself some chocolates, go out dancing in a club, and celebrate your life instead. Their part in your life is over, they’re probably going to spend it with someone else and they haven’t changed.

    • Miss Kitty says:

      Beautifuldreamer, so glad of your warning to ‘Step away from the birthday card’ lol. The l’users birthday is on Halloween and your warning woke up my auto pilot insanity of thinking about sending a card. No way in hell was I going to send him a gift-at least I overcame the thought of that this year.
      Excellent idea so yes in celebration of his birthday I’m doing something nice for ME instead-will think of something nice to look forward to. I’m finally beginning to like me much more than him.
      Thanks for your great solution!

    • Caydence James says:

      That had to be really hard to experience! But I know that looking back on it you can see your mistake. The mistake was in contacting him because as soon as you did it became more about you inviting the pain back into your life and victimizing yourself than it was about him doing something to you.
      For instance, you said that you messaged him on Facebook but if you defriended him then you wouldn’t have been able to contact him nor would you have been able to see the news feed! Then, when you did say “happy birthday” you went further and initiated more conversation by asking him if he was doing anything – when if you think about it, was either inviting information that you wouldn’t be able to handle emotionally or giving him an opportunity to lie to you (even if that lie was meant to spare your feelings). Looks like he did the latter.

      Lastly you mentioned something about how he wanted you to remain friends. When you’re walking away from somebody, it’s not about what THEY want – it’s about what you decide and that decision should always be based upon what promotes your own well-being and healing. So even if HE wanted to be friends it shouldn’t have mattered. When you can honestly say that no matter what HE feels is relevant, that’s the first step in putting yourself first and becoming immune to whatever power the guy has over you. Any contact – no matter how big or small is just another excuse to hold on to a part of him.

      I know this because I’ve been there and I’ve watched several of my girlfriend to the same thing. They’ve always had an excuse as to why they were contacting the guy. It always seemed justified to them until they said it out loud and I could see it in their eyes that they knew that it was just an excuse. Weaning ourselves from them is almost synonymous with going through substance abuse rehab. I’m convinced that just like a crack addict is addicted to cocaine, women can be addicted to the dopamine response that floods our brains when we are emotionally attached to someone else. Until we learn to avoid every encounter possible or prepare ourselves for what a setback looks like so that we can avoidthat as well, we can do nothing else but expect hurt like this.

      I know you said that you’ve learned from your mistakes but the reason why I’m bringing this up is because I wouldn’t want people to think that the reason why this encounter went wrong was because he was being mean or selfish. Basically it went wrong is because you expected something that you didn’t get and invited it (whatever negative thing happened in your relationship) back into your life. Meanwhile, he’s not thinking about the relationship anymore and he’s gone on with his life and frankly you deserve to have that same option – to go on without him. So basically, the reason why there should be no contact with the other person is because to contact them is to invite pain back into one’s life. Thank God you’ve learned that lesson and I hope that many other women do the same!

      • beautifuldreamer says:

        Caydence – I appreciate your insight but I disagree on some points. I believe everyone should assume responsibility for cutting off contact with their AC/EUM. However, I think it’s a misconception to think that the other person’s actions has nothing to do with how the event turned out. AC/EUM’s usually engage in mean/selfish actions—the mean/selfish action was my ex who constantly would attempt to lure me into friendship despite the fact that I told him I wasn’t comfortable.

        Ultimately, it WAS my choice to let him in the door – I should’ve kept the door shut TIGHT and I take full responsibility for that! But I didn’t and that IS my fault—however, I am NOT going to let him off the hook because he moved on with his life and I should’ve “done the same.” It just doesn’t work like that. It was a two-year relationship, and as someone who hadn’t even heard of BR, let alone AC’s or EUM’s, I had no vocabulary to apply to this situation or insight into how to behave. I only had my conflicting instincts, my guilt, my emotions, and I sympathize with anyone going through this because IT WILL TAKE TIME to get to this point. If you are like me, you will have a hard time letting go. And that’s OK. It will take a few falls (as it did for Natalie Lue herself) to get to that point where you love yourself enough to let go.

        That DOESN’T MEAN that the EUM/AC is totally absolved of every responsibility to act with respect, decency and kindness. When they fail to live up to that responsibility, I WILL not take the heat for that.

        I will only take responsibility for my own actions – not enforcing my boundaries. But I will not blame myself for someone else’s bad behavior, NOR will I dismiss it as “MY” bad behavior. That’s on them, and they are not innocent in this ordeal – I am sure you didn’t mean to say that they are, but it sounded a bit like that.

        What I omitted from this incident was that he had messaged me earlier asking me “how I was.” I had every choice not to respond, and for weeks I didn’t. However, I felt bad that he was asking me how I was and decided to wish him a happy birthday. A bad mistake on my part. I didn’t have to take his “how are you” as an invitation to wish him happy birthday, but I did.

        What I am saying is, while I may have unwittingly victimized myself, I wasn’t trying to PLAY the victim. I was acting out of guilt and conflicting feelings. Also, that does NOT make him any less mean or selfish. He IS mean and selfish for the way he handled our breakup (over phone call, no less), for not communicating with me, and for being a total AC at the end of the road.

      • beautifuldreamer says:

        Also, I forgot to mention. I do not buy into the “spare peoples’
        feelings” bit being nice. I think it’s a load of B.S. and my ex did
        that to me when he claimed he had been wanting to break up but was
        trying to “spare me” until after I graduated (load of crap—he was just
        waiting until he felt ready to leave. I had wanted to break up with
        multiple times but didn’t because he always begged for me to stay and
        I felt guilty—AND I thought things were improving in the relationship
        up with me when things were GOING WELL! When things were finally
        improving and we were finally in a positive, healthy state. That is
        the most manipulative, horrible thing someone can do to you—put up an
        illusion for months and then justify it by saying he was trying to
        spare your feelings—IT AFFECTS YOUR DECISION TO STAY IN THE
        RELATIONSHIP, don’t deny that it doesn’t.

        If he wasn’t comfortable inviting me to something, that’s fine—but he
        should’ve answered the question. THAT is mean. THAT is selfish. So
        please do not claim you know what my ex’s intentions are or were – you
        simply don’t. You have no clue.

        My point in the original post was simply to help the readers not
        contact their ex on their birthdays. In no way was I endorsing that I
        was a victim. I was simply endorsing freeing yourself from feeling
        “obligated” to pursue someone who never gave you what you wanted. You
        seemed to have misconstrued my point and honestly, your comment made
        me angry because many parts of it invalidated the fact that my ex put
        me through a rollercoaster—yes, it’s so easy to just be like “oh but
        you should’ve stopped!” but of course, everyone usually learns that in
        retrospect. I comment on here because I already know and have been
        through it and have learned. I don’t need to be told that it was all
        my fault.

        Why not leave a comment talking about what YOU should’ve done, instead
        of analyzing my post? I believe you would have more accuracy and
        authority over your own history then mine.

        It’s easy to say “oh, you should’ve left” “you should’ve done this” –
        you said you know this from experience yet it doesn’t seem to come
        from a very validating place. This community is supposed to be
        validating and supportive, not just one-sided, one-minded “remember
        you are the total problem”—it’s more nuanced then that for sure!

  62. Tigger says:

    Right, I’m doing it. I’m reaching out for help. I didn’t know whether to post on a thread that was related to the situation or just the newest one so sorry if I’ve got it wrong.

    My last LTR was everything bad you read on here. The most likely person to let me down and cheat, outrageous statements overlooked or ignored, deep denial, all of it.. right down to seeing signs I should reign back trust and ‘deciding’ the answer was to throw more trust at it. Walls that only go all the way up or all the way down. When he finally admitted to the cheating I still stayed for a few years trying to convince myself that I trusted him when my actions clearly screamed that I didn’t. I finally left early last year.

    I threw myself back into counselling. I worked through a lot of the Maternal issues, I understand better now. I take responsibility for my happiness and I know when something is driven by my inner child …blah blah blah I devoured this website and cringed at the decisions I had made, but I wasn’t yet in touch with my deep beliefs about relationships.

    I met a man a year ago. I told him I hadn’t finished working on myself but as he is away a lot with work it became a bit of a part time thing. Me with plenty of space to develop myself. He told me up front about his dodgy past. Addictions and cheating from both sides of his dysfunctional marriage. He also told me about the tonnes of counselling, rehab and 12 step programme that has helped him turn his life around. I see evidence that he maintains his introspection.

    If you put his past to one side he ticks all the boxes. I have my new baseline for how relationships should be and he exceeds it. I could go on and on but i’ll just start gushing. I am his priority and I feel like someone has my back for the first time in my life.

    A few weeks ago I couldn’t be happier, plus I felt him nudging me out of my uncomfortable comfort zone and it felt horrible yet healthy at the same time.

    Then the selfish b$$&!”* went and proposed (very romantically surrounded by a day of wonderful stuff gush gush). The next morning I woke up very early and panic hit. I relived all the pain and horrible feelings of my last relationship and became a mess! I’ve been struck (or rather struck myself) with a hard dose of anxiety couple with vicious cycle of self-sabotage. Not just the relationship but all the things I had bought into my life that I have built up for myself.

    I have sat and raked over whether I am missing some external evidence that I’m not acknowledging knowing that the ‘thinking session’ might mean the end of the relationship and not come up with anything. He’s great, open, thoughtful, lets me know he’s thinking of me a lot, makes me ‘Feel’ like I am important to him, can trust and have faith in him.

    I have been to see a CBT counsellor who says I am spoiling good things because that’s what my Mother does – massively simplifying it.

    So Q1) Am I still dellusional about my choice in men?

    Q2) Assuming I’m not and this is happening because he went from nudging me out of my uncomfortable comfort zone to shoving me out with full force, how the hell do you cope!?!?!

    I’m doing the CBT and working on the get out of stuck worksheet. I came across this example

    “So, if you imagine that someone believes that relationships don’t last, that men disappear and cheat, and that there is something
    unlovable about her, she’ll get involved with someone who offers the least likely prospect for commitment who is likely to blow hot and
    cold and disappear or outright abandon her, and who will have a tendency to cheat with other women.”

    I had done well at my self esteem, building a life for me, not relying on him to feel good about myself etc etc and feel like I have been flung backwards into a pit of not looking after myself properly, frozen and closed off emotionally and living a half life

    Just after thoughts…. or a slap!

    • ixnay says:


      There’s no fire! This is not an emergency!

      You’re having entirely human and appropriate feelings about a gesture of commitment from someone you want to trust, but because of your and his history, can’t quite trust.

      You don’t have to get to the bottom of this today or tomorrow.

      Your sense of urgency and panic is internal. Just value it as what you’re feeling, sit with it, talk it out with your counselor, and tell your boyfriend you’re a little scared — without dragging him into helping him figure you out.

      Let him be him and you be you and relate honestly.

      There is no fire. You can be engaged and sit with that, or ask for a little time and sit with that.

      Ambivalence is the human condition; this wholehearted, perfect clarity you seek is too much pressure, and it’s self-created.

  63. jewells says:

    Ok, I posted earlier that I emailed my uncle to say that I wouldn’t accept certain things. I got a response: ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ and went on to not apologize, but in fact justify what was said… What do you do when your ‘family’ are AC’s, I’ve already stopped talking to my ‘father’ after telling him to stop yelling at me for not being who he wanted me to be. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve talked to him, he’s busy getting everyone to feel sorry for HIM that his daughter treats HIM so poorly, my uncle seems to be on this boat and not understanding where I’m coming from when I confronted HIS behavior. Is it my fate to have to cut everyone that is tainted by backwards, out of date attitudes towards women, family and what respect entails out of my life? I think I may have answered my own question… if they can’t treat me with respect, and they won’t be told, well, yes for my own self respect and happy future….why entertain people who don’t respect me? I don’t enjoy the time with them, just because they are ‘family’ doesn’t give them a pass on bad behaviour…THAT’s why I kept winding up with AC men in the first place!!!!

    • Fifi says:

      Families are an interesting topic.

      Is being part of a family accepting flaws in each other, even the AC ones, or should we evaluate them as if there was no familial relationship.

      For me, unless there is physical or psychological harm that we can’t cope with, I’d try to maintain the contact. My father was definitely EU, I’m quite EU, but family seems to be about acceptance of these things – which does not (but usually does) mean forced acquiescence.

      I agree that for partners in life, we should be more careful and choosy and forensic, but I’m not so sure with family. Seems to me families defy logic like that.

      They’ve a logic all their own I think; I don’t think I’ve worked it out yet…

  64. Sally says:

    My last EUM broke things off on Christmas Eve day after a couple of months of dating (with the convienient caveat of “leaving the door open…”). No thanks. He got in touch with me about a year later out of the blue, we went to dinner then talked. I asked him why did he choose that day for the dumping (AKA “leaving the door open when it was convenient for him to contact me”) and he actually admitted that he didn’t want to be together over the holiday, because then that would “mean something”. The light went on for me, on what kind of person he was, why I wasted any time being upset over it, and what a blessing in disguise the holiday dumping was. There were other signs of EUM behaviour early on that I chose to ignore. It just goes to show if you pay attention, people will show you their true colors in the very beginning of the relationship. You just got to be willing to trust your intuition when you are getting a bad sense about someone and then pull the flush handle.

    • dancingqueen says:


      I have to be honest; I am dumbstruck that that loser actually admitted this
      ” he actually admitted that he didn’t want to be together over the holiday, because then that would “mean something”.

      I think we like to be appalled when they are not honest, but really, when they are it is equally offensive…what kind of person both admits and does that…? You are right, someone not worth the time. Glad, in some ways, you had that “suck it and see” moment..

  65. Gina says:

    Buy or mail yourself a romantic card and/or some flowers on your ex-EUM’s birthday. Like a previous poster suggested, why not treat yourself to a massage. Hell, I’d you can afford it, buy yourself some nice jewelry. When I save up some $$ I am planning on buying myself a chocolate diamond ring because I’m worth it!!

  66. lynne says:

    i’ve been NC (x 28 possibly) for about 5-6 weeks.

    it is so calming not to walk around with my head down because the guy disappeared again.

    i used to die from missing him when things went south but no longer, not after knowing him since 2005.

    last time i was NC 4 mos. (this time last year) until he came looking for me. that is something i cannot stop, and restraining order would be overkill since he doesn’t stalk me. but i can recommend NC as a way to get yourself back to you.

    a nice man has talked to me 2x at the pool now.
    younger than EUM, very pleasant, friendly. he was so nice and it was so nice that he was so nice … TO ME! like i was the girl of value that i should know that i am. not the woman with low self esteem that the ex helped create.

    i laugh heartily these days, i manage confrontations better, i don’t crumble at difficulty as i did when i had the “monkey” on my back.

    it is not so much because of NC. it is because you are not meant to walk the earth dissed by another and you can’t expect a happy life accepting crumbs. you just can’t.

    you know, i just don’t want that shi* anymore. it sucks, you feel horrible just in general because all the while there is that sense of rejection.

    anyone trying to go NC or stay with it, do.

    imagine how horrible these men really are as people to treat another so poorly. these are
    bad people, bad characters and no one to know.

  67. FinallyDidIt says:

    Colororange: Blocking him was one of the best things I did for me and is really helping. I use to check my phone constantly and jump every time I heard it beep (please please let it be him). The way I as acting you would have thought I was waiting for a heart transplant. Now I don’t know if he is contacting me and I don’t give a crap. No more of his pathetic “let’s see if she is still into me” emails every 2-3 months. I am working on me and mending the many things I ignored and neglected while I “fought the fight” (we all know) to win NOTHING!!

    • Michelle says:

      Finally – I agree about blocking his number. I just did it this morning. Self preservation at it’s finest. You gain so much control of yourself because you are no longer wondering if the text that you just received is from him, nor are you checking your damn phone obsessively to see if maybe he threw out a meaningless text crumb! It’s such insanity. It really is. We are all SO much better than that. And deserve so much better. Part of my cycle also involved deleting his # from my phone, then adding it back in when I felt good about stuff sometimes with his name and sometimes only with his number. Then deleting messages, deleting his name and number when he’d disappoint me again – repeat, repeat – Over and over and over. The thing I hate the most about my situation is that SO many other people “think” he is such an awesome person – he is soooo popular and treated like he’s a frickin celebrity. Like it’s the greatest thing in the world if he happens to show up at an event and grace these people with his presence. It makes me sick! Somebody tagged him in an event awhile back and labeled it “a celebrity sighting with EUM” They all cluck away at him on his Facade-book page. Ugh. He actually said to me recently the “harem” IS quite extensive but it’s easy for him to keep up because they are all mostly married women who just stroke his ego. They think he is GOD. Sick sick sick!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh I love that! “Fought the fight to win nothing!” That is exactly what I felt with my last ex EUM. I was chasing an imaginary rabbit down an imaginary rabbit hole, and all the while thinking this is love. Ha!Insanity.

  68. Scarlet says:

    I think there is something seriously wrong with me. I looked back on this relationship and at the amount of cycles of disappointment I have been on. I couldnt count the amount of times I have been let down and then dropped everything to again embark on another cycle in the hope that things would be different this time. That the words of ‘i love you’ would this time be followed up with actions. And even after looking at a chronology of cycles, I am still wanting him to contact me. I need a labotomy to remove this attachment.

  69. Finally Got It says:

    I was once involved with a guy who had me trapped in this cycle. Loved to lay the compliments on thick for me when I was helping him. What a great person I was, what a strong, moral woman, not like anyone else he had ever met. I ate it up, because what truly nice person wouldn’t love to see themselves in this light, to feel like they finally found a relationship where these kind of qualities were finally put to good use? When I asked for something, you could hear a pin drop. Then I was needy, selfish, and insecure, and had the completely wrong idea about our relationship. It had nothing to do with me, though it took me a long time to realize it. The guy had me profiled as doormat who saw the best in everyone and would sacrifice myself to make someone else feel good, and at the time, that is what I had turned into. I finally let it go when it dawned on me that he had no idea who I really was, so why should I take it personally? How the hell could he know me if all we ever talked about was him and his problems?

    It officially became my epiphany relationship when he contacted me a couple years later to complain about his current relationship, tell me how he hoped that one day he could pay me back for what a great friend I was to him, and then hit on my sister-who he met once and is 10 years my junior-via social media. That might be an extreme case, but one hell of an eye-opener. Selfish, selfish, selfish. I blocked his number and never thought twice about it.

    I now have a rule that if any guy makes me feel like I need to hurry up and get done talking about myself, he’s probably not someone I need to be listening to in the first place.

  70. mya says:

    Hi all! Timely article. :)
    Heard from my ex yesterday. First time in a month since I initiated NC a month ago w/out any explanation.

    He texted wanting to know if I was still not talking to him and I said, I have nothing to say. No response from him after.

    We have been broken up for five months now and we haven’t got back together or anything. I tried to do the friend thing and it didn’t work so one day, a month ago, I wised up and here we are today.

    I said to self…my standards are so high now that if he doesn’t measure up, shut him down!
    I will not go back to friend zone!

  71. Iwontbemessedwith says:

    It’s been just a little over a month since my break up, and I’m new around here. Your posts, books and the comments of your readers have helped me more than I can tell you. So first of all, thank you, NML! I’m coming out of a 4 year relationship, and it ended a week before I was supposed to meet the EUM’s family officially. The rest is according to script – he was unresponsive to my needs, withdrew when it suited him, managed down my expectations, blew hot and cold (was talking about having kids right before he expressed his doubts about his feelings)and wanted us to be friends post-break up etc. I was a fool to keep focusing on his ‘good points’. I was heart broken and wanted to work things out given the future I’d imagined us having, but when he said he wanted to break up because he didn’t want to feel the pressure of a relationship, I didn’t bargain. He wanted things to not be ‘awkward’, but I drew the line and said no to being friends. I was NC for a month. During this time he’s emailed me twice asking for little favours. The first one I ignored, and to the mail yesterday I replied firmly asking him to respect my boundaries and to leave me alone. I can see that he wants to feel like he’s still in my good books, and that he did no harm. I felt aggravated because I was doing really well yesterday, and hearing from him brought up all the negative emotions I’d been trying to let go of. As with others, the timing of this post just made me sit up. It felt like the universe is telling me I did the right thing. Is there a light that goes off inside their heads just when you seem to be getting back on your feet?

    • Allison says:

      I Won’t,

      Great that you stuck to your guns!!!

      I would highly suggest that you block this guy, as any attention or response may be an indicator – to them – that you are still interested.

      • iwontbemessedwith says:

        Thanks for the reply, Allison!:) I think I struggle with that because I don’t want to seem petty, but I realise I dont owe him anything. Like my friend said, given he didnt consider my terms while in the relationship, at least the break up should be on my terms. I will as soon as he returns my keys.

    • Natasha says:

      Sweet Jesus, who breaks up with someone and then emails them asking for a favor? I mean really…who does that? Iwontbemessedwith (LOVE that name), you handled this perfectly. Good for you for calling a spade a spade and moving on!

      p.s. Nat has talked about how they do, in fact, seem to have some sort of radar going on where they sense that you’re over it or solidly on the way to getting over it and decide to “pop up”. I’ve experienced this as well and I really think they should put this sixth sense to better use…just think of what great tv psychics they could be!

      “I’m getting an M name…Who is the M?…Oh wait, no. That’s my ex-girlfriend who won’t return my texts. My bad.”

      • Revolution says:


        I often open-mouth laugh when reading your comments. Keep ’em coming, girl! You’re after my own heart.

        I love the TV psychic angle. True, they are like Dionne Freakin’ Warwicks when it comes to popping back up in our lives! Makes me wonder: if they have this paranormal talent, why are most of them (at least from my own experience and a lot of what I read on this site) unemployed losers?

        • Natasha says:

          Awwww thank you lady!! You are clearly my Psychic Friend haha! Ohmygod, my bff and I youtube those old commercials whenever we have a sh*tty day. I couldn’t agree more that these fools could be doing…more productive things with their lives. Especially the ones that pop up. For the love, it’s like “Get a damn hobby other than ‘Flipping Through My Mental Rolodex Of Chicks’. Try crafting or something. And I mean crafting something other than falsehoods/sob stories/Facebook emails.”. OY! 😉

      • iwontbemessedwith says:

        @Natasha Ha ha ha :) I wish they’d use this ESP while in the relationship. Forget extra sensory stuff, there was a time when I was stressed out and in tears, and he ignored me, and when I got upset about the avoidance, he touched my face and said: you’re not crying, I don’t see any tears! Well, they’d fallen on his tshirt! Argh! I don’t know what I was holding onto sometimes!

        Thanks for the encouragement :)Every bit helps :)

        • iwontbemessedwith says:

          Oh, btw, it turns out he’d already helped himself to my cycle, and had only emailed me as an afterthought/pointless attempt to make contact. Clearly, he didn’t think I’d object. It riles me up how he much he takes me for granted. But even after a break up? This is all kinds of unacceptable!

  72. Tinkerbell says:


    If he texts you again, DO NOT text him back. He’s talking to air because you are not there. These creeps will use the tiniest, thinnest opportunity to get back in. When you answer, you are cracking open the door and they feel they’ll be able to push on in. Don’t respond.

  73. Fearless says:

    I think to call it a disappointment cycle is spot on. Other than one boyfriend (my first, who was a decent, caring guy) I have been disappointed in my relationships with men all of my life (I’m now 51 yrs old – how the hell did that happen?!). I always wondered why I was never the one who was “worth it”. I always wondered what was wrong with me as I watched all my peers meet men and marry them – sheesh, yep, they actually married them, and they didn’t have to drag these guys down the aisle by the scruff of the neck – it was by mutual consent!
    Although I am two years out of my epic EUM disappointment cycle, I am still processing and although I am generally good and fine, I sometimes am still at one and the same time furious with him and also wishing I was/had been “worth it”. I do know that I will never allow myself to buy into the disappointment cycle again, but i can still see residues of this kind of thinking going on with me – though I recognise it now as something to avoid.
    I read this article (below) and thought it’d be a good addition to your own post here. I get the psychology behind the cycle, but also that it is a difficult pattern to break – it’s the way we think that’s the problem and that’s not easy to change.

    I guess we can start by changing how we react to this thinking by opting out of the repetitive cycle no matter how much it goes against the grain. Recognise what’s going on and opt out of the cycle – asap.

    Here’s the article:

    • Teddie says:

      Yay, I saw this article too and ordered the author’s book immediately, very helpful! PT in general is a great source of useful insights for working on oneself!

  74. Fearless says:

    Here’s an additional article on ‘repetitive relationship patterns’ that folk might find useful:

  75. Spinster says:

    What a vicious cycle. And goodness knows that I hate broken records. Scratch that record & throw it in the garbage.

  76. great guy says:

    Someone asked me recently if I was still seeing the ex AC/EUW. When I told them how things went down and I am NC. They started giving me the “you’ve been here before with her and the definition of insanity is…”.

    My response: “it wasn’t insanity. It was stupidity!”

    Them: “what?”

    Me: “if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing EXPECTING a different result then stupidity is doing the same thing KNOWING the result will be no different!”

    Its all about breaking the cycle. Not stepping back into your uncomfortable comfort zone!

  77. Jennifer says:

    With my last ex EUM, I decided to do an experiment. We were listening to some live music at a venue he had taken me to in the hot phase (first couple of weeks) of our dalliance. At this later time at the same venue, I was getting different treatment (cold phase). So, I decided to do a little experiement. I would turn my body toward him and be physically attentive and affectionate. And low and behold! he would withdraw and become aloof. So then I would turn my body away from him and act aloof and disinterested. He then would start being affectionate again. I did this at least a few times that night with the same results. I thought this is RIDICULOUS. I confronted him (too much truth and authenticity for him I guess). I dumped him that night. Good effin riddens.

    • Fearless says:

      good for you dumping the guy.

      I experienced the same for years with my ex EUM. I learned pretty fast that to get any affection from him I had to not offer it to him.

      This macabre dance pervaded every aspect of the relationship, even our email correspondence: If I signed off with my full first name and a kiss, he’d sign of his next email with just the initial of his first name, no kiss. Following his lead, I’d sign off my next email to him with the same (the initial of my first name, no kiss). Lo and behold, his next email would sign off with the initial of his first name and a kiss. If I stuck to my simple first initial, no kiss, I’d then get his full first name with a kiss. Hence, I could tell if he was ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ simply by how he signed off his emails! And I was careful of how I signed off mine so that I didn’t have to feel the ‘ouch’ of getting one from him where he signed off just his initial and no kiss. Of course if I followed his lead and signed off with my first full name an a kiss he’d go back to the bare initial. My full name and a kiss was too close for comfort! And I knew I was really in the dog house when he signed off ‘best, followed by only the initial of his his first name, with no kiss.

      Reminds me of the Sex and the City gift from Richard that Samantha receives, signed off ‘Best, Richard’. If it’d been my ex EUM it would have been ‘Best, R’.
      Total mind-effery. And I danced the dance like a professional. For years I walked on egg-shells round my Dad whose moods were very unpredictable, so any approach to him had to be made tentatively until one could gauge his reaction. I was well-learned in the practices of the EUM. Right from the outset with the ex, all those years ago, I instinctively knew the rules; I knew the dance, I knew all the steps. I was good at it.

      • Lilia says:

        Jennifer & Fearless:
        Same thing here.
        The bad thing, though, is that even while I was observing this strange push-pull behaviour, and wondering about it, I became entangled in the dance.

        I got so used to this idea of “don´t show interest and you´ll receive attention, don´t ask for anything and you´ll get something (crumbs?)” that I ended up believing it was what I deserved. That I wasn´t worth anything more. I think ultimately this was something I learned from the relationship with my father, who is an expert at letting me down.

        Anyway. I´m doing my best now to see these situations for what they are and to flush asap.

      • Tulipa says:


        Yes I relate to the signing off or even the greetings of emails texts etc. and being able to guage whether it was the hot cold part of the cycle.

        It seems strange now but from one text I knew he had another woman.
        Amazing how they give themselves away. (he was blowing way too hot for my liking)

        Sometimes though it truly felt like a competition of who could be the most EU.

  78. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    I just opted out of a “disappointment circle” with my ‘ex’. I contacted him after over a year of NC, now I am at about 3 months NC. Yep, trying to return to him as the “brand new me” was a sure sign that I needed to keep working on myself, and I am still working on myself.

    Funny though, now, I feel like I am ready to date “as is”–meaning, I’m not looking for a brand new me anymore; I’m ok with me–I’m good enough, er, I always was……:)

    • Fearless says:

      “Funny though, now, I feel like I am ready to date “as is”–meaning, I’m not looking for a brand new me anymore; I’m ok with me–I’m good enough, er, I always was……:)”

      I feel much the same. i don’t feel i need to change myself. I need to change my behaviour regarding the disappointment cycle, not to seek validation from anyone, not buy into the cycle, keep up my self-esteem, keep it intact. Other than that, who I am is good enough – I always was. It was the men I was choosing to go round the dance floor with… and one more time… here we go!… and again!… who were not good enough for me, not even nearly. What a revelation! Stop the music.

      • On Leaving Sugarland says:

        “It was the men I was choosing to go round the dance floor with… and one more time… here we go!… and again!… who were not good enough for me, not even nearly. What a revelation! Stop the music.”

        Yes, “Stop the music”–indeed.

      • Lizzy says:

        Fearless – exactly. They dragged us down to their level and we let them… no more x

  79. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    Yeah, chasing good feelings is appealing because…er, they do feel good, but, the low’s aren’t worth it to me anymore, and wth? wtf? how many times can one really stand at the end of the rainbow with nothing, and decide to go over it again?

  80. Lavender says:

    Nat, these articles are just amazing and they really keep me on track with NC. I’m wondering if anyone things this is a a disappointment cycle and I should opt out? I dated this guy about 10 years ago and I broke up with him cause he was controlling. We stayed in touch as friends over the years. He was always the one to contact me and I felt I had a good friend in him and he always said can’t wait to see you if you’re ever nearby. I just moved back near him and said we should meet up. He’s suddenly gone silent and when I try to arrange a coffee he ignores me and then he says he has such a busy job and might have to cancel on the day of if something comes up. I don’t know what to make of this. I do not 100% want to get back together with him, he’s really not for me, but I did want to be friends. Why did he stay in contact all those years and say he wants to meet up and now that we can he is “so busy.” Is it just me, or is it rude to say you’re so busy you might have to cancel day before? I don’t know if this is just one big disappointment cycle since we broke up, or what? I mean I am a busy person too, we all are.

    • Fearless says:

      He was controlling as a boyfriend and he’s controlling as a “friend”. He’s an ex for a reason. He’s not your friend. He’s taking the piss. Ignore him, nuke him, (as Grace would say) and offer your time and friendship to those who deserve it. That’s my advice for what it’s worth.

      • Allison says:


        Fearless is right! He is playing games.

      • runnergirl says:

        Lavender, although it’s hard to imagine, I think some guys just like having a cyber-option. They don’t really have to make an effort as long as it is a cyber-convo. It’s lazy and he gets an ego stroke with very little effort. He sounds incredibly rude to me (now). Having to cancel if something comes up because he’s “so busy” is a classic EU/AC line. Is he preparing President Obama and Governor Rommey for the next presidential debate or something equivalent? Is he running a country? BTW,I just flushed almost 4th dreamy date guy for pulling that let’s see what happens and I’ll call maybe shit. He was a run of the mill financial planner. You may be running into OPTION TERRITORY and disappointment cycle big time. Remember when a guy wants to be with you, see you, he will and he won’t leave you hanging. When these guys want to see you, they move heaven and earth to do so. If I were you, I wouldn’t proceed. It sounds like a perfect recipe for a disappointment cycle to me. That’s just my 1 cent. Read Natalie’s stuff on returning childhood sweethearts as well. Your question: “Why did he stay in contact all those years and say he wants to meet up and now that we can he is “so busy”. My answer: Because he is classic AC. Reframe the question: Why would I want to be “friends” with a controlling ex who is too busy to see me? I can’t think of a good answer to that question other than flush and move on Lavender. Don’t chase him. You have your answer.

        • Lavender says:

          Wow Fearless, Allison and runnergirl, you are amazing and I am so appreciative of the time you took to give me advice, This isn’t the first time you have given me guidance on here that really changed how I thought about things. Your advice is wonderful and i am definitely going to follow it. Sometimes I think these things, but I need someone to verify it for me. Runnergirl you are funny!!!! hehe… “Is he preparing President Obama and Governor Rommey for the next presidential debate or something equivalent?” It puts everything in perspective!! I so needed to read your advice. Thanks! It’s funny how in life sometimes the people who don’t want to spend time with us, we chase, but those who do want to see us, we don’t give as much energy to.

  81. SleepingBeauty says:

    In spite of my plethora of unhealthy and unavailable relationships, I was only in this cycle once, albeit for 12 years. We would go 2-3 years sometimes withough speaking and then, with some apologies and resetting I would allow him back. Finally I had had enough. I knew I had to be the one to get off the ride or it would go on forever. I had one last cry about it and then changed my phone number, unfriended him on every social network and blocked him from my email. Luckily we had only one mutual friend and I kindly asker her not to ask me about nor update me about him. It’s been almost 3 years and I’m so glad I’m past that.

  82. Jule says:

    OK all. This is it. As per this blog post, I’m opting out of the disappointment cycle with this crappy lousy excuse of a man. Another lame rejection from the effen AC was the last and final. As a reminder to myself, I am planning on keeping this post of mine. It goes on my bathroom mirror for tomorrow morning! After a couple of months, he had come back around, checking to see if I was still onboard as his sea wench, even though HE had long jumped ship. Well much to his chagrin I’m sure, I wouldn’t come to his demanding, last minute or late night booty texts but when he recently asked about dinner and drinks I thought, hmmm maybe he’s actually starting to learn some manners. Well, wishful thinking. He didn’t like that I couldn’t come to his beckoned call on Fri when he rudely said come NOW (I was still at work). And so when I (stupidly) extended an invite this week for lunch, I thought maybe we could finally talk and get some shit on the table to deal with it. Well he didn’t respond to my invite. Of course not. He likes to play games. Then I told him of course that the silence was so predictable and then he finally texted he couldn’t afford it. He has said that before when it was my idea to do something that wasn’t his idea. Well he’s a big fat liar, because I KNOW he has the $ and he’s basically saying I’m not worth the small amount for a damn sandwich. That’s the message I got a lot this past summer too after he decided he didn’t want to spend anything on me anymore. This was after he knew I liked him and then I found out about the many other women he was “effing” at his bachelor pad.

    And you know those ladies who walk around with single stemmed flowers on the street? He enticed me once with, “you want a flower?” and I said sure and then he said “Nah, forget it”. Yeah.I know! BIG AC! FLUSH. I’m blocking him on my phone, my email, my life. NO MORE. This should be easy but I’m afraid it won’t be but I’m going to do it. Day 1 starts now.

    • Fearless says:

      he’s a walking excuse. He doesn’t want a relationship, he wants to be in charge. You’ve made the right decision to get off his merry-go-round. Good luck.

    • Revolution says:

      Hi Jule,

      This guy sounds like an insecure, arrogant ass that doesn’t deserve your saliva, let alone your heart. That bit about him pulling the old, “You want this? Yeah? Well I’m NOT GONNA GIVE IT TO YOU!” thing with the flower is totally prick behavior. Mature men won’t keep male friends like this around because they bring down the testosterone levels in the room through the sheer force of their cowardice.

      Glad you’re rid of that little boy. Leave him to his Cheerios in the toilet to potty train himself. Put your bad-ass stilettos on and KEEP WALKING, girl.

      • Lilia says:

        Jule, if he ever tries to contact you again, ask him “oh hi sweetie, you wanted to talk/chat/sext with me? …Nah, forget it!”

        Jeeez, what an imbecile.

      • JR says:

        Thank you for that. I loved your comment about the cheerios, his potty training and putting on my stillettos! and yes he has shown total prick behavior on many many occsions. GOD. What was I thinking? He’s such a douche. Flush and block. That’s my new motto for this completely stupid scenario I put myself in.

        • Revolution says:


          If I’ve learned anything on this site, I’ve learned that(and forgive me, everyone, but I’m including myself on this too) the smartest women can make the stupidest choices in men sometimes. But we’re not stuck in amber or anything; we can CHANGE that.

          Like runnergirl(I think it was) said in her comment: just look for the poop and snakes on the trail and learn to avoid them. (Brilliant, by the way!)

          It’s just poop and snakes, JR. :)

          • Learner says:

            Amen Revs!

          • Donna says:

            I’ve read this blog for two years now. And as much as I think I’ve learned, I really haven’t. I’m still letting an AC rent too much space in my world, and I’m so tired of saying EXACTLY that, Revolution: HOW are we so smart and then can’t figure this $%&* out? what are we afraid of? why am i letting some jackass dictate how i feel about myself? I’m successful. I’m attractive. but here I am on a monday reading this blog looking for strength, and answers, because i’m sick of crying over this man. when does it get better? I need the better.

  83. Mymble says:

    This particular post- and the graphic is perfect.
    I did this over and over again. Knew it wasnt right, got tired of being miserable and anxious, the feeling of deja vu, went NC, felt devastated, started to gradually feel better, decided to try again, with new improved me. December went NC,
    spent a week in bed crying, 5 months NC, and stuck my hand back in the fire – BECAUSE I FELT BETTER.
    the reason I was feeling better, was that I had been NC. we met up in June, had a great day together then wham within uncouple of days he was backing off so hard all I could see was a cloud of dust.
    It wasn’t as bad as the December “breakup” but still only now am I starting to feel-
    Actually happy. It’s been 18 months on and off (mostly off). Reading everyones posts is startling. The stories are so often so familiar. Sometimes I
    Actually wonder if we are all talking about the same guy. Plus ca change, Plus c’est la meme chose.
    I am done, really done this time.
    I am done trying to working out whether he is a narcissist,sociopath, AC, EUM (well he was that alright). I do feel sorry for anyone who gets involved, the packaging is so seductive, she will think all her dreams have come true, until it gradually sinks in how meaningless it is, and emotionless he really is.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hugs to you Mymble. I loved the disappointment graphic/diagrams too because I lived it. I’m sorry you went through it as well. It was the startling similarities in the comments that hooked me. I got done with doing the Inspector Gadget on him a long while back. It is the same guy and there a dozens like them out there just like there is a ton of dog poop and snakes on my hiking trail. Avoid stepping in the poop and watch out for snakes. Every time I see a pile of poop or a snake on my hiking trail, I realize it is not possible that I’m doing something wrong by hiking along my merry way that attracts dog poop or snakes, right? Poop and snakes are just there. I avoid both. So now my new attitude is: Cheating MM’s/AC’s/EUM’s are just out there like dog poop and snakes. I’m not attracting them, although I’ve gone out of my way in the past, to step in the poop and be friends with a snake. My goal now is to avoid them. Yup I agree, the packing is totally seductive but it still stinks and can bite. Hugs Mymble. There are good guys out there, somewhere. An MM isn’t one of them.

      • Mymble says:

        I’ve done so much inspector Gadget type ruminations but have decided to leave it as one of natures unsolved mysteries why …it is what it is …snake, poop, whatever, the advice remains the same. I do still have wistful moments, but not so much or so intense and I have plenty of much, MUCH more important things to concentrate on.

        • Mymble says:

          Oh and I meant to say I love the dating stories, you seem to be having fun and living life to the full and that’s what we all want really.

  84. truth=freedom says:

    Yes, yes the old lather, rinse and repeat, lather rinse and repeat. Sometimes he leaves you stuck on spin cycle till you are a twisted crumpled mess. I was Miss Fisher and he was Mr Paykel This was exactly the state of my so-called ‘relationship’. But no more. I decided to do NC last November, it has not been easy, there have been times when I have had to sit on my hands, yell, cry, howl at the moon, meditate, paint nails, unpaint nails, paint them again,go to movies, make muffins, eat all the muffin tops, go to gym, hate gym, love gym, buy budgie, teach budgie to talk, health kick, sugar kick, kicked HIS butt finally I did it! He has tried and retried to get a foot in the door but this time its different. I DONT WANT HIM and I truly pity anyone else who he latches onto. I did have one lapse at the six month mark where I thought I could handle going to dinner with him, and I did, but the whole time I was there I realised that he was not worth my time and it was two hours where I could have been doing something more enjoyable, and, there he was back at the beginning with his poor me band camp stories. I AM different, I have grown so much, and he has stayed the same! THANK YOU to dearest Natalie, BR and all you wonderful people who write who have helped me so much.

    • sushi says:

      I love your name. Truth really does equal freedom. To be able to make choices we need to know the truth of what the situation is and what it means for us. And what`s true to us is how we feel – in the gut.

      • truth=freedom says:

        Thank you Sushi, Truth wins in the end. Sub-consiously I think we KNOW the truth about these dead end relationships, then we have to FACE the truth and deal with it head on. That is the hardest part, but you have to for your health and well-being. I bless the day I found this site and all you wonderful people.

  85. Imagine says:

    Wow has this hit home just when I needed to hear it. My MM came back for the seventh time ( yes I’ve broken up 6 times) this time I asked if he’d been dating other women and did he have pictures. He always took pictures of us,like trophies. Sure enough he texted me pictures of these other women (I guess I just needed proof of what I always felt…that I wasn’t the only one). I felt physically ill. I told him if he ever contacted me again, I would contact his wife. The cycle has to stop. I’m sick and tired of repeating the same thing and expecting it to be different. I now know that if it weren’t me he would just find someone else to shag. Thanks for the posts!

  86. Marie83 says:

    Does anyone have any self-care techniques they can recommend – struggling to focus on me and my life at the moment

    • Fearless says:


      Think of yourself like a poorly, emotionally undernourished, neglected and lonely child that you want to make things better for. Make a list of all the things you’d do and organise for that child. Then, systematically and consistently do all those things for you. Hope that helps.

    • Lilly says:

      Marie83, I’m afraid I can’t think of anything original. I was given this advice, proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, do something new, pamper yourself, etc, etc, but to be honest all of those went out the window (at first). It’s so hard to focus when you are hurting. What is helping me right now is therapy and self-reflection. Things have got a lot better since I’ve stopped avoiding my feelings. A major help, ‘the’ major help actually has been BR. I read all the comments most days and it has honestly kept me sane over the past months. I don’t feel alone and life is slowly improving. It will for you too. Hugs to you xx

      • cc says:

        mostly? like fearless says, focus on total self-acceptance. love all of you. it will be hard at first, our tendency to self-criticize is in our bones and difficult to realize and solve.

        just don’t reject any part of you. when you think or feel or do something you don’t like, try to look at it without judgment and see, compassionately, why that might have happened. then try to see the other side. try so see yourself objectively but empathetically, not critically. keep doing this, over and over and over until it becomes more of a reflex than your tendency to tear yourself down.

        the key is to learn to stay on your own side and know that you can seek comfort within, a comfort that is absolutely perfectly warm and healing, when you get buffeted by the world.

  87. teachable says:

    I’m in deep grief which cannot be expressed because it wont be safe for another six months yet but I would give anything to have the chance to let that cycle run again. Not on me. But for someone not to be dead. Even though I’d already successfully NC’d this person, my world has changed in a way I can’t describe since learning this news & it slowly starting to sink in. Words can’t explain it. I feel quite foolish to be feeling such a way. Silly I know.

    • Victorious says:

      It isn’t silly teachable it is grief and it is unavoidable. I really do feel for you and wish I could take away your pain. Sending you all the positive feelings I can muster. You really are not being foolish. You loved this person and they are gone. Nothing can be said and you have to let go of it. My father died this year and I had been NC with him for 18 years. The only way I have been able to even partially deal with it is to tell myself that in a way, he “died” for me when I made the NC decision, and anything I could have said to him in between, like “I love you” “You are a useless alcoholic” “youhave wrecked dozens of lives” “you are my dad and I still adore you no matter what you do” would have been things that HE KNEW. None of it would have made any difference to him or his behaviour though. I don’t know if this will help in the slightest with your situation but I hope you find your way out of the darkness.

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable, your feelings are a legitimate response to your loss not foolish at all. I’m not sure if this will help and I don’t know if this is similar to your experience or not, but I’m grieving too and for me it’s for the cherished dream of what might have been. It comes in waves, one minute I’m fine but then unexpectedly I am in tears. I’ve tortured myself with the “if only” moments and I’ve often been consumed by irrational guilt. I also think grief can be more difficult if the loss is associated with any unresolved issues, particularly if the loss was sudden. Also, if you’ve experienced a lot of stress in another area as I know you have then it’s harder to work through it all, your inner resources are already depleted. My therapist assures me that over time the grief will become less intense, less frequent and will eventually fade away. I’m hoping that day comes sooner rather than later. I wish that for you too.

    • Revolution says:


      I’m glad you popped up again, ’cause I’ve been thinking about you. I know it’s funny to hear that a virtual stranger is thinking about you, but, well, there it is.

      Geez, grief is a pill. No getting around it. All we can do is sit next to you while you feel this. Have you ever been crying while sitting next to someone close to you, just feeling the warmth of their body close as they let you cry?

      You said you’re in a deep grief which you can’t yet express. I know the feeling. I’ve always expressed my feelings through writing, but after something bad happens (death, breakups, and the like), I don’t write about it for months. Sometimes years. I just can’t. There’s no poetry, no “making my feelings into art” at that point. It’s just grief, pure and simple.

      I wonder, sometimes, how I would feel if the guy I went NC with 6 months ago were to have died. It would hit me in the solar plexus, that’s for sure. Unless you’re a sociopath, I truly believe that you are connected for the rest of your life to those you’ve been emotionally connected to in the past. There is an exchange that happens, and you each have a part of each other. We are not untouched in this life. I don’t think I’d have it any other way, though, ACs or no ACs.

      Do you regret loving him? Do you regret the time spent with him? Do you think, if he were alive, he would regret the time spent with you? Do you still have any love for him? It’s okay if you do, you know. It doesn’t change the importance of your decision to go NC with him.

      Maybe these questions are too much for you right now. You don’t have to answer them to yourself, and certainly not to me, if you don’t feel ready. I know we hear this a lot from people, but truly my thoughts are with you, Teachable. Keep talking to us here. Don’t go away. This is your safe place for you to grieve and express yourself.

  88. sushi says:

    I have experienced this cycle many times. For me it goes like this; starts off despite at least amber flags for starters….More flags…..I back off or try to flush ( often in the hope that they`ll change)…..they blow hot or change behaviour somewhat…..I go back full of hope….more flags/the same flags, boundary busting…..I try to back off….they convince me I`m seeing things, unreasonable, too needy, have insecurities….I go back IN SPITE OF MYSELF AND BUST MY OWN BOUNDARIES…..after repeating many times my self esteem is all gone. result; don`t know my bum from my elbow and feel like it really is me who is at fault. And they don`t want to let me go, but also don`t want to give me what I want- a real relationship. i do think it`s easier if you can extricate yourself near the beginning, before you are crushed by the whole heap of this poo.I love Natalie`s roll out and back the trust theory, working really well for me.

  89. Tyla says:

    I spent 6 yrs with an EUM. Ended that. It’s been about 2 years, haven’t even had a date. Met someone on vacation very briefly, first person I met in a long time to grab my interest. It was very brief, one night of some bar fun and my vacation ended shortly after. Had to go back home. However we’d exchanged numbers and he mentioned he’d be in my city in a few weeks and was looking forward to seeing me there. I
    felt excited about that. Few weeks past, no word. I texted him asking if he was still coming, no word. 2 months go by. He texted me out of no where saying he was finally coming to my city. I didn’t respond. He texted again apologizing for not having been in touch sooner and said he’d be in my city for a few days and would love to take me out. I decided I’d respond, and was hesitant due to it being unfortunate timing with some stuff going on in my life. Anyway I decided screw it, I’ll try to be open to this. He wanted to take me out one night which I was unavail, so I suggested the following night instead (being his last night) he said “tomorrow sounds good”. He proceeded to text daily while in my city, kept up communications etc. Night comes for us to go out. We’d talked earlier that day (he texted me ALL day!) and I mentioned “so I’ll see you later?” and said I had work the next day so I’d have to be a good girl. He said same thing as he had a very early flight next day. And added “I’ll keep you posted”. Never heard from him, he completely stood me up. Not even a msg saying “can’t make it”. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN??? he was so persistent. Then doesn’t bother contacting me to cancel, or anything. Am I nuts?! Wtf! So again, another EUM. How do I end up in these predicaments?

    • Fearless says:


      What rudeness! I guess he came across something “better” to do.

      I also suppose that Nat’s advice of ‘don’t let someone reject you more than once’ came into play. He got a second chance not to be an ignorant f+cker and, hey ho, he was an ignorant f+cker all over again. There’s a lesson there for many of us – me included. Don’t ever take another one of his calls/texts is my advice. BTW, he also sounded like a serial texter. Not good news.

    • Tulipa says:

      “Not even a msg saying “can’t make it”. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN??? he was so persistent.”

      As soon as you said “I had work the next day so I’d have to be a good girl.”

      Sorry but to me he took it to mean sex was off the table and he lost interest in pursuing you any further.
      I don’t feel he would have pursed anything else with other than booty call when he was in town.
      You dodged a bullet flush and forget delete and block his number.

  90. Ellie says:

    How do I know that it is not me that is the problem? I know that I need to be NC but I am starting to wonder if it is me treating him badly as well as the other way round. That makes me feel like a bad person and like maybe I have been blaming him for things which are my problem… Not much I can do about it now but beating myself up about my behaviour currently

  91. Tinkerbell says:

    Tyla it totally mystifies me how you and so many others readily accept texting as a sufficient means of communication. It is sooo impersonal,sooo non-committal, and sooo lazy. Is he allergic to the phone receiver? Don’t you prefer a phone call? When you have low to no expectations this is what you get nothing, zero, nada. It’s not at all surprising that he stood you up. Text is okay for a quick message, but certainly not for conversation, or setting up a date. Puleeeze. You deserve more. Flush him. Also, profuse texting is classic EUM behavior.

  92. Tinkerbell says:

    You asked awhile back why he would put his hand over his face when he saw you, as if he didn’t want you to see him. I have a coupla comments about that. By some stretch of imagination he may have been ashamed/embarrassed. You have successfully stuck to NC for > 2 months. Congratulations! I think no matter what he has done to you, he may be feeling humiliated and his ego is bruised especially if he was sure you would not be able to stay away. That hiding face action is exceedingly immature for a grown man. He should have thrown himself in front of a truck instead. Keep up NC. Don’t weaken or concern yourself about who, what, where, when and why anything pertaining to him. That could lead to obsessing and you certainly don’t want to do that. You’ve moved on. And, please — if he texts you, and only says “Hi”, DO NOT RESPOND. Stay strong. All the best.

    • Victorious says:

      I once ran into am ex in a book store and he literally slid round one of those twirly book holder things trying to avoid me as I moved round to say Hi!! What a jerk!!! I was really upset at the time but now it really makes me laugh. There is light at the end of the tunnel ladies. Hold that thought!

  93. teachable says:

    Thankyou Rev, Vic & Lily. I appreciate you all taking time to reply & saying such kind validating things. They all helped. I’m keeping this short because I’m running on empty. I’m holed under the bed in Cc’s genie’s bottle. The world just isn’t emotionally safe for me to deal with this yet. There’s reasons for that I wont go into. I’m not holding it in on purpose but at least now I’ve identified what heck has been going on with me & this issue. I think of him at night most nights lately. I’m doing ok day to day though. Muddling along as best I can. Small things are bigs wins atm. I’m being grateful for that & the support of ppl like yourselves & here in real life. Thankyou for thinking of me too Rev. That’s so sweet. I’m trying hard not to get too self obsessed in worrying about my own troubles too much. I don’t always succeed I’m afraid but do try. One thing I’m holding onto is that there has to be hope. I don’t say this in a ‘poor me’ way, for in some ways this has been of my choosing (ie choosing raising my son as a priority, my education, establishing my career etc) but I’ve never really experienced very much of anyone loving me properly in my life. Going right back to childhood even. I’m not religious but I am spiritual & I have to believe that life is not meant to be lived how, I was living it. I thought I was doing the right thing making those things priorities, & I wouldn’t change it, but also, when my health recovers, I am finally READY to share my life with someone. I’m finally ‘grown up’ enough. Responsible enough. Mature enough. Able to put someone elses needs ahead of my own enough. So I have to just hang onto hope. And watching you all here, even if many of you zoom ahead of me while Im unwell & take a prolonged period of time out from dating, gives me hope. There has to be someone out there for me somewhere. Afterall, last time I checked, I didn’t have two heads or anything! Ok. Enough now. Time to snuggle back under the covers. Carry on you wonderful soldiers in the battle for a healthy loving relationship, first withourselves, & then one day, hopefully, maybe too, with that special someone!! xx

    • Revolution says:


      I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with the second death of a loved one, ex or not. There’s no getting around the pain, I know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings with all of us here. For what it’s worth, of all the women on BR, you inspire me the most. Zooming around doesn’t take much talent. Standing firm in the face of grief, looking at the good things you have in life and being grateful for them, reaching out to help others (including myself)…now THAT’S something with which to be reckoned.

      In a knife fight, I’d pick you as my right hand man. 😉

  94. teachable says:

    Victorious your post actually made me sob. It was just one two big ones (then they stop of course b/cause I’m so shut down), but I swear something like crying almost happened. I’m so very sorry to hear about the circumstances surrounding the death of your father. That would be so much worse to deal with having been a parent & involving the abandonment & other issues you mention. You are right though that you COULD say those things, but he would already know them. The things I said to my ex at the little goodbye ceremony I had at a church for him, seeing as I’d missed the funeral, were also things he already knew. I don’t talk to him much now. I was initially haunted by his spirit\ghost after I found out & so had to discourage that (funny, guess who just popped in! He must know I’m typing about him & btw, I don’t even believe in spirits\ghosts so it’s all very odd…) In any event, I’m less sure of what he’d say \ think now than I was back then. Perhaps because (until now!) I’d mostly severed that connection we have with ppl who once meant so much to us. Your case is different though, being your father. I hope he is at peace now wherever he is. One thing I do know is that if he were looking down upon you he would most proud of the kind & generous person you so obviously are. x

    • Victorious says:

      Thanks teachable, and I am sure that your ex feels the same about you. We are forever tied to those we have loved, no matter what the circumstances. Sending you lots of hugs.

  95. teachable says:

    Lilly you capture the,waves perfectly & yes there is a similarity with the loss of what might have been. It never easy dealing with loss & grief but it gives us little choice as to the timing of it’s arrival. It sounds like you’re handling things beautifully even though things are hard. I’m sorry to hear that things did not work out with your hopes for the future & your therapist is ride. Eventually the waves get less intense. This is the second ex who has died. Both were the true loves of my life at different times (my only two true loves in fact). This ex was THE one of the two though.

    In any event, I guess, no ex’s to come back & mess things up for me ever, huh. The only two guys I’ve ever truely loved are both now deceased. And get this, within two & a half years of each other. I was just getting over one (we were happily seperated for many years but on friendly terms), when the other one (a whole different convoluted story), now too is gone.

    Talk about waves. I feel like they haven’t stopped coming in something more akin to a tsunamni (because that’s not to even mention having a heart attack & a whole host of other health, education, work, financial & soon to be unemployment crap I’ve had going on)…

    • Lilly says:

      My heart goes out to you that is a lot to cope with. I can relate to the tsunami. The loss of my baby was so overwhelming that I’ve neglected most other areas of my life. I tried to get a new job, apply for my PhD, etc, etc, but it all went wrong. I think I was trying to rush the process so I’ve now taken time out. Financially not a good decision, but I can’t quite deal with the outside world yet. But I am slowly getting there and taking one step at a time you will too. When I was at my lowest my sister gave me this to put up on my wall. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I read it, perhaps it may help you too. Hugs to you teachable xxx

      Wounds of the spirit… are most gently soothed and made whole by the passing years. Under the old scars flows again the calm, healthful tide of life…. Under a great loss the heart impetuously cries that it can never be happy again, and perhaps in its desperation says that it wishes never to be comforted. But though angels do not fly down to open the grave and restore the lost, the days and months come as angels with healing in their wings. Under their touch aching regret passes into tender memory; into hands that were empty new joys are softly pressed; and the heart that was like the trees stripped of its leaves and beaten by winter’s tempests is clothed again with the green of spring. (George S. Merriam)

      • Sunshine says:

        Lilly, I just had to comment on this post. I love the quote you posted!! I’ve also sort of been dealing with a huge loss with this breakup of mine. I’ve lost people before (my father died when I was 15), but it has never hurt so much! I guess it has to do with all the lost dreams and plans for the future. But one thing I know for sure: time really does help.

        Hang in there, teachable xxxx

  96. Tyla says:

    Fearless & Tinkerbell,

    Yep, you’re both right. Fearless – I also assumed he prob came across something “better” and just ditched any potential plan we had. The reason I gave him another shot (after he never responded to my first text) was bc realistically I felt we didn’t really KNOW eachother, weren’t committed to one another and he didn’t really owe me anything. However, I do realize in retrospect I was rationalizing in my mind reasons why him not having responded initially was ‘ok’. Texting is EASY. there’s no reason you can’t send a quick response. So yea, I guess I ignored my gut of him being a douche bag and ultimately I gave him another shot at ignoring me, which he did. Tinkerbell – you’re right. All the texting = bad sign. But again, I guess bc we didn’t know eachother thoroughly I figured eventually this texting will lead to more then texting! But correct, the communication was all texting on his part and I have enough knowledge to know this in itself is shady shit. Lesson learned!!!

  97. NK says:

    I’ve been in a ‘cycle’ with my ex EUM since 2008!
    Its pathetic. The spell has slowly loosened, but it hasn’t disappeared completely. He is a narcissistic and controlling man. He sees himself as higher than me. At one point I saw myself as lower than him and I gave him all my power. The reason I went there with him was because I didn’t want my own power, ,I just threw it at him and said ‘sort me out’. He tried to manipulate and control me, but I rebelled and was splitting like crazy, one day I wanted him the next I hated him. It was draining. We broke up in 2009 and it took me a LONG time to move on. I kept running back and forth. He had a sixth sense when I seems to be moving on and often came back to see what he could get. Despite making considerable advances, I realised that he STILL has power over me to this day.

    We were friends on Facebook as he kept asking me to be has friend. I said yes eventually and then I started to talk to him now and then and he would always send me messages if I did not stay in touch often. One day I had a conversation about relationships with him. It lead to him saying that
    ‘he did not see me as a friend’ ‘our relationship could never be of equal standing’ ‘I don’t understand him and he understands me better than I understand myself’ and….
    ‘I am a surface level creature who does not understand’ I am not deep. (as in me). Oh and he loves and cares about me.

    I replied by saying that I disagreed and that I found it disrespectful. I don’t want to talk to him if we can’t be of equal standing and for him not to contact me. Blocked.

    He used to be my moral compass (in a weird sort of way). I do not need validation from anyone but myself.

    why has it taken so long to realise this?

  98. Tai says:

    I know you weren’t being to literal when you said to plot each event/occassion however I might just do it as a final attempt to remove myself from the cycle.

    In my case the individual will always come crawling back when they’re having trouble with their current partner/ex (the same person each time) and I let myself be trapped in the cycle of becoming infatuated with them again etc. hoping they’ve finally moved on (to me). That or they sugar coat their attempts to use me, and again, because I’ve pedestalled them I end up being used and lonely. Doesn’t help that they are a “fast forwarder” and I always get swept up in the moment.

    Toxic coctail, I know. Posts such as these are opening my eyes however and I think I’m getting close to moving on. Thanks for the amazing website.

  99. Kirsty says:

    I can’t explain how much you’ve helped me. Thank you so much. I’ve been in the cycle for 6 years and its exactly like the women mentioned that had been in the 7 year cycle only getting 15 minutes of happiness- same with me. Thank you again soooo much!


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


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