ER, I THINK YOU MISUNDERSTOOD ME. I SAID,

1. It really is just a date, not a marriage proposal, nor is it the start of your life, your ticket outta ‘here’ or anything else. It’s just a date. I’m not saying that with more dates, time and progression into a bonafide relationship that it won’t lead into something special, but for now, it’s just a date. I don’t know what is going on with us with our modern lives, but so many people are itching to offload the life they’re in and hitch their wagon to someone, anyone that will take them out on a date. They want this one to be it. It’s too much pressure that sets you up for disappointment or will have you Fast Forwarding. Appreciate and enjoy your own life and you won’t be so invested in something and someone you don’t know.

2. If you’re getting attached to every date or even every prospect of a date, you’re really not that fussy, and you don’t know what you want, other than you seem to want to be attached to someone. If you feel attached to and disappointed by ‘everyone’ you interact with romantically no matter how vaguely, how can you truly have felt something?

3. Know yourself before you sexually wreck yourself. If you’re the type of person that struggles emotionally after you are sexually intimate with someone and are likely to feel invested, don’t ‘get down’ until you’re on enough solid footing to handle the emotional consequences.

4. If you do have sex fairly quickly into dating someone, keep in mind that you may have to write it off. Is it fair? Well it’s not about ‘fair’ per se. Sex confuses things. While some people aren’t bothered, some will actually feel embarrassed about letting themselves get carried away and won’t know how to roll back, so they disappear. I mean, how do you go from having sex to holding hands and ‘getting to know one another’? It can happen sometimes, but it can be a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted. I’ve also heard too many stories about people trying to roll back to chaste but they keep ‘finding’ themselves naked.

5. People unfold after you meet them, not this ‘changing’ BS. How can someone you’ve known a wet week or a month ‘change’? It’s not that you met them one way and then they ‘changed’ – it’s that you met them, you thought they were certain things, they presented their own thing, and then they unfolded. That’s what time and experience does – show you who someone truly is. As a friend of mine reminded me of the wise words of the wonderful Chris Rock, when you go out on those first few dates, you’re meeting their representative… and they’re meeting yours.

6. Unless they’re dead, or in coma, there really isn’t a good reason for someone disappearing on you. Remember this when they creepy creepy back into your life and expect to pick up where they left off (the Reset Button) without too many barriers to entry. The more they want to hit that button, the shadier they are. Now lift your hand up with me and push that mental flush handle several times.

7. If you don’t want to have sex early into dating, just don’t put yourself in the position (excuse the pun) to do so. It means you don’t have dates in your home, or go to their place afterwards, or invite them into yours. It’ll spare you the awkward “I know we have our tongues jammed down each other throats and are engaging in some heavy petting, but actually, did I mention that I don’t really want to have sex until I’ve gotten to know someone?” Yeah…

8. A date isn’t coming into your life to boost your ego, make your life right, or even pay your bills. Boost your own ego, make your own life right, and pay your own bills. Some of you are looking for salvation, not romance, and assclowns, people who at best want to take advantage of you or at worst, want to abuse you, will home in on you like sharks smelling blood in the water. Personal security is very attractive. There’s nothing wrong with a little insecurity (we all have them) but desperation isn’t sexy.

9. I’ve said this many times, but just because you’re dating someone or have even progressed into a relationship, it does not mean that you have to sack off your friends, family, interests, goals and aspirations as if this person is the be all and everything. They’re just not that special. I’m not saying that they’re not special but unless someone wants to isolate you and control you, you parking your life as you know it to become their Siamese twin and to live out of their backside is a one way ticket to an unhealthy codependent relationship. Have your own life before you embark on a relationship and keep your own life.

10. You are not auditioning on your dates and if there are any auditions going on, both of you are doing it. There is too much posturing going on and many people seem to cultivate lives and personas that they think might be attractive to their idea of a ‘perfect’ partner, when what they should be doing is cultivating lives and authentic selves that are attractive to themselves. The stories I hear are like a series of challenges in America’s Next Top Model, from how to look like how you think they want you to look, to rolling out your sexual moves, to trying to do everything for them, to being like an on-demand entertainment system (yeah like someone’s Tivo, only they press buttons for an ego stroke or a shag), to how much boundary busting can one person put up with. Enough!

We spend too much time trying to be the ‘right’ person for every person that comes into our lives because we think it’s super important to be chosen by everyone (like being picked for teams at school), but actually, we need to spend more time discovering whether someone is the right person for us.

Remember, dating is a discovery phase.

Your thoughts?

The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship is now available from my bookshop along with with Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. You should definitely be reading these if your imagination gets carried away when dating or you’ve wound up in a number of unavailable relationships.

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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170 Responses to It’s Just a Date, Not a Marriage Proposal & 9 Other Thoughts On Dating For The Weekend

  1. miskwa says:

    Nat
    I especially like #8; it never ceases to surprise me how many men and women out there are in search of a meal ticket. I have been poor in and out of relationships but have always lived within my means, not someone elses. When times were really tough, I didn’t date and tried to fix my situation instead. It’s our job to rescue ourselves. If I date or correspond with guys on line, they are not taken seriously until they show up in person and they step up to the plate, meaning they are willing to pursue a committed relationship: no casual crap. No sex till about two to three months in. This may sound bitchy, but folks that are really good at deception can keep up the BS for a long time. I learned the hard way to listen to those spidey senses.

  2. yoghurt says:

    I find that the posts about dating boggle me a bit. I come from a section of the British class system in which the concept of ‘dating’ seems slightly artificial and alien (generally the received wisdom is that you meet someone at a party or the pub and take it from there) – also I’m very tired and have a lot on my plate and I think am sending out Man Get Thee Back vibes still.

    So I read posts like this and go “Aaarrrrg, DATING? Whatthewhat? Who gets to go on dates??” And I have to admit that if I ever get a ‘date’ I’ll struggle mightily not to inflate it to something that it isn’t, on the grounds that it may well be the only one that I’ve had or will have.

    Here’s my take on it, though, and insofar as it doesn’t fit the recognised pattern of ‘dating’ I reckon that it broadly fits the general idea of the posts:

    Eventually, when life’s evened out a bit and I’ve got a bit more energy and confidence, I’ll be spending more time with friends. As I do that, I’ll gradually become more confident about pushing out and organising new activities in my free time (atm all I want to do with my free time is SLEEP). In doing so, I’ll make new friends and spend time with them. The more friends I have and the more I make an effort to connect with people, the more new people I’ll meet. Eventually I’ll meet a male friend that I feel attracted to and who is attracted to me, but committed and honourable enough to let the friendship develop and deepen at its own pace.

    When I put it in those terms it seems manageable and automatically weeds out the messer-abouters or my own freaking-out mechanisms. And the only ‘rules’ that I need to follow are 1) don’t get hammered and sleep with anyone too soon and 2) aim to be more outgoing and proactive in meeting people. Simples :)

    • Mymble says:

      yoghourt
      Haha. I have managed to have a 13 year marriage, 2 long term relationships (2-4 years) and a few shorter ones without ever going out on one of them “date” type things.. The very thought fills me with fear and alarm. It just sounds way too sophisticated and grownup for me, and I am 47. Met them through work, friends, down the pub etc.
      It will not be possible to even think of such things for some time because I am still in the throes if bringing my marriage to an end, and anyone who would even contemplate getting involved with me would by definition have something seriously amiss and I don’t have the inclination anyway, but at some point I do plan to do that. I think I may consider online as there aren’t so many single men visible in my age bracket – a man who is still hanging around pubs at this age is a bit of a no no and I don’t really enjoy that so much anymore either.

      • Fearless says:

        Yoghurt and Mymble

        Thank goodness to read your posts as I was beginning to think there’s something odd about me that I don’t really understand how one decides to “date”/start “dating”/stop “dating”. For me too (British) “dating” (going out with someone) is something that happens when you meet someone you like in the pub or at parties or through friends etc.

        Like you Mymble, am not interested much in pub-bing and clubbing and also I couldn’t agree more with whaT you say about men who “pub” all the time. At my age I am immediately wary of men who spend their time in the pub (I don’t want one of those!). I happened (unusually) just recently to be drinking in my local pubs and met the usual male acquaintances and friends of friends who have been drinking in these pubs for 25 years (every weekend and a few night in the week)! most of them are married (fine by me!); I got some interests from two “singles” – one is a brief-ish fling I had about 12 years ago, who had the nerve to imagine I might still be up for it, another asked if he could friend me on facebook (he’s well over forty!) and I don’t like the way he talks about women (“great bit of gear” was one expression I heard him use – not about me though!). It’s depressing. I sat there thinking, no wonder i was so into the ex EUM, he was in many ways a cut above all of this crap! (but yes, he had a whole load of other crap to contend with).

        Anyway – yep, the concept of “dating”, as it’s spoken about here is alien to me. But I do see the need to be pro-active about being mindful of different ways to find the right relationship. (Hey, I said, right “relationship” not right man – and it just fell off my pen! That’s progress indeed, for me!!)

        • runnergirl says:

          Yoghurt, Fearless, and Mymble,

          Yeah Fearless…you said “relationship” not “man”. I’ve always remembered that extremely important distinction. Thank you. I totally agree that the concept of dating seemed totally foreign to me as well. All my husbands and b/f’s I’ve known from work and we totally skipped the personal discovery phase because we already knew one another professionally. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Thus, I ended up in a #7, subsequently married and/or in a relationship and/or a mistress without knowing the guy at all. They unfolded after I married or crawled into the sack with them. Talk about the cart before the horse. I think, even though it may be difficult to imagine it now, the point may be never skip the discovery phase even if you know them through work, church, a sewing circle, the pub whatever. Maybe it’s just cos I have skipped the all important discovery phase. Maybe substitute “discovery phase” for “dating” no matter how you meet them?

          • runnergirl says:

            Okay, I’ll stop after this, if Natalie allows it. I also want to add that even if the concept of dating seems remote, everything Natalie has written on the subject has applied to me since I decided to go online (not advocating it by any means). I think the advice about meeting members of the opposite sex apply whether you are dating or not. For me, if the guy doesn’t call when he says he will (I don’t call them…just me), it’s a flush. The guy bangs on his crazy ex, flush. The guy rants on and on about prior bad dates, flush. The guy invites me to his house after a 3 hour dinner, flush. He starts talking sex via email or immediately upon meeting, flush. Because I’m a dreamer, I have to limit all cyberspace communication whether it’s a guy I know (exMM) or an online guy. No fantasizing about the future (ex H#1, #2, #3 and exMM). NONE. No trying to change the guy to fit my puzzle (all of the above). For me, Natalie’s discussions regarding dating aren’t just about that foreign notion of dating per se. For me, the dating discussions pertain to developing a co-piloted relationship based on honesty, trust, and respect no matter where you meet the guy. It’s about the relationship, not the guy.
            PS. Natalie, I hope you don’t mind but I use the term co-pilot in my online profile. Just that term alone has flushed several guys who have responded that they aren’t co-pilots. They are pilots in need of a passenger. DELETE and FLUSH.

        • Tulipa says:

          “I sat there thinking no wonder I was so into the ex EUM, he was in many ways a cu above all of this crap!”

          I have been thinking back and looking at why I was so caught up with an EUM and I agree he was so far above the ex AC and the other guys who asked me out. But he still came flying many red flags they were just a different variety to the ACs.

      • yoghurt says:

        mymble –
        “too sophisticated and grown-up”, yep, me too!

    • grace says:

      yogurt
      i’m british too and not really done the dating thing but I think the principles still apply.
      As I’m sure you’re aware (ha!) the man and I got to know each other in a group setting and gradually carved out time together – walking home, sitting next to each other during group activities, texts and phone calls (NOT SEXTING -we share bible verses – woot!).
      In a group people can still single each other out for special attention. And that’s not a marriage proposal either! We still need to be mindful, in the present, not fantasise or panic, feel each other out for shared values, decide if it’s worth pursuing,
      Eventually, you’ll move to spending more time together one-on-one and that’s when it becomes more “date-y”. I wouldn’t leap straight from “friends plus” to “sexual partner” Evenings at each other’s homes may be too risque, so you’re gonna have to go out. There’s no guarantee that a good friend will make a good romantic prospect. There needs to be a transition period. You can have as many friends as you like, you can only have one boyfriend so even at that basic level there is a greater commitment and expectation.
      I used to detest group activities and preferred one-to-one but these days I’m comfortable with both. Even though it frustrated me in the beginning I’m really glad to have had six months to get to know the man within the safety of the herd. Not because he was going to do anything bad, it would have been me jumping off the deep end with anxiety! As it is, I am very calm and relaxed now. Praise the Lord.

      • yoghurt says:

        I think that’s a fair point about the ‘intermediate’ stage – tbh I can’t even imagine getting that far from this point, although that’s not to say that I won’t.

        I’m really not much cop at group situations AT ALL, even at the height of my superpowers I’ve found them intimidating and impossible to relax in. But there’s a church group and a book club that I’m gearing up to going to, so those are a good start I think – having something external to focus on rather than feeling under pressure to perform should help.

        This week I’ll be meeting up with a friend from work. It isn’t a ‘date’ in the real sense of the word, in that there’s no romantic dimension to it (he has a girlfriend that he loves very much) but I’m really looking forward to it and I know we’ll have a good time taking Son round the park and probably complaining about work in small unhappy voices.

        That’s the mindset that I’d like to be in – meeting people because I enjoy their company and spending time with them and that’s all. I’m taking my Potential Relationship??!! specs off for now. They only freak me out anyway.
        :D Really pleased that you’re so happy in the situation with the Church Dude – that’s ace.

    • Snowboard says:

      Interesting! In America, there is definitely something called “hook-up culture,” which is replacing traditional ‘50’s-style dating. (By “traditional ‘50’s-style dating,” I mean where a man specifically asks a woman out just the two of them, and then then they meet up, and he typically pays.) “Hook-up culture” consists in people finding romance by just hanging out with the person ostensibly as friends, usually in groups, and then waiting til the moment (usually with a little alcohol involved) for the attraction to finally accumulate to the point where you kiss, and then suddenly the two of you are “involved.” Is this latter approach what y’all mean tends to occur in Britain?

  3. Colee says:

    Please will do you an article on “is this as good as it gets?”, I saw you mention it on another post and it sounds like an article I would be really interested in.I am going to say this and hope people don’t laugh or think I’m being stupid because I am so young.I went out with someone for a year, and throughout he “drippped” me information, he wouldn’t take me to any parties with him and I always felt like the dorkier, more unnattractive one on the relationship.He would make sexual comments to my friends and then when I got upset about stuff he’d say ” well I wouldn’t mind if you said stuff like that, it’s only a joke!” which made me feel insecure.Eventually shortly after our one year anniversary I found out he cheated on me and we broke up . I was upset for a long time, but I knew even if he did come crawling back ( which he recently tried to do, but I said no) I had lost too much trust for us to be able to get back together.

    Eventually after a while I started talking to some other boys on nights out, but I didn’t like any of them and didn’t go on any dates. That was until a few months ago, I met someone slightly older (I am 18, he was 24) and it was great.At first he pushed for a relationship more than I did, he wanted to see me all the time ( which due to work, it wasnt possible for me to do) but I really liked him and unlike my previous boyfriend he did get jealous sometimes, which made me feel safer in the relationship, like he actually cared about me.He told me he hadnt had a gf for 2 years since he was with a girl for two years and she cheated on him.I promise I’d never do that and we got along great.Then one day he just changed, he told me he wasn’t ever going to let anyone hurt him like he had been previously and he didn’t want to see me again, I was so upset because I just felt like I could be the one to prove to him he doesn’t have to be hurt.We kept in contact and we would talk on the phone everyday, sometimes even for a few hours.Eventually he said he wanted me back, but then when I went around to his house to see him he went cold again and said he needed to think about what he said.I was devastated and left.

    Then a lot of stuff happened, he said that the reason he kept in contact with me and wouldnt let me move on is because he thinks in a few years when he’s ready for a girlfriend he will want me and so he wants to make sure I don’t move on.He also said that he had saw other girls since his break up with the girl he was with for two years, but that he’d only see them for a month and after a month he would ” hit a wall” and that he was “gutted” when he realised it had happened with me. I saw him the other day after he had another bout of deciding he wanted me back, and we ended up sleeping together.After we slept together he refused to cuddle me like he used to and said it was because I needed to learn all men werent going to cuddle me and he thinks I will always get hurt because I am “too nice”.He also said that he felt sorry for any boyfriend I ever get because he knows whenever he eels like it he can take me back.After I left he said he thought it was best I deleted him off FB and so I said I would when I got home, once I deleted him he sent me an angry text because I deleted him,even though he asked me too.I havent contacted him since .

    I read your post on attraction and I felt a little bit sad- does it mean that anytime someone gives me butterflies they aren’t going to treat me right? I don’t want to keep getting hurt, but I also don’t want to be with someone I don’t feel strongly about.I know you should learn to be happy within yourself but I can’t, my mum had an abusive boyfriend when I was 7-14 who use to hit her and stuff, and he use to tell me I was fat.Life felt like a nightmare, and I don’t have a good relationship with my mum either, she’s said some nasty stuff in arguements such as ” I should have got that abortion that your dad wanted”, I know she said it in the heat of the moment but still, it hurt.We are trying to repair our relationship but it’s hard and I never really feel secure and loved, my dads a bit distant and puts a lot of pressure on me academically, and at 14 I got an eating disorder, I’ve overcome it now but it’s something I struggle with.I just always feel alone, unless I’m with someone who makes me feel loved , even if its only for some of the time.I do have nice male friends who I know wouldnt treat me bad, and I’ve tried to turn it into something more with one of them but I couldn’t, it felt like holding hands and kissing my brother.I don’t wanna keep on getting hurt, but I’m scared at 18 I have a lot of years of pain ahead of me :( and I don’t want to be lonely.I feel so sad about it all, lots of my friends have been with their boyfriends for 2 or three years and are happy, and even the boys who arent nice don’t want me :(.

    • grace says:

      Colee
      You are doing well in a no. of key areas. You know when you’re being mistreated, you’re able to cut contact, you have an idea of where your low self-esteem comes from. I am optimistic for you even though you feel sad.
      All of us here, older and wiser (lol) than you have had that sinking feeling “oh no, all the decent men are unattractive/boring”. The truth is NOT that attractive men are bastuds but that we are attracted to bastuds (read that again slowly). We get a little buzz out of being mistreated because it’s what we’re used to and, rather than walk away, we “rise” to the challenge. If you change how you feel about yourself, what you find attractive will change. My date is a decent, kind person and is very attractive, including physically (yep, tall, dark and handsome. don’t hate me!). I wouldn’t say it was butterflies exactly but butterflies are often followed by THAT SINKING FEELING.
      As for holding hands, I think at your age and with your bad experiences, holding hands is as far as you should take it for now. I’m 47 and all I do with the date is hold hands! Not even kissing yet. There’s no rush. He isn’t going to run off to have sex with the nearest available woman. And if he does, he wasn’t for you anyway.
      take a break from dating, sex and looking for a relationship. Enjoy being sociable with people including your male friends. See if there is counselling available through school/college or your workplace. Have you tried going to church. They often have activities for young people and sex (should) not be on the agenda!
      Your ex has failed you, your parents have failed you, you have to raise yourself. It is daunting but I did it, my sister did it and my brothers did it. Take note of what Nat says here and the commentators, have faith that if you do the right think it will turn out right.
      You are only eighteen and there is plenty of time to learn to love and take care of yourself.

    • NK says:

      Colee

      Have started/had any therapy? Sounds like something you start with to help get your issues worked out. Your self esteem sounds quite low.
      the only way is up :)

    • Fearless says:

      Colee,

      “I was so upset because I just felt like I could be the one to prove to him he doesn’t have to be hurt.”

      1. That’s his problem to deal with; it’s not your job to “prove” anything to this man or any other. Don’t ever take that on. If it’s a lesson he needs, here’s the only one you should give him – No Contact. None. Don’t have anything to do with him ever again. His arrogance is astounding.

      2. If “even” the boys who are not nice don’t want you – celebrate! – Yay. It’s a compliment to you. Boys who are not nice only want girls who will allow these boys to be ‘not nice’ to them, and that’s not going to be you! Yay!

      3. Read the post Grace has responded to you with. Read it carefully, read it more than once, absorb it, and do exactly what she says.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hi Colee,
      I’m so glad you’ve found your way to BR. Nearly all the commentators here have been in emotionally abusive relationships like yours, and we have all had to (continue to!!) transform our most basic understanding of what love is. You’re eighteen, thus much younger than most of us, and my heart goes out to you.
      “does it mean anytime someone gives me butterflies they aren’t going to treat me right?”
      I’d say, when you’re eighteen, and still pretty inexperienced with romance, “butterflies” come easier than they do when you get older, even when you’re with a good guy. I think what has happened for most of us here is that we eventually began to realize we had serious problems, where we experienced the most **passionate** butterflies only for emotionally abusive men, and that in fact, these supposed “butterflies” weren’t love or anything close but really just our own intense anxiety and “need” for the approval and acceptance of men who withhold it.
      When you find a good boyfriend, who routinely lets you know that you have his utter admiration, the relationship will definitely have a lot less up-and-down, but what changes is that you no longer WANT the up-and-down, because instead you have something much more meaningful, which will *improve* the quality of your life, rather than limit it.
      You say you don’t want years of pain ahead of you. Dating inevitably will bring pain – you will date guys who aren’t right for you and have to break their heart, you will date guys you like who will break your heart, you may find a beautiful relationship which lasts for a while but then ultimately ends. This is life, and it’s healthy for you to have these experiences. But what you’re going to have to do is teach yourself (hopefully, starting here at BR!) how to engage in this dating process while also maintaining your boundaries, always prioritizing your self-esteem over any guy, and refusing to participate in a destructive cycle of trying to “fix” a broken relationship or broken man. Learning this is a long process, but it’s definitely achievable, and so worth it.
      Please keep coming back!

    • Magnolia says:

      Colee, I just want to echo what Grace and the others have said, especially that it’s great to see that you know when you’re being mistreated. Sometimes girls believe these guys, who make the girls think it’s their fault: you’re not ‘too nice,’ there’s no such thing. Sticking around when you’re being mistreated isn’t being nice, it’s being codependent, and that’s not you.

      In a good relationship, you won’t be getting subtle vibes that the guy thinks he’s cooler than you, you won’t be made to feel like it’s your fault if they suddenly get ‘bored.’ I used to think that just being nice to me was a big deal, but like Lauren Hill says, respect is just the minimum. Having not seen respect modeled by my own parents, I didn’t even know how to recognize disrespect when it happened to me.

      It sounds like you know what respect is. You should expect respect, and love, and care, and trust. I am also very confident for you; you’re resourceful, obviously – you sought out and found BR, for example.

      It’s okay to feel sad when you’re disappointed in your situation. Just remember, a disappointing situation doesn’t make YOU a disappointing person. Make sure you keep telling yourself all the good things there are about you. You have LOTS of time to explore what kind of person is right for you.

    • Colee says:

      Thank you so much for the responses everyone, they really helped cheer me up :).I had a really rough day yesterday, I missed him alot and wanted to text but I didn’t.He told me that he didn’t keep in contact with any of his exes but that he ” couldn’t help himself” wanting to keep contacting me, then a few weeks later he told me actually his exes do text him random stuff all the time and it’s annoying,then he reeled off a list of exes and what they had sent him, I guess thats what stops me because I don’t want to be another ex who keeps bugging him.Sometimes it felt like I was his (emotional) punching bag – when he had a good day he would be nice to me and when he had a bad day he said some horrible,horrible stuff, that he would then take back, and then say again.

      A few people asked if I’d had therapy and I have, I had a long time of it but I don’t think it really helped, I had two therapists, I’m not sure if they were playing good cop bad cop but one would ask me how my week went and the other one would tell me I was selfish for putting my family through so much worry over something as trivial as my weight.In the end I stopped going because they could only book me in during school time and I wanted to focus on my GCSE’s.I sort of have the weight side of it down, I fluctuate a few pounds between the lower end of my BMI scale and slightly underweight, it’s not good but it’s a lot lot better than I use to be but I guess it didn’t really do me a lot of good because I still have self-esteem issues.I just don’t get it, theres a lot of people out there who are prittier and smarter and funnier and nicer than me, so when someone chooses me I feel a bit confused but I’m not even a little bit special so what are they doing with me ?

      I’m happy that butterflies doesn’t mean the person is bad for you, but then again I get butterflies over lots of random things that aren’t males, I can get butterflies over the thought of a new book coming out or a holiday.

      Thanks for the advice and everything everyone, it’s nice not to feel so alone

      • yoghurt says:

        Colee

        Here’s some advice that I wish I’d learnt when I was 18, instead of learning it at 30…
        DON’T compare yourself with ANYONE, EVER – it’s a recipe for misery, whether you think you’re better or worse than them. And it’s a bad way to look at the world.

        In your part of the country, chances are that NOBODY is the prettiest, cleverest, nicest or funniest person in the world, so all of them are inferior to someone and guess what? Many of them will be in happy relationships with someone who also isn’t the prettiest, cleverest, nicest or funniest person in the world either.

        Relationships don’t happen because you’re the ‘best’, they may happen because you’re the best FOR someone but even then they take a generous dollop of work, trust, care and respect from both parties.

        You’re you. It sounds as though you haven’t had enough people tell you how marvellous and wonderful a thing that is, but that doesn’t stop it from being true. No-one else is going to see the world as you do, have your thoughts or be unique in the way that you are. Even your weaknesses and problems may well turn into your greatest strengths later on (in that you gain empathy and understanding because you went through them, for example). And when someone is interested in you, it’s YOU that they’re interested in. If they wanted the prettiest person ever they’d be hanging round backstage at the Miss World contest and they’re not.

        I know that it’s difficult to see it from a personal perspective but it’s easier to believe if you stop allowing yourself to feel inferior to other people based on relatively shallow criteria.

        (fwiw, though, you sound a whole lot more sensible and brave than I was when I was 18, so if you must do some comparing, feel good about that :D )

      • A says:

        Colee,

        I’m sorry that you’ve gone through this and have been feeling so down, but as the above posters said, it’s great that you’ve already recognized this guy’s behaviour for what it is and walked away. It broke my heart a little when you said that you don’t feel special. Even from your posts I can tell that you’re a smart, thoughtful, kind person. Work on recognizing that and believing that you have a lot to offer and you deserve to be treated with love and respect. I think once we start to feel better about ourselves and recognize when someone (be it in a romantic context or otherwise) makes us feel bad about ourselves or makes little comments that just don’t sit right, it’s a huge red flag that we need to pay attention to.

        As for this guy, do not take any of his behaviour personally. He’s clearly an arrogant, messed up jerk, and he would have messed you around regardless, there’s nothing you could have done to change that.

        As you said, any time you may be tempted to contact him or respond to his attempts to contact you, just remember his comments about how ‘he can get you back any time he wants’ (ugh, what an ass) and make sure that you show him how 100% wrong he is on that by not giving him the time of day!

    • Lilian Lauderdale says:

      Colee – What a painful roller coaster you have been on. You are a brave and amazing woman if at 18 you can already determine that you are not being treated with care and respect and are seeking out a community of women who can share their stories and words of wisdom. At 18 I did not have the tools to make healthy decisions for myself and stayed in an emotionally abusive situation for 9 years. I thought his extreme jealousy was flattering not scary because I was in such need of validation. Little did I realize that I came out of that relationship without a clue as to who I was, what I wanted and needed, or even an ounce of self esteem. I know it’s easier said than done, but leaving your situation now will ultimately be less painful in the long run. His pushing and pulling you away will destroy your integrity and self esteem. He has no right to keep lingering his carrot of hope in front of you and then deeply hurting you as he chooses to not follow through on any of his words.

      I know, because I am in this situation right now. My EUM not only will tell me he loves me one day and wants to make things work, but will then actually turn around and call ME “crazy” when I tell him that I love him and need a more definite commitment from him. I too am working on understanding that asking for my needs to be met is ok and not “demanding” as he puts it. But he keeps dangling that hope in my face, and I’m scared to let go.

      Don’t let anyone tell you that you are TOO NICE. You are just giving your niceness to the wrong person. I hope one day to be able to give myself to someone who can respect and love all that I have to offer and give all of that back in not just words but ACTION as well.

      Keep sharing your story and feelings here and don’t be discouraged by your therapy experiences. Funny enough, finding the right therapist is like dating too. You have to go through the discovery phase of finding out if it is a good match – and don’t be scared to ask questions. And while talking things through with them is great, I found that what I was looking for was for someone to provide me with the tools I need to make healthier decisions in my life. Not just talk about what’s going on each week.

      Hang in there. xo

      • Colee says:

        Thank you again everyone, I’m having a bit of a down day today, I miss his accent and waking up to texts from him, but I haven’t contacted him.The place he comes from is a forty minute drive from where I live, it and the areas are it are seaside villages or in the countryside and it was a treat day out when I was little, but he is the first person I have known to come from there.Now it seems like everyone on my newsfeed is from there, or is going there and I know it is probably just my imagination noticing the place more now but my tummy gives a little jolt everytime someone mentions the place.I don’t know if I’m articulating what I mean very well, it’s strange because the boy I was with for a year, I never got any of that with him, but I guess maybe because we live near each other and come from the same area it’s different.

        Wow, nine years is a long time to be with someone,I do know what you mean about someone being jealous being flattering, the boy who I just broke up with ( I should probably call him eum, since he is the eum one) got jealous easily and although I know it’s not a healthy trait it made me feel much safer because the boy who cheated on me and dripped stuff ( does that make him a ac?) never use to get jealous and he would sort of use it to do bad stuff, like he’s flirt with someone, or say one of my friends was hot and when I got upset about it he would be like ” but I wouldn’t care if you said stuff like that” and it made me feel bad, like maybe I was being too demanding and making a big deal out of something that isn’t anything. I can’t remember what I typed in to find this site but I am so glad I did because it’s the first time I’ve ever felt like people really understand.

        I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people, and I think being on here has made me realise I can’t even do that if I want to because I don’t even know who I am, my town is quite small so if you don’t know someone chances are someone you are close friends with does, and when I was younger I use to act like nothing bothered me.I don’t know why but in my group of friends I tend to be the one that banter is directed towards.If everyone in the group said something it would be my comment someone made a joke of and I guess cause I’m maybe a bit stupid and “naive” is how eum described it and a few other people, I am the one who gets the jokes directed at them.My mum said that you can never let anyone know when they have hurt you because once they know how they will do it again and again, so I sort of grew up with this friendship group and when people use to say stuff to me I pretended it didn’t hurt even if it did so now they do it without thinking.I asked one of my friend why it’s always me and she said it’s because I am an easy target and it doesn’t seem to bother me.I don’t know what happened by when my mum and her abusive boyfriend broke up instead of me becoming happier I became sadder, it kind of felt like I had a backpack on and didn’t realise how heavy it was until it was taken off but I have been so sensetive ever since then.Not all of my friends do it, and I’ve been honest with a few of them and a few of them know that I’m sensetive but I am hoping that next year I might be able to move away for university and if I do maybe I will have new friends and then I can figure out who I am without having to defend myself or the joke being at my expense.I know it’s my fault and they are only joking and I should just think about what I say and not be as stupid but I can’t help it.

        I am slightly nervous at the prospect of getting hurt again and again, I don’t think I will want to see anyone for a least a year because I want to move away from university anyway, but some people get such an easy time of it, my big brother has friends that have been together since they were sixteen and are getting married soon and they are 24, and I have friends who have had boyfriends they have been super happy with for over a year, I don’t think I’m going to be so lucky as to have an easy time of it, but I hope this site gives me a better chance , thanks everyone xx

  4. Anne says:

    Another FANTASTIC article from Natalie! I hope you come to San Jose, California, on your next trip to the U.S. – at least to San Francisco, which is 50 miles from San Jose (but parking is AWFUL in San Francisco and great in San Jose :) ).

    After 4 years since my last breakup (heart-breakingly painful – I literally felt heart pains!) and 2 1/2 years of not dating at all (by choice), I feel that I am now comfortable with myself, with being by myself (although it can be lonely and definitely boring a lot of the times), and that sometimes I actually like being by myself in the house, just relaxing, chilling and watching a movie. I have even gone to movies by myself, something that I always thought was for losers, and I actually enjoyed it. I just sat down and said “hi” to the person next to me and I chatted a little bit while waiting for the movie to start, so it didn’t feel as if I was all alone. The bottom line is that I believe I have grown as a person and that I no longer fear being without a life partner or a romantic partner. I’m not happy about it, but I’ve become resigned about it and I’ve come to accept it. I’ve decided that I’m ready to start dating again once I put off part of the weight I’ve gained in the past couple of years, but this time it will not be about looking for a romantic partner who will be in love with me, love me and cherish me and I him; it will be about the reality of simply having a male companion to go out with, go on dates, and NOT become sexually involved unless he shows me that he is a man instead of just a male, by which I mean that he is honorable, can truly love a woman and does, in fact, care about me, respect my personhood and my spirit and loves me!

  5. Christina says:

    I don’t know if our lives are so boring, or we’re so desperate for the fairy tale that we keep getting over-invested in getting attention from anyone.

    The most fun I had dating was about two years after my first husband died. I was ready to get back out there, but wasn’t at all sure I wanted anything serious. So I went out with pretty much anyone who asked (unless he gave me the creeps) I had a really good time getting to know new people and checking out my town’s fun nightspots. I had no expectations, and no worries. If I liked someone better than was typical, I tried not to dwell on it, and just went out with someone else. If he never called back, no big deal.

    I was surprised at how many quality, relationship-minded men I ran into when I wasn’t looking for them.

    When I met my now-husband, neither one of us had any particular expectations, so the whole thing unfolded rather naturally. It was far healthier and much more fun than earlier relationships that I had wanted so desperately and tried so hard to make work, all to no avail.

    There’s something to be said for dating just for the fun of it. You’ll meet fun and interesting people, hone your bs-detector as well as your flirting skills!

  6. Anne says:

    don’t know why even though I’m attractive (and some men have told me that I’m sexy, although I have a reasonable degree of class, I dress fairly conservatively (although very femininely), and I never look like cheap tramp), I’m fun, funny, fun-to-be-with, playful, bubbly, I still have quite a bit of the little girl in me (I don’t act like an older woman and I don’t appear to be bitter about men even though I feel deep anger inside toward men who obviously just want to hit the sack as quickly as possible), I’m intelligent, I have an advanced degree, I own my home, by comparison to other women I have what I consider a relatively sane and stable life, I’m skilled in the “private arts” (or so I’ve been told), I’m a good dancer, I accommodate myself to the guy (if he wants to go out on the weekends, I make myself available), I’m a caring person, I’m a pleasant person, I’m a good conversationalist and can converse on a variety of topics (if I know that the guy has a particular hobby or interest, I research it a little bit on the Internet so that I can establish some commonality with him and have a topic of conversation that he enjoys), I’m not crass and I don’t use foul language, I’m pleasant with their family and friends, etc., I have never managed to have one of the guys I dated love me, not even be in love with me. I don’t think that they were even enamored of me. I think that what they liked was taking me out and showing me off. However, they felt nothing in their heart for me, which, of course, made me feel unwanted, used and worst of all: UNLOVABLE. That must be the worst feeling in the world – to feel unlovable. That is what made me cry and feel rejected when I had to break up (discovery of their cheating forced me to break up) or when they broke up with me; it wasn’t that I really cared that much about them (except for the last one 4 years ago) – it was feeling unwanted and unlovable. I’m not sure whether guys nowadays just don’t know what to do with someone like me – a woman who is traditional yet modern, serious yet funny and playful, still relatively beautiful but not conceited, educated (doctoral level degree) but not pedantic about it and never acts superior (I prefer to let the guy be the “star”), mature in age yet youthful in her manner (but not the lunacy of trying to act young; I’m just playful and bubbly by nature when I’m with a guy). I don’t know if they see me as not serious enough because I don’t look like the typical “housewife” or the “mommy-wife/girlfriend” in a bathrobe and curlers, the latter of which is what I think they want – the mommy who will love them regardless of what they do. When I look at the women that these men marry, they are definitely not the women who are like me. I’m so sick and tired of reading “how-to” books on relationships and articles about “what men want” because they are describing ME, yet the guys do NOT want me! I don’t get it. So…I will just date casually (which to me means without sex) and if I meet the man who is meant for me, then so be it…and if don’t, then I will be my own companion and that’s that.

    • grace says:

      Anne
      in my friendship with the date, i think the no.1 think that kicked it up a gear was when we allowed the other person to see our “flaws”. I thought he was such a lovely gentle person, but a few months into our friendship he said something mildly bitchy about a friend of his. The relief! He’s not perfect!
      On another occasion I let my sense of humour run away with me and instead of being offended he laughed.
      Stop trying to be perfect. Stop carrying around a list in your head of your qualities. Stop saying that men can’t appreciate you and prefer lesser women. Stop competing with other women, even if it’s only in your own head. Your problem isn’t the men, it’s your low self-esteem. The more a man or a woman has to say how great they are, the less I think they believe it. I’m not saying you aren’t a special person, but it’s not for the reasons you think. It certainly has nothing to do with how you dress or how skilful men think you are at sex (men who don’t even love you).
      Researching their hobbies so you can talk about them is kinda ridiculous. Don’t accommodate them either – certainly no more than you would a female friend or colleague. It’s supposed to be a mutual relationship, not you hammering yourself into the Perfect Woman. Good men like a woman who has her own mind, her own friends, her own interests and will even stand up to them (nicely).
      Find out who you are apart from men. I don’t think you should be casually dating, I don’t think you should be dating at all. Give yourself a break over the summer. Relax and be yourself

    • Sara says:

      Anne, I think one phrase sums up the problem- “Approval Seeker”. Goodness me, how hard you are trying to please these guys. It must be exhausting you to always have to be acting this part I know because i recognise a lot of what you say as how I felt I had to be before I began this learning process.
      The thing is Men don’t really want Miss perfect, they despise you for it as it shows a lack of self-confidence to them. They want someone who loves themselves enough to feel confident wearing curlers to bed, who will swear at them when they deserve it and who expects them to accommodate you. Who brought you up to think you had to be classy, high achieving and successful to get a man. Be that only if you want to, and be proud of yourself, but give yourself the approval, do not look for it from a man.
      You do not have to change yourself to get a man, but until you figure out who “You” is and stop trying to be the perfect date, how can you truly know if the man will like you for yourself. Stop researching them and start researching you.
      That deep anger you feel, is it a suppressed anger at having been made to feel you are not good enough? Maybe therapy would be a good idea.

    • yoghurt says:

      Anne, I’m pretty sure that you ARE super-loveable, just not for the reasons that you describe.

      You’re thinking of it like it’s a game – tick all the boxes on the checklist and hit the jackpot! It isn’t. In fact, the game AND the list are made up concepts by unscrupulous people who really have little or no understanding of how relationships work and who want to a) emotionally coerce other people into presenting them with no hassle or challenge whatsoever and b) provide an ever-changing, never-ending list of reasons why they shouldn’t have to invest anything in the way of effort into anyone else.

      If you play that game you’ll lose. Because the prize at the end of it isn’t a relationship or true love, it’s a feeling of power, boosting your self-esteem at the expense of someone else’s and a hassle-free, no-stick life with no sort of real investment in it.

      If you wanted to be that sort of person then I’m sure that you could be BUT the ‘winners’ in the game are the People That Care The Least About The Other Person. And you don’t want to be those people, I hope. So stop reading the crappy books.

      In a real, honest, loving relationship the qualities in your list will matter very little, and modifying your own personality and behaviour will actively get in the way of it. I don’t know of a single person who could keep up a front like the one you describe in an actual factual intimate relationship without giving themselves an ulcer or seriously getting on the other person’s nerves. A lot of it sounds like a mask, and nobody falls in love with a mask, no matter how refined and beautiful it is.

      • PurpleLily says:

        Anne, I am with Yoghurt on this one – you do have so much to offer and I am sure you are lovely. And DONT read those books. Absolutely nothing good there.

        I am someone that people/friends call ‘nice girl’ and see in myself a fair few of the qualities I have listed there. What I wish to ask is, do you find that you have to ‘put on’ these qualities or is it who you truly are even with people around you? I might be a nice and all that but I am not afraid to swear if required, fart (not on early dates, but if I did, oh well, stuff happens! :), stay in pajamas if he rocks up after dinner, drink beer and burp loud (hehe!), stand upto him nicely when needed, happy to initiate and plan dates etc. Im not afraid to display these qualities just as much as I am proud to show him the side of me that is nice, intelligent and caring. He needs to know the real me, love the real me (and me him) – what is the point of love and a healthy relationship otherwise?

        Anne, please dont change yourself for anyone but dont hide who you are as well. You dont have to tick every box he has on his list, that should not be your intention. You are enough, more than enough. Love, accept and embrace her.

  7. Annie says:

    Colee i want to give you a big hug. Seriously want to pay for you to go on Natalies self esteem course. There is nothing wrong with you. Read the articles on no contact. Please dont talk to this boy again. He is messing with your head. Your fine how you are, sweet as you are. Just need to learn a few things thats all , big hugs xxx Natalie really want to pay for course . Have entered email adress in the unpublished part. Please contact me regarding payment. Unfortunately, dont get payed till last day off month lmao. But definately pay on that day or following days. Im currently doing the course and it will help you. I think your rather smart, at your age recognising there is a problem and voicing it, thats very brave not stupid xxx

  8. NK says:

    I recently slept with someone on the first date – is it doomed to failure?
    We’ve met once for lunch and he’s invited me to his birthday party.

    • grace says:

      NK
      No it’s not doomed to failure.
      But don’t let the fact you’ve had sex with him affect your judgement.

      • NK says:

        Yeah, i agree which is why the next time i saw him it was for lunch, not likely to be sexual there. I don’t think it will affect my judgement, I’m not rushing into making him my bf I’m getting to know him. We shall see – so far he’s been cool. Lets see how much of a dickhead he is – it wil show up sooner or later – because we all are dickheads just on different scales.

        I am intrigued by the term ‘over investing’ though. I know I’ve over invested a few times in the past. Now I’m kind of serial dating/testing the water/ maybe I’m a ‘surfer’? because I tend to give guys a chance, when others may not. Not saying it leads anywhere most of the time but i aint shallow.

        Im certainly a little impatient, fickle, commitment phobic and have tended to sabotage most things…..

        At least I’m aware though?! lol I am in the process of monitoring my reactions/behaviour to things right now and not taking myself too seriously either.

        • PurpleLily says:

          NK, on your point about giving guys a chance – I would love to hear what the others feel.I am the same, I will give it 2 dates atleast to see what they are like (blatant red flags no chance, but I wouldnt write off amber shades before further clarification). I do believe that a lot of people are shy and it takes a bit of time to see the real them.

          I tend to trust fairly quickly (thus perhaps invest a little extra)which I am trying to work ok. Plus red flag identification and management as well.

          Hope this guy doesnt turn out to be a dick-head. Luckily, Ive never let having had sex early on interfere with my judgement/pull him up on bad behaviour and I know you wont too. Stay strong, girl!

          • cc says:

            NK et al-
            i too give guys “too much” of a chance. which is not necessarily a bad thing, but yes, NK, i think the idea is to be aware of why we do this. just have your eyes open, be honest yet gentle with yourself, and be prepared to call time if it is warranted, way before you start over-investing.

            and don’t worry too much.

  9. Tulipa says:

    I can’t remember the last date I went on. I wish I had this simple common sense knowledge when I was dating.
    I felt like I was a failure if I didn’t turn the date into a relationship, I ignored all the big red flags forgot about the discovery stage didn’t even check if I actually liked the person. A lot of that I admit came out wanting to be rescued and to validate myself hey look I’m good enough for a relationship someone wants to be with me.

    I don’t know if I will be asked on a date again to see if I can apply this knowledge
    but at least it is sinking now.

    And I know I need to still get out more and mix more something that is a challenge for me.
    I also am still coming to terms that maybe I won’t meet anyone and that still makes me an okay person.

    • PurpleLily says:

      We all have been there Tulipa, I am learning to observe and react to the red flag and ask myself if I liked HIM. Good on you for your attitude and for going out there and trying!

  10. Lyz says:

    I agree with Natalie again! If you attach to every date (as I have to my emotional cost) it means you’ll settle for anything/aren’t fussy which is truth in a nutshell. Then I get to the real problem with my life which has been – not enough of a choice in men in the first place – which I need to do something about she’s also spot on for acknowledging that disappearing on you is bad unless you’re dead on a coma, it has to be said this is shady behaviour there’s no excuse for it and Ive had it donw on last 2 dates and (some yrs ago) and its horrible but glad she acknowledges that it is crap! for anyone to do this to you regardless

  11. Lyz says:

    Natalie, you have taught me things and Im in my forties! i must have led a sheltered life and had no clue Thanks Ive re-read this post and it makes perfect sense. This helps in your working life and other areas also

  12. rana says:

    One of the deadly mistakes of dating is playing masquerade: its natural to want to put ur best foot forward in the beginning, the problem is in not being ur authentic self, keeping ur best foot forward is something u can not sustain on the long term. With time u need to confront the truth.
    If a person doesnot like u for what u are why do u want to be with him/ her?

    Approval seeking is the unspoken belief that unless people like u, u r worthless.
    You got to believe in urself. Stop searching for approval frm ppl look inside to what u need. If u need love, u have to love urself first to be able to love others, y do u need others approval, approve urself first, everybody has his own way of thinking n opinions, do not interfere with their opinions abt u, do not try to cpntrol it, they r free to think whatever they want u just do not agree with it.
    You do not believe in urself so u search for it elsewhere, u feel distress, pain if others did not approve of u, believe in urself. Take responsibility of this. Live ur life, it is a waste of time to spend it thinking of others opinions.
    Trying to impress others to like u shall stress u.
    Pay attention to what u want n others respect u for that.
    Do u really need their approval, you may be putting too much emphasis into it.
    I hope I were not harsh
    Thank u Natalie
    God bless all

    • HS says:

      I agree with you Rana, what is the point to pretend? You cannot pretend for long, and anyway he will find out the “true you” sooner or later. That’s why I always behave with men as I am, and I think they like me for my honesty, even sometimes it is better to be “mysterious”…I don’t care what men think of me to be honest x

  13. cavewoman says:

    Oh Nat, you so got me!!! cringetime.

    You know I knew better. But I did it anyway… I did a full-on #7 and it was a complete disaster, with a guy I liked (duh, of course I wouldn’t end up on someone’s couch that I didn’t like). Only date three. I know! Our actual plan fell through at the last minute, so in the spur of the moment I told him to think of something else to do, and get back to me: let it be a surprise. My heart sank when I got his message inviting me over to his place for dinner. By then he was already on his way to the store to buy the steaks. Still I thought I should cancel or change plans, because I knew I was headed into mega awkwardness or mega compromise.

    But I showed up. Dinner was civilized, but the rest went exactly as you say: “I know we have our tongues jammed down each other throats and are engaging in some heavy petting, but actually, did I mention that I don’t really want to have sex until I’ve gotten to know someone?” and it feels every bit as ridiculous, and no party has a graceful exit. You’re just stuck in awkwardness. And to dig yourselves deeper, you mask the awkwardness with more kissing and groping. Dear Lord what a mess. Ugh, I shudder to think.

    Couple days go by and more explanations by email, such as ‘it was too fast’ and that he ‘cannot be exclusive with anyone’ and me replying I can’t go ahead with that and him insisting he didn’t just want me for sex. But that was the end of that. How unnecessary.

    Next time I won’t just think I should cancel or change plans; I will do it gladly, because thus preventing scenario #7 is TONS less embarrassing than scenario #7.

    • HS says:

      Cavewoman, please stop blaming yourself, ok it is happened so what? IT is happened to me too, but on second date…I know AC number 2 for few months now, and he keeps bringing into conversation “having sex on second date”…I told him, that yes, he seduced me, but the reason I slept with him because I wanted to forget my AC number 1! I don’t care what he thinks of me, he is not “boyfriend or husband” material and that I even said to him in one point, that if I was really serious and liked him that much I would never jumped to his bed in the second date! He was shocked but I don’t care!!! SO please forget about your experience and try to avoid situation which you are not comfortable with:-) ALL the best x

    • cc says:

      cavewoman-
      don’t beat yourself up too much. not villifying him, but he could have suggested ANYthing except dinner at his house for date 3. he probably didn’t mean to set it up, but it was a total set up. so you didn’t ruin anything, if he were really ready for something real in the first place, you could have mauled each other on the couch for a bit and he would have just asked for date 4.

      to be safe, yes, next time suggest dinner out or a movie as the replacement date plan. in the meantime, just chalk ‘cannot be exclusive with anyone’ to his ground state, not some reaction to date 3. because these are exactly the actions of a man who wasn’t ready for anything in the first place.

      big hug. cuz i know it sucks anyway.

      • cavewoman says:

        HS! Good for you! Very funny, I can imagine the confusion on his face. Sounds like he underestimated you!

        cc: Nah he’s not a bad guy, but he does think himself very special… You’re right it was a setup, intentional or not. By inviting me in, he forced the issue. Before sex with cavewoman, the moment of truth must come one way or another. For her it’s the sex that was too soon — for him, the moment of truth. Heh heh.
        It sucks… thank you.

        • HS says:

          Cavewoman, I just want to add, yesterday night I dumped AC number 2, hurrahhhh! I gave him couple of chances, but he obviously wants to carry on “booty call relationship”, I cant do that anymore. I am glad that this loser is not a part of my life now….

    • Late Bloomer says:

      Cavewoman – #7 has always been my downfall. I don’t think I realized it so acutely until BR. Something similar happened to me last year, but it lasted several more dates after the # 7 incident. What made it difficult for me is that I didn’t want to face the “rejection.” And while he had some bizarro qualities, he also had some great ones. 

      For me, I learned that I cannot give mixed messages around physical intimacy. It’s not that sex= relationship for life, or even long term relationship, or even relationship. But for me, it’s  probably worth having an “on the same page” conversation first.  A co-piloted conversation, which has always been hard for me during those early stages. Not pressure/expectation filled – just positive, mature and adult.

      Now I really liked the guy. But I also learned it took me a lot longer to get over the experience because I “didn’t have my own back.” In retrospect, he said some hurtful things to me, near the beginning, that I let slide. They made me feel bad, yet I wanted him to “like me” so I didn’t challenge what he said — TO HIM. I didn’t “stick up for myself” (even in my own head) when I knew something was making me feel bad. I wasn’t there for me. That’s been the hardest part of the “rejection.” I let myself down, plus he never got to know the real me. Funny thing – I think I could now take his rejection of the “real me.”

      Cavewoman – it sounds like you are in a good place. Realizing what does/doesn’t work for you and just chalking this one up. I also found it helpful to re-read and re-read the comments that many of the BR ladies wrote to me when I originally posted. Thank you again.

      • cavewoman says:

        Bloomer,

        the real you and the real me are wonderful women who sometimes let men temporarily get away with bad behavior. But the real you is also getting better at sticking up for yourself and learning from your experiences. Be honest: you’re the one who should be rejecting that guy. Who cares if he rejected a real you or a fake you or a figment of his own imagination you? He’s not a keeper. You do not want him and next time you meet his ilk, you won’t even give him a chance to do the rejecting.

        I think it’s okay to go into a conversation with some expectations. Like if it’s a #7, you can expect your host not to be taken by surprise if his guest is not getting down to business no questions asked. How does he plan to ‘recover’ if that’s the case? Expect a real man to know how.

        I bet you too wondered in the middle of the action if a guy actually had other plans for you? Was he ready to have the conversation first, then proceed or not? I think for me that’s where the bad feeling started out. I expected him to at least NOT be visibly disappointed, and handily bring out plan B. (e.g. What movie do you wanna watch?) but I was afraid it wouldn’t work out like that.

        I figured, since I took the invitation/bait, yes it was a test. Is that pressure? Hardly. Did I even remotely expect him to break down and make me his girlfriend on the spot? Of course not. I did expect him to show me with his actions that he’s okay with not having sex. He failed those expectations. He bucked under all that pressure. Poor thing!

        Seriously. You’re right to expect a minimum of respect that maybe things aren’t the way he fancies. You’re right to expect that he’s given thought to the possibility that you are of different opinions, values and standards. (different/any at all…)

        Sadly, if these preconditions were present, we would not likely find ourselves in dreaded scenario #7.

        • cavewoman says:

          buckle. buckle under pressure

          • Late Bloomer says:

            Cavewoman – hope you are still reading this thread. Major computer issues with cookies and getting comments through!

            You are totally right! Buckling under pressure. Breaking out into a cold sweat. Love the analogy. After my incident, I did feel like he didn’t meet my expectations, but by then I had started to prematurely invest. I certainly will look toward weighing more carefully: are they capable of giving me what I need at this point in time. And of couse the whole care, trust and respect stuff too.

            You have a great attitude. Your comments (and the others) really helped me. Sorry you had to go through all of this too.

            And perhaps NML has coined a new term for us — “pulling a #7,” whiich won’t be happening again so soon.

            P.S. – my last real dinner date with him was steak too.

  14. PurpleLily says:

    Ace post Natalie, cheers for that!

    I agree with the comments on approval-seeking here(Yoghurt, Sara, Grace, Rana) – I think we are all good enough and need to be happy with who we are. Makes life a whole lot easier for us, nothing more wonderful and satisfying that having the love for ourselves that comes from within. I truly believe that what other people think of me is beyond my control and I cant go mad trying to convince them of my worth.

    Quiet distant from the current topic, I have a funny question..have you ever been out with men who tend to apologize lots? My exEUM used to do that (God knows he had tons of apology he could have done eventually!)..but what bothers me that he (and a few others) did that even when I thought there was nothing to apologize for?! Was that their own self-confidence issue (I would never apologize for something until and unless I really had wronged/offended someone)?It just made me think “why are you THAT critical of yourself? Are you that insecure about what you say and do?”…

    Sometimes I wondered if they wanted me to say what they did was wrong (but Im not offended or embarrassed by other people’s actions too easily and what they did just appeared funny or silly to me, not wrong) and get pissed off at them? Im not a doormat at all, I have always pulled them up on behaviour that was disrespectful..but WHAT is with this apologizing?! I perhaps have a higher threshold when it comes to silly/harmless drunken behavior than other women, but that possibly cant be wrong?

    • yoghurt says:

      I’m an apologiser (I’ve worked on it a lot but the odd one still pops out) and, as much as anything else, it’s a habit that I picked up when I was in my teens.

      Some of it is social anxiety (being convinced that I’m actually a HUGE buffoon who shouldn’t be out in public), some of it is a disclaimery-type action (hey! I’ve apologised! You can’t dislike these qualities about me!) and some of it is because for years and years I was labouring under the illusion that if I wasn’t 100% pleasant for everyone to be around at all times then I was committing some sort of sin and needed to admit guilt.

      Actually, it’s a really bad habit. It’s a subtle way of putting pressure on the other person to validate your actions/personality to make you feel better about yourself and it’s a way of trying to duck out of any responsibility that you have for your own behaviour and personality. Also it’s tiresome. I’ve been pulled up on it by several people over the years and I really am trying to stop, but it’s an ingrained habit by now and difficult – in fact, quite often I end up going “Sorry… actually, no! I’m not sorry! There’s nothing wrong with me!”

      You’ve mentioned this in conjunction with drinking… I’ve done this too, because a) tend not to remember everything that I did, which calls for a blanket apology for, well, being me and b) I’m always horrified by the potential loss of dignity. I’ve moreorless stopped drinking now, it isn’t worth the huge effort of apologising to everyone that I might possibly have met at the time!

      • Ellyb says:

        Well… if you are a little child, and VERY POWERFUL people (such as parents or school bullies who always show up in groups) accuse you of all kinds of wrongdoings that either:

        a) didn’t happen
        b) weren’t a crime
        c) were a very minor offense “normal” people “commit” all the time

        … what do you do as a child?

        You apologize. It’s the only thing you can do if the other party has the power to hurt you terribly and is more than willing to do it.

        It becomes a habit. We’re still doing it as adults (I do). It’s self-destructive and needs to be changed, but it’s very understandable, considering the childhood experiences many of us had.

        We don’t need to apologize for being apologizers. We only need to understand why it happened, and have sympathy for ourselves

        • cc says:

          yoghurt-
          ellyb NAILED it. and you and me both.

          in addition to reflex and preemptive apologizing, i also:
          - ask people “can i ask you something?” instead of just asking the question i want to ask
          - start to say something, then say “oh, i shouldn’t be saying this”, prompting one guy to say to me “i don’t want to hear from your editor, i want to hear from you”

          the basic idea in all of this, i think, is for us to accept and love ourselves, potty/blabber mouth, over-curiosity, clumsiness and all.

          its easy for me to say and hard for me to remember/do, but revel in you, all of you. whenever i do this, be affectionate with my wonderful, highly imperfect self, i do so. much. better.

          you’re brave that you’re contemplating getting back out there. once you start, you may have moments of panic, of crippling self-criticism and doubt. if you do, STOP, then REVEL.

          massive hug

        • yoghurt says:

          Yikes, sorry ellyb (and anyone that I inadvertantly made to feel rubbish about themself) – you’re totally right.

          I tend to be quite harshly self-critical when it comes to lse behaviours that I’ve clung to as ‘virtues’ in the past.

          For a long time I thought that apologising all the time was a good thing to do and literally felt obliged to apologise for being myself because, y’know, I couldn’t help being myself but I could show that I appreciated that no-one else had to like it.

          Sorry though (<– genuine pointful apology!) – I forget that I'm not the only person to do these things. Wasn't whaling on the apologisers among us.

          (cc – I do all those things as well, also "I hope you don't mind if I…" Why would they mind?)

    • PurpleLily says:

      Yoghurt, Ellyb and cc

      Thank you for telling me more about it. This fact really baffled me when I was with my exEUM. He would apologise but I didnt get why because whatever he had done was not serious or nasty but just made him endearing and funny(and I told him so!). Yoghurt, spot on – he did tell me he was socially anxious and I did my best to show him, tell him that he was a fun, interesting person to hang around. Encouraged him when he went to meet-ups to meet other people, I understood that it must be a tough thing to overcome. I was supportive, but made no difference to how he poorly he treated me eventually.

      I guess, eventually perhaps the difference was too much for him to ignore…him social anxious and me talkative and bubbly and will talk to a tree. I was able to gladly accept this ‘imperfection’ of his (God knows I have tons) but…

      Thank you for helping me understand, I think how we are treated and taught as children affects us so much. I hope you can overcome this. We are all so imperfect but there is such immense beauty in that. It what make us who we are. I send you warm hugs and please be kind to yourself.

      • NK says:

        Oh my golly gosh. I completely get all of you. I used to apologise often.
        But not to everyone, surprisingly….certain people I was kind of arrogant with.

        Now a days I’m very assertive, to the point where I can be sharp and people have picked up on in the past. Now I do try and continuing to monitor this too lol I sometimes have OTT reactions to authority….which makes me look like a complete delinquent.
        Ive reacted like this numerous times in relationships. Its horrible, but its my mother taking over. It mirrors her exact behaviour and in fact my dad also exihitibted similar behaviour. I reacted against it when i was younger and was over apologising, but now sometimes i turn into the extreme.

        TBH I would rather be this then what I was before: a mug.

        Just need to make sure my stress is managed and take my fire out in exercise

        good luck with it anyways :)

  15. runnergirl says:

    Aw Cavewoman, we’ve all cringed and learned. It’s just like Natalie says dating is a discovery phase and I’ve been discovering a ton about ME most of the time. You just discovered something very important as well. Yup, next time…lesson learned. Sorry you went through the awkwardness and the mess but I do appreciate your post. I can see where you felt that because he was on his way to get steaks, you had some odd obligation.
    I’ll have to remember that. Thank you for sharing your awkward experience. I just recently started online dating, met a guy who seemed nice, no obvious red flags, no banging on the crazy ex, so I agreed to a second date. He suggested his place for a bbq and frisbee on the beach. RED FLAG #1. Er, um, NO, even though the idea sounded nice, it was too soon. After reading BR and comments such as yours, I knew exactly where his tongue would end up. After a second date, which was brunch, he emailed me and said I “wasn’t being clear”. He, he, he. I was being perfectly clear. He wasn’t getting his tongue down my throat any time soon. Guess he didn’t want to hear that.
    Loved it: “…preventing scenario #7 is TONS less embarrassing than scenario #7″. Thank you Cavewoman and Natalie. No #7′s for me.

  16. runnergirl says:

    On that cringe moment, you so got me on #2 even though I’ve ended up #7. I used to hang on on #2. Not a chance now. I’m not the least bit disappointed when the guy can’t hold up his end. I know it is about him, not me. I am so grateful Natalie. Every single post has taught me so much about me. I’m enjoying the dating thingy because I’ve discovered way more about me. Totally loving my boundaries. It’s so totally cool to have boundaries. You are amazing. I’m a totally different person because of you. For me, online dating is a breeze based on everything you’ve posted. It’s really fun.

    • cavewoman says:

      Runner, wow, dating can be fun? So how come when they are disappointing, I’m disappointed? Yes, too bad for Bob! And for John and Greg and the other John and Steve and Ron and the one whose name I don’t even remember because he failed to make an impression, having stood me up on the first date. (Oh and oops, sorry, Phil I guess I’m not perfect either.)
      I am getting better at repelling the timewasters, that’s for sure.
      The #7 guy. He caught me off guard because of my blind spot. I would have been more savvy by now, what with the whirlwind nature of the experience, and him being very recently divorced, but I guess I still have a blind spot for them scholars. Gotta keep working on that.

      • runnergirl says:

        Cavewoman, your questions gave me pause. I think the dating thing is fun because I’m learning how to act in accordance with my new found BR boundaries. That’s what has been fun. Thinking back, if I had any boundaries back in the day, there would have been no ExHH (1,2 or 3) and certainly no ExMM! I think the reason I haven’t been disappointed is because realistically I know now that a perfect stranger cannot be “The One” the first time we meet, even if there is the za, za zu chemistry. Like Natalie says in #1, it’s just a date, not a marriage proposal, the start of my life or my tic otta here. (I’m not saying you are doing that.) It’s just meeting someone for the first time. I think another reason why I’m not disappointed if he fails to call tomorrow and calls 4 days later (I don’t pick up) is because that is his representative and very valuable information about HIM! You got very valuable info about the guy you can’t remember because he failed to show.
        Remember though, I’m brand spanking new at this and I haven’t encountered #7 guy yet. All my new found BR boundaries could go flying out the window, particularly if he is a scholar. I’ve got the same blind spot and could be posting a similar cringe moment. I’ll be carrying a cheat sheet with #2, #3, and #7, my blind spots.
        I think what is the most fun is applying what I’ve learned from Natalie and all of you. Keep the faith Cavewoman. Keep the faith in YOU. And remember, too bad for BOB!

        • runnergirl says:

          Sorry Natalie, the minute I hit send, I forgot your bestest line ever, ever: “Now lift your hand up with me and push that mental flush handle several times”. The best ever. Let’s do it together Cavewoman! And everyone…

          • cavewoman says:

            Flusssh!!
            Some I have flushed, some I’ve gracefully turned down, and you’ll know I’m doing great when I’m not here sharing with y’all… So awesome to have your support.
            I’m staying away from online dating. I am keeping faith though. I will meet someone. But no one is worth the kind of damage to my faith in mankind caused by okcupid :)

  17. runnergirl says:

    Cos I’m a type A, I keep a list of online guys who are gonna call. Apparently, Bob got busy and forgot to call. Opps too bad for Bob. He’s now dust. Wish I’d ditched the exMM when he forgot to call…when a guy is too busy to call, he’s too busy for a relationship. Boundaries are wonderful. Too bad for Bob though.

    • Lilia says:

      Yes, I have the same mindset now, thanks to BR and all of you wise ladies. Isn´t it typical, how these Bobs come on strong in the beginning and then get so busy? There was this seemingly promising guy who emailed me for a week while he was out of town, so interested in getting to know me in person, then when he came back he wrote he was over his neck with meetings and isn´t it a lovely day today? (No kidding, his actual words.) There was not a phrase in his email I could reply to, no questions, anything.
      In other times I would have worried, write anything to keep the conversation going, maybe even calling him, but now it´s just flush.

  18. miskwa says:

    @Purplelily
    I will give a guy a couple of dates worth of chance unless the “Ewww” factor is especially high on date 1. They have bad days too, just like us. I gave a guy who lied about his physical characteristics a very long chance, keeping it non physical because he was a genuinely intelligent and interesting person. However, once it became clear that he wasn’t gonna want to marry ever again or even live with me part time AND no matter how hard I tried to force myself to overlook his looks, it wasn’t gonna happen. I let him down in a good way. Just said that we want different things, period. We remain on good terms.

    • PurpleLily says:

      Miskwa,

      Very true – they have bad days too, they can be nervous too. They are only human. I love how you dealt with that. And it wasnt even about looks (I do believe that a slight attraction is important) but your goals were very different and it was the best thing to do. Good on you! I like knowing and learning how people deal with such situations.

    • Magnolia says:

      Miskwa: was that evidence of a decent guy within a 100-mile radius of where you live? If there is one, there may be two or three more to choose among …

  19. kata1l says:

    Well, I have learned so much from NML, bless her, and all of you wise and wonderful women on this site. I find myself needing advice again! I am 54 and been on my own for over 3 years since my last break up. Last November, I made a promise to myself to really give online dating a chance, and to put myself out there and take risks. And I have. I have met 7 men in person since then. And yes, I rejected 6 of the men for reasons that had nothing to do with shallow criteria, such as their looks, car, etc. I rejected them because they refused to work, drank too much, made comments about other women’s bodies right in front of me, etc. I consider those real reasons to not want to see someone again. Well, last Friday a man I had been talking to for a week suddenly said, have you ate dinner yet? Normally I would not agree to a spur of the moment get together, but I was on vacation and had just been sitting there wondering what I was going to do for dinner, so I accepted. In my online ad, I am very honest about my apperance, saying that I am not fat, but definitely not skinny, maybe a little pleasantly plump. I go to the gym 6 days a week, mind you, but I am just one of those people who are always going to be curvy, and I also have large breasts. His ad did say he prefers small women with small breasts. I thought that he meant short women, (I am 5’3), and I communicated to him that I am not skinny or small breasted, but his ad said a good heart was most important. Well, we met, he bought me dinner at a family restaurant, and even though he was not movie star handsome by a long shot, he was a hard worker and did charity work, and I thought I had finally met a quality person. We talked a lot and seemed to get along. Well, I did not hear from him since then, but since he is a truck driver, I assumed that he was driving. I look at new online ads today, a week later, and he has a new one up (I can tell it is his because of the height, weight, 197 pounds exactly, really?, eye color, occupation, etc.) and he specifies that he is looking for a THIN woman. He knew that I was not thin before we met. I did not get my hopes up that high, as I know how online dating can be, but I feel rejected and that he was not honest with me. And to not give me a chance because I need to lose 20 pounds or so seems unfair. I have learned finding love is hard, and you can’t always have it in the packaging you want. I know I should just move on and not take it personally, but he was the first one I have met in 6 months that had potential. Please, advice, kind words, whatever you have. I am so tired of men in my age group expecting slim blondes with no wrinkles or flaws. I am a pleasantly plump brunette with flaws!
    Also, a retired military man said in his online ad that he had been taken advantage of by dishonest women in the past, and just wanted a good honest woman. When I answered his ad, he demanded a picture! I like to exchange a few e-mails first to get a feel for a guy, before exchanging pics, and I told him that. He then demanded that I describe myself. What do you think of men online who seem to put looks first, no matter what they have to offer in the looks department? How does one respond?

    • cc says:

      kata-
      aw, rejection sucks, there is no way around it. a few thoughts (yes, another cc list):

      - first … nah, i’ll save this for last.

      - second – online dating is HARD. people can say whatever they want about themselves (us included) and who knows if their portrayal is accurate. when you date online, you have to wade through a seemingly endless see of losers, jerks, and lotharios – and this is putting it nicely. now that you have a little more experience, try to get good at reading profiles so that you get a whiff of the guy’s character. go on your gut about whether you might like him, not whether he will be accepting of you.

      - third – refine what you’re looking for. you’re a unique, special person with her own gifts. think about the fun/love you share with your closest friends and the things you enjoy about each other – now apply those criteria to a potential match. try to live in that space and you’ll find you might change your profile, and read others’, accordingly.

      - fourth – do NOT put your value in their hands. chemistry either works or it doesn’t, its about FIT, not whether you or they are pretty/handsome. its hard to remember when you’re sitting in rejection, but when we get rejected, it just means it doesn’t fit and they’ve done us a favor by opting out early. read all natalie’s posts about auditioning and measuring your worth by your dates’ assessment – and don’t audition!

      - fifth – build up your own self-love and esteem. just from your description, i can tell you’re coming at this from too much of an approval-seeking perspective. i’m not criticizing, i’m trying to save you from this pitfall.

      - sixth – i know its hard but try to not get discouraged. this is not last chance saloon, truly. and if you do what i suggest below, you’ll date more not less.

      - last/first – i know you’re a newbie, but the hard reality is that there is NO point in online dating if you don’t have recent, realistic, yet flattering pictures up. the fact is that ALL men are hardwired to be visual and to go for attraction first. get some good pictures taken and save yourself this awful first step of them seeing you for the first time in person (and don’t think it hurts less to get rejected because of non-visual factors). i won’t even consider a guy who doesn’t have a picture up. trust me, its better for them to like your looks before they ask you on a date. it may be shallow, but its also simple human biology, and there’s no avoiding it. and not having a picture up isn’t good for you – it suggests you’re hiding – which you ARE (she says lovingly).

      so: stop hiding. be your gorgeous self and just put a pic up. stop auditioning. lower your expectations, but RAISE your standards. you’re WORTH IT.

    • HS says:

      Kata, don’t allow these guys to lower your standards and please don’t think you done something wrong. I have to say, I don’t like communicating with guys without pictures and it can be very frustrating when you meet guys who are not what they represented in their profiles. So somehow I understand what retired military guy saying, so don’t be offended by his suggestion of your description as he explained to you that he had bad experience in the past:-) Men are shallows more than us, women…Regarding the first guy, think as experience and flush him from your mind. As CC advised you here, put a recent picture on your profile and at least guys can see who they are talking to and you will avoid disappointment in the future:-) Good luck!

    • grace says:

      Kata
      If it’s the best prospect you’ve had in six weeks/months/years (*ahem*), it’s understandable to feel some pressure for it to work out. But try to just see it as any other first date. Have fun. If there is no second date, it is not a big deal because you don’t know him and you haven’t overinvested (!). .
      If a man takes the trouble to specify his “type” I would take him at his word and not bother myself with being the exception. If a man wants a busty blonde I am not the woman for him. I think I would just post my picture with my profile. You don’t know WHY this man didn’t follow up and if it WAS because of your size/shape there are plenty plenty of other men who would be grateful for a curvy brunette. You say he didn’t give you a chance? I would strike that kind of thinking from your mind. Dating is not about anyone giving anyone “a chance”. It makes it sound like we’re all jumping up and down trying to reach a target of approval. It’s a mutual discovery period. If one of you or both of you doesn’t feel it, it’s no longer mutual so one or both of you can choose not to pursue it. No-one has failed.
      As for him being a hard worker and doing charity work, it doesn’t say much about him as a person or anything at all about your compatibility. In one date, you ARE not going to find out enough about a man to feel more than mildly disappointed if it doesn’t proceed. You may, though, find out enough to be relieved if it doesn’t go further!
      Re the military man, the whining about how he has been mistreated in the past is a red flag. I’ve shot a couple of warnings across my date’s path re my history of depression and crappy parents. He doesn’t care and I’ve stopped doing it. He’s not an uncaring person but he accepts who I am now. And I have to not be a basket case. Be wary of anyone who warns you about their past and demands special treatment because of it. We should be living well and living strong; we shouldn’t be looking to our date to make up for the wrongs of third parties.
      Finally, try other ways to meet men too. There are agencies that organise singles events and it gets you out of the house.

      • cc says:

        kata-
        man, i have a lot to say today.

        i just want to reinforce two things that grace mentioned –
        1- whining as a red flag – she’s right. you need to learn to read through the words to the appropriateness of what the guy is saying – we’ve all been dumped on, hurt, taken advantage of, etc – but do we put it in our online profiles? hellz no. online profiles are, and should be, an exercise in integrity-based selective honesty – am i smart, funny, sexy, and wise? yes. do i say so in my online profile? yes. am i also a formerly abused child with PTSD and a penchant for EUMs? yes. do i say so in my online profile? HELLZ no. WHY don’t i? not because i’m lying or hiding something, all that stuff will eventually be disclosed at the appropriate time, but because that’s not who i want to be and not what i want to be identified as.

        2- making a whole person out of one data point – natalie has written on this. don’t draw too many conclusions from the good stuff people say about themselves. just because someone does charity work does not mean they are nice, or sweet, or actually generous, or not priggish, or that you could tolerate a 5-minute conversation with them.

        ok. done for the day. with you, at least.

  20. jasmine says:

    how does one respond kata1l? you ditch online dating and all its shallowness and meet a person in real life. i read somewhere where it was said that you can’t meet a soul mate online….and if you do meet your love of your life online , then the person is someone that you find you live on the same street or it may be someone that works two floors above you etc…strange coincedances. i understand how through online you can judge people by what values they have and how they look and other features that you like. but i believe in the Spontaneity of meeting people in real life with their flaws and all and having good and bad learning experiences

  21. cc says:

    kata … more….

    also, you need to know your audience better. read up about men’s biology and the effects of testosterone. i read somewhere online about a woman who underwent testosterone therapy for some medical condition – and her brain went from female-perspective (who will love me for the next 20 years?) to male-perspective (who can i have sex with *right now*?) – this article was very illuminating, and it helped me take the judgment out of men’s maleness … and place it back on their character, where it belongs! …kidding….

    but seriously – you need to know, and LIKE, your subject more. not indiscriminate like, but discerning like. get to know the differences between men and women better, and you’ll be able to accept and understand and separate their male-biology reactions from their character-based reactions.

    because, honestly, my reaction to the military guy who had been hurt but asked you for a picture and description is not one of surprise or judgment – now that i’ve dated online for a while, i get it – not to overgeneralize, but most people who don’t have pictures up ARE hiding something, or have some other glaring personality flaw.

    you are NOT one of those people, so don’t allow your online profile to make it seem as if you are. and i say this as someone who cannot STAND pictures of herself, HATE having my picture taken. just be your lovely self and get some pics taken that you can live with and throw them up there.

    hugs

  22. miskwa says:

    Magnolia
    You may be right but man, they are few and far between. This guy was more like a Denveroid who owns a very large vacation home that he almost never occupies. Why can’t they just be honest about who and what they are and what they want out of life? It would make the process so much easier.
    @kata
    I don’t photograph worth squat but yep, one has to have a pic as it is generally the dodgy folk that do not. Unfortunately on line as in life, lots of mediocre guys in their 50s and above think they deserve Barbie.

  23. cc says:

    kata-
    …oh, i do go on.

    jasmine might be right, none of us may be able to meet our soulmates online (though i’ve heard (very close 2nd hand) of wonderful marriages that arose from online dating).

    however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date online. as a matter of fact, i think you SHOULD. it will strengthen you (yes, much like boot camp) and refine how you put yourself into the world, what you ask for, and what you accept. this will only make you better at IRL dating.

    but you cannot let it be your sole outlet. we must all be getting out of the house and doing lots in our lives to just live them. but i don’t think the answer is binary, either do or do not date online. its a tool, so use it like one.

    but use it right. don’t compromise yourself by using it wrong. don’t let physical image be the issue. believe me, there are better (and tougher, although it doesn’t feel like it now) issues to solve than that one.

  24. Lilia says:

    @kata: Adding to cc´s excellent pointers, some more advice about online dating from my experience:

    1) Do not ever browse profiles yourself. You´ll be tempted to contact some guys and it will be a huge blow to your self esteem if you´re met with a lukewarm response (or none at all). I think that no matter how lovely you are, it´s very likely to set off the “hm perhaps I can do even better!” response if you email guys first on dating sites. Not to be old fashioned, it´s just a way to protect you from giving ACs an ego stroke. You´ll feel wonderful if you just sit back and let them get in touch – because then you´ll know they´re really interested.

    2) Do browse profiles of other women in your age group, and try to imagine what you´d think of them if you were a guy. I found that they were all trying too hard, had too many conditions (“I want someone who is gentlemanly, hardworking, faithful and who likes to cook with me”) and were too defensive (“NO married men”, “I´ve had my heart broken, snif”). So I did the complete opposite – wrote something implying I just want a partner who likes to enjoy life with me.

    3) DO put up some pics! Not all smiley ones, you don´t want to come across as a people pleaser (aka desperate). I have only two – one smiling and the other one serious.

    4) Don´t have too much expectations – treat it as a way to socialize and a learning experience to practice your BR skills.

    5) Do keep in mind that men are in this mainly to get laid. Once you´ve internalised this point you can start to negotiate better – take things slow, ask to get to know them first, etc. Whenever a promising prospect pulls back, let it be. There are others out there, you don´t need to chase anyone – you are not a FBG!!

    • Stephanie says:

      Lilia

      I wish I had realised your point 5 when I decided to join eharmony last year. I didn’t stop to think for one minute that the person I met on there was just out to get laid! I fell for the future faking and promise of a new beginning and was left high and dry after two months of dating. He disappeared quicker than Houdini. Its actually put me off online dating. Although I haven’t met someone meaningful yet I have managed to flush a couple of time wasters who I have met in passing or at functions. I’ve used what I have learnt here to be honest.

    • Magnolia says:

      Hi Lilia,

      I have to disagree with a few of your points. First, there is nothing risky about browsing through men’s profiles if you have the kind of confidence you (speaking of ‘you’ in general, not necessarily, you, Lilia) need to have in any case in order to date successfully. If the very sight of photos will “tempt” you into initiating contact, and if the possibility of finding out that they are unresponsive is going to be a “huge blow”, then you aren’t ready to date.

      As for discovering that you indeed can choose, rather than wait to be chosen, I think it’s very important to choose a partner from that place of strength. You CAN choose. But if having choice means you’re always in an I-can-do-better mode, then that’s your problem, not a problem with choices themselves. By your logic, Lilia, all the men who initiate contact with us could always be doing better! Yes, indeed, they can; but we want guys who choose US; so why can’t we operate as though we too know we have options?

      Your advice to compare ourselves to other “desperate”-sounding women isn’t very nice, for one, is about comparing ourselves to others, for two, and three, your profile “implying” you “just” want to “enjoy life” but want a partnership sounds to me exactly like the kind of act that ends up with a lot of us becoming FBGs. I agree that defensiveness isn’t helpful, but if we do want a partnership, then we are looking for something that involves responsibility, commitment, attention, sacrifice, etc balanced out with fun, pleasure, companionship etc. To suggest we don’t require anything of guys is false, unless we’re looking to be FBGs. We don’t need to advertise this, necessarily. Men who are looking for the same kinds of committed relationships we are don’t need to be told what the responsibilities are.

      Finally, if you’re “negotiating” with anyone whose agenda is “mainly to get laid,” then you’re already engaging in a FBG dynamic. Some men are not out mainly to get laid, though men who go online tend to be out for that. This is probably why NML hasn’t been so hot on online dating. The men we’re looking for are out there, they just might not be online. Just like mama saying you don’t find marriage material in bars! There are exceptions that make the rule, but that doesn’t justify trying to change guys or “negotiate” with ones who want different things than we do.

      I do agree that keeping expectations in check is a great way to relax and enjoy the adventure/experience of online dating. I have learned a heck of a lot from going on dates with all kinds of dudes. As for me, I browse and initiate often. I prefer to read profiles and if someone seems like they are sympatico, I say hello.

      A lot of these guys aren’t douchebags, but they aren’t looking for a relationship, and will be charming and funny and generally cool to hang out with for four or five dates if they think there could be sex at the end of it. Most of them don’t lie, either. But you’ll notice they just like to keep things really open. It’s what YOU are looking for, and open to, that should guide you.

    • FX says:

      Lilia, I agree with most of your online advice except for your first point about not browsing or contacting men.

      If someone’s self-esteem is that fragile, she should not be dating online or otherwise. Period. Sure, you may not get a response but who is interested in every person who makes contact? Men are people, too, and are taking a risk and putting themselves out there just like us. If you saw someone IRL out with your friends, etc.,, you would at least send them a smile of encouragement if you wanted them to approach you. I haven’t contacted that many men online myself but, since on most site’s users can see who looked at their profile, I am often contacted by men who saw I was intrigued enough to read their profile. And even if they are an AC and you stroked their ego for 5 minutes, so what? I find I can figure out whether I want to meet someone after a few short exchanges and very little investment of time or emotional energy. I also won’t consider anyone who lives more than about 7 miles away (I live in a major city). I expect them to meet me within days or a week at the most and after only a few messages. If someone wants to get to know me, they have to do it in person because I know that’s what I need to gauge my own interest, too, and not waste my or their time. If they can’t readily commit to the small amount of time and effort necessary to meet for drinks/a bite, I already have all the information I need to move on!

      I’m not being that active in looking to meet someone yet because the exAC drama is still fresh but, I would enjoy taking my time and getting to know a man with my new found BR knowledge in tow.

      I will add that 10 years ago when I was 42, I really enjoyed going on dates a few nights a week and did meet a few interesting men I had relationships with that didn’t work out for one reason or another. (Including that I was EU and really just looking to have a good time more than a love connection!) I ended up meeting the ex AC a few years later IRL coincidentally while having a holiday drink with an already ex bf I had met online. LOL Now, at 52 and looking about 15 years older(!), the pickings are much slimmer and I think it is much more likely I’ll eventually meet someone out and about IRL but I’m keeping the online option open, too, on a few free sites. BTW, How About We isn’t free or everywhere but it’s a cool new site because the whole premise is to make plans to do something IRL! I’m by no means an expert but I think if there’s any interest, you meet ASAP and see if you want to invest any real time or effort after that and not before.

  25. Awakened says:

    @Kata

    I Have to agree with Jasmine. I think this I what I am learning to wrap my own mind around cause whether we choose to date online or not either or people are going to have FLAWS…. I don’t care who he or she is. If that were not the case why do people Breakup and why do marriages end in Divorce. My EUM that I met online after he made the trip to see me text me one morning before we went NC and said “morning Boobs”. I am not a heavy person; I work out; 150 and my breast are slightly plump but not excessively. His text to me calling me “Boobs” came off as an insult. He knows that I work out everyday and I am trying to loose more weight and look better but he really wanted to intimidate me by calling me names; something he’d never done. Was I hurt… Not really. It just showed me the type of person he was…. He’s passive agressive anyway. That was his way of demeaning me. He is no Denzel himself. As a matter of fact previous pics that he sent earlier in our first talking He was a huge guy. His entire family (mom; brothers;)are Extremely FAT and he had just recently lost weight himself. He had no room to call me any names. Online dating has given me a differenent. It’s funny how men can expect everything to line up with you and all their SHIT is not up to PART. When I met him he looked OK….. Sometimes OK is enough for us but never enough for THEM.

    • cc says:

      awakened and the whole kata thread (yes, i fibbed, i have more to say)-
      ok, but….

      awakened – that guy being a jerk and putting you down has nothing to do, really, with the fact that you met him online. the point about online dating is that it requires a higher level of discernment and selection because you don’t get the immediate full sense of the person that you derive from a first sighting, you’re only going on what they’re choosing to show you of themselves. if you meet an asshole at a bar, you go, ‘wow, that guy is an ashole.’ if you meet one online, it may take a bit before you figure it out. its that bit that you can’t forget!

      what makes it easier is that everybody unintentionally leaks information about themselves – you have to learn to read the leaks and fit them to the filtered version they originally showed you – the sum of those two is the whole person. you’ll have a lot of “oh, this is what e REALLY meant by this or that” or “wow, he was flat out lying” or “wow, he’s just like i imagined” (for the record, i’ve never really experienced that last, but hey, unicorns could exist).

      WAIT!!!! what am i saying!!!! what an idiot (facepalm) – my BEST FRIEND is about to get engaged to such a unicorn that she met online. i *literally* was helping her choose a ring, yes, an ENGAGEMENT ring, just TODAY. its just that they’ve been offline for so long that i forgot about how they met!

      and they’re *great* for each other – y’know why? because their individual crazies match. both are wonderful, but neither is perfect (honestly, she’s a bit nuts, but so is he, in nice ways). but they’re perfect for each other. why? they. FIT.

      ah! vindication!. my “fit” and my “online” arguments both being proven at once. i love it when a plan comes together. (does the dance)

      anyway… what grace said above about it being just another date is correct. online dating is a tool, a conduit – you just have to learn to use it.

      (passes out in grateful exhaustion)

  26. Linden says:

    I, too, have resigned myself to being alone for good. I’d like a man who can meet me on most levels, and I thought my ex was the closest thing to what I was looking for when I married him — honest, ambitious, talented, committed to our relationship, the whole bit. Then over time he became a passive-aggressive cheater who wanted to date other people but come home to me and our kids at night.

    Since my divorce I’ve dabbled in online dating and met a few men for coffee, but none of them could hold up their end of a conversation more than an hour or two. I think a few of them would have let me pursue them, but no thanks. A couple of acquaintances in my social circle made overtures to me, but they already had girlfriends whom they had no intention of breaking up with and I’m no one’s side dish. I like sex as much as the next person, but I know myself well enough to know I don’t get into it much if it’s not in the context of a mutual loving relationship.

    Anyway, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be excited about being with someone and feeling like he’s excited to be with me — as a person, not a potential sexual delivery system. I’m 43, and the men I’ve been meeting are already attached, or have settled into a life pattern of attachment avoidance, or are too conservative/ignorant/repulsive to hold my interest (and while I’m not looking for magical levels of compatibility, there is such a thing as incompatibility), or are looking for someone who’s younger and doesn’t already have kids. I’ve learned how to repel unwanted boarders pretty well, but I feel like my life as a sexual, sensual, romantic person is pretty much over.

    • grace says:

      Linden
      You have to commit to your future and not duck out because you are afraid or have had disappointing experiences. And to hold a convo for an hour or two with a stranger is doing well I think! I don’t think it’s supposed to be THAT exciting. Go for comfortable or pleasant.
      Today I am terrified by the age gap between the man and me. I’ve been half-hoping half-fearing for months that he will disappear on me. But he’s still there. Thing is, I COULD say my troubles are down to my age (and I am older than you) but in reality I had similar last chance saloon/rejection fears when I was in my 20s and 30s. There are women here in their TEENS with these fears. We get older, we get fatter, we get thinner, and we say that’s the problem. But I think the problem is in us. it’s that old chestnut – we can’t commit to ourselves, to our future or even to the men. Sunday night I convinced myself to disappear on him (bit tricky as we go the same church) and at that precise moment he called me. Wouldn’t we all be giving a man a very hard time if we knew he was thinking of disappearing on US? But we can be half-hearted too. We need to have trust and faith (not the same as chucking yourself after an AC).
      The date may NOT be the one, but I won’t find out for sure unless I put myself at risk and have those tricky convos re children and how we see our futures. Regardless of our ages and situations, we all need to have those convos and not rely on chemistry and excitment to make it all okay.
      I wish I was 42 again! My sister got accidentally pregnant when she was older than you. I’m 47 and last week went for a walk by the river with a man who held my hand and kept hugging me.
      You’re not dead yet.

    • cc says:

      linden-
      no! nonono.

      you’re only 43. even if right now you feel like you’re 100, this can change 180 degrees. and there are single, eligible men out there, hard to find, yes, but they are there.

      it sounds like your husband really ground it into you. you need to heal from this so you can experience yourself as “a sexual, sensual, romantic person” first. THEN you go out and slather the world with your wonderfulness.

      take back your dream, your image, your power, your love, your self. look, i’m sorry, but your happiness is on you. and i spent much of my life thinking that was a bad thing. its not! i know you’ve been hurt, which was not your doing, but you have, we all have, patterns and habits that lead us into the same situation repeatedly. if we break these patterns, we experience ourselves, and the whole world, differently.

      the beautiful colors of the world are still there. there is love and passion and beauty. you just need to clean out the old ways and free yourself. BR can help with that.

      ALSO – lil tip – no coffee date should last more than an hour or two. its difficult to go from a deep relationship like a marriage to a surface relationship like a first or second date, but this is a technical adjustment.

      do not despair. rather, stop despairing. get in your own driver’s seat. your life of bliss is not over – you could make it so that it is just beginning. honest.

      • cavewoman says:

        cc, what wise words: “its difficult to go from a deep relationship like a marriage to a surface relationship like a first or second date” I haven’t thought of it that way, but I guess I still think of that level of relating as the ideal — knowing the other person’s every thought, opinion, preference, experience. For better or for worse. Those little mysteries that make me uncomfortable – gosh, is he insecure about x? What was that fleeting expression about? Is that amusement or annoyance? Is he typically this thoughtful or is he bending over backwards? etc. It’s ok to not have answers. Thanks.

  27. PurpleLily says:

    (Im not sure if this is the right place to put this post, wasnt sure where I could put this up).

    I’ll just come out and say it and ask for help – Im having some very bad days recently. All the nasty exEUM memories are coming back. I thought I had dealt with the painful thoughts (has been about 6 weeks since it ended), neatly boxed them up and thrown them away far,far away into the sea. But they seem to have come back and I feel like all that hard work I had done has come crashing down. I am still NC and wont do anything to change that.

    Ive had to keep myself from tearing up almost every single day in the past week. Im tearing up now over how horrible he made me feel, how I gave him respect and honesty and care and none of it really mattered to him. I supported him as I would a friend, opened my heart and mind. I stood up for myself and questioned his bad behaviour and yet, I am the one left hurting now.

    I have started learning new things (hobbies, languages), have a trip planned with my friend in 3 months. I know I am growing stronger, doing the right things. Most of all, Im learning to love and trust myself, give myself all the care in the world. And reading BR all the time.

    I dont want him back. I just want to stop hurting. I also want something crazy like justice or to just scream at him (dont be silly Lily, what the point of that?). I feel defeated this week, those awful memories have gotten to me. Is this normal? For the horrible feelings to come back? Is this how healing works after an EUM has crushed you?

    If anyone could send me a few words of encouragement, that would be great. Thank you for listening/reading. (I feel slightly better already…)

    • cc says:

      lily-
      i could have, in fact, i did, write this post a couple of months ago about my exEUM. everybody pitched in, comforted me, and said:

      yes. its normal.

      you’re not actually going backward, however disappointing it is to feel overwhelmed anew by these thoughts and feelings. you feel it again because you’ve either just broken open a new cell of pain because you’re processing the breakup further (its only been 6 weeks, about the right time for the shock of the breakup to really wear off), or something else is happening in your life that is making you feel crappy and you’re just expressing it through this guy in a metaphorical way, or something else is NOT happening right now in your life that you wish were happening. or all 3.

      first off, you’re going to be ok.

      here’s my advice:
      - just let yourself feel it. if you’re angry? then get angry! be pissed off! just find good outlets for it, scream, or punch a pillow, or exercise, or dance or laugh or sing angry songs. do not direct it at yourself and anyone else. you’re entitled to feel how you feel, don’t tell yourself there’s no point in feeling that way. you DO feel that way. just get it out of yourself.
      - even while you’re IN your feelings, be mindfully aware of the origin of your feelings, how much is about him / not about him, and how they morph and change. this way, you won’t get quite so lost in it and you’ll notice little tiny changes and progress and healing.
      - be easy on yourself and realize that it takes as long as it takes. not only are you healing from him, but you’re healing whatever wound allowed you to tolerate/choose him. all this is good, painful but good.

      keep going, you’re actually doing fine. be gentle with you, love you. you’re going to be ok.

    • Allie says:

      I feel you purple lily,

      I sometimes get those attacks too, I don’t know how else to call them but attacks. I have learned to forgive myself for letting be used by him and falling again for an EUM when I knew better, but I am human and imperfect.

      We all make mistakes and fall, what I think is making me better is the ability to get back up, dust off and keep moving.

      I send you big hugs :)

    • titi says:

      Purple Lily, dear, it’s a normal condition.It shall pass, trust me. You made a decision, just stick to it. Gradually, you’ll be thinking about him less and less each day, till the day comes when finally just a single thought of him will make you bored you to death. You are healing, it takes time. You’ll be great when the healing process ends, you’ll see. Take care.

    • cavewoman says:

      PurpleLily,

      only six weeks – it’s subjective, but to me six weeks sounds completely normal to cycle back to the anger part of grief.
      You might be feeling renewed anger because you’ve been doing better, seeing your own self worth so much more clearly, knowing and feeling the care and love you deserve and suddenly you remember HOW DARE HE? because you’ve been taking care of yourself and you see how wrong it used to be. I hope that makes sense.
      When you’re feeling angry, try not to dwell on specifics. Just feel the anger welling up in your body. It’s a super intense sensation, if you pay attention to it. You might also be surprised to see how quickly all that intensity can pass. It does just come and go, doesn’t it? Between the tearful moments, you have joyful ones, too. Don’t give the bad moments any more power than the good ones. You don’t need to be in control of those feelings, just know that you can ride the waves. We all can.
      It will be absolutely better over time.

      • PurpleLily says:

        @ cavewoman – So right. SO SO right. My mind wants to scream HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT ITS OK TO DO THAT TO ME? (And when Im sad, its the same thing, just in a whimpery tone.) I made a mistake, I know but I have always taken care of myself – positive friends, exercise, hobbies, laugh and try to be thankful. And along comes this clown and lies to me about what he feels & treats me in a less than manner. I keep reading BR and know that it was his character, its NOT normal to do and be like what he is.

        Im grateful for anger and sadness. They make me appreciate the smiles and warm, good feelings. And you are right, there are there for a few seconds and pass. Thank you for understanding and your kind words – I have been ill and having issues at work but once I get better, I know I will feel better and get back on the path to getting over him completely.

  28. Learner says:

    PurpleLily
    Your post really resonated with me. I am also a few weeks into NC after ending it with the exMM (the one who had an OOW) and my process seems to match yours. At first, I was so relieved to have ended what was left of our “relationship” that NC was easy, and I was almost on a high. I went on a holiday with some people I really care about, and was able to think of him (a little bit) less as I was so busy having fun.
    But then things changed. When I got home, I was both relived AND disappointed that he hadn’t emailed. I immersed myself in the book “50 Shades of Grey”, and many passages reminded me of the exMM. I had shared all my photos with him over the last 3 years and was sad not to be sharing my holiday photos with him. Then my subconscious joined in. I had vivid dreams about him – in one, there had been a murder in his neighbourhood…I suspected he was the killer….then he invited me to have dinner with his (dysfunctional) family, and I went despite my better dreamstate-judgment! Then I dreamed he had found a younger, prettier, athletic woman from our work, and I was trying desperately to get him back. Thank goodness they were only dreams!

    My next strategy was to pour myself into doing the income taxes I hadn’t done yet for 2011 as I was spending all my time on HIM (Natalie’s number 9 above). Even processing the tuition fees for the courses I took with HIM made me feel just like you said: “Im tearing up now over how horrible he made me feel, how I gave him respect and honesty and care and none of it really mattered to him. I supported him as I would a friend, opened my heart and mind. I stood up for myself and questioned his bad behaviour and yet, I am the one left hurting now.”

    Like you, I questioned my progress, so went through BR posts looking for something to help. I found these 2 articles from Natalie:

    http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/you-cant-erase-an-ex-from-your-mind-but-you-can-reduce-their-power-and-keep-pushing-forward/

    http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/moving-on-from-disappointment-are-you-focused-on-the-person-or-on-the-bigger-picture-of-your-life/

    and they both seemed to relate to what you and I have been experiencing. Maybe they will help you too?

    Are these feelings a normal part of the grieving/healing process? I am too new at this to know, but please know that you are not alone in this. I think we are going to have some “two steps forward, one step back” type situations as we heal. The main thing? We are still NC and they cannot add “new” hurt. We just have to process the hurt that’s there.
    Hope this helps. L.

  29. jasmine says:

    everyone, i have a letter i have written to Mr EUM that i want to email to him. i feel it would make me feel relieved to send it…it’s a sincere letter of closure. he hasnt spoken to me in 4 months and never gave me any closure. We had a casual relationship and now i find he;s dating someone else. The letter is not asking for him back. its about me acknowledging that we were on different wave lengths. i wanted something serious, he couldn’t offer me as he anguishly told me he was a ‘player’. this is the letter….please advice much appreciated…

    I wanted to write you a letter for a while, but it never seemed like the right time as I didn’t fully have peace of mind. The truth is, i have spent a lot of time wanting to change you into a better person. I didn’t want to believe the bad stuff you told me about yourself i.e ‘you’re a player’, but i wanted to be there for you. I wanted to fix your inner conflict and make you happy. I wanted you to romance me, take me for dinner, acknowledge me as someone special and be with just me. I wanted you for myself because I adored you and cared for you and I felt a lot of chemistry for you and I felt that i would do a lot of things for you… at the start, I did have low self esteem and i didn’t maintain the physical boundaries that i should’ve as a woman. So i acknowledge it and this has changed the way i see/react to men. I’m a better person. I want to be a woman with integrity, morals, modesty and self respect and someone of high standards and quality. It’s the virtues i strive for.

    The people you meet in life reflect your inner self and when I first went out with you, I saw a respectable gentleman that had his religion, values and morals and was untainted by society’s ways and I really fell for it. I loved it and i wanted a man like that because deep down that’s what i have strived to be as a person. I’ve also been different here in a sense that I don’t want to be like just ‘anyone’, . I want to be unique, so maintaining my virginity was for me something that I felt made me special and pure. And so I never wanted to have meaningless affairs/hook ups. I wanted to develop an emotional connection with someone .

    I was very much so attracted to you that i opened up completely. I was very shy, awkward, naive, vulnerable and all sorts of things and having never dated anyone, it was all very new so mistakes, were going to be made……yes, there was a lot of drama, but that’s where the learning and experiences come into play so i don’t regret it. I didn’t know that having sex with someone was going to make me emotionally attached. In life, i never really thought about boys or sex! i was too busy studying and doing other things. But even when the infatuation/neediness/desperation stage ended, I still felt that I really wanted to know you. I find you fascinating, full of interesting stories and you are a really fun and passionate person who is very intellectual and that’s very sexy!.. I like a man with whom I can connect intellectually with and someone serious and you came across like that. So many different aspects of yourself I loved and plus you were a fun/cheeky person to be around with.

    I don’t judge people based on religion and i didn’t want to hold back on knowing someone because of it. Maybe other people like family or society see it as a problem, but if I had my way, we would all live in a world together as one in peace. I appreciate differences and different cultures fascinate me.

    Even if I met you now again, I would still be attracted to you, because i just am and i accept it; that’s my closure and because of the common aspects of our lives. Look, you’re very special to me and you’re always going to be special. I do regret very much the manner in which I caused your mother and family pain especially your mother. At this stage of my life, I recognize myself as a mature woman who doesn’t accept lies, bullshit & games. The last thing i want to do is chase a man. I’m not a silly ‘girl’. I’m just way too tired for all that nonsense and I really can’t be bothered honestly. I’m a loyal woman and i never give up on people…it’s why I always forgave you.

    I’m not an expert on love, but I believe that in a lot of ways I loved you. And even through all your flaws and issues, I accepted you. You’re a special person and you have a wonderful passion and drive for life which is admirable.. I’m a quality person and I cherish people and care a hell of a lot for them. I acknowledge that I loved you a lot, so it’s been very hard to let go, but I let go of you because I never wanted to be with a man with player like ways. i loved you as a person, but i disliked your behaviours. I’m a good woman with a lot of love to give. I want someone committed to me and not to run hot and cold and come and go as they please. i realize also , i can’t change someone to fit who i want them to be.

    truth be told, my chemistry for you is off the radar. it’s a wonderful feeling. it’s an addictive feeling. But as a woman i really wanted a deeper emotional connection with you. Something real and serious. So technically, i know what i want in a man. i wanted you to be that person for me because you had the potential to be that person. But i guess, i never wanted to spend years, banking on someone’s potential and i guess that’s where women make mistakes and spend years locked in with a person that thinks a different way from them.

    I wanted you to love me and everything else, but again, that’s me wishing and hoping and that’s really not something i should’ve been doing. I think we were both on different wave lengths and i didn’t feel you were fully present in truly knowing me. So i don’t feel rejected.

    I have had nothing but genuine feelings for you. I did the best i could, and i know that I can’t force someone to be with me and to know me. There were times i did suffocate you and it was not a good thing to do. But its been a learning curve full of drama, tears and everything in between. If anything, knowing you has never been boring. It has been a bit of a wild ride into some exciting places. So, if i never said it then, I have really appreciated knowing you, and excuse me for the times I’ve been a bit bitchy, its because I care. I cherish the moments and memories and I thank you for your time.

    I hope you read this letter, and maybe reply ? if you can..much appreciated, honestly.

    P.S, its always quite difficult to send a letter because you don’t know the way in which a person’s going to react to it..i hope you’re not offended….it’s a little bit risky to press the send button, but I hope it’s okay. I’ll take a chance!

    • Allie says:

      It seems you are waiting and wishing him to reply, and I don’t think he will. He is the one that has gone NC with you and thought it hurts and it’s unfair he is not going to give you closure. There is an article that Natalie wrote about to debrief or not debrief. You might look it up.

      He has moved on and IMHO he won’t read or appreciate this letter. Remember we have to give closure to our selves.

      Don’t set you up for another disappointment.

    • titi says:

      Sorry, Jasmine, but it’s kinda sad to see you care about some asshole. You are still seeking approval from the man you had a *casual* thing with. It’s like begging him to take you back. The letter actually yells: “PLEASE take me back, I’ll be a woman of integrity just for you”. The thing is you are still trying to please him and make him pay attention to you. He-does-not-care. Stop handing him over the power to validate you. And remember, no person of integrity and healthy self esteem spends time explaing herself to other people, claiming she now knows to love herself. By saying all the stuff like “I had low self esteem, but now I don’t” in a letter to some man who couldn’t care less about you, you are showing that your self esteem is still very low, if not lower than before. The thing is you don’t want to move on, your are causing your own hurt. We have all been there, trying to make an invalidator validate us. It didn’t work. Please, don’t send that or any letter to him, it is a very desperate move. You won’t change anything. You don’t need closure from him, you need *your own* decision to move on and let go the asshole.

    • grace says:

      jasmine
      no don’t send it.
      Really, no.

    • Magnolia says:

      Jasmine,

      This is a wonderfully expressive, heartfelt, thoughtful letter. It’s good that you wrote it because it helps you get your feelings out on paper, you can see them in front of you.

      But it has been four months. Give YOURSELF closure.

      Instead of sending this letter, you might print it out and burn it and scatter the ashes. Natalie is a great advocate of the unsent letter. Sent ones, not so much.

      Not only can he not give you closure, after disappearing on you, he is not worth all the time and energy you put into this letter. YOU are worth it. Use the process to bring closure for yourself and move on.

    • yoghurt says:

      jasmine, it’s a beautifully worded, romantically-phrased, self-aware and appealing document.

      So no, DON’T send it. Why cast your pearls before swine aka why put the best bits of yourself, your honesty, your caring and forgiving nature out there to be rejected by someone who a) wouldn’t recognise those qualities if they bit him on the arse and b) Doesn’t Care? It won’t make a jot of difference to him and it’ll hurt you later on to remember.

      Best case scenario: he’ll skim-read it, go: “blablabla..closure..blablabla..rejection, yep another one is STILL hot for me! I’m da man!”.

      Worst case scenario, he’ll actively try to mess you about and mess you up again and you’ll have handed him a DIY guide to doing so. And he’ll believe that you asked for it.

      What will NOT happen is that he’ll read it and say “Oh my, jasmine is so articulate and I really relate to how she has felt and is feeling. This makes me want to change! And she’s the one I want to change for! I’d better invest time and braincells into writing her a sensitive reply that will answer her questions, stop her hurting and maybe lead to us getting to know each other again”.

      I know that sounds horrible but it’s, sadly, realistic (and I know this for a fact). If he wanted to be with you he would be. If he’d been bothered about your feelings he wouldn’t have hurt them so badly.

      If you send it, a few more months into your recovery it’ll be an embarrassing and painful memory. This is what Nat means about being good to yourself, I think, it’s NOT sharing any more of yourself with someone who’s shown you that they just don’t appreciate it in any sense. Stop trying to persuade him that you’re worth so much more than the way that he treated you – start believing it YOURSELF.

    • cc says:

      jasmine, honey,

      no. do not send it. absolutely not.

      in fact, i forbid it. i know, i have no right. still. i hereby forbid you from sending that.

      i could write you a book on all the reasons why. but better than that, save the letter and look at it in 5 years. then, you will understand why, and you will thank all of BR that we told you not to send it.

      you got it? no.

    • Stephanie says:

      Jasmine

      Do not send it, you don’t need to. You already know what you know. It seems you are hoping he will respond, he probably won’t and if he does it will not be with what you want to hear. I done something similar last year, I sent a “closure” text to the guy I was dating. It wasn’t half as long as your letter but I basically told him he was a nice guy, I enjoyed the time we had but he should have told me he wasn’t interested and not just disappeared. Guess what? he didn’t reply and now I cringe when I think about it. He went NC on me and I should of left it that way, instead I caused myself more/new pain and it took me longer to get over him. Please don’t send it.

      • PurpleLily says:

        Jasmine,

        Please dont sent it. Im with the other and did exactly what Stephanie did. Sent him a text for a chat and coffee JUST 1 week after he has broken up telling him I wasnt angry (I wasnt, I struggle with expressing anger) and just want to talk and that I come with no ulterior motive. Whatdoyaknow….didnt even respond to me. These guys DONT want to hear about/from us once they have decided they want us out. They dont want to KNOW what is wrong with him them (they dont have the concept of thinking about their actions and would rather pretend they are perfect).

        In hindsight, I was glad I sent that text because the moment I clicked send my head said “he doesnt have the kindness, strength,decency or b@lls to respond to you”. That was indeed the last straw.

        And sweets, I know you say you dont feel rejected but you are. And DONT thank him for his time, dont tell him he is nice…he doesnt deserve it. You seem like such a kind, honest and lovely soul…sending this to him will be a no response that will only shred your heart into smaller bits.

        Hang in there, big hugs!

    • Fearless says:

      jasmine,

      I’m a little late on this thread (you’ve all probably moved on by now!) but…

      NO WAY should you send this letter. Without meaning to be mean, I about lost the will to live after paragraph 2 – and so would he. It’s a list of his talents and your “faults” that you now claim to have corrected – you’re not an ex employee begging for your old job back! Separate yourself from him. He is different from you. He hasn’t spoken to you for four months and he’s seeing someone else and he is by his own admission a player. Take that information and process it – then act accordingly (which does not mean send him a ten page letter pleading for his approval). Send this “letter” and you will live to cringe all the way into your boots.

    • truth=freedom says:

      Dear Jasmine,
      You write very eloquently about all your feelings but please dont send it to him. You are in danger girl! Danger of becoming his fallback girl which will end up giving you a whole world of pain. He has not contacted you and seems to have moved on and this will only validate to him that you are holding on to the fantasy of being with him again. He will mentally print this letter, fold it and keep it in his back pocket until there comes a time when he is broken up, lonely, in need of an ago stroke and he will play you like the player he said he was. You deserve so much more.

    • Lilia says:

      Jasmine, don´t send it.
      You´re too good for him, fragile, sensitive, kind. He´s none of those things. This is one of those situations portrayed in Madame Butterfly: the lovely delicate woman in the hands of a gorilla who stomps all over her.
      If you can, get a translation of what they sing in that opera; she is so hopeful and trusting, while he says something like “I don´t care if I crush her, I just have to have her” (freely translated).
      If you could learn to be as considerate to yourself as you´re being with him! Please try, you owe it to yourself, you´re worth so much more than you think.

    • cavewoman says:

      Jasmine,
      about two years ago, I wrote a very similar, deeply heartfelt letter.
      I remember writing those words, and I remember meaning them.
      I never sent the letter. I’m SO GLAD I didn’t.

      I don’t feel that way any more. I used to think I’d always be attracted, feel the same connection, chemistry, fascination, you’ll forever be special to me… Not true.

      Oh thank goodness those words never reached him. See yoghurt’s reasons above.

      I am over that man and he didn’t need to know strongly I felt and how hard it was to get over him. Frankly, he might have felt crept out a bit. Yours doesn’t have to know either. Last thing you need is to send it an then regret sending it. STOP! I promise you won’t regret not sending.

      You are NC. I suspect you were hoping we’d all tell you not to send it, because we are Baggagereclaim, and what else would we say anyway? Good thing you asked though! Sending you strength!!

    • Little Star says:

      Jasmine honey, DO NOT SEND IT!!! I sent letter to my boyfriend who dumped me without closure and it did not change anything, trust me…I humiliated myself even more, it was 2006 and I regret so much and I still cant forgive myself for doing this!!! IT is not worth it, leave him alone, just LET IT BE… Pain will go, it took me three years to get over the pain, you will be fine, time is the best healer:-)

  30. runnergirl says:

    Stay strong Purple Lily. Apparently as others have said, the grieving process isn’t linear. Feel all the feelings as they pop up. 6 weeks is relatively recent. I flipped back and forth between denial, anger, and sadness for quite some time and I still have moments. But now, they are just moments, I acknowledge the feeling and they pass quickly. It sounds like you are doing well with new hobbies, your trip, self-care/love, and reading BR. Even though it hurts now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although I couldn’t see the light while I was in the midst of the pain, it was an opportunity to learn about me and how I allowed myself to be a FBG.
    Stay strong, stay NC, stick with BR, and BIG HUGS.

    • Learner says:

      Runnergirl

      I know you wrote this comment to PurpleLily, but just wanted to let you know that what you wrote was helpful to me, too, as were comments of others who responded to her post. It is so helpful to know that others who are further along in healing have also had “non-linear” courses of recovery. I looked through some earlier BR comments, and saw that before I went on holiday (July 5) you had written that I was a “fast learner”. To be honest, I had thought of using the name “Slow Learner” on here as it took me 3 years to figure out the futility of the MM situation, and to find evidence of the OOW (whose existence also made ME want to scream! Thanks for that). I decided to call myself simply “Learner” to be a bit more positive. Thank you, and thanks to all, for sharing your stories and progress. That light at the end of the tunnel you mentioned has given me a new boost of motivation to stay NC. Hugs to you, too :)

  31. NK says:

    Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated!

    Met a guy at a venue, he asked me out for a date.

    We went to a bar and a club on a Friday. Had a great time. Kissed a lot and I he asked if I wanted to go back to his house .we slept together I stayed over, we ate breakfast in a cafe the next day.

    I find him very attractive and want to get to know him further. I am not looking for a casual relationship.

    He asked me that day to come to his birthday dinner the next weekend. I said I’d get back to him.
    He text then phoned me on the Tuesday, I suggested that we met before the sat, he said thursday and i asked him to met me for lunch. I went to met him on his lunch break. We ate together.
    I took my friend to his birthday dinner on the saturday. It was a small gathering and his sister was there. I stayed over and spent the whole of sunday with him, we went out for a meal with his sister and boyfriend, helped him clean his house and we had sex again. I left at like 7pm. It was nice.

    Now, I’ve been guilty of fast forwarding in the past and Ive also experienced future faking. My last experience like this was horrible. I waited 6 dates before anything sexual with him and he still dumped me in a horridly disrespectful way. Im no naive, inexperienced lady. I have a ###$ buddy whom I call on when I need. I have expressed major concern about my need for casual sex in the past and have posted on here!

    Anyways, its a womens prerogative to let sex happen this early and I am determind to monitor where this goes. because the sex is good so it can most definitely cloud my vision. I do not want to be a causal fling or a short term fizzle out with this guy. Unless of course he shows me some signs which make us incompatible. For the first time in a while I see him as having high potential.

    I know I’ll find out eventually what he’s about and what he’s after. I already know he’s after sex (like all men) but is he available for more? Because there are two kinds of girls those who good for right now and those who have potential for long term marriage etc…wonder which one he’s put me in?

    Am going to slow it down slightly to see……but any suggestions from you guys on how to proceed would be great….as sex can mess things up!

    x

    • yoghurt says:

      NK – here’s my attempt at being wise about this, but I’m not 100% sure if this is right, so bear with me.

      There’s no guarantee that sex on a first date won’t lead to a relationship – I know of several examples where it has and the people in question are happily married now. It’s not so much that No Good Bloke will sleep with someone on a first date or that it’s automatically doomed. It’s more that sleeping with someone on the first date automatically lowers YOUR defences and YOUR ability to tell the sheep from the goats, or be honest about the sheepy/goaty potential of the man in question. It also ups the ante, because what with the pesky oxytocin then you put yourself in a more vulnerable and hurtable position straightaway.

      What bothers me more about your post – and I apologise in advance if you’re offended by this, although I hope that you’re not – is that tbh YOU don’t sound all that emotionally available right now.

      You haven’t resolved your issues about your ‘need for casual sex’ (not that I’m knocking it per se, but if you’re worried/unhappy about it and yet still doing it then that indicates that you don’t particularly feel in control of your own life or actions). In fact, you’ve got sort of a dual view of sex – on the one hand it’s something that you’ll freely hand out to people who (I assume) you aren’t all that bothered about and yet on the other hand it’s something that you wonder if you should withhold in order to manipulate a man into a relationship.

      You’re also, I think, thinking of relationships as some sort of game that you have to play well to win. Not that I’m any sort of expert (three years single and counting…) but, as I remember, if someone really wants to be with you and you’re open to being with them and it’s a mutually copiloted relationship then subtle attempts to manipulate them using sex as leverage won’t come into it.

      Also, you’re categorising ‘all men’ as being after sex and there being ‘two kinds of girls’… these might be popular or even prevalent ideas but can you see that you’re making assumptions about him/his views/his ideas about you already? How can you properly get to know him if you think that you already know what he thinks? Why can’t you ask him?

      Finally, you’re fretting a great deal over it – in fact it does rather sound like you’re tying yourself in knots worrying about it and that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. And you’re already on the defensive anticipating a rejection because of the sex. These things will not help you to be happy and relaxed in your own skin, which is what you want to be at the start of a potential relationship.

      None of this is a criticism, by the way – I spent my twenties doing all of the above – nor does it mean that it’s necessarily doomed. What it DOES mean, though, is that you may well have a lot of barriers to really seeing the situation as it is and you need to try to deal with those and be super-aware and super-honest with yourself.

      So, my advice would be: chill. See if you enjoy his company and stop driving yourself crazy wondering if you’re right for him now that you’ve had sex – is HE right for YOU? If so, why? Ask him what he thinks about the fact that you had sex on the first date (tbh, if you’re doing it then imo it should be something that you can discuss).

      Be aware that it might not work out and, in that case, you’re in a position to maybe be more hurt than you would be if you’d taken things more slowly. But remember that that’s really no reason to keep chasing a bad situation. Let it go if you need to – potential is really nothing at all unless it actually stops being potential and becomes something solid.

      I do think that, whether or not it works out, you should try to straighten out your attitude towards sex in general, because you sound conflicted about it. The point of the Waiting For Sex thing isn’t a technique that you use to bag a man who might otherwise write you off (imo that’s an excuse anyway. Someone who’s only interested in you for sex might be remarkably tenacious and hang on for a while but, in the end, they still only want you for sex). It’s so that YOU can protect YOURSELF from such people and bin them off before they get close enough to hurt you.

    • runnergirl says:

      NK,

      Sex has certainly blurred my already blurry vision in the past so I am def no expert. I can absolutely relate to the whirlwind “romance” you described, except for the cleaning his house part. It feels so wonderful at the moment. One thing you said caught my attention: “Because there are two kinds of girls those who good for right now and those who have potential for long term marriage etc…wonder which one he’s put me in?” Assuming for discussion there are only two types of girls (I don’t know if that is the case but that’s not my point), your question made me wonder: Which one do YOU put yourself in? Since I’ve started reading Natalie’s books and BR, I see how much I left very important decisions about me up to a him. Again assuming there are only two types, it seems to me this would be your decision, not his. I totally agree, it is everybody’s prerogative to have sex whenever they want, consensual sex of course! I don’t know if he is available for more. I guess that’s why Natalie says dating or meeting someone is a discovery phase. It seems like you’ll now get to discover whether is is good for more. Big hugs to you.

      • NK says:

        Thanks for the replies –

        @yoghurt – I really appreciate your response. I am indeed conflicted about my attitude to sex. I’ve expressed concern in the past about not feeling in control of it. This is my issue I guess. I don’t want to use sex to manipulate a man into a relationship. I believe this attitude is wrong. I’m just concerned that my behaviour isn’t conductive. I’ve realised to today that it is my opinion of myself thats important. I need to believe 100% that I am worthy of a meaningful relationship and that I deserve one.
        I’ve certainly experienced a couple of guys who have waited around for sex with me only to still dump me.

        TBH I don’t think he has put me in that ‘right now’ department. I think he’s just enjoying the moment and he’s taking it as it comes. I always get so anxious and jumpy when things start like this. I have no doubt that I have been emotionally unavailable in the past – maybe I still am but I really want to be available. I want to develop healthy responses!

        @runnergirl – Yes, I will discover whether he’s in it for real just got to keep getting to know him. He seems available for more – I just need to make the decision and he’ll follow suit with his response.

        We are meeting on saturday day time for an art thing so no sex there!

        x

  32. jasmine says:

    , i have deactivated my FB account to stop the stalking, but god damn it, i feel compelled to send a text message telling him that i loved him and that we have a history together and for him to contact me if he ends his player like ways. and that i’ve changed into a woman of high quality and with standards…arrrggggggg!!!! i keep writing messages on my fone of what i would like to say to him, but i save it….im itching to send just like an email i wrote above…..i dont know what i want out of it…validation, for him to leave the ‘girl’ thats 10 years younger than me (20yrs old) that he’s seeing…for him to change his player ways and recognise me. im just confused , but at the state his in, i dont want him back…..if he changes i feel i do…

  33. jasmine says:

    regarding the email i wrote above that i want to send….he accepted me sending him a letter last year.., but in the past i never really got around to writing one as i told him i would.. and now seemed like a good time. he even gave me an email address.. but as i have not spoken to him in 4 months and as he’s disappeared….i dont know what to do…

    • Fearless says:

      jasmine

      you do know what to do (get on with your own life), you just don’t want to do it; you just don’t want to accept that this guy is not for you. Try reading Nat’s Fantasy and Dreamer book which you can download from BR – sounds to me like you could do with getting your feet firmly rooted in reality.

      Also recommend one of Nat’s quite recent posts about “learn acceptance” (a ‘search’ at the top of the page should find it).

      I do understand how you feel:
      - you can’t believe that you have to move on – let it go
      - you still think you might be able to fix it
      - you want to avoid the pain of letting go
      - you want him to validate you, love you, want you, give you some attention – even a crumb will do for now!
      - you want to avoid the terrible feeling of rejection
      - you don’t want to give up on your dreams of a good relationship with this man (it is a dream!)
      - you still believe there must be something you can do to get him back (there isn’t.)

      Learn acceptance. Even when it hurts. You’ll get over it. There’s someone better than this guy out there for you. He’s not got what it is you want from him – you just want him to have it (and to give it to you) – but he doesn’t have it. Your yearning for water from an empty well.

      There’s loads of great posts here of Nat’s to help you through this – read them. better that than composing endless texts and emails that you are desperate to send to some guy who doesn’t give a crap.

      • jasmine says:

        fearless,
        :( what you wrote is correct…its like you’re reading into my soul…i went a few years ago to see a psychic who said i should take a course on how to be assertive. i didnt do it and i should’ve…

        i do cling to hope inside , but the good news is that i’ve started eating again…i wasn’t eating for days. and i guess now im thinking that if he does have a new girl, why do i want someone who doesnt want me…

  34. Lilly says:

    PurpleLily, I’m sending a great big hug your way. I can relate to everything you are feeling. Today is exactly one month NC, it was a difficult day and I spent most of it in tears. This whole process feels like a roller coaster. One day I’m feeling strong, but the next I’m in tears or angry or resentful. It’s all understandable and I think we need to go with the flow. Following the advice here, I’m learning to work through the emotions as and when they arise. Writing about them helps me so does taking my dog for a long walk. A few weeks ago I would have opened a bottle of wine, but I’ve stopped doing this now (well almost!). I’m finding that the difficult periods are becoming less intense and shorter as time is going by, but it’s still hard work. The fact that you are still NC and that won’t change shows that all your hard work hasn’t come crashing down. Keep learning new things and working at it. Feel good that you stood up for yourself and stopped him in his tracks. You deserve much more and one day very soon you won’t be hurting anymore.

  35. teachable says:

    I’m reading everyones posts here & still quite a long way from ready to date. I went to a 12 step meeting tonight & for the first time made passing mention of my ex who died & how addictions kill people (even inadvertantly, as in his case). For reasons I wont go into I was unable to talk at all about how his death has affected me. Then I came home & read BR. I’m still very physically unwell & tomorrow I will return to my much loved studies despite the health issues which are making life so incredibly difficult atm. I can’t even think about sating until my health is sorted & I can’t wait to stop smoking. I started smoking after 14 years of not doing so a year into my ex reappearing in my life, so 2 years ago now & it’s not doing my health any favours. I can see a tiny little light of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel. I’m still in the tunnel but at least now I can actually SEE the light at the end, whereas a few montgs back, I was surrounded by nothing but just pick black darkness & had to believe the light at the end was there up ahead somewhere, even though I couldn’t see it. I keep thinking what if I got cancer from these ciggarettes & died? I’d never have known what true love was & how sad that will have been. As soon as I’m physically well I’m really committed to opening myself up to finding a healthy & loving lifeong partner. I’m 43 & haven’t had that. I’ve been single mostly since my mid 20′s onward due to not wanting to risk r.ships breaking down & exposing my Son (now an adult) to a passing parade of step father figure (there was one – after that I swore off relationships for the aforementioned reason). So here I am, facing my mid 40′s & have never had the one thing in life which I believe is actually what life is really all about. When I think about that I feel a little bit sad. Anyways. Just thought I’d pop in. Still working on my health here & will be for quite some time but looking forward very much to the day when I will be able to date again. I don’t want to die & not have experienced love in a life long healthy committed r.ship. I really dont. I deserve better than that. I know I do. Thanks for helping me to keep my hopes up. It’s easy to think that by the time I’m ready, (at least another 12 mths away I’d estimate), that the last chance saloon will have bolted…

  36. Kerry says:

    Jasmine,
    It’s good you shared that letter with BR, because you should definitely not send it to the ex. That’s the type of letter you write and destroy before hitting send.
    You say you haven’t heard from him in four months and he’s already moved on with someone else. He calls himself a player. This is not a guy who had anything to offer you. He’s not going to be interested in an analysis of what happened from your perspective. It’s highly unlikely he’ll respond, or give you a response that will make you feel better. You’d get more satisfaction from reading it to your cat.
    As well, the letter sounds like you have a lot of guilt/remorse about your own behaviour in the relationship, which happens to all of us. But the thing is, he’s never going to alleviate those feelings for you. Only you can. And that starts by understanding that you are an imperfect human and we all act like fools sometimes, particularly when we are dating an EUM or AC. They bring out the crazy in us with their crazy making behaviour.
    Don’t beat yourself up. Work on healing yourself, doing everything to get your self-esteem back, forgiving yourself, and learning that you deserve a mutually loving, respectful relationship.
    And kick this guy and all memories of him to the curb. He’s a waste of your valuable time and energy. I know, because a year later, I still have thoughts of the ex AC — but thank God I never contacted him. It would have made my recovery way harder.

  37. lo j says:

    Purplelily … exactly what CC said. A lot of healing can take place in these moments. What prompted these feelings? Any familiarity with the past? Delve and feel and see this as an opportunity for enlightenment and growth. It gets so much better!

  38. Awakened says:

    @NK I hate to say this but technically you have already blown it. You are a grown women Ofcourse and you are entitled to sleep with a man on the very first date if that’s what you choose to do. I think it will be a matter of TIME before he starts loosing RESPECT for you. Sex on the first date is just a NO NO no matter how much potential you think you already See.

    @Jasmine you are wasting precious Time. Save yourself the embarrassment of receiving more REJECTION because that is exactly what you’re going to be receiving a no response. I myself have not hit the 2 month mark yet of NC but after4 months I think I would be pretty much Somewhat OVER it in my mind and if not so it should be much Easie

    • NK says:

      Hi Awakened,

      the last two relationships/ dates I had I didn’t sleep with them until after 4-6 dates (about 6 weeks) and they didn’t go anywhere. One guy has issues and didn’t make any effort. The other was massively disrespectful to me.

      I am on my 5th date with this guy now – the sex in continuing and we are very attracted to each other. We are meeting on saturday day time – going to take him to an art event. I think i’ll just keep it varied so it doesn’t turn into a sex routine. I went to a gig with him last night. He was up for the saturday day time. no sex for us on saturday…

      we’ll see

  39. Awakened says:

    @purple Lily I know exactly how you are feeling and you are entitled to feel those feelings. I can relate because there are some days that I am feeling great a sort of High so to speak( not in that term Ofcourse) but other days I feel pain and Anger and those feelings; try to make their way back especially when we are doing so well trying to move forward without looking back. I just release that anger; pain and hurt it by working out; making myself look and feel better and being around the people that I Love and who truly love me. Oh and I immerse myself in the things that I enjoy doing…. Listen to Beyonce; “Me Myself and I” and play it over and over. It gets better… Hang in there girl…..

  40. PurpleLily says:

    THANK YOU ALL…for taking the time to respond to me. You cannot believe how warm that feels (my family and my best friends live overseas) and what you did was the most amount of concern and care (and hugs!) that I have received in months :)

    Forgive me for this long post, but I did want to take the time and send a quick reply to each one of you…

    @ cc – My freakout has been because I thought I was going backwards “Why are these tears back? Wasn’t it enough that I cried a whole week?” . I will try and be more mindful of my feelings, you are right though – a lot of times its because Ive had a bad day at work or family issues and before I know it, Im crying about him. I have been reading a few books by Russ Harris who has written written about mindfulness. Something Ive been reading after the EUM and I plan to action it soon. More than anything, I am grateful that you said “..realise that it takes as long as it takes”because Ive been beating up myself for crying over a man who I knew for just ONE month (who is now a stranger). But that what they do, these ACs and EUMs…they rip you intro shreds and leave you questioning yourself (no matter how strong or weak you are). I will be ok, I will work on why I picked someone like him. I have made a mistake here and I need to understand and not repeat it.

    @ Allie : This one has felt like an attack. I need to be kinder to myself and admit that I made a mistake. That it is ok and I will learn and become stronger.

    @ titi : Gawddd..Im already bored about thinking about him. My brain always says “not agaaaain!”. I just cant wait to stop having these loopy/cyclical sagas and emotions. Im a happy, fun, (sort of) positive person and enjoy people around me…but its hard to when I feel a bit broken and wonder how long it will be until Im ok.

    @ Learner : I know that feeling, to share thoughts and things you’ve been thru and then..not being able to ever do it again. I had been plagued (first few weeks) by nasty dreams, horrible to wake up remember them and feeling shook up. But they are only thoughts. Nothing more. It had no power to cause action. My dreams always included me trying to talk to him, convince him..and he would just be passive aggressive. And the more I tried, they more PA he got. I realize this was because it was this passive aggressive behavior that broke my heart…me trying to talk to him in his living room, talk about anything and him saying “Im trying to not talk to you in the hope that you wont talk…but it doesn’t seem to be working”. How could someone be that mean and cold.
    I will keep reading BR and wont give up on NC. Im not letting him bring me any MORE hurt.

    @ lo j : I will try and look into my feelings and see where they come from. I think what started it was something I posted here.: the exEUM was socially anxious and one evening he was at a meet-up (trying to meet new people) and we started texting and he said he was finding it hard and people weren’t talking to him. I said what I would to a friend, perhaps even a stranger…told him to hang in there, that it was great that he was trying to get out and meet people, that people will see that he is a good and fun guy (PAH!) and that he shouldn’t give up. Putting this down on paper was followed by the thought “Jeeze man, I did all that, I was supportive and was willing to understand your fears and shortcoming. To be a friend. But none of this meant anything to you. The kindness and the care meant nothing.”. And out came the waterworks. I still don’t know why I had such a strong reaction to that….

    @ Lilly : I do find on good days that I haven’t thought of him at all. Or the thoughts didn’t hurt or make me cringe. But exactly what you said..it is such hard work. I still cant even fathom the thought of dating someone right now…or god forbid, him being with someone else….or seeing him on the street. I WANT to be okay with such thoughts. I want to up-down-round-round cycle to end. Im being impatient, I know. Got to stay patient and keep at it. The hurt makes every day so much more difficult.

    @ Awakened : I do that too. Surround myself with people who love me, who bring positivity into my life. He always complained about thing, wasn’t happy with anything eventhough he had a good life. It wasn’t until the last day that I realized how negative and self-absorbed he was, I don’t want those aspects to rub off on me. I do think he is a bullet that I was lucky to dodge….I will work on dealing with the anger and pain in ways that benefit me…Ive been reading more, getting back to the pool and reminding myself about every little thing in my life that I am grateful for. I have an amazing life and once I am better, I know I will appreciate it for all its beauty.

    • Learner says:

      PurpleLily

      How sweet of you to reply to each one of us. Your comments were really helpful. Thank you :)

  41. PurpleLily says:

    @ runnergirl : (know I had missed out on someone’s response…) Thank you for that. I do try to remind myself that they are thoughts, like passing cars and that I need to let them come and go. They mean nothing. I will keep at working on myself, learning about my habits and behaviour but still give myself the love that I know I deserve now more than ever. If there is a tunnel, there is usually the end on the other side :)

  42. LarLa says:

    Great post! I’ve been reading your blog since last year and its helped me so much. Before I always worried and stressed about every date with someone new and now I just think of it as getting to know someone. I don’t worry about marrying or sleeping with this person I don’t know. I actually had a guy try to hit the reset button on Saturday. He texted me after no contact since the beginning of the year. I told him I wasn’t interested.

  43. miskwa says:

    @Purplelily
    What you are feeling is perfectly, 100% normal. It goes in cycles. Should you encounter him, I would suggest an old traditional action:” giving him your back”, turn your head away and say nothing and walk away. In traditional culture, it means “I am not gonna make a scene here, but you are out of line and I am not gonna engage you in any way”. Leave with head high. This is particularly effective on ACs because they can’t stand being ignored or being denied their power over you. If they’re with someone else, that person is gonna wonder.

    • PurpleLily says:

      @ miskwa : thank you for that. Dear God, for my own sanity, I hope to NOT see him now and for the next few months. I live in a big city so its not usually a worry. I dont think I could handle seeing him. I dont think it would make a difference if I “give him my back”…..he hasnt even contact me once after the breakup, not once. Infact, he didnt respond to the only text(asking for a coffee and chat, nothing intimidating) I sent a week after he broke up. Nothing. Not even a “no”. He thinks he has done his bit by breaking up with me (in a way, he perhaps has) because I am “such a nice girl/so nice/didnt do anything wrong” and that he “doesnt want to hurt me/will hurt me” and of course he is “sorry and has been a douche”. ALL HIS WORDS- Its like what a 4yr old would say!

      Im sure he is out there somewhere, having happily moved on and not even considering how much he has hurt me (and women before). If anything, he is talking about me as some “she was so demanding/full-on” with some girl, just like he did with me-Fed me pity stories of how awful girls girls were to him before me. HA! Dont they just crack you up?! Hehe!

  44. teachable says:

    Jasmine,

    I Dont know anything about your r.ship with this EUM except that he did not give you closure & that he hasn’t contacted you for four mths. Please, do NOT send him that letter NO MATTER WHAT. That letter is nothing but a massive ego stroke for him. This guy is NOT just EUM he is an AC. He was first sexual partner, which he would know you take seriously & yet STILL in the way he ended things he has treated you like ABSOLUTE CRAP. DO NOT LOWER YOURSELF BY CONTACTING HIM NOW OR EVER. You dont need to contact him to get closure. You can get all the closure you need from reading his BEHAVIOUR! What does his BEHAVIOUR tell you about how he feels about you? In case your rose colored glasses are still a little foggy let me spell it out because it is glaring obvious as an outsider looking in. HE IS AN ASSHOLE WHO DOESN’T GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT YOU.

    Please see that & MOVE ON. NOW. You deserve better than grovelling to this kind of a wanker. It’s just awful to see. I know because I’ve been where you are. And sent ltters like that. And it all did was prolong my pain. Ugh. Thankgoodness I finally got out. Not a moment too soon either – I can assure you. Hugs & well wishes on journey. I hope I wasn’t too harsh. I can see you love him. I get that. And I know this hurt & is hard to hear. But the problem is he has treated like CRAP & that’s NOT the definition of someone loving you back. T xx

    • jasmine says:

      yes, the last time i saw him things were fine…then i contacted him after a few times, few text messages, no replies..

      im really taking in what everyone is saying…i really love him…and it is what it is…and you cant love someone in a really short time, so for him to have this new girl as being in a relationship with her within a 4 month period….it shatters me….but thankyou teachable xx

  45. Awakened says:

    @Larla Great that you told him ” Not Interested”. It’s amazing how they like to suddenly re-appear like nothing has happened. I’ve had this to happen with an ex assclown just last year and I didn’t even answer to say “Not Interested”. He wasn’t even worth a Reply.

  46. jasmine says:

    Thankyou everyone, today is a whole revelation for me. I write every day. I will hold my feelings to myself and not send anything.

    I’ve realised the problem isn’t him. I believe he came into my life to teach me that i cannot rely on someone for happiness. That’s what I’ve been doing. I have been demanding, expecting. Wanting things my way. looking beyond my faults and putting others down.

    Truth is, he has been honest to me.And i have looked beyond the honesty to try and make me him who i want him to be

    I have thought i was a good person, but i have talked about him behind his back about the fact that he ‘didn’t do this’, that etc’…natalie wrote in her recent post that she writes things that she can can say to a person’s face. I have been bitching about him behind his back. I have stopped as of today

    I have apologised to people for having to hear my Relationship woes. i have talked about him in a bitter way. he doesnt owe me anything. no-one owes me anything.

    if i was a confident woman with high self esteem, i wouldn’t be this deep into thinking about what another person did/did not do to me.

    • Mymble says:

      Jasmine
      You have been hurt! He didn’t treat you with kindness or consideration never mind love. You be nice to you. You are human, and you trusted him because it is a natural instinct to look for love and affection. Unfortunately you were enamoured of an ass. The trick is to notice that a person is an ass, before you become enamoured.

  47. cc says:

    jasmine-
    good for you, honey, for not sending it. whew! i was honestly concerned.

    now, don’t be so hard on yourself. i can hear that even while you’re holding yourself to a high standard, which is admirable and brave, you’re not giving yourself quite enough compassion.

    you’re allowed to bitch to your friends about him. you’re allowed to be disappointed. yes, you must see things clearly and be impeccable with your word, but that also means being allowing yourself to be honest about how you feel and to be compassionate with yourself for feeling that way.

    these are hard things to work through, and we all do better when we give ourselves a hug and some comfort for how difficult it is to be human sometimes. you don’t have to go down the shame spiral. give yourself some empathy, and you’ll become the confident woman you want to be much faster.

  48. titi says:

    Jasmine, honey, you are going to another extreme now. There is no need to apologize to us, we’ve all been there once.

    I know you feel bad not, but it WILL pass. Let me tell you my story. I also wanted my first sexual experience to be with someone I love. When I was 26, the guy who pretented to be my friend, forced me to be intimate with him. It was highly traumatic. I have never even kissed before that. For several months after that I thought I cannot live without him (geez, it just makes me laugh now). I desepratly needed his approval. I even started to believe that his physical abuse of me was normal, and I kept picturing in my head what my future sexual experiences will look like. I was convinced that I loved him. Oh. My. God. Now I know that my mind (some would say hormones, oxytocine and stuff) was messing around with me. After several months of NC (five or six months, not sure really), I’m sooo over it and now I just cannot believe I thought it was love. When I bump into the sociopath on the street (he lives nearby), the only “feeling” I get is an ocassional urge to facepalm myself lol. Long story short: you cannot love an ass. So, trust me, it will pass.

    Please don’t beat yourself up for beeing a woman of “low self esteem”. Self esteem is something we have to learn how to build. It’s ok to be weak, sad, hurt etc. sometimes. You are a good person, but right now you are hurting. He was telling you the truth (that he doesn’t want anything serious with you), but he’s still an ass because he KNEW your feelings, but still kept screwing you around. Good people don’t do that. He just uses “honesty” as an excuse to be CRUEL to other people. You weren’t bitching about him here, you were writing an ODE to him! You’re idealizing some seriously emotionally crippled creature. Think of him as a dog poop. You don’t step or, worse, KEEP stepping into it. You don’t think about it, you don’t write letters to him. You don’t even pay attention to it, since it’s just what it is- a plain stinky POOP. But he isn’t important anymore, you are important, so please do everything possible to get over that jerk. You’ll be fine in no time, you’ll see.

  49. deedeeinamsterdam says:

    Thank God for this website!!! Its incredible how every little word opens my mind and turns on another light. Have I been living under a rock?? I feel so silly for not understanding the things Natalie describes early on. Its just a date, or a few dates, nothing more, in their eyes. I get wrapped up in dating and then somehow expect love from the guy simply because he s nice.
    This is how my story went, short version.
    I met him, found him a bit *annoying* and ignored him pretty much for a month although we hung out with the same bunch of people.
    Then all of a sudden I realize he s popular. Me, being 26 and stupid I fall for these successful, loud, friend making all over the place guys. So Im hooked, not because he s gorgeous or a billionaire or genius but because he’s polarizing all the people in my circle. They all drool over every little word he says, and granted he is kinda smart and funny and throws cool parties.
    So I start being nice to him. EGO strokes right and left: about his new job, his cool family his nice apartment etc. Then I start to see how well we could fit together (!?). ALL in one hour long walk from the city to my house. He tries to kiss me, I dodge the kiss but go to my house head spinning. It was like lightning struck me.
    Went on a few movie and dinner dates at his or my place. The attraction was so thick it was almost palpable. At some point we kiss. It was so good I thought i was going to faint or have sex with him so I literally threw him out of the house fast. That was my defense mechanism and instinct telling me its moving way too fast.
    But surprise surprise, the next party at his house for easter, where I was expecting to be the special guest, he treats me like a normal guest. The dynamic shifted, hes already withdrawn a bit. Hes the guy the hugs and feeds all the girls compliments, food, drinks, the charm, all in equal measure. The most flirtatious person in the world. And they all eat it up with a spoon. I felt disappointed and left the party early. After explaining why I left the next day and telling him I refuse to stand in a line of girls that he flirts with, he comes back even stronger (blowing hot again cause i was pissed). Telling me im special and that he s just friendly with the rest. I do the dinners and movies again, and day trips with our friends and parties. I start to feel like I belong, like he cares for me as much as I do for him. he even asks me on a weekend trip abroad with his brother and his gf, and made me again feel like a queen. In the meantime, all sort of alarms ring in my head but I ignore them because im so wrapped up, and so invested already that the little flaws seem almost endearing to me. His arrogance, extreeeeme moodiness, his occasional insults addressed to me but always excused as jokes, his fake laughter for things that arent even remotely funny in my book, the need to spend money and show off, to *brag* like theres no tomorrow about everything and an inclination towards drinking. And most importantly, it was all about what he thought, what he wanted, how and when he wanted. Totally self centered with a nice gentleman bubble wrap to make it seem like he s gonna lay the world at my feet.
    So, after other dates, trips, drinks and fantastic sex (what a party animal I must look like but im really not :)) He goes cold again, this time even more that the usual moody passive aggresive guy i knew he was. blamed it on some exams stress. treats me like i dont exist. So i do something according to my instinct that was telling me RUN. I text him to break up. I feel sorry the next second. He doesnt reply until the next day saying pretty much OK, no problem, you are right, I hope we can be friends. I break into pieces.
    For the next 2 months I do everything in my power to get him back..Going out, being friends, ego strokes, sex etc etc. He claims nothing has changed that he feels that we arent good together, that IM TOXIC and that he doesnt see a relationship with me in 20 years from now. At some point I almost begged him to get back together or leave me alone because i dont want to be dragged along or used for sex. He agreed to end the wining and dining but we still hung out a couple more times, me being desperate of course.
    It culiminates with me declaring my feelings on the phone in the middle of the night. He s like, please go to sleep, this is childish, I like u very much but I cant give you a relationship. I cry myself to sleep.
    The next day I resolve to NC and ignore him. we were supposed to go together to a huge party with a group of friends. A BALL. I ignored him, he got angry, stated this situation is NOT HIS FAULT and later started kissing someone else. I get angry and drunk and stupidly interrupt his kissing to ask him yet again for a rejection. And I get another one, right before my friends manage to snatch me up and get me home. The worst night of my life.
    Now hes with that girl, it hurts like hell, and I have been in an attempted NC for almost 3 weeks. Its attempted because I keep bumping into him, he s impossible to avoid. I didnt reply to his birthday party invitation, i deleted him from facebook, but its difficult to move on because i need my friends to distract myself and he is in the same group. they try to tiptoe around our situation but sometimes they do choose him over me. He came up to me several times to speak, at a conference, at a party, inviting me for dinner etc etc. I always reply with a stupid smile and hold my tongue as much as possible. I rarely say bye, and only when there is a group and I think that it would be bitchy of me not to even wave goodbye.
    Am I getting this right? Am I doing things wrong? I am confused and it seems to me, you people here have a lot clearer ideas than I do at this point.
    Feeling very lonely, and missing him terribly, tired of acting all cool to our common friends, like im not about to throw up when i see him. Thats how intense the reaction is, I think my body and mind go into overdrive when he s around….
    NC hurts like hell…
    Help.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hi Deedee,
      Oh my goodness, this does sound like a terrible situation, and this guy sounds like a complete jerk. You’re just going to have to tough it out the way all of us do, one day at a time. Do remember though that NC is the fastest route to healing – and the more complete you can make that NC, the better. Good for you for deleting him from your facebook page.
      It sounds to me like you’re so emotionally caught up in the situation, you aren’t thinking practically about how you can effectively extricate yourself from it, and as a result, you’re just going to keep prolonging the pain. This guy is a completely selfish user, so you have to stop looking for validation from him, because he is never going to be able to give it you.
      What I would argue you need to do is form a realistic plan as to how you’re going to move on from this. I would start by recommending you completely avoid two things at the moment: (1) alcohol, and (2) that group of friends. I know you feel lonely and want to see those friends, but I really think seeing them is only going to make you feel lonelier, and prolong your sense of rejection. This could be a very good time for you to branch out and find new friends, new interests, new projects, and then you can always re-immerse yourself in that group of friends a few months down the road. If they are good friends, they will completely understand.
      Hang in there, and stay with us here at BR!

  50. runnergirl says:

    Sorry Deedee, sounds like a ton of drama. “Me, being 26 and stupid I fall for these successful, loud, friend making all over the place guys.” Me being 53 and stupid, used to fall for that guy. Snowboard is right. You may need to consider a clean break from the drama, including the “friends” as well as the guy. If you do it at 26, you may be in a healthy, co-piloted relationship based on trust and honesty by the time you are 53! I’d take a break from the dating scene and friends thing and address why you are attracted to the loud, friend making all over the place guys. NC does hurt like hell. But being a doormat for a guy that takes advantage of the situation hurts like hell too. Which one hurts worse? Opt out of his harem.

  51. deedeeinamsterdam says:

    Thank you Snowboard and Runnergirl, thank you with all my heart.
    Two things hit me in your comments:
    1. Avoiding the friends. Truth is, I wont have to see them for long because i.m moving to a different country and as much as I care about them, you have pointed out something I didnt really grasp, they make me feel WORSE. with one exception. Of course theyre all nice and supportive but they re a constant reminder. I have cried my eyes out to one of the girls who really cares so much more about him than me, its obvious.NEVER will I do that again. Im keeping my drama to myself until I figure out an elegant way to respond
    2.The drinking. I have engaged into some serious drinking in the last 3 weeks of NC. Sometimes it helps sometimes it just makes me feel worse. I know its wrong and it has to stop. Yesterday after posting on BR i decided no martini anymore, lets see if i can go to sleep without an anaesthetic. It was difficult but i made it and to my surprise i didnt even dream of the EUM/AC and his new gf. Im just in the depression phase, I need to let it sink in that i made a mistake, acted stupid and forgive myself for that.

    You ladies have gone through much bigger issues that this im sure. I know it must sound silly of me to be so stuck on a guy i was seeing for 2 months. He must have thought im crazy too to be so desperate about him. i have said some lame cheesy romantic things :)) Ill take the good advice and make the cleanest cut possible. Ive done so for 3 weeks. I will see him at a party tonight which I cannot avoid, its the farewell party since we are all ending a 5 month traineeship and scattering across europe. It will hurt like hell, and im prepared for a shitty evening, but its the last time, really the last contact i have to have with him. And if the evening gets sad and lonely, ill come running back to BR. No more drunken arguing, begging, crying in public etc. no more drama!!!!!

    I have no idea why im attracted to these “magnet” type of guys. Maybe its my secret desire to snatch the guy that no other woman can have, or its abandonment issues or mommy issues or probably all of them. Ill read some more on BR and maybe ill find an explanation..

    Have a great weekend filled with love!!
    Its incredible how I can pour my heart out to people I have never met, but find it impossible to tell my mom that im having a bad day or a bad week..

  52. grace says:

    deedee
    i used to like the magnet guys too but here’s the thing ANY WOMAN can have him. I’ll concede that they prefer women who are more attractive than average but look around you. Beautiful women are everywhere and every year new ones are born. You can’t compete with that!
    Not everyone (and this applies to men and women) is capable of loving just one person. How do you know if you’ve found someone who is faithful? It takes time. That’s what dating and discovery is for. The things that push our buttons – charm, seduction, attention, sex, popularity mean nothing and are in fact danger signals. They characterise someone who likes having his ego stroked. It can be hard for us to recognise this because WE like having our ego stroked too. FBGs are less obvious about it but wanting to “win” a man, pitching ourselves at “alpha” males, competing with other women, wanting a man to “come good” and “change” for us is about validation. I’m very sceptical about how much we actually like the men in question.
    You may think you love him and are terribly fond of him but it’s more like you got something shiny, realised it was crap, but are still miffed that you can’t keep it.
    I understand absolutely that many/most/all of us are carrying around a truckload of pain and baggage but that doesn’t mean that we will be automatically handed a golden relationship ticket as compensation. There is a journey and learning. It took me over five years but discovering BR certainly moved it along.
    A lot of what you read in Nat’s books will make you think “Wut? That’s not me!” but it does sink in. When you have no hope, just believe and do what she suggests. Se if it doesn’t work out better than you could have imagined.
    Stay single for the summer, take some time to breathe and get to know you. Read the blog and Nat’s books. Enjoy.

    • PurpleLily says:

      @grace

      “…but it’s more like you got something shiny, realised it was crap, but are still miffed that you can’t keep it.”

      Oh. My.God. OH MY GOD. I think I heard a 1000 bells ring in my head at the same time (ouch!).

      That is gold, Grace. I needed to hear that. I have been wondering and wondering and then some more about WHY I have felt (and at moments even now feel) awful and hurt…and you put it in words. Its the frustration, sense of shame, anger, disbelief that followed because I couldnt ‘keep’ a moron of a man who was never good enough for me in the first place.

      “You are so not worthy, such an idiot, couldnt even half match upto what I can bring to a relationship…yet I couldnt keep you..what does that say about me??” Funny how destructive the thoughts of a troubled mind can be! Lots more work to be done on the self-esteem and self-worth side of things. I am glad that is over, that he is over and done with.

      Thanks a ton, grace :)

    • Teddie says:

      Ewan Marc Catz compared once these men to the Tin Man form “The Wizard of Oz”: shiny, glittery, but with no heart.

    • deedeeinamsterdam says:

      Uff, Thank you grace, that’s exactly whats going on with me. “You may think you love him and are terribly fond of him but it’s more like you got something shiny, realised it was crap, but are still miffed that you can’t keep it.” Its so true, but still…i cant help but miss him and affection.
      I’m in total disbelief that he didn’t want me, but now wants someone else instead, just like that.
      How do we move on from from them moving on?? :((( so heartbroken and jealous he is with this girl, its making me cry just seeing it. Ill explain in a new post how last night went.
      Wishing you love!

  53. PurpleLily says:

    @ DeeDee

    DEAR GOD! My heart goes out to you Deedee. That is awful. He is completely and utterly a jerk. Imagine this – someone like him who can bring such intense and unpleasant emotions from you in 2 months…do you really want to be with someone like this longer-term??

    I agree with everything the others have had to say. Wise words. Im 28 so I dont have a life-time of experience and wisdom like the others here do. but I do have a few things that might help.

    1. Definitely need to get rid of those friends. I think you are part of a crazy, wild, not so balanced bunch that you unfortunately cannot call on to be a real, proper friend. We dont realise it but selfish, nasty and superficial friends can lead us down the wrong path even if we never intend to go down that path. You deserve better but you need to make the right choices for yourself. Nothing more amazing than friends who are positive, supportive and healthy.

    2. It is NOT silly that you are here after something you went thru for 2 months. Every single minute counts. Every teary session, every bit of pain you felt counts. I am here after having deal with an AC/EUM that I was with for just 1 month. But I know it hurts and I wont pretend or let anyone tell me that it doesnt matter.

    3. Lot and lot of drama going on there girl! SO SO much drama. I think it would be highly beneficial if you spend time reading BR and figuring out why there is such strong drama. I am sure there is healing there to do from stuff that has happened in your past.

    4. Stop dating for a bit. Just heal and spend time making new friends, new hobbies. Keep away from the alcohol…I think that alcohol will only lead down one path.

    5. NC NC NC NC!!!! It will hurt like hell but cut of ALL contact (any and every form). This man is NO good. He thinks he can have every woman in this world – good for him but he has no quality or decency or dignity. Stay strong, come here, write to us about it when it is tough.

    6. When you are back from that party, do something nice for yourself…a bath, a nice meal or even get your blanket and stay in bed. Give yourself kindness and love…forgiveness will follow (Im not very good at forgiving myself, so I wont comment on that aspect).

    Good luck, stay strong, be kind to yourself. Cheers mate!

  54. deedeeinamsterdam says:

    Thank you Purple Lily and all other wonderful ladies. The whole thing lasted 4 months in fact, 2 of dating, then I broke up with him, and then the rollercoaster of getting him back and him rejecting and resting me but trying to be friends, as if thats something he couldnt live without. Couldnt he see how unfair it was ??
    This is how last night went.
    He showed up at the pre drinks and dinner at a friends house. I was polite but extremely cold towards him. I felt kind of strong because my friend was there and because he didnt have his girlfriend with him. Him I can handle, but not my replacement..:( is making my stomach twist. But I knew she would be at the club later.
    After having to listen to all his loud banter with our common friends and be the popular jerk that he is, I went into the other room for a short while. He follows, sits next to me and asks
    EUM/AC “Are you still angry with me?”. I didnt reply first but he was clearly not going anywhere.
    Me: “I dont understand why hes speaking to me”.
    EUM/AC “Theres nothing stopping me from speaking to you”
    Me: I AM STOPPING YOU from speaking to me
    EUM/AC: This is unfair!? (looks like a victim)
    Me: I am like this.
    EUM/AC: I know, some people are like that, I cant change them, but i still want to understand why…
    Me: I dont need to explain myself. You re an intelligent man, you understand
    EUM/AC: Sarcasm or for real?
    Me: I shrug my shoulders and leave the room with a triumph smile on my face

    Later on he offered me a drink when I had lost my glass, lame attempt to be gallant. He provided me with a cigarette earlier too, before the convo, but its all his way to prove to everyone how good and caring he is. He s saving face.

    That little conversation exhausted me, but found the energy to look pretty, go to the party, mingle with the so called friends, who kind of are superficial, but better than nothing, when you have to be there.

    He did ignore me the rest of the evening, but I caught a glimpse of him passionately kissing his gf and even though I didnt blink then, now its eating me inside out. They left early together, after introducing her loudly to several people. WHY??? WHY her not me???? What does she have and I dont??

    Im restarting to count NC days. So day one. In bed. Exhausted. How do I make the pain go away? :((

    Any thoughts on why he could move on so quickly, how could you sleep with someone one week, and the another one the next?? Why does she deserve all the public affection that I never got?? He was always kind of skittish with PDA when with me..

    • yoghurt says:

      deedee

      My son’s father met his girlfriend when son was two months old and literally went from ringing me up at 1am and telling me how important I was to him to treating me like a rather embarrassing elderly relative in the space of 24 hours, so I say this in full awareness of how painful it all is:

      But here goes – probably he decided one morning that he fancied having a ‘proper’ girlfriend, realised that it couldn’t be you – probably because he hadn’t treated you very well and was (somewhere in the recesses of his black soul) a little bit ashamed of it – and so went out and found someone nice and fresh and new that he could be a ‘proper’ boyfriend to.

      BUT – here’s the kicker – who cares? He clearly doesn’t have very much awareness of either of you in terms of your actual factual personalities and as people. If fact, he’s probably too self-obsessed to see ANYONE as a person in their own right, rather than some bit-part player in the Drama ‘Of His Life. It’s all about the role that HE’S playing.

      The fact that he’s ‘chosen’ this other girl and not you isn’t any sort of reflection on you. He isn’t God, he isn’t some mondo-objective judge there to give you a rating that determines how well you’ll do in life or how worthy you are of love. He’s just a bloke, and probably a bit of a messed-up one at that.

      A man came up to me in church today and told me that God had told him that I was the one for him (eep! forgot about this aspect of church life – poor bloke has a lot of problems and so on), after a 5 minute conversation. What am I supposed to take from this? Am I more worthy because he thinks this? Less worthy, on account of he clearly has a lot of problems? OR, am I the same as I was, which is perfectly worthy thankyouverymuch, but probably (/definitely!) not right for him?

      I know that being intimate with someone for two months is a bit more than a five minute chat, but the principles the same… he isn’t qualified to be any sort of judge of you and his opinion doesn’t matter. Try to separate the fact that you miss the intimacy/connection/attention (at what sounds like quite an upheavally time of your life) from the feelings of unworthiness. It wouldn’t matter if you were the best or the worst person in the world, he is who he is, he’s doing what he’s doing and quite frankly, he doesn’t sound like much of prize anyway. Wait for someone who’s interested in YOU, not in slotting you into some predetermined role in THEIR life.

      • yoghurt says:

        I should add that what I’ve called ‘intimacy’ in the post above wasn’t, really. If he knew you for four months and in that time didn’t pick up that you’d be maybe a little bit upset when you broke up then he didn’t really know you at all.

        Likewise, if you weren’t aware that he was capable of being so callous and disrespectful to your feelings (which he was, if only because he didn’t respect your clear desire not to talk to him) then you didn’t really know him.

      • fearless says:

        Yoghurt

        This is all so true, s spot on. Well said!

      • deedeeinamsterdam says:

        @Yoghurt

        You are right. I am outraged at how poorly he thinks of me, or doesnt know me. Does he honestly expect me to be fine with his new relationship and just move on….

        ~If fact, he’s probably too self-obsessed to see ANYONE as a person in their own right, rather than some bit-part player in the Drama ‘Of His Life. ”

        I really hope so.. i really hope its just him whos messed up, and not me whos not worthy..ehh i do sound a little bit pathetic i know, but ill be back on track soon. Day two and feelin kind of OK.

        I have no words to express how grateful I am to you that you took the time to read, to process, to reply. you re saving a little lost soul.

        • yoghurt says:

          deedee – ‘not worthy’ of what? Being the girlfriend of some bloke who is capable of being that totally unfeeling and immature towards ANYONE? Being the girlfriend of someone that you don’t even really like that much?

          come on now.

          (glad it helped, stick with it xx)

        • Snowboard says:

          Good response, Yoghurt. I think one of the important things that BR really hammers home is that relationships aren’t about one person being “worthy” or “unworthy.” It’s about compatibility: two people who are able to make each other happy because they consistently meet one another’s needs.
          Deedee, you and this guy are not a match. I know you feel rejected, but let’s be clear here: if you had stronger self esteem, YOU would have been the one to reject HIM. Because he is just not relationship material. As Fearless says, it’s very unlikely his new relationship will work either. This guy will have to do some *serious* work on himself if he ever hopes to be in an equitable relationship.
          Don’t waste your time desiring his approval, because (1) you’ll almost assuredly never get it, and (2) even if you did, all it would mean is that you have the approval of someone with an incredibly shady character (is that actually admirable – or just “cool” according to highly superficial standards?)
          Instead of living your anxieties, live your values. Figure out what your values are, and then assess YOURSELF according to how closely you live them, and begin making changes from there.

          • yoghurt says:

            Good response right back atcha snowboard – you said it a lot more succinctly than I ever could. I may print this out and stick it to my wall :)

    • Fearless says:

      deedee

      this guy does whatever crappy things he does because in his own words “There’s nothing stopping me…” (he applies that across the board!)

      You told him you were “stopping him” but really you were not stopping him at all (and he’s not fooled) – you have continued to engage with him and because there’s nothing stopping him he has done whatever he likes.

      Hard as it is, NC is the answer, and NC means No Contact – it doesn’t mean hang out at his or other folk’s pre clubbing drinks parties to be ‘cold but polite to him’ and to watch him show pony and snog his new bint (she will go the same way as you btw, in all likelihood). The man has told you he doesn’t want a relationship – if that is painful, which it clearly is (understandably), stay well away from him and stop torturing yourself by hanging around in his company.

      (also, note for the future: it’s not a good idea to pour your heart and tears out to mutual ‘friends’ – they will talk about it – to him! If you need to talk, pick someone you trust who is ‘yours’ alone – not people he knows as well.)

      Sorry you’re hurting. Good luck.

      • deedeeinamsterdam says:

        Fearless (what a nice name :)
        Thank you for the tough love. i needed it. i know ive made plenty of mistakes. My shame alarms go off pretty often, but I just choose to ignore thinking that this guy is really worth an effort to understand. I forgot to mention that at some poin in the short conversation he called me IMMATURE :(

        Im taking the good advice.No more torturing, no more hanging around, no more pouring my heart out to common friends. I am guilty of all these things but its over and done now. I found it very hard to not go to this party, and it was even harder to be there. I guess my pride wanted to show the world that im ok, I can laugh and look pretty and ignore him but that took a toll on me. Its genuine NC now, hope im strong to go through with it.

        Thank you, Thank you.

        You are all wonderful ladies with a sharp eye for identifying nonsense.

  55. deedeeinamsterdam says:

    As therapy, I put down a few instances when alarms went off in my head and stupidly I chose to ignore them or minimise them or whatever. they are all lessons learned. maybe they help others too in this stinky situation im in.

    1. He did not allow kissing in public. Always the cheeks. It burst my boundry because I want my man to be proud about me and passionate. When I complained he Smsed later accusing im a drama queen and that he cant wait to show me off to his brother

    2. Didn’t care when I was destroyed by effort to cycle around the city as part of a fake-friends-date. He just carried on and expected me to. I laughed and shrugged it off but it burst a boundary. My man should care and be worried about me.

    3. Didn’t care that I wanted to leave when he ignored me. I burst my boundry because I stayed (stupid supid stupid, threatening to leave and then staying, should have ran out that door like a bullet

    4. Pressed the reset button instantly every single damn time

    5. Never made a final decision about wanting to be with me or not, just stated that he doesn’t see us in 20 years. Did ultimately say NO NO NO

    6. Never encouraged or admired anything about me. Not the cycling, not the bowling, not the spinning. Only clothes and my dancing.
    However, dancing wasn’t even important to him. While to me it meant very much.

    7. Always acted cold in the mornings after, rarely offering to see me home.

    8. Rarely had heartfelt conversations about us or me. It was ONLY his activities, friends, job, material things that matter to him, never the ones that mattered to me. NOT ONCE did he ask a single question about my family. I ranted sometimes about them and was surprised at how little he cared.

    9. Keeps busy. Has a need to surround himself with people: football, dinners at his house, improvised parties, tennis, basketball, spinning classes that he teaches a hobby plus a demanding job. He never has a second to himself and coplains about this. has his life set up in such a way that he s never alone.

    10. An the last and worst, he s always giving other women a lot of attention. Food, drinks, conversation, favours, jacket offering, hysterical laughter that I never quite understood (I remember seeing one scene like this with his current gf a long time ago and it raised so many questions, now I see where it was going) he easily passes as generous but somehow, it rang fake to me. LESSON LEARNT. nobody is that resourceful and entertaining.

    Assclown him and stupid me, right?

    • PurpleLily says:

      Darling DeeDee,

      So proud of you for making a list (I did it too) and I realise all the things I had done to hurt me (and another list of all the amber – now I know they were red- flags I put aside as “definitely need to question him soon”).

      I had the same sort of things – made me feel like I had to impress him (why, I am wonderful, why!?) and it was always about him and him and then some more. Im sorry to read about all the ways he broke your trust and belittled you. If for nothing else, you know that NO ONE in this world can belittle you, make you feel or treat you in a less than manner. Please know that we all make mistakes, we are not stupid as long as we learn from it and take that knowledge to build stronger, healthier us and relationships.

      Please stay NC. I know it hurts thinking about his current GF, but trust me, she doesnt know what she has coming. Dont envy her. He is no prince at all. You are missing the affection and attention..but mainly because you rationed it/crumbs and now you want it more. You should have to fight and struggle for affection – no one should have to go thru THAT much.

      You will get better, you will look back at it one day and smile :) Be kind to yourself, you are precious and dont let any moron tell you/make you feel otherwise. ((Hugs))

      • deedeeinamsterdam says:

        Hugs back Purplelily!
        Totally NC. Day 2, feeling shaky but overall not dying like the days after the Ball, when they hooked up and i first started NC. Not going anywhere, focusing on stitching this torn up heart. I hate that girl, especially because I knew her before, an aquaintance, totally boring and unnatractive, I daresay the opposite of me. Maybe he likes being listened to by a sheep. She must be feeling like a queen right now, snatching a guy like that, the popular one :(( Anyway. Your words soothed me and put some things in perspective.
        I am very proud I had the strength to turn my back on him, let him taste some rejection for a change. Last time he sees or hears from me. As for your question with the new guy, I would go for it, watch him around his friends and if u still dont have the spark, let it go. But my advice is really not the best in the world :s.

  56. PurpleLily says:

    I seem to be in a strange sort of position..and I am definitely uncomfortable. I would like to hear what you think…

    So I quit online dating right after exEUM broke up but there was a guy who had been texting me (had not met) prior to me getting together with EUM. Post-EUM, I made it very clear to the new guy that I was not looking for anything, I just want to work on me and I am trying to get stronger. He said he understood but kept trying to get me to catch up for a coffee.

    Finally 2 weeks later gave up and caught up for a coffee. Seems like a nice guy but I really cant judge because everything is “under renovation” within my head and heart. I didnt feel any kind of attraction (usually a smile or a particular characteristic catches my attention and I take that home with me) but I dont know if its because Im not ready or…that I plain and simply am not into him.

    I have constantly maintained (pre and post coffee) that I am NOT looking for anything, I am happy by myself but the next day he asked me for dinner. I said no thanks. The next week it was a movie at his place. I said no thanks. The text tonight is for coffee followed by “I really like your company :)”. I dont know what to do…am I shallow and selfish for not giving this man a chance?

    I just dont feel ready for it..maybe he IS a nice guy and maybe he isisnt EUM…but is it ok that I dont really want male-company at the moment? Not even as a new friend? Maybe I am judging him too soon, but I am scared and so very uncomfortable and Im trying to listen to that part of me while ignoring the nagging voice that says “But he might be the ONE, what if you are letting go of a perfect EAM? You have an awful track record with men..why are you saying no to someone that seems like a good guy?”.

    UGH I just want me and myself. And my friends (my male friends are fine). I dont want a new man’s company in any form (just for a while). What should I do??

    • jasmine says:

      purpleLily,

      i personally don’t think you should let him go…..stick to your boundaries, tell him up front the situation…keep it casual…you don’t have to see him every week ..purple lilly, i dont know when you broke up with your ex, ? if its fresh, then probably not, but if its been a few months. i think you should be open to knowing people…if anything you might make a lifelong friend and i dont see the harm in that…

    • jasmine says:

      purplelilly , i was reading earlier comments you made to me..i thank you…was i correct in reading that its been 6 weeks since the break up…..if so, then i understand your apprehension towards anyone new and your feelings are what they are….i do feel its important to socialise even if you don’t feel like rather than staying home. actually i’ve been doing too much staying home and not enough socialising….and my brain goes into overdrive thinking things… so at the moment i’ve changed and am going out when i can with friends for dinner…gosh, i even went to a vegan get together with my friend…didnt really want to go, but ended up having a good time…if anything i was out there in the world doing something and i felt good about it…even chatted to this man waiting in the queue (for free vegan food lol)

      truthfully, i feel it will take you a while to even think about a relationship with anyone….but don’t let that stop you in the here and now from communicating with people and make your intentions know. “thanks, but at the moment, im not looking for any sort of relationship”….he will either understand or disappear which is fine either way…..

      whatever choice you make…do it because its what you want to do. don’t apologise for how you feel and don’t start thinking he’s the one etc..he’s a man and you need to work on you….so at this stage don’t see him as anything important. technically he can’t be ‘one’ as you have all these issues to sort…so dont blame yourself when you’re healed thinking ‘if only i dated him’…if you date too early, you will end up making the same mistakes…

      when you’re clear headed and healed , which will take time, only then can you be confident in developing any sort of relationship with anyone xx

    • Tania says:

      I’d be careful! A nice guy would leave you alone if you tell him that you’re not ready / interested. He seems to actually like the rejections, the drama. That’s pure and simple alarm bells to me. He’s not listening to you. Also, keep listening to your guts!

      Don’t worry, take your time. It’s OK to just want to be on your own. It took me a good six months before I started feeling a bit better.

    • titi says:

      Purple Lily,

      “am I shallow and selfish for not giving this man a chance?”.

      No, you are not, you have EVERY right to turn a person down, even if he’s a really nice guy. Just be firm, but don’t be mean to him. I don’t know the whole story, but from your comment, it seems like a guy who busts your boundaries. You said no several times, but he still insists. We often think a guy is interested if he pursues us. In fact, he cannot take a no as an answer, and doesn’t respect our choice. EUM often pursue us in the beginning. And if you tell/show them you’re in a phase of low self esteem/self love, they attack like a shark. It doesn’t mean that this guy is a jerk, but if your gut tells you to stop dating for awhile, listen to it.

      There is no THE ONE. There are many opportunities for love for each and every one of us. So, if you “miss” a great guy, no big deal. When we are healing, it’s best to avoid dating, until we learn what our boundaries are. Until we learn what our values are, we cannot even recognize a good guy when we meet him.

      Please don’t keep it “casual” (as Jasmine advices you), no one deserves to be treated “casually”. It’s exactly what emotinally unavailable people do. It shows that this person is emotionally fucked up and doesn’t know how to love and value another human being (or him/herself for that matter).

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi PurpleLily,
      I read your comment several times and I think I can articulate four responses. First, you seem to state several times that “I just want me and myself, I just don’t feel ready for it, I am NOT looking for anything.” I think one of the most important messages I’ve learned from Natalie and the wise BR ladies is: Listen to your gut. If you “don’t want a new man’s company in any form”, that sounds very clear to me and it’s okay. If you don’t want male company, including even coffee, listen to you. It really is okay and more than okay. It is just a date, not a marriage proposal, but if you are not ready for a date, end of. It’s okay.
      Second, he ignored your first response by trying to “catch up for coffee”. I’m not real good at this yet, but you set a boundary and he persisted? Who knows whether he is a nice guy. If everything is “under renovation in your head”, it really doesn’t matter who he is. Take the time to focus on YOU, another wise BR message. Who are YOU?
      Third, and maybe most importantly, he jumped from coffee to dinner to a movie at his place and then back to coffee? Ummm, what? Dinner at his place is very different than coffee at Starbucks or dinner out. See Natalie’s comments with respect to #4, #7, and #8 (and Cavewoman’s brilliant comment with regards to #7 guys). If you don’t want to get in that position, don’t.
      Fourth, I understand he may be the ONE and the perfect EAM. However, if you are “scared and so very uncomfortable”, I’d listen to that nagging voice. Maybe you are saying no because you mean no and aren’t ready yet? I don’t know the guy from Adam so I can’t say whether he’s the ONE or a nice guy. For me, it’s a red flag when their idea of a second date is dinner at their place. He probably isn’t the last chance saloon. If you just want you and yourself, listen to you. It isn’t being shallow or selfish. It’s treating you with respect, self-care, and love.
      PS. I’ve walked and I am walking in your shoes which is why I wanted to respond to you. There’s NO FIRE!

    • PurpleLily says:

      @ jasmine, tania, titi and runnergirl

      Many thanks for taking the time to read about my little ‘problem’. I truly appreciate it. I am glad to read that you all feel the same way that I do – tell him that I am not ready because I need to work on me.

      I think Ive always knows I was not ready for this. The morning of the day when I was meant to have coffee with him, I sat in bed crying because I was so scared of meeting a man so soon after. I tend to have intense emotional reactions – fear, sadness, anxiety and they ALWAYS convey something to me (if I listen, pre-BR I have ignored them as personal insecurity rather than gut).

      Also, I am a communicator. When I like someone, friend or more, I like to keep in touch – quick texts every day, calling now and then. And when I feel no need to communicate, I know that I dont want to see or be friendly or date this person (Dont worry, I dont go communication-crazy, I send a text and let them get back to me whenever, no chasing or multiple texting. And when I feel its time for them to do a bit of work, I back off.). So this was another sign because I havent felt like initiating contact the past 3 weeks.

      @ Jasmine : yes its been about 8 weeks since the breakup. It was a very short gig with him but very painful at the end because it was like being hit by a tornado. And I do go out with friends, Im out practically every weekend and love being out and doing things. Plus my hobbies keep me busy. I just dont want new male company, Im not ready to trust someone new.

      @ titi : no, definitely not a casual person. Sex or relationship. It has to be very exclusive for me (I realised very quickly that casual does not make me happy). And I wouldnt want to ever treat someone like that. If I am not sure of someone, I tell them because they can go find someone who will cherish them more.

      @ runnergirl : Thank you, I needed to know that it was indeed ok. I was scared that Im turning into some man-hating person! I just cant do it right now. I have so many other wonderful things in my life that is keeping me excited and I am happy with those. I reckon he is just trying everything he can and perhaps doesnt get why I dont even want to meet him as “just friends/hanging out”.

      And with regards to “theres no fire!”, yes there doesnt seem to be…but Im not looking to feel a fire, just a gentle flow that leads me towards a man or leaves me thinking about him, leaves me smiling and wanting to hear from/contact him. Its never based on how he looks (I tend to like the uglier guys, hehe) but his personality. I believe that passion takes time, it takes opening your heart, listening to and knowing someone. Its never immediate.

      It broke my heart when exEUM said he never felt the passion for me…but we had only known each other a few weeks, he never was in it or opened himself upto me and yet he made it feel like there was something lacking in ME….I dont want to treat any man this way. This is why I wondered if I was being shallow.

      Thank you all, big hugs from me!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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