loss becomes gain with perspective

In a mini excerpt from The No Contact Rule (2nd edition), I talk something that many of us have struggled with after a relationship or when looking back – this sense of it all being a ‘waste’.

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The difficulty with ending what may have come to be a very painful involvement or with trying to let go of your feelings is that you don’t know what to do or how to feel. When you lose someone you love to a bereavement and it’s been a healthy relationship, you grieve over the happy memories and even some of the tougher times, you feel mad about being robbed of this person and for whatever they’ve gone through and for the future that they didn’t get to have. When you grieve a relationship that never got off the ground or was unhealthy, you’re up against a myriad of emotions. You’re not sure how to feel and as you start to try to recall the good times they may completely cloud out the not-so-good times for a while, which may actually cause you to feel an even greater loss because your mind ends up being tricked into thinking that this person was exactly how you’re portraying them in grief.

Being truthful about your experiences, how you’ve felt, what you and they have been and done can, when you tot it up, seem so big that to now have no relationship and to need to cut contact can seem like an enormous waste. It can mean so many things whether it’s about them or what you’ve got to sort out in your own life that you may attribute all sorts of negative meanings, which in turn may make you feel like avoiding the loss and going back to make it all mean something else entirely.

You want everything you’ve felt, been and done to mean something but it’s going to mean something entirely different if you continue to engage with this person and end up hurting further.

Yes it’s a loss but it’s not a waste. It isn’t. Some people don’t even try; you tried. This isn’t about ‘mistakes’ because it’s not a waste if you learn from what was good and bad about your involvement, which can only pave the way to success. We don’t get to learn without cutting our teeth on the trial and error of life and its experiences. A mistake really only takes on greater meaning if you won’t acknowledge it and that’s when you may start to experience regret and feel like you’ve wasted your life because you persisted with a course of action. But you’re trying to do something now and if you see this through and grow out of this experience, what has happened could end up being the best thing that ever happened to you because it paves the way to you ascending into being your best you and living a better life.

madewithover

Change the meaning of this loss and in fact all of your losses and you change the feeling and also change your mentality and actions, which means that you change your present and future. Loss becomes gain. Life is ever changing, ever evolving and renewing. I’ve seen people triumph out of adversity and loss to dramatically change their lives and experience happiness in a new direction. This can and could be you.

Your thoughts?

This is a partial excerpt from the chapter It’s A Loss – Change The Meaning, Change The Feeling, from The No Contact Rule (2nd edition).

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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211 Responses to It’s Not A Waste – An excerpt from The No Contact Rule (2nd edition)

  1. grace says:

    Yeah I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Still nc though, so that’s something.

    • Wiser says:

      Grace, how are you doing? Thinking of you…

    • confused123 says:

      Oh Grace….
      Hugs…

    • Tulipa says:

      Grace
      I don’t think you are supposed to feel any particular way except the way you are feeling.
      There is no right or wrong way to process things.
      Sometimes it feels like society is dictating we are meant to be happy all of the time and anything that is not associated with happiness is to be pushed down or denied. I would go with what you are feeling I know you are wise enough to know that the feelings won’t last forever.
      Thinking of you.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Grace.. at first I just felt numb and wasn’t sure what I should be feeling. Mad, sad, hurt ect.. But once the numbness wore off I started to process the grief I felt. By taking one day at a time & journaling all my thoughts out slowing I could process the hurt and move forward. For a long time I felt like I was on a rollercoaster of emotions.It takes time and a lot of patience with yourself. Be good to you. We are all here for you :)

    • runnergirl says:

      Ah Grace, so very sorry for your loss and the latest turn of events. One thing for certain, it wasn’t a waste! You helped me see a healthy relationship is possible. Do you see it yet?

    • Natasha says:

      Grace, so sorry to hear that you are hurting. Last year I wemt through the break-up of my first healthy, non-EU relationship and, at first, I really felt like, “Sooooo I finally got off my arse and found someone normal and THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?!”. Apparently I was supposed to feel…annoyed. The best advice I can give is be nice to yourself and keep in mind that not being with someone who’s not for us means we now have space for someone who is. Considering all you did for me when I was in the Depths Of Despair a few years ago, I really hope this helps and keep in mind you are so awesome that a bunch of people who haven’t even had the chance to meet you are sending lots of love your way :)

    • Magnolia says:

      Oh grace, what a bummer. I have only been reading sporadically the past few weeks and your post here sent me digging back to read what I missed and I am SO sorry to hear this.

      You put yourself out there, you really did. You have been a role model to me in your singledom and were also one in your giving it your all to a new relationship.

      Thank you for sharing all of it with us. I think you’ve shown us all how to take a risk, and now, unfortunately, suffer a loss, with self-esteem and boundaries in tact.

      Wish I could go soap his family’s windows for you. But not really, because that would be drama and you’re nc :) But I think I speak for all your BR friends when we say we IMAGINE going and soaping their windows, and IMAGINE scrawling something like “YOUR LOSS, BITCHES!!” in the suds.

      Much love, grace.

    • Tabitha says:

      Oh Grace, I can only add to the chorus and say that you really helped me to see that a healthy relationship was possible. One where you didn’t run at 100 miles an hour and indulge in FF/FF behaviour.
      I so wish the outcome had been different for you, but Natalie is right in that it is just another lesson. Some of them are just more painful than others. Sending you big hugs and huge thanks for sharing it all with us.

      • Lilia says:

        Grace, I´m so sorry! I didn´t realise it was you until I read all the replies – funny how we sometimes don´t see the things we don´t want to see. I´ve been scanning your previous posts because I must´ve missed your breakup. This is so sad. Know that we´ll all be here for you if you need to vent or cry.
        I´m sending you lots of hugs and strenght!

        (Btw, this is off topic but your comment about your mother (that she likes to hurt people and that there´s no use explaining it) describes my father exactly. I finally understood this week that he enjoys conflict and that I must accept its just part of his personality and stop explaining it away. It´s the only way to stop being hurt by it.)

    • Bellaninha says:

      I’ve been reading Nat’s blog at times from afar too, when I know I should be commenting more, sharing like you all do. but Grace I just too wanted to say thanks for always commenting and in the past so many of your comments have helped me more than you know. I am sure it feels awful now, but you gave things a go being true to yourself and have the experience of that, much more than I still do. I keep making ridiculous mistakes over and over and wonder when I will ever learn. I’ve learned a lot from you. I am even planning a “dry July” to see if taking alcohol away can just give me a bit of clarity to work on myself and my issues honestly. Hugs to you Grace. I am sure everyone is here for you xx

    • Learner says:

      Grace,
      You have shared your thoughtful advice, and cared for so many of us here on BR. Now it is time to take care of grace. Allow yourself to feel your feelings while showing yourself gentle care. Only you know how best to treat yourself. And, as Natalie says, try to see the loss not as a waste but as a way to continue your growth and pave the way to even more success in your future. Adding my cyber hugs to the others ((((grace))))

    • grace says:

      Thanks everyone, I had a nice evening with a friend so it’s not gloomy all the time.
      Do try to carve out some fun time for yourselves. I may be sad again tomorrow but that doesn’t make this evening a waste.

      • Little Star says:

        Dear Grace, I did not realize that you are split up. You are lovely and strong person! We love you, if you ever need help, we are here for you. My warmest hugs x

      • Natasha says:

        Very true – it’s pretty hard to feel mopey when you’re out and about with a great friend! Personally, I always make it a point in trying times to watch or read something really, really funny right before turning in for the night – works like a charm :).

      • Selkie says:

        Grace,

        Sending you warm and healing thoughts across the ocean. (((hugs)))

    • Snowboard says:

      Grace, you are so wonderful and beautiful, with so much to give the right person. I’m so sorry about what has happened. I hope you are taking care of yourself. Given that you have gone NC, it sounds like you are. Take care of yourself, and stay with us during this time.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Chiming in with my 2¢. Grace, I can’t find the detail of what’s happened, but from what I can gather, you loved, you lost but no doubt you gained so much from the experience. You are too wise, too philosophical and too kickass to let this knock you off your path.

      If the quality of men in your orbit improves from here on in, the next guy, when you’re ready to take him on, is going to be a true contender for the all round magnificence of you. :-)

  2. josie says:

    I have found it very hard to let go of an ex for the past six years. Without going into the details because right now I am not dwelling on that, I really didn’t like him for much of those years due to general mistreatment during our relationship, then his attempting to make me his go to girl and friend with benefits and then just his friend when he realised no benefits would ever be forthcoming. His friendship consisted of texts quite randomly which would start and stop when he felt like it and the occasional phone call. The last time we met over a year ago he tried to hide me behind a post in a pub because “he was well know round here” I vowed then never to meet him again, but the texts dragged on and on. Two weeks ago I told him that we weren’t friends and that since I wasn’t getting any of my needs met, we couldn’t talk again. He then told me how stupid I was blah blah and that I should seek some sort of help and should just “suck it up” wtf?!. My reply being ” I don’t need any help to know you don’t make me feel good about myself or happy!” It was so easy to do so what stopped me before? What stopped me before is not wanting to be seen as a cruel person for putting myself first and my own needs. All I know is that in the past two weeks I have cleaned up my house something I struggled to do in six years, have started going to the gym and have started to write and make exciting plans for myself to travel. What I learned from all of this was that I should listen to myself. If I don’t feel happy it means I am not happy. I can accept that and change nothing or try to get the other person to change (which isn’t going to happen let’s face it!) OR change myself and the situation so that I do feel happy. Its been an experience and I am through that now and just feel lighter than a feather inside and happy for the first time in many years. Some people are just happiness killers and they have to go. Sometimes you kill your own happiness by not choosing your own needs and its always your right to put yourself first and love yourself. You have no idea what it feels like to lie in bed to night feeling free to think positive thoughts and drifting off to sleep happy that I have been the best I can be and no one has taken my shine. Its utter bliss.

    • micheyl says:

      that sounds great Josie!! I was listening to someone speak and they said they saw an interview with Robert Downey Jr. on Oprah and she asked him how he finally quit drugs. And he said it was easy, he just finally wanted to and valued himself. Oprah apparently said, but you went into rehab countless number of times and it never worked. RDJ said, yes, but I was never doing it for me then, but once I did, it was so easy. What you said seems to be similar. Once you started valuing yourself it became so easy! Good for you!

    • Sandra says:

      Oh my god it could be a mirror image of what I have just been through, after five years of off and on I finished things, but we have been in constant contact, he told me he has a new girlfriend but that the sex wasn’t the best, but he didn’t want to give her up so could I please be the go to girl and if it didn’t work out did I mind hanging around to wait. You know what I nearly did as well, I thought anything is better then nothing, I got a text from him saying that I could actually win him but all I could think about was how really unhappy I was, then and now. It was like he still had to control everything that was happening in my life.
      He would turn up or text just as I was starting to move on, and then I thought hold on, is it wining to have somebody in my life who thinks it’s okay to cheat on his new girlfriend??!! I think not!
      And like yourself Josie, since I have told him in no uncertain terms to no longer contact me I have felt so much better, I am sleeping better, I am happier at work and I am looking forward to the future finally.

      • Sandra says:

        Oh and my health was seriously starting to suffer, high blood pressure, problems with sleep, alot of stress. Always wondering if he was going to text me, the relief is huge, not only for my health but for my self esteem :-)

        • AquaGirl says:

          Josie and Sandra,

          Your stories are almost exactly like mine. I have been on and off NC, but not until recently have I decided enough is enough. I had gone NC for 4 months in the past, and the lightness inside me and the happiness that returned, along with my stress level diminishing not waiting on a text felt soooo good! I am now 5 days NC, again, but I cut it off- didn’t answer another email of him defending his behavior and me be accused of expecting too much from him. I know he was expecting my usual, ‘I am sorry. I know you are a good man and I expect too much of your time. I will try harder’ response. Nope!! I DO DESERVE BETTER! I DO DESERVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE TIME TO BE WITH ME!! So, no response from me and I am getting that peaceful inner feeling again- but much sooner this time. I think it’s because I have been through this ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ so many times before that it’s easier to let go and the feelings aren’t so intense this time around. I needed this post today. The word that has been consuming my mind over this past week was ‘waste’. But I know that while it was a mistake, it was a learning experience. I met him during my divorce and he made me realize what I wanted in a man- and it wasn’t what my ex had been giving me all those years. But now, after letting him go, I know more of what I don’t want in man. It’s like I am learning more and more about what I want and need, and deserve, from each man who I thought at one time was good for me, but in the end was not. There were so many red flags, but my caring and ‘they deserve another chance, there has to be something good in them’ attitude- like I can save people with my goodness and empathy, made me hang on, along with I didn’t want to experience the ‘waste’ feelings. But now it’s about me. I have a lot of good things going on in my life; a lot to look forward to. I am focusing on good and the right man will come along when God feels I am ready.

          Take care!!

    • riotgirl says:

      josie, that sounds awesome. so happy to hear that you kicked (him) that bad habit out of your life. :)

  3. paolo says:

    A great reminder Natalie. Thank you again and again. x

  4. MissBliss says:

    “Change the meaning of this loss and in fact all of your losses, and you change the feeling and also change your mentality and actions, which means that you change your present and future.”

    Natalie, this is spot on. You’ve said it perfectly. After two years of working hard on my issues — really hard — I am seeing the world through a different lens. I’ve gone from bitter and angry to thankful to the assclown (I say that word humorously now) for showing me everything I do not want in a relationship. He also showed me how little I cared for myself, and I am so grateful to him for helping me realize how much I was robbing myself of love, respect, compassion.
    This shift in thinking has led to a whole new me, someone who could never possibly be attracted to the ex. Today I am attracting a totally different type of man, a healthy man. My career is on track. I feel strong.
    I used to think two years spent with the ex was a waste of time. But it was exactly what I needed so I could get the lesson.
    And the good news is, I got it. Loud and clear.
    Thanks so much for being there to help me see the way out.

    • AquaGirl says:

      MissBliss,

      I can really relate to your post. I believe I needed all those ‘back and forth’ with him to reach the one moment in time where I felt enough is enough. I’ve felt that before- but it’s deeper inside me this time. It’s been 3 1/2 years of mostly turmoil and I asked myself recently where do I want to be a year from now? Still worried, anxious, and stressed out from this ‘friendship’? No! I want to be healthy inside and out. I am tired of forcing a relationship that never should have started in the first place.

      Take care!

  5. So Sad says:

    I have been dwelling in sadness for the last 4 months when my MM said some horrible things to me as a result of having an argument with a mutual friend. I went NC for 4 weeks expecting him to chase me and apologize because he had taken the mutual friends word without ever hearing my side and only 2 weeks prior to that confessing he had fallen in love with me. I was embarrassed that he never did chase me and when I called him, he was distant and mean and I have been pathetic enough to call him 3 more times and meet up with me. when I did meet up with him, he pushed his tongue down my throat like I was cheap, he tried to push my face down on his penis to suck it (he had never treated me like this before) and then got really angry that I refused to.

    I have had my ego shot down so horribly and it’s hard for me to deal with this because my one and only partner before him also didn’t desire me/chase me (it was always me chasing him for affection and intimacy). I struggle with being rejected and abandoned by my mother and then my first husband and now my latest friend who turned into an absolute monster. I go back on all our conversations and realise almost 99% of our conversations were about him and how hot he was/how many women were falling all over him etc.

    I did, however, get something from all this…my lust for the MM made me lose 20 kilos and I am finding for the first time in my 30 something years, I’m being desired by men (and one woman LOL). I try to focus on the positives that came out of this but I keep resorting back to the poor me feeling…I feel stronger when I tell myself I’m not the victim and I chose to do what I did and I need to pay for those choices but then I feel sad again that he never chased me like so many of you state in your comments…I’m envious that many of you at least get chased. I feel so unloved. Was it too much effort because I wasn’t giving him sex…were the declaration of love just a way for him to sleep with me….I may be older but I have no experience with this type of man. I dont know anything anymore…were all his beautiful words a lie? I wish I could get into his head and figure out the truth. He has no empathy or compassion for how I’m feeling, it’s all about him. I’m NC for 6 weeks after our last meeting. Despite him treating me like vernom in our last meet up, I seem to love him more than when we were together (if you can call it that)

    • FX says:

      So Sad, As per this post, please see your experience as the gift of learning it is. First, “My MM” is an impossible construction. He was never yours. He made a prior commitment to another woman. (And, I speak from experience as a once OW.) This is top line data. Do not throw yourself at anyone, in particular if they are not actually available.

      You also say, “He has no empathy or compassion for how I’m feeling, it’s all about him.” This should be enough to flush any r/s but I know how hard it is to reconcile the pretty words with reality, especially when you are still in the fog and your ego has been bruised. You are struggling with cognitive dissonance and him pulling away causes anxiety and makes you want him more to calm the pain. He is not the solution to your pain, he is the cause of your pain along with allowing your value to be determined by anyone outside of yourself. Especially, when that person doesn’t value you beyond your usefulness to them.

      I am still learning some of these things myself and I know it’s hard now but you can use this poor choice and experience to make more esteeming choices going forward.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      SO SAD. I really need to take some time to think how I want to respond but for now I will say this: He is a disgusting scum bag of a human being. I am repulsed at his treatment of you at your last meet up. No woman deserves to be treated like that period, end. Do not wallow in sadness over someone that is capable of such cruel treatment. Stay NC & take time to work on why you would want someone like that in your life. More to follow.

    • Lilia says:

      So Sad,
      There are so many things not okay about this scenario.

      1) A guy pushing your face towards his penis should be a cold shower to your libido and be met with a slap in the face or at the very least an immediate flush. I´m thinking you´re not very much in touch with your own feelings, please take some time to wonder what is going on inside your head, why you desire him, instead of analyzing his behaviour.

      2) The man is married. There is absolutely no way you´ll win with a MM. It is always and will always be all about him. Please read everything Natalie has written about being the Other Woman. And don´t refer to him as “MY MM” because he was never yours to begin with.

      3) Why do you value being chased? What´s the point if the guy is a complete douche and if he has nothing good to offer? I sense that you´re valuing the thrill of men blowing hot more than establishing a mutual, caring relationship. Also, hot and intense pursuit is more often than not followed by the opposite so you don´t want that.

      I don´t want to sound too harsh so I´ll leave it at that, but I think you´ll get a lot out of going through this site as much as you can and firmly maintaining NC.

    • runnergirl says:

      So Sad,

      I’m sure I’ll be one of many responses to you regarding the meaning of no contact. NC isn’t about seeing if they will chase you. NC is about cutting contact forever and permanently which allows you to heal. I’ll keep it brief because you’ll probably hear from everybody. Point blank, anybody that sticks his tongue down my throat and pushes my face onto his penis would be reported to the police ASAP. He has a giant, giant problem. One day, when you’ve had some time to heal, you will be grateful that monster is not chasing you. Being chased by a monster isn’t love, my dear. Download and read all of Natalie’s books and you’ll see what is happening to you. One last thing, he isn’t your MM. He is married to another woman. Just for the record. Stay with BR. It was the only thing that pulled me out of my dream/nightmare with a creepy MM who said one thing, did another, and though god knows what. You don’t want into his head. Get into your head!

    • Little Star says:

      So Sad, I am really sorry you feeling this way…you feel upset that MM does not chase you, you forgot the main reason: HE IS MARRIED, he has a wife, you are (unfortunately) one of many his admires. You need time for yourself, it is VERY HARD I can imagine, please read Natalie’s books/posts and even go to therapist who will help you with abandonment issues. Take all attention from MM and concentrate on YOU. You will feel better, trust me:)

    • Lilly says:

      So Sad,

      Your words “I’m envious that many of you at least get chased. I feel so unloved” struck me. You could say that the ex MM has been chasing me lately, but it’s not really chasing it’s just chancing his arm again, that’s all. He’s not changed in any way, he still doesn’t want me and he certainly doesn’t love me. He just wants sex, an ego boost, or whatever. Nothing good there so please don’t wish this for yourself. I feel so angry on your behalf that he treated you so disrespectfully. What a horrible, disgusting excuse for a man. If a man ever shows he has no empathy or compassion run like the wind. It’s taken a long time, but that’s what I’m doing. Keep going with NC and trust that you will get through this because you will.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Girl, the first thing you need to do is change your moniker from so sad to SO FUCKING OUTRAGED. Once you’ve lived with that for a while, you might like to change it again to so relieved I never have to see his pathetic ass again. I know it’s a long name to post under, maybe you could shorten it to SRINHTSHPAA. Which is, incidentally, the noise he would probably make if you stuck a pin in him and he blew the fuck away out of your life like the deflated balloon of cockspankery he is.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        So Sad. I agree with Ms D. Change that moniker from “So Sad” to something more positive. I hope you don’t intend to be sad over this asshole forever. Your self esteem is not just low, it’s nonexistent. How could you allow him to push you head down to his penis and you just suck it up? He is disgusting. No one has the right to forcefully demand oral sex. Get away FAST!

  6. Robin says:

    Sometimes my family and relatives will drop hints about getting married soon and that there’s not enough time to loll about and find a perfect mate-just hurry up and have kids. Or a random politician in the US will say something along the lines of, “Women, the best time to find your perfect mate is in college.” It’s enough to make me berate myself for not having been through that myself, but your post reminded me about what’s important: me! My past relationships are still learning experiences that got me to where I am today. :)

    • FX says:

      Has this actually been said in the last 4 decades?!! “,,,politician in the US will say something along the lines of, “Women, the best time to find your perfect mate is in college”

      All the young women I know are getting post-graduate degrees and/or plan to get their careers started before starting their families. This puts them late 20s to early 30s at the youngest.

      I also think that women who don’t try to play it cool but actually let a man know that they are looking to get married and have a family have a much better chance of doing so. Not in a pushy way but a woman does’t need to bark up every tree and entertain the affections of a man who doesn’t value what she does.

      I don’t know how old you are but I wouldn’t pay attention to anyone who is making you feel pressured. You’ve learned from your experiences and can use that knowledge to pursue what you want and think will make you happy.

      • EllyB says:

        When I was in my twenties, I was super scared of not finding “the one” on time, of not having children quickly (purportedly it’s bad not to have them in your twenties or early thirties) and the like.

        The problem was that I didn’t even want kids, and I didn’t particularly want a man either… but everybody told me that I would totally yearn for a man and children once I was in my thirties.

        Now that I am in my mid thirties I still don’t feel any such yearnings at all. I’m glad that I didn’t fall for that kind of propaganda. Of course it’s totally okay to want a family… it is just not okay to talk every woman into wanting one, mongering fear.

        Now I wouldn’t mind being with a man who allowed me to be ME. But that is exactly the point. I used to believe I had to change completely in order to become “marriage material”. And I think that is what many people who push us to find a partner quickly really want… that we desperately try to become someone else in order to please an EUM/AC.

      • Robin says:

        @FX, EllyB and riotgirl: Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

        @FX: Yep. That was definitely said. I forgot from who (and with good reason, LOL), but I believe she was giving a commencement speech to graduating college students in Virginia (among other random comments about women made by random public figures-oyyyy). I’m also working on letting men know directly what I’m looking for (serious relationship + family) instead of being wishy washy about it. I just wish I knew to do that when I was younger! It’d take the confusion out of the whole dating process!

        @EllyB: I agree about the fear-mongering. Even if its unintentional, statements like that just make people wonder, “Am I doing something wrong if I’m not married or not wanting to?” I do my best to ignore it, but sometimes my confidence will just waver.

        @riotgirl: Same. I definitely would have loved to find the right guy in college, or high school, (the idea of having loved someone since you were both kids still fascinates me) but at the time, I wasn’t as strong or as mature as I am now.

    • riotgirl says:

      Robin, I’m glad to hear that you’re doing what you’re doing to make yourself happy. It’s hard not to feel pressured when society expects a lot from women.

      Actually, it feels like most of the time — it’s not a choice. I think most women would probably love to find the love of their lives in college but things don’t necessarily happen that way. Besides, having the experience of dating gives you the knowledge of knowing what you want in a relationship and what you don’t.

      The way I see it is, it’s much better to be single and happy than to be married and miserable. Xx

  7. micheyl says:

    I have been doing so much self-reflection during this break up. And yes, at first fearing this whole relationship was a “waste” but then realizing that I have opened up again to love whereas I had been shut down for the previous 8 years! Then I thought well, this whole extended breakup has been a waste and so hurtful too. But again realizing that I am completely growing and learning through this experience.

    I had a huge “Aha!” moment last night. I had been going through my patterns throughout this break up and have seen my attraction to unavailable men. In my process of growth, I have come to understand that if a lesson in life is not learned then we keep getting the lesson in different form until we learn it. Last night, I started thinking about my first ex husband and comparing my relationship with my current ex to my relationship with my first ex husband. On a website, it said the “clone” of the person you have not resolved things with may appear in your life. On the surface they are really nothing alike, as I was 15 when I started dating my ex husband and 42 when I started dating my ex boyfriend. Too many differences to name, but then I thought about how the beginning of both relationships were so intense and how they both ultimately end up with a woman they claim they are not in love with or passionate about instead of getting back together with me. I realized that this relationship is a shortened, more intense and more adult version of my first relationship! I never had closure or allowed myself to grieve that relationship. I was only 23 when we divorced, no kids, so everyone I knew kindof played it down, like we had just broken up. I never felt I was allowed to show how much it killed me. Anyway, that is why I think this break up has been so devastating for me. Physically making me sick, emotionally draining me. I think I am really grieving for my loss now and maybe my loss in the past.

    It is a process for sure, but not a waste. Thanks Nat for your endless wisdom. 10 days of NC and still going…

    My question: I am so afraid that I will run into the ex as we live in the same town and there are summer festivals in town. I don’t want to avoid doing a summer festival in case he goes (he may not go) but if I do run into him, how is the best way to handle it?

    • Learner says:

      Mycheyl,
      If you see him at the summer festival, avoid him. No eye contact, walk away. Keep the focus on you, do not waste time engaging with him any more. Stay on your path of growth. Simple to say, and more difficult to do, but it sounds like your only choice if you want to break the pattern that does not lead to happiness.

    • AquaGirl says:

      Hi!

      I agree with Learner. Just avoid him. I would hold my head up high, be happy, sincere, and genuine within yourself. I am not saying put a false smile on or fake be over enthusiastic just to show him you are ok without him- but being happy and content and confident in your decision and your inner feelings will be evident, will shine, on the outside to anyone around you- especially him.

      Enjoy your summer!!

  8. Kiara says:

    What I thought was the biggest loss in my life, a man I loved so much more than myself or even my beloved family, 5 years down the line I can honestly say was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Completely and utterly heartbroken, I fled my sleepy home town (which I hated and was in an anxious rut in anyways) moved to London, and forced myself to make a whole new life. I have seen and experienced so many amazing things, met the most amazing people, compared to my life back then, it is so much more, and it is all the more satisfying because I did it myself. Sure it was painful, but it was worth it. And looking back on him and everyone else involved, I’m so glad I was pushed out of that situation. No regrets!

  9. GT says:

    Amen! It’s not easy but honor the good times and learn from the bad but most importantly maintain NC. Onward and upward!

  10. FX says:

    I’m still not feeling great about what I went through and still think about him/the debacle of a r/s way too much but I do know that I have learned and grown a huge amount through living it and BR. I am not that woman anymore. I was mid 40s when this started but I can see now that I was not very mature about relationships or really available myself either.

    If I met the AC today as he was then, I would never start a r/s with him let alone stay on that roller coaster for several years. Nope, not a chance. I know I had my reasons at the time and I am working on making peace with it as a learning experience.

    I have been told by my nearest and dearest that they like me better in many ways now. I’m working on not letting mourning my concurrent loss of relative youth, innocence and a comfortable life detract from the valuable lessons I have learned and shifts in my thinking. It’s tough stuff but I’m trusting NML that it will still work out for the best!

    • Learner says:

      FX,
      Isn’t it great to feel the change in yourself? To know that you would handle things differently with the same AC now that you have your BR knowledge? That the time you invested was not wasted because you have become an even more likeable person to your friends and hopefully to yourself? I was in my 40′s, also, when I started with exMM. I feel so much more mature now, a few years later, after learning the life lessons that came from that unhealthy involvement. Yes, it’s tough to have to learn this way. I am trusting NML also, that its the path to something better for each one of us.

  11. runnergirl says:

    I know it wasn’t a waste because you and the wonderful BR community pulled me through. I still struggle with remembering the good times when the unwelcome Mr. Nostaliga decides to visit. This one sure knocked me for a loop.

  12. Rolly says:

    This entire post is spot on. I’m at a point where I’m just over the whole idea of relationships, marriage and connection. I no longer care. I refuse to be a fallback, callback or anything for a man. I don’t want to be his friend if I know he’s attracted to me. I don’t call, answer email or text. I’m done. I’m tired of men coming into my life and we never seem to get past a certain point. I still want love, believe in love and deserve love. But I’m melancholic about the whole subject of men, emotions and relationships. I give up.

    • Little Star says:

      Rolly, I feel exactly like you, but I am not going to give up. Why should I allow my past experiences (two ACs) to ruin my futures’s perspectives? What I realized the less I think about men/relationships I find more time for my development/improvements (work, my flat, health etc. I gave up men for NOW, but I will definitely start dating, when I am READY!

      • A Little Bit Stuck says:

        Hi Little Star – glad to see you sounding so positive and yes, why should we let these horrible damaged men ruin our perseption of our future!

        After a few very positive strong weeks, Im struggling again. I think because my ex AC has finally stopped trying to contact me / suggest meeting up etc. I knew this would happen, I knew that the comfort I got from the messages meant I wasn’t really there yet but it’s been hard to accept. I think Im def struggling with the thought that it was all such a waste. We got so close, I gave more than i ever have in any relationship, let down all my barriers…and for what? For this Jekyll and Hyde guy to build me up and then knock me down over and over again until I could barely recognise myself. It does seem like such a waste and I feel sad for what I lost and sad that he didn;t / wouldn’t value me and what we could have had. However, what I have gained, in understanding myself and my issues and my, frankly crippling, lack of self-esteem is surely not a waste. So I guess there should be some comfort there.

        The good times are certainly clouding out the bad this week and I feel like I’ve rolled right on back to square one. I’ve felt better than this before though. Its just an adjustment to him no longer chasing. Hopefully now he’s finally leaving me alone, I can start to truly heal from this break up.

        So Sad – being chased was what I thought I wanted, However, nothing he said prior to the breakup made things any better. No declarations of ‘love’ made things right, no ‘explaining’ made me understand his consitantly cruel and selfish behaviour. I know it seems harsh when they dont even try to get you back but really, its for the best, trust me. Any contact or chasing or messing around after the break just prolongs the agony and slows your progress. You can fully concentrate on you now, without his nonsence clouding your head.

        His treatment of you when you last met is absolutley disgusting. Oddly enough, when I begged my ex to speak to me after he ‘broke up with me’ (by not answering my calls for 7 days and not coming into work) we had a very odd three hour chat, which made no sense and was a total waste of time. As I was crying in this small study room at the office and he was ‘justifying’ his actions by talking about his problems and not recognising in any way what he’d put me through that past week, he tried to have s*x with me. We were essentially in the middle of breaking up, I was in floods of tears, he’s said some horrible things and he tried to PULL MOVES ON ME. I remember being completely confused and horiffied. HOW could he be so turned on at that moment? These men are sick. He actually said, ‘we need to conect again, you’re so vulnerable’ – ERM NO, no we dont need to ‘connect’ when Im feeling like this you sick sick asshole. So Sad, neither of us should take this as a any reflection on us. This is just one example of their behaviour – one example of why we cant be with ppl like this! it is hard getting over someone who has messed with your head so much but in finding this site and working on OURSELVES we will finally get to a point where we understand why these mean aren’t good enough for us and why they dont deserve our tears and time! When we get to that stage, we can look back and thank them for dumping us / not being the man we needed because we’ll be in a better place than we EVER could have been with them x

        • Little Star says:

          Little Bit, I know how you feel…I am the same, one day I a fine, another day all over sudden start to I miss AC N2:( Sometimes, I think I am going to break NC!!!
          I regret as you are, that I spent 5 years of my life with AC N1, and they were wasted and I became older and it is getting harder to meet decent guys…BUT I do not want to allow these ACs to destroy me, we learned our lessons and we getting stronger day by day. I do not know how long you were with your man, but as someone said here that at least we know now WHAT WE DO NOT WANT! Be gentle to yourself, time is the best healer…My hugs to you x

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Little Star. Don’t you dare break NC. Longing for him is normal, but it is transient. Don’t give in to a weak moment. Keep working on yourself to become the women YOU love and feel proud of. I did not attract a good man (after my marriages) in nearly 7 years, until I became the woman I wanted and needed to become. When we become healthy, mentally, etc. we are able to attract the same. In my case, it happened and it can for you also.

  13. louise says:

    “Being truthful about your experiences, how you’ve felt, what you and they have been and done can, when you tot it up, seem so big that to now have no relationship and to need to cut contact can seem like an enormous waste. ”

    OK This is it for me. I have tried and tried and tried to understand, to be truthful, to be accountable, and For the past year BR has been my daily bible. But Ive only commented once after my first failed NC. Then i went into “i can handle it” zone then “i will handle it better” zone then “i’m losing my mind” zone and back again and again and again and today for whatever reason, my period maybe, defenses down, too many flags to ignore, whatever I CANT TAKE IT AND I NEED YOU GUYS so badly tonight. No matter how hard I try to understand why i do this, why i say that, I feel like an addict that has admitted defeat. Or needs help getting there. So, I’m humbly asking to let me share my story of tonight and just ask you to tell me i’m not an irrational crazy bitch.

    SO, in essence. We meet at his work after hours. I’m feeling fragile after a wicked pms and period. Gut says “don’t go. it’s always bad when you see him like this.” I go. within minutes i “blow it”. We are both dripping sweat because of the heat. He taks of his coveralls. I touch caress him lovingly. I bring his hand to my back, my bum, toshow him how wet i am am from heat, he briefly touches, says yeah”. I make a a joke. “Hey let’s try that again” (my mm and I, we have been together a year)He immediately reacts defensively as always ” what did ido wrong now. what didnt i say right” I explain it feels like we’eve gotten used toeach other. He says “well, it’s not new anmore. Youhave anice bum but it;s not new.” i ignore. Later during intimacy i make a passive aggressive crack about i guess im not new enough when things are taking a very very long time. he reacts again. ” why are you throeing that in my face?” iapologise. profusely. Iadmit i was hurt by his earlier not new comment. needless to say the mood was lost. he hugs me tight. i cry. i wont let it go. i feel very badly for being a bitchy passive aggressive. mostly because i am NOT like that. seriously. not. especially not with a very defensive sensitive guy like he is. tehn he brings up a time a while agao, (a few bad PMS months back) when i was very upset and cried because we were suposed to just be hugging adn when i had to leave he whips it out for a quikie BJ) . I told him i felt like a “5$ whore” . So tonight he says that;s why things werent working. It;sbecause how i hurt him then. I cry again, yet alos feel slightly manipulated. then he tells me to stop crying and get over it. he is over it now, 10 minutes later. I say i can;t get over his saying he can;t relax with me becuase he is thinking back to that to time and how he is so hurt he cant let me be intimate with my mouth anymore. I say we have to deal with this. we are now awkward. he says nothing. says ” is there something else i dont know? what else have i said wrong now” no , i say, you’ve said noting wrong. and there’s nothing i haven’t said a hundred times… ( which he never addresses, which i dont say but want to say again …like trying to have a relationship in secret, in vans, and warehouses for an hour here or there, not talking openly, not doing anything openly, is killing me… we quickly kiss goodbye. i leave i feel like shit. i feel the accusations, “you always cause drama, you are unstable, you create highs and lows, why can’t you be emotionally calm and reliable (like my wife.) why can’t you just appreciate our time for what it is when it is.”

    I realize it’s because, god damnit, i’m trying to conduct a normal relationship in an abnormal environment. I try to leave, i try to go NC and he NEVER NEVER lets me. I get drawn back. I will be stronger. I will value our love more. I will be less drama making, I iwll be more stable. AGGGGHHHHH> the thing is i relaied tonight, none, NONE of these crying jags, or bitchy comments, or insecurities would happen if we were open, and free and had time together becuase we wouldbe just going along without the repressed emotions, fears, humiliations, faltering communications. And now to top it off, he is getting bored with our lovemaking! God. And we donlt even have time to just talk about it. from beginning to end. We have to break off after our alloted time. No matter if its good, or bad, tears or anger. Time’s up. Then i wait for the “He’ll send you a text, maybe. Or maybe he’ll just read them and not respond. Maybe he’ll send a loving one, then ignore me for a day or two. Maybe he’ll just act like I am a stranger but call when he’s travelling between two points and can fit me in. Maybe he’ll call me non stop for a few days to show me how much he loves me.” I’m so sad. SO sad we could be different, So sad he sees a woman who isn’t this woman (oh yeah, i know, common common refrain.)

    I just really shattered today. And it wasn’t even a bad scene in terms of scenes. It was just one more, one too many. One I feel I created or was too weak to resist creating, so much emotional energy goes into wanting him to not feel hurt by me. I seem to be a master of hurting him. It’s like it’s all i do , just plan was to make HIM sad. I feel like I really need BR and this community right now. I am ashamed of myself.

    • SoulFull says:

      Oh Lousie…yes why oh why couldnt you just not rock the boat like his calm and reliable wife? The poor little lamb.

      You called him out on some underhanded comment, he didnt like that, because it means his game (with you) is on its way to over.

      Stop worrying about hurting him. I am not an advocate of being a bitch to teach people lessons, but you can instill value and respect at anytime in a shit situation by simply standing up for those values. You did that and he is manipulating back round to you, to make you feel bad and accept his status quo. Look at his actions…whipping it out for a quick BJ…ack ack ack…he WAS treating you like a cheap whore, but at least call girls take something away from crap treatment like that, even if it is $5…you on the other hand nearly lost the last shreds of dignity. You are seeing the situation but are not connecting the dots quite. He is bullying you into his agenda. If he thinks so highly of his wife’s emotional state, then why is he cheating on her? Does he think he he found the spine to tell her the truth, his calm wife would still be reliably calm and non emotional?? What a selfish, self serving dick.

      But…you need out, and dont get hoovered back into this via being his emotional tampon. It is what it is, you are learning involvements like this are not healthy, and your own emotional actions are telling you this too. You even said yourself, he seemed bored of you, so where do you think this is going to end up? You get the P45, and he takes on a new ‘employee’ whilst his wife (God bless her) is still there, calm and reliable and being shat on.

      You will be hurt either way, so at least if you see it through to walk away, you will find it easier to heal and forgive yourself (because you will kick yourself later down line)

      And I stress again, dont worry too much about hurting his feelings…hes just peeved you are calling his BS for what it is. If he treated you and his wife with some degree of respect, he would have ended it with his wife, took time out to heal from that, THEN start something up organically with you…with not a warehouse or quick whipped cock in sight!

      Love to you, you can get through this even though yes its hard (nay pun intended ;))

      Its time to honor yourself x

    • Lau_ra says:

      louise,
      what I see in your post is a master manipulator, who puts all the responsibility for your …ehm…relationshit… on your shoulders.
      He makes insulting comments, pushes you for sex when he knows you need to go, remembers minor things for months and blames you for everything that is happening to him? Seriously-wtf?
      I’ve been involved with this type of man as well and I can tell nothing devastates your self-esteem more as this type of man, as his comments and moods make you doubt your own judgement.
      I really believed I can change that frog in a prince costume (handsome-great career-smart-active-etc) into an actual prince if I love him and care about him more, yet you know what? Its never enough. If you start doing something their way, they find something else to bash you about. And its not in an open way, so he could be confronted about that – no, sir. Its always said in a way that it could be turned into a joke if the need arises. If you try raising the question, they blame you for not being able to let go…
      So please please, stop wasting your time for someone who sees you as a scapegoat/ sex-provider/whatever depending on the situation. Ask yourself, do you feel happy in such nonsense? I bet you don’t,or else you wouldn’t post here, and I bet you’ll realise it as soon as you’ll use plenty of advise on how to break this ill pattern, given by Nat and BR community.

      • louise says:

        SoulFull and Lau_ra, thank you both for the patient, kind and in depth responses. They are insightful and calming.

        And yes, he was an insensitive douche who treated me crappy when he whipped it out. In fact he does that EVER TIME i say ” I have to go now.” Like clockwork actually. I have to leave, he whips it out. Then once a long time back, accused me of being so disrespectful of him I tried to detain HIM when he had to leave! In a slip he also once said on the phone, “When are we going to have sex.” I was shocked by his boldness” then he quickly followed it with, “You only want me to have sex?” He’s used that line a few times. Not any more since I called him on making me feel used. Now I am just “not new anymore.” Oi Vay.

        So, your comments helped make me feel a lot better! Going to be rereading these and other posts, a lot more carefully the next little while.

        • SoulFull says:

          No worries louise. We have all done the soul destroying shimmee with these AC’s ourselves, to some more or lesser degree. When you look back its “omg, how did it get to that level of “WTF*ckedness”.

          Your recounted memory jogged my memory of shame… My ex (who I recently just walked away from) said at the near beginning of our *relationship* “Can I come in your mouth??” after I gave him a hug. I backed off, horrified, went inwards, and all that talking bout how disrespectful he was. But I didnt end it. I went back. And after a few other shady smackdowns, I kept going back.

          Doh, doh…DOH!!

          I guess he wasnt typical AC mould, but his shit was flat out AC/EUM.

          Trust me, when you panic that they are getting bored of you, there comes a time that you actually get bored of ‘them’. Except, you dont keep texting inane drivel every few weeks to see if they still respond, you just go, and dont look back.

          There is in itself, a beauty, to see a man or a woman free themselves from a hurtful ‘partner’ and go on to live wholesome, and strong. x

      • FX says:

        Lau_ra, This is so true: “Its never enough. If you start doing something their way, they find something else to bash you about. And its not in an open way, so he could be confronted about that – no, sir. Its always said in a way that it could be turned into a joke if the need arises. If you try raising the question, they blame you for not being able to let go…”

        I knew I was far from perfect and there were improvements I needed to make FOR MYSELF. Toward the end I realized that it wouldn’t matter because it was a moving target. He would always find some other reason to “punish” me or treat me less than.

        He actually was honest with me once when we met up after one of my NC attempts and said he had a lot of unresolved anger. You know what? So did I! Of course, no attempt was made to resolve it because I didn’t want to rock the boat and he was no longer invested the same way and I knew it. I just wanted him to want me again because I still felt so bad about myself. So, I swept it under the rug and accepted the undefined role to which I had been demoted. I don’t think even if I had been able to address it then it would have made a difference. He would always find something to hold over my head. I may have just thought there was hope we could have a real r/s again if we actually “worked” on anything and just prolonged the inevitable.

        I’m holding on to a lot of shame and regret for basically having an incapacitating nervous breakdown that defined our interaction and r/s for years. I don’t blame him for feeling like there was a bait and switch but I also don’t doubt he exacerbated it…

        Sometimes I think everything would have been different in a good way if I hadn’t changed so dramatically. I think the reality is that if my confident self-concept hadn’t been so damaged, I would have walked away early on. With my new knowledge, I don’t think it was ever a truly healthy relationship. So, why is it so hard to move beyond thinking about him/it?

        • louise says:

          “I knew I was far from perfect and there were improvements I needed to make FOR MYSELF. Toward the end I realized that it wouldn’t matter because it was a moving target. He would always find some other reason to “punish” me or treat me less than.”

          YES!!! This is exactly it.

    • Allison says:

      Louise,

      How can you have a normal relationship if he’s married?

    • oregongirl says:

      Dear Louise,
      I know exactly how you feel. I have been with a MM for two years now and what it does is it turns you into someone who you are not. You have to ignore your own values and boundaries and self esteem in order to stay in the situation, and this turns you into someone you are not. The longer you do it, the worse you feel. I know how it is. Five days ago I said “no more.” I have blocked his number, texting, and email. It has been five days, and I have been trying to get myself pulled together. I am cheering for you that you can do it too. I just bought myself a big whiteboard and I am mapping out my progress bit by bit. I am mapping out the kick ass life that I am creating for myself, either alone, or with a man who will deserve the new me that I am becoming.

      • louise says:

        oregongirl,I LOVE the whiteboard idea! Keeps you focused and your job at hand, well, at hand and in your face. I’m interested to know if I may, what was your “final straw”?

        • oregongirl says:

          Louise,
          When I first met my MM I did not know he was married. We were instantly attracted to each other and grew very close very quickly. By the time I found out, I felt that I could not give him up. He told me the usual stuff, they were separated, they never slept together, only stayed together for the kid, etc. etc. He kept leading me to believe that he would, at some point, get a divorce so we could truly be together.

          At first when I asked him “when,” he’s say “after I get my own place.” Once he bought a condo for us, then he said “after I renew my license.” Then it was “when she finishes college” etc. etc. I also noticed that he got more and more irritated with me for asking him.

          Last week he was able to spend 5 days at my house. It was a perfect visit in every way. Then I asked, again, what his plans were for our future. This time he exploded! He just yelled and yelled and yelled! He said he needed to get a drink, walked out my door, and did not even say goodbye.

          He didn’t come back that night, and didn’t text me to let me know where he was. Nothing. He then left town without saying goodbye to me. Nothing. He had done that kind of thing in the past, and had always come crawling back after a week or so. But this time–I was NOT up for his crap.

          Something snapped inside me at that moment. I finally realized he was just using me. I finally realized that if he WANTED to be with me, then he would BE with me. My question was an invitation to make a plan, and he REFUSED to talk about a real future with me.

          So I blocked him from my cell phone, blocked him from my email, and booby-trapped my computer so I would not be able to look at his personal email acct or bank acct (he had given me the passwords).

          It has been a hard 6 days now, but I am strangely feeling more peaceful than I thought. I gathered up all his important stuff (credit card, prescription meds) and have put them into a very bright Victoria’s Secret bag. One of these days I will go to where he works and ask someone to take that bag to him. Mwa ha ha.

          I haven’t heard a word from him since that night, and I am sleeping better at night. I think it’s possible he will wait another week or so, then try to sail back into my life. Not gonna happen this time.

          And as I said, I am spending my free time now planning a kick ass life for myself!! I am training to be a fabulous super fox!!!

          My first step: I enrolled in the summer school program at the Sorbonne in Paris. I leave in three weeks and I will be there for five whole weeks. Too f*cking bad for him!!! He didn’t value the best woman he’s ever met, and will never meet someone as wonderful as me or who loved him as much as I did, as long as he lives. Wish me luck!

    • Reversal says:

      Louise, my heart goes out to you. I agree that this so-called man is a Master Manipulator. But in actuality, you gave him power. Like my parents used to tell me, “We gave you Life and we can take it away!” You CAN take away the power from this vermin that you previously bestowed upon him.

      You try to go NC, he calls/texts. You return because you seek his validation. He never validates; his words and actions make you feel worse. This is a vicious cycle that will not end – unless one of you ends it. YOU should be the one to end the cycle.

      This website, as you very well know, is chock full of advice for such situations. I would like to share with you just a few of the things that have been working for me over the last few months:

      I suffer from putting others ahead of myself, so… I have picture of myself at five-years-old on my desk. People think she is my child; I suppose she is. When I see the picture of this beautiful and happy little girl, it makes me smile. I want nothing more than to keep her safe. SHE is MY obligation. She must be protected at all costs.

      I have this problem where I think men think about love/sex/relationships the same way I do, so… (and this IS unconventional, but) I watched a porn video of a gang bang. I was immediately shocked and horrified by the events in the video. It was enough to shock me back into reality – and away from a fantasyland that I created where ALL people exude integrity and do not have hidden agendas.

      I have a problem with creating fantasies and not living in reality, so… I state facts. I do NOT state what I wish would happen or what could happen potentially (NML calls this betting on potential). I have been especially guilty of this… Now, I state WHAT IS. People who are trying to get over do not like this.

      I put undeserving people on pedestals, so… I stopped. I am journeying to unconditional self-love through self-care and self-respect. It is not easy for me, having lived so long outside this realm, but each day, I keep trying.

      If you keep trying, you will get further from this terrible situation. Once you have gotten so far, you won’t want to return.

  14. Anita says:

    I think I may be having a panic attack… I am this close to breaking NC after 7 days when he last texted me… i ignored his text because as usual it was just a less than 10 words text to touch base, to keep in touch, & i didn’t want a keep-in-touch text, i want something more, so i ignored it… but now i want, want SO MUCH to text him just to know how he is, that he’s there some where, someone whom i used to care so much for, someone who i used to connect with & who is always on my mind everyday… but i just know i will hate myself if i texted him.. he has made it very clear from the beginning that he doesn’t want a relationship with me, he already has a girlfriend, but he doesn’t mind a FWB arrangement with me, & even then, i have not seen him in almost 3 months since the last time we met… he texts every 2-3 weeks just saying hi, how are you, very non-committal texts, to make sure if i would still respond… each time when i asked to meet up, he said he was too busy and didn’t know when he could meet up with me… then why bother keeping in contact? i had decided to let him go a week ago and i was feeling ok, some days are good, some are bad, but today is especially bad because i’m really this close to breaking NC… i had deleted his number from my cell but of course i memorised it & i keyed it back and i saw that he was online and i stared at his name and wondering who he was texting with… he who had been telling me that he was too busy to meet up with me and only texts me twice a month, and i looked at his online status and thought to myself, “it takes less than a minute to text me, to let me know that you’re thinking of me, but the fact that you didn’t, only tells me that you’re actually not thinking of me at all…” and now i’m tearing…

    • Tabitha says:

      Anita, you wanted to text him so you will know how he is, right?
      Allow me.
      ” I am absolutely fine Anita. I still have my adoring girlfriend who I shit all over by shagging other women behind her back. Some are regular shagbuddies who I manipulate into thinking I actually care about them (ha ha!) and some are just random shags.
      I am just so wonderful I don’t think I should limit myself to just one woman. It wouldn’t be fair on the rest of you would it.
      I never think of you unless it slightly bothers me that you seem to have woken up to what a selfish, useless piece of dog poo I am. Then I text you to check that actually you are still really into me. If you text me back I can smirk to myself and think how pathetic yo are and how you can’t get over me because I really am Gods Gift. Then I get back to texting my latest shagbuddy. Then I go home to my girlfriend.
      I really hope you haven’t got over me because it adds to my amazing sense of self esteem to think there is an army of women out there whose self esteem I have destroyed to the point where they value themselves as lowly as I value them (somewhere under the sole of my shoe) But if you have got over me and moved on, then so what really. Like I actually care?”
      I hope this gives you the strength to block the asshole.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Tabitha****Applause **** Well said & spot on. We need to knock these men off the pedestal we put them on. They don’t deserve-never did- to be there…FLUSH

      • Used says:

        Excellent. Though I think most of these assholes actually have low self-esteem themselves, hence their constant need for validation.

        • Reversal says:

          Used, Amen! The sad part is, they are not aware of their low self-esteem :(

          As one who has suffered from that ailment, I can now recognize signs of it – one of which is putting other people down, especially when they are feeling good about who they are. As NML says, if someone makes you feel bad about you, FLUSH!

      • Mymble says:

        Tabitha
        I love it!!! A little peek into the mind of the AC! We try and credit them with all this deep unspoken emotion and feeling, and they encourage it with their “mystery” (aka BS and never answering direct questions) but it really is as
        shallow as that.

      • Reversal says:

        Love the response text, Tabitha. I would like to add the disclaimer: even if he says, “I am doing well, how are you?” What he is really saying is EXACTLY what Tabitha said. He is just saying it to himself.

        By the way, this calling-every-time-the-mood-strikes has FALLBACK GIRL written all over it. The Original Poster should keep herself removed from this equation.

        I know it is easier said than done. One of the first things I did: one morning after waking, I just stayed in bed. The gravity of the situation was heavy on my mind. I took a deep breath and accepted it. Then I wrote down some things I wanted to do (exercise, read a book, buy some heels, etc.), and started doing them. I found that I was distracted by these things. Whenever I feel bad, I read posts on BR that coincide with how I am feeling (today I am reading about letting go of my anger).

    • grace says:

      Anita
      At any time I could call up my ex who I saw several times a week for a year and we could go out, or go for a walk, or just hang out. He would be kind and respectful. Just after we broke up he was calling me to see how I was. I asked him to stop. It’s not that I hate him or want to manipulate him, but I need time to myself to grieve and, importantly, I am putting it out there that no one breaks up with grace and continues to reap the benefit of my company as if nothing has happened.
      If I can give that up for the sake of my self respect then you can give up a few texts.
      I do get the urge to contact him but I ride it out.
      I’m not saying my ex and I will never speak again but I committed to a month of NC and after than I may commit to another. If two people can be friendly after a break up it would be us but I’m not pinning my hopes on it. Maybe we can and maybe we can’t. Life is less stressful if you stop trying to micromanage the uncontrollable.
      And your FWB has a girlfriend, if you don’t want to be that girl who gets into dodgy situations then don’t get into them. If you find yourself there, don’t stay.
      It is hard but what you’re going through now isn’t exactly fun is it? The efforts you make to take care of yourself are only wasted if you persist in persecuting yourself and making his bad behaviour proof of your unworthiness.

      • FX says:

        “The efforts you make to take care of yourself are only wasted if you persist in persecuting yourself and making his bad behaviour proof of your unworthiness.”

        grace, Excellent point! It really hit home for me and it relates so well to NML’s great post.

  15. Anita says:

    louise – i just read your post… i feel for you so much… i’ve been through the roller-coaster of emotions… anger at him because i want more than what he can give and prepared to give, disgust with myself for letting him treat me so badly, and sadness because i can’t make him as happy as his girlfriend does (that’s why she’s with him, & not me)… so why do i keep telling myself that he makes me happy… when i don’t feel happy? i don’t know what else to say louise, except to tell you to hang in there and stay strong.. <<>>

    • louise says:

      Yes, the self disgust. But one thing you said struck me. I don’t think the girlfriend makes him happier than you did. I think she just makes it easier. Our men seem to be unwilling to invest any more than they have to or in fact, judging by our prodigious numbers, need to.

      • Reversal says:

        Louise, I am very happy that you pointed out that his significant other makes it easier for him. It has been confirmed for me on more than one occasion that a woman will receive this title if she is committed to an AC. One MM told me that he married his wife because “she has been there for me” – that is code for “she put up with more of my bullsh!t than all of the other women combined.” This one actually gets angry when women tell him they cannot get involved with him because he is married. He says, “I know I am married! I was there!” If a woman says to him, “I want to respect your marriage. I don’t want to be that woman who hurts another woman..” He says, “Why don’t you let me worry about my marriage.” You can talk to him until you are blue in the face, and he still will not hear a single word that you said. Or he will not acknowledge the context in which you said it… Another told me that he has commitment issues, so his “girlfriend” is a married woman. He gets sex, her husband gets everything else. And he (the “boyfriend”) likes it that way…
        The last AC I dealt with admitted to having a girlfriend after he had told me he wasn’t interested in a relationship. He should’ve added some words at the end of that statement: I wasn’t interested in having a relationship with you. Even if they do not say the words, perhaps their actions are saying them loud and clear… He liked her better… she was more “cultured and knows about the world.” More important, however, was that she was young and would be less likely to advance the word marriage – unlike older women (i.e., me).

    • Lau_ra says:

      Anita,
      you should feel lucky. Really. He told you from the start he doesn’t want a relationship with you. Men are as simple as that at times. They tell certain things. But sometimes we don’t want to hear, you know, something like: whaaat? he doesn’t wan’t me as his gf? I’ll make him change his mind.
      But its not about your worth/sexiness/charisma, its all about his character. A reminder: he doesn’t mind having other women by his side while being in a relationship. Hints on this mans character: non-commiting, liar (he didn’t lie to you, but he does to his gf), unfaithful.
      Stay strong and NC, woman!

    • FX says:

      Anita, My therapist is always trying to get me to reframe my thoughts.

      You say “sadness because i can’t make him as happy as his girlfriend does (that’s why she’s with him, & not me)… so why do i keep telling myself that he makes me happy… when i don’t feel happy?”

      Perhaps, he’s just a man who compartmentalizes women? Like Madonna/Whore or something else? The important part of all this is really only that it doesn’t make you happy.

      I have realized that ex AC always needed to have a fixed r/s and then supply on the side to feed his ego. It happened before me and will likely happen after me with his new wife. Actually, it already happened before I knew about his r/s with her. I went from being on the side to his gf to on the side… He’d still be pursuing me if I hadn’t gone NC. I think if my personal troubles hadn’t derailed us, I may have become the gf/wife and he’d still be pursuing an ego stroke/sex/excitement on the side even if he was getting all that from me. As Joni Mitchell sings, “I’ve looked at life/love from both sides now.”

      Men like this are fundamentally selfish and have a sense of entitlement a mile wide.

      For me, among the take-away lessons are: 1) Do not engage with men who are not really available – they are by definition assclowns), 2) Do not allow anyone to make you feel “less than,” 3) We are each in charge of our own happiness.

      I know it’s hard but NC is necessary. Don’t feed his ego and continue going hungry yourself.

    • A Little Bit Stuck says:

      Anita – this is exactly it. Why do I keep telling myself he made me happy and is perhaps the only person who can? I KNOW I wasn’t happy with him, so why am I torturing myself. Just can’t seem to reconcile feelings and logic!

      • FX says:

        A Little Bit Stuck, I’m right where you are. I was getting a little less stuck after a year NC until I found out he overlapped me with the woman he just married. I really did not expect him to get married again this fast if at all. Yep, cognitive dissonance. I know I wouldn’t want to be the wife he cheats on but I’m still unhappy he’s not “my” AC anymore.

        I don’t think I’ll spend time with another AC again after all I’ve learned. I even had the opportunity to apply my knowledge, self-respect and boundaries to a short r/s not an AC) which felt good. It ended for other reasons and we’re still friendly. I do think I would be reeling a lot less from the AC/N if the rest of my life, including being in a r/s was more to my liking. Something for ME to work on!

        • Little Star says:

          FX, my both ACs never told me that they had someone, if I only knew that they got married or had a girlfriend I would just hate them so much and it will be SO easy for me to let them go. But they kept saying that I was ONLY woman in their lives, WTF?! Why lie, when their behavior and actions were “saying” other things?! I cannot get it:(
          Little Bit and FX, stay strong, you can do it!!!

          • Learner says:

            Little Star,
            They lie because it gets them what they want. “My” exMM told me I was the Only One in his life that mattered, when I KNEW he was married and had a long-term lover on the side (who he claims he never wants as a life partner). He said this with a straight face, too! It seems whatever it takes to get their needs met,they will do. I must admit, though, finding out about his sick set-up did make it easier to go NC!

  16. josie says:

    Louise, the test of a great relationship is whether you are happy and receiving the love an respect that is good for you. You don’t sound very happy in your email, so since you are the architect of your own life YOU can make it different! You wont change that man, but you an make the decision to cut contact and make yourself happy. I mean, is he making you happy or are you choosing to be stuck unhappy with a man who seems not to be giving you much, Honestly sister we do deserve more than this!

    • louise says:

      Ah josie, so not happy. So, so not happy. So why am I letting myself do this to myself? Ahhhh, the million dollar question.

  17. Tabitha says:

    I was single for two years after splitting with my ex husband. I hadn’t dated anyone new for nearly 20 years.
    I took a huge chance in getting involved with the ex who brought me here. He turned out to have a serious personality disorder (diagnosed as a teen) and by the time he had finished with me I felt half destroyed.
    However, this experience has led me to value myself far more highly and to realize I need to be far more selfish in my life and rid myself of toxic people, including my extremely nasty mother.
    I feel far more “whole” as a person. More in control by trying less to control everyone else and trying to focus on myself.
    It wasn’t a waste at all. Two of my dearest friends had the following to say. One told me that “It was really brave of you Tabitha to go out with him at all.” Yes, I was brave and I took a risk. I like being brave and thinking of myself that way.
    The other said, “it’s sad it didn’t work out, but you had an ADVENTURE.” Wow, yes I did. I had an adventure. It was dangerous and adventures don’t always have happy endings, but we gain something positive from the experience.
    Above all of course, I found BR.

  18. FX says:

    louise, Your post made me feel sad for you. You are beating yourself up and twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to fix a relationship that does not exist.

    “…why can’t you be emotionally calm and reliable (like my wife.) why can’t you just appreciate our time for what it is when it is.”

    He’s married and you are rocking the boat by expressing your needs. He does not want you to have expectations. He wants you to be a blow up doll he keeps hidden for use at his convenience. I imagine he throws you just enough crumbs to keep you off balance and hopeful that this is more but it is not.

    Please use this experience, read BR, maybe get therapy to learn why you are chasing an unavailable man who values you so little.

    I don’t want you to feel ashamed but if there is anything to be ashamed of here it is not how you say or do the wrong thing. It is for remaining in a no win, disrespectful situation with a user rather than loving and valuing yourself. Please set yourself free.

    • louise says:

      All very fine comments. AND the last one, “Please set yourself free”, just i dunno. Just clicked. Funny how that works. Wow. You guys. Wow.

  19. 2fearce says:

    Louise,

    I don’t mince words. Straight up… Ur NOT a crazy b*. U are “in deep” though n the only way to healing is to get out. Seriously! GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT!!! (Did I mention get out??)

    He’s a selfish manipulative prick! Much as it hurt u…. the truth slipped out… ur no longer “new” to him n so he’s cast you on the rubbish heap; every once in a while he’ll check that ur still there n that’s it.

    You are NOT trash nor a $5 whore (ps that was the truth of how he treated u. Ur truth. He just needed to counter it to keep u hanging on) U have faced the hard truth that if this was a regular (non secret, non affair with a married man) the bulk of ur issues wouldn’t exist. Good. Now…. IF ur ashamed, pick up ur dignity n walk! It’s not about him LETTING u… he’s not in charge of u. U are! Hold urself in higher esteem than to stick around for his crumbs n manipulations.

    Honestly, I think when ur on ur period, u r better able to tell urself the truth of it all. U see it n know that’s not how it should be nor what u deserve. It is a place of strength dear not weakness! It’ll prob be easier to walk then too. But don’t feel like u have to wait for it to get walking. You know what’s going on, u see it, you feel it, u just have to turn that to action n get out.

    Please keep ur head up n take care of yourself.
    I hate to say it but it needs to be said…. get urself checked. If he’s bold enuf to tell u ur no longer new, I fear he’s prob found “new” n contacts u only when they’re not available.

    *What I’ve said might not be what u wanted to hear but as one of my dearest friends says to me… if u want that fluffy stuff call somebody else. We don’t sell that here. LOL *

    Know that u r worth better. U KNOW it. Deep down maybe, but u do. I KNOW it too. Take care of u!

    • louise says:

      Your Truth is good. :-) and your post made me cry a little. good cry. The not being “new” comment was a moment of clarity. Especially when you guys see it objectively.

  20. Lau_ra says:

    Oh well, feel like spamming today:) I think this regret on “wasted time”, doesn’t matter if it was a nice relationship or a relationshit, mainly comes from the belief that this certain bond HAS to evolve into something big, or else you’ve failed.
    My grandma used to say that if you’re dating someone you must marry him or else you’re slutty. And many people still think that not being able to turn every guy you’re dating into a long-term relationship or every relationship into marriage (which sort of is the “holy grail” in terms of intimate relationships) kind of means you’re “unable/flawed/etc” (some even stick to this point of view of my grandma – that you’re slutty).
    Fortunately, I’ve never had this type of attitude, and it doesn’t matter how heartbroken I felt after some AC. I’m struggling with the idea of being thankful for those ACs and EUMs, as learning from the experience is up to me, not them, yet I don’t ever have the idea like “I wish I’ve never met him/ never experienced this/etc”. I was still living my life even at those times when some guy treated me bad, and I experienced happiness (maybe in some other area than relationshit, still I did), so regrets about that period of my life would also mean I wrote-off all those precious moments I had with other people at the same time.

  21. louise says:

    Thank you all so much for the kind and well placed words. I was stunned (and relieved) to find you ALL think he is manipulative and self serving but man, it helps to see this from the outside in. And so good to know I did not read my gut feelings wrong. And it is a huge relief as well to be out of the closet!! I will read and re read. Thank you so much.

    It amazes me how articulate and intelligent and insightful the BR readers are and yet how we get so lost in these men. Like Tabitha says, it has brought us to BR, makes us smarter and stronger and we all end of up learning the same thing in the end (I HOPE!): to be more selfish, more self preserving and to treat ourselves with love, care, trust, kindness, respect.

    • Learner says:

      Louise,
      Sometimes it takes a few tough lessons before we listen to our gut feelings. Thank goodness they can be persistent until we *have* to listen to them! Your story is similar to mine in many ways. Trying to squeeze a relationship out of a MM can be soul destroying. I think you will gain a lot from BR. Al the best as you travel forward, away from the MM, towards a happier you,

      • louise says:

        Thank you. And yeah, those old gut feelings sure are noisy when you ignore them. Mine put me in hospital yesterday after writing to BR with a massive panic attack. I thought it was a heart attack. I think i’m going to shut off my brain for a while and listen to my body instead.

        • Learner says:

          Aw Louise, so sorry you had that panic attack. Perhaps it is your body allowing all the feelings to come fully to the surface, to be expressed and acknowledged. I have had panic attacks myself during the MM mess, and had to go on anti anxiety meds. Now that I have listened to my gut, they have subsided. Perhaps you could listen to your brain AND your gut, but be careful what your heart says for the next little while? Stay away from that self serving man and keep the focus on you. Hugs xo

  22. San says:

    This is my second round of BR reading/following. The first was just over a year ago when My Mr Unavaliable and I broke up… More like we had an argument and he just shut down, decided to move out only just after 6 months of living together.

    At the time I didn’t know that he was Mr Unavailable and only this time round, I know now…After reading many sites and post to understand his behaviour…and the fact that he to some how always make it out that it was my fault or how I’m feeling was wrong, etc.

    I didn’t see it coming or expected anyone to act like that when they say they wanted to be with you and have a life together,” the shut down, no contact left me feeling hurt and abandoned. I didnt have previous relationship experience to go off other than 1 (my ex husband)… And with my ex husband it was the same, always me having to give and compromise on my values and drop my boundaries (that relationship last a while.. 18 yrs)

    Just wanted to say being here, reading and sharing has helped me enormously, I don’t have a support network of friends and family… I wish That I have..especially on the days when in feeling very low and can’t seem to move out of stuck. Like many other readers, it’s comforting to know that people are going though the same issues with these type of men.

    I have been with my Mr Unavailable (now ex) for 4 yrs on and off .. And through that time my mental state has been seriously impacted.. I got introduced to alcohol, had to go on meds because I couldn’t cope with the shut down and having my expectations managed down, whilst telling me that I’m the one with the issues when I try to express how I felt…I’m disappointed I agreed to get back last time because he said things which he later did not follow through on..I also know that it wasn’t good to get back together (deep down) but I was so lonely and like other readers.. I thought having crumb attention is better than none.

    Anyway, I hope to take this as a life lesson and move on from this, to a more positive, better and happier me.

    • Learner says:

      San,
      You say he is your ex. Have you considered going NC? Sometimes that is the only way to move on from a man who behaves like this.

    • oregongirl says:

      Hi San, I am sorry you’re hurting!

      When I was with a MM for two years, it had such an impact on me that I started to drink too much, my heart started to beat funny, I was stressed all the time, I had to take anti-depressants, and I gained weight. I did not pay enough attention to my children, my mother, and my girlfriends. My work suffered because all my time and energy went to him.

      I just kept giving and giving and giving. He just kept hurting me and hurting me. Well, 5 days ago I said “enough is enough.” It has been hard to not contact him, but you know what? I am starting to feel calmer already. In a way, I feel a lot of relief. The sadness comes and goes. I cry, and then I move on.

      These things have helped me a lot: every day I exercise, eat healthy foods, read something uplifting, do something creative, make contact with a family member, and make contact with a girlfriend.

      I also rearranged all the furniture in my house house, did some redecorating (just cheap things), tossed out anything that came from him or reminds me of him, bought some new clothes, and am making plans to travel–alone!!

      Shake up your life and make some positive changes. Stay busy. If you are tempted to get in touch with him, turn off all your electronic things–your laptop and your phone–and push them under the bed. Go for a walk or do something physical.

      I am cheering for you!

  23. riotgirl says:

    Natalie, thank you for all your inspiring posts. My girlfriend and I read your site regularly and we are always thankful for your wisdom.

    This post really hit home for me tonight. It has made everything so clear and explained why I have been feeling like I had. It’s because I wanted everything I do, to mean something. I grieve because I felt my years were wasted with someone who never and had no intention to love me. I had been “tricked into thinking that this person was exactly how you’re portraying them in grief.” And continuing to engage with this person, would only bring me more pain.

    So we live and we learn, and then we move on. :)

  24. DawnG says:

    Thanks for this post, Natalie. I’ve been feeling pretty low after cutting contact with a man who turned out to be a dishonest “player”. I felt like I wasted time, but in the end its just more learning experience under my belt. I know more now than I did.

    Here’s a thing that’s bothering me. Why do I feel childish for un-friending him on Facebook? I actually waited a while to do it because I was afraid I would appear petty and spiteful, even though I don’t want him creeping my life anymore nor do I want to be involved in any way in his.
    This digital age is passing strange sometimes.

    • Learner says:

      DawnG,
      It may feel childish to unfriend on Fb because we hope as adults that we won’t get into situations where this is necessary. Thing is, sometimes we do! Many of us here have done just that. It’s all part of letting go.

  25. Sanntay says:

    I was on the fence about whether my 5 month casual relationship was a waste, and as my suffering continues, I’m leaning closer to ‘Yes, it was.’ The emotional toll has been staggering. As I continue to struggle with feelings of anger, rejection, disappointment, betrayal, regret, inadequacy, jealousy and an immensely painful sadness that I could never have anticipated, I realize that I’m a pretty good actress: resilient in public but a total basket case behind closed doors. I’ve confirmed that I take things way too personally and am sensitive to sickening degree. The NC rule has worked well for me to a point. No, I don’t want to confront the AC and let him know how much he hurt me, ask if he still thinks about me, if he ever had any feelings for me or if everything he said to me was all lies. I already have those answers. I don’t go out of my way to say anything to him other than if he requests something of me at the office, I offer a generic good morning greeting as I do to all my coworkers. My challenge has been dealing with the emotional reaction that I have when I hear his voice, or see him in my peripheral vision moving about the office. I was proud of my non-reaction when one of my co-workers offered up the news that AC was moving in with his girlfriend after 3 months of dating (although apparently they’d dated before). I just shrugged off this news and kept at my work.
    If AC comes in my specific area to chat with another co-worker, I remove myself from the area. He will sometimes offer me an empty compliment when asking me to print something for him (which I am 100% sure he could do himself), and instead of thanking him for said empty compliment, I just look at him like “Really? You think I’m really falling for that one?” I don’t want any contact with him whatsoever, yet I cannot understand what this hold is that he has on me. I should have been over him long ago, but what I believe is hindering my progress is that I have a daily reminder of how stupid I was, how little I valued myself, and how I let him take advantage of me, every time I see or hear him. In my quiet moments, he’s on my mind. I try to redirect my thoughts elsewhere, but just like a small child peering around a corner to see if it’s safe to come out, the thoughts creep back in, and I’m trying to fend off a meltdown. My mornings have been especially difficult, a morning sickness of sorts, I awake to thoughts of him, with my stomach in knots and chest hurting. This occurs once or twice a week, sometimes followed by moments of uncontrollable sobbing. Why can’t I be over this already?

    • Anon says:

      Sunntay- go online and find some one new right away, so you will be pre-occupied with dating instead of work and your ex at work daily. It will minimize the time you think about him, because dating is time consuming. It will also stop you from ruminating about the past. You could also meet some one, boyfriend, new best friend or a new job contact. He has already moved on so you should too, really move on, not just act like it.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        I disagree; that’s the textbook definition of rebounding.

      • Sanntay says:

        Anon: I realize I need to move on and certainly want to. I would welcome the opportunity to get to know someone new; however, I’m a bit apprehensive about online dating given past experiences. Besides, I think that no matter who I meet and how I meet them, it would be too obvious that I have an insurmountable wall up right now, which would most likely drive potential suitors away.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Sanntay. Online would be rebounding for you. It’s more frustrating than fun. It’s not for everyone. It probably would help temporarily to take the intensity out of your feelings for the AC at work. But, you’ve got to realize there’s hardly any future in it and you can spend your time more constructively.

        • Keetseel says:

          If you are feeling low and vulnerable, please do NOT go online. I just tried that and now am a double overdrive mess.

      • Digs says:

        Please don’t do this. The people who you date are human beings with feelings. Just as we don’t deserve to be used as an ego boost, distraction, etc, neither do they.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sanntay. I don’t envy you at all for having to see/deal with him at work. That would be hard for anyone to handle but you seem to have your head on straight about it. Be proud of yourself for the way you are handling it. With dignity & grace even if that is only in public. Believe me when I say it will get better with time, time & more time. Sad but true, time does heal all wounds. Do you journal ? I found that to be very helpful. After a while I would go back & re-read which made me realize the progress I had made even though it didn’t feel like I was healing, I truly was… Keep the faith ,you will get thru this :)

      • Sanntay says:

        Kit-Kat: Thank you, I have continued to carry myself well and remain professional. I have to, in order to do my job and maintain my sanity. And yes, I do have a journal. Occasionally, I write in it as though I’m speaking to AC, telling him what I have been going through and what I think of him, but mostly documenting what I feel at each stage of the healing process. It has definitely been therapeutic. I have also been talking with a professional counselor (today is my last session, btw), so that has been helpful in recognizing some of my behaviors and the development of my self-image.

    • Mo says:

      Wow, I had to look twice to make sure I hadn’t written this. Involved in a 5 month coworker relationship, he moved in with the girlfriend after me very quickly, I get to see him most days and pretend everything is cool and I am not affected by this past involvement. It sounds like I am further along and work in a bigger place so it has gotten better but it has never truly disappeared yet. But the waking up in pain did fade and the crying over him is very rare now. The workplace makes everything so much harder and last longer than it should, but with time and changing some routines it mostly gets better. I did recently realize that the new girlfriend did not have it better, in fact much worse. She put in a year with him and then moved across the country for work. He talked about going with her while she was here and then moved on to a new relationship weeks after she actually left. Yeesh. Excellent reminder not to be envious of situations we don’t really have knowledge of. Continuing to learn lessons from this relationship mistake which I guess makes it not a total waste.

      • Sanntay says:

        Mo: Your response strengthened my hope. I’m so sorry you had to go through the same. I get a sense of relief knowing that someone else can relate, or has been through a similar ordeal, because, in my despair (when clearly I’m not thinking rationally), I always feel like I’m the only one that this has or ever will happen to. Silly, I know.

        “The workplace makes everything so much harder and last longer than it should, but with time and changing some routines it mostly gets better.” This statement is exactly what has kept me stuck – the daily reminder. The waking up in pain and crying is the worst. I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve even been affected to that level (we’re talking about 5 months, not 5 years), and for a while I feared I might have to be hospitalized because I felt so out of control. Thank God it’s tapering off. In the beginning I was crying damn near every day.

        Thanks for the support.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sanntay. Be strong. The reason you’re “not over this” is because you see him every day at work. When he asks you to do something for him that he can do himself, tell him so. Tell him to leave you alone. He went his way and he needs to stay there. There is good in every evil: You will never have an intimate relationship at work again. That, as little as it may seem, is progress.

      • Sanntay says:

        You’re absolutely right, Tink. Just as Mo mentioned there were lessons learned from this ‘relationship’ which didn’t make it a total waste. My paramount lesson is exactly as you’ve stated: I WILL NEVER HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP AT WORK AGAIN. <>

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Yes, Baby, progress, is gold. Not a waste at all. WE LIVE AND LEARN.

        • Mo says:

          Ah yes the never date at work again lesson is priceless :). Take care of yourself Sanntay. You are definitely not alone.

  26. NCC says:

    I’m still struggling with the AC experience and turning the meaning into something other than “it all happened because you aren’t good enough.” I’m slowly moving out of the rose colored glasses fantasy nostalgia phase and seem to be finding truths, although what just feel like sad negative truths about myself that continue to put and his ex wife who he really loved (I was just a distraction, someone to use, pass time with, convince him he was still desirable after his wife filed for divorce), on a pedestal. I think back to all the times he was cold, cruel, distant, withholding, uninterested in my presence, cheated, lied….I still see it as all because I was never what he wanted and because he’s an EUM/AC, he was never going to end it with me because that would mean he had to be honest with not only me, but himself. I honestly am almost feeling like the longer NC goes, the worse I feel because I’m discovering the “truth.” I still struggle very much with this. Also part of why I am feeling so bad is because I recently met someone who is completely opposite of all the EUM/ACs I’ve ever dated, he takes actions that show he cares, he’s honest, etc. and I know he really likes me. However, I don’t necessarily feel that crazy attraction to him, and almost break down and cry when he wants to get physical. I’m either not ready for it, or I’m not into it with him. I fear I’m being an AC and at the same time turn into the people pleaser. I NEVER want to make someone feel like the AC made me feel, so I feel like I have to be nice, because he’s nice to me. Isn’t that horrible? I all at once sense that I’m not as into him as he’s in to me, so then I think, “OMG , this is what the AC thought of and felt about YOU! YOU were this person, ICK!” while at the same time thinking “OMG YOU ARE AN EUM/AC you shouldn’t be leading this person on!” He very much jumped into wanting the BF/GF status, I asked him to slow down, and he went into colder/mopey/guilt trip mode. I asked him to please not assume he knows me 100% so quickly. It’s this whole thing where someone thinks there’s fire, and equally when someone puts me on a pedestal right away, I feel I’m bound to disappoint because OMG I HAVE FLAWS, they sulk and pout and then I feel like I’ve done them wrong. God it IS all too familiar, I have dated someone like that. The difference is this guy has TONS of friends, has a good job, is fairly responsible, etc. He makes me laugh and wants to do things for me I’ve never had anyone want to do for me. But I just don’t know what to do anymore. All in all, to relate back to this post, I for sure and struggling with turning the AC and past destructive abusive unhealthy relationships into something other that, “well you are a failure at life and were never meant for happiness, not like others. You did something wrong a long time ago, and there’s no making up for that.” Sad. That’s why I come here. Especially for days like this. It’s a rainy Seattle day…..

    • Sophie says:

      To be honest, I think you really need some YOU time for a while. This new relationship doesn’t sound right either. Anyone putting you on a pedestal and then moping or putting guilt on you if you ask them to cool things down a bit spells a red flag to me. You seem very hard on yourself..you need to love yourself and creating boundaries is a big part of that. If something doesn’t feel right to you, say so, without feeling guilty. Listen to your gut instinct. Love and light to you!! :)

      • NCC says:

        Thank you Sophie for the kind thoughts! Writing these things out helps to SEE my actions on paper and how I am more than likely biting off more than I can chew with a new relationship, and like you say already experiencing some red flags. I notice that I just don’t have the desire to help a romantic partner work on their problems right now. I honestly know I have many of my own to work on. Thank you again also for reminding me to listen to myself! Best to you!

  27. Swissmiss says:

    Tx, Tabitha, to your two dearest friends-

    That’s just the reframing of my situation I needed. I’ve climbed to Base Camp Everest, hitchiked across the US by small plane, lived in a Bedoiun encampment, sailed from San Francisco to Honolulu, and mountain biked across the High Atlas. The experience with the MM was right up there–not as a personal best, but because I managed to get myself home safely.

    He’s a toast to adventuresses around the world—

    • Revolution says:

      LOL!!!!! Ah, Swissmiss….I’m holding my champagne flute up to you. Cheers, honey.

  28. Eternal optimist says:

    When my relationships end, it doesn’t matter who ended it, I’ll go NC. Once I go NC, it’s the point of no return. No looking back, ever. No matter how deeply or passionately in love I was, or how hurt I was, I’ll let go completely and move on. I don’t want to have anything to do with the man anymore. He becomes just like any other stranger to me.

    Once you’ve accepted that the relationship is over, it is easier to move on. Acceptance is a powerful thing.

    But I’ve never felt that I’ve wasted my time in these ill-fated relationships. I’ve regretted getting into some relationships but I chalk it all up to experience. What is a waste is dwelling on what coulda, woulda, shoulda, mighta, been. Or giving the losers more than 2 chances. I give them 2 shots. But if they screw up the 2nd time, it’s game over!

    I pick myself up, dust off and move on with my life with love, happiness and gratefulness in my heart.

    My self-esteem, self-respect and dignity remain intact. I will not give any man the power to take that away from me.

    Despite my failed romances, I still believe and have faith in love. I’m not giving up on love and romance.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Eternal. You could not have expressed my feelings any better. Keep the faith.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Eternal Optimist.. Can u please sprinkle some of that dust on me :).. I so admire your positive energy, pass it on please & thank you..Great post !!

      • Eternal Optimist says:

        Kit-Kat. Thank you. Positivity dust sprinkled! Took me quite a few hard lessons to learn to get where I am now. I feel truly blessed and grateful.

  29. Tired says:

    I feel at peace , im not torn with the wondering and even though its hard being on your own im getting there . Im a stronger person i say no to douches and i stand up for myself in other areas of my life. Somtimes i feel the tired creeping back , was i wrong to do that . Was i wrong to say no am i a bitch now . Ive also kicked a couple of twatts into place as ive started to click id rather be on own then accept shitty behaviour . Some guy ove just met asked for a text pic . Now old me would have panic thinking if i dont hell dissapear etc etc . New me replied ” i dont send pics to peole ive only just met and not very classy either i think . I prefer to build up itamcy with someone ive been actually seeing and getting to know ” . Put that in ya pipe and smoke it lol :)0

  30. Nicola says:

    I have just gone no contact with a friend with benefits which i know what you are all thinking! I thought I could handle it but I can’t! He never led me on to think it was anymore and I thought i was ok with it but we live very near each other and noticed that his car was gone all Saturday night so obviously i assume he spent it with a woman. He has never spent the night with me and we have never left his house together and we don’t even have each other’s numbers. We communicate on a dating site. I’m sure he is single as there are no signs of a woman in his house but i just feel so hurt that he doesn’t think i’m good enough to date. I e-mailed him yesterday and said i couldn’t see him again as I know he dates people and i feel humiliated. He just said ok, and told me to take care! I didn’t sleep last night as I was crying too much. I have a date lined up for tomorrow evening but i don’t think my heart is in it.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Nicola. Are you kidding? You’re crying over a FWB you met on a dating site? Stop right now. You’re making all kinds of assumptions that he was out with a woman and why weren’t you good enough. You have no proof where he was so why manufacture a big long scenario that only serves to make you sad. He’s not your boyfriend so he can do whatever he likes without your permission especially since you are “supposed to be” NC. That’s the facts. Sorry you are crying, and heartbroken, but you’re doing it to yourself. He’s living his life. So you do the same.

    • Allison says:

      Nicola,

      I agree with Tink!

      Also, I don’t believe a man would ever take a woman seriously who started the connection as a FWB.

      Please don’t demote yourself in the future if you’re looking for something serious!

  31. NeverAgain says:

    I’ve never posted, but, seeing as I just broke off an 18 mo relationship with EUM / A/C last night, I needed to get this out. We met through friends/sports. He was dating the same girl for 5 years (24 when they broke up). I knew her and had hung out with them as a couple over the previous year once or twice but she wasn’t in our group nor in NYC and I didn’t know her well. A couple months after they split, he started blowing really hot at me. I was flattered and we started dating intensely. He treated me so wonderfully – better than anyone before. I am 4.5 years older than him, and had broken up with my live-in EUM / Peter Pan two years before (who was 8.5 years older than me) and felt like I was finally ready to date again.

    He was great for 6 months then began blowing ice cold after I said I loved him. He basically slow faded to the point where we weren’t really in a r/s anymore and he was emotionally abusing me, so I drummed up the courage and ended it. Mind you this is after my self-esteem was in complete tatters and I was a blubbering mess, wondering how my “friend”, who everyone said was “such a wonderful, nice, amazing guy” could treat me this way. That was May 2012. I started a new job and it took 2 full months and TONS of therapy before the pain started to ebb. He then came crawling back to me in July saying he’d changed, he’d thought he was over his ex but hadn’t been and that he had gone back to her over the time we were split but that it was totally over and he was SURE he wanted to be with me. I really put him through some hoops to prove it and ended up taking him back. It was GREAT again for 6 months (see pattern?) then he started to pull the same crap. Icy cold, no love. I lost my job in mid Jan due to a psycho boss (the one I had started with only that previous May). It’s a long story, but they couldn’t fire me b/c the boss has NO justification and HR knew it. From mid Jan through basically April, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I was panicked. I went practically crazy, having to seek legal help, doubting myself, my abilities, and needing a lot of support but spreading it throughout my family, friends, therapist and boyfriend. He was supportive throughout.

    Things finally were resolving in April and I was coming out of depression / anxiety when he chose THAT moment to tell me he was unhappy and had been for a while and that he just didn’t feel the same way anymore. He said I “really needed a lot of support” and “I can’t ever go through anything like that [job loss] again. I was stunned. I asked if he thought we should split up. He then said “what, so now you’re abandoning me?!!” HUH??? He was of course crying throughout all this (as he did whenever I tried to have a dialogue about the relationship). I stuck it out for another couple months even though I attempted to leave 3 or 4 times (each with him running after me and saying he wanted to be with me, yada yada). Things rapidly went downhill – no “I love you’s”, no compliments, no smiles, no endearments (honey, sweetie, etc.). It stopped altogether, and finally got to the point where when I met up with him, there were no kisses, hugs, smiles or anything (only when we were in a group setting would he show me affection). He put me down, told me I should get surgery to make myself shorter (he was insecure about us being the same height) and all sorts of other things I’m ashamed I laughed off or pushed down internally. He even went through my phone. He’s the complete EUM A/C package… ex issues, family issues, mommy with long apron strings, controlling, irresponsible, future avoider, manipulative, passive aggressive, basically you name it, he’s got it. Then I found out he was talking with his ex again and that was it. I was basically the buffer for this transitional EUM and was enabling him by staying with him. I told him it was over – without bothering with any other detail, simply because he wasn’t over his ex. He even had the audacity to say that he wasn’t communicating with her (which is when I told him I had seen the texts, and oh, thanks for lying to my face (*sshole)). I collected my stuff from his place, gave his keys back and will be mailing him his stuff. Sunday is my birthday and I absolutely refuse to bring this farce of a r/s into another year of my life. NC Day 1. Oh, and before I left, I recommended he look at BR and do a little discovering about himself. (He has very low esteem, insecurity, and is introverted).

    The only problem here is we’re in the same larger friend group so it can’t be complete NC. I have to see him again at some point so that’s annoying. Thanks to BR and Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl I see the work I need to do on myself (get some boundaries!!) to avoid attracting and falling for these EUM / A/C’s. I have a typed list 4 pages long with the horrible things he did/said to me (with examples) which basically hit every red / amber flag. I’m ashamed my self esteem was so low, and that I thought that by loving him more and appreciating the breadcrumbs, that I could be OK with this treatment. I will never ever put up with this behavior, or anyone treating me less than again. But this is Day 1, and there will be many more difficult ones ahead. I have to grieve and recover from this heartache and toxic part of my life. Mostly I need to forgive myself.

    • NCC says:

      Hi NeverAGain,

      You are scaring me…I think we were with the same person.
      I have much to say but wanted to for now thank you for sharing, I know the heartache and confusion and soul/self esteem crushing experiences you speak of. All the way down to being let go of a job by a TERRIBLE boss/person/human who played a huge role in me hitting rock bottom. I took the AC back for the second time around the time I lost my job, I was desperate for SOME affection, even though it was crumbs, and he was still seeing the girl he cheated on me with AND contacting his ex wife and professing his love for her, all while telling people I didn’t know my personal business and humiliating me behind my back. I am sorry to hear you are going through this. NC is the way. You will hear that here over and over. Be careful around your BDay….mine treated me in the exact push me pull me lying way you talk about, and after me leaving for a 3rd time, still had the audacity to contact me on my Bday like him telling me how great I am and that he hopes I had a wonderful bday was some sort of beacon on light in my life and he go his ego rocks off just by thinking that. Prick. Anyway….NC is tough but you are so smart to be here and 4 pages of horrible things he said/did to you?!!! Mine is the exact same I’m telling you. it was really hard to make that list. But it has helped me to BLOCK him and keep him blocked. I struggle with blocking him from my mind. Take care and post more.
      :)

      • NeverAgain says:

        NCC: Thank you for your support :) It is SO helpful to know I”m not the only one to go through this crap. Just wish I’d seen it for what it was earlier and told him to a) pound sand; or b) take a long walk of a short pier. How I let that jerk turn from a slobbering lapdog into a tyrant still baffles me. NC Day 2 is a success so far!

    • oregongirl says:

      Dear NeverAgain:
      You are such a strong girl! You set a good example for us all! I just wanted to say that I have been in the same kind of “what should I do” space, and a book that really helped me was “Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can–and Should–be Saved by Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi.” There are many good chapters in this book, about men who are addicts, immature, controlling, or have psychological problems. I found myself underlining almost every thing in there that pertained to my EX EUM/MM/AC. I hope you can find that book, it’s very illuminating! Hang in there, sistah!! xoxo

  32. Annabel says:

    This post is just perfect: what I needed, thanks!

  33. Jenny says:

    Thank you again, Natalie! This evening on the way home on the train I was just thinking, What is my life?? It feels like all my friends are married/with someone, I’m not and I am getting older (although I think I still look great!). But this helped so much, a promising-looking relationship ended mid-Feb after seven months and it’s been so hard to accept on some levels. So thank you for this . . . It really hasn’t been a waste of time; I am happier than I have ever been and now realise that it starts with *me*, not with things/people outside of me xxx

  34. 2fearce says:

    Never…

    Day 1 is the first day in the right direction– forward! Be kind to yourself!

  35. yoghurt says:

    Your posts have really helped over the last few weeks, Natalie – thanks.

    I’ve just, this weekend (and I can hear every regular reader go “At long last, you gubbins!”) told son’s dad that we can’t be friends anymore, at least, not until my life has moved on significantly in BIG TANGIBLE ways. Bit of a shame, in some ways, because he’s a lot nicer than he used to be and we have managed six months and longer of nice supportive co-parenting relationship.

    But the bother – and it’s my bother as well as his – is that when things are hard for him he falls back on being the sort of ‘friend’ who wants to come round for a brew at midnight and complain about how things aren’t going well with his gf. And even when, as with the last time, I refuse to engage with it at all, the little crack in my brain opens up and widens until it becomes a great big hole of doom that I then have to spend a month or so climbing out of.

    Well enough of that.

    I’ll maintain that he HAS changed and does genuinely want (and works at) becoming a better person. But our dynamic is screwed and as long as it’s easy for him to fall back on me when he needs a bit of sympathy and an ego-boost, then he’ll be at risk of doing so when things are tough.

    For the last few days, as well as feeling surprisingly light and free, I’ve been wondering why in hell I would’ve carried on beating myself around the head with that particular stick, but then why. I’ve done the best that I can with the situation that I’ve had, and I can’t begin to describe how absolutely 100% behind this decision I am. If the last three years have brought me (as well as lovely son, obvs) to the point where I can see things this clearly and feel this ready for the rest of my life then brilliant, it’s been worth it.

    • Learner says:

      Yoghurt,
      Good for you! You probably feel light and free since his problems are not weighing you down any more.

    • Mymble says:

      Yes Yoghurt
      Let him pay a therapist to moan on to! I would that behaviour depressing in a female friend, never mind someone you’d been involved with. Absolutely yucky.
      And incredibly selfish, you’ve got a job and small child, you don’t need to be listening to his whinging at midnight. You’re doing him a favour too, he needs to understand how selfish, inappropriate and disrespectful he is.

  36. dancingqueen says:

    Grace, I as well missed the post where you announced the breakup. That said, your post to Anita was spot on and you are as already enjoying evenings with friends…so bravo for your perpective.

    You sound EXACTLY like your usual self.

    (((((Grace))))))

  37. Beatrice22 says:

    It’s funny how my exUM has ruined everything special about me, I feel so numb most of the time then i just burst out in tears asking myself WHY? Can’t dare break my 2weeks NC cos iv been tru this to many times to know nothing good will ever come out of breaking the NC, he either will b so cruel, not say wat i wanna hear. Even if he did say wat i want to heat, I’m not sure i wanna hear, d guy humiliated me and used me (especially financially….DAMN!!!) when I ended it after 8 yrs of d on and off relationshit, he just said ” if you wanna go….. GO!!! N if u wanna stay, STAY N WAIT!!!!!”" Jss wish i go get some kind of amnesia cos i feel so ashamed, he brought out the worst in me

    • josie says:

      “He brought out the worst in me” is a good thing! It shows we are fighting back! The man I dated after I told him that I really didn’t see the point of our non relationship said “you should get therapy, you blow hot and cold, get angry, if you treat me this way how do you treat other people and the pets in your life?” It struck me that I was behaving badly because I hated the pointless relationshit, I blew hot and cold because I was unavailable for a relationship with HIM and just him because he treated me without love or respect, all is good in my life with other people. When someone brings out the worst in us its another sign that they really mean us no good and its so good to get away from these loosers, so we can behave well and be the best we can be rather than the worst.

      • NoMo Drama says:

        That, and when you find a person or situation is turning you into someone you yourself do not like very much, time to bail.

      • Swissmiss says:

        Josie-

        I’m not sure bad behavior is always an expression of ambivalence. Any idea how we could know for sure?

        Initially I cut the MM a lot of slack because I thought he was operating under extreme conditions, tolerating the W’s craziness during the divorce. I then moved on to believing that my walking out every time he busted a boundary (and there were many:duh!) was an expression of my ambivalence. I then spiraled into thinking his lousy behavior was an expression of his ambivalence. He then recanted if I ceased walking out and become a ‘sure thing’ he would could relax and stop acting like a jerk. Dizzy yet?!

        Guess what? That’s who we both really are. When my boundaries are busted, I go. I then believe I can change the outcome and return. And him? No strength of character. No integrity, no accountability. He tried again and again to step up but could not sustain it. He went back to his wife because she was ok living with that. Well, that’s their thing, not mine, good luck to them.

        So I guess it depends which side of the fence we are on. I’ve spent months sorting out these strands because I want to be fully accountable. It was worth it! I can now separate the experience from the man.

      • EllyB says:

        Josie: “You should get therapy, you blow hot and cold, get angry, if you treat me this way how do you treat other people and the pets in your life?”

        Maybe he was merely projecting his own flaws onto you? That seems to happen all the time with those jerks. I would be VERY suspicious whenever somebody openly accused me of “blowing hot and cold”, “getting angry” or “needing therapy”.

        Yes, there are people who TRULY have those flaws. Funnily enough, they are so intimidating and manipulative though that their victims almost never dare to say this out aloud.

        If somebody makes such accusations freely and quickly and without showing any signs of fear or insecurity (and doesn’t go NC afterwards either)… chances are HE is the jerk (trying to manipulate you once again!) and not you.

  38. wren says:

    I have finally gone NC with the friend that I was in love with and who rejected anything more after we slept together. I haven’t had actual contact with him for a couple of months but I still had him on my FB; on the weekend at the urging of a mutual friend I have now blocked him. I then felt a real sense of grief and sadness which surprised me because I thought I’d made progress. However I’ve realised that a part of me was still holding out hope that I could prove myself to him. I daydreamed about having hawt pics that he’d see which would ‘prove’ to him that he missed out and to make myself feel better. I was also thinking ahead to a holiday I’m meant to be taking with the same mutual friend and which ‘the guy’ was thinking of coming to too. I told my friend I’d really like it if ‘the guy’ didn’t come too (as we’re going to our mutual friend’s brother’s place). Previously I was denying to myself but secretly hoping that he would come so that I could be all cool and distant and tanned and get his attention again, only to ignore him. Which, I blatantly wouldn’t have done if I had his attention again, despite my best efforts. If I’m being honest with myself, I’d be all over that shiz). Yes I realise this is juvenile.

    When I blocked him I came face to face with the letting go of any hope for the future, any hope that I can salvage my ego after I feel I made a fool of myself with liking him too much and being too awkward when we spent time together. That’s why I’m grieving. Even worse, the mutual friend told me that ‘the guy’ is in love with this girl and showed me her picture on FB. Next day, (you guessed it) I proceeded to torture myself with stalking her pictures and noting how pretty she was. Once I’d had enough of that merriment, I then looked in the mirror and observed how my eyes were so normal compared to her pixie like almond ones, that I was much plainer, and so on. Torturing. Myself. But after a good night’s sleep I am reminding myself that a) he is apparently in love with her but she wants nothing to do with him, which strikes me as typical EUM (wants what he can’t have, doesn’t want what he’s got) and b) if he gets her it’s fairly likely that he’ll devalue and discard her because he is in love with the fantasy of people, not the reality that presents itself. Anyway that’s what I’m telling myself. Perhaps a better view (in that I can be sure of it and not just conjecture it) would be that even if she is amazing in every way and he loves her with all his heart, that doesn’t mean I am worthless and that I’m not going to find a man who finds *me* to be the beez’ uffing kneez.

    I feel today is a great day. I didn’t know I hadn’t moved on until I took that final step. Standing with you all in the struggle!

    • Keetseel says:

      Wren, you write: “When I blocked him I came face to face with the letting go of any hope for the future, any hope that I can salvage my ego after I feel I made a fool of myself with liking him too much and being too awkward when we spent time together. That’s why I’m grieving.” That is exactly it! That is the self-respecting behavior that I resist. I’m still holding out hope for my fantasy man (1 date, 1 vague promise of a future date 3 weeks ago then no more communication?) when I know the right thing is to let go (I might have to write him a calling-you-on-your-shit-you-smug-jerk email just to get rid of this 2-week headache he’s given me). But that would mean making him angry at me/pitying me/despising me, and most of all, it would mean giving up hope that the July “bike ride date” will materialize. I will never get back the people who didn’t love me back, will never get their love. Why have I been hoping, for over 40 years, that my Dad will finally see me and value me? He’s been effing dead since 1989. How do you cut the umbilical cord of hopeless hope?

      • Allison says:

        Keetsel,

        It was one date. That’s it!

        PLEASE do not send this guy an email. It was one date.

        Please address the over investment with people you do not know.

  39. wren says:

    Forgot to say:

    “Loss becomes gain” – I love this!!

  40. Misty says:

    This post hits home for me today! After 3 years of being in an online fantasy relationship with a guy from another country. He kept blowing hot an cold lets be friends oh no we can’t be friends..today I just blew and realized you cannot and will not get validation from an invalidator. Today I start loving me and realize the gift of learning and NC it has to be there is NO other way. So grateful to this site and all the wonderful ladies here…Love and Light to all :)

  41. Jazzy Jen says:

    I cannot say strongly enough how liberating it has been to find this site, Natalies wisdom, and the supportive attitude of all on here. I was desperate for answers…in a situation where as a disregarded OW I was having revenge ‘fantasies’ and feeling so ashamed of myself for living life completely out of line with every one of my values.

    The inner work I have done, and continue to do, involves facing up to a pretty desolate and bleak childhood instead of ‘ being brave’ about it. I was triggered by EUM and desperate to win attention this time; get fixed, feel loved etc.

    Was my time spent as an OW a waste? No, no, no. It was horrific but so essential for my growth. It turns out the MM has separated, and that he wanted to make that decision independantly. I may have an ounce of respect there, certainly I am not bitter..my marriage also imploded as I am…rubbish at lying? And ex husband and I were v.young. We are still amicable.

    What have I learnt from BR? That the MM is my past, revisited, over and over. My future lies within my ability to love and honour my own self. Scary, exciting, and hopeful.

    Thanks for ‘listening’ all x

  42. Peanut says:

    Hi to all BR readers; I’ve been a bit absent.

    Saturday I got news that a woman I had worked with for the past three years and had become close to suddenly died of a heart attack. It is eerie because I had seen her for dinner about a week ago and we had agreed to have coffee soon after.

    I had recently resigned from the company I had worked with her. She was so worried I’d lose touch and insisted we remain friends.

    When I first started at this job, she and I had plenty of conflict. She had a take no prisoners booming attitude and I was sheepish as a mouse. She terrified me. Over the years I grew stronger and fonder of her robust personality and diverse family. Then I started to really enjoy working with her. It was always an adventure. Then I started to confide in her and discovered she had a wealth of knowledge. I perked up my ears when she was around from then on. I’ve never met someone so adventurous and unafraid of the things that terrified me.

    Most people in the office really couldn’t peg me or relate. This women saw right through me. She saw the intense and torturous neuroticism I suffered. She saw the brokenness and also the unending passion and creativity for things I was putting out of my reach.

    We could talk art, books and music for hours, so it came as no surprise when she was excited I went back to school toward a masters in Art History.

    Eventually it became clear that that job would not work for me as it impeded me from doing what I needed to in school. The day I told her I wasn’t coming back after summer break for the following year I watched as she teared up, then said, “There’s nothing here for you. I’m proud of you.”

    She really is one of the very few human beings who I feel connected with me without dismissing me as wounded and odd in the town I live. She was a vibrant woman with a beautiful mind. It’s not fair. The world was not ready to see her go. It was too soon. She had travel plans. She was going to Europe. She was going to spend time with her kids and grand kids. She had books to read, new interesting foods to discover, kids to teach, a mind to keep growing, children and grandchildren to love and see grow, experiences to share and tell of, causes to stand up for.

    She was one of the most opinionated women I have ever come across. She loved life and she lived it well. No she wasn’t perfect. She really failed to scale back and take care of herself at times. I always noticed that but assumed she knew her limits.

    Regardless of limits, there is so much we’re not in control of. Find what moves you, your passion in life, what you stand for and go for it, never forget that these bodies of ours are not invincible and need our care and looking after all the while. We have to learn to nourish ourselves and the life around us while we can. Care.

    • EllyB says:

      Peanut: Those are sad news! I am very sorry for your loss, and yet I love what you wrote about her.

      I think this is one of the benefits of our healing process. We learn to value the TRULY great people in our lives (no matter their sex, age, profession, social status or whatever!). Unfortunately, we also learn that nobody is immortal.

      Some months ago, I’ve also heard of the death of a woman I valued a lot. I wasn’t in touch with her anymore at that time (not because of any flaws in her, but because the environment in which we had met had become highly toxic). Maybe I should have tried to stay in touch with her… but at that time I didn’t know any better. Anyway, at the age of 70, she died way too early.

      Quite often, something suddenly reminds me of her. It gives me a sting in the heart every time. I’m truly grieving her loss. I think I would not have the same feelings about the death of any member of my toxic family. Even if they are my relatives, none of them has ever shown me true love or support. This strong, independent, feminist woman has, even if I didn’t even know her all that well.

      I hope that someday (hopefully not too soon!) when we die, someone is going to write something very similar about us!

      • Peanut says:

        EllyB,

        I am sorry for your loss. This woman supported me like no one in family ever had. Yet, in some ways she was unhealthy in ways that mirror certain family dynamics. I still loved her though.

        Humans are complex. It’s scary. Life is so fragile too, yet humans have the capacity to overcome such adversity. We’re so much more delicate than our psyche’s could fathom and handle, yet we’re so much stronger than we know or could ever imagine in the ways that it’s true.

    • louise says:

      So sorry for your loss. I wish I had known her. Your last line struck home.

  43. espresso says:

    I don’t think I have finally processed this question yet. I can’t really say the relationship with my ex was a waste without writing off a huge portion of my adult life. So I would actually like to have better feelings towards my time with him so that I COULD bring up more acceptance instead of having continual epiphanies about our relationship that are shocking, really sad or rage inducing. I definitely valued the family we both worked on together and what we gave to the children. I have good memories of that and have built relationships that are engaged and strong and that I care about deeply. I sometimes do have nostalgia visit when I think these family gettogethers will never happen again (my daughter reminds me that new memories will take their place!) But my recollections other than that are pretty imbalanced and have a lot of pain attached. That includes most things related to the work/business that supported the family which was a major preoccupation.

    Exploring why I stayed so long and rationalized things is self work I have been doing and it hurts sometimes. I am trying to develop more compassion for myself and I hope that is where I will finally close this chapter. I did what I could, I did understand the situation was very damaging, I hoped I could “work with it” or have him understand what I needed and how to treat me, I tried my best, it was impossible and I stayed longer than I wanted to because there were real crises in the family including serious illnesses (two children). I also stayed because I didn’t really understand the huge impact of the damage and how it had drained me emotionally and left me feeling weakened and confused. Like somebody else said on this post, I was afraid of being thought cruel if I left because the man comes across as very “nice.” especially to those he hardly knows. That was my issue but I didn’t realize the depth of it at the time. I need to keep reminding myself that when I was with him I didn’t stay static but grew in a lot of ways and built an interesting and dynamic work and private life with close relationships which mean a lot to me. I think I have always had the capacity to find a lot of interest and joy in my life.. and I need to focus on that instead of asking myself, “why why why.” I have learned SO much in the past year both with BR and my counsellor. Really deep and important things…..I am so grateful for that.
    I look the same on the outside but inside I am a very different person than I was a few years ago.

  44. newmoi says:

    You live and you learn. As a result of my fling with my personal trainer, I have found out some new things about me as well as had some ugliness about myself show back up in my life. I am an avoider: I saw the red flags early on and knew he’d be no good as a potential however the sexual tension and the attention overall outweighed common sense. I’ve learned to review my value system (as I gave up 7 years of celibacy as I thought well have “friend” sex), stick to my guns and recognize and establish boundaries. Boundaries because they will keep me safe & maintain my self respect not just because it’s what good girls are supposed to do. You see I didn’t value my values (faith) enough because obviously I must’ve held on to them for the wrong reasons forgetting to include me in them which allowed me to play the hypocrite (go ahead, have sex no one will know). I believe it was all meant to be a distraction from my life & issues that I HAD to deal with. Who doesn’t want to feel good…and that’s what he offered. But the disrespect, mind games, just out right crazy confusing behavior drew me into the black hole which oi had caused to open in the first place. I’ve learned more about letting things go. Reading this blog has helped me to not only heal from this relationship but from previous one’s as well, realizing I’ve allowed versions of this same type of man in my life in the past (the friend from the past loooking for an ego trip via phone while dating his fiance now wife…yeah). I’ve recognized my own emotional unavailability as I’ve been on the other side before making the choice to go celibate. I knew I didn’t want that life anymore but hadn’t fully dealt with bringing my self esteem up to speed to keep mysellf from backtracking. I’ve learned how to truly recognize friendship and find a healthy balance between what it means to be Christian but not allowing people to walk all over you. We all fall. We all fail sometimes. We make poor choices or forget who we are just to please others. It’s important that we don’t stay there. That we build ourselves back up, learning and growing from our enhanced wisdom through experience. It’s hard…as the layers of deceit keep falling away…but so worth it in the end to realize….hey, you’re ok. The fact that I can type this while PMSing instead of crying in the car during lunch is a testament to the fact that it will get better. Love yourself enough to learn. Our brains are capable of so much more than worry and grief and anger…tap into it. He made us in such a wonderful way. Later.

  45. Mymble says:

    Right about the time I met the MM I started having menopause symptoms (though I didn’t really believe that’s what they were) and right about the time we were completely done, it was over. This feels like the end for me, and it has come sooner than I expected (I am in my 40s). In some ways, irrationally, I feel that he did it to me. Now I have little or no libido and I feel that as far as love, romance & sex are concerned I may be finished. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much and I’ve no interest in chasing around like a fool trying to get something impossible. Still I do sometimes wish I had made better decisions and had more backbone and courage and honesty.

    • grace says:

      Mymble
      Girls with cancer may go through menopause before they are twenty because of the hit from chemo. It made me realise there are people worse off. Don’t know if that will help or make you sadder!

    • runnergirl says:

      Swear to honest god Mymble, the same thing happened to me. I was probably going through menopause but was still menstruating at 50 frigging something. When it ended with the exMM, I didn’t and haven’t had a period. PERIOD. There was a little thought of blaming it on him. It’s just the cycle of life. You are right though, maybe it’s menopause, maybe it’s two years of BR. I simply have no interest in chasing down an impossible. If Mr. Possible appears, I’m there. Let’s cheer to being us and a plus if Mr. Possible appears!

      • louise says:

        Me too! I wonder if the end of my “womanliness” was a major factor in my off the rails decision to court an mm, something I never ever considered before. I wonder if I needed to know I could still be considered”breedable”. In fact withindays of being together he talked about fantasizing having a baby with me, holding my swelling belly, nursing from me. That’s mighty powerful juju. I have to admit that psychologically turning 50 and heading into menopause has really laid me out and kicked me to the curb, like nothing I have ever experienced.

    • Learner says:

      Mymble and those who replied,
      Me too! I started to get symptoms of menopause during the relationshit with the ExMM. I had a dream one night that I was pregnant and about to start labour, and he was all over that. He told me it was his baby, and described how he would care for me during labour. I “gave birth” to twins, which we named (including middle names) and incorporated into our fantasy relationship. Wen ending phone calls or online chats, he said he would check on the twins before we went to bed. Wow. More even dance of how deep I was into the dreamer relationship. Now that I have been NC with him for a year, actually to the very day today, I see it all so clearly. I think I have skipped a period this month, and I am also nearing the big 5-0 milestone. Perhaps our eggs felt they did not want to be wasted, so they encouraged us to enter these relationships with highly sexual men? Thank good ness the time wasn’t wasted, though. I feel so mush more self aware these days! Thanks for sharing these personal details ladies. Much appreciated xo

      • Learner says:

        When, not wen, and evidence, not even dance. My iPad I’d making strange “corrections” sorry!

      • louise says:

        It’s so good to hear I’m not alone with the baby dreams, the guy who plays into it, the incorporating it into the fantasy relationship. For us it is a huge part of our sexual life. Almost every time we have sex the “nursing” theme is there. I have dreams of babies. They are devastating to wake up from. The sense of loss. Your commenting about us choosing highly sexual men was interesting and compelling. its true. he’s not just a guy. If sex had been lousy I wouldn’t have gone on. The highly charged sexual/mating/breeding nature must have been appealing to the ovaries. Just like getting pregnant when i was nearly 30 and single was almost literally out of my control. I almost feel like this affair was too. I am now becoming more convinced my age had everything to do with it — In turn my “end of womanhood”. Very interesting. Even more so that the men are caught up in the baby thing too. hmmmmm. And i agree too that this time was not wasted. I’ve learned more about myself and life and self esteem in a year than in 50 yrs prior. best crash course ever. with emphasis on crash ;-)

        • Learner says:

          Louise,
          Yes, I think our biological urges significantly affect our behaviour, no matter how cerebral we feel we have become. For me, the exMM had a very active libido, in contrast with my major relationship before him. He had wanted more than one child, while his wife agreed to just one, so that may have played into our fantasy family also. That plus the exMM losing his mother at a young age may have contributed to our own nursing fantasies. Perhaps all men around the middle age zone have urges to reproduce? Perhaps men of ALL ages have this urge? Regardless, becoming involved with MM is not productive, and rarely REproductive! Its good to hear you have learned so much about yourself this last year. Have you decided to end things with the MM in your life? I can’t remember, sorry. If not, I strongly urge you to consider breaking it off and going NC. Hugs xo

  46. espresso says:

    Peanut – what a beautiful tribute to your friend. She saw, nurtured and appreciated you for who you are and supported where you wanted to go. That is pretty special and I am very sorry for your loss.

    • Peanut says:

      Thank you espresso,

      I am grateful I had the time with her I did. I wish I could have had more time with her, but the time I had meant a lot.

  47. espresso says:

    Mymble
    I am post menopausal and thought my sexual feelings were dead. They weren’t- not at all! I don’t have any real outlet now but…I am definitely feeling a lot more sexual than I did in in the last years of my marriage. So I am thinking this is just where you are right now and but doesn’t predict the future.

  48. 2fearce says:

    I’ve bn having menopause symptoms for cpl years now…n I’m in my mid thirties.

    Funny thing is its helped me get up n start doing more of the things I had been dreaming of. I’m doing everything I can now. Plus I seriously don’t want to wait 3 more decades to “live” in retirement. Nothing is promised!

    • Peanut says:

      Interesting. I just saw this. I am in my late twenties and am having hot flashes and such. I get them when I drink coffee. I am an avid coffee fanatic. Decaf is mutilating the coffee to me. No decaf for me so I have to give it up.

      We have a couple of the best coffee houses in the nation where I live and a personally brewed cup to order tastes heavenly.

      Coffee lets me get away with four hours of sleep per night. I go to bed looking forward to it knowing I’ll at least be able to go through the motions with its effects. But I feel jittery, irritable, antsy and fizzled by the end of the day.

      So I’m giving it up (I’m going to try). One day at a time. I feel like an addict giving up their drug of choice!

      I replaced the ex EUM with coffee. It might be wise of me to replace coffee with prayer and meditation ;)

  49. runnergirl says:

    So I know it isn’t a waste but…I tried to reconnect with a best girlfriend forever recently. Things were going pretty well in the begining. We made plans in advance and followed through on several occassions. Things went a little south this weekend. We made plans on Monday to get together on Sunday. We talked on Friday and she was supposed to email me directions to her house. She didn’t. Sunday afternoon, she called and was so apolgetic. I fell for her line and drove 2 hours to her house. We had a wonderful time. On Monday evening she called and we chatted about having a wonderful day…call interupted…something important…she’ll call back…She didn’t. Got a long text about changing the lights. Three more phone messages about how busy she is and is so sorry. I haven’t picked up or responded. Some folks never change. I did try to give it another chance. It just ended up being the same ole whether its a guy or a girl. I’m pretty much done being the go-to doormat whether it’s a guy or a girl. Same diff.

  50. lo j says:

    Oh Grace!!! Im so sorry for your loss. You should be so proud of yourself for loving someone and allowing yourself to be truly vulnerable. There are no guarantees. Ever. I hope you are getting lots of love and support and hugs from your old people at church and crying when you need to and laughing at his expense (its okay) and eating and resting and knowing that God has something greater for you. He does. You are extra special. We are all with you in this. Big big big hug!!

  51. Paris says:

    So when have you done too many NC’s? I have went NC 4 times on the same guy. So when does it become non-effective? I went back each time expecting change. I know Sanity…Nothing changes when you’re doing the same thing. Each time I get hurt. The first time I did so well but I got so lonely. Last Thursday he came over and spent the night after two and half months. I was so happy. The next day, Friday I asked if we could go to an upcoming concert. He said it was too soon to be going out. We aren’t about to go out now. He said he had to think about if he would take me out. WOW, Not to soon to sleep with me but too soon to take me out. I was so hurt. But I did it to myself. So what’s the problem. Why can’t I stick with The NC? On Saturday he was hurt playing flag football. He was scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday. I pleaded (begging) to take him. He stated that his friend was taking him. I asked him was the friend a female? He said it didn’t matter which let me know that it was. It’s so obvious that he has someone who means more to him than me. He has mentioned several times before the NC’s that he wouldn’t be exclusive with me and that he was dating other people. So where is my self-esteem? NC is about letting go and working on me. I can’t let go. How do I make NC work? How do I love Paris? How do I love me and not need a man for validation. Monday night he called and said that they wouldn’t operate and that he had a doctors appointment on Tuesday and would I take him. I was so delighted that I said yes and didn’t worry about the friend. We went to the doctors office and it was OK. On the way home he was constantly texting someone. He said that the surgery was scheduled for Thursday. I was like I can take you and he said I haven’t thought about it. When I left his house I said so you don’t need me on Thursday which is today by the way. He said I didn’t say that. He said I will let you know. Each morning I have been getting Good Mornings ,yesterday I received nothing. I checked on him to see how he was doing and he said well and he told me that he appreciated me being so kind hearted. I feel like the biggest fool. His surgery is in a matter of hours and I’m crying, trying to read different articles to help me. My friends are fed up with my behavior but they still comfort me. But they say I have to get some backbone and know he isn’t worth it. I’m a back up for him, an option girl. What she (the friend) couldn’t do, he then called on me. He doesn’t live here, so he doesn’t have family. He relocated here for work. He stated he may go home for his 6-8 week recovery, I stressed that I could care for him here. My friends say I’m so much better than this and the guy hasn’t done anything wrong. I’m doing this all to myself. When I go over to his place it’s usually a mess. It was spotless when I took him to the doctor and I had to help him to walk and get dressed so there is no way he hasn’t been alone. All I”m thinking is I wanted to be the one that was special to him. I told him last night that I wouldn’t bother him and when he felt like it he could let me know how he was feeling after his surgery. I believe if I don’t contact him he won’t contact me. I practically beg him to hurt me when contacting him because all his actions say I’m nothing to him. Now this seems real easy as I read it. Walk away Paris. Leave him alone and love yourself. Right? I’ve tried 4 times. Ok I have said enough but I belive NC isn’t a waste but how do you stay strong and carry it through? I have a therapist. I stopped going but I know it’s time to go back. It hurts not being the chosen one. Thanks for reading.

    • grace says:

      Paris
      Get Nat’s No Contact book.
      You’re not committed to a relationship with this man because you failed NC four times, that’s just ridiculous!

    • Mymble says:

      Paris
      The thing is you WILL end up NC anyway. You may be able to drag it out for a few weeks or months but it is absolutely plain that he is not interested in a relationship with you and that will not change. Ever. Yes it does feel sad and lonely going NC but isn’t it better to go through it now and get it behind you, rather than living with the dread of knowing it still awaits you? Every time you chase him and lay yourself down, doormat style, under the pedestal you have put him on, will be one more thing you’ll be kicking yourself for in times to come. I don’t know how old you are, but there just isn’t enough time to be spending it like this.

    • Allison says:

      Paris,

      This man is using you and does not respect you!

      Time to show yourself some love and respect.

    • Digs says:

      Paris my heart hurts for you. I think all of us have been there, and we know it’s hard. You asked why is it so hard? It’s hard for so many reasons, and there are tons of posts on this blog about it, including trying to fix old wounds, looking for validation, and habit/clinging to the pain. Do a search and you’ll find some really great reading here.

      You will only be successful with NC when you realize that this guy isn’t going to take your pain away. Any “fix” that you get by contact with him will be short lived, and then you’ll crash again. When you get tired of crashing, you’ll go NC for good. You won’t see it as temporary, you won’t see it as an option, you will just be done with it, and want something better for yourself, and you’ll get it. It will still be hard, but you’ll want peace more than you want him.

      This guy is NOT going to come around and see how great you are. Not because you’re not great, but because he doesn’t *want* to see how great you are. It’s not about you. It involves you, but it’s not about you. He’s using you for his own needs, his agenda. He isn’t thinking of you at all. Sucks doesn’t it. But is that the kind of guy you want to end up with?

      Right now you still have power. You can go NC, you can walk away with some dignity. How will you feel if *he* goes NC on *you*? That could very well happen. When he meets someone that he wants to get serious with, or maybe when the investment in you (what very, very little there is) stops being worth any perks. He could very well go NC. It happened to me. It’s not a nice feeling. It’s far worse than being the one going NC. Beat him to the punch. Decide that he’s not worth your energy, your peace of mind, and walk, for good.

      Some people on here have had good results with finding compassion for their child within. I tried for a long time, with no success. Only recently was I able to find compassion for myself, and it happened in a weird way. I went to bed, heartbroken as usual, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror of the armoire. At first I was confused, because the reflection wasn’t of me, it was of a little girl, curled up in bed, so vulnerable. I don’t know what the heck happened…. I am blind as a bat without my glasses, and I was tired…so who knows…but I saw a little girl. My heart went out to her. I cried, and I wanted to protect her, and I have started doing just that. Strangely enough, ever since my optical illusion in the mirror incident, I have been seeing the little girl inside of me all over the place…in my toes, in my belly, in my hair, etc. I AM that little girl. She’s here. The 8 year old is here, the 12 year old is here, they are all here, with all of that pain, the self-doubt, the rejections, the teasing…all of it. I am starting to feel compassion for her (them), and offer comfort. Are you in touch with the little girl(s) within?

      One last suggestion, for something that works for me – is there a woman who you admire? Either someone you know, or a celebrity? I have several women who I admire. When the going gets rough, or I am faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself “What would X do?” For example, I think that Queen Latifah is great (although I don’t know her personally, and I am only going by what I see, but you get the idea). She strikes me as a woman who takes charge of her life. So when a guy is being a jackass to me, and I am being hurt by it, I ask myself “What would Latifah do?” I can guarantee that she wouldn’t put up with his bullshit! He ain’t that special! Kind of nerdy huh…but it works for me.

      You are right that this guy isn’t worth it. There are woman all over the world fighting for freedom, fighting for their lives, and they would tell you how incredibly blessed you are, how special you are, and how deserving you are of WAY more than this jerk is offering. HE is not good enough for YOU. It’s garbage night in my neighborhood. Out with the trash!

    • jan says:

      “It hurts not being the chosen one.”
      and that, my friends, is why i stayed in an emotionally abusive relationship….i am just now understanding and coming to terms with the sad fact that it wasnt him that i was so in love with….it was the idea that i would be the one that an emotionally unavailable man would choose….that would make me special and make up for all the unpleasantness from my child/adulthood with my family…i would finally get to be special.

      its both freeing and heartbreaking to realize this…to finally see the truth of it…and know that i have done this to myself…but the good news is that i now can control whether or not i allow this to ever happen to me again…i choose NO.

      i have been lurking here for months and this place has been a life saver for me.

  52. Mymble says:

    Thank you, ladies, I know it is normal but it doesn’t seem to be discussed much, and I do feel that my “womanliness”, (never very impressive to begin with) and my sexuality, have walked out on me. I have been dumped, by me.
    Learner, I think it’s interesting what you said about highly sexual men! That certainly applied in my case.
    I have a GP appointment to discuss HRT as the
    night sweats means my sleep is often disturbed. It’s hard to feel positive when you’re sleep deprived.

  53. 2fearce says:

    Paris,

    NC is not meant for u to use to get him to see how great u are. It requires you giving up hope that you will convince him, that it will work with him. And believing that u are worth better.

    You haven’t given up hope.
    Until u do that, u will keep going back.

  54. Dashee says:

    Paris,

    I know how painful it is to not be the chosen one, believe me. But you are trying to make something real that is unreal. It cannot work. It will never work. Here’s what’s real: this guy doesn’t care about you but is all too happy to use you. Which means he is a complete asshole. What’s unreal: the belief that the more you do for him, the more he will care about you. This is a lie that keeps so many women trapped in terribly unhappy pseudo-relationships with callous men. The truth: The more you are willing to be a doormat and accept treatment that no woman who thinks well of herself would accept, the less he is going to respect you. Which leads you to chase him further, which lessens his respect further… this toxic cycle will eventually sputter and come to only one end – you feeling like discarded trash in the gutter while he goes merrily on his way with the new flavor of the month.

    The way to finally kick this guy to the curb is to dedicate yourself to the truth, as painful as it might be. It’s the only way through. The truth is that guy has no character, no integrity, and no problem taking advantage of your feelings to get his own selfish needs met. How do you stay strong and follow through? You make a promise to yourself that you simply do not break. You agree to be willing to sit with the pain and the loneliness and the discomfort and not try to not get rid of it by contacting him as a temporary fix. You take it one day at a time. You wake up in the morning and say, I’m not going to contact him… today. That’s all, just today. Or even, I’m not going to contact him this hour. Is this hour still endurable if I don’t contact him? Umm, yes! Most moments are actually ok as they are – it’s our distorted thinking that somehow they are unbearable if we don’t get a, b or c. This hour is ok just as it is. Repeat that thought as often as necessary. Before you know it, you will be 3 months NC, then 6 months, and finally feeling better. Good luck!

    • Sanntay says:

      Paris:
      My heart aches for you because I’ve been there, so I know what you’re going through. I want to co-sign what Dashee said, but also wanted to offer my two cents. There were lessons that were hard for me to hear when I was in a similar situation, but were necessary for my healing. NC is critical. You have to remove yourself from this situation IMMEDIATELY. Yes, it will take time, and it will hurt immensely. Don’t beat yourself up about it, we’re human and we all make mistakes. There is nothing that will come of this one-sided ordeal except more heartache. You have to make YOU your first priority. He has shown you who he is, and he will use you as long as you allow him to. He is not taking care of your needs, so why do you feel compelled to take care of his? He has been clear, both in words and actions, that he is seeing other people, and that you are not his priority. And he will not change. No matter how kind, beautiful, and intelligent you are, you can’t expect anyone to love and respect you if YOU don’t love and respect yourself. Make a clean break! No texting, no calling, no meeting up with him. If he’s not calling you, he doesn’t want to talk to you. If he texts you, he’s obviously trying to use you for something. Don’t let him!! NC is the only way to get through it…one day at a time. Read through some of Nat’s other posts and review the comments from those who have made it through similar situations (and worse) as stronger and wiser individuals who are now offering support and encouragement to others. I hope to count myself among them. You deserve someone who will love you, care for you, and respect you, someone who won’t keep you guessing or on an emotional roller coaster. You can do this, but you have to want it for yourself.

  55. Paris says:

    Grace, Mymble,Allison, 2fearce, Dashee, Sanntay & all who felt it but didn’t say it. Thank you so much. I know. My best friends have said the same thing. Since they are married it’s just hard sometimes for them I think to understand what I’m going thru. But I’m going to take it one day at a time.

    Thank you,
    Paris

    • grace says:

      Paris
      Your married friends know more than you think they do. It’s a twisted ego thing on our part that we think these dramas are “more” than a normal relationship. It was a big step for me to climb down from the dramatic, teary, unrequited relationship “highs” but, in the end, it was a step up.

    • NCC says:

      Paris,
      Sanntay put it perfectly by saying my heart aches for you because I know what you are going through and I’ve been there!! ME TOO! You described my AC very closely, including that his house was always a complete disaster, and any time i’d go over and it was clean, I knew someone in his harem had been there before me.
      Please remember this in times of pain….NO ONE IS THE CHOSEN ONE IN HIS LIFE EXCEPT HIM. You sound like you have a very good head on your shoulders….look how you called out that when the other girl wasn’t available, he called on you, even after coldly denying your offer to help in the beginning. That’s exactly what he did, without any thought of how it would make you feel or any ounce of integrity or decency. He’s like a doctor on rotation….he goes where the sick patients are….he’s not gonna spend his time with healthy patients who are off living their lives, nope, he gets his paycheck from sick patients. Your AC….he sees women as his sick patients who pay his bills, feed his ego, clean his house, whatever, it’s all about the rotation…he isn’t gonna go hit up girls who are out living healthy lives without dirtbags. He’s gonna find us who love getting those calls from him to ask us to help, even when he’s treated us like shit, cause we aren’t well, he’s gonna seek you out when the other girl isn’t sick….
      This other girl….isn’t the chosen one either. Do you think she would be oh so fine to find out that he is calling another woman when she isn’t available? The AC used to tell me, when I would get upset over things like this that “no other girl has ever cared, why do you? You’re too sensitive.” Meanwhile I would tell him, “if you want to date multiple women, then date multiple women who don’t have a problem with you seeing other people! They are out there I’m guessing!” His response, “no woman would be ok with that.” Sociopath who can’t connect his emotions, thoughts, feelings, reality, etc.
      But I digress. I know you feel like you are losing and some other woman is winning. I’m still there after 3 times of going NC and hitting about 3-4 months since the last time. It simply isn’t true. I just found out that one of the girls he was seeing behind my back….who he lied to me about, lied to her about me, (she ran into us out one night when we were together and told me they were BF/GF and looking at rings together) is now married. The run in happened A YEAR ago, and this chick is married. Something tells me she might have some unhealthy relationship patterns but….i also know how devastated she was. She reached out to me but I had no interest in the drama or swapping stories about who he really loved and wanted to be with, it all sickened me. She didn’t “win” him either. Even though to this day I still flash to thoughts of “ she was prettier than me he really did want her more it’s just that she caught him but I caught him before and I keep going back what the hell is wrong with me.” Guess what, she went back and fell for his lies too, because it turned out she was the same girl I called at 2am and she said, “I’m his girlfriend.” He begged me not to leave said she as some woman he was scamming money from. Holy shit I’m sick rehashing this stuff. I stayed with someone who not only lied about his lies but thought that one of his lies to get me to stay was to tell me he USES WOMEN??!!
      Bottom line, no one is the chosen one and I’d wager he doesn’t even choose himself half the time and has low self esteem and treats himself poorly.
      Choose you Paris. Choose Paris. I’d want Paris over a dirty scumbag in a dirty house anyday. ;)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Paris,

      You need to listen and act on the advice you’ve been given here. It appears that you are more comfortable seeking pain and misery than to try learning to enjoy peace and contentment. The former is what you know, while the latter requires that you come out of your comfort zone which you are reluctant to do. reveling in pain and misery is an indication of serious mental/emotional imbalance. You said you stopped therapy? I don’t know for what reason you stopped, but you definitely need to get back to it. If that particular therapist was not helpful for you, get another one. A woman who can relate to your problems from a woman’s perspective is probably better. Your history of going NC 4 times and still unable to extricate yourself from this man who cares NOTHING about you is tragic and imo, requires the assistance of a professional working with you. You have little self esteem and repeatedly give this man your ass to kick. He’s using you big time and you’re grovelling for more. There is something seriously wrong with that picture. Get help!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Paris. I’m giving it to you straight. Your begging for his love and attention is not only fruitless, but you probably disgust him. A woman cannot go to bed with a man who disgusts her, but a man, like him can. All he wants is the sex and he doesn’t have to feel a thing for you. And he doesn’t. He’s made that very clear. He thanked you for your kindness? Don’t believe he’s sincere, because he doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Does it make you feel good being in bed with someone like that? You are used and abused and you love it so much that you keep going back like an addiction.

  56. teachable says:

    grace, I cant see what im writing properly as I need new glasses & it’s late & my eyes struggle to see txt on my ph, but just want,to offer a hug for the news of yr breakup w the bf. I looked repeatedly for the bkposts trying to understand wot happend but again, possibly due to ph limitation, cudnt find them. all I know is yr now nc w him. im sorry to hear tht news. here’s a big hug frm me just because (((((((grace)))))))) xx

  57. noquay says:

    Sanntay
    You still hurt because you have to deal with him frequently. Proximity sucks. You can either “give him your back”, literally turn away from him if he approaches you, or if he is still clueless, tell him to stay away then resume NC. Don’t go online right now; I don’t know what sort of place you live in but if you can, get out and go places where you can meet like minded folk. I am online only because my options here are non existent. Since this post is about learning harsh lessons, I guess that you’ve learned to avoid any sort of entanglement with someone who you’ll have to see/deal with if the relationship goes south.

  58. noquay says:

    Swissmiss
    You’re awesome. Getting back safely is perhaps the one good thing we get from these relationshits. I don’t have the range of travel experience that you have had but I have successfully warded off two grizzly attacks, two attempted rapes, and one stalker along with numerous close calls in the backcountry, I am grateful to have gotten back safely and did so solely on my own. When my life was threatened due to my research, I learned to check my car for signs of tampering and recognize when I was being followed. When I look at fellow sufferers under the at work AC, I also realize that despite the loneliness, the betrayal, I came back safely. His ex wife had to essentially move far away and go into hiding to get away from him, one colleague is in dire financial straits trying to escape from dealing with him, and a third had her doctoral progress completely derailed. Those are the ones I know about. Yep, it could be worse.

  59. sillyquirky says:

    im trying to go NC with my husband right now. he is suffocating and things just got out of hand so as he is at the house he’s always in my face, never seems to go out by himself and relies on me to ever do something. its enough. till he moves out I am trying to do NC in the house to feel some sort of space but man, he is just making me want o divorce all the more with him wanting to talk about everything everyday w no results. just go in circles. it makes me realize when you ask for space from the very person you thought you can trust and they cannot do it, you are in the WRONG relationship.

  60. Poppy says:

    I’m bringing up an old post here. The one about when you think you can’t leave you don’t. The post explained how Natalie suffered physical and emotional abuse and still went back. I did the same and I didn’t leave. Thing is, now that I am gaining perspective, how do I get over the fact that I should have left.

    He left me in the end for someone else and someone I know, I knew something was going on and has the power, is holding onto my belongings that I left at his house and I am angry that he ended it when it should have been me because he treated me like muck.

    I tried to get them back within the first 4 days of splitting up. I knew it was over this time. The impact of what he has done finally came crashing down and hit me like a ton of bricks. In honesty I wanted it over I just didn’t know how.

    The only reason I made contact was because it doesn’t give him an excuse to contact me in the future. Quite a bit of stuff was at his and, yes, it can be replaced, I have already. I gave every option to get it, sent money for postage, asked if he could leave it outside his house when I knew he wasn’t there and nothing suited so I left it and haven’t made contact since and believe me I won’t. Now I am frustrated because, what I tried to avoid will probably happen and he will contact me to get this stuff when it could have been sorted. His suggestion was I went into his house while he wasn’t there to get it. I didn’t feel comfortable doing that so in turn made other suggestions which as I said, none were suitable. I got the impression that he felt guilty gathering it together because if his actions and didn’t want responsibility for ending it in such a bad way.

    I’m changing my life, I’m seeing things differently and this situation is good because I was stuck in a rut and oh so codependent. I cringe at my behaviour. I cccccrrrrrrriiiiiinnnnnnggggggggeeeeeee to the point where I shrivel up. So many people know the situation and I’m mortified because I stayed. I feel now thy don’t believe the abuse because, like he said ‘it couldn’t have been that bad’. It was, it was horrible but I held onto the good times which in fact were minimal and always followed by anxiety and nasty, abusive behaviour.

    Don’t get me wrong, I take responsibility for my ways but I saw the red flag within two weeks and I stayed for three years. It all boiled down to no contact which I am very good at maintaining and get on with my life. He manages to pop up at weak moments and then it all starts again. There won’t be anymore weak moments.

    I do, though, need some other perspective.

  61. Paris says:

    Thank you so much Grace, NCC & Tinkerbell. NCC sorry you had to relive your story but I got your point. Tinkerbell you told me..and sometimes we need that.You sound just like my best friends.

    He came home from the hospital Friday evening. He called to let me know he was home. Yesterday, Saturday I didn’t hear one word from him.

    A part of me was like you need to check on him then I reread your comments and sid no I don’t, he’s fine & with her. But I cried most of the day and stayed in bed. But I made it. I’m not a cold person but he doesn’t care about me so I shouldn’t care about him.

    Thank you everyone so much. I have a therapist appt. in two weeks.I can’t wait to come back with better news someday.

  62. Louise says:

    Oregongirl, thankyou so much for sharing your last straw story. I am always astounded how identical these men’s reactions are. It’s like god made one rum/ac/mm then got lazy and just cloned them and sent them out to all the Eves who he didn’t clone on purpose but gave them uteruses instead just to make the game interesting to watch. Sheesh.

    Learner, you just HAD to ask the young question eh? ???? Yes I want out. Bad. This last round of BR with all of you has been very eye opening. But I’m still chicken shit and frankly pissed off with him and me for putting up with it. So my chickenshit plan since summer vacates are ion us is to fade. I’m going to start matching his once a day 2 word texts letter for letter to start. I leave tommorrow for vacation and will avoid. He leaves when I get back. Then I am hoping to be enrolled in a hook in another town so I can hide out there. But I know, realistically that’s prolonging the inevitable and giving myself a way back in. Truth is I’m still a little confused, but MUCH LESS than before. U have started asking questions, calling him on his bullshit though. It feels great! I never did before because I didn’t want to be difficult or make him leave. Now I’m hoping the opposite. In the end though I know I have to make th stand. I see it coming soon. But not quite yet. I will definitely keep you posted though. And learner, Oregon girl, thankyou. Please keep telling us your stories! All of you.! And I wouldn’t mind a place to talk about 50 menopause etc. it’s usually kept so quiet I was ashamed to talk of it until. BR and even then.. I’d really like to be able to reach out to all of you who are dealing with this. Maybe we could give Nat permission to send emails to each other? Nat, i give you permission to give mine to anyone who wants to talk about this more.

    • Learner says:

      Louise,
      I hope you enjoy your vacation. I also hope the slow fade works for you. It never did for me as I stayed emotionally invested until I had finally had enough and went full NC. Perhaps it will work for you though. The main thing is that you disengage emotionally so that the hurt can lessen. Keep us informed please, and yes, I am OK with exchanging emails if its OK with Natalie.
      Strength to you.

    • oregongirl says:

      Hi Louise,
      I agree, it’s funny how similar the stories are. I think there are these similar types of relationships here that NML is able to see by reading all of these posts, and then by generalizing them into the pattern. That’s why the advice we find here is so useful.

      Louise, I am 52 and just finishing menopause. I have been having hotflashes & night sweats for about 4 years now. I notice that my muscles are not as strong as they were 4 years ago, my skin is kinda getting old looking, my hair is getting greyer.

      So losing my man that I loved right at this time has the double whammy of hurting like hell, but also making it possible for me to wonder if this will be my last passionate romance. I hope not and don’t really think so, but I am definitely looking older now than when I first met him, plus the stress of all the crap he’s put me through hasn’t helped! He was so bad for my health–both physical and emotional.

      Maybe that’s why this is the best time for me to have my alone time to focus on what I need and want and deserve in life. I am trying to be grateful for this sabbatical from men.

      I have been trying to go for a walk every day. I only buy healthy foods and have lost a couple of pounds (yay me!!). I found a super hair lady who has put a lot of blond in my hair, and I like it that way!! A complete stranger told me I was a “hottie” the other day, and that made me smile!

      In two weeks I am traveling from Oregon (west coast USA) to Paris to take some classes at the Sorbonne. I can’t wait to put the focus on learning and art and adventure!!!

      But dammit I still miss him and it still hurts!!! He is sexy and strong and smart and the captain of a very large ship. We traveled together and had all kinds of adventures together. But in the end, although he has been separated from his wife for 3 years, he could not bring himself to sign the divorce papers. He said he was too worried about what it would do to his finances!!! He said their marriage was a business transaction, and nothing more. But I think it WAS more than that. And the more I asked him about it, the meaner and nastier he got. And time to be honest here: he drank too much, he gambled too much, and he could be really mean at times and had a bad temper. Once he even yelled at me: “I am the captain of a ship and I am used to people following my orders!!” What an assclown!!

      Damn him!!

  63. Louise says:

    Sorry for misspelled words. iPhone corrections arrrhghh. Hook is school btw.

  64. Victoria says:

    I just discovered this site, and it is helping me so much.. the posts, but also everyone’s comments because i feel like such a fool sometimes and then i realize i’m not the only one. what is wrong with us females, anyway? :(
    I’m 46 years old and just realizing that i’ve had nothing but crumbs from every relationship i’ve ever been in, including my marriage that ended 2 years ago when my husband left me for another woman (also married). most recently was involved with a much younger man who told me up front he wouldn’t commit to someone he can’t have children with, so why did i even keep talking to him? anyway, just thank you for this site. as i said, just knowing i’m not the only one helps so much. i have a lot of work to do though…

  65. Kat says:

    I am in such a sh*t place today. My Unavailable guy strung me along for 16 months. And I never realised I could feel this BAD or this HURT. When I realised that he was a “future faker” I didn’t know what to do with myself. just two weeks ago he looked me in the eyes and told me that he wanted me to be the mother of his children. And now he’s on his summer hols with his gf! I want all the hurt to mean something. Surely no one is that evil?! I can’t outwardly grieve as I was the other woman and none of my friends knew we were seeing each other. I don’t know what to do with these feelings! I beat myself up for putting myself in this stupid situation and I guess it was my fault.but I’m stuck in a cycle of over feeling and missing him even though I ended it because it was going nowhere and making me insane!

  66. Jamie says:

    I fell off the NC wagon yesterday. Had 2 lengthy phone conversations in which I asked him time and again why he had contacted other women online and lied throughout our 18month relationship. He kept on saying it was because I wasn’t giving him enough of my time and was lonely. Three weeks ago the catalyst/wake up call incident happened. He had told me that he had to work on his day off. I was seeing clients up near his home and wanted to drop a card under his front mat. Ten minutes prior to me arriving at his house he texted me saying that he was on his way in to work. I pull up to his house and there he is out front getting his boat ready to take out AND there was a woman with him!! As I pulled my car up to his house he took one look at me and ran into his house with her. I was livid! I rang on the door bell…..no answer. I called his phone…..no answer. Then she comes out and proceeds to start packing the boat up. I walked over to her and asked her where he was. She looked at me with attitude and asked “and you are?” I said “his girlfriend”. The look on her face told me that they weren’t just buddies so I said “I’m just going to go upstairs and get my earrings that I left here last night”. She then says “you were just here last night?”……she was angry. I said “yes” and proceeded to go into his house and upstairs where he was in the shower. I opened the bathroom door and asked him where my earrings were and asked him why he had just told me the night before that he loved me and wanted to marry me why he was with another woman?? She heard all of this and left. He then tells me that I have to leave and that I invaded his privacy. I wanted to punch him in the face at this point!! So I left and sat in my car down the block to calm down. She came back and they left for their day on his boat.
    Fast forward to last night after our lengthy phone conversations. I brought up that day and he tells me that he had simply decided to NOT go into work and that the whole day on the boat was last minute and that she was just a friend. I reminded him of the text he sent me telling me that he was on his way into work. WHY LIE?? Then I asked him why he simply didn’t come over to my car when I pulled up in front of his house instead of running inside. He says “I didn’t want the drama”. WTF!!! Then proceeds to tell me that I “scared” this woman by barging into his house like I did and that NOBODY with any kind of manners does that. He said that I should have left the card under his mat and left OR sent her upstairs to let him know that I was there and ask permission to let me in. WTF?? He said to me “if you really truly love me then you would be able to forgive me and move on in our relationship”. I said that loving someone doesn’t mean that I have to put up with bad behavior from them. He wants me to stay with him and give him more of my time……he says as long as I give him more time then he wont seek out other women since he wont be lonely.
    My head is spinning this morning!! Am I crazy?? What am I dealing with here?? Is he right?? I want to run from him but don’t understand why he keeps holding on to me so hard and insisting that we stay together.
    Help!!
    Jamie

    • sushi says:

      Jamie,

      he is manipulating you and all he says is a mindf**k. You need to look at his actions.
      The undisputed facts are that he is a liar and sees other women behind your back.You saw it in black and white, right in front of you.
      His excuses are ridiculous and the “if you truly love me” bit is emotional blackmail. You accepted the excuses before and he sees it as a green light to continue to treat you badly and dish out even more ridiculous excuses.
      I think you want to believe him because if you do and he is right you will be able to continue in this relationship. Been there, done it, imagined the potential despite what was right in front of me too. Big mistake. It just gets worse with time. The disconnect between what these guys say and do makes you doubt your perceptions. You are not crazy. He is not wanting to hold on to you, if he did he wouldn`t lie to you or saw other women. He sounds like he likes women doting on him and will take the sex and other benefits of relationship as long as the women he sees accept his pitiful crumbs.This man has zero consideration for you and this other woman also, it`s just an ego feeding game for him. Your gut is telling you to run for a very good reason, please listen to it.

      • newmoi says:

        sushi,
        Good response. I too have experienced that kind of mindf**kery and baffled by how it affected me even to this day. I often wonder how can any individual live with themselves after working so hard to manipulate another. Why not just be totally honest and tell them it’s over. Crazy right? Obviously if everyone thought that way, there would be no need for baggagereclaim to help us be more aware of the people we allow into our lives and to equip us in protecting our mind and souls…our bodies from such evil and ridiculousness. The fact there are people out there who enjoy the thought that there are women/men who are hopeful for love and will abuse that opportunity to the fullest extent. We have to be careful as well, those who have been harmed by it, to not take on that type of attitude as well as a means of getting back or getting over. At any rate, your comment rang loudly for me as well.
        Thanks!

        • Jamie says:

          Newmoi,

          I wonder the very same thing!! These people must “know” that they are manipulating others. Do they truly not care? I don’t get it and probably never will.

          Jamie

  67. Jamie says:

    Hi Sushi,

    Thanks so much for your reply. I really needed to read what you wrote!! You are so right.

    Jamie

    • sushi says:

      you are welcome Jamie, reading your story transported me back in a woooosh to how it was with my ex AC (without the boat:) look after yourself.

      • Jamie says:

        Hi Sushi,

        I’m so sorry you went through this too. May I ask you, do you still scratch your head wondering what hit you, or does this feeling go away??

        Jamie

        PS
        I unfriended my AC on facebook AND blocked him on my cell phone. Something I wasn’t able to do before.

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