On Intuition: You can't know what you don't know until you know that you don't know it

I had to go to an event in Marylebone a couple of days ago and something niggled at me about the location and which tube station I should go to (I went to the same place a couple of years ago but it was the day the Christmas lights were turned on so I couldn’t quite place it), so I did a cursory check of Google Maps and then promptly got distracted. On arriving in Central London, I checked Google Maps again and it said that I should get off at Oxford Circus and walk 14 minutes, and I remember rolling my eyes at the phone and heading down to the tube. When I got to Oxford Circus, a part of me (and the information) I’d read, was saying exit the station but another part of me reasoned, Feck this. I know better. Why would I get off here when I could go to Marylebone station? A bit of dithering and I decided to opt for the latter. A few minutes later, I arrived at Marylebone, checked the app… and it said that it was a 13 feckin minute walk! Ack!

The thing is, I was given information as well as certain cues such as something in the back of mind saying to check out my route and the rather obvious fact that the app tells you the shortest route, but I ignored these, because my reasoning and what I was treating as my knowledge, blinded me.

Lying in bed this morning wondering why my children cannot sleep in on the first blummin’ day of their half-term break, it suddenly struck me how a lot of my dating and relationship experiences were much like my dithering in Marylebone. Green-lighting code red stuff based on what I deemed to be logic.  I also hear from so many people who give themselves a hard time for feeling that their intuition has failed them and who decide that because they got something wrong, that they cannot trust themselves.

It’s like going to a traffic light and not being sure how to assimilate the information from the colour of the lights as well as your surroundings. Let’s say that it’s on red but you think that it means go, so you do so, and then you get hurt – would that mean that you’d never use a traffic light again? Would you say that the traffic light was wrong or broken? Would you decide that you cannot be trusted? Or would you recognise the knowledge gap and get a sense of what you need to know for next time?

And that’s when it hit me: Was it my intuition, which is based on my instinctive emotional responses, that was wrong? Or, is it that the reasoning I applied to the situation as well as me doing stuff like ignoring cues, that was off?

Our feelings happen without reasoning or knowledge – it’s up to us to discern what’s real and what’s not. It’s up to us to provide the reasoning and knowledge.

We can’t know what we don’t know until we know that we don’t know it. Of course it’s harder to know what we don’t know, if we also ignore us or are heavily reliant on external parties to direct us.

When it comes to our intuition, we cannot hone it and basically know where it is right without recognising and learning from when it is off base.

We also need to be a bit fairer to ourselves because it’s wrong to blame our intuition. It’s wrong to say that we shouldn’t be trusted. It’s about our reasoning and knowledge held and sometimes we have to hold our hands up and admit that we sometimes use default reasoning aswell as stories we treat as facts, as a way of not having to be conscious about what we’re being and doing. It’s our safe comfort zone. We also have to recognise that it’s highly unrealistic to expect to go through life without having to learn from our mistakes so that we can grow and find out what we need to know.

The key thing that we forget is that whatever reasoning and knowledge we use is based on our understanding of the truth at that time. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better you do better”, but this isn’t going to happen if it all becomes about focusing on ‘failing’.

If you have unhealthy beliefs about you, such as you not being “good enough” and believing that you’re to blame for something, that’s using reasoning that ‘makes sense’ to you, but that doesn’t mean that it’s representative of the facts. That’s like when I was a kid and I couldn’t understand why my parents broke up or why my father was flaky – I looked for a reason that ‘made sense’ to my 3-4 year old self and decided that it was my fault because I wasn’t loved enough and later decided that I wasn’t good enough full stop. It then became my default reasoning. It seemed logical at the time but actually, it didn’t make sense.

The more you’re willing to expand your understanding beyond default logic that may have ‘made sense’ at one time but it doesn’t now, is the more that you can rely on your reasoning and knowledge to help you make sense of your intuition. This isn’t going to happen though if you ignore you or berate you because you will not only be afraid to put a foot wrong but you will also have no sense of when you’re putting a foot right because you won’t have the self-esteem left to recognise this.

Your thoughts?

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127 Responses to It’s Not Your Intuition That Misleads You – Evaluate The Reasoning and Knowledge Applied

  1. Marian says:

    I am struggling with this because I am dating someone who treats me exactly how I want to be treated and I feel incredibly comfortable around him and I am opening up emotionally like I never had before, but I wake up in the morning with an adrenaline alarm bell to stay away. It’s not an unavoidable full-body clench like I’ve had in the past, but it is a lot of anxiety. Never had close, vulnerable love absent of control before. Controlling dad. So I am trying to make evidence-based decisions. When I talk about him to friends I get warm and blushy which I read is a sign of intuitive happiness, not the fear I feel in the morning. Any advice appreciated. I don’t want to ignore my “intuition” but I also don’t want to sabotage a good thing.

    • rachael says:

      “…treats me exactly how I want to be treated…”
      How IS that, exactly?

    • Sofia says:

      What signs is he giving off you think that makes you, ” I wake up in the morning with an adrenaline alarm bell to stay away.”

      Do you think he will control you? Or is already controlling?

    • Nickster says:

      Marian – Here’s my theory on this. If you’ve been used to drama in relationships, that means lots of cortisol flooding your body (hence why we get addicted to the ups and downs). When you start to go drama-free, those old patterns of highs and lows are still quite embedded, even if and when we consciously want to shake them off. I believe we still build up that nervous energy (the release of which usually be triggered by the crazy behaviour of the EU partner) – and we’re looking for somewhere to ‘spend; it, but because your relationship is not triggering you, because you are more secure here, it’s just rushing around your body looking for an outlet.

      Another aspect is, in getting close to someone who, presumably, is not EU, you are risking opening up. To BR readers, who typically have their own commitment issues (hence why we sough out EU partners to begin with), this is super scary. So although your adult self knows everything is ok and safe, your child self is terrified because, to the child, getting close mean DANGER!

      I think this is different to the sort of stabs of intuition you get when someone’s behaviour is off and conflicts with a boundary of yours. Obviously if you are getting that too, then you need to pay attention and act on it. But if it’s just this rush of physical sensation then I reckon you might just be going cold turkey on the drama!

      I’m not sure of solutions but I think some self soothing, exercise and time will probably help. After all, it’s a huge adjustment to go from an EU relationship to something healthy. And a big accomplishment too, whether the relationship is destined to work out or not. x

      • no_more says:


        I have to agree with Nickster’ s assessment. I think it is pretty spot on.

        You say your dad was controlling. I’m guessing any past relationships that had EUA aspects were fraught with anxiety, and some angst. (God knows mine were.) And now you are dating someone who you start out by describing in good ways. He treats you right. You discuss him with friends, and it makes you feel good. That is all great stuff.

        But because you associate prior relationships (ie:your dad), with drama, being controlled, anxiety, the LACK thereof is saying: ” hey- where’s all the crap that’s going to come next? When is sh*t going to hit the fan?”

        I think that’s normal. But instead of bailing, keep looking at the facts, the actions. If he’s a decent guy, he will continue to be a decent guy. Steadily you will keep moving forward, and continue to accept that you have a right to be treated well. Don’t ignore your anxiety, but do look at what it is that is making you anxious. Walk your way through it. I think it might start to subside.

        Read NML’ s posts on healthy dating, and boundaries. Put those things into the equation. If he starts going “Code Red” on you- remember your own self worth. Then drop him in a heartbeat.

        Let yourself love if you want, focus on the last paragraph of this post, and enjoy life the way it should be enjoyed.

        Good luck, and keep us posted.


    • CC says:


      Your thoughts first thing in the morning before your ego mind wakes up to take over could very well be your intuition talking to you. I would listen and pay attention, maybe this guy is doing everything you like, because you are behaving well in his opinion. What happens if you decide not to behave accordingly, you don’t have to play games, but wait and see how he reacts when you do something he doesn’t like. I might be talking outta my arse, or it’s what my intuition picked up in your post.

    • janine says:

      Hun, there’s one simple rule. “If something seems too good to be true, it IS too good to be true”. Been there,done that. If you have ANY doubt, then there’s a reason to feel so.You don’t have to know the reason. Trust yourself. Honest, good-willing, warm and empathetic people don’t make you feel this way.

      What can be a reason of your weird morning feeling? Just a few examples:

      1) You subconsciously worry that he is ‘investing’ so much in you to entrap you (make you a prisoner of neverending gratefulness).
      2) -//- … and it’s not FOR FREE.
      3) -//- … but his behaviour towards other people is not too good (he badmouths others, ignores them, uses them to achieve his own goals etc.)

      …but also…

      4)Your expectations were very low and it’s almost too easy to him to fulfill them. Maybe other person in your situation would think he’s doing not much.

      5) He may give a lot, but expect you to give even more.
      6) His effort is mostly…verbal… He may spend a lot of time on talking, promising, praising, complimenting BUT not on DOING things for you.

      • Allison says:

        Or, it could be her own insecurities and fear of having a normal, healthy relationship.

        I agree with Nickster. I think this is about her own EU issues. I think this guy needs to be given a chance, as our intuition can be off, when it comes to an unhealthy relationship history.

    • A says:


      You need to determine whether you are anxious out of habit or whether something about this guy is triggering your feelings. What thoughts go through your head in association with the anxiety? Talk through or write down your feelings and any concerns you have about him.

    • Nigella says:


      Before anything else, I must say that Nickster, No_More, A, and Teachable have given you excellent feedback. In case it helps, I want to echo & add to what they have said. I’m sorry that instead of waking up feeling energized & motivated to start your day, you’re feeling “a lot of anxiety”. I could be wrong but I think you are, inter alia, trying to identify the cause(s) of your anxiety. It might help to ask yourself: “Is the anxiety exclusively related to dating him? Or, am I anxious about something else like my job, my health, or my own capacity to be in a mutually fulfilling relationship? Could it be that I am deflecting attention from my own unresolved fears or issues by doubting this guy? Or, is this guy doing & saying things that are making me feel anxious & suspicious of his intentions? Has he said or done anything to lead me to think-&-feel that he is going to control or use me?” I must emphasize I’m not telling you to doubt your anxiety if you feel that it is linked to his behavior. Nor am I asking you to stop assessing his behavior or to trust him like a thumb-sucking infant. Rather, I’m encouraging you to be honest in figuring out if your alarm bells are triggered by (a) his behavior or (b) your own fears. Or, (a) and (b)? I’m not saying that your alarm bells should not be ringing. They are ringing – and it is good that you’re ‘listening to your gut’, ‘paying attention to your intuition,’ and ‘trying to trust your instincts’. From the little I can tell, I think you’re not sequestering your intuition from your intellect.

      In this brilliant post, as her title suggest, Natalie is inviting us to “*evaluate* the reasoning & knowledge applied” to our intuition. She is asking us not to mistrust our intuition, not to “blame [ourselves] for something”, and not to apply a “default logic” to all situations. Nor is she telling us to abandon reasoning altogether in favor of our intuition. Personally, I think, just as it would be unwise to think that our reasons & observations are always right, so too it would be unwise to think that our intuition about someone is always right. Our thoughts need not override our gut instincts or vice versa. Natalie puts it perfectly: “when it comes to our intuition, we cannot…know where it right…from when it is off base”. In other words, our intuition is not always *base[d]* on the right causes or triggers. It can be off base – mistaken. It is not always correct. How do we figure out whether our intuition is right or wrong? Natalie suggests: “The more you’re willing to expand your understanding beyond default logic that may have ‘made sense’ at one time but it doesn’t now, is the more that you can rely on your reasoning and knowledge to help you make sense of your intuition”. Marian, you may want to *expand your understanding beyond your default logic* to make sense of your anxiety. For example, perhaps your default logic tells you: “My dad was controlling. I disliked being controlled. If I get close to someone, I’ll be controlled. Initially, guys (like my dad) treat me well. Eventually, guys (like my dad) try to control me. I feel anxious anticipating that this guy is going to do the same. Perhaps he is trying to control me by treating me as I want to be treated.” Does this ring true? Is this your default reasoning? If yes, do you think it is fair to conflate guys with your dad? This guy may or may not be like your dad. Have you taken enough time to get to know him?

      It’s great that you’re reflecting on your feelings & trying to figure out what they’re telling you. Compare your gut feelings to the pedals of a bicycle. Once they are pressed, the bicycle – your mind – starts to roll forward. If you don’t appropriately use your breaks – reasoning powers, observations, and facts – then your bicycle could head into the wrong direction or land into an accident. To make the best possible decisions & ride safely, you need to make use of the pedals (gut feelings) and the brakes (reasoning abilities). Maybe your feeling of anxiety is telling you that perhaps you are not *ready* for a drama-free relationship. The feeling of anxiety may have little to do with him. Rather, it may be telling you something about your own relationship readiness. If you are not ready, you are not ready – there is nothing good or bad about this emotional reality. You do not owe a relationship to this guy – only honesty to yourself & to him.

      Marian, I must also say that I speak from the perspective of someone who has been judged negatively by *some* people for treating them & others generously & kindly. Squinting his eyes & cocking his head to the side, the ex said to me: “There has to be something wrong with you. How can someone be so caring? So thoughtful?” In other words, he could not trust that I cared for him and as time passed he looked for flaws in me. He also said at one point: “You must be hiding something.” I am not perfect but I had nothing to hide from him & I did care for him. Essentially, he was *projecting* his own fears & negative assumptions about people onto me. He also tried to provoke reactions from me & test me by belittling my interests & backpedaling on plans. Had I tolerated his belittling & backpedaling, he could have taken me for granted. Had I not tolerated his antics, he could have thought of me as “over-sensitive”, “needy”, or “controlling”. Either way, I was set up to *fail* his tests. Thankfully, this immature man is no longer a part of my life. I share this experience only to encourage you not to put the guy you are dating through tests that are in fact set up to make him fail. Testing to see if people will respect us even if we disrespect or disappoint them is unfair. It is an act of relationship sabotage.

      Unlike the ex, fortunately, many people have trusted & reciprocated my care & support. Personally, when I show care to someone, my intention is not to burden them with debts. Even though my financial & emotional resources are *finite*, I enjoy showing my affection & support to people (who I feel are deserving of such things). Just as it would be cynical of me to think that *all or most* people are going to judge me negatively for being good to them, so too I think it would be cynical of someone to think that *all or most*people are putting on a show of goodness & hiding their ulterior motive of controlling or using them. In the past, when my actions and motivations were repeatedly doubted by non-committal & cynical people like the ex, I felt puzzled & devalued. It took me a while to realize that between me and them there is a big wall of cynicism (built by them) which – regardless of what I did – I could never knock down. If I didn’t give them what they wanted, I’d be damned for under-delivering. If I did give them what they claimed to want, I’d be damned for being generous and good. Regrettably, it took me a while to realize that instead of trying to please such people, I need to be on my own or with people who appreciate & reciprocate my efforts. I still enjoy giving generously, but I no longer give to overly suspicious-anxious or ridiculously ungrateful-unavailable people.

      True, *some* people sometimes treat us as we want to be treated in order to obtain something from us – sort of like the moneylender Shylock who demands a pound of flesh from the debtor Antonio when he defaults on his loan in “The Merchant of Venice”. This sort of giving is akin to credit-card companies loaning us money in order to acquire high-interest payments from us. They *want more for less*. But I think if you are *prepared* to make adequate payments on time, even loan-sharks like Shylock or credit-card companies cannot enslave you with their high-interest payments. If you think you are *not* interested or prepared to make payments, then it is best to say a firm “No” to their offers. Based on your feelings & thoughts, only you can determine whether you are prepared. Be honest and ask yourself: “am I *ready* to be in a mutually fulfilling relationship? Do I know what I want? Do I know what I bring to the table? Can I give X, Y, Z to this guy who is giving me A, B, C? If I’m not comfortable receiving A, B, C, how can I maturely tell him to *stop* investing in me instead of (reluctantly) enjoying his efforts & (secretly) hoping that he’ll read my mind & back off?”

      Marian, you are not obligated to take anything from a credit-card company or from a caring-giving chap if you feel that you are not *ready* to trust or to repay their offers. People sometimes get into debts because they (willfully, unfortunately, misguidedly, foolishly) *overestimate* their capacity to make payments on their account. In my view, it is not just the responsibility of the credit-card company – the creditor – to determine if loaning money to a person is a low-risk (viable) or high-risk (imprudent) endeavor. It is also the responsibility of the individual – the debtor – to determine if taking money is a low-risk or high-risk option for her. Instead of passing the buck & expecting credit-card companies to take *sole responsibility* for our best interests, it is worth asking oneself: “Given my income, expenses, and other loans, can I afford to make payments on this card?” Similarly, instead of only doubting the motivations of a person & making assumptions, it is worth asking oneself: “Given my current financial & emotional resources as well as present & past relationships, can I afford to be in a mutually fulfilling relationship? Can I trust this person over time? Do I trust that I can care for him & myself?”

      Ultimately, only you can decide what is true for you. I hope your anxiety is displaced by clarity on what you want from this guy & what you can give to him. Take care.

      • LovefromNel says:

        Beautifully said, Nigella, as usual. And I want to pass on a tremendous thank you for your most recent response to me on “Do you have a circular issue?” and to which I’ll reply very soon! You have helped so very much more than you can ever know! Nel does get many kisses on her forehead – in fact, my Mum says I smother her with my love so much that I’ll give her a complex. Haha! Mum also says she is the fairest dog anyone could ever have, which I suspect is why she walked straight past him. Anyway, will reply in more detail very soon, but I wanted to pass on a very big thank you as soon as I could. I am truly indebted. Love Nel.

        • Nigella says:


          Hope your weekend was relaxing and fun. Glad to hear you are showering affection on Nel. Thanks for your kind words. Take your time – and reply if and when it is convenient for you. There are no debts between us. Simply a delicate thread of care & camaraderie connecting us across time and space.

          Have a great week.

    • Alisa says:

      Ask your self “Why is my intuition putting me into panic mode in the morning?” If you can’t put your finger on it, quiet your mind and listen;become more observant of your partner in your relationship.
      Intuition is a very powerful force. I appreciate the way Natalie famed “Green lighting code red behavior based on logic” I used to get intuitive alerts about my ex’s attractions toward children and little girls . He had boundary issues with what he would say to girls, including my nieces. HIs controlling behavior was always alarming, but it took me MONTHS to realize the two were connected. IN the mean time I applied a weak logic by asking myself “what are the chances he is really a pedophile?” When I finally dismissed anxiety and really observed him it was obvious that my intuition was spot on. At the same time I didn’t know with certainty what his issues were with kids, but he had them. I accepted that I would never know the the truth, but honored my decision of ending the relationship because of all the code red b.s.

  2. rachael says:

    Don’t believe everything you think

    • oona says:

      Rachel – do you not believe everything you think?

      I think Marian is either experiencing this already by not taking all her thoughts/intuitions seriously and investigating them all to see if they are indeed reality or she wants to not believe them in order to have one more round on the merry go round of non relationship.

      Rachel, the cut and paste skills you use are super super efficient and you seem completely perfect!!! Are you able to be vulnerable and express your own actual experiences here???? I know I have found it really difficult but essential in order to develop and grow. I feel your questions are greatly ambiguous in their meaning and I would find your own personal experience/ vulnerability enlightening I feel.
      I read you on BR, as super super harsh, on yourself and your own past behaviours and I worry you are possibly suffering under a very very negative impression of yourself in reality?

      …maybe I’m imagining it and I should not believe what I think/feel… or react to it????

      Meaning that I would never in fact know at all what your intentions actually are in reality.

      • rachael says:


        The comment you refer to was at Natalies write up, not Marian.
        I am FAR from perfect, and you are right, I am harsh with myself, but learning to be more compassionate all the time. I am currently not dating and have no EU nightmares to thrash out here, but if one should arise I will be sure to tell :)

      • rachael says:


        And HELL NO, I do NOT believe everything I think… thankfully!!!!

  3. lawrence says:

    Beautiful, Natalie. That’s the main word that comes to mind when I read this analysis. :)

  4. Teachable says:


    whenever my gut tells me something is nqr, in hindsight, this has always been confirmed. why try to override yr morning nqr sensations? i’d suggest listening to them & slowing way down with this guy.

    teach :)

    • Lilia says:

      I have to agree with Teach and all the others who have expressed similar opinions. Your body is trying to tell you something and no, it´s not likely telling you
      “Oooh Marian this situation isn´t good for me because it is making me feel good. Please please let go of a healthy relationship because I need to feel bad again and get me some drama and headaches again!”
      When you stumble upon something good, your body knows and doesn´t complain – quite the contrary.

      I honestly think you can over-analyse yourself and most times, we do this because we don´t want to see the truth. In this case, saying that your anxiety is caused by some neurotic fear of vulnerability is just a rationalization – a way to ignore your own gut feelings about this situation. (Believe me, I´ve done the same.)

      There´s no harm in taking things slow with this guy. Just take care of yourself, there´s no need to jump into something with your eyes closed.

      • rachael says:

        Tend to agree with Lillia… we can overanalyse

      • Catherine says:

        I have been accused of over-analyzing things, but when I think about it, the situations when I was “over-analyzing” were times I was in a relationship I had no business being in! They were unhealthy and if my memory serves me right, I was ignoring the fact that the guy wasn’t right for me, or wasn’t really “that in to me” (as in “he’s just not that in to you”)but continued to keep going on because I wanted him so bad or wanted to believe it would work. In retrospect, a clear sign of my sickness that I would long for someone so strongly that was not good for me. My problem all along has been basically talking myself in to staying with guys I didn’t really like, or hanging on to someone who was never really going to be there for me. I have a long trail of tears behind me and am just now starting to heal (hopefully) but until I cease the self-hatred, there is no point in trying to date. This brings me to Natalie’s post, which is wonderfully relevant for anyone dating…but very frustrating…how can you think differently if you don’t realize you’re thinking wrong? Is there some way to know you’re reasoning is flawed? Some red flag?

        • rachael says:


          You and I have some common experiences… I just keep working on it x

  5. Karen says:

    Again you read my mind, Natalie.
    This happened last month, but I just managed to figure out where I went wrong recently after journaling about it.
    As a result, I’ve been kicking myself in the butt with guilt, shame and frustration because I thought I was healed and emotionally available enough to test the dating pool after processing my disasterous fling with my Narcissistic, passive aggressive ex.
    My first attempt at meeting someone normal and sane went well, at first.
    She was honest, forthright and very sensitive to emotional nuances, plus she had core values similar to my newly restored, emotionally healthy set.
    But one night I misinterpreted something she did that didn’t match her earlier words, and I reacted like a newly discharged war veteran with severe, untreated PTSD. For you Harry Potter fans, before I thought things out, I wrote her a howler e-mail, and when I re-read it recently I was so ashamed of the verbally abusive tone and words I used, I wrote her a brief apology letter. I didn’t explain why I did it because I wasnt sure if she even cared about the apology, much less the “whys.”
    She’s was terse but polite in response, but I sensed that she thinks I’m “One of Those” online lunatics.
    I realize I had to test things out sooner or later, and worried that it might still be too early to meet new people, but I vowed to go slowly and stay mindful, and in the present.
    In other words, I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I found out by trying.
    My guilt centers on this nice woman who wasn’t a victim as much as a casualty of my recent emotional ordeal with the ex.
    For my own peace of mind and to clear my nagging conscience, I want to write to her again and explain that she was an inadvertant crash test dummy, and that I meant her no harm, I just didn’t know how broken my trust levels still were.
    I have to get it off my chest, but I will be super careful to own my actions and not place even a hint of blame on her. In other words, I will not use the word “but” at all. (“I know I acted like a jerk, BUT you…”)

    I hope we can try to salvage a friendship one day, but that’s up to her. I wouldn’t dare get pushy about that after I was such a paranoid nitwit.

    • Clare says:


      Being vulnerable and truthful can go a long way in a situation like this. If you are going to send an apology e-mail, be careful to make it all about you and what you experienced and what you felt. The more you can leave the word “you” out of it, the more authentic and from the heart it will come across to her.

      As you say, whether she wants to be friends or wants to continue anything with you will be up to her. Accept whatever her decision is, and it will tell you a lot about her. I’ve been in this situation before, where I reacted too strongly and too emotionally to something, because I was actually not ready, where you think “oh jees.” Forgive yourself, apologise and learn from it. It’s all you can do.

      If it’s any consolation, the people who were able to “stick by me” during difficult spells like this were the ones who ended up sticking in my life for good. People who have patience with you. Though attacking and blaming and verbal abuse is NEVER a good idea. I have baby-stepped my way away from that by banning certain words from my vocabulary. It helps :)

      • Karen says:

        Clare, great advice. I did just that and we have become friends again. She understands why I was such a beast and she said let’s just start over with no ifs ands or buts.

  6. Nat Attack says:

    “Was it my intuition, which is based on my instinctive emotional responses, that was wrong? Or, is it that the reasoning I applied to the situation as well as me doing stuff like ignoring cues, that was off?”

    Thank you, Natalie for a great article. This topic speaks exactly to the issue I’ve been dealing with for the last several months–how to trust myself after consistently making faulty decisions in my last relationship. After reading your article, I realize that my intuition was sending me all sorts of code red alerts and alarm bells during the relationship, when he was acting distant, dismissed my feelings as “over-sensitive and emotional”, and avoided important conversations. Every time we came to a juncture where it was clear he was pushing me away, my body and mind said, “Something’s wrong. Get out,” and I would try to end things with him. But he would freak out and convince me to stay. Seeing him fight for me (for once), my reasoning would kick in to try to find evidence that I should stay. The reasoning was usually,”He just needs more time to realize how great I am, because I AM great. I’m a good girlfriend.” My intuition told me to get out and was based strictly on my reaction to bad treatment. My reasoning made his bad treatment about my self worth.

    What a huge revelation. It’s such a comfort to know that I wasn’t all wrong, that my judgement wasn’t completely off, that part of me understood everything, but another part of me wasn’t listening, was too busy tuning in to the old stories that I tell myself. This is something I can deal with.

    A million thank you’s!!! This article has made my day.

    • Sofia says:

      Nat Attack,

      I had a similar thinking to yours,”But he would freak out and convince me to stay. Seeing him fight for me (for once), my reasoning would kick in to try to find evidence that I should stay. The reasoning was usually,”He just needs more time to realize how great I am, because I AM great. I’m a good girlfriend.”

      Identical. Quite amazing how so many ladies here have similar experiences.

      Intuition told me a lot of things. I refused to listen. I wanted him. I wanted to be in a relationship with him. I thought he would change. “Change” as not to change his personality, but his idea of commitment. Which actually, yes, quite a personality change, so I take that back. People don’t change UNLESS something quite traumatic and epiphany happens.

      “My reasoning made his bad treatment about my self worth.”

      I am still recovering from this. I never ever in my life felt so unsure about myself. He literally eroded my sense of who I am . It is quite scary. I used to be confident before I started dating him. His constant putting down me, remarks, subtle teasing, criticism, brought me down to my knees. Now, I am trying to spring back. And believe he is not the one to define my self worth. Only I can do it. He is no one to judge me or define my worth. I have been taking him off the pedestal in the past few days. I am feeling really good about it. What shocks me still is that he criticized me so much that I start doubting me. That’s really scary. Never happened to me before.

      • Nat Attack says:


        I’m sorry to hear that you also struggle with feelings of self-doubt and low confidence as a result of the disrespectful treatment that you experienced during your relationship. I know it’s rough; my ex’s words and the way he broke up with me took a toll on me physically to the point where I was dropping pounds and losing sleep and people thought I looked scary. However, even at my lowest point, I found the strength to cut contact and move on with my life. I’m sharing this because even though it sounds like you’re still working on developing your confidence, you should recognize and appreciate how far you’ve come, something that Natalie recommends often in her posts. It sounds like you feel committed to changing and developing a stronger relationship with yourself. That’s awesome. I hope that you keep your ex off that pedestal, crush that pedestal to pieces with a big sledge-hammer while screaming, “You don’t get the final say! Only I know the real me! Out of my life you Mr. Unavailable! I may think about you still but you don’t scare me! Because I know your tricks! And I know I deserve better!”

        I have a ways to go. I am definitely more confident than I was before the break-up, but I want to go even further. It’s so hard, but I’m just trying to take it a step at a time. I have a weakness for thinking that everyone I know dislikes me, so that’s something I’m working on a lot. I’m trying to experiment with building my confidence in a playful way, because I’m a playful person.

        I still see my ex in dreams every once in awhile, but last night, instead of seeing him, I saw myself standing in front of the beautiful mountain range where we lived. I was with my dad, and I said to him, “I never thought I could come here again, because it would be too painful. But I can. It’s just beautiful here…” It was a wonderful moment. Those snow-capped mountains were so beautiful staring back at me. I felt so free.

        • Sofia says:

          Nat Attack, I think you are a confident person. “I have a weakness for thinking that everyone I know dislikes me, so that’s something I’m working on a lot. I’m trying to experiment with building my confidence in a playful way, because I’m a playful person.” The second statement is a contradiction. You are a playful person, and you recognize it as a good quality. Plus playful people are easy to get along with and they enjoy being with people. That’s already a sign of confidence. Don’t underestimate yourself.

          Yes no contact for me at all and taking off the pedestal already. Shuddering too how I was like a puppy for his affection and approval. And he still acted like I was not good enough, thin enough, short/tall enough, proper enough, etc etc etc. Then, mixed with, “You are gorgeous, smart, funny, sexy.” Then, something criticizing again. Rollercoaster. I would never tolerate such behavior now. From anyone.

          We will get there. You are right. The first step is recognizing our problem. The second is working on respecting and loving ourselves. Other things will fall into place once we ourselves recognize our own value.

          • lizzp says:

            “Other things will fall into place once we ourselves recognize our own value.”

            Sofia, I’ve been able to catch up a little with BR posts tonight and I wanted to offer my virtual support to you. I feel that your recent comments reveal a new tone and depth of self understanding. I wonder if you have felt a shift? Your insight into recognising your own value resonates with me. In being able to recognise and embrace our own worth and value a more grounded, self respecting and loving experience of life can follow. I find for myself that this recognition is not (and probably cannot be) an internal knowledge or understanding without outer expression. It is paired with action that leads to treating myself accordingly and acting and responding towards others accordingly. Acting in accordance with my worth and value strengthens and validates my own recognition of that value. I’ve realised that it’s up to me to manifest me as a worthy, valuable and loving person. When I show a dedicated respect towards myself and act on it in my daily life, then much does fall into place. Though in writing this it’s clearer to me that “things falling into place” really means that ‘things’ (satisfying enjoyment and building of friendships, relationships of all sorts, progress on fulfillment of goals, IOW an ‘alive’ life)fall into their right or proper places thanks to me giving them a push in the right direction. Life also has conflict and disappointment – acting on the basis of knowing my value won’t magically put an end to any of that but it changes my perspective so that the fallout from every-day conflicts and disappointments also falls into its right place. My emotional reactions to life’s ups and downs are truly mine, they too are in their right and proper place.

            When I decide to sabotage myself and turn towards old comfortably uncomfortable habits, the one thing I can be certain of is that I have set myself adrift from myself, that is from my own knowledge of what I am worth. To me the comfortably uncomfortable zone is akin to a ‘dead’ zone ala Stephen King/Christopher Walken. I’m not really ‘alive’ there, I am not really ‘living’ there because being disconnected from my worth ungrounds me. I float in a space vacuum, a ghost of myself. I’m not spending much time in the Dead Zone these days and when I do stubbornly drop in, the discomfort is noticeably less comfortable than it has been in the past and it’s a flyby visit at best. My next step will be to commit to full NC with my totally EU and AC Dead Zone.

            As far as intuition goes I realise as I write this down that as long as I’m grounded in my worth (and do not pop into dead zone out of habit where the intuition is a warning to look sharp), as a person who respects and values her own worth I will pay attention to what I’m trying to tell myself and go from there.

            • Sofia says:

              Lizzp, you are right. There has been a shift. Not overnight and I am still working on it. The last 4 months of introspect, reading psychology and spiritual material, BR, reading others and writing myself, thinking a lot, have influenced me. The most important change I notice is that I have boundaries now. I am not going to old places anymore (get bored, being scared being alone, get drunk – call one of the exes from the very past and go out and get laid, or engage in other behaviors which were no good). I used to get validation from my exes (not the most recent one, the others) when I got their text/e-mail. “Wow, they still remember me, I must be beautiful, awesome, hard to forget, blah blah blah”. Now, their texts annoy me and I might change my phone number so that they won’t remind me of my past. My most recent EU, the one for whom I should be grateful because due to the experience with him I have been undergoing tremendous changes, he doesn’t contact me. He contacted me 2,5 months after breakup and it has been 1,5 month after that and luckily I haven’t heard anything. Although he is EU,he was an upscale EU, a few points better than others, an upgrade, so to speak. So he won’t contact me anymore, which is good. I didn’t contact him for all these 4 months. Only once after he contacted me. I clarified what he wanted (it mattered to me 1,5 months ago. NOw I would have ignored his contact). I hope you will stick with NC, lizzp. Yes, it works. Your post shows that you are on a right path. It is amazing to see how much we have grown. If not for this board, I would have never changed. Thank you, Natalie and thank you everybody for your amazing support. What a great community.

      • A says:

        Sofia, I can relate to so much of what you’ve written. My experience was a while ago, but I also felt destroyed by it. My self esteem took such a beating, I lost a lot of weight, when I didn’t really have any to lose. It is frightening. I also agree with everything you wrote about how being with someone healthy/good for us is just simple. I’ve experienced that myself. I look back on things that I tolerated and shudder. Why would I ever want to be with someone like him? He was selfish, cheap, unreliable, critical, and a user. But I’m trying not to focus on this anger and regret. My boundaries and my way of looking at relationships/behaviour has changed a lot since reading BR and since this experience. It sucks that I didn’t come from an emotionally healthy family, but I guess it took this really difficult experience to learn certain lessons.

        • Sofia says:

          A, I don’t come from an emotionally healthy family either. The results are seen in my personal life. However, I should be grateful for the EU experience that happened to me. It taught me so many lessons. BR does too. I learned so much about myself in the last 4 months. This gives me hope that my next relationship will be good. And if it ends, I won’t feel like my life is over. It is all for the better in the long run. We go through these very tough trials to prepare ourselves for a much better quality of life. For ourselves and others.

          • Allison says:


            I too, can relate.

            The weight loss was a big issue, and all over someone who did not value me, or himself. I look back in disbelief that I was ever with such an individual.

            Use this experience to change and grow. I know that many of us believe that we were healthy and strong before we met these people, but the truth is, if we had been, we would never have allowed these people into our lives. There were many red flags with the ex that I choose to ignore, and a long list of excuses made, as he showed me, even from the start that he was not a suitable partner – his relationship history.

            I learned much from this experience, as it changed my life for the better. See this as a blessing. Look within and explore your relationship history – romantic and otherwise – and learn to instill boundaries, also expand your interests and social network, this will help you learn about yourself, and grow.

      • oregon girl says:

        I can relate. The EUM I dated for two and a half years chipped away at my self esteem the whole thing. It was a million little things, like teasing that was not funny, sarcasm, subtly accusing me of cheating, challenging my clothes, my friends, etc. It escalated over time to plain old meanness. Everything was my fault. He was never wrong. I had no right to ask about our future. I had no right to cry, even. How could I forget the screaming and yelling, the mocking, the swearing at me. Calling me a lesbian (which is not a bad thing, but in HIS mind it is), calling me crazy, calling me a “c—,” a “b—-,” you name it. Then when I broke up he begged me to come back. So many times. We have been finally broken up now for about six months. I am still a little bit trembly from it all. I had to go to counseling. I had to go on anti-depressants AND stress meds. I had nightmares. But now I am done. This site has helped a lot. Reading all of your experiences has helped a lot. Making myself a priority has helped immensely. I THINK I can see my way to a healthy happy future. Any guy who makes you feel like crap is not worth it. Any guy who makes you cry again and again is not worth it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Nat! I can completely relate to your post. I have done that same thing so many times. It is so frightening to realize that at times I can’t trust myself and to look back on the times when I should have! My relationship needs to begin with me, how can I ever trust someone if I can’t even trust myself? Testing the waters like Karen did is a good idea. I guess I’ll never know if I’m ready or how much progress I’ve made until I get out there, but I want to be healthier first so I don’t inflict pain on someone like has been done to me.

  7. Sofia says:

    I willfully ignored my intuition during the first two months of dating my now ex EU. Actually I ignored not only my intuition. I ignored the hard facts and presented knowledge that he told me himself he couldn’t give me security (as in a family meaning) and stability. That he never lived with anyone by age 35. That he was not interested in settling down at this point. Why did I ignore it? 1. I had no self-esteem. 2. I was swept off my feet by his charm, intelligence, looks, sense of humor. 3. I thought (still do:) , I was a beautiful, wonderful, smart woman. I was the exception to the rule. He will change for me. He will grow up and will change his ways. Just writing what I am writing makes me cringe. And this was only one year ago when I was into 3-4 month of dating him. He showed signs quickly enough, 2-3 months into dating. He said that I am beautiful, smart, sexy, independent, great, etc., but “do you want stability and security with me? I can’t provide you that. I don’t know if I want a long-term relationship with you. I would like to , but I need to see. I need more time.” Ok, that’s where I got confused and I ignored completely the words about I can’t provide your security and stability and form a family with you because I am not interested in settling down. I am having fun with you, yes I would like a long-term relationship, but I am not sure you are the right one. Let us wait and see. Don’t hurry, don’t push, you are pushing too much. Ok. I backed off for some time. checked in later. and later. Several months later it was the same thing. After one year – You are not the Right one.

    Back to the subject: my intuition told me – don’t expect anything serious from him. If you are fine with just sex and hanging out, do it. If you want more – run. I thought eventually sex and hanging out will turn into something else. I didn’t listen to the hard facts and knowledge and my intuition. In fact, I don’t think I was sure at that point what I wanted myself. I was so jaded at that point already, I didn’t care. Only when I fell for him really hard months later I became available myself and wanted a relationship. But he was still unavailable. So the fact is that I was unavailable myself at the beginning , I had low self-esteem and I didn’t trust my intuition and I ignored all the facts.

    So here I am, not even wondering anymore what went wrong. It is all clear now. It is my past. I learned from it. I feel ashamed for being such a fool. I can’t believe it was me acting and doing those things. It seems ages, centuries away of who I was. Unbelievable. Now I know though that I will trust my intuition and the facts and the red flags. I feel like I got 50 years older and wiser in just 4 months after this breakup and reading all the material I have been reading here and from other sources. Yes, you can trust your intuition and the facts, BUT you have to trust yourself and have a self-esteem and believe in yourself before you trust yourself. When you don’t believe in yourself, when you think you can’t find anyone better, that you are not good enough, you will ignore your intuition and all the facts. I have learned it finally. Thank you, Natalie for this wonderful article. Absolutely clarified for me what I have been thinking in the past 4 months and particularly last few days. You are right on time, as always.

    • CC says:


      Been there, done that too many times. If you want a family, you MUST get serious and stay away from guys who don;t want that NOW. Yes, there are some guys who change their minds, but they take a long time to get there, like a friend of mine, her guy did settle down with her, but it took over 10 years to get him there! Do you have a decade to spend on convincing a guy? I didn’t think so. YOu are 35, you need to be with someone who wants that now, pronto, then you can proceed to get to know each other. Good Luck!

      • Sofia says:


        I was married before and have a daughter, so I am definitely in no rush. What I do want is a long-term relationship that can lead to a marriage or living together. I don’t quite understand if I wanted those things and he told me he was not interested in settling down, why I continued. Because we fall in love, we invest and invest hope to get our return back.

        I have a feeling, when and if the right guy comes along, we won’t even have to wonder about his intentions. All the actions will show. Words don’t even matter. It’s the actions. And then, there will be no even reason for insecurities, fears, anxiety, drama. Because he is there for you. That’s simple. That’s normal. I was married to a normal guy (too young to understand and appreciate any of that at that point in my life). I know how it feels when someone loves you. Will be there for you no matter what.

        What I do understand that I am not waiting or investing anymore. It will be simple and good with someone I will be next with. Or I will be single. Simple.

    • Allison says:


      Every married man I know has said that he knew almost instantly that his current partner was the one. I have learned that if a man is giving the runaround, they know that we are not the one – simply temporary entertainment.

      • Elgie R. says:

        I agree with your statement 100%, Allison. I have heard the same thing – they see a woman and instantly know “she’s the one”, often before they even speak to her.

  8. in awe says:

    Your posts are always spot on, when I need them most! The last guy I dated, I reasoned with myself that all of the potential red flags were because he was older and taking it slow. I try not to over analyze everything, but sometimes you just have to trust your gut.

  9. Yoyo says:

    Great timing. I was speaking with a friend about this last night. I was regretting the last person I dated, the experience caused a disproportionate amount of pain. But then I reminded myself I’d learnt a hugely important lesson. My gut told me sonething wasn’t right but I questioned myself thinking it was my issues and insecurities. What I learned from the horrible aftermath is that your gut is smarter than you think, go with it. Always x

  10. Lauren says:

    Isn’t it amazing how we can ignore our intuition or judgment when we are with a EUM or assclown, but when we are with a nice guy there are big flashing lights and an overwhelming urge to run for the hills?

    It was a real revelation to me to realise that I too was emotionally unavailable! I am actually terrified of commitment and I don’t want a casual relationship so I’ve just been on my own for a while. However, my experience of dipping my toe in brought up issues that I didn’t know I had. I would meet someone and have a great first date and then on the second date, I would want to get the hell out of there. It’s been so uncomfortable, I’d rather just not date. The trouble is, I do want to meet someone but I need to know that I can trust myself and respond appropriately to my emotions before I get involved with someone.

    Love to all x

    • oona says:

      Give yourself a break Lauren :-) Exposure feels like commitment when you’ve been abstaining. You have identified that you have a need – to take things slowly and to be cool about it. The great news is you are allowed to take this need seriously in fact it is essential that you do….. So….. can you lower your date risk? i.e not so intense?

      I find too much phone, text, emailing at the start of any relationship is not good for me – initially pleasurable and pseudo validating but has a deep hook like connection to my soul (ie intense) – way too early on in a relationship – when I actually don’t know who they are fully or if I want them at all.
      I build it up slowly at first – a phone call once every four days roughly works for me – until I am comfortable with more (I make return calls/ emails/ texts – always when I am comfortable in my life to walk away from them if I have to and never when I’m desperate to hear from them, fantasizing about them, feel lonely or convinced I must have them or die – if I’m desperate it’s a problem with me and my life, not them) – you can decide for yourself what your communication limit is.

      You also need to decide for yourself BEFORE dates what physical contact you find acceptable at what point and be upfront about this when you are asked on the date. This takes the physical pressure off both of you and makes it clear when your boundaries are being broken. For example kissing is def. not acceptable to me for say at least 20 dates and even then only if I initiate it to start with. It is not the rule for everyone, it may be extreme but it is my need, based on my extreme experience in life and I need to be with people who are understanding of this – no matter how rare they are. I do however like intimacy and a real hug at the end of a date is ok for me. Your needs may be different. Whatever is your real need – know it, state it and own it – or you will be eaten alive physically.

      I find the cinema/theatre/comedy a less intense form of date – you do something together but not having to talk all the time and be so intense/physical and people are around you (never ever going on somewhere else after and making this clear before the date and if you know you are weak – planning something you cannot get out of that you must go to after has been helpful for me), next date is maybe a short coffee/book shop/cake/burger bar stop – during the day – I set up a genuine appointment before I go on the short date for afterwards/ I make them aware it will be a short date – and I genuinely leave for the appointment after 30mins – or however long I feel comfortable for – so things are unable to be dragged out or get too heavy, too intense, too quickly.

      I do not agree to any date face to face straight away at the start – I say I am interested but I need to check what I’m doing…giving me room to politely back off if I need to. I consider what I feel safe doing and I assert this clearly when I am ready. I do not compromise until I feel totally safe/genuinely attracted. And compromise does not mean chucking out my needs – it means joining his needs with mine.

      A sit down meal or getting drunk at the pub is actually way too intense for me for the start of a relationship and I find it difficult to know my own boundaries let alone stick to them.

      Make your own list, now, of things you like doing/ naturally do – group them into
      things that need less intense/shorter in duration/less talking or petting opportunities,
      things that have more face to face talking contact/ brief physical contact
      things that are heavier and more personal/involved and intense an experience for yourself.
      Eg first phase would be the cinema/theatre/ comedy/coffee shop, second phase a walking/sit down meal/a one off class you take together,
      third phase, getting drunk in their company, friends event/ family event…
      fourth phase may be cooking them a meal/them cooking you a meal in your home…
      You get the idea. Get your friends to help you think of things that you naturally do or would like to do with someone.

      Now you know what you need – go get it and do not let anyone persuade you otherwise.

      Basically at the start I am totally strict with my boundaries and I find its much much easier to be fully alert. I build it up until I feel comfortable to go further….i.e I have no worries at all – and if not – if I find myself breaking my own rules, trying to please about things I have zero interest in really, I’m ignoring behaviour I actually don’t like or forgiving it without confronting it openly, compromising my needs or they are not listening to my boundaries or putting any pressure on me for something I am not ready for – they get one chance – I express/confront it – and if it happens again = red flag …I bail and run for the hills…

      but this time knowing that THEY were not compatible with me not the other way around…:-)

      Ps you may meet with initial surprise at your competence to know what you want – if that turns into emotional blackmail in any way or guilt trip feelings for knowing what you need and expressing it = RUN!!DO NOT LET IT WOBBLE YOU – if the surprise turns into understanding, acceptance and encouragement for your needs and you understand and accept their needs also = Well done you are in the real relationship pool my friend.

      Now then…let’s all go for it…

    • Catherine says:

      Lauren~I don’t know if this is comforting at all, but I know EXACTLY how you feel! I am the same way! This is why I find this site so intriguing and helpful, it is really helping me to learn and grow. Whether or not I ever want to date again, at least I’ll have some clue as to what I did wrong in my past relationships. This is definitely more than just a dating blog, it’s helpful for anyone wanting some personal growth!! The posts are just as helpful as well in seeing how others have dealt with these issues and knowing I’m not alone in my journey.

  11. Noquay says:

    Experience has taught me that if something does not feel right from the get go, I am going to have problems. I often ignored these signals, dissing myself, saying be trusting, don’t be so picky, etc. But there were serious problems in the end. If I feel any anxiety, repulsion, about someone, its there for a reason. I remember meeting the AC for the first time, back when he was still married, and remember the almost dismissing way he treated me, a new person, like I did not matter. Now when I get that gut feeling, I quiet myself, pay attention, emotionally step back, observe, listen. I suppose this subconscious reading of non verbals is a holdover from my crap childhood where not knowing where an authority figure was at, at that moment, could have serious consequences.

  12. ahope says:

    I am an independant 53 year old woman who has raised 2 kids on my own and worked 2-3 jobs to do it. I have been in the legal field for 30 years where I met the mom of a doctor who I later, after 20 years of knowing him, started dating. For a reason that I am still trying to figure out, I hung in there for 7 1/2 years with an arrogant, rude and narcisstic jerk. He had nothing but the clothes on his back until he finally got his medical license back and was making big bucks which took 6 years. Until that time for 6 years, for some derranged reason I let him move in with me and mentally/financiallly supported him, along with his family, through rehab, recovery, job searching, etc., etc., I just knew in my heart he would eventually do good and take care of both of us.

    He did finally get a great job making over $500,000/year. However, when I initially met his office staff, I heard him make sexual inuendos to his office manager, all of which he said was my imagination. For the last 1 1/2 year he has taken me on nice trips, he bought a house and all new furniture (all of which he chose and arranged-with his OCD I could not even suggest where to put a box of rice) and he is now on top of the world. However, whenever I mentioned my concerns about the comments to his off mgr (“I’ll let you know later what I need”), the texts from her (“are you worried about Sunday”), her having a key to the house and her occasional visits “with regard to office work”, I was only at the house Wed night thru Monday morning as I worked in that town and my hometown which was 2 hours away. I commuted 2x’s a week. I say all of that because every single week he would ask me if I was leaving on Sunday or Monday and I hardly ever heard from him on those days unless I called him and if I did he was hateful and didn’t want to talk because he was busy. When I tried to talk to him about the above, I was told at least 3’s to get the f’out and was called horrendous names and told that I had delusional insecurities. I can say I was mortified after all I had sacrified and humilitated myself doing for him. There is not one friend, family member or co-worker who ever liked him. Why did’nt I listen to my gut after 3 months-why, why, why did I wait 7 1/2 years??? I left 1 month ago after the last cussing while he was gone to work. I am so sad because now after all I have been through someone else will now enjoy the fruits of my labor. Two days after I left he was on match.com and was in contact with his x-girlfriend before me which he treated like crap. I can’t believe she’d even talk with him as she lost her home, etc., which I just recently found out. His office mgr is married with 3 kids – sorry but I don’t think she cares what he does as long as she has some time with him. He says he loves me more than anyone he has ever loved but until I get counseling for my insecurities we are over. How does he have the ability to turn this all around to where now I am the bad guy? I realize I have been so used and I am so humiliated. I so regret having any contact with him after I left. I have to admit he has made me feel like I am crazy and do need counseling and I know he treated me how I let him treat me. I am so mad at myself for not listening to my gut/instincts!!!!!!!

    • oona says:

      Ahope – He is a Narcissist – he will never ever take responsibility for his actions – with you or any person who comes after you or who came before you. No one will reap your fruits – he hasn’t got any to be reaped. The fruit is true emotion – your presence/his true presence – not money and furniture. Who in their right mind – after losing their home – would take a man back? You were not the exception to the rule that says he is an Emotionally Unavailable Man – he still is an Emotionally Unavailable Narcissist and what he’s told you he’s told every woman he’s had a relationship with and he will tell it again and again and again….and then they will see the reality just like you have – if they are lucky.
      Where you have been sucks but it will get better – if you help yourself and let others help you also. Hang in there and get that zing back that he stole from you…the sun will rise again, I promise. Check out other posts that Natalie has written – they will help you on your journey identifying YOUR needs.
      This is your time now – forget the Narcissist – he was never with you in reality. Oh and before you think of it – no you are not the only one – I have been in ‘relationships’ with several Narcissists for years – one of them a Neuroscientist and as for ‘I should have seen it coming’ they are skilled in choosing people that won’t see (they know) and in disguising what their real intentions actually are, in reality they are the biggest losers of them all because they stop themselves from ever having the ability to ever have a real emotional connection with someone – the best prize of the world…. Now to find out how to defend yourself against them and identify people with true loving nuturing intentions….

      • rachael says:


        “I just knew in my heart he would eventually do good and take care of both of us.”
        It seems to me you were looking for a ‘provider’. You worked hard to make it happen. What is it about someone taking care of u that is so appealing?

        I think you are mad at him for not doing what you thought was the deal you and he had… you help him so that he is your knight in shining armour

        • CC says:


          I can see why ahope was mad, she helped make him out of love, of course she expected him to provide for her, afterall, she was providing for him for 7.5 years, that’s how I read it. As for wanting a provider, many women were raised that way, that men provide. I was raised that way and I am looking for a provider, or at least someone established, since he will be in his late 40s 50s or older. Unfortunately, many lose a lot with divorce, so that really sucks, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting that and so far I have not moved forward with men who are not financially stable, have no real career etc.

          your story is sad, and I have heard that before, I knew a woman who did exactly what you did, raise a doctor, then he left her. Please don’t pay for men anymore, they should be self sufficient an dworking!

        • Catherine says:

          I think she has every right to expect some kind of reciprocation on his part after she supported him for that long. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’d stop their contribution, but I think you’re off on this one.

      • ahope says:

        Thank you so much, I love this website I find hope here and it helps becuase I am so tired of beating my self up for being so gullable and putting him before my family and friends. As Rachel says below, I am sure I was and am looking for a man that can provide. I have just worked so hard that it would be nice and I guess it is just a dream. I didn’t date anyone for 5 years before he came along as I was very sick for awhile and almost died. I guess I thought that since he was a critical care doctor he would understand, etc., I guess narcissist don’t care who they prey on. Thank you so much for all of the advise.

        • rachael says:

          sickness may have left you in a vulnerable spot at the time when you met.
          we ALL stuff up

          • Catherine says:

            That’s a really good insight about her being vulnerable. Maybe we should all examine if we’re vulnerable and in our right minds before we start dating?

    • Noquay says:

      Oona states it well; this dude has nothing to give anyone, ever. He is broken, a lost soul who will suck the life out of anyone he is ivolved with. You’ve learned harsh lessons, now give yourself a break. These sorts are attracted to strong, self sufficient, independent, women who have proven themselves. Also, as a mom, you are nurturing, also making you a target for narcs. Counseling is a good idea because being with narcs leaves one traumatized, almost like PTSD. Read everything you can about narcs, its helpful. Once you have healed from this douche, at it takes a lot of time, run quickly from any man in the recovery process (though recovery is a lifelong journey, no one should even consider dating until they have been clean for a long time, maybe years), and immediately bail on anyone not able to support themselves or who live marginal lives in order to avoid having to work. Some other com enters mentioned the desire to be with a provider. It’s probably something deep in our biology as we women raised the kids, grew the food, basically kept the community functioning, and thus were in need of a protector. Nowadays, something awful has happened, especially to middle aged men where they want to be seen as a provider yet lack any ability to do so, often by choice. Hell, I’d be thrilled to find someone I like who was even able to pull his own weight, but it is an impossibility. Unfortunately, ahope, we women who have proven ourselves have to be on our guard against these kinds of men.

  13. Dancingqueen says:

    I too agree that my body often knows better than my logical mind does: if I am feeling anxiety around someone, something in not good.

    Go with your gut ladies!

    • oona says:

      Totally agree! :-)

    • Sofia says:

      That’s so true. Good way to put it. Now that I am thinking back, I never felt any anxiety around my ex-husband, who was a good person and cared for me and another guy who loved me, but the relationship didn’t work out. You don’t feel anxious around people who are available and love you. You just don’t. You feel yourself, happy and loved. I remember that feeling and know it. Never felt like that with my ex EU.

  14. Wiser says:

    I think honing your intuition is an essential life skill, not just in romantic relationships but in all areas of life. We are so left brain oriented that we can rely too heavily on rationality and end up analyzing our thoughts, feelings, motivations, etc. to death. Logic is great, but it’s not the same thing as wisdom. Any kind of body movement practice, body-based meditation or prayer will help balance out this over-emphasis on “thinking” as a way of judging situations. And not just thinking, but any strong emotional response too, which is not the same as genuine gut or body wisdom. I’ve been learning slowly how not to mistake strong feelings or strong desire for intuition and it’s definitely been slow going. I’m not sure I had a true “gut” feeling about anything until I was over 50, since my cerebral self was and is so overdeveloped. So when I had this incredibly strong and unexpected desire for the ex, and I felt it so deeply in the body (not just sexual desire, but something non-cerebral that seemed absolutely solid at my core), I thought “Aha, this is a gut feeling! This must be intuition! This feels absolutely right and trustworthy. This is my True Self speaking. So full steam ahead!”

    I think now that it was not intuition but wish fulfillment. Or a version of self-fulfilling prophecy. I so wanted this to be right and real and I convinced myself it was. I believe now that true intuition comes out of the blue, is often a surprise to ourselves and usually takes us in directions we don’t think we want to go. A test of intuition is that when it’s genuine, it’s probably inconvenient and shakes up your certainties. In the midst of my “faux intuition” with the ex, when I felt that God, the universe, the angels, the planets, the chakras, etc. had all aligned and this was absolutely “meant to be,” a dose of TRUE intuition rose up and slapped me in the face. I was standing in the kitchen with this man I was crazy about, who had been treating me great, and we had just made fabulous love, I felt so alive, my heart was singing and I was pinching myself that WOW, this was really happening to me. And from out of nowhere I blurted, “This is too good to be true, isn’t it.” I realize now that it was my intuition SCREAMING at me to pay attention, but at the time I just felt embarrassed to have questioned what was so OBVIOUSLY a wonderful gift of happiness from the heavens. And of course he was quick to soothe and reassure me. I’ll never forget what he said: “Oh no, this is true. This is real. You can trust me.” And then he had the gall to ask, in his disarming way, “You do trust me, don’t you?” “Yes, I do trust you” I said, and I meant that, but the screaming intuition was making it hard to say it with real conviction. Two days later he was sleeping with someone else. Five days later he dumped me.

    One of the lessons from this painful experience was at least I now had confirmation that I was capable of real intuition and it was looking out for me. That is a hard-won gift that I don’t take lightly anymore. I just hope I listen to it sooner next time.

    • rachael says:


      “…any strong emotional response too, which is not the same as genuine gut or body wisdom.”
      I am so glad someone said this!!!! Emotions arise as a bi-product of faulty thinking… they ARE NOT GUT

    • Nat Attack says:

      Wiser, thank you for your great discussion about the difference between intuition and big emotional responses. Sometimes I think that big emotional responses can actually help us tap into our intuition if we’re willing to step back for a moment and observe our emotional experience in a non-judgemental way. Like for me, if I had been willing to look more deeply at my desperate attempts to save my relationship, I would have seen that all my effort came out of my ex’s indifference, and that I should bail, instead of sticking around. Instead, I labeled my frenzied behavior “love.”

      I think you’re totally right that real intuition often takes us in a direction we don’t want to go. I think it’s because it’s connected to a stronger, more authentic self.

      Great discussion!!

    • Wiser says:

      Just saw this quote by Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

  15. Spinster says:

    “When it comes to our intuition, we cannot hone it and basically know where it is right without recognising and learning from when it is off base.”

    This sums up the whole post well. Good read as usual. Thanks for the food for thought.

  16. Yoshizzle says:

    Nat- great as usual. I’m doing this thing now where I look at a belief I hold about myself and really really look at it and ask “..but is this actually TRUE?” Good to use for any situation, really
    Very helpful

    Marian – if it were me – I’d take some time off relationships and do inner work- really get to know yourself. Just tell him ur feeling a bit of anxiety and need some time to work thru it. If he’s still around when ur done, great, more evidence he’s a keeper. If not. – well…

  17. espresso says:

    I was reading Rebecca Solnit’s essay about mansplaining this morning and realizing that in my past and painful marriage “all my life I would have doubted myself and backed down.” Even though I intuitively felt that my assessment of things was valid, I doubted it, I feared his putdowns and overriding me. And most of all I feared being thought of as bitchy, selfish, unreasonable. I still fear that which allowed my ex, an ineffectual and under-developed man to have the power in our relationship even though he carefully made it seem that I was the bossy one because he stepped out of the picture when decisions had to be made. And so I made them and never even gave myself credit for that.
    I have always intuited my ex was quite manipulative and would make sure he was the centre of attention by pretending he wasn’t and that he would do and say things that would paint him in a very good light with others and especially with our children while I did the real hard work. Then I immediately would quash this because my head just could not accept that such a “nice man” could really be so….thoughtless, careless and egotistical” I know now that I my intuitive and discomfort was right and that I needed to stop and really look at this and trust my gut and use my reasoning to figure it out. I have come a long way in my understanding of this relationship which engulfed me emotionally in so many bad ways and where I was used because I was/am a generous and empathic person (but who didn’t like herself). Since I manage my own life now it is very empowering to see that my decisions are good ones and that I can be proud of them and myself.

    • Wiser says:

      Espresso, did you finally move out of your house or get your manipulative husband out? Did you break your business ties with him and give him the boot for good? Hooray for you if you’re now on your own! I’ve wondered from time to time how you’re doing.

  18. elise says:

    Hello, I just discovered this website. It’s really helping me to stay strong after breaking up with a girl who I think never recovered from a relationship with an assclown. Funny tho, she was the assclown with me. When we started talking and seeing each other, I immediately felt something was wrong – by that time she already had spoken about her “crazy ex”. Big red flag but I didnt mind, because I have a crazy one too and I just dont give a sh*t for her. Anyway, she was nice but always kept some weird distance. SUDDENLY she said she wanted a commitment with me, stability. I wasnt quite sure why I was so insecure about that – was it because I had terrible relationships before, with people who didnt want to commit? Or was I just not quite sure of her intentions? We stayed together for about 4 months and I feel like I’ve never really met her…every week we discussed because she would be missing for hours and hours and only wanted my presence when it was convenient for her. I was blindly in love, I did everything for her and got nothing in return but unrealistic plans for the future (travelling, marrying, going everywhere with her and her friends…). I denied my instincts, I felt I was too needy and a control freak. Her excuses were always the same – she had a terrible disease, lots of work to do for her college, she was sleepy all the time. Everytime I tried to break up she would play the victim and manipulate me (“please dont leave me, no one believes on me, I cant accept this is happening with you too. I LOVE YOU *crocodille tears*). But deep in my heart I felt I was beeing used to substitute someone else. Then, who showed up? The psycho ex. She started to send her messages, begging for attention. She waited 3 hours at her window pleading for a single wave. WTF. Later on, she left a letter for my (ex) gf asking for her forgiveness. She read it and answered….that was really painful to hear because at that very moment we were fighting like cats and dogs. I lost my sanity, I couldnt help but think they would eventually meet. I decided to break up, not only because of that, I was already suspicious that she was cheating on me. I felt terrible, we almost fighted (fisically). On the day after, she sent a message saying everything ended because I didnt believe/trust her. Then she provoked me on facebook, deleted me from everything. She said for me to leave her alone because she was abandoned, Ive forgotten her forever, she still loved me and blabla what a victim. Anyway, I still had deep feelings for her and a few days later was her birthday. I decided to leave her a letter with my thoughts about love, future and us. Deep inside I was afraid she was going to run into the devils ex arms…and well, I think that’s exactly what I made her want. She’s not missing me (I gave her the choice to meet me that day, she didnt went to see me). She really didnt mind what I wrote and now is regreting not that Im gone – but the other ex. I feel like its all my fault. I should’ve left hrr with that silly illusion that she loved me…but I guess deep in her heart she always knew all of that. I cant help but feel like a fool, used, discarded. Maybe I was to nice? At least Im happy to think Im out of all this drama. Cant compete with a psycho. Love is not about that really. I hope she chooses whatever makes her trully happy. Thats what I said in the letter and I feel so pathetic right now.

    p.s.: sorry about the poor english

  19. espresso says:

    Hi Wiser

    Nice to see you and others on the site! Well I DID leave in January had a whole plan to move to Europe for a 4 month course and then to another city for a doctorate, packed up my house etc but got involved in a terrible accident at the start of the course abroad – got badly injured and had surgery, couldn’t walk etc and was flown back to the house with ex in it because I had no place else to go where I could rehab. Grade B movie material…but shattering to me emotionally and I don’t know what was worse – the injury or coming back to a situation I had left. Anyway, I have been in rehab and focusing on getting well so I can leave asap. I will be gone in another month and for good to another city in two months. I cannot describe how awful this has all been – until the last month or so I was just surviving. As many of you said to me..I finally realized that I cannot have any contact with him except related to grown children so the sep agreement specifies the end of the working partnership which leaves me more vulnerable economically but I really know I have to go no contact as he has never and will never respect boundaries. I haven’t even had time to grieve I am so guarded and upset most of the time but I hope the end is in sight. Wish me luck.

    • Wiser says:

      Espresso, that is just terrible! I wish you had posted earlier about this because I think that BR Nation would have rallied and given you much needed support. I can’t imagine what going back to your house to recover with HIM around was like… But good for you that you have PLANS and you are going to stick to them!! It sounds like you are over the hump of this latest setback (if it was me, I’d still be in a fetal position) and I send my most heartfelt wishes that you 1) recover fully both physically and emotionally and 2) start on your new life before too long. It’s there waiting for you!!

  20. happy b says:

    If I go and visit family, we do nice things together but I come away feeling lost, drained and very sad. I sometimes get very emotional about small things or ill while staying there, but rationalised it as us sharing a difficult past that we hadn’t fully processed yet. Now that I have found good friends who welcome me into their family homes and remind me what loving homes look like (my grandparents RIP were loving), I realise that past grief should not in itself create these terrible feelings in my gut.

    It is instead a lack of care *in the present*, and this happens as a result of the persistent self-abuse of some family members, while others are filled with resentment which plays out in very subtle but destructive ways.
    All families have struggled, but loving families share warmth, love, care and respect through adversity and I should walk away with positive feelings when I visit them after months apart, just as I do with good friends. Indeed, one person in my friendship group died tragically in an accident and now we’re closer and so loving to each other, we’re joyful when we meet. Why did I rationalise and justify my family’s awful dynamics when our tragedy happened so many more years ago?

    I have come far enough to recognise this and am incredibly lucky to have got a good glimpse/reminder of what love and family *should* look like before trying to recreate my own. I wish I had someone to share my life with, but I am going to act with faith and trust in myself. I have already triumphed over loss and negativity, with or without that special person.

  21. Clare says:

    I have to say, someone needs to explain this whole “block someone from everything” phenomenon to me, when a relationship doesn’t work out or even if you feel mildly annoyed with someone. I have never heard of anything so childish in my whole life.

    I cannot believe the ease with which people delete and block you from all forms of social media and contact when it is entirely unnecessary and *so* heavy-handed. I was recently in a relationship with a guy who had been a friend, and had made his interest in me clear, so I gave it a shot. I soon started to feel uneasy about how entwined his female friends seemed to be in his life, and one in particular (this one in particular he had in the past hooked up with and been in love with, and now they were friends). For example, the very morning after our first date, he met up with her at the park, just the two of them, to play with her dog. He bought me quite a romantic gift one evening, and I was touched and thrilled… until I found out that he had gone shopping for it with her. Something just didn’t feel right and it felt invasive and uncomfortable to me. I expressed my concerns, which I didn’t think were unreasonable, and he shut me down completely. After initially telling me he would not spend time one on one with her if it made me uncomfortable, he went back on that and said he was going to see whomever he felt like whenever he felt like. That should have been my cue… and it was. I ultimately broke up with him because this issue was making me too uncomfortable – there were other close female friends that he was taking road trips with and just seemed to have an unhealthy emotional dependency on (he has almost no guy friends) – and mostly because he wasn’t open to hearing my feelings on the matter whatsoever.

    Anyway, no blame or judgment towards him – it just wasn’t a good fit. He tried to accuse me of “not liking” his friends, which I found very childish. I told him I had nothing against any of them personally at all, in fact, I considered a couple of them to be my friends as well, it was purely the set-up that made me uneasy.

    Well now that we have broken up, both he and the female friend mentioned above (whom I made it very clear to him I didn’t have a problem with personally, even though he accused me of this) have deleted and BLOCKED me off Facebook. I ask you. As if I am so insatiably curious about their lives that I would go stalking their Facebook pages to the point that it’s dangerous and they need to block me. I really couldn’t care less what they are doing.

    But this blocking story is the most immature, harsh and, quite frankly, rude thing I have ever heard of.

    • happy b says:

      Clare, I don’t think blocking someone from everything is childish. Before FB and other social media, when people broke up they had distance and apart from hearing the odd word from friends of friends etc., could process their break up and move on. Now, you have to see photos of your ex at some BBQ or party and it’s impossible to move on, or to resist looking at their profile, and it’s even tempting to try and show them what a great time you’re having. I think you need iron will to stay ‘friends’ with a recent ex. I’d block someone to avoid engaging in this pettiness – indeed I deactivated my whole account because my ex was so entwined in my life, pretty dramatic but it felt necessary! Chances are, this man blocked you so he could get over you, not to stop you from stalking him.

      Can you blame his friend for blocking you, really? She spent some of her time going round shops and advising on a gift for someone else, and may feel like it was thrown in her face – though if it didn’t feel right to you, that’s fair enough. If they were buying a present for YOU together, it’s doubtful there would be anything suspicious between them – unless he’s a total playa and wants to see how far his women will humiliate themselves for him (like my charming ex!). I won’t rule this out.

      It does ring alarm bells that he’s still friends with exes, and your gut has to count for more than your words. You did right ending it if you were uncomfortable with his other relationships. I don’t know the full picture, and I may be wrong in this interpretation or have misunderstood, but they’re my initial thoughts. Either way, I wish you a good recovery from your break-up and it sounds like you’ve done right by you.

      • Clare says:

        happy b,

        I can see how it would seem that way, from what I’ve written here. But the thing is, the very first time he spent one on one time with her (after our first date) I told him it made me feel very uncomfortable. I did NOT tell him not to spend time with her, he OFFERED not to spend time with her one on one because it made me feel uncomfortable. His precise words “it will not happen again”. Then just 2 weeks or so later he gives me this beautiful bottle of perfume, and then announces to me that his friend “smelt like a whore” because she helped him pick it out. It was not only the choice of words, the fact that they’d spent time together, but mostly the fact that he’d blatantly gone back on his word to me. Even so, I did not pitch a fit about it, I gently told him how uncomfortable it made me because I thought we had an agreement, and he shut down completely, accusing me of “shitting” on him.

        Yes I believe it is a worrying sign that he is not only friends but co-conspirators with an ex. But more worrying than that was how he ignored my feelings and kept making it about me “not liking” her. It had nothing at all to do with that. it was the situation which made me uncomfortable.

        The blocking on Facebook came after we broke up and we tried to still be friends. He told me I meant a great deal to him but started to treat me in a careless manner, breaking plans with me or rocking up very late, excluding me from things and not inviting me to anything. Maybe it was a residual effect of hurt from the break up but it hurt me a lot, and I expressed this to him. He decided he couldn’t deal with my feelings nor was he prepared to prioritise me any more so he cut all contact.

        I realise this relationship with him wasn’t right for me, and that it is sometimes dodgey trying to stay friends with an ex, but I don’t get how people are so dispensable.

        It was not that I threw the friend’s effort in picking out the gift for me back in her face… in fact, I went out of my way to thank her for doing so. It was the fact that my boyfriend ignored what I had previously told him made me uncomfortable, and accused me of going overboard (which I didn’t). He tried to make it about me not liking her, which it wasn’t at all. And must have told her as much in order for her to block me on Facebook as well. That is what upsets me.

  22. Peanut says:

    You know had I not found Nat’s site (a million praises of thanks), I would be walking around with the ‘gut’ feeling my ex was the only one for me–EVER.

    The truth is I experienced a strong magnetic pull to him because he represented my sordid childhood and all that I needed to sort out.

    I now see him mostly as a headache.

    He has some really nice traits, but nothing cancels out a drinking and shady vagina compulsion. Or mama’s boy syndrome. Or the ‘I’m pretty sure his dude best friend has always been and will always be his true girlfriend’ syndrome. Oh and let’s not forget Carl. The CAT that got in the way of our relationship.

    You know a man shouldn’t be all up in dat shit on any level at a quick pace, but dating isn’t climbing mount everest. This ex had more obstacles than that relay thing at the olympics where they jump over hurdles.

    There are things that should make you want to stab yourself in the eye: All the rape scenes in anime porn, all the gross men in “real” porn, porn, bug bites, communal laundry mats (becasue they ARE like a box of chocolates), porn, people who rent all the good anime and decide to never return it, upstairs neighbors who like to bowl in their apartment at night, dyslexia, and lifelong insomnia.

    What I’m getting at is life is frustrating enough without a shady man. A man is supposed to make your life better and not do the figurative opposite of taking a dump all over it. And they do. And we clean it up. Until we grow some balls.

    • Nat Attack says:

      Peanut~ My ex’s ex’s dog actually got in the way of our relationship. He dog sat for like two months. When I wanted to hang out he would say, “I need to go home and take care of the dog. She needs me. She’s been alone all day.” He literally fed the dog out of his own hand! Funny thing is the dog liked me more.

      I got a message from the ex two days ago after seven months of NC. He said he hopes we can speak again someday.
      All these bad memories–why the hell would I want to be “friends” with him again?

      • rachael says:

        Peanut and Nat Attack,

        Your comments reminded me of an ex, whose girlfriend had cancer and she had a dog. He married her weeks before she died. 5 years later, enter me. Dog still there and I was often reminded of how valuable he was. Her clothes were still in his bedroom and I asked him to remove them. He wouldn’t. I think he deliberately held the ex-wife up high and took some kind of odd pleasure in my reactions. I left him, eventually. He called recently… seems his house caught fire… presumably her clothes are no longer there.

        • Catherine says:

          LOL..that was a hysterical post Rachael! I had an ex that seemed to like to hold his ex wife up like that. He still had some of her stuff in his house. It looked like she had just left. The drawers in his chest were still empty like he was waiting for her to come back. Long story short, he really, really hurt me. Guys like that are secretly sadistic in my opinion.

  23. Peanut says:


    I am so sorry to hear all of what you recently went through. You are one strong lady.

  24. Ans says:

    Hi Ladies, I have been reading Nat’s posts on BR for many years, it always makes me feel better when I see that I’m not the only one struggling. This is my first comment…

    I have been divorced for almost a year now, and I have recently started dating a guy (it’s been about 3 months) who is busy going through a divorce. Him and his wife have been living apart for the last 6 months.

    Anyway, long story short. From the word go my gut has been screaming an shouting at me. He is such a nice guy, spoils me, treats me well, honestly just a very nice guy… BUT… my gut feel tells me there is something off and I can’t put my finger on it.

    We don’t see each other often, I have a son and he has 2 daughters. My son lives with me permanently and he goes to his dad every second weekend, and he has his daughters every second weekend too. We don’t see each other during the week as it’s just too rushed, so we end up seeing each other weekends, bearing in mind that we have the kids every second weekend, so that basically leaves us with “us time (alone time)” 2 weekends per month.

    Seeing that we have only been together for 3 months, I would think that he would want to spend as much time with me as possible when we have our free weekend and it’s just us, but instead, he’s off doing his own thing most of the time, and I’m usually left alone at his house. He has his own business, and I understand that completely, and I can handle all of this… BUT, what I can’t handle is that when it’s time to go to bed at night, he would usually say to me I must go, he’s going to feed the dogs, and then he will be there. Only after an hour or hour and a half he decides to then come to bed, and by that time, I am half asleep.

    I have also noticed that he’s online on Whatsapp when he sits downstairs “feeding the dogs”, and that has caused my gut feel to go haywire… Why would he rather sit downstairs chatting on Whatsapp than to be in bed with me, cuddling, chatting… etc

    Am I being unreasonable?

    And when he decides to come to bed, we don’t have sex most of the time either as he would fall asleep immediately.

    I have hinted to him in the past that it’s bugging me, but he doesn’t seem to do anything about it. So about 3 weeks ago, after he did it again, I told him that I need time out, and that he should figure out what it is that he wants, because it doesn’t feel right and normal to me.

    At first he was shocked, and then couple days later he stopped contacting me. We hardly talk now. It’s the odd message here and there…

    We haven’t actually broken up, so it feels to me like I am stuck in Limbo (no mans land), and I’m not sure what I should do…

    Any advice?
    Thank you :)

    • simple pleasures says:

      If you have been reading BR for years it must have been pre divorce/divorce-time/ now post divorce for you. But he is still attached. Natalie makes it clear not to date someone who is still attached. And after these attached relationships come the rebound relationships. And new found freedom often means, I’m taking a break, just wanna have some fun and recreation. Your gut is telling you beware, be careful. Three months in with someone going through divorce….You know the answers.

    • rachael says:

      Short answer, f_ck that

      • rachael says:


        You ask, “Am I being unreasonable?”. I do not believe there is an objective standard on what is ‘reasonable’. You have your view. He does. I do. We all do.
        His view appears to be that he would “rather sit downstairs chatting on Whatsapp than to be in bed with [you]”. It appears your view is not the same… mine sure as hell isn’t!
        You are not stuck… you are free to stay or go. You have talked to him and he hasn’t changed his view… what more do you need?

    • Lilia says:

      Awww, Ans.
      No, you´re not being unreasonable.

      He´s treating you like a blow-up doll for his moments of leisure. Or like his teddy bear, to sleep with. Or not even that, like an extra pillow?

      If he doesn´t treat you like a human being then you don´t owe him anything. Just follow Rachael´s advise and on to something else.

    • Catherine says:

      OMG, there are RED flags all over that relationship description. RUN, don’t walk to the nearest exit!!! YIKES!

  25. Noquay says:

    Wow! I am so sorry about the accident. You were trying so hard to get outta there. Hope you live in a civilized country with nationalized health care. However, you have a plan, so get better, get on with it ASAP. Nope, you cannot have any contact with your ex. Kinda like drinking poison, eh? Going to put down tobacco for you (our way of praying).

  26. espresso says:

    Hi Noquay
    That would mean a lot to me. Thank you and hope you are doing okay – I think you are contemplating a move?

    Travel insurance paid for the surgery, time in hospital abroad and trip home with paramedic. Not the physio though….Yes, I have (another) a good plan but for a long time I thought the universe had it in for me.
    For anybody struggling with no contact – here is my experience – After the very long term relationship, I felt guilty and I naively thought he would behave better once the marriage was over but it just gave his true ac self permission to come out with no concern of how it might affect me. It was revealing to see his true self after years of him saying “I really really want to change,” or “it is never been my intention to hurt you” with a few tears for good measure….but really I COMPLETELY WASTED MY TIME, VALUABLE ENERGY AND GOOD WILL. That is a key phrase – he exploited my good will, generousity, empathic nature and honest commitment. Having any kind contact with him has torture…yes, that is what it feels like… and because I have gained a lot of insight into what went down since I started coming here and how I placated him, felt compromised all the time, was confused, bewildered and generally poisoned….it has been much worse. He was MUCH better at making the relationship the way HE wanted than anything I could do to make it better for me or even for both of us.

  27. Revolution says:

    Great post, Natalie. This comes in handy after the weekend I had. Ladies, we’ve all had a girls’ weekend like this. As Sophia from Golden Girls would start, “Picture it: the high desert, 2014. Hot as hell. Three women ready to tear a fourth woman’s face off.” The tension was caused by a friend of mine whom I’ve known for several years (and I have been friends with the other two for almost two decades). So the friend in question, though I love her, I’ve always had the slight niggling that she is somewhat of a taker. Well, it has been proven in no uncertain terms this last weekend. Starting with the fact that she basically invited herself on the trip (which I didn’t know until we got back). She also proceeded to ask for a few dollars cash from everyone in the group because “she didn’t have cash for (insert need here).” Said cash was never repaid or even mentioned afterwards, to any of us. She said she’d help pay for gas (we were all pitching in our share) but would’ve “forgotten” to do so had I not kindly reminded her. Even then, it was like trying to get blood out of a stone to get the bloody $15. Fuckin’ REALLY??

    Then there was the “Can I try that? Can I have a bite? Can I have a little of this? How ’bout a little of that?” She had “Can-I-tis”, lol. You couldn’t have anything in front of you, food or otherwise, without her grabbing for it, and taking most of it without shame. Just picture that person that says, “Can I have a bite of your sandwich?” and then eats the whole thing but a scrap in one gulp. I’m sure that it may sound like the things she did weren’t a big deal, but they are part of a selfish, stubborn, and overall entitled pattern that permeated the air this whole weekend. She did a few bigger things on the trip, like outright taking toiletries that didn’t belong to her when no one was looking. I don’t want to be more specific on the off chance that any of the girls are BR readers, but it was pretty bold and ballsy. I mean, I’m all for sharing and being generous, but come the fuck ON with this! Don’t reach down my throat and take the food from my stomach! And without asking! The cheek! The three of us girls tried polite and subtle hints, but they didn’t work on her. Another friend of mine is going to have a talk with her soon, in case anyone is wondering “Why didn’t you say something?” Plus, it’s like saying, “Why didn’t you tell that murderer that murdering is wrong?” She knew what she was doing and didn’t care to change. No miscommunication there, trust me.

    So anyway, I find myself wondering why the fuck I have the need (subconsciously, of course) to have selfish takers in my life. I KNOW this friend is like this, but I never listen to that intuitive bell ringing. It takes my other friends (in this case, it was the friend who was mad-dogging the taker friend all weekend) to check me. To be like, “Rev…you in danger, girl” on the friend front. It’s like I don’t want to believe the bad that I so blatantly see in front of me. I had ignored the cues for so long with this girl, and it took others to make me face it. I need to figure this out, because this pattern is re-surfacing over and over with friends, even when I’m convinced that I have a handle on it finally. Like you mentioned in your analogy about the traffic light, Nat, it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to pursue friendships just cause my efforts at becoming a “jerk whisperer” have failed over and over again, lol. But it does mean I’m not gonna follow my “Friend MapQuest” when it tells me to run into a dark, frenemy cave! Oh haaaaayyyyyllllll no! 😉

  28. Atrophy says:

    I’m back… I need BR rehab to work through my emotional anxiety.

    I must say Nat, I should read your blog regularly whether I’m single or attached. It has given me so much strength and allowed me to better assess situations, red flags, speak up for where my boundaries are, and provide friends with your solid advice and insight. Since finding your site in 2011, I have seen a dramatic change in the people who are in my life today and how they treat me.

    My friendships are now drama free and also free of toxic people. Ever since I put up boundaries, I was able to let go of toxic people who didn’t respect me or put as much effort into the friendship. I have been able to improve my relationship with my father and work through some of our past disagreements. This will be a lifelong challenge but it’s headed in a good direction. Even at work, I was able to confront a bully and speak up about them taking credit for my work constantly.

    Your blog helped me get over my Fallback Girl-EUM 6 ½ year boomerang casual ‘relationship’. He broke up with his 2 year girlfriend and came snooping around. I read your post and I was fine, I knew exactly what it meant and how to steer clear of it. BR has helped me tremendously with my self-esteem which I believe is the root cause of all this nonsense. I am finally trying to give myself kudos for all the goals I’ve set and achieved (personal, career, emotional, etc.). I’m not comparing myself to others or seeking their validation as much.

    Where I find I struggle most is with trust. Ever since that pseudo awful excuse of a relationship ended in 2011, I became EU myself as a result of having my boundaries busted constantly and have a hard time trusting another person. When I say trust, I don’t mean about whether they will cheat but more about being able to depend on them, or open up about my feelings and be vulnerable. My guard is always up.

    Though I learned not to be with an Assclown (he was my first experience with dating so I didn’t have much to compare to). I dated another who was emotionally available, only to have him cheat on me with a friend. This set me back.

    I started dating a guy in my friend circle. He told me he didn’t want a relationship, slotted me as a FWB and I stuck around, for a whole year and a half. This is related to my trust issue, I figured if we’re FWB, I don’t have to open up emotionally which I find so scary. So much for building myself up only to have him validate those negative feelings I had about myself all along.

    I need to stop picking the ones you have to build from the ground up. He left me about 4 months ago and now is in a relationship. I read posts regarding: why her, avoiding frogs, being the exception to the rule. It’s helping a bit. I don’t know how to go NC because he’s in our social circle, do I let him keep all our friends since he’s bringing the new girl around and doesn’t want me there?

    I’ve been trying to meet people too however now I am struggling with finding the line between what is too picky and what is appropriate when meeting someone new. I just don’t want to be in this situation ever again. With this one, I felt that I had respect because he wasn’t treating me badly but he wasn’t treating me with love either!! I feel embarrassed and stupid.

    Why is it that I can apply your advice with friends, family, work, but not in romantic relationships?

    • rachael says:

      Your ‘guard’ is protecting you. I am guessing you will let it down when you find people who will be kind to you

      • Atrophy says:

        Thanks Rachel,

        I am trying to take the focus off of him and what he wants/is doing, and back to me and what lies ahead. I made the decision to avoid the get together this weekend when he introduces his new girlfriend to all our mutual friends. I rather not save face with a fake grin on that most of my friends will be able to see through anyway. I’m allowing myself NC, if they are truly my friends they will welcome be back when I’m ready.

    • Nat Attack says:

      I left you a brief message, but in the wrong place…Sorry, please scroll down…=)

  29. simple pleasures says:

    c’mon Rev, get out the “Setting Boundaries Manual”. You can do it!

    • Revolution says:

      For real, Simple Pleasures! I think I need to hole up alone for a while and re-read that book again! 😉

  30. Peanut says:


    I’m with rachael on this one. Too much drama. Too many obstacles.

    Listen to dat gut!

  31. Unlike says:

    Has anyone’s intuition ever told them to forgive everything (including yourself) and contact the ex to say “well, that sure didn’t work out, hope you’re well, maybe we could catch up sometime and be friends” or some such sentiment along these lines. (broke up close to a year now, 3 disappointing yrs 2gether with a traumatic ending due to several different factors)

    I’m almost at a point where I feel it would be so much easier to move on by doing this. I’m so sick of going over the details of my relationship with this person who has moved on, and moved in (very quickly) with someone else, (right under my nose, literally next door, they’ve moved since) and is now planning to get married. He’s very social, excessively talkative, was friends and talked frequently with ALL of his ex’s and (first) ex wife and was proud of it. He always said he wanted to be friends with me and couldn’t imagine me not in his life etc and given his history I’m certain that he would talk to me and want to smooth things over. He’d rather be “liked” by everyone.
    I am the one who said, hell no, don’t even think that we will ever be friends, you destroyed that chance…but I’m tired of feeling bitter, resentful and like a victim. This guy is just a bozo and I kind of knew it from the start. I don’t even know if he’s AC/EU. I know (and he knew) he’s got a considerable amount of issues that needed attention, he made ALL kinds of promises and took them back, had me on a yo-yo, relationship on his terms, future FAKER, freshly divorced second time and he def showed lots of the signs on here of being AC/EU but guess what…so do I :(

    How do BR readers feel about the idea of once realizing that we, they, or both are EU/AC to admit that you probably never should’ve been in a relationship together in the first place but could still learn from each other as friends or at least not behave as if you are both extinct.

    I have asked myself why? do I want to be friends and I don’t really…It just feels so wrong and horrible and like it’s hurting ME to NEVER speak to this person again. Even if just to give myself a way to make nice so I can get a few things off my chest, clear the air and really forget about it, stop divvying up the blame and move on. Just chalk it up to a bad choice to get involved in the first place and a worse choice to stay together for as long as we did. I’m pretty sure he would agree. So why should I never acknowledge their existence again?

    Seriously, trying to listen to my intuition here and I believe that’s what it’s saying I should do for my well being and piece of mind. Any thoughts are appreciated

    • rachael says:


      Your post seems to contain some contradictions. I am wondering what “few things” you want “off [your] chest’. Will it make a difference? How?

    • Clare says:


      Though many will advise against this, I say that if this is what feels like it will give you peace of mind, then do it.

      Being friends with an ex can work, but you need to go into it with your eyes wide open. I am friends with a few of my exes, and it works either because I have no more feelings for them, or because I have completely accepted the status quo. I think you also need to be prepared to accept that they probably still have all of the flaws that they did before, and if you want to be friends with them anyway, then it should be for who they are, and not who you’d like them to be, in other words not hoping they’ve changed.

      I actually treasure those exes whom I am still able to be either civil or friendly to, as, like you, I find the ripping and pretending that each other is extinct to be very hard and nearly unbearable.

      Bottom line is, yes, it is possible to be friends with an ex. I have great friendships with 3 of my exes, but pay very careful attention to your feelings. Usually a cool-off period is needed before you can be friends, and the length of this will vary from one situation to the next. Also make sure you are not holding onto any hope, and that you can emotionally handle it. Also make sure the friendship is mutual. Sometimes you may want to be friends but he does not, and pursuing such a friendship can mean fresh pain for you (been there, done that).

      So yeah :) those are my thoughts.

      • Sofia says:

        Clare, I agree. you have to be emotionally indifferent to them. Not jealous. Not hopeful. Unlike is hopeful still. She has strong emotions for him. She will be hurt even more if she gets into friendship with him. One needs to ask: “Was that person a good friend to me during the relationship?” Why do I need him as a friend now? Did we share a hobby, great conversations together? Why do I need him as a friend?” Also, enough time should pass by so that one is indifferent.

        • LovefromNel says:

          Dear Sofia, like Lizzp, I can really tell just by your posts how far you have come! You must be feeling so much stronger emotionally, in order for this to be so reflective in your BR comments. Go you good thing! Keep it up! Big hugs. Nel xo

          • Sofia says:

            Dear Nel,

            Thank you:) I feel the change too. I still miss him and have my off days and sad hours, but I know progressively it is so much better. What most important is that I AM much better. I feel much happier. I feel content with ME. That has been the biggest change. Many thanks to Natalie and ladies on this blog.

            How are you doing yourself, Nel? Are you feeling a bit better? No more ex encounters when you go for a walk?

            I noticed I lost finally (finally!!!??? I hope so) all the physical attraction to my ex. I don’t want him anymore and started noticing some cute guys at the gym. Just noticing. No interest to date at all. I am not ready. But it’s a good sign I am not attached to the sexual image of him anymore. That had been glue holding together. There was not much emotional connection because he put his walls very high and kept the distance.

            I think I am getting closer. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I have relief moments sometimes and feeling like something lifted. I get sad again and miss him sometimes, but it’s empowering to have that feeling, “Wow, there is a life out there. I have so many things to do and new people to meet. Life goes on.”

            Grief and healing and NC and our own efforts work.


    • RP says:

      Dear Unlike,

      I think you need to do the “honest conversation with yourself” before deciding whether or not you would like to pursue a friendship with the ex. I sense that you still seem upset that he has moved on quickly (understandably!), and you are in the unfortunate situation of living in his close proximity, which does not make matters any easier. If you are no longer looking for clarification/answers from this guy (which is not my impression because you still feel the need to “get things off your chest”), if there are no romantic feelings left, then go ahead and be friends with him. However, I think it would help to ask yourself whether your ex possesses the kind of values that make his friendship worthwhile (being sociable and talkative is not a value in my opinion). If he disrespected you (you don’t mention why the relationship ended in this post), then why do you want to remain friends? Everybody is different with regards to friendship with the exes. I generally do not remain friends if an ex disrespected me by pulling some classic AC shit on me. Hope this helps! RP x

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Unlike

      You say: “This guy is just a bozo and I kind of knew it from the start” as well as “do I want to be friends and I don’t really”. To me, the first quote goes to the heart of intuition (in knowing he was a bozo from the start! I knew the ex EUM was a f*cktard from the start too, but I went against my intuition!). The second quote, I think, answers the question about to message, or not to message! Also, I am not sure it is your intuition telling you to message for your own wellbeing. What can you do, on your own, to help yourself? Don’t place your own wellbeing in the bozo’s hands again, honey. That’s my two cents worth!

    • Sofia says:

      Unlike, I think you you haven’t let him go yet. You feel you need to tell him what’s still bothering you. I had that feeling too in the post breakup phase. It was more like wanting a closure after the breakup, which we had already. But it was not enough. It is never enough. To figure out what happened. The thing is you can never say enough, clarify all the answers, understand why exactly things went that way. Time will heal you and letting go will happen. I know it has been a year, but you had a 3-year relationship. So it does take longer. I just think, that even if you and he meet and talk, it won’t resolve anything for you. You will still have things you wish you could have said and undone/done differently. You still carry pain with you and you want to share it with him, maybe make him taking a part of it or just let him know how you feel. He won’t understand anyway. He is way over obviously and he is getting married. Although looks like he might be EU if he gets over so fast. Means he was never in touch with his feelings. And a 3rd marriage and trying to stay friends with every ex. Tells me he is shallow or not in touch with himself and others. So your meeting won’t do any good for you. On the contrary – it will be NC breaker and will infuriarate you and send into another spiral of ruminating. You don’t want to be friends with him. It will cause you more pain and won’t answer anything. As hard as it is, the best way is to be to let it go and not be friends with him. It doesn’t mean you have to hate him. You will never forget the experience but you will let go eventually and will be indifferent.

    • Lilia says:


      It seems like you´re trying to diminish the disappointment you had with him. It´s much easier to act as if this romantic involvement was just a bad idea and Oh this guy is well-liked so why can´t I go on liking him too and It would be so much easier not to have had this experience in the first place, Let´s just go back to how things were before and pretend this never happened.

      But the thing is, it did happen.

      You had a bad experience with him, why erase it? You owe yourself at least that much.

      And if the point is not to become bitter about it, well, then that´s something you have to work out yourself, not with him. Learn to let him go internally, to sever all emotional ties you still maintain with him.

      It´s the only way. No conversation will ever undo the bad times you suffered.

    • Mymble says:

      If you’re burning up a lot of energy on this issue of being friends then no, it isn’t a good idea. When you get to the point when it no longer matters much either way, then it might be possible. But I can guarantee that when you get there you won’t really want to. It can’t be a normal friendship at present, your feelings about him are still too conflicted and whether you are aware of it or not, at some level there will be anger, resentment and a desire to gain control. Your comments about him being a bozo reflect that.
      If you feel you’re still not over him, the answer lies in moving the focus away from him and back to yourself and your own life.
      I’ve never got 100% over the person who brought me here. I felt he got the better of me, treated me with contempt. A small part of me still wants to “show him” and get validation from him. But by now it’s a very, very small part and he rarely crosses my mind. I’ve got so much else going on, good and bad. I recognize that I could have done more to help myself in that regard. I should treat myself better, in terms of acting in ways that will will benefit me in the long term. Strengthening my relationships with the good people in my life, focussing on my career. I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress.

      • Unlike says:

        Wow…I’m so appreciative of all of you taking the time to comment and I’ve been thinking about everything that all of you have offered and read through your comments several times over. There’s so much good stuff in your responses and I admit that I am definitely burning up a lot of energy on this issue (too much). I’m not yet indifferent or totally over what happened with the ex (it was so painful, still is). I want to be there and with all the self-work and new found knowledge from BR, I think I may be looking for a way to fast track it along by just giving out a free pass, oh, well it didn’t work out…tra la la, no big deal, life goes on, but that’s not an accurate reflection of where I’m at…

        It helps to have others reflect back that I don’t exactly sound indifferent and reaching out will most likely not yield the return that I’m looking for and could potential cause even more pain. I’m still looking for a way out, that will help me to finally let go and move forward. I need to see that I have made progress on my own…just want to finally let it go, need more time, patience and understanding. I’ll get there on my own, I feel like I’m getting closer…

        • Sofia says:


          Definitely. Please give yourself more time. You will heal. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. I know all about wanting to fast track my healing. I “forgave” too fast, “let go” to fast, “I am over” attitude too fast. Maybe I should sleep with him? Maybe I should be friends with him? All kinds of thoughts to trying to smooth the pain. To avoid the pain of the grieving process. Give yourself more time. Read a lot here and write. It has helped me a lot. People here are so supportive. It seems that you might go in circles by reading and writing the same topic, and I was careful and checking myself if I am not spiraling. But no – I have been healing and getting better while daily reading the blog, previous articles, reading and writing posts. I would have not been where I am now if I had not found this site and become its active participant.

          The key is believing that this will pass. There is no definite schedule. Your relationship was for 3 years and you have been broken up for a year? Well, you are possibly much closer than you think. Everybody takes his/her time. I am 4 months post break up ( a year relationship). Still have very painful moments and get scared it will never get better. But then, I look at the progress I have made internally: my attitude, care for myself, enjoying my own company, and not afraid of being and staying single, not needing a man or anyone anymore for validation. I am feeling confident and strong. All the grieving, reading work have done many good changes and I am still learning of course. So, yes, please be loving and patient to yourself. You will heal. You don’t need to contact him. It will stir all the previous and current pain. It won’t solve anything. It won’t answer your questions. It will set you back. I am certain: no friends with your ex unless there are two conditions: you are completely indifferent to him and you genuinely want him to be your friend and do the things together that friends do (and with his girlfriend or wife including – meaning you are free of jealousy or desire for him), which is really rarely is the case for any ex-romantic relationship.

          Good luck to you and trust yourself and your process. Be strong. Don’t contact him. Take care of yourself.

  32. Nat Attack says:

    Atrophy, maybe romantic relationships can be more intimate and therefore more risky and difficult to manage but that doesn’t mean the good work you’re doing with implementing changes in your life at work and in your friendships isnt helping. It just may take more work and more time to really understand what changes you need to make in order to be fully available in your love life.

    • Atrophy says:

      Nat Attack, love the name!

      I think you’re on the money. I know that I always need a ton of reassurance before taking the other person seriously in the beginning (again trust). This then stops things from progressing at a natural pace, and I get ahead of myself and scare them off.

      What I have learned from the last one FWB disaster, is that even if the guy has integrity and is a kind person that doesn’t mean that they won’t do you harm. I need to learn to assert myself in relationships but I usually just stay quiet and agreeable so they stick around – doormat syndrome passed down from my mother.

      Over-empathizing, giving too much benefit of the doubt, and not sweating the small stuff (which is actually the important stuff) is all that I can’t find balance with.

      It hurts admit this. My friends say I’m too picky but the men they are settling for are bringing them so much grief. My checklist involves things that I possess therefore I do not see it as unattainable or hypocritical.

      • Elgie R. says:

        Atrophy, in a true FWB situation, you would not feel hurt when he moves on.

        Your FWB wanted something more special than a FWB-situ and is going for it with someone else. You are hurt because you feel discarded. Which is telling you that you don’t really like being in a situation where you are easily discarded. So now you know that FWB is not for you. So the next time someone offers that, you know the answer for you is No, thanks, I’ll pass on that.

        This guy will probably come back to your well again….even if he stays with this new girl. Don’t allow that. Tell him you are looking for your one-and-only and are not interested in FWB-situations.

        More importantly, start figuring out what kind of relationship you want. Don’t go for something just because it’s ‘there’.

        Took me a long time to pay attention to what my inside was trying to tell me about a couple of FWBs in my life. When I closed the door on a long-term FWB 4 years ago, the emotional relief I felt was immediate. He has since tried to keep the “friend” door open, but I know he is just hanging around waiting for me to be lonely enough to add the ”with benefits” again. He is a EUM, single, and I’ve realized he is nothing more than an acquaintance, even after all the years we’ve known each other. I have recently stopped responding to his overtures and have been willing to let the “friendship” go unattended. So his lazy texts have turned into actual home phone calls that I let go to voice mail. There’s nothing there for me.

        I am still in a small struggle with the second FWB…there’s no love for me on his part…but there is a strong attraction on my part…but I am living more in the reality of what IS. I am opening my mind to finding a man who is more there for ME, interested in ME.

        • Atrophy says:

          Elgie – It’s true!

          ‘Your FWB wanted something more special than a FWB-situ and is going for it with someone else.’

          Because of my low self-esteem I thought he’d never commit for me and pretended that FWB is what I wanted too. By the time I saw that he was a good guy, it was too late to turn it into something more. I’ve read the posts about using ‘casual’ as a back door way to get a relationship – which never works.

          I do feel sad, NC is really hard. It’s only Day 2. I thought I wouldn’t have to face him after the seeing the FB status online. He ended up being at an event that I was at, even though he had told me 2 weeks prior that there was no way he’d attend.

          Our mutual friends invited me to sit next to him, I feel so embarrassed about how much I faked being ok with it all. I lose this one, he’s on to happier days. I’m left alone with my feelings.

          • Atrophy says:

            You will get through it, that’s where I stand too. No love from him, strong attraction on both our parts but he’s replaced that with the new girl.

            If I’m honest with myself, I can say the same, that I don’t really know my FWB. He’s not actually a friend, but more of an acquaintance even though I’ve ‘known’ him for years. Then why am I so desperate to hold on to this ‘friendship’? I think maybe for appearances to others, that indeed I am in control and wasn’t used and discarded…

            • Elgie R. says:

              Atrophy, you are making yourself feel worse by framing things as if you *lost*. Then you start to climb that ladder of escalation by saying “I wasn’t ____ enough” and you convince yourself that “she” had the magic combination.

              Those thoughts are so wrong. My experience tells me the people who approach you with an offer of FWB relationships are not commitment material.

              I think people who want commitment know that about themselves, and they do not dabble in non-committed relationships. I worked with a divorced man I was very attracted to…he messed up his family life by getting hooked on drugs…when we met he was out of rehab and working. He and I were very friendly but he never once made even a hint of a pass – he wanted his family back. He was brilliant at the job and could do in 2 days what others took a month to do, but he fell back into the addiction. Wife kicked him out. Thru a series of events he ended up in a halfway house and I ran in to him and asked him to my home to tutor me in a technology he knew very well. My penchant for “mind fantasy” built up the house visit to gigantic romantic proportions, so much so that when he came over I literally threw myself at him. We had a chaotic tumble in my bed….even with that he was very attentive to my pleasure and safety – but I have to admit he seemed a little “not eager” about the whole affair. Three days later he invited me to lunch where he told me he was in the initial stages of a relationship with another woman, and he was sorry about doing those things with me and it was not going to happen again. I remember asking if the other lady was not in the picture would he have been more interested in pursuing something with me? I don’t remember his answer, but I do remember him saying I needed to stop shortchanging myself. I cried over that brief encounter for weeks – totally out of proportion.

              The point I am making is he was not a FWB kind of guy. He wasn’t offering that to ANY woman, because FWB never worked for him.

              Atrophy, I guarantee your FWB will be calling you again. If you stay NC, he will need to prove to himself that he still has you in his back pocket. The FWB types have fragile egos. They require validation just as much as we do – or as we “did”….we are working on validating ourselves, remember.

  33. Tired says:

    Hello i was just hoping some of you girls could give me advice on the one thing that seems to keep me half way stuck ? I got involved in a rebound , for him to dissapear on me . Im bouncing back but was wondering how you girls cope with the pondering on it .? How you switch it off ? How you switch say a surge of anger or a bout of ripping yaself apart ?

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hey Tired

      I belong to the disappeared-upon club too!

      I think about things A LOT which means I’m still going over the whole damn situation with the ex-EUM nearly a year after we first met.

      So I’m not sure I’m the best to offer advice. But yesterday I came across an old quote on here which helped me enormously in providing some explanation to why I ponder over someone who has treated me appallingly, and who didn’t even have enough *care and respect* for me to end things honestly and respectfully.

      Anyway, this quote was by a BR reader a few years ago. I’ve quoted her a few times and wish I had the insight to provide advice like this myself, but alas I don’t, so I’ll just channel advice through someone else’s wisdom. Anyway, Yoghurt wrote:

      “Your ‘rejections’ may all look the same because you tell yourself the same message afterwards – that you’re not good enough, you’ve been rejected, you’ve failed, you’re not up to standard, etc. – but they are not the same and it will serve you well to distinguish between them as it will help you to not only deal with each experience, but to cut to the heart of the original rejection and overcome it.”

      Woah. Profound.

      I’ve always felt that I’m the Queen of Nothing – none of the relationships that I wanted ever got off the ground. You know what? That isn’t true. Some of them did get off the ground but I found out (unsurprisingly, given that my relationship-chooser really isn’t any good and I think I’ve sent out ‘emotionally healthy man, get thee back’ vibes) that they weren’t what I wanted.

      Some of them didn’t and they were the ones that I spent a disproportionate amount of time woodling over and hankering after once they’d ended.

      Given that I’m so comfortable living in the past and feasting on the bones of long-dead relationships, I guess it figures that I eventually ended up in a situation where the entire ‘relationship’ was in the past from the get-go. I got rejected after about three ‘dates’ and after that I had a year and a half of trying to get back to where I’d been originally. And then I spent nigh-on a year wishing for the days when I had sporadic half-arsed interest and insultingly lazy communication.

      I can only assume that it’s easier dealing with situations and blokes that have been and gone than dealing with the future and the unknown. I don’t want to live my life like that anymore, though – the unknown can’t possibly be less satisfying or more soul-destroying than living in the past.”

      I actually used this quote in another reply, which I guess shows how much I love it, but perhaps also how pertinent it is (well, to me anyway, but hopefully also to others). Why re-hash the events, or think about someone, who has treated us so poorly? Is the present so bad that the we have to resort to re-living crappy past treatment?

      But you ask how to switch it off? I’m not too sure. Gee, helpful Nel. Haha. Although, here I may use some other beautiful words of another BR poster (I told you I just paraphrase others’ wisdom!). These words are Nigella’s, who wrote: “be me, nurture me, focus on me.” I think that’s the first step in halting the pondering. Because ultimately what’s the point in pondering someone who is 1) probably not pondering us, 2) treated us without the necessary trust, care, love and respect, 3) didn’t even have the gall to do a break-up properly, meaning that 4) they are a pathetic coward [and insert any other descriptive words here].

      Best wishes,

    • Noquay says:

      I too was disappeared on at a time when I was very vulnerable after the loss of my marriage. What was really weird was that the night before, he had called me and took hours to tell me how glad he was that I was in his life so I had zero idea it was coming. Before BR, I had no idea folks did this sort of thing and didn’t know until finding BR just before the humiliating scene with the at work AC. What to do? First, feel your rage, he deserves it, no one has the right to treat another in such a cowardly way. Two, these a$$wipes have a habit of returning, thinking all is OK and you’ll settle for being friends. Screw that; institute NC in all ways if you can, electronically via Faceplant or other social media, IRL via avoiding patronizing businesses or other places at times you’ll know he is there. This dude doesn’t deserve squat from you.

  34. Camillah says:

    “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

    “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

    “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

    “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

    “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

    “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

    “I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

    “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

    ? Maya Angelou~~~RIP

  35. Peanut says:

    Nat Attack/rachael,

    It’s interesting the pull pets can have. My ex’s cat, Carl, (that name) was a gift from his ex.

    I know he used attachment to that cat to hang on to her. He went back to her moments after I ended it with him.

    Last I heard (okay creeped up on) they are both single. I’d put money on it Carl is being taken care of by his mom.

    Also he was one of those extreme momma’s boys. When we dated she did all his laundry, cleaned his room, made his sandwiches, and even his clothes.

    You know, Carl was such an ordinary, boring cat. I really think the doting over him had more to do with staying invested in the ex while getting what he wanted from me.

    Plus he had this kitten fetish: Cat screen saver, kitten socks, etc… And he’d consistently compare me to a cat. Anyway, the man really likes cats. I kind of think it had more to do with wanting to be seen a certain way: caring, sensitive, playful, etc…

    But really inside given his self destructive habits, he was well on his way to becoming a hopless monster. I’m not sure if he succeeded; I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.

  36. Tired says:

    Thankyou for those replies , you are right why waste time on someone who is a coward .x

  37. Ans says:

    Thanks so much for the replies and the advice. I truly appreciate it. I watched Eat Pray Love again last night, man that movie helps me so much…

    I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from the movie…

    1) Ruin is a gift… Ruin is the road to transformation (what a wonderful saying, we shouldn’t see these hurtful experiences as only bad, we should see it as a learning curve and that it molds us into becoming better and stronger, and it’s teaching us what we need to know about ourselves.

    2) “I was suffering the easily foreseeable consequences. Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon you a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never dared to admit you wanted-an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement. Soon you start craving that intense attention, with a hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is withheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy, and depleted (not to mention resentful of the dealer who encouraged this addiction in the first place but now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore– despite the fact that you know he has it hidden somewhere, goddamn it, because he used to give it to you for free). Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbors just to have ‘that thing’ even one more time. Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has now become repulsed by you. He looks at you like you’re someone he’s never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is,you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You’re a pathetic mess,unrecognizable even to your own eyes. So that’s it. You have now reached infatuation’s final destination– the complete and merciless devaluation of self.”

    • rachael says:


      Love number 2!!

    • Sofia says:

      I agree with both. The first one is wisdom. Whatever bad no matter how horrific happens to us, it is all for the better for us.

      The second one. Hurtful. Truthful. Yes, we are drug addicts. He is repulsed by us. How sad. How true.

      I read the book and watched the movie. I didn’t like either really because I thought it was a bit ego-centered and man-centered as well. This is a different subject though.

      Great quotes nevertheless.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.