Many a person has had their expectations managed down by clever use of

I love you but you know my situation.

I hear you but that’s not something that I can do.

I do like myself but I do give myself a very hard time.

I want to change but I think it’s too late.

I really like you but I’m still coming to term with my separation.

I’m really enjoying our time together but I just want to keep it light.

I know a few people who say “It’s what comes after the but that counts” (woolly hat tip to BR reader Grace included) and if you remember this, it will keep you out of a lot of trouble and ensure that you’re present enough to be listening to what people say, not just listening to half a sentence and then drifting off into a fluffy fantasy.

It’s what comes after the but that counts because it’s where the truth or our energy lies.

I’ve seen it so many times in the stories people share where they emphasise how much their ex or partner loves them or really wants to do something because they kept saying it. Yes…but they also kept saying “But I can’t do this”, “But I’m not that”, “But you this and you that.” People with excessive use of “but” (cough) can end up being guilty of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, which basically brings you back to their status quo.

Many a person has had their expectations managed down by clever use of “but”.

“But…” doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is ‘shady’ but what you do have to realise is that we communicate who we are through what we say and do, and also what we don’t say and do. No matter how much of a good game we talk, we just can’t help but show people who we are. It’s self-evident. We have “tells” and yes, we say stuff that completely contradicts something else we’ve said. Our jobs as individuals is to be naturally listening and watching as part of the process of being in reality.

Judging by the amount of emails and comments I’ve had on the subject of Future Faking ever since I first wrote about it, paying too much attention to words that we want to hear (even if there is a lack of action to support them) and feeling very flattered by it, can mean that we tune out of ‘content’ that’s not on that ‘frequency’ or ‘on message’.

For instance, it’s easy to focus on “I love you” but what you should be focusing on is what came after the but, such as them reminding you of their situation and their limitations, which also puts a cap on the extent of their feelings and any actions you might be expecting to show up with that love.

If you tell me that you love me, I’m kinda expecting the loving action and a loving relationship to come with. It’s a package deal.

I love when people say “I agree with you but…” because that’s when you should be paying close attention. Again, it doesn’t have to be something shady but the person may have an objection that impacts your expectations or the “but” may highlight a real difference in values.

There’s also, “I want that too but…” We can be unwittingly letting ourselves off the hook if what we put after the but is our fears or firmly held beliefs that govern our capabilities.

This means that you need to make sure that you’re changing your intent and supporting the decisions you make and the actions that follow, by putting your fears etc., BEFORE the but and something positive that reaffirms your intentions, commitment, motivations etc., AFTER.

“I’m afraid that they might change after I’ve needed it, but I know based on X months/years and/or various experiences and this is what I have to make a decision on – who they are, not who I want them to be.”

Or just make sure that wherever there’s a “but”, that positive intent or positive self-validation comes after and ends your statement. And yes, sometimes they have to take their overused “but” and jog on.

Your thoughts?

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352 Responses to It’s What Comes After The “But…” That Counts

  1. Singleagain says:

    Oh my…I got the I love you so much…but…as he was ending things. Makes so much sense to listen to what comes after because that’s exactly where their coming from. I respected my ex’s “but” that he couldn’t do “this” anymore and have left him alone besides being in contact to get my stuff back. One of hardest things I am getting through but if you listen after the “but” what choice do you have if you want maintain some dignity.

  2. natasha says:

    Just. Brilliant.

  3. lygia says:

    I really like you but I have to take care of my mother/daughter/dog/ guinea pig

    I really like you but you wont be accepted in my family for being the wrong religion/white/black/too short/too tall

    I really like you but I love my own home and want to be there

    I really like you but I cannot promise anything at the moment

    I really like you but I have been sick/lost my job/got a new job far from you/im too young/i’m too old

    I really really like you but I couldnt leave my wife

    • Tonya says:

      I really like you but – we’re just in two different places in life. That’s the one I heard.

      • natashya says:

        i got this one: ‘i really like you, but i don’t love you. i love my ex.’

        at least the message was clear.

        • Sunshine says:

          I still love you and miss you, but I can’t give you what you want. You deserve so much better.

          • natashya says:

            at least he loved you, or so he said :)

            i also got these ones:

            i really like you, but i’m not ready for a relationship.

            i really like you, but i’m damaged goods.

            i really like you, but i can’t give you what you need.

            all of these were true, btw. wish there had been this kind of honesty from day 1!

            • lygia says:

              Some BUTs that are in their thoughts-

              I want you to pay dinner but I wont call you my girlfriend

              I want to sleep with you but I wont introduce you to my family

              I want to call you in the middle of the night and cry on your shoulder but I wont give you the time of the day

              I ll be mad if I think you are online but I wont delete my online profile

              I will panick if you dont talk to me for some days, but I’ll think that you are too clingy if you complain that I have disappeared for some weeks

              I wont have you having male friends, but I’ll think nothing of having loads of women friends

            • Skadia says:

              oh that “i’m not ready for a relationship or I can’t be in a relationship with ANYONE right now” are really rich when you post fb pics of the new one 4 -6 weeks later!

  4. miss nice says:

    10 months ago my then fiance said he loved me BUT he wasn’t sure if he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me or have kids. So I moved out of our home. Pushed on with my life. Occasionally I got mails saying he loved me BUT he wasn’t 100% sure. This went on and on. I changed my number, blocked his mails. Then he finally decided he wanted me back after 6 months. So he started sending fixers my way. I persisted with my NC. He started printing out mails and posting them. I engaged a solicitor. This past month has been horrendous BUT I weathered the storm and I kept going. Yes, I might still care about him BUT I care about me more. And he might sit on his BUTT pouring his heart out via the world wide web but I’m worth far more than lazy words! Seriously you could take him back BUT then again you might just do a whole lot better even if it means going solo and learning to love you first. Honestly – sometimes it’s hell BUT you will be ok :)

    • Teddie says:

      Miss Nice, you are one smart miss!

    • Sunshine says:

      Wow! You’re awesome, miss nice!:) Wish I was as strong (again) — but hey slowly getting there:)

    • Little Star says:

      Good for you, Miss Nice! I loved your inspiring words and matching actions, well done! I stopped dating men as I realised I am so not ready:) AC wants me back BUT I am not going to take him with the same “conditions”…IF HE wants me to be with him, HE MUST CHANGE and marry me, nothing else will be accepted:) haha…

      • dancingqueen says:

        Get your idea BUT I am not sure how I feel about people changing after they have messed up or moved on and then decided to come back. In my mind, changing for another person is not really changing.

        I think that most of this time, it is just figuring out what you have to do, to get that person back, and then doing it. I honestly don’t know anyone who has had a successful relationship after the marriage ultimatum or the “I want to get married, if you don’t want that then you need to march on” talk They might have gotten married but later on, they are always wondering if the other person would have done this without the limits being set.

        I really have not had a crush in months BUT the next person that I take seriously, needs to be already taking themselves seriously and be interested in something long term, for themselves, prior to meeting me.

        • dancingqueen says:

          oh btw nice one Miss Nice:)

        • Little Star says:

          Dancingqueen, I agree with you, but what I noticed with AC – wherever we were apart from each other, somehow he started to change for good. HE made more effort after my ultimatums and he seems scared to lose me…I used to him, I realised I do not want to start again with someone new, as I tried with musician:(

        • sushi says:

          I agree dancingqueen, life is not a rom-com. I found that a lot of the times it would have been better to make your observations, assess and act rather than engage in relationship defining talks. That`s only a cue for them to up their game enough to reel you back in. Twisting anyones arm to give you what you want is as bad as twisting yourself into a pretzel to please them. For me, no more twisting of any sort anymore.

    • K says:

      YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

  5. vhs says:

    I got this ‘but’:
    ‘I know I did some f*ked up things
    BUT you were no angel yourself’
    and then having NOTHING to show for his own but.
    Worst ‘but’ I ever experienced.

    For some reason (because it always left me baffled) it always silenced my telling him how his actions hurt my feelings.
    ‘I know I hit you onto the wall, and I know I didn’t care to help you up and left you there, BUT I think I did it because I didn’t feel enough love from you.’
    ‘I know I shouldn’t have gone out till morning with these women, I know I should’ve just come home and not do drugs with them at their house and stay out till morning knowing this would’ve upset you BUT I thought these were your friends’
    ‘I know I shouldn’t have had sex with these exact women, I know it was wrong BUT they made me feel loved and you didn’t’

    While all the while I was crying my bleeding heart out in front of him telling him how much I loved and needed him.

    For me personaly I should’ve put pillows against my ears because his ‘but’s were the main reason I started to doubt my own gut feeling. He used whatever he placed after the ‘but’ to put everything on me.

    Being stronger now, I don’t think I will ever let it come that far again, because obviously, I did let it come too far. Still, there are two very different sides to these kinds of ‘but’s. (saying but’s so often makes me laugh :-) )

    • maya says:

      Same here. It was never his fault. It was always mine, or someone else’s. He must have been the most misunderstood angel to ever walk this Earth … not!

      • Sunshine says:

        The same here … never his fault … and I nearly died of all the guilt he dropped on me … no more …

    • Pam says:

      Id tell that jerk to get lost and never come back. that is f—– up. drugs will always be more important than you or anyone else to him.

      • Victorious says:

        YOu are right Pam, I used to get late night phone calls “I just took a load of charlie, but I don’t know why I am telling you this.” I know now. It is because I was due to see him the next day and he wanted to know if would still make the long journey, knowing he would be a total waste of space the whole day. And did I? Of course I did *slaps hand to forehead*

  6. Linda Silvester says:

    And “I love you dearly, but I just can’t do it” I’m going to go back to her” Yep listen to the BUT cos he’s unavailable.

  7. Awakened says:

    I really like you but I am an Assclown; workaholic; now I’m jobless;who fast forwards;future fakes; verbally manipulates; who’s emotionally unavailable; who ‘s still back and forth with my ex my next; my other woman and my baby moma and that ain’t ever changing. Oh and I’ll never say goodbye cause you were never owed and explanation. Sincerely me….. Asshole

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      OMG Awakened:

      I think you just nailed them all. It’s not funny but it did good give me a good laugh because that stinking thinking of his really is a joke.

      Thanks for he chuckle!

  8. Sylvie says:

    Yes. On my list of worst communication blunders. I often get accused of focusing on the negative part of what someone says (most recently by the ex). I have been told I “am wrong”, that I “don’t know what I’m talking about”, and “I can communicate fine with everyone else in my life”, because I *do* focus on the “but”. The use of “but” always makes my alarm bells ring. The problem I’ve found is that this ‘style’ of communication is the ‘norm’, so that few people on the receiving end seem to question why it feels off to hear it, and those who communicate like this seldom fathom why it sends the ‘wrong’ signals.

    • Pam says:

      thats because the one saying that shit to you is the one who has the problem,not you. They are the “but” person who cant handle reality.

  9. teachable says:

    My most recent example of this was my mother (as per post in expecatations thread), when being prevented from simply hitting the reset button in re-etablishing contact with me, by me reminding her of exactly what she had done to cause our long estrangement (& naming it for what it was ie abusive hurtful behaviour) offered not an apology, but instead, ‘it’s no excuse BUT I was mentally unstable at the time’. In doing so, what she offered WAS an excuse! I ignored it & simply set my boundary with her anyway. I hear she’s having counselling for the first time ever in her life. Shame she didn’t do this when I first recommended it two decades ago! Lets hope she takes my words to her to the counsellor. No doubt, THAT will make for an interesting session! LOL

    • dancingqueen says:

      ick Teachable. I got that exact type of “but” from my abusive first stepmother, except the word itself was missing “I can’t say that I know if there was abuse; if there was abuse at the time, I did not know it.” re; locking me in a bathroom for 3 days with some food on the floor. How could you seriously not know that was abusive. Boggles. the. mind.

      Hate to sound cynical, BUT I doubt some of these people take the words we give them to a counselor, or, if they do, the counselor will hear a totally different rendition of those words. BUT it does not matter because we are us and they are them and we are fine:)

      • Following my Instinct says:

        DancingQueen….she locked you in the BR for 3 days??? That is beyond Horrendous! Sounds like you have a *crazy* childhood, some parts of it at least…wow

        • dancingqueen says:

          @following, yeah it was a bit of a roller-coaster…you know it was hard getting over it in my 20′s but now I am pretty okay. Except for when I have to work with people that remind me of people in my past, then it feels a bit nutty.

          I think that you learn a lot from these things that help in the long term. I think honestly the hard part was not the abuse as much as the pressure from my dad to pretend that none of it was his fault for not stopping it. Thus I really have several dealbreakers about guys: number one, they need to be full of character and stand up for what is right. He has had two other wives since and they are/were just as crazy;, one a prescription drug addict and one a hoarder; he picks them! Now the drug addict I had to live with but I got lucky in that I moved out pretty much right when that happened about a year later. This new one just iritates me from a distance; same old controlling pattern, selfishness…it is hard not to get angry, equally, at him for making such crap choices but that is my dad; he will always choose any relationship over a normal one or none at all.

          That said, there are some positives about crazy childhoods: usually you will be able to avoid people as crazy as that in your adulthood ( no one has locked me in a closet since lol) and also, if you do, you can….walk away! yeah!I think one fault I have, is that I don’t have a lot of sympathy for women in abusive relationships with kids, or with money to get out. I am like; the door is there, the kids need to be protected, get you ass OUT:)!

          • Lilia says:

            Oh dancingqueen that´s just terrible… seems like you went through hell and survived.

            These stepmothers of yours sound like my paternal grandmother, she was pretty nuts… and I have the same complaints about my own father, who I feel doesn´t stand up for what is right either. I grew up feeling he wasn´t able to protect me. So perhaps that is why I´ve been drawn to different variations of ACs? It is nice to learn to defend ourselves at last, isn´t it.

  10. teachable says:

    And might I add, my Mother’s ‘but’ was aimed at tugging at the heartstrings & trying to get me to pity her! Pigs ass! I have suffered the most horrendous extreme abuse as a result of this woman’s neglect right through my entire childhood, not to
    mention abuse from her also! If there is anyone worthy of my compassion it is MYSELF & my little sister for what we have endured! The bloody cheek of her! Frankly, I have no respect for the woman whatsoever! Why would I? She hasn’t earned any, & indeed has done quite the opposite (although I do take care to be respectful toward her as two wrongs don’t make a right).

    • Revolution says:

      Teach,

      You never cease to amaze me. Especially this:

      “She hasn’t earned any, & indeed has done quite the opposite (although I do take care to be respectful toward her as two wrongs don’t make a right).”

      Absolutely beautiful.

  11. K says:

    Wow. Every time I read one of your posts, Natalie, it calls into question my own “but” and the contradiction in my own words and behaviors. I’m highly conscious of this. I understand clearly expectations managed down in the form of “but” out of a relationshit, BUT, I need to weed it out of myself too as I process what happened in all the abusive relationships I’ve been in and my part in them. Thanks for the post!

    • yoghurt says:

      Nice one K – I’ve done it too. A lot.

      “He isn’t really what I want in the long-term BUT anything’s better than being bored…”

      “He isn’t acting as though he likes me much BUT maybe if he knew me better…”

      “He doesn’t respect my opinion BUT if I just say that one perfect thing that makes him listen and think…”

      (and these days)
      “I should be making my own life exciting and interesting BUT it’d be so much easier if someone came along and gave me the incentive/confidence. I’ll hang on for a bit.”

      • K says:

        yoghurt:

        Indeed! While I write a lot about what *they* have done (ex AC’s), in order to educate, I’m on a road to open myself up more to my own blunders. When addressing that, there really is not “but” in the equation. It’s actually quite freeing! I love your examples!

  12. teachable says:

    Correction: I have endured emotional / psychological abuse from my Mother throughoout my entire adult life also, up until I eventually had to cut her off to protect myself. Sanest thing I ever did!

    • K says:

      Teach,

      GOOD FOR YOU! Some people can get so weary from dealing with an abusive parent, they’re just done. That was my situation too and I agree with you about the sanity. Unfortunately, it’s very hard for others because the trauma bonds to the parent, in my opinion, are the strongest of all and set up patterns for us in choosing our partners into the future if we don’t get rid of the original trauma bond in the first place. We are doomed to repetition complex. I’m glad you perceive it as sanity, because that’s healthy!

    • dancingqueen says:

      Good for you teachable for cutting her out for not being healthy. I fully support going nc with parents; I did it for 8 years, he never changed but I did, and it really helped me to heal.

  13. tracy says:

    I like you though I don’t want my ex and kids to know you exist, but I want to keep sleeping with you.

    I like you even though I have another girlfriend in another state, but I’d like to keep sleeping with you.

    I want you to continue sleeping with me and behaving like my wife and step mother to my kids, but I want to sleep with this other woman.

    I want to keep sleeping with you, but I don’t want to have to deal with you between dalliances.

    I want to sleep with you, go away with you and my son for the weekend, but I don’t want to call you my girlfriend.

  14. La Pintura Bella says:

    A good rule to remember…”But” ALWAYS negates what came just before it.

    Thanks for this Natalie.

    • Grizelda says:

      Agreed. Sometimes the part after the ‘but’ is only laid out there to soften and disguise the complete and utter lie that just came before the ‘but’.

  15. Learner says:

    OK Natalie,
    I am going to take your advice and completely ignore the first part of these sentences. If what matters is the part *after* the “but”, these are the messages I received:

    *but* I don’t know where this will lead.
    *but* I don’t think I can give you what you need
    *but* I feel like I have cement shoes on
    *but* I can’t predict the future
    *but* I don’t know how to make it happen
    *but* the timing wasn’t right – I wish I had met you before I met her.

    OK AC, here are my thoughts:

    I thought I loved you, BUT it was all a delusional fantasy
    I thought I wanted a life with you BUT I was just chasing a feeling
    I thought the feelings I had when we were together were love, BUT they were just my fears and insecurities
    I thought you were a misunderstood, wounded, innocent soul BUT I now know you are a misogynistic user

    I thought you were the man for me BUT I know you are a disordered man who is just perfect as a partner for…..yourself!!!

    BUT BUT BUT I have flushed you from my life.

    Buh bye now you big BUT!

    • Jennifer says:

      Learner,

      “but* I feel like I have cement shoes on”

      REALLY!!!??? Oh my. I’m sorry this assclown said this at your expense. It’s just soooo ridiculous. I’d say, “Well I suggest you take them cement shoes off b/c you’re not gonna get very far in em, and once you do–walk the hell away from me and stay away!”

      • Learner says:

        Haha Jennifer
        Great response to that “but” – you are right, it was soooo ridiculous. I wish I had thought of your response at the time. His back probably hurt too much to lean over and remove those cement shoes. It’s a good thing I *don’t* have cement shoes (anymore) and I am walking away from HIM now!

        • runnergirl says:

          Good on you Learner. MM’s with mistresses (or more than one) seem to shop at the same shoe store. It’s up to us to find our new shoes! For some reason, that song about “boots are made for walking and that what I’m going to do” popped into my head. “And one of these days these boot are gonna walk all over you”!
          I like how you separated the clauses. Once you focus on what comes after the but, the message is clear.

  16. Justme says:

    My ex broke up with me 5 months ago and this started happening a couple months later. He kept messaging me saying I miss you so much but I know I’ve made the right decision.
    Then I love you but we can’t be together right now.
    Then as I stopped replying it became I am so afraid to lose you forever but I can’t be with your right now.
    But it’s amazing to see how much I focused on the first part of the sentence “oh but he loves me” I would say. Took me awhile to realise what he actually meant.

    That was a bingo moment. The less interested I was acting the more “hot” he was coming on because he wanted to save me for the future. I realised I couldn’t live in the limbo anymore it was giving me anxiety!

    I’m still trying to figure out if he was an EUM while we were together or only after we broke up. Is that even possible? After 3 years together he broke up with me weeks after we had bought a house together because he lost his “feelings” then came back on 3 seperate occasions wanting me back and as soon as I gave in he changed his mind the next day.

    Great article as always Nat I am finally on no contact and its been just over a month. Just gotta get through the Holiday season.

    • Snowboard says:

      Hey Justme,

      I’m so sorry your former partner is being so selfish. If he were really concerned about you, he would leave you alone, rather than torture you with these kinds of texts. Good for you for going NC. By walking away from him, you are walking in the direction leading to your own happiness. Hang in there over the holidays. Many hugs :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Justme,

      This man is Emotionally Unavailable. Natalie’s book Mr Unavailable and the fb girl helped me immensely. It will wise you up to this kind of behavior. I wasn’t the same after reading it. In a good way. I got my life/soul/self esteem back.

      • Justme says:

        Thanks so much Snowboard and Jennifer. I have read the book but seemed to have slipped of the wagon again I will need to read it again as I keep making on excuses for him and blaming myself.

        He has blamed me saying i was too “needy” and expected too much from him.

        Can an EUM stay with you for years “seem” to be committed, talk about a future, deliver (buying the house) and then dissapear? He kept saying I want to be with you in the future when I’m 100% sure. This is stopping me from moving on properly – as in letting anyone else close to me. NC is good because it creats distance but I’m afraid that if/when he does contact me again I will believe him.

        • La Pintura Bella says:

          Yes an EU person can stay around for years pulling their little tricks and not committing. In fact, they can do it for a lifetime. The problem is, they’ll have a little on the side, disappear, come back, etc. He’s keeping you in his back pocket as a possibility for the future WHEN and IF he decides he wants you. That’s not love. It’s not even close too love.

          You need to seriously consider going no contact, getting him out of your life once and for all, healing and finding someone who can and will LOVE you, not play you like his personal blow up doll.

        • Snowboard says:

          “Can an EUM stay with you for years “seem” to be committed, talk about a future, deliver (buying the house) and then dissapear? He kept saying I want to be with you in the future when I’m 100% sure.”

          This is a difficult one. Emotional unavailability operates on a spectrum, and maybe some people are able to handle a loving relationship as long as there is some cushion of distance (e.g., not living together, not being married). I’d also say everyone gets nervous about serious commitment (something many fallback girls don’t realize, simply b/c they’ve never had the experience of having a committed partner). It sounds like he has kind of panicked. Regardless, he has ended things, and you don’t get to end things “temporarily.” You need to treat this break-up as a 100% real regardless of what he is saying. If you wait around, he will only grow more alienated from you; that’s the way emotional unavailability seems to work in my view.

        • sushi says:

          Justme,
          someone staying around for years, buying a house with you, even marrying you and having children with you does not automatically mean they are EMOTIONALLY present in a relationship with you. Yes, they are there physically, going through the motions of what relationship looks like from the outside, but that`s not the same as being emotionally there.People married for 20 years with kids to a serial cheater, or an alcoholic will tell you that the person they are with is commited to cheating or alcohol, not them.Don`t believe in promisses that are not backed by action.

          • Justme says:

            Thanks all. I have been on no contact for 5 weeks and I wish I had done it from the start (but we had financials to sort out). I really had a strong urge to contact him yesterday because I dreamt of him but I resisted and was so happy I did. I feel as though he is just a stranger now and a memory.

            I definately know he is EUM now and realise I am now with any guys I meet. Just wondering if age has anything to do with it? He was 23 and everyone keeps saying oh he is too young for anything serious…or is this just another excuse?

            • La Pintura Bella says:

              Just an excuse. You can be EU at 16 or 86.

            • Snowboard says:

              “He was 23 and everyone keeps saying oh he is too young for anything serious…or is this just another excuse?”

              My best friend married her husband when she was 20 and he was 23. Eight years later, they are still together, and one of the happiest couples I know. And a baby is on the way! :)

  17. Pam says:

    I really love you but I dont want to marry you

    I love you but I am not in love with you

    I love you I am just not that into you

    I love you but I love myself more

    I love you I just dont want a relationship right now

    I love you but I love my ex wife too lol

  18. Pam says:

    I love you but I love my addictions more (gambling, sex,drugs etc)

  19. Heartache Amy says:

    Exactly, lygia. Mine was along the lines of, “I’m very attracted to you and I’d date you in a heartbeat”,”I’m going to take you out to lunch and then kiss you”, “I can’t see to stay away from you”…and then, “I’m never getting divorced.” The “buts” were unspoken but they were there. Nice. What is wrong with these men? And why did I fall for it?

  20. Catherine says:

    “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you.”

    What the hell ?

    Would you believe that I actually had to Google the difference ?

    • K says:

      Funny, that’s what my ex husband said to me as he was on his way out of the marriage (again) to go live with another woman. I was three months pregnant at the time. I love you, but I’m not in love with you, is cruel beyond words. I got what it meant. “I don’t love you like a husband should love his wife, BUT, I care about you as a person”.

      My ex husband and my last ex relationship were both psychopaths.

      Soooooo happy to be single!

    • Pam says:

      thats why i wrote that, some men do have the balls to say shit like that.

      • Lilia says:

        Yes my ex husband said the same thing to me! It´s quite stupid, what does it matter that you´re not IN love when you do love someone?

        But of course, it´s just a tricky expression. What they´re really saying is, is that they are IN love with someone else. Right?

  21. Tea Cozy says:

    And beware the sneaky Reverse But, where they frontload their “but” statement with the bitter truth, and then finish off with the sugarcoating:

    Here’s the one that I fell for:

    “I don’t have time for a serious relationship right now, BUT it’s in my nature to be a true partner, so…”

    D’oh!

    • Jennifer says:

      Tea Cozy,

      Eeeewwwe for him. That’s a sneaky one.

    • yoghurt says:

      I love the expression ‘sneaky Reverse But’ – that one really caught me on my funny-bone. :)

      That is really sneaky, though, I’m not sure I’d see through that even now.

    • Pam says:

      id tell him to f—- himself lol and then theres the door, dont let it hit your ass on the way out.

    • sushi says:

      Yes, Tea Cozy, seems we need to pay attention to the general discord; you can have actions not matching words or one part of a sentence not matching the other part. It equals mixed messages = red flags = don`t waste your time and analyse it, just flush.

      • Lilia says:

        Tea Cozy, I fell for something similar: I do go out with a girl once in a while BUT I am single, a free man.

        Which I understood to mean that he asks women out sometimes but isn´t “taken”, and that he is free to start a relationship with me.

        What it really meant was that he wanted to juggle more than one woman at a time and that I shouldn´t complain.

    • Lois Lane says:

      Hahaha! I got the reverse “buts” too!!!

      “I don’t know *blank* (insert whatever excuse de jour) but I know I don’t want to give you up.”

      Puke.

  22. selkie says:

    I did my homework, but the dog ate it.

  23. Gina says:

    Natalie I love all of your posts, BUT….this one really hit home!!

    I have had guys tell me, “You’re a wonderful woman, BUT I am not sure that you are ‘the one’. ” Or “You are a wonderful girlfriend, BUT I do not see a future with you.” Once I hear that word, my heart sinks because I know that it means that the relationship is one-sided and I my feelings are stronger for the guy than his feelings are for me. This translates into my needing to walk away sooner rather than later. What I have learned from the school of hard knocks is to watch, listen, and learn. Doing so allows me to ascertain whether or not a man’s feelings are in sync with mine, rather than seeing what I want to see, and hearing what I want to hear. The end result is that I save myself a lot of unnecessary heartache in the long run.

    • Pam says:

      you think thats bad.,one of my last bf’s told me during one of our first dates that he wanted to make some memories with me so he would have something to remember me by. what a total jerk!lol

  24. My Escape says:

    Excellent point another poster made. Not all ‘buts’ are spoken. Often they are unspoken. You need to look for them and understand their meaning even if they are not coming out of their mouths.

  25. maya says:

    I’m sorry I …. (fill in the blanks with any random pathetic excuse)but it’s not my fault. You were too pushy … didn’t push enough or just insert any random accusation.

  26. Lori says:

    Oh yes, the old “I love you BUT I’m not IN LOVE with you” line. Frustrating, confusing, and downright infuriating.

    My response to that was: “oh, I see. So you just love me as a friend? Okay, that’s fine. I hope you will understand that we can’t have sex anymore because I don’t sleep with my friends.”

    • Sunshine says:

      Hahahaha, a perfect response, Lori!:)

    • yoghurt says:

      Grrrrrrrrrrrrr…if I ever track down the person who floated that line to the general populace I’m going to hide a wasps’ nest in his bed.

      Effectively, I think it means: “I find you attractive so I’m hot to trot to the bedroom, but I’m not prepared to commit to a proper relationship where I treat you with care. So don’t expect anything from me”.

      The reason it works, I think, is because the common usage of the phrases ‘in love’ and ‘love’ are reversed. Generally – insofar as I can work out – ‘in love’ is the hormonal state/attraction and ‘love’ is the commitment/decision.

      So the above line SEEMS to suggest that they see you as someone they could build a life with, but – oh dear, how sad – you just don’t do it for them sexually.

      Cue you trying your damnedest to be sexually appealing cos once you’ve crossed that Rubicon you think you’ll be home and dry. Whilst they sit back, reap the benefits (to your utter joy and gratitude) and then bin you off anyway.

      The EUM didn’t exactly say this line, but he got me on the concept. With hindsight, it’s blindingly apparent that he found me plenty appealing enough to sleep with but wasn’t in a state to commit to ANYTHING, even to being truthful about which films he had/hadn’t seen.

      BUT he put it across as though, whilst I was perfect in every other way, he just didn’t find me attractive. This meant that I then welcomed and built up all of his sexual advances (whilst continuing to be ‘perfect’ in every other way, of course) because I thought that it was the final piece of the jigsaw. Actually it was the ONLY piece of the jigsaw. And who wants a one-piece jigsaw?

      • Grizelda says:

        Yoghurt, you said it.
        “I love you BUT I’m not IN LOVE with you” is the original shit sandwich of emotional expression.

        The person who serves up this undigestable garbage with a pickle on the side is also trying to imply that they’re a thoughtful and analytical bonafide expert in love and the many differently-shaded facets of love. And that he/she can distinguish — just for you, here and now, right in front of your very eyes — which precise shade of love you deserve from them. Which never even comes close to matching your own colour swatch of emotion, obviously.

        I have never, ever been fed this line, but if I ever do, I cannot be held legally responsible for my actions in the minutes that follow.

        • Teddie says:

          I’ve been told: “I love you, but it is no longer love.”, go figure.

        • natashya says:

          “I love you BUT I’m not IN LOVE with you” is the original shit sandwich of emotional expression.”

          LOL. this just made my day! i was fed the aspartame version of it: ‘i LIKE you, but i don’t love you’ after having been future faked into the black hole of EUM oblivion.

          • Jule says:

            “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you” OH Yes I got this shit sandwich line once by a MM. I can remember chatting online and I got this from him. To me it was basically saying “I love sleeping with you but I love my wife and family more” I broke it off and never looked back.

        • K says:

          Griz,

          I was fed this line. By my ex husband, as he was walking out the door of our marriage to live with another woman and I was three months pregnant. I thought one has to be absolutely STOOOOPID not to see right through that line of bullshit. I did. In my opinion, only abusers use that line and to me symbolic of what they DO NOT feel. A line given to justify themselves, when in reality it’s monumental emotional abuse. I was more pissed that he assumed I would buy that thwarted logic.

        • dancingqueen says:

          Griz and Yoghurt, I find that “I love you but I am not in love with you” so rude! Why do you ever need to say that you don’t love someone? A simple, “I am not happy, you are a great person BUT this is not working out for me” will suffice. Why be cruel? Ick ick ick!

          • Grizelda says:

            I agree, it’s an extremely cruel thing to say and shows up the sayer as someone who’s not only devoid of empathy but who acts like a spoiled fourteen year old.

            It’s ‘get-out clause by technicality’ once again. “Darling, you remember all those times I told you I love you? Remember all that? How many years has it been? Nine? Almost ten? I must have said ‘I love you’ about four thousand times. Well now, heh heh, you’ve got to admit… I never said I was IN love with you, did I? Hmm?? Did I?? No, I didn’t. C’mon, be fair. I never, ever, ever told you I was IN love with you. So the mistake is all yours. You got it all wrong. You chose to misinterpret everything, and you know you did. I have no idea how you could have got everything so very, very wrong. In fact… I’m affronted, no actually I’m angry, I’m very angry, that you could ever be so presumptuous to think I could ever possibly be IN love with you, when all I ever said– all I ever said– thousands of times across the years– was ‘I love you’. So. You’ve ruined everything. I hope you’re ashamed of yourself that I have to leave now. Goodbye.”

            • Kit-Kat says:

              Griz… Applause, spot on :)

            • K says:

              Griz?

              That’s just plain creepy. You sounded just like my ex’s. Rewriting history. Another of my “personal favorites” and used often by my ex disordered. True crazy making, gaslighting bliss for them. UGH! I put up with that shit for waaaay too long!

              • Elle says:

                Haha! I copped the old ‘I love you, but I am not in love with you’ from the AC, a few times in fact, during his final shit-sling. I remember saying, ‘but love is better than in love’ – because I see love as something that fosters commitment and emotional sustainability – but it was simply foolish to even get into a debate about it. You know you’re well and truly toast when you’re trying to win a conceptual argument for their approval and affection. So ridiculous. But still an astounding thing to say – really is like you say, Griz, a spoilt, bratty thing, ‘I’m not feeling exactly how I want to feel about myself and that’s your fault. Wah! Wah! You make me feel hurty and angry. I want another plaything!’

      • Ellyb says:

        @yoghurt: I think you are spot on. It’s pretty obvious, come to think of it, but it also makes them blatant liars, and we don’t want them to be liars, right? That’s why we often put up with BS. We’d rather twist ourselves into pretzels than acknowledge that someone isn’t such a nice and honest person.

        A few years ago, I went on a date with a guy who had participated in bullying me at a former workplace (I had been so bold as to stand up to our narcissistic boss all on my own, and he made me pay dearly for it). Anyway, this former coworker of mine pushed for sex on the first date. I said “no” (I simply couldn’t bring myself to sleep with him), but then I started second-guessing myself. Anyway, he didn’t call me again, and my self-doubt grew. Plus, there was some other lady lingering around, a very young neighbour of his.

        A few months later, he got involved with another woman, they were all “lovey-dovey”, sticking together all the time and so on. I don’t know how that story ended, and it’s not important either.

        The odd thing is: He wasn’t attractive, he was clearly a coward and a suck-up, but anyway I keep wondering whether maybe he was the one healthy guy that got away??? I have flushed way more attractive, interesting guys without any doubt after they started behaving like asses.

        Why? I guess it’s because those other guys hadn’t bullied me before. I keep thinking: I guess he (and the rest of the team) bullied me because I was messed up, because I was an unhealthy person, because I deserved it, and now I desperately need his “approval”.

        But maybe he didn’t bully me because I was “unhealthy”, but simply because he was an ass? Maybe that is also the reason why he pushed for sex on the first date?

        Well, it’s time to stop victimizing myself, because that is what I am doing.

        • K says:

          Elly,

          The one thing that stood out in your post that says this guy was ANYTHING BUT healthy was that he wanted to have sex on the first date. Some of these guys don’t come off as bullies at first. In fact, they can appear very calm, cool and collected rather than gregarious, outgoing, etc. I’ve experienced both on the extremes spectrum. The one that was calm cool and collected was the most DANGEROUS. He was insidious. Sometimes they can appear to be suck ups. But what this is is control.
          If this guy wasn’t love bombing you, but wanted to sleep with you on the first date, and he didn’t call you again, consider yourself as having dodged a bullet! He’s an asshat. You’re better off.

          BTW, I’m guessing that the “lovey dovey” you saw was with a woman who WAS willing to sleep with him on the first date.

          It wasn’t you.

          • Ellyb says:

            @K – thanks, you are right. Anyway, I’m also wondering why I dated him in the first place. After all, a few years before he had bullied me for several months at work (which was a really soul-destroying experience btw)?

            I think I was trying to “right the wrongs of the past” which is not possible of course. Because the workplace bullying wasn’t “me” either.

            • Ellyb says:

              Oh sorry, I meant ! and not ? in my post above (after btw).

              Btw, back in those days I had no idea guys who expected sex on the first date were toxic. I thought I was the unhealthy (“messed up”) one because I was unable to give in!

              Whenever I had sex with an almost-stranger it made me feel so horrible I never wanted to see them again. And I kept wondering what was wrong with me. Oh my.

              • K says:

                Elly,

                I use to believe it was unhealthy too and that something was innately WRONG with me. I have since learned that this thinking is not only convoluted and distorted but was a derivative of a lot of childhood sexual abuse. It felt exactly the same way as when I would tell my stepfather “no” when it was molesting time. Sick stuff.

                Childhood sexual abuse doesn’t allow for examples of integrity, morals and values.

                • Ellyb says:

                  @K – Exactly. We normalize the sexual abuse we’ve suffered even if it’s officially a crime. Weird.

                  And then we’re always being told that “victims of sexual abuse” can’t enjoy sex as adults. For me, this led to even more self-destructive behavior, because I said to myself: “I don’t want to be an abuse victim, I don’t want to be messed up. That means I should want to shag that guy now, right?”

                  And then I ignored my horrible feelings and forced myself to have sex with someone I barely knew and certainly didn’t love because I didn’t want to “act like an abuse victim”.

                  Lost for words.

                  • K says:

                    Elly,

                    I was able to separate the abuse from the sex as an adult. I enjoyed sex and never had an issue with it. I loved the men I slept with, which were few, HOWEVER I had EMOTIONAL problems with it. Doing it when I didn’t want too, rape, coercion/manipulation into doing it or “lose” my partner. THAT kind of garbage.

                    I was having sex with men I loved. What I missed is that there was only ONE of us in the equation, not two.

                    I will never put myself in that place again.

        • MissBliss says:

          Ellyb,
          Have you ever heard of a psychological term called “repetition compulsion”? It’s when you seek out an intimate partner who will repeat the behaviour of an abusive parent, and you try to get them to love you. If they love you, then you will “fix” the original wound of not being loved by the parent.
          Of course, it doesn’t work, and you’re left feeling more wounded.
          You are attracted to this loser because he must remind you of a childhood abuser who was indifferent towards you, who made you feel like a less-than.
          That’s my situation. I was attracted to a guy who reminded me of my childhood treatment. I had this strong desire to make him love me. Of course, it didn’t work out.
          Once I recognized what I was doing, I could start working on loving myself enough to be attracted to people who treat me well.
          Btw, I also fought against a narcissist bully who was my boss, and I too paid the price. I feel your pain. But know that it’s a losing battle to fight a narcissist in power – it’s best to remove yourself from the situation and take care of yourself.

          • Ellyb says:

            @MissBliss: Yes! Well, back then I got a new job as soon as possible, and that was a great decision of course. Anyway, I seem to struggle with letting go of the past. That bullying incident happened almost a decade ago, and I keep wondering whether maybe it was me and maybe I did something wrong?

            You’re right about the other issues as well. I grew up with a narcissistic mother, a sexually abusive/alcoholic father, and I got bullied horribly at school (for almost a decade).

            Somehow I keep thinking that everyone is a potential bully, that everyone would act like that when confronted with “horrible me” and that I have to “change” in order not to deserve to be bullied anymore.

            I even used to believe I should be able to date somebody who resembles my former bullies. I think this is one of those errors that keep holding me back. I still seem to believe I needed to learn “how to tame a bully”.

            But even if every single guy in the world was a potential bully, would that mean I had to date ANY one of them? No. I would certainly be better off without. And that is a good thing to know.

            • Ellyb says:

              Btw, I got bullied by DOZENS of different children, and all other kids at school shunned me like hell, as if I had some kind of contagious disease. For many years, nobody wanted to be my friend which was really soul-destroying (especially given the abuse I suffered at home too).

              Anyway, I think there was always the same girl behind the bullying. The reasoning she used against me (which was repeated by my other bullies) was unspeakable. It was pretty much the same reasons evil dictators give for justifying genocide. For example, I was purportedly “less human than a dog”.

              I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. Am I really “less human than a dog”? How could that be?

              If it wasn’t me, then why did so many kids fall for this BS? Why oh why oh why???

              I think it’s quite simple. I fell prey to more than one psychopath (momster and this girl at the very least). I was helpless, and it wasn’t “learned helplessness” either. As a child there is nothing you can do in such a situation. Nothing.

              No, it really really wasn’t me. If only I could leave all this behind and move on. It’s such a heavy load of baggage.

              • Ellyb says:

                Sorry, me again. I think it’s a bit tricky if you’ve been victimized by an entire group instead of just one individual (which has happened to me both at school and at that former workplace). Makes it hard to trust anybody at all.

                Well, I hope some of my former bullies now regret what they did to me. Maybe they were manipulated by that toxic girl or by that toxic boss, maybe they were deluded and/or scared, and maybe they understand this now.

                Anyway, I don’t think any one of those people would try to date me now or want to become my friend (luckily, most of them are hundreds of miles away anyway). They would feel way too ashamed. They would want to start over with someone new, and that’s a good thing.

                If, on the other hand, any of those former bullies tried to “check back in” with me, I would bet he/she was up to no good. Quite likely they would try to victimize me again. This is certainly what this former coworker I dated has done.

                I think this is quite important. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this kind of insight back then.

              • Learner says:

                Ellyb,
                “No, it really really wasn’t me. If only I could leave all this behind and move on. It’s such a heavy load of baggage.”

                Have you ever thought of trying that “reparenting” of yourself technique? I was subjected to some bullying at school, too, when our family moved to a new (but still English-speaking)country. I couldn’t understand what I’d done to bring about this bullying. Nothing, of course.

                I sometimes go back to that hurt, confused young girl-self in my mind, and comfort her, and stick up for her. It sounds weird, but it does seem to help. As an adult, you can help that girl to feel stronger, and more empowered. Just a thought in how you may try to leave some of it behind. Hugs xo

                • Ellyb says:

                  @Learner: Thanks! I’m aware of those techniques, and they seem to work for me in some areas, but still it’s like peeling an onion (I think K used this analogy in her blog somewhere). Layer after layer comes off (the schoolyard bullying being just another layer after my momster’s narcissistic abuse). As K says, all this takes a lot of time.

                  Mind you, I’ve spent DECADES trying to morph into a “non-bully worthy” person, trying to become someone else entirely, trying to change into somebody I cannot be because I can only be ME. Now it’s like having to rebuild my life from the ground up.

              • dancingqueen says:

                Ellyb,

                That is awful. Bullies are talented and able to zone in on people, but you know what? They are just losers and weak.

                I work with a woman who you can just tell was a horrible bully in high school. She bullied others at her old job, she tried to bully me, she is trying to move on now to someone else…she is pathetic. Truly. It boggles the mind why someone adult would bully, kids I kind of understand, but adults. Loser. Super loser.

                You are fine, righting the past with losers makes no sense, right? Right:)

            • K says:

              Elly,

              Your blessing in disguise here is your awareness! It’s not much fun to see how our patterns evolved, in fact, it’s painful and can take a long time to grieve, but be really patient and good to yourself because despite your self doubt, your work in progress shows that you know it wasn’t your fault. It’s just a matter of lining up with your heart, what your mind already knows. That takes time.

        • Magnolia says:

          Ding! Ding! EllyB advances a level or two in the self-love department!

          I can relate to endless self-questioning about ‘why me’? when wondering why the bullies targetted me, but it’s not about you, who you are, or even what you did (i.e. stand up for yourself) that causes any of their crap behaviour. It’s who THEY are.

          Sure, we might have to learn ways to get out of it once we see we’re in a situation where pack-mentality bullying happens, but thinking that we’re at the root cause of any of their bad behaviour only serves to keep us under their thumb.

          You weren’t too unhealthy, you weren’t too messed up, etc. Think of Amanda Todd – nothing she did meant she deserved any of what happened to her.

          You sound pretty healthy to me.

          • Lilia says:

            Ellyb, as for the Why, I think many times the other kids participate in bullying as a way to protect themselves. If there is one bully initiating abuse, others will follow him/her so as not to stand out. It is a way to become invisible to the initial bully so they won´t be targeted.

            It´s part of group dynamics, it has nothing to do with the victim´s characteristics. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, don´t question yourself, you´re not a bully magnet.

      • sushi says:

        yoghurt,
        I have never been told that line either but my exes actually didn`t need to spell it out for me, they showed me ( and I believed them, thank you people from my childhood). I practically lived my life according to this very concept, you have no idea how accurately you described the mechanics behind my relationships. I love you but am not in love with you is a really cruel and passive agressive “you are not good enough”.

  27. Jennifer says:

    My ex had the implied but. Before I dumped his unavailable ass he had said he was happy in the relationship (I was miserable/he didn’t care, not NEAR enough anyway). Ex PAUSES (implied but) then says, “I’m moving in September and I’m afraid I’m going to hurt you.” I wanna barf at this line whilst I write it right now. What a sick/cowardly copout. Then SILENCE. and then me: “I want to break up. Take me home.” Yup, just like that, like a badass I might say. Well, really I was hunched over in pain/shame/remorse I ever gave this assclown a chance. But I was soooo much stronger than I knew. I mustered up all the courage/strength I had to get away from this mind effer and I did. I did it. I am gone. I will NEVER be an option for this clown. An ex took him back. Now she’s the fallback girl. NOT ME. Nor will I EVER be. Now that crazy fucker is her problem. NOT MINE. I WILL NEVER BE ANYONE’S but, fallback girl or second choice. Fuck em.

  28. Tania says:

    “I really like you but I’m still coming to term with my separation.

    I’m really enjoying our time together but I just want to keep it light.”

    What is wrong with this? I don’t get it. No wonder some of you girls here are stuck. ‘But…’ is/can be a sincere human expression, an expression of (self)doubt. Not everything is black/white.
    T

    • yoghurt says:

      Not everything is black and white, true, but “Are you going to commit to an exclusive and caring relationship with me?” is a question with pretty much a yes/no answer.

      There isn’t a lot of room for doubt with that one – you might have worries (future) but who wants to be with someone who has doubts about their intention? (present)

      Someone who responds to that question by saying “Well I’d like to say yes… BUT I’m going to say no” is being sneaky, imo, but the real problem is that a) the question is often unspoken/undefined and b) people on here often listen to the first part of the answer and then shut off their ears.

      Hearing ‘yes’ when the answer is ‘no’ is really going to keep people more stuck, especially when the yes/noer is prepared to capitalise on the selective deafness.

      Hence why this article is brill. Thanks Nat.

    • Grizelda says:

      Tania,

      The point is that statements like these — which are legal disclaimers — are used to manage-down the expectations of the person who is being pursued. EUMs very commonly only start using these statements after they’ve enjoyed a few months or years of sex, some good times, maybe some cash loans or gifts or support or some other big favours. Suddenly they realise that — um, oops! — along the path to obtaining the parcel of big-time relationship goodies, they seem to remember having made a few hundred declarations of love and promises they really had no intention of either meaning or keeping once the sun rose. So out come the disclaimers.

      And even for those EUMs who are still in pursuit of bedding/using their next target, and they come out with this stuff as a ‘warning’, it’s an immediate DEFCON1 all-get-out abandon mission for women who want to be treated with respect.

      If you’re in a situation where you need to make disclaimers like this, you shouldn’t be in a relationship. At all.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Tania,

      “No wonder some of you girls here are stuck” Wow, a bit superior about yourself, huh? And “girl” no less.

      You could perhaps be a bit more stuck than you can see, yourself. Open your mind a bit.

      You don’t get why the “but” is not okay? Because it is manipulative. It is so obvious. Kind of like your little stuck comment.

      Would you like some suggestions on how to communicate in a more respectful manner? Be glad to help:)

      • vhs says:

        I’d love for Nathalie to (re)do a new post about ‘assumptions’.
        Because a lot of the BUT I got (I swear I hear songs, even an albumrelease in this article :-))
        were assumptions on my part ‘I did this BUT it was because *enter assumption here*
        And yes, Tania, you are assuming we are stuck as much as you are assuming the part after the BUT is just an innocent remark.
        Nothing in an intimate relationship is innocent when it comes to relationshiptalk.
        It’s what grownups do. They think before they speak, or they apologise after it for not having thought it through.

        • vhs says:

          and to be more precise, I mean he used to say
          ‘I did this BUT it was because of something you do or don’t do *enter assumption here*’
          ‘Am I the type of guy who would ruin his girlfriends party? No! I ruined your party because I didn’t get enough attention and got all jealous seeing you talk with that guy BUT it was *I think* because deep down I believe you are a whore’

          -> the simple reality of it all:
          was he the type of guy who would ruin his girlfriends party because he didn’t get enough attention?
          Yes.
          When me calling him out on it, did he blatantly told me (in an email of course, we’re talking textbook AC here) that he thought I was a whore?
          So magicaly transforming his childish behaviour to innocent, because, obviously, being a whore (assumption) is MUCH worse!
          Tada. Washes his hands and is rid of guilt.

          Me: ‘Oh okay! I’m so sorry you’re having so much trouble with keeping reality seperate from your fantasies, I’m so sorry I’m not invested in your fears every second of the day and I don’t nurse your every need and I’m sorry that people’s attention sometimes go my way instead of yours and it’s thereby very much ok to ruin your girlfriends party and smack ‘em to the wall when she gets home!’

          That’s what his ‘after-but’ really ment.

          > Not (of course!)

      • K says:

        I’m guessing that there are many a “but” prior to an outright disclaimer that becomes far more obvious.

        A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT CREATE CONFUSION.

        That’s what the “but” is meant to do.

    • tracy says:

      “I really like you but I’m coming to terms with my separation. I’m really enjoying our time together but I just want to keep it light.”

      Here’s why/how these lines are a problem…they usually come AFTER some sort of emotional connection has been made or some sort of future faking has occurred. When this exact thing happened to me, this is what came first: the guy was actually divorced, thought it had been less than a year. He wined and dined me, wooed me, talked about the amazing connection we had, listened to me and remembered things I said, we had very deep conversations about the meaning of relationships, expectations in relationships, shared values in parenting. We had amazing daily contact…at first. After 5 months, and only seeing each other every other week, I ‘pushed’, if you can call a single email “pushing”, for the idea of maybe, MAYBE, he could get a sitter for two hours once a week so we could see each other and grab a drink or a cup of coffee…It was like me having an expectation that this was a relationship was more than he could bear, though he had no problem with me spending the weekend with him on HIS schedule.

      That brought on the “I just want to keep it light” crap. Ironically, after I called it quits on him (and I NEVER heard ONE WORD from him again), I found his profile on Match.com and one of the things he mentioned was that he wanted someone who would be able to meet him after work for a drink here and there…

    • Sadder but Wiser says:

      What’s wrong with this is that it’s so often not honest, but some watered down, weaselly attempt to keep options open while not looking like the bad guy. Natalie has written a lot already in the vein of “I like you BUT I don’t want a relationship right now” and what that REALLY means. Just search this site for “translation” and you’ll find all those brilliant posts.

      I got the “I really like you BUT I don’t want to go deep with anyone.” Which was patently a lie. He went deep with the next gal TWO days after saying this to me and they’ve been deep ever since. The truth was that he didn’t want to go deep with ME. That’s ok, I get it. But being lied to was humiliating. I would have been much happier (and not felt like the dog’s dinner) if he had respected me enough to tell me that.

      And by the way, if someone is coming to terms with their separation, they shouldn’t be getting close enough to anyone to have to give them the line “I really like you, but…”

    • Little Star says:

      Tania, my AC used to say: “I really like you but I’m still coming to term with my separation (divorce). I’m really enjoying our time together but I just want to keep it light.”

      So you think it is OK sleeping with women without being fully commited? MY AC was “honest and sincere”, but if he was not ready for serious relationship, he should NOT be involved with me in the first place.

    • grace says:

      Tania
      as a former chronic self-doubter I can tell you that self doubters have doubtful relationships right up to and including infidelity. If you want to live with that, it,s up to you. But you,ve been warned.
      Sure, it,s easy to feel sorry for yourself if you are the doubter and sorry for the doubter if you are with one. But that won,t help you have a good relationship. It’s, about trust, commitment and reliability, not throwing excuses about until neither of you know which way is up.

      • Lilia says:

        Tania
        You´re also completely wrong about us “girls” being “stuck”. We are in fact probably some of the lucky few who are moving and evolving into better situations for ourselves.

    • runnergirl says:

      Keep reading Tania. Wait until it’s been two, five, or 10 years and they still want to “keep it light” or are still “coming to terms with their separation”. That’s the point. Then see who is stuck. You’ll get it after a decade of treading water in buts. Hopefully, you won’t experience this but muck. And kudos for you if you never find yourself stuck.

  29. Lavender says:

    Great post! I have to admit that I have been both subjected to the “but” but also the perpetrator. Now I am going to be much more aware of this.

    I have been learning so much from this website over the past couple of years. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe how stupid I used to be. However as i have changed for the better I notice that some people I know don’t like this. I used to be painfully shy, rarely talked, I was putting myself down and did whatever anyone else wanted. Now I have more confidence and I am more outgoing, talk a lot more, say no when I don’t want to do something etc. The problem is that people who have known me for a long time have now started telling me that they think I am going crazy, that there is something wrong with me, that I must be going through a difficult time (since I am different). When I went to dinner parties before I would just sit there quietly, but now I am more confident and they don’t like that. The confidence comes from learning all of these new life skills, not being subjected to the abuse of other people. One of my old friends even said my personality was too overwhelming and overbearing now. I don’t think that is the case. I think they just liked me when I was a push over. I have learned that when you try to put boundaries in place people don’t like it.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Lavender…I know exactly what your are saying… At this point in my life I have decided that unless you add value to my life, are loyal, caring,
      honest, and I want u to be part of my life I dont bother…Some people may find this to be arrogant but it is what it is…. I am done with always being the nice person who takes everyones crap… My life is less stressful & drama free … Finally :)

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Lavender:

      you are absolutely right. When one person changes, the relationship by definition has to change. The people who resist, are showing they never truly were your friend. It wasn’t mutually supportive. They think you’re “crazy” or your “personality is overwhelming” because you are no longer doing FOR them without asking for anything in return. THEY are no longer in control of you and it makes them anxious, resentful, mean, etc. In other words, they are finally showing you who they are.

    • K says:

      Lavendar,

      Interesting post! For me it’s the OPPOSITE. I have become much more cautious now. Much more introverted where before I had verbal diarrhea and was “outgoing”. Part of that outgoing person is still there, just more cautious. I don’t give myself away like I use too. I’ve become more an observer and listener of human behavior.

      I think who I am now and am becoming, is what I was all along inside. I believe I THOUGHT I had to be outgoing and verbal.

      I didn’t. It was actually dangerous to me.

      It’s interesting how we evolve isn’t it?

      You’re right in that people do not like your boundaries when they realize you won’t be a doormat any longer. I do think that when we are healing, we go to extremes at first before we balance out. Maybe that’s what’s going on with me now too.

      Do you believe this to be true for who you are now or is what you’re describing in being more outgoing an extreme for you before balancing out?

      • SM says:

        K I am the same as you. I have gone from being very outgoing and gregarious to being more of an observer. I am at the balancing out phase now. I lost some friends over it too but not because they were annoyed with my new behavior, its because I quit reaching out to everyone. I decided I wanted to spend time only on people who reached out to me as much as I did them. So I guess some people werent really my friends to begin with.

        • Lavender says:

          SM I am in a similar situation to you, though not sure if you did it on purpose or not, I am thinking of stopping reaching out to people who don’t reach out to me in equal measure. I worry though about losing friends who I really like, but who only respond to speak to me, when I initiate. Some people told me that some people just aren’t initiators, but I don’t want to be in any relationships where I am making all the effort and the other person isn’t.

          • SM says:

            Lavender, it was more of a healthy transition and a realization that I needed to spend more time on the people who had me at or near the top of their list. Its not that the people I lost dont like me, its just that I was doing all the ‘doing’, you know I’m saying?. We still like each other and when our paths cross we are friends, I just dont make it a priority to keep up with them. Even my ‘best’ friend of 15 years, I had come to realize that I wasnt even in her top 5 and she was my #1. I wasnt upset, I just noted it by her actions and then conducted myself accordingly. You’ll be fine.

        • K says:

          SM,

          I have friends that reach out to me and me to them in equal measure. Ironically, these are new friendships developed since I dumped the AC. With him, I dumped a lot of toxic friendships too. The cool thing about the new friendships is that they feel more genuine and right for me. There is equality. There isn’t drama and chaos, ya know? It just flows. And that is REALLY nice!

          I say be who you are. Our society perpetuates the notion that if we aren’t outgoing and fun…well then we AREN’T at all. It’s not true.

          • SM says:

            K, I agree! I am meeting new friends too to add to the current ones. I met a lady today in church that lives in a city I frequent for work and she said straight away, why dont you call me and lets have a meal together. So we exchanged numbers and made a plan. I am often eating alone there,not a problem for me, but it would be nice to have some friends. She is age 85 and I’m 45, but we hit it off and her son is my bible class teacher. I just love when those things happen. No but’s, no also’s, no nothing, just a plan to do!

      • Lavender says:

        K – really great point, you really made me think about the situation. I think that now I am more like I was when I was a little kid, as in just myself, where as all the bad socialisation in the middle kind of wiped that out of my personality. I see what you’re saying about the going to extremes, maybe that’s the case, but just within myself I feel more of who I am now that I was after being beaten down by so many people. Once I let that go I felt very free.

        • K says:

          Lavendar,

          I think if it’s who YOU are, it doesn’t matter what people think.

          We all evolve throughout the healing process. If it’s a new you, it’s a new you! And if it needs balancing out, it will balance out!

          Just go with the flow!

  30. marie83 says:

    I miss us but do you think I want a relationship right now after what I have been through (he dumped me and had a 6 wk relatonship with someone else whilst making me think we aere getting back together- he said this after sleeping with me and dsappearing)

  31. nancy says:

    After trying to go NC, he text me the other night (at 11:00 at night, of course), and I responded. Then received the Thanksgiving email about how wonderful I am, that he misses me, and we should get together. When I wrote back that I was free until Monday and to let me know if he wanted to do something, his response was “I would love to see you BUT I have a friend visiting and he’ll be in town all weekend.” Why am I not surprised, and why did I fall for his come on once again. He doesn’t have anyone to sleep with at the moment, and was testing the water. He’d never think to include me in his activities with his visiting friend…he just wants to get laid at some point. Ugh.

  32. Catherine says:

    “Yoghurt, you said it.
    ‘I love you BUT I’m not IN LOVE with you’ is the original shit sandwich of emotional expression.”

    This statement officially made my day, ladies.

    I am in the process of walking through the break-up fire with a friend who was gob-smacked by this “line” as her live-in boyfriend frantically tried to dodge intimacy and commitment by chasing the next best thing – only THREE WEEKS after they had moved in together.

    Obviously, the first thing I did was refer her to this Website but she’s too shell-shocked to even be able to read right now.

    She got involved with the consummate assclown.

    And even as I try to bring her a measure of comfort and piece, I’m chilled to my CORE as to how predictable these men are. Actually, they’re SO predictable that my friend has asked me if I’m psychic ( lol ) – I counsel her as to what shady maneuvers he’s going to pull next, and DAMN. That’s precisely what happens !

    • SM says:

      Catherine yes they are predictable. I have started to think of them as a group of zombies. You know, stumbling around and worthless, sucking the life right out of you if you let them. As I encounter them while I’m out and about living life, I’m like ‘oh! there’s another one’.

  33. Bob72 says:

    This one is still right with me… “I will always love you – you will always have a piece of my heart, but right now I am just not where I need to be.” Word for word…

    I held on for an extra month because of this and some other things she said that I got caught in my head and took them wrong, contacting her every now and then (about once every 10 days or so) and trying to give her some space, but not enough that she would think I have moved on and didn’t still want to try again. I only let go when there was no “but” left or no window left open as I saw it.. “I want to fave fun and not be involved in anything ****ing serious… I am sorry you are hurting but please move on.” There is really nothing there for me to hang on to whatsoever – nothing to twist and tell myself that she is just trying to get herself back together so she can give us another try.

    I should’ve walked away beforehand – but I know I never would have, at least not like I was before. I’ve learned alot here though, and if that ever happens again just out of pure self respect I would walk away and never look back. If people want you back in their life – if the timing was just bad or issues came up and it just couldnt work at the time – they will let you know. If you were the one for them they will not let you get away. If they weren’t the one for you, or you weren’t doing it for them, depending on how messed up they are they might pop up every now and then to make sure you are still there, and might say they miss you, love you, want to try again, whatever… but it will never be enough to actually make a working relationship.If they didn’t think you were worth sticking around for the first time they have a WHOLE lot to prove the next time. Take those words as just words, and let them show you what they got…

    But pay attention to the ‘but” and pack it in and save your dignity… wish I did. I would be a month farther along now and not found out things that hurt me even more knowing.

    • dancingqueen says:

      @Bob I am so sorry, she sounds like a real AC; it boggles me when women do this because it just reminds me that we can be as manipulative as these men we complain about…big hugs and chin up! You will never get blindsided like this again, I promise! You have the AC repellent of BR!

    • Grizelda says:

      Bob72,
      I like reading your comments because it reaffirms the notion that, biologically speaking, Species Assclown (lat. Asinus Maccus) is gender-neutral.

      “I will always love you – you will always have a piece of my heart, but right now I am just not where I need to be.” Wow. That must look quite different in the harsh light of day than it sounded at the time it was muttered. Reading it now, yeah, she obviously needed to be elsewhere. It sounds like she needed to rush out and catch a train.

      But please give yourself a break. You aren’t stupid and you aren’t crazy, and that goes for the rest of us on here. These assclowns deliberately and patently manufacture grey areas in order to ‘jerk the chain’ and control the people they’re intimate with. They rely on grey areas in the way that a sound engineer relies on a mixing board with 900 different knobs and slides and an infinite number of combinations of settings in order to make just the right sound, just the right tone, just the right pitch, at that moment and in that space, in blends and layers, that’s going to keep you dancing to their tune.

      • natashya says:

        “Species Assclown (lat. Asinus Maccus)” — oh man, i can’t stop laughing. there’s some true gems on this site. thank you for that, as well. laughter is great therapy for the soul.

    • Jennifer says:

      Bob72

      An extra month really isn’t that bad. I mean good for you for getting out and salvaging your dignity. People will stay in bad situations with blind hope FOR A LONG LONG time. My grandparents (they’re going on idunno a bazillion years (jk more like seventy). My grandfather is an unavailable man with whom my grandmother has put inappropriate dreams/expectations on. And he hasn’t changed. He’s still the grumpy/controlling/unaffectionate man he was when they married a bazillion years ago.

      Take care! And really, kudos, a month longer isn’t really that long….if you stay away. Unhealthy relationships can drag out for near eternities given to the nature of ambiguity.

    • k says:

      Bob,

      Women can be psychopathic too. Their evil is just expressed differently. They’re highly manipulative and sexual. They know that men prioritize sex and psychopathic women take this to the extreme. It’s a powerful weapon in their arsenal, effective every time. They also have the ADVANTAGE in playing the victim. More so because when discussions are initiated about domestic violence, it’s ALWAYS women that are the victims of men. This can make psychopathic women particularly dangerous when she decides she doesn’t want her partner anymore. You dodged a bullet.

      One of the things that stood out in your post, was that all of your power is given to what your partner said, did or didn’t say. Whether she wanted you or not, or anyone else in the future in particular. I may be wrong, but it seems as if your personal validation is put into your partner’s basket. As if she is the one who decides what happens to you in a relationship. What about what YOU want. YOUR expectations? YOUR boundaries? What YOU think a healthy relationship looks like? You said in the above post, “If people want you back in their life – if the timing was just bad or issues came up and it just couldnt work at the time – they will let you know. If you were the one for them they will not let you get away. If they weren’t the one for you, or you weren’t doing it for them, depending on how messed up they are they might pop up every now and then to make sure you are still there, and might say they miss you, love you, want to try again, whatever…”

      What about any of those statements says you need to wait until THEY decide if they want to come back? That’s selling yourself out to THEM. It’s fantasy too, Bob. “If someone wants you they won’t let you go”. What? that gives them ALL of your power to make the relationship decisions. What do YOU want, Bob?

      You seem like a really nice guy. You seem to have a lot of empathy. Nice guys get burned too. I say to men the same thing I say to women in providing support: Put yourself in TIME OUT. Shore up your self esteem, create new boundaries. Write down what YOU want and how YOU see a healthy relationship. Stay focused on your list and in the meantime, work on YOU. Take this time to take YOUR power back instead of giving it to women who only wish to USE you or take advantage. Don’t leave relationship decisions completely up to someone else. It isn’t just giving up your power, but it’s also foregoing taking responsibility for a relationship when you allow someone else to define a relationship or to decide whether or not they will come back or want you ‘later’ on. How about this: You treat ME like shiat! I deserve BETTER than this. I’m not “waiting around” for you to get your shit together” and JOG ON. Lots of healthy women would want a guy like you, but women also know when you’re selling yourself out and in this society, men like that are viewed as “wimpy” to these women.

      There is so much strength in your empathy. Learn to use it wisely for a healthy relationship. There’s NOT a lot of nice guys around anymore.

      • Bob72 says:

        K you are once again so right… how do you do that??? lol :).

        I know I am still romanticizing all this that happened, and the truth is up there in my head now but it just has to trickle down into my heart. I have my list written titled “she was not the one for me, and I know it” and it is a full page long. I read it as often as I need to when I start feeling sad.

        Today I was just sitting on the couch and thought to myself “what would I be doing today if I was with her?” And the answer is her and the kids would be taking a nap and I would be messing around fixing something or cleaning something around her house. Then they would eventually wake up, we’d give them a bath, put them to bed, and then we would lay in bed and watch a couple tv shows then I would leave to go home… not really anything that great at all – and honestly the whole relationship went that way. I just made myself available to her as she needed, and everything in the relationship was on her terms and not mine. Where we went, what we did, how we spent our time together, whether we were close and intimate or not… everything.

        When she started to pull away and not give me even the little bit of affection she used to give me I did speak up – not in a mean way at all but telling her I missed “us” and asking her what was wrong and trying to break down the dysfunction… and shortly after that she decided she couldnt do this anymore. It is still eating me up and I am obviously still searching my soul for a reason I wasn’t good enough for her… but at least I know in my head it wasnt me – I did the best I could and was never anything but there for her. This was her, not me.

        I don’t need much at all in a relationship – thats a different issue I have and also need to work on lol – but I do know enough about myself now and have had enough relationships to know that I do need to be able to feel close to the one I am with, all the time, whether times are good or bad. I need someone who is capable of showing their love for me, even as simple as a smile or holding my hand or saying they love me. In the beginning and the first 5 or 6 months I was showered with affection. She always wanted to be by me, said she loved me so much, etc etc. The last two months I would hug her from behind or give her a kiss and she would say she doesnt like to be touched that much and isn’t an affectionate person.. never was (what???). She would say she loved me once in awhile where I used to hear it often. I told her I knew she was capable because she used to give me all I needed and more, but she said she thinks she changed due to the events over the summer and was afraid she was no longer that person. She said she felt like the honeymoon phase was over and she didnt know if she would ever be that person again. Thats where my boundary was, that is the line I will not accept less than. So I told her, many times, that I wasn’t feeling like she was close to me anymore. And in quick order she went from excuses about the issue with her parents, etc, and begging me to please stay with her through it to telling me its over and she doesn’t have 100% to give anyone at this point in her life.

        So yes, I did the right thing by speaking up, and even though it probably ended our relationship and Im still so upset about it all I know I would not have been happy with what I was getting in the long run if things stayed like they were. And no I am no longer waiting around for her. I did for about a month, caught in the words and maybe’s and not listening to the “buts” correctly, because I thought she was trying to clear her head and the old her would come back out of the shadow… but now I know she chose to not worry about it and just pack up her baggage and move forward and onto the next one – whether she wants anything serious or not is inconsequential because she will either date someone who only wants her for a night or find some other decent guy and screw him over too when her well empties again.She doesn’t love deep enough so the one night stands dont bother her… I even knew that about her going in – she told me she used to do that – and I walked right over that red flag too lol sigh. I thought she would be different with me because of all the bs she was spewing out and she made me feel amazing honestly… but it wasnt different than her pattern at all, I just lasted longer for her I guess because I asked for so little.

        I dont want that ever again. I just want to get over her and be ok and take the lessons I learned and use them to find someone who is going to meet me halfway. I am so tired of moving mountains, and so tired of getting bored when there are none to move. I think I have finally figured out what I have been really looking for and just too afraid to find, thanks to you guys :)

        I will take my responsibility for getting the relationship I want from now on, and not leave myself to feed off of whatever crumbs they are leaving me. I actually did ok this time and I see that now and it is an improvement – I actually spoke up for a change. Maybe I was learning already, and now that I found this place man am I learning so much more!

        • K says:

          ((( Bob ))) I swear, when I read posts here of people in pain I wish I could hug them all LOL!

          Anyway, while I know you’re hurting right now, it’s the BEST time to prompt your thinking into CHANGE.

          It wasn’t me….well, perhaps I’m going to conradict myself here, but yes, it WAS you. No, you’re not responsible for her behavior, but YOU ARE responsible for allowing that in your life and to continue. I see a few things in what you want and expect of a relationship. I see some glimpses of healthy things, but I also see a lot of expectation. I think the fantasy bug has ya, Bob. :)
          First of all, there is no such thing as the fairy tale relationship where it’s the fourth of July like it was in the beginning. I’m convinced now that healthy relationships, true and genuine DON”T start out that way at all. In fact, I see it now as a RED FLAG. If it weren’t for my work with men in support, I’d never believe that some of them who want a relationship also tend to reside on planet “fantasy” where a woman wants him 24/7, is expected (even if you don’t say it and mind you, this is apart of the FANTASY) to be affectionate all of the time, ready for sex, enjoy being fondled at any time lol, and that all she wants to do is breathe his exhaled air. What happens with this fantasy, is that psychopathic women pick up on this right away. They KNOW he will do ANYTHING for her to try to get that fantasy connection at the hip…and that’s where men get burned. I know a survivor (male) who puts thousands of dollars and personal labor into his gf’s house that was falling apart and then expecting her to be falling all over him in response, just like she did in he beginning, not realizing that she lured him this way to GET her house repairs done FOR FREE.

          The reality here, Bob, is that relationships don’t work that way when they are healthy. Giving space, independence, encouraging that independence of one another, keeping and maintaining our friendships, obligations, responsibilities, and coming together at the end of the day to share and talk…to create a date night where the busy-ness of life is put on hold for just the two of us time, ya know?

          I don’t want to tell you what to do, but rather suggest a few things to you:

          1. reassess how well that fantasy of a relationship has worked for you. what is missing WITHIN YOU that you’d expect or want a woman to breathe your exhaled air or to be disrespected with surprise at your affections (some women are REALLY good women, but some are more affectionate than others and it can feel intrusive if she is not, something to consider if this is important to you in finding someone who enjoys that affection).
          2. Try to create NEW things in your own life. New projections, hobbies, something that you can be excited about that turns you from a tinkerer, into a more independent person. Do you know what I mean? so that you have things to do, other friendships and relationships, or you time that brings you a sense of satisfaction FOR YOU.
          3. Healthy relationships don’t start the way yours and many others here DID. It might not be as “exciting” but in reality, we have to create our own happiness. The woman you are eventually with, should ADD to you, NOT subtract from you. And you are better if you are WHOLE first before you fantasize a lack of completion without the one. You’re all good ALL ON YOUR OWN.

          That’s all I’d like to throw out there for now. But that fantasy bug needs a big can of RAID, Bob. :)

          • sushi says:

            excellent insight K.I started off my last relationship with a full life, busy, happy and quite satisfied, just wanted a relationship to make it even better. I ended up desperate for his exhaled air. He was giving me such crumbs from the beginning that I ended up valueing his checking up on me whenever I went out with my friends because it was attention! My problem was that the meaner he got with what he offered the more I wanted him to give me what I needed, in fact the bigger my needs became until I became over needy.My self esteem was not solid, without a healthy self esteem you are not on solid ground and it`s hard to see the reality.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hi Bob72,
          I’m really sorry you are going through this. You are fortunate to have found BR and the amazing BR community Natalie has created.
          “Today I was just sitting on the couch and thought to myself “what would I be doing today if I was with her?” And the answer is her and the kids would be taking a nap and I would be messing around fixing something or cleaning something around her house….the whole relationship went that way.” I had the same thoughts. It’s weird to realize that what we were doing wasn’t that great and the situation was all on their terms but….they loved us once upon a time. “Buts” are another red flag. One but and they are on the curb. You sound like an amazing guy. Sending you warm thoughts in your journey.

        • natashya says:

          “It is still eating me up and I am obviously still searching my soul for a reason I wasn’t good enough for her… but at least I know in my head it wasnt me – I did the best I could and was never anything but there for her. This was her, not me.”

          this is a great insight, bob. i think we’re both going through a similar phase. the head knows it, and is just waiting for the heart to catch up.

          even though it was my ex EUM who broke up with me, i really forced the issue after having asked numerous times if things were okay between us. of course, they weren’t. otherwise, i didn’t have to ask.

          the confusion is the worst thing. the blowing hot and cold. though in my case, the ex EUM blew hot for the first few months, then turned cold overnight, never to be turned on again. i am still going back in my mind trying to understand what i had done to turn him off so much. i can’t find anything, because i didn’t do anything wrong. and yet, i am still dealing with feelings of not being good enough.

          it’s been 10 weeks now for me and i’m over him. i don’t want him back and i too have a list of things that happened to remind me why he isn’t good for me. it’s not about him anymore. i am starting to realise that it’s about my feelings of rejection.

          and yay for speaking up! i did the same thing and consequently had him dump me, but if i hadn’t, and if you hadn’t, they would have strung along even longer.

          be proud of yourself for still choosing yourself.

          • Bob72 says:

            Yeah the more I think about it the more I know it really wasn’t that great, and wasn’t what I was really looking for in a relationship long term. And Natashya… I soooo hope in 10 weeks I will be over her too! Its only been 2 weeks for me since I’ve broken off all contact directly or indirectly and the pain can still be pretty intense, but I do feel like I am slowly getting her out of my heart and thats a good sign. We’ve actually been officially broken up since Sep 29, but like I said I kept hanging on and took things that were said as she was taking time out to herself but still wanting me and not looking at the bigger picture and the fact she said it was over – thats the only part I should’ve listened to – I wanted to stay in fantasy land though and she became my only purpose. I won’t ever do that again. Hurry up 10 weeks lol..

            K, you are right about the fantasy bug, but I do have to tell you I was not the type of guy that needed her undivided attention. I told her from the beginning pretty much the same thing you wrote – we both have our own lives, friends, obligations, etc, and I don’t need 24/7 attention to be happy and don’t expect it. I told her I did expect her and I to always be able to find the time to be together just the two of us, a date night if you will, and that being able to come together at the end of the day and share our connection was important to me. I never tried to keep her from her friends, family, or anything else, and we did our own thing alot and it didnt bother me at all until I felt her slipping away from me – because I was confident I had her heart. I did get a little too needy once she started seeing her friends instead of me on her days without her kids, stopped talking, writing, IMing me as much, no longer wanted to walk out of work with me, etc… then I was asking for more, and yes maybe it was too much for her at the time – but it was too much for her because she was having second thoughts about us at the time and now that is clear.

            My biggest mistake I think is that I let my personal independent life fall away and made her my entire focus slowly but surely.. even though it was exhausting being with her at times. It’s like she more she became detached from me the harder I tried to bring her back. I really did feel deep down like I wouldn’t be able to keep it up indefinitely, but I wanted the her back so bad that was making me feel good about myself – which in retrospect wasn’t really there very often anyway. It was a fantasy from the get-go, like you said, and went much too fast and intense to be real but I got caught up in the euphoria and let it take me, and my personal independent life outside her, away. I became all about her… and it either freaked her out and she pulled away, or she lost her interest from blowing so hot so quickly and it just faded out for her. I as just so fooled – she had me envisioning us as a family, planning for a future together, spending time with her and her kids every day… then the rug got pulled out almost just as quickly as it was rolled out before me.

            I will know next time too fast and too hot isnt real and I will stay away from it and not get caught up. I also know I need to rebuild my self esteem and my life outside or her or I am going to be too needy for the next woman who I decide to try with. I need to hold my horses too, I get carried away too easily and put too much of myself into other people unwarranted. I’m hurt that she doesn’t seem to care at all anymore after all the blowing hot she did at the beginning – but I have to keep in mind she was fooling herself just as much as she fooled me – it wasnt real and wouldve never lasted, no matter what I did. If it was real we wouldve been much slower, and more “real.”

            Thanks, as always… one of these days I will be ok lol sigh

            • K says:

              Bob,

              That’s very common in abusive relationships…isolating around the abuser because they DO take up so much of our energies in trying to figure out how to get it back to the way it was, fix them, what have you. I think if we have a solid sense of healthy self esteem, we won’t LET it get to that point.

              The fantasy bug is an insidious one. It can happen before we realize what’s going on and most of the time it does when we are being swept off our feet.

              Like you, I will never again allow that into my life. But I’ve had to have a lot of time alone to disassemble the fantasy. If you’re conscious its AMAZING how quickly the shift in our minds happens.

              Hang in there, Bob! As time moves forward, you’ll have more answers. Maybe not so much about her, as you will about yourself. You have a lot to offer.

            • natashya says:

              “My biggest mistake I think is that I let my personal independent life fall away and made her my entire focus slowly but surely.. even though it was exhausting being with her at times. It’s like she more she became detached from me the harder I tried to bring her back. I really did feel deep down like I wouldn’t be able to keep it up indefinitely, but I wanted the her back so bad that was making me feel good about myself – which in retrospect wasn’t really there very often anyway.”

              i recognise this so much… actually, i identify with a lot of what you’ve written.

              2 weeks is nothing. the only thing i did in the first 2 weeks was cry hysterically. i kid you not.

              i am at 10 weeks now and yes,i am over him. i don’t want him back — not even in my heart. i am still dealing with the feelings of rejection, though. my self esteem is definitely not where it should be.

              NC is the only way to go. i noticed a nice improvement the moment i did it. then, i stupidly broke it last week and texted him. i got so upset for days afterwards. just today i have blocked him from all social media where i could still ‘keep track’ of him. i had a good cry, but i know only this way i can truly heal and come out stronger.

              keep on reading here. this site has been a life saver for me. i spend a lot of time here, as well as with the e-books. it has given me a solid understanding what’s been going on (and also that my situation is totally not unique like i thought!) and also how to take care of myself, set up boundaries etc. i already practiced this with a dude who was ‘separated’ but still living with the ex. i flushed him immediately. not going there ever again!

              • Bob72 says:

                Good for you!! No way can a guy ever be with someone else and you at the same time, never… I don’t care if they say it’s over, they don’t love them, whatever… its all BS trust me. At the very least they are dodging their feelings and it will blow up in your face. There are still good, really single, people out there that want someone special to add to their life and not take from it… just watch out for guys who jump all in too like I used to :). They will get bored unless there’s alot of ridiculous drama and promising the world going on… Slow and steady, like someone and take the time to see if you’re on the same page. I don’t think many people on here who really take the time to read and apply it to themselves will mess up too badly again. And if they do find themselves in something that isn’t “good” for them they will damn sure flush it down!

                I had a bad morning… I found another trigger for my mind, a tupid email that she sends out every morning that I just happen to be on. Its our first day back from Thanksgiving break and so she sends it out this morning and I open it and it has a nice, happy, salutation leading it off… and it made me feel so bad. Like she must have had such a fantastic weekend while I was going through hell and just trying my best to sleep at night and not break down… what a horrible horrible feeling :(. But I didnt contact her, just let the knots in my stomach twist for awhile, came here and read some… told myself our relationship is dead and gone and she is free to do as she wishes… and wished her the best in my minds eye and looked forward to when I can find someone more compatible and who appreciates what I have to offer.

                I feel a little better.. it passed. I need to do something about seeing that email every day though now… maybe send her emails straight to junk. I ended up looking to see if she if she was on IM, just because I know the day we had our last contact she shut off her IM and it hasnt been on since. Im glad it wasnt on because even though I dont think I wouldve IM’d her I dont know what I wouldve done for sure. And no matter what I did send her, even if it was “sorry for the other day causing all the drama hope you’re not still mad at me” I can guarantee it would not have the effect I desired it to have. I have a feeling I am dead to her… and I have to do the same and get out of the fantasy and the past and wishing I could be back in something that was kind of crappy for the most part anyway. I think I just miss the idea of her and the fact that she is gone… not her so much.

                Dont even contact him again Natashya… come here and write instead, journal, something, anything… it will not have the effect you desire trust me.

                • natashya says:

                  block her email and block her on IM. it’s an incredibly hard thing to do, but it speeds up the healing process a lot.

                  one thing that helped me during the initial crappy days was just accept feeling like that and not fight it. i let myself cry as much as i needed. less tears to carry with me :)

                  after about 2 weeks, i started making an effort to control the tears if i could. after that, i promised myself no hysterical crying spells unless out in nature with the dog.

                  in the last week i’ve really worked on my ‘list’. as soon as i feel sad about the EUM, i look at my list why he isn’t right for me (i now memorize the entire thing) and i feel better.

                  baby steps and one day at a time.

                • Tulipa says:

                  Bob,

                  If you don’t take steps like blocking her emails etc. you will remain stuck in the wishing and hoping stage, I hope when I open this e mail she says she is missing me I hope when I sign into IM she will be there and get in chat to me.
                  Put action behind your words.
                  I don’t think we are ever dead to an EUM/AC somewhere down the line they come back chancing their arm and if haven’t done any work to change things etc. the chances of returning to them are high.
                  I did six months no contact with the ex EUM and he still got back in cos I had spent the six months pining for him rather than moving on properly and needless to say it all ended up in the same steaming pile of crap.

                  • Bob72 says:

                    I have to clarify that this is work email… no way would I even be trying to contact her by private email or IM – if I can stop texting (which I have) that is just as easy to quit… I can’t block her work email from mine, but I can make a rule that her emails go directly to junk, or I can just delete them without reading them – seeing her name doesn’t necessarily give me that same horrible feeling, its the content and thinking about her being totally happy without me that does it. I wont log into IM anymore… I never used to anyway until she told me to so she could chat with me back when we were together :(. I can cut that out too, its no harder than removing her and her friends facebook pages or anything else I have done. I know its a trigger though I was all out of sorts all morning just in anticipation of the email and didnt even know it… and once it came and had the nice greeting for everyone is when I felt pain. I will alleviate it. Thanks for the kind words from you both though and the help… I will walk through this and become better because of it – she doesn’t deserve to have me sitting here in limbo.

                • La Pintura Bella says:

                  Bob…

                  YOU DIDN’T create all the drama. SHE did. You really have to stop taking responsibility for her part. Just like YOU didn’t cause her to start blowing cold. She would’ve done that even if you were the perfect man, the King of England and the #1 movie star in the world all rolled into one.

                  • Bob72 says:

                    You are right as usuall Bella.. it wouldn’t have worked out in the end no matter what or who I was because precisely of the burning it all up in the beginning and having nothing left once that wore off. I think if she wouldn’t have ended things with me then I probably wouldv’e ended things at some point later on because I wasn’t feeling like I was getting what I needed either as things were. So for whatever reason or timing, I don’t think deep down we were right for eachother the way that we both were. I see now things I need to improve to make me a better person and a better partner for the next time.. and I just don’t think she is ready to think about that or take that step yet at this point in her life, and thats where it is.

                    Well I did it to myself again lol sigh… I was messing around with the work email this morning making a rule to send her emails directly to junk – which I did so hopefully that will work and I wont see them anymore. Then I got a bug of intrigue up my butt so asked a friend coworker to see if she could see her online, and she said she was there. So I found out the reason why I haven’t seen her on IM since we had it out about her seeing other people is because she blocked me. I didn’t even know you could do that. I found out there is an option for it on the new version of our email system where I always use the old one because I am used to it. So that’s that. I didn’t try to get a hold of her though and ask why or make a big deal about it – the fact is it doesn’t matter because we aren’t together. Even though it is beyond me why she seems to hate me so much now it doesn’t matter because we aren’t together anymore. All that bs about being friends and getting herself together so maybe we could try again was just that – bs. I don’t know why I like causing myself pain tbough, I shouldn’t have even dug around to find out.

                    I was pretty happy this morning before that, and even slept through the night and shook her out of my head pretty easy at 2am when I woke up like I have been for weeks now. I felt good, about me and my life.. and honestly about her too. I read an article on here before I went to bed to the effect of they are not AC’s just because they broke up with you, and I can honestly say my ex is no AC.

                    She didn’t cheat on me… even the day when we broke up and I went to her house while she was out to pack up my stuff ( she asked me to so it would be easier on us both) she still had pictures of me everywhere, even in her bedroom. I don’t think you cheat and have that stuff around. Yes, she was totally emotionally unavailable and I see that now, and she blew white hot at the beginning and then barely lukewarm after summer, but she never really did anything bad to me except said things that I took in a way that made me keep my heart in the relationship even after she said it was over – telling me several times maybe we could try again someday and she just couldn’t be in a relationship right now and wasn’t where she needed to be. I don’t know why she said all that, to soften the blow to me, make her feel better, make me feel better, actually meant it at the time, but if I was listening correctly the only part that mattered was she said it was over and she couldn’t do it anymore.

                    Even our last day together, after we knew we were breaking up, went as well as it could. I dropped her off at her house after our last dinner together, we hugged and kissed passionately in the car and cried together a little bit, then she got out. She was at her garage door going inside and I got out of my car and grabbed her in my arms one last time and held her tight and kissed her again, and turned around and walked away. We had our closure, and talked it out as best we could, and said our goodbyes in a warm and kind way, whether she even wanted to or not she gave that to me. She tried so hard to give me a reason I could understand, but I honestly don’t even think she understood why she didn’t want me anymore. And I wasn’t listening anyway… when she said she couldn’t give me 100 percent because of all the other things in her life, when she said it wasn’t fair to me, when she said she feels bad because she feels like she isn’t able to give me what I need, when she said she is very independent and wants to make sure she has her priorities in order… I was only latching on to the parts where she said she loves me so much, and that she misses me already, and that maybe someday we can try again. I see now she wasn’t lying at all… she didn’t want a relationship… and I believe her best friend when she told me it was just timing. Yes, I am sure she is dating again.. but I also believe her and her friend that she doesn’t want anything serious. Will it end up being serious? Probably, because that’s the pattern she also had with me… getting carried away and going all in much too fast… but we are over, and I don’t think I had anything to do with us not making it anymore. It was just something really unfortunate that happened between us and neither one of saw all the red flags flying everywhere.

                    She wasn’t an assclown, I have to give her that. We aren’t together now, so the fact she’s dating again, hooking up, whatever, also doesn’t make her an assclown. It makes me an idiot for not getting my head out of the past and living in fantasies still, but she isn’t doing anything wrong – that part is in my mind. I took the things she said the wrong way, and even if she meant them to keep me dangling it was my choice to dangle away instead of looking at the here and now and the fact she said we are over. I do feel bad I blew things up by confronting her now, but I know I would’ve never let go as things were, I was caught in the fantasy of the words and not looking at the actions. It was in my best interest to find out and finally let it all go and cut all contact. I hate feeling like she hates me now and that we may have lost any connection we had left – it seems like she has thrown me totally away now – but I know it doesn’t really matter because anything less than being together in a relationship would just tear me down farther and farther, even just being friends like she asked me to always be. She just doesn’t know what she wants, and isn’t at the point where she wants to look inside herself and see if she needs to make a change… and she is afraid to commit. I see that now. It doesn’t make her an assclown, it just makes her a bad fit for me. We may have never been a good fit. I need to shore up my self esteem, continue putting her behind me whether she hates me now or not.. and find something that will compliment me when I am ready. I hope and pray she finds something that makes her happy too – she really is a good person she just wasn’t where I wanted her to be and probably not where she thought she was either. I can love her and still do, just different, and I still miss her.. but I want the best for her as much as I do for me. But I think I am ready to really move on now.

                    I had a little set back again today, but I definitely feel better overall about everything. I just need to keep putting time and space in between us and keep looking at myself and working on recognizing the things I do that mess up relationships… and I will be happy again with someone else, and myself. I wish the same for her, sincerely.

                    • natashya says:

                      i know what article you’re talking about. just because they’re breaking up doesn’t make them an assclown. i am in a similar situation. my ex was emotionally unvailable, if only because he discovered he was still not over his ex wife while with me (they split up 3 years ago). i do think it makes it harder in some ways. though he did behave in borderline assclownish ways, i know for a fact he didn’t mean to. he’s not an assclown. he just doesn’t have any experience with this (his ex wife being his 1st girlfriend and not having dated again til he met me). i almost wish he had cheated on me. then i could be angry at least. during my entire healing process, i simply haven’t been able to be angry with him. i just feel so much sadness about all of it. no, i don’t want him back. he can’t give me what i need but honestly, i am so heartbroken beyond belief :(

                    • natashya says:

                      (see… it still comes and goes in waves, even after 10 weeks)

                    • bob72 says:

                      Natashya, sorry I don’t know why it won’t let me reply below your post, but I just thought of something early this am when I couldn’t sleep yet again… Would you still want to be with your ex now seeing the way they are capable of treating someone they professed to love not so long ago? The answer for me is a resounding NO. It made me feel instantly better, and I got to strip away a little more of the fantasy I have been swirling my relationship into.

                      My ex was always selfish, and liked things just her way and had issues with things that weren’t. I can tell you a lot of stories about how hard it was for her to accept my input on so many things, but I won’t go into it. I do know that since we have broken up, and stripping out all the soft stuff that she was saying probably just to soften the breakup, she has been extremely cold, callous, and uncaring. She has even been downright mean and angry, something that I only saw flashes of when we were together and only a couple times directed at me. Now its all out there – the way I used to see her get so resentful of others is now directed at me as well… her actually swearing at me in her texts a couple weeks ago when I was begging her to tell me if she was dating again so I could finally let her go, blocking me from her facebook after I unfriended her and blocking me from her IM at work, telling me she doesn’t owe me anything and she can do whatever she wants – and still hanging onto the lie. Acting like I never existed and her or her kids never made a connection with me or loved me.

                      I have never treated anyone I have ever been in a relationship with like she is treating me right now – whether I did the breaking up or was broken up with. I have never had anything but compassion and soft words – and honesty as best I could – with my ex partners. She isn’t like me, doesn’t have the same values or beliefs, and thinks its ok to treat people like crap if they are not contributing to her. I wouldn’t want someone in my life who cares so little about people who she doesn’t feel are important. I’ll give her credit maybe she is just mad and she will get over it at some point and at least be civil again… but from what I have seen from her with the rose colored glasses off she isn’t the type of person I could be happy with long term. I learned alot about her post break-up that I didn’t really think about before.

                  • natashya says:

                    bob, i can’t reply directly either, but here it is. no, i don’t want my ex back. it is not that he became ‘mean’ after the split up. i actually liked him better, because now i had zero expectations of love and affection. he wanted to continue as ‘friends’, which we should have remained to begin with.

                    he is quite a lovely person, he is not mean spirited at all, but he didn’t know how to deal with his emotions. him realising he was not over his ex is one thing BUT he should have given me some honesty as soon as he realised that, which was after about 2 months of honeymooning. i even asked him several times and he denied that there was anything wrong. he said he wanted to be with me BUT didn’t show it. after the honeymoon weeks he was withdrawing his affection big time.

                    later, when i asked him why he didn’t speak up when i asked, he said he was confused and didn’t want to hurt me. i believe that. however, he has such little self awareness and empathy that he didn’t realise that stringing me along in his confusion was very damaging to me. after 6 weeks of him pulling away, i decided that i had enough of it. i did not want a relationship like THAT with a person like THAT. i gave him the option to either try much harder or to give up. he gave up.

                    i am glad he did because i did not see any change afterwards. i gave him everything and it wasn’t enough. there is NOTHING else i could have done. i am not perfect, but i behaved more than decently in this relationship. he couldn’t handle me. i poked some of his wounds and he poked some of mine. what he does with his is his business, but for me, he was a much needed wake up call to work on my self esteem and build up my own life for ME instead of always clinging onto somebody else’s dreams. i aim to please. time to please ME.

                    my self esteem is very low because of this. i know he wanted a relationship so badly and is now dating again, even though i offered him a loving relationship. he rejected that. it’s hard not take it personally that it wasn’t me.

                    at the end of the day, it is his loss. even though my self esteem is in the gutter at the moment, i do know i am a catch.

                    a friend of mine sent me a wonderful message this morning, when i was feeling so very low:

                    “loving him has given you a great opportunity to grow. And it wasn’t the love that hurt, it was the apparent evaporation of it, and the (apparent) effect on the self worth. All the images and false ideas of oneself and reality, are setting fire to the temple. But opening the heart is THE doorway, and when we grow, from being hurt, by learning how 2 keep our hearts open, we are evolving, steadily, into some’One’ far more satisfying.”

                    and THAT i must keep in mind. i don’t want my heart to harden, ever. it’s in little pieces but still beautiful and i’m working on putting it together for someone who can appreciate me with ALL of his heart :)

                    • bob72 says:

                      Hah I think you are my female twin :). I know my self esteem is shot as well, and it probably is the biggest reason I am hurt so bad by this breakup as well… the love wasn’t painful at all its the loss that is now – because I am blaming myself and asking what I did wrong to make her leave. I know that wasn’t it at all however, its just hard to change my way of thinking.

                      And like your guy – the truth is my ex wasn’t over her marriage either. She wasn’t in love with him mind you – not at all – but she had so much resentment towards him for things he did to her in her relationship (cheating, drinking to excess, etc) and she has not let it go whatsoever. I knew this from the very beginning too and I was concerned, but she way she was expressing how much she loved me I totally overlooked it.

                      Everytime his name would come up or she had to do something with him for the kids, anything, she would get all stressed out, call him names, be visibly frustrated and resentful… no way was she over him at all. She has been divorced about 2 years, but that was her first real love too and she has two little children with him, the youngest she just had before they got divorced even. There’s alot of hurt and anger still there that she is hanging onto – and it probably made her unavailable to me in retrospect.

                      Her mom didn’t help her situation either – telling her she should’ve not left him for the kids sake no matter how unhappy she was and telling her the only reason she wanted to be with me was to take his place as her kids dad and they would hate her for it.. how could she cope with her issues on top of her mom making her feel like she was doing something wrong by being with me? No wonder she has gone back to casually seeing guys and not having anything serious!! She would just get trampled again and its easier for her not to have to face it all. She tried with me – and got slapped in the face despite me and her talking so much about it and me trying to help her see all that really mattered was us and the kids. I told her that her mom and family love her, and that connection shouldnt be broken, but her happiness and well being needed to come first, and her real family was us. She didn’t need to keep enduring her mom when she would go off and hurt her sense of worth. All she had to do was walk away from it and come to the people who hold her up. I told her she didnt have to put up with it and owed herself happiness. When her mom would start saying crappy things, just walk away until she could be amiable again. She did try, for awhile, but it didn’t work.

                      She broke up with me instead. She was right and wasn’t lieing – she didn’t have 100 percent to give to anyone right now. And her mom and sister hated me for standing up for her to them so I was doomed.

                      Yeah, she isn’t really being nice to me at all now, even though I have never said a harsh word to her – even the last thing I said to her when she was so angry at me for asking her if she was seeing other people was “ok, sorry, goodbye ******, love you.” I don’t know if she hates me, is ambarrased, hurt, or doesn’t want to face me ever again, but we aren’t together and I cant make her do anything. I know I needed to let go once I learned she moved on though – even if she wanted me to stay I can’t. Ny self esteem is pretty low but not that low. I know I have value too, and as much as I love her and wish we had another chance I don’t know that she will ever be ready and willing to meet me halfway. I do hope she finds happiness somewhere with someone, and I pray for her and her kids every day – even as I pray for the strentgh to let go. I don’t want her back – I want to be ok… but I want her to be ok too. I feel bad for calling her out the other day now, really bad, but I know if I wouldn’t have learned what I did I would’ve hung onto hope forever, caught in what she was saying. She had to get angry with me and stop the soft words for me to see the harsh reality that she has moved on and doesn’t want me anymore. Maybe I was just her bridge to something better and I hope I was for her sake – but I really believe she’s just carrying all her hurt and issues into something new because she doesn’t want to stop and think about it all. She told me already, her kids, her career, and herself.. thats the order she wants her obligations in – there’s no room for a guy in there according to her. She doesn’t know that I wouldve added to all those things and I was, not taking away from any of them.

                      You deserve a good man, who is really available to you, and you did so well to step out of what you did when you did. I wish I did that too now instead of having to hang on and hear those words from my ex’s lips instead of mine. I thought I could save her, turn it all around… people sometimes dont know or dont want to be saved though. And I was pretty messed up myself to let myself go all in to something that I knew smelled bad no matter how much I loved her. You won’t ever make a bad choice again I know you wont – and will have an awesome guy in an incredible relationship – and you will be happy with yourself and him :).

                      I will too someday

                    • bob72 says:

                      And you are so right, the most hurtful part of the whole relationship for me too was watching her pull away from me so abruptly, but all the while saying I was still the love her her life and begging me not to leave her while she worked through this.. after two weeks of enduring the hurt from her cutting me off from her heart and life in bits and pieces I finally told her I wasn’t able to do it anymore without any reason behind it, and she finally told me she couldn’t do it anymore and it was over – and I actually thanked her for telling me and not letting the pain go on longer.

                      I told her it hurt much worse watching her shut me out of her life than it did her telling me it was over. I told her she saved me getting bitter and resentful towards her for not telling me and keeping me hurting so bad while she moved on too afraid to say goodbye just in case she had a change of heart. In retrospect it was a really bad idea for me to agree to go back to dating – but when someone is sitting across a table and tells you they love you more than they have ever loved any man and to please promise to stay with them, and you love them, how can you say no? And she even calmed my biggest fear, of us getting close again then me getting pushed away again… I had to say ok. I know now though she was just panicking and hadnt really thought about things.. she wasn’t ready to lose me at that time. Once I said it was ok then I guess she was able to sort her feelings enough to know she didn’t want to be with me anymore – but it was me who pushed her to do it. Who knows how long she wouldve waitied if I didnt speak up and tell her she was hurting me.. I might still be in it now even, because maybe she thought it was ok. I think she knew though… thats where the “not fair to me” and ” cant give 100 percent” stuff came in. Im glad she let me go.

                      Honesty is always the best policy.. people know when something is wrong. At least we know exactly why we feel that now.

  34. teachable says:

    That sort of BS invalidation Dancing Queen would have me most tempted to punch yr step mother right in the head! I must say the only thing that curbed such tendencies (ie giving an abuser exactly what they deserve) is not being able to afford to have an assault on my police record as this would stop me getting employment, as police records checks are mandatory in my line of work. Yes she abusive & if you had any witnesses prepared to come forward depending on limitation periods in your state, she might still be able to be CHARGED with false imprisonment ! She is the WORST! Disgusting! Otherwise, I have no doubt IF the counsellor hears of it, a different slant will be put on things. I couldn’t care less though. I already have my next boundary lined up waiting for if or when she contacts me again! Basically, after all she’s done in the past, she’s going to be on one hell of a a tight reign, so really, WHATEVER!

    • dancingqueen says:

      aww teachable thanks! You know I never even thought about doing anything legal about it and probably couldn’t ( my dad, who now has Alheimer’s, found me and let me out after the business trip…) but you know I am okay, for just having finally told her to f off. I know that it was wrong, she does too, and she is an old nightmare who will leave this earth soon and I am fine. Oddly, people like this sometimes create the converse; I have empathy because of her:)

      Good for you for standing up to your mum!:)

  35. Revolution says:

    “If you tell me that you love me, I’m kinda expecting the loving action and a loving relationship to come with. It’s a package deal.”

    Natalie, this is totally brilliant. And yet, to the garden variety assclown, it may as well be ancient Aramaic. God forbid they need to have the slightest discomfort as a result of watching that their words and actions meet.

    Here it is in a nutshell: if you don’t want to be in a relationship, (newsflash) THEN DON’T BE IN ONE. But don’t become Mark effing Twain in your attempt to couch your assholery with a smokescreen of words.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “And yet, to the garden variety assclown, it may as well be ancient Aramaic”

      spit. wine. on. self. ha.:)

      • Skadia says:

        I would add, and don’t conduct yourself as though you are in a relationship or hint that one is on the horizon if only the damsel in question will wait in that tower just a bit longer as you survey the landscape for that pesky dragon…. SMH

  36. Revolution says:

    Oh, and the “I love you but I’m not IN love with you.” For real?? I thought that was a throwback from the Seventies. They’re still using that crap? Oy.

    • runnergirl says:

      Yup Revolution, that old canard is still being bantered about. It’s like a two year old who learns peek-a-boo on an airplane and thinks she/he is the first.
      I got the “I love my wife but I’m not in love with her”. Try wrapping your head around that double-speaking-mind effry. Then try: “I’m in love with you but I love my wife”. It’s like playing peek-a-boo on an over seas flight with a 50-something.
      My father was an English teacher and I grew up diagramming sentences. You can’t diagram these but sentences. They don’t make sense in the light of day. “But” in the thick of it, I, a fully grown mature intelligent female got trapped playing peek-a-boo with a fully grown, mature, intelligent man and the flight lasted two years. Watch the buts and the butts.

    • yoghurt says:

      I was thinking, as I wrote about the wasps’ nest, that it would be a pretty mean thing to do to someone who is probably pretty old by now…

  37. MissBliss says:

    “I love you, but I don’t know what the future holds.”
    Really? I do. And you’re not in it, assclown.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      Miss Bliss… LMAO. I’m going to remember that line in case, God forbid, I ever need it!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      MissBliss.. Yes, I heard those exact words but I got so sucked in on the I love You that I ignored “but I dont know what the future holds”. Now thanks to BR I know I will never do that again. Its been a very painful lesson. Its really them saying I want to leave my options open,not commit to you only, and hey if something I think is better comes along you cant say I didnt tell you so…

      • MissBliss says:

        Kit-Kat, I too only heard the first clause in that sentence. I repeatedly ignored the true meaning, which you’ve nailed. With the blessing of 20/20 hindsight, I see now that I was being played… I will never ignore my instincts again. There’s the lesson.

  38. Chrysalis says:

    I was dating a man for 3 months when I pushed for clarification of a few confusing statements he made. We lived 4 hours apart, and I had been doing most of the traveling. Red flag #1. So we agree to meet half way, and had a lovely dinner followed by sex that night. I found it odd that I asked the question on a Monday and he did not answer until the following morning, 6 days later. Our night was loving and fun.

    So, at breakfast the next morning I get the “You are just a fantastic woman for me….. but I thought I would have the same loving feelings for you as I did my last girlfriend and I don’t. Also (another form of but) I cant figure out if you are high maintenance or not, and you are too urban!!!!!!

    He finished with saying he didn’t know what he wanted.

    I live in a rural mountain town 3 hours from the nearest city! LOL

    I sat there shelled shocked as I tried to interpret what he said, but my gut knew cause I was fighting back tears. Thanks to this site within in a few hours I came to my senses! I told him to take me to my car as I wanted to go home.

    He was shocked! I then told him I believe what people say, and he just toold me he didn’t want me. So, I left.

    Took me a few months to get over being dumped like that, especially after he used me for sex that last night. I can now see how selfish this guy is, and all the many red flags I ignored.

    We talked a few times after that and he told me he did not like I how handled myself after his “But” speech. Ah, I thought, not only is he a jerk, he is probably an assclown because he wants to say something like that and then in his world, I must not respond in anyway he dislikes…. I dodged a bullet.

    I learned a lot from this, so not all was lost, and I will better equipped from now on. Alas, I am 53, and I keep running into guys like this, so I am about to give up…sorry another post. Cheers eveyone.

    • Mymble says:

      Chrysalis
      So sorry to read this. I’ve been twice dumped out of the blue when I thought everything was going fine,there was no row or difficulty. On both occasions there was someone else in the picture. The second time I had been away on holiday and he replaced me while I was away, spent the night together on my return, had sex, THEN he decided to drop the bomb…in the street, and then literally ran away leaving me crying)
      first time I was 18 and the second 24 so I don’t know if age is particularly
      relevant. The line about you being too urban is such insulting BS. it’s just looking for any random thing about you to put it all on you and make you feel
      it’s your fault.
      I hung around though in both cases because I didn’t know any better and ended up involved with them both much longer than I should have done.

    • Grizelda says:

      Chrysalis,

      The only reason why that manchild assclown is displeased is because you stood up for yourself. You weren’t supposed to do THAT!

      When he rehearsed the little ‘you’re not good enough for me’ breakfast speech, having composed it in his head and practiced it once or twice so that it sounded natural and genuine and off-the-cuff, he imagined your response. And your response, in his egotistical imagination, was that you would smile and shrug and reach for his hand, and do your best to persuade him to like you more — to flirt with him, compliment him, make sassy light innuendoes, and tell him how you’d just love to join his list of text-a-shags because you aimed to please.

      Instead, you actually listened to what he said. You weren’t supposed to do THAT!

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Agreed!

      • NeverTooLate! says:

        They hate being called on anything they say, they want to be “loved”, have their egos stroked. As soon as you get the better of them by standing up for yourself, they lose control, are dumbfounded, and the fun is over, they lose control and are exposed as the “little men” they really are!

        • Grizelda says:

          It’s interesting, isn’t it. Here we have a live example presented by Chrysalis which shows exactly what can happen when assclowns either (a) mess up the delivery of their ‘but’ disclaimers, or (b) they deliver a whole raft of ‘but’ disclaimers to someone who actually listened to what was being said and responded appropriate to someone who doesn’t want to be a doormat — she was onto his game.

          And did he like that? Did he get the response he wanted? NO. Absolutely not. Because often the whole intention of these ‘but’ disclaimers is that they’re somehow lost by the listener, buried like a painful needle in a whole haystack of positive relationship reinforcement comments and actions. In many, many cases, we’re MEANT to miss their meaning. In my own case, the three or four ‘but’ disclaimers I was given (across five entire years) were sound engineered at almost dog-whistle frequency so that I could barely catch them, hear them, or understand them, no less go away and analyse them. I recall them now, yes, because I’ve gone back to look for them retrospectively. They weren’t meant to be statements of honesty or warnings to be heeded about emotional ambivalence. He was such a disordered, consummate duplicitous liar that I’m convinced he got a secret thrill from tossing out clues just to see if I picked up on them. And when I didn’t call a halt to everything and say ‘hang on, go back to what I though you said an hour ago about…’, he no doubt went away with that famous smirk on his face, getting an extra little kick out of knowing I missed a Great Big One that he planted somewhere in our conversation.

          • sushi says:

            Grizelda,
            on a couple of ocassions (out of many)once my last AC was finished pressing the reset button and I fell for his BS and responded how he wanted me, so that he achieved my acceptance of yet another “manage down” he actually physically did have a satisfied smirk of win on his face.Oh, Lord, how blind was I choosing to be?

          • Mymble says:

            Always read the small print.

    • Pam says:

      I like you but all i want is sex.

      I like your body but I could care less about you

  39. Stephanie says:

    I remember the AC saying to me I think you are a really nice girl BUT I just want to spend some time with my sisters & cousins. I thought, really? Stupidly I didn’t question him I already knew he was fading me out. If you are dating someone for only a couple of months and you like them, you just wouldn’t tell them you couldn’t spend time with them because you would rather be with your siblings and cousins!

  40. Samantha says:

    SO. TRUE!!!

    This post really hit home. “I love you but I can’t do this anymore”, “I love you but this thing you do is really annoying”. So many times.

    My ex boyfriend and I “broke up” many times before we ACTUALLY broke up. Sometimes it was him trying to break it off, and then most of the time it was me. I can clearly see now that it wasn’t healthy and after this post, it makes me see things even better.

    It’s a mind f*ck basically… “I love you but..” but what?? Ugh.

    featureddate.blogspot.com (check it out please, much appreciated!)

  41. still standing says:

    What innate quality do we posses that quells understanding the “but”(always a big butt somewhere) in the first place? I wonder if it isn’t the romantic pap we are subjected to in pop culture…how many songs are a variation of “baby come back/I was a fool to let you go”.
    Maybe we want to win, against all odds. Maybe the problem is…dare I say…us?

    Thank you Natalie. Awesome post.

  42. Fearless says:

    I’ve heard more than a few ‘I do love you but…’ or ‘I do want to be with you but…’ or ‘I will be with you you but…’ or I do care about you but…’ and a number of variations of the same.

    I often think about what such sentences would sound like coming from me to my daughter. Wouldn’t happen. There are no ‘buts’. It sounds always like, ‘I love you’ (full stop),’I will be with you’ (full stop) or ‘I care about you’ (full stop).

    When someone really has your back, you won’t hear ‘but’ from them when they’re telling you how much they care for you!

  43. FinallyDidIt says:

    Bob72 hit the nail on the head with “if you were the one for them they would not let you get away”. No if, and or BUTS about it.

  44. Alex Wise says:

    Oh wow. I have really enjoyed reading Natalie’s blog and all of your comments. I was dumped – via email – out of the blue (less than 24 hours after he told me that he missed me and couldn’t stop thinking about me over the phone) and he wanted to blame it on me then wanted to bet friend ans get cuddles afterwards at his mates 30th birthday. Cuddles? I read sex/booty call, anyone else?

    This article has single handedly answered all the questions I had about his contradicting, confusing email.

    I am a person who always likes to see the positive/hope. From now on – I plan to be the realist and listen for the truth AFTER the “But”.

  45. swissmiss says:

    thanks for that, still standing. what is the innate quality that quells the understanding? in my case, it is need. i seem blind when i am driven by need. this week, more meaningless texts (or should i call them ‘hooks’?) from the ex-MM (“i am so thankful for you”, “what are you doing today?”) that used to make me swoon a few months ago. today i realized, we never really saw one other. we were driven by the need for a little security–both our marriages were unraveling and we clung to each other out of fear. honestly, it may take me years to get the distance needed to see who he really was. basically, i made him up as i went along.

  46. K says:

    I apologize if this offends anyone.

    I wonder though, how many of you had sex at the get go or very shortly into these “relationshits” with these men?

    One of my new boundaries since I’ve been single is that I WILL NOT engage in sex with a man for a long, LONG time. If he can’t wait, TOO BAD. Believe me when I say, this is not a value I had before, but I didn’t have many relationshits. Mine were long term ass clowns lol!

    I think my perceptions about sex and relationshits,… sex and dating have changed a lot given my experiences. Ass clowns are very sexually exploitative and abusive. It’s almost as if it’s expected immediately on the guys part and for women it’s suppose to “seal the deal” with an established assumed bond.

    IDK…this reads like love bombing crap that the disordered do. Women immediately go into fantasy mode as soon as he tells her how wonderful, beautiful and great she is. Then he exploits her with sex, playing his role of exceptional lover (which is only FOR HIM), then he dumps her, kicks her to the curb and she just can’t understand why he does/did that after such a “loving” exchange???

    That’s fantasy. Not reality.

    I jumped from my marital bed to my last ex psychopaths bed weeks after my marriage fell apart. That was a BRILLIANT move on my part. I was living in FANTASY and sex was included in that.

    With my own experiences coupled with countless survivors of disordered stories, I would make any man who wanted to date me, WAIT. Disordered and toxic men don’t like “waiting”. It’s not apart of their character.

    Sex isn’t mandatory for me anymore. It doesn’t “seal the deal” for me with regards to intimate relationships. It just adds to what is already there. At least that’s how I think it should be.

    If I had made any of them WAIT, and had boundaries, I might just have dodged a couple of bullets…

  47. teachable says:

    Dancing Queen I am so sorry to hear of what your Father by his neglect, poor choices & collusion subjected you to, as well as the abuse at the hands of your step mother. No child should ever go through that & it must have been so lonely & heartbreaking to experience that. Some parents are just not very good at their job. In fact they are damned shite at it! I don’t know what else to say except to offer you a BIG HUG!

    I would add that I’m also very like you in that I have NO SYMPATHY for either sex parents, who place their sexual gratification above the welfare of their children, because at the heart of the matter, this is precisely what such parents, are choosing to do. I could see this quite clearly even as a little girl. It is also exactly what my mother did, when the creep she was threatened to assault my younger sister (apparently he was already abusing our Mother)! My mum & younger sis (a teen by this time) were living with him interstate at the time. I rock up there, 15 & pregnant, so obviously with troubles of
    my OWN, & when I saw what was going on promptly kicked that asshole out of the house ON THE SPOT (he didn’t DARE return, not even ONCE), before helping to pack up all of my mums & sisters belongings, put them into storage & depositing my mum & sister into a domestic violence refuge. That prick KNEW not to touch me (or my sister) because my reputation preceeded me & he knew I’d have bloody well KILLED him (I was pretty wild, lol). A month later, after ensuring they were both safe, I flew back home to my home state to have my son. Seriously, how does ANY parent, allow such things? Two decades later I discovered my sister had been RAPED in that house by some OTHER creep my Mother had been hanging around with! Hence, you can see the seriousness of my Mother’s BS! Outrageous! And she wants me to feel sorry for HER because ‘it’s no excuse BUT she was mentally unstable’? I DON’T THINK SO!

    K. Thanks. I’ve been fairly fortunate in the not picking abusive pricks stakes, EXCEPT for awful circumstances in my chidhood (which I dont think count as that was child abuse). It was these exp’s that triggered me seeking therapy at such a young in fact. I was molested & exploited as an underage homeless teenage girl by two disgusting PIGS both of whom, I, in my childs mind, I thought I was involved in ‘relationships’ with (one after the other). One (the first, was very violent). The other was just as bad but in a different way (& also assaulted me at the end!). It’s complicated so I wont go into full details. Suffice to say I am now, 28 yrs later, taking ASSHOLE number one to court for HORRIFFIC crimes against me. Hopefully, I will live to see the day where he goes to jail, where frankly, they BOTH belong!!! YAY ME!

    Thanks Rev. Ironic though isn’t it? I learned that little gem off yet another abuser, a woman who raised me in one of the children’s homes I was in, & I can tell you, she certainly didn’t practice what she preached! Ugh!

    Sometimes I shake my head & wonder how I didn’t turn out to be a serial killer! LOL

    Luv to all. X

  48. teachable says:

    And I’ll just add a little footnote here. I recall standing up to that violent man & basically evicting him from my mum & baby sis’ home as a pregnant 15 yo & you know what. Deep down inside, although I feared not for MYSELF, I was scared that the physical encounter, which I knew very well might ensue from what I was about to do, might harm my unborn baby. I had already lost one unborn baby due to the actions of a violent man (the asshole Im now taking to court) so that FEAR was very real & palpable for me. We couldn’t call the police because there was some sort of fear my Mother had that this would set him ‘off’ even more (now as an adult, I would of course, stand up to my mother & say stuff that, we are calling the police, from the get go, but at the time, I was only 15 & trying to get my Mother to cooperate, so if that meant no cops, so be it).

    So basically, I handled this incredibly confronting ‘showdown’ situation with a violent man by stepping in when he started threatening my sister. My sister had been prewarned, IF he gets physical, ingnore what mum said, & call the police, immediately. Luckily, I managed to stand up to him (no easy feat, he was a BIG guy) & get him out of the house without it turning violent, although it was very hairy as he tested me to see my resolve. I literally had some sort of weapon in my hands, I can’t recall what now, it was something from the kitchen, a heavy frypan I think, but I showed him I was not kidding & his days of terrorising my family were OVER. (He already knew me too from interstate so he knew I meant business).

    So I go through all that, where in hinsight, I could have easily lost a second baby, just from the STRESS of it all, & my sister had been (unbeknownst to me) RAPED for goodness sakes, our mother offers nothing more than, ‘BUT I was mentally unstable?!! No mother. You were not mentally unstable. You were just a shit mother, which is why your vulnerable pregnant 15 yo daughter had to step up & do yr job for you, & it’s high time you took responsibility for outrageous abuse & neglect!

    • Revolution says:

      Holy hell, Teach.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Teach,

      OOOOOOOOOH my blood is boiling. WTF????!!! Okay honestly, please feel totally okay about NOT ever speaking to your mom if you don’t want to. SO pathetic! What kind of mother lets her child be raped and does not berate herself every day for the rest of her life and beg for forgiveness? Boggles the mind!

      Breathe….okay I am so glad that you are able to defend yourself. That is all that matters, right? No more ever being a victim. NO MORE.

      ((((((((Big big hug)))))))))

    • sushi says:

      teachable,
      words fail me, I just want you to know you are an absolute inspiration.

  49. Alex Wise says:

    K,

    I agree with you about the sex thing. No, I didn’t jump into bed with him straight away but it was only a number of weeks.

    I have to take responsibility for 50% of that. I have since resolved on the following things after seeing the film (and hopefully obtaining the book at some point l) “Act like a woman, think like a man”. That is to say that my cookie is on lock down in the jar with a tightly screwed cap on it buried in a treasure chest somewhere. That certain standards have to be set/established from day one – short term and long term goals with the 90 day minimum “cookie” rule applied. Within this time no sex, no kissing and certain things have to be achieved / seen to be achieved prior to any physical contact is made. I have put it simply on here but it is actually a little more complex than that.

    Yes, men (women too, let’s be fair as women can do it too) do like to have their egos stroked and can be very manipulative however, I do feel that there is equally something that I am doing/not doing which reflects why I keep falling into similar relationship patterns. I can only be in control of my actions,therefore to benefit and protect me, it is time I made changes.

    • Lavender says:

      Alex, that is really wise. I am thinking of doing the same thing, but was wondering – is it realistic to date for 90 days without any kissing? Isn’t that just friends hanging out? I’m interested to know what you think cause I would like to do something similar. Do you just say to the guy, sorry no kissing, or sleeping together right now?

    • K says:

      Alex,

      I’ve already implemented those changes.

      I know this will sound crude, and I’ll just say it anyway…being a sexual being, and not being with a man now, a vibrator is sufficient.

      It doesn’t love bomb me, it doesn’t fast forward me or future fake. It doesn’t emotionally, sexually, financially spiritually abuse me. It sits in a case in the closet, ready to go whenever I am. I don’t have to give in when I don’t want too. It’s actually a great learning tool for what I do and don’t want.

      Sex is just sex. Anyone can *have* it. For me, it wouldn’t be “mindblowing” anymore unless there was mutual love and respect to go with it. I guess those two values are more important than bedroom aerobics.

      I like my new boundaries, values and morals. As I embrace them, I’m able to forgive myself for my past overlapping. :)

  50. Pioneer67 says:

    Well I finally ended a casual relationship…I wanted more, he didn’t. It took reading this for the lightbulb to go off. His actions showed everything..I of course kept hoping he would change. He had it made…got his cake on his terms. He apologizes and says it is his fault. No, my dear, it is MINE. There were so many BUTs over the past year that I refused to acknowledge. I could have been searching for the healthy relationship but instead stayed in something that was going nowhere.

  51. grace says:

    Lavender
    Boyfriend and I kissed after two months, though we were holding hands before then. I didn’t have to explain anything to him as we are on the same page. I can imagine it would be more difficult if he sees nothing wrong with kissing or sex earlier than that.
    It,s up to you to set the boundaries together. Some religious people are stricter than we are and wouldn’t even kiss before marriage. That,s up to them. there is no definite line in the sand. Myself, it would feel too much like friends hanging out if we did that. I like knowing that we are sexually attractive to each other. Otherwise, there,s the danger of being in that I love you but am not in love with you grey zone. I,m not having that!

    • Jule says:

      That makes total sense Grace. And kudddos to you for setting and sticking to the boundaries.

    • Freya says:

      Grace, I’m sure its no surprise that I would never wait 2 months to kiss someone (lol), but boy I do sure think its cute. You “sound” really happy. :)

    • Confused123 says:

      Oh grace, thank you. The guy I am seeing (if you can call it that) is moving at glacial pace and I was not sure what the hell was happening. He says he wants to take it slow and really getto know each other. I thought it was BS. A guys saying that???? But again, I’m sooo new to dating, I have no idea what is going on half the time. Maybe there are men out there that are not all AC and truly do the right thing. Fingers crossed.
      How often did you and the boyF see each other in the first few months?

      • grace says:

        Confused
        Within a few weeks of him declaring that he liked me, we started seeing each other one-to-one twice a week. Sometimes just for a walk so it wasn’t always romantic date stuff.
        the first few weeks can be awkward as you just don’t know each other. don’t make assumptions, enjoy the time, and observe. Keep telling yourself it’s not a big deal.
        But slow doesn’t = no progression. There should be a bond developing, steadily.

        • Confused123 says:

          Grace: Thank you. That helps and yes, I am telling myself it’s not a big deal and may (and probably does) mean very little. The time I spend with him, I do enjoy but I don’t put more emphasis than needed.
          I’m kinda glad it’s moving slowly. No pressure for sex at all. The only wrinkle is that he is seeing someone else (as I mentioned before) but I’m OK with that as,
          1) It take a little pressure off
          2) He still treats me with care and respect.
          At this point I’m Ok with things. I’m in no hurry to find a partner so if it works out great, if not no loss.
          I’ll take the time to decide if this is what I want. I have my feet firmly on the ground and my eyes and ears wide open.

          • Tulipa says:

            oh he isnt lining you up to be the overlapper is he?

            • Ellyb says:

              @¢onfused: Just for clarification: “he is seeing someone else”, does that mean “he is in a relationship” or “he is double dating”?

              But either way, this would be a red flag for me. If there is another woman involved, then he won’t have both feet in your discovery phase. Plus, it might feel like some kind of competition between you and the other woman. Not healthy. And very draining.

              And as to “I’m Ok with things”, those have been famous last words for many of us. I think it was runnergirl who said the same about the phrase “I can handle it”. I’m afraid we’re kidding ourselves there.

            • Confused123 says:

              Aww Tulipa . Thank you so much for your concern. ? Hugs! You and the other ladies here are awesome.
              I guess ‘seeing’ is too strong a word. The situation is that we are ‘dating’ but not ‘exclusive’. We are in the discovery phase. I have to be honest that certain thoughts did enter my mind initially (He is overlapping? Am I an option? etc) but I’d consider it a big RED flag if he wanted exclusivity after only two months. I know nothing about him and as someone here pointed out (on another topic board), do I really want exclusivity with someone I don’t know? My gut has not set off any warning bells and I really listen to my gut now a days.

              There is no pressure for sex and the lines of communication are very open. We are getting to know one another to see if there is anything there. Currently there is care, respect, and honesty. Too early for love. (Way too early).

              Now that being said, if we were exclusive and he was seeing others it would be a HUGE FLUSH and I’d very much consider it cheating. And I abhor cheating.
              I’ll really want to take my time to decide if this is what I want. I have my feet firmly on the ground and my eyes and ears wide open. After the ass clown debacle earlier this year, I really am being way way more cautious.

              • Ellyb says:

                @¢onfused: Sorry, but can’t find that other thread you’re referring to right now. Anyway, I don’t get why people need to multiple-date??? It might be common in the U.S. and recommended in books and all that, but for me it would be a no-go anyway. And quite frankly, dating one person (which means giving a certain amount trust while being ready to “flush” at any sign of red flags) would be such a big plunge for me right now that I wouldn’t want to do it with MULTIPLE people at the same time!

                And btw, if you’re serious about dating, it should take only a few weeks (if not less) to weed out most unsuitable candidates, even if red flags/issues might arise later on as well. Why complicate this process by seeing several candidates even during those few weeks (instead of dating one at a time)? That pertains to women as well as to men in my opinion.

                • sushi says:

                  I agree EllyB,and think that multiple dating is the first step, great lesson in how to accept crumbs. I`m not surprised people whom this type of relationship suits peddle it as some kind of new socially acceptable rule. Two months, confused is an awfully long time for someone to know if they want to get to know you more, give you enough respect not to treat you like an option, even for the discovery phase. I don`t imagine granting someone a healthy amount of trust knowing they are “auditioning” other people. Well, are you happy for them to go on romantic dates/meals/ hold hands/kiss?? I wouldn`t be. It`s a slippery road to becoming a FBG. And it`s so true, you get what you settle for.

  52. K says:

    Lavendar,

    I’m not “religious’ per se. I have values now. Morals. During my recovery from assclowns, I’ve learned that we can change values and morals to be more aligned with what we feel is right for ourselves.

    I have seen way too many women wounded when they jump into bed with someone too early in the relationship and too many ass clowns who count on it because it bonds her to him. The hormone oxytocin is released during orgasm and breast feeding and this DOES seal the deal for her.

    I find it difficult to believe that friends with benefits is somehow acceptable. I tried that. I don’t think it’s possible with empathy. Sex was meant to bond us, emotionally and spiritually. Somehow the idea of that much bonding while dating is nauseating.

    MY views of sex have changed as well. I LOVE sex and enjoyed it when I was in the relationship, or at least I thought I did. But looking back on it now, not really, because I was being objectified and not loved. Learning about someone new or loving someone takes a very long time, if it’s genuine. I don’t see falling in love with someone within two months. With my new friendships, they have taken two years to develop. I trust them now, but I was cautious at first.

    Assclowns are infamous for love bombing. Sex is apart of that. He knows if he gets you into bed, he has you and he can be anything you want him to be, to make it happen.

    I just don’t get why women believe they can know someone within just a few weeks, let alone just a few months.

    Someone who wanted to jump into bed with me too soon would be a huge red flag.

    I don’t see the rush if it’s someone who has the potential to be a permanent life partner.

    • Jennifer says:

      K,

      “I find it difficult to believe that friends with benefits is somehow acceptable. I tried that. I don’t think it’s possible with empathy. Sex was meant to bond us, emotionally and spiritually. Somehow the idea of that much bonding while dating is nauseating.” I can’t agree more. Casual sex doesn’t make sense to me and believe me I’ve tried it and it has never been truly pleasurable/fulfilling. Sure I bragged like it was (lies) and built it up in my head because I didn’t want to admit how much of a physical and emotional risk I had taken with such little return. Casual sex is an oxymoron just like casual relationship. Sex is not inherently casual. In a physical sense it is an expression of extreme vulnerability and to try to make this casual is to set yourself up for hurt and drama. I’ve heard some people can have casual sex and enjoy it/feel fine (no anxiety about it) but ya know, I’m just not buying it.

      • dancingqueen says:

        I agree that, for me, casual sex is impossible. I have had discussions with people that maybe it is easier when you are younger to jump into bed with someone who you barely know but…to be honest, I just drank more when I was younger so I think that that was what made it easier lol!

        I think that, given my current ability to not down more than two glasses of wine with someone, casual sex is definitely out.

      • jewells says:

        I have to say that I did do a ‘one night, casual sex’ thing with someone last week. He is an acquaintance that I met a year ago, he happened to be in town for a couple of days. Everything about him screams EUM (including living in another city), but after having spent 2 months on BR, I went in with eyes open. Initially I resisted what I saw to be him trying to reel me in for casual sex. Then I went out with him and his work mates, had a really fun time, and decided to take him home and see how I felt about it. I feel fine, it was my choice, I went in with knowledge of what it was and that it was all my CHOICE. It also feels empowering in a way that my last sexual experience is no longer the exMM EUM Narc, with whom sex was intertwined with emotions that were entwined due to FF and FF and the expectations that came with it, which did indeed lead to greater desire for him and bonding to him. I had no expectations of this casual fling and enjoyed it for what it was, and being a scorpio he was also intent on making sure it was as equally pleasurable for me! I also asked him to never lie to me, which he didn’t out of respect I’m sure in part due to the fact that I told him all about my recent experience, and he left me with no expectations that it was anything other than what it was. So I believe it is possible that if the fancy strikes you and you are honest with yourself about what is, you can enjoy the occasional dalliance if you so choose.

        • yoghurt says:

          jewells

          If you’re able to do that then fair enough and I’m not criticising the ability, but a word of warning… that viewpoint rests on the assumption that they’ll leave YOU alone.

          When I broke up from my long-term relationship I had three dalliances (ace word) and each time I assumed that it was a Wham Bam type of a thingummy. Each of them a) discovered that I was quite a nice sympathetic listener the morning afterwards b) assumed that I’d be happy to behave as their free prostitute and c) even when I’d binned them off, still assumed that they could use my spare room as a flop-house to avoid getting a taxi home, and then spend the night trying to creep into my bedroom.

          Admittedly, I live in a Small Place (although in a sense that made it ‘feel’ safer) and also admittedly, I could’ve exercised better judgement when it came to protecting my boundaries afterwards. But when you’ve got someone pounding your door down at 4am or leaving lots of angry messages on your phone about how they’re away and they’re going to drunk-drive the 30-mile journey unless they know that you’ll let them in when they arrive, in which case they’ll get a taxi (sheesh, did this stuff actually happen to me?)… you do start questioning your rational judgement a bit.

          Tbf, if the same thing happened now I’d call the police/let them drive home drunk/throw eggs at them from my bedroom window. But even those’d be a fairly unpleasant things to have happen and I just don’t want to risk it. My emotional wellbeing is too important for me to have to deal with it.

          Thankfully, it was the least psychotic of these three charmers who got me pregnant (just the whiniest, and that was a bundle of laughs) but ALL of them seemed like quite nice normal blokes when I first met them. I had no idea that I was about to become the Patron Saint of Loonies.

          I suppose I’m saying that you need to exercise judgement and be super-careful if you’re going to pursue that path. Don’t assume that people are playing by your rules and think and watch carefully before you make yourself vulnerable to someone whose intentions you haven’t much idea about.

        • Mymble says:

          Jewells
          I did some of that and looking back it never did much for me bc
          1. You don’t enjoy the sex that much, with someone you don’t know very well. It takes time, familiarity and trust to get really comfortable enough to really enjoy the experience. Added to that your senses will probably be dulled by alcohol. (or you probably wouldnt be doing it)Men have even told me that they don’t really enjoy ONS that much, for exactly the same reasons, and they have performance anxiety to add on to that.
          So why do it?
          The reason, inboth cases is validation (yes, I’ve still got it!)which wears off pretty quickly. Even if you knew it was never going any further there’s still a pinch of hurt that they didn’t phone or express any interest in seeing you again; or they do want to see more of you, but you realise that actually you don’t much fancy or perhaps even like
          them. That isn’t a good feeling either.
          Then there’s all the other, uncomfortable baggage; wondering who knows and what he’s told others (and I don’t care how liberated your social circle is, there’s still a double standard)and you might not want colleagues, family, classmates to know.

          Then there’s the “long term casual” non-relationship which is what I and many others got
          involved in, whether we realised it or not, and leads to all kinds of hell.

          • jewells says:

            I appreciate your comments, I really do. I trusted my judgement on this one and I was happily right. It was exactly what I thought it would be. He has enough class and decorum to not be a clingon or a pest, nor has he even bothered to email me since, but I wasn’t expecting anything, so not disappointed. He lives in another, well, country in fact and isn’t part of my social circle, so has no one to impart the information to. So, as dalliances go, I think I chose well, and it’s not like it’s going to happen often, nor do I intend on proceeding in this manner. As I too know that sex within a mutual relationship is sooooo much better, as well as having a life partner is also much more desirable. I am still going in the direction of healing so that I can find myself in a healthy relationship. I was more testing myself, my judgement and in a way, having an experiment to see where I’m at and having a dalliance that was on ‘my’ terms, with my eyes wide open and unclouded by the illusion or fantasy of my recent MM EUM Narc experience – an act of self empowerment about making a choice in knowledge. And yes, the mandatory precautions were implimented, I didn’t take the situation THAT casually. He WAS funny the next morning I have to say…he’s shorter than I am and I noticed that he bounced about on his toes when we were saying our goodbyes as he was leaving my place. The evening before, in conversation I came to find out that he doesn’t like himself very much, add that to being self conscious about his height and I can see the core of his EUMness, but I’m no flo, he’s going to have to tackle all that on his own time :) Cheers

            • jewells says:

              Add to that, the reason I chose to do this with him was: he did treat me in a respectful manner, for an EUM, in that he did nothing to lead me to believe it to be anything other than what was presented, he’s a scorpio – which I have a penchant for anyway, he has some class and decorum. I met him through a work situation – I was working, he was visiting someone I worked with and respected and I knew that he had to have substance to be friends with this person. The EUM signals: I haven’t heard from him since our intitial few emails after we met a year ago, he’s a musician, he emailed me when he knew he was coming and duration of the time he was here, only gave me a few hours heads up that he was arriving (which I ignored until the next day) and tried to get me to see him the next night without setting any kind of time or place except to say he’d contact me after the soccer game (so I made myself busy and didn’t see him that night either), so when he did finally set a meeting time for the last night he was here, he was prompt on time, we went to dinner, he had tickets for me for his concert, I went out with him and his colleagues, had an amazing time with the three of them, got to know him a bit better, found him to be as I remembered from the year before and determined that, despite being EUM, he was definitely non detrimental. Pretty much a take him at face value, and you get what you expect. In the past I may have read more into his ‘interest’ or ‘attentions’ or ‘crumb gestures’, now I see them for what they are and it’s my choice to take it or leave it. I chose to take it, enjoy the moment, I don’t regret it because I was in my power. BUT, I am still on the path for more.

              • jewells says:

                oops, should have continued ‘still on the path for more” for myself and one day with someone who can provide trust, respect, love and care within a relationship with me. I’m not there yet, but everyday I read BR, I get stronger and my experiences are deeper and more meaningful. I’m starting to understand how to provide these things for myself despite what/who is happening around me. Thank you everyone who posts here, it’s not just Nathalies’s blogs that have given me so much, but also everyone who shares their stories, as I have seen pieces of my own in so many.

      • K says:

        Jennifer,

        Yep! Agreed! Those that say that make me WONDER. What’s interesting is that underneath all of that pontificating about how great casual sex is, is a HUGE issue that is not being dealt with. I took it at face value that there was some truth in it…and I did because I was trying to justify in my own mind, my own “casual” relationship with a man I believed I loved but whom I KNEW did not love me. And it was an affair relationshit. Now? TOOOOTALLY different perspective.

        I agree with you in that you set yourself up for drama and hurt. Ohhhhhh the lies we tell ourselves to avoid facing the truth…

        • Jennifer says:

          K,
          “underneath all of that pontificating about how great casual sex is, is a HUGE issue that is not being dealt with.” Exactly. For me it was the feeling of not being worth anymore than just casual anything, being so hungry for affection, getting sex and intimacy confused, not valuing my physical health and safety enough ( I mean if you are sleeping with someone you don’t know very well you are taking a risk. Point blank.) It was that I feared no man would wait. Untrue. There are men who will. Good men who are available and in it for the long haul. I just didn’t value myself enough to hold out for one of the good ones.

    • Victorious says:

      Yes, and you also can find yourself falling into the Justifying Zone. Until I read Natalies post on this I had no idea what I had done, but reading it made my blood run cold. Although I waited 2 months to have sex, as soon as we had, I felt far more committed, and so it was harder for me to leave when the shit started falling.

    • Snowboard says:

      “Someone who wanted to jump into bed with me too soon would be a huge red flag.”

      Yay, good for you!!! Pay close attention to that red flag, because I found in the spring that these kinds of situations can take you off guard. You just meet a guy, he seems nice, or even not that nice, you go on a date or two, and the next thing you know he is using every guilt-trip line in the book to get you to have sex with him. The problem is that he plays on your fear of losing him -> you don’t know if you’re ready to lose him because you still don’t even *know* him. Of course, if you did have sex him, within a couple weeks, you would know him better, realize he is an objectively enormous jerk/loser, and dump him with no regrets. But by then you have already had sex with him, and shared this beautiful thing with some creep who doesn’t deserve it. In my view, a guy pushing for sex is the single largest red flag that he can give a woman in the early stages of dating. If you see this flag, it’s not a matter of “should I push past this phase and see how he is after?”; it’s a matter of, “wow this person is a huge creep and I don’t ever want him near me again.” It’s also a matter of protecting *yourself* during the early dating phases by keeping all dates outside of one another’s homes.

    • teachable says:

      K I’m right with you here. I would take MANY months before feeling comfortable/safe enough to progress to sex with someone.

      I would also need to be clear that I am in a committed relationship with the goal of becoming permanent.

      I have even thought about basically saying I am waiting until marriage (is this too old fashioned nowadays I wonder?)

      Good for you in saying this. It might not be for everyone, and I don’t judge other people’s choices, but I read all this 90 day stuff and think, heck 90 days?? 90 days is NOTHING! And really when it comes to getting to know someone’s character INTIMATELY it isn’t.

      I might be ready for hand holding and a peck on the cheek goodnight within 90 days!

      T ;)

  53. Tinkerbell says:

    Addressing a much earlier question. EUM’s can be with you for eternity, as long as you allow them to be in your life. My experience has been that the EUM I was involved with was a world-class manipulator. He was a long recovered drug addict, in addition to being in a marriage which he claimed was unsatisfying but at the same time creditted her with helping him get clean. He couldn’t leave her because he “owed her so much”. He was used to manipulating in his drug life and just applied the same tactics to luring in OT’s.A virtual DOG. I heard every kind of “but” that could be applied to “our” situation. I think if you can recognize the MANIPULATION that is so much a part of an EUM’s behavior it puts you so much further ahead in getting out of the mess, assuming you have some degree of self esteem.

    Griz, your posts are just fascinating and right on point every time. You stated that you aspired to be a writer. I hope you will realize your dream. Best always to you and to everyone else in the struggle to better our lives by putting ourselves first.

    • Grizelda says:

      Thank you Tinkerbell, I really appreciate your compliment. Now I’m blushing. It does mean a lot coming from you and all others here who I respect so much, who’ve been dispatched into a very, very personal hell by terrible people who used and abused them for wanting nothing more than a decent level of love, affection and respect. This site changed my life, and probably saved it too. The only way I can show my gratitude to Natalie and her help, and to other commenters here, is to offer whatever I can in words.

      • K says:

        Griz,

        I tend to agree with you. One of the things that impresses me about this forum is the level of high intelligence of others here, COUPLED WITH high levels of empathy that just need a little balancing. Ok, maybe a little more when one has been hurt, but I see LOTS of good writers here! I appreciate the comraderie and sharing here!

  54. anony says:

    This post is so important to keep in mind. The stuff after the “but” is what you need to watch for. While I’m here, could I get a sanity check please? My guy treats me well most of the time. He does most of the things I ask for. We have some good laughs together.

    His conflict approach is to play the ostrich and not face things. He has said it takes him several days to realize he is annoyed with life sometimes. He can be really moody. He can basically ignore me most of the time I’m at his house. We always stay at his place. He likes the idea of me leaving stuff at his house but he introduces me as a friend. He goes through times of not wanting to go along with any suggestions for things to do, so we just sit there. His RL with his mother is not so happy. His behavior towards me changed a lot (for the worse as in I feel a little neglected) after a recent argument associated with traditional commitment actions. Almost like he saw I won’t just have a superficial RL and he’s punishing me for it with passive aggression, withdrawing attention and affection, ignoring me sometimes when I’m with him. But a friend got engaged recently and he seemed VERY interested in gauging my reactions, hearing how I talked about it, and even brought up the engagement at a later date on his own. I get mixed messages.

    He isn’t openly rude. He isn’t married. He doesn’t disappear for a week. No cheating or beating as they say here. Sometimes when I bring up emotional topics he gets very bondy and verbally intimate. He basically never starts those convos. Sometimes he can be spontaneously sweet. He really liked the idea of me meeting family/friends. It’s just, that I feel like he does not want a RL with any hard stuff. He wants it light and breezy always. When I back off he doesn’t really chase much. He’s stuck on his routine.

    Complicating all of this is my own issues. I can be needy and need lots of reassurance. I try to keep it out of the RL as much as possible. So because I have these issues I can’t really tell whether I’m dealing with an EUM or whether he is just a little exhausted from dealing with my high-maintenance self.

    And then I wonder if my inability to judge that is just another sign that he is messing with me. Can anyone tell from the details provided if I need to be careful? Some outside feedback would be so helpful!

    • Victorious says:

      anony, you could be describing my ex narc. If you are in London start panicking! His words and actions do not match. He has yo feeling like you are “high maintenance” just because you would like to know where the hell you stand (if anywhere) in what you cannot quite dare to call a relationship. CRUMBS!!!!!!!!!!!

      • sushi says:

        Victorious,
        thanks for giving it a name. I see now why reading anony`s post gave me this sinking feeling of recognition mixed with desire to run.I spoke to my brother yesterday,his life is in ruins in every sense, his wife is a narc, my dad was a narc ( this was brought to my attention recently)and I can so see that most of the relationships I had were with people who had narcistic traits. God, they are dangerous, yes anony, it`s true that if you lose the ability to judge it is a huge red flag! OMG, just run!!

      • Espoir says:

        Girls, both of you – this is the spitting image of my PotHead Ex. They are soooo good at making us wonder what’s wrong with us…and as Tinkerbell was brilliantly saying they are willing to be in our lives as long as we allow them.

    • sushi says:

      anony,
      I`m not sure what exactly is the problem with your guy….but (here is the but :) the fact is he is moody, inconsistent, gives you mixed messages,you are walking around him on eggshells. Could it be that you don`t feel happy and secure in this relationship because of it? If you feel a bit insecure generally( totally human) behaviour like that will surely not make you feel any better. I would not feel happy and secure from what you describe either.I remember very well myself in that position, looking for any positive bits to try to justify still being there.I felt really insecure too and overeacted a couple of times,and gave him the benefit of the doubt, instead of giving it to me, but from time and space perspective – I know I was just reacting to his behaviour. Trying to work out why he was the way he was – waste of time. Now, if a person or a situation is making me feel uncomfortable, bad and insecure I`m not compelled to analyse it anymore, if it feels wrong, it IS wrong so it`s time to take protective action.

      • natashya says:

        major flasbacks here. my ex EUM also wasn’t a classic AC. it was a more underneath the surface subconscious assclownery, which i now realise is much more dangerous because it sucks you into a state of confusion, wondering what the hell is wrong with yourself.

        in healthy relationships there is no confusion. there should not be insecurity. it’s a big, red flag.

        the introducing you as a friend is also pure BS. i put up with this, as well… actually, no i didn’t. he never introduced me at all to his friends. i always had to do it myself. they had no clue who i was. i still remember the confusion on their faces.

        stop making excuses for this EUM and choose for YOU.

        • anony says:

          “in healthy relationships there is no confusion. there should not be insecurity. it’s a big, red flag.”

          Yeah I think you’re probably right. It’s so hard to NOT think “this would have been a healthy relationship if I hadn’t let my own issues get in the way.” How sad is that. I try to have healthy communication and such. I feel like even if my feelings are my responsibility he should want to help me feel secure.

          And there are times when he does. That’s my confusion. I’m wondering if the times he doesn’t help are times when I didn’t really ask for what I need.

          • natashya says:

            you shouldn’t have to ask for him to acknowledge your presence, to be attentive and to make you feel safe and secure. those are BASIC ingredients of a healthy relationship.

            he may not be the classic cheating, lying, asshole AC, but his lack of positive action speaks louder than words.

            this dude is EUM or he simply doesn’t give a toss about you.

            trust your instinct, that’s why you have it. this guy is a EUM at best and a passive-agressive AC at worst. what are you getting out of this relationship?

            honestly, this one should be flushed so you can find someone who treats you with the care and respect you deserve. someone who does make you feel safe and secure, someone who loves your presence and acknowledges it. someone who doesn’t ignore and reject you. someone who doesn’t make you question your relationship and yourself. you deserve better than this.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Anony… They say here actions speak louder than words. Alot of what you wrote raises red flags for me but I am interested to see what other posters reactions are since I am fairly new to all this. Introducing you as a friend for one. My ex-AC did this for a long time and it annoyed the hell out of me.I think its a sign for things to come. ALways going to his place, another of my ex-AC traits. At times I would express my wants for him to come to my place and he did but only occasionally.Then he would come at 10pm which I advised him was not working for me. I started to feel like I was being used for sex. Not a good feeling at all. He would always deny it but I felt like that. I feel like I missed alot of red flags early on because well I didnt know what they meant & I was enjoying our time together.He was handsome, educated, kind,sensitive & felt like a breath of fresh air at that time of my life being divorced w/2 children. So totally different from my ex-husband but an AC/commitmentphobic thru & thru. The signs were there all along & knowing what I know now the puzzle all fits together …

      • cavewoman says:

        I feel very strongly about the introducing you as a friend bit. It’s a lie to the world. It’s an insult to you. The best he should be able to hope for is that you be his friend, then.

      • Espoir says:

        Kit-Kat,

        I can really relate to your post since I felt exactly the same in my almost 5years relationship wiht the handsome, educated, kind and ”OH sooo different from my Ex husband”, EUM . And looking back the signs were there from the start, I know they always are…I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that I understand you so well…the Puzzle is also complet in my case.

      • anony says:

        Used for sex, I never ever thought I would feel that way. But the other day he was grumpy all day, we were traveling so I’m sitting there trying to keep myself upbeat without him communicating in any way. Then all of a sudden he apologizes for being in a bad mood. Turns out he was hoping that fixed it and made me desire him sexually.

        And this stuff has been hurting so much that I ended up crying after the sex. Which, he seemed to be concerned about. It seemed genuine. So here I am again questioning whether these red flags are all in my head. There’s a few times when he’s actually cried when I was crying over something.

        How can you tell if it’s crocodile tears?

        • teachable says:

          Here’s you tell. Teachable said they WERE! lol

          (Sorry, Ididn’t mean to sound flippant. But men can be right manipulative and that sounds downright manipulative to me).

        • sushi says:

          anony,
          he sounds like he enjoys the power he has over you….and he loves high drama. Got the creeps again when I read this last bit you wrote about you crying after sex. My last AC quite clearly enjoyed yanking me backwards and forwards and watching me be sooo desperate for him. You sound unhappy, anony, take care.

    • dancingqueen says:

      “It’s just, that I feel like he does not want a RL with any hard stuff. He wants it light and breezy always.”

      That sentence says it all. If you were in a quality relationship, you would not have written that sweetheart. I think you need to make a decision here. Why do you want to be with someone who you suspect is jerking you around.He is, in my opinion, from the way you describe him. Lots of guys can be sweet, hell I am sure that John Mayer can be very sweet when he is not being an AC. But those occasionals don’t make up for your feeling that you want more than him. I would bail, honestly. Good luck.

    • K says:

      Anon,

      Why do you put yourself down? “or whether HE is just a little exhausted from dealing with my high maintenance self.” WHAAAT????

      This means you are in a ONE DOWN position.

      This guy has UNFOLDED. His “techniques” aren’t aggressive as many assclowns, but sometimes the passive aggressive ones are more DANGEROUS as they are the KINGS and QUEENS OF GAS LIGHTING. They make YOU feel that YOU’RE the problem or the reason they are not reacting and responding the way that a NORMAL, HEALTHY person would.

      One of my future deal breakers is the SILENT TREATMENT, which is what he’s subjected you too. It doesn’t matter *how* or *why* he does it, but it ERODES your self esteem and is the HEIGHT of disrespect because you are being shown you are NOT worthy of acknowledgement.

      He is showing that is sooooo many ways.

      In my opinion, this man is an assclown and a dangerous one at that, who will (and is) eroding what is left of your self esteem over time and filling you with self doubt. When you are asking these kinds of questions to yourself or others, it’s time to JOG!!

      • Jennifer says:

        K,

        Again you are sooo right. I’m so glad you brought up silent treatment. This is a red flag and very emotionally abusive. It is mean/spiteful/nasty and immature. I have to admitt I did this to my ex And something felt very wrong so I did some research on healthy relationships and brought it up in therapy and realized exactly how toxic it is. It’s done with the intention to get revenge/hurt and control, not with the intention to share/state ones needs or properly stand up for ones self. It’s a cowardly move that is like injecting poison into relationships.

      • anony says:

        I like the idea of silent treatment being a dealbreaker. And you’re right I shouldn’t judge myself for needing reassurance in relationships. When he is making me feel secure that isn’t an issue. But this last time when I let him know I wasn’t feeling secure, it doesn’t seem like he’s bothered trying to fix it.

        You’re right it doesn’t matter why they give the silent treatment. I should ignore the fact that he probably has PTSD and can’t handle lots of stress. Shirt this stuff stresses me too.

        And yes, the last couple of weeks I have been feeling a bit disrespected.

        I might just cut bait… or I might say here are the ways I feel like you are not considering my needs. Here’s what I want. Figure out whether you can do that and show me your answer.

        Is a last ditch effort unwise? What if this is all due to me not communicating well or something?

        • RadioGirl says:

          anony,

          “Is a last ditch effort unwise?

          I went down this avenue of thought with my ex. I did make that “last ditch effort” while we were away for a fortnight together in Argentina. I twisted myself into the proverbial pretzel in a “last ditch effort” of trying to give him space to do everything to his agenda, while at the same time attempting to communicate gently with him to try and get some reassurance that things would be okay between us. His response was to treat me to 2 weeks of passive agressive behaviour and make me feel like I was some kind of burden to him, and then (literally) run off and leave me after we landed at Heathrow Airport. I too had the exact same thought – “What if this is all due to me not communicating well or something?”. Trust me – and the many others who have replied to your post – it’s NOT you, it’s HIM! If you have been feeling a bit disrespected in the last couple of weeks, it’s because you HAVE been being disrespected. That’s your gut speaking to you and trying to protect you, if only you will listen to it! Please take the opportunity to dodge a bullet here before you get mortally wounded by it.

        • K says:

          Anon,

          I feel so irritated when the justifying of a man’s behavior is because he is: Depressed, has PTSD, has Asperberger’s, BiPolar, is manic.

          Um..nooooooo….I have PTSD and depression. But ya know what? I don’t blame my BEHAVIOR or how I treat others on my mental health issue. This is a HUGE excuse that works SO WELL for some asshats who are passive aggressive and controlling. Pity is the NUMBER ONE reason that we stay.

          FLUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • selkie says:

            Amen K. While these conditions are legit, I sometimes see them as disclaimers when they are brought up in the wake of shitty behavior.

    • RadioGirl says:

      anony,

      I’ve been following Natalie’s wonderful posts on BR for about 18 months now, although I don’t often add to the comments any more. Please take heed of what all the others on here have said – they are all absolutely SPOT ON! Your man sounds so horribly similar to my ex that just reading what you wrote took me back to 2 years ago, when he was putting me through the wringer in just the same way, with all the insidious passive-aggression that almost imperceptibly chipped away at my self-worth. In the end, I truly believed that I was unworthy of him and that he was being moody and distant (and emotionally unfaithful behind my back) because I was too needy and not good enough for him. The details you have written here are so very similar to my own experience – all of it. I think these characters (which K correctly identifies as Gaslighters) are truly the most dangerous type of EU people. My relationship ended in February 2011, and although I am LONG-since over the heartbreak stage, I am still in therapy working on building my self-esteem back up to a state where I can properly create a new life for myself from the desolate ruins I ended up in. For the sake of your own sanity, please RUN from this guy as fast as your legs will carry you!

    • RadioGirl says:

      By the way, to get things back on-topic, one of the things my ex-Gaslighter said to me was “My previous ex-girlfriend truly loved me, *but* she tried to put me in a cage”.

      If that’s not a commitment-phobe speaking, I don’t know what is.

      Of course, I thought I would be different to her, the Exception to the Rule. How very, very wrong I was…

      • K says:

        “My ex gaslighter”

        I love it when women apply labels like this to their ex’s. It takes the power of any fantasy that’s left and puts a splash of reality onto the whole thing, but this one is a new one for me!

        • RadioGirl says:

          Thanks, K :-)

          By the way, re. your other post in reply to Anony, I’m suffering with PTSD and depression/anxiety too. You’re totally right that this is not an excuse to treat people badly. In fact, if anything, I have been apologising to people for having to lean on them a bit at the moment and keep telling everyone how much I appreciate them.

          Wishing you well with your recovery, K ((((hugs))))

    • selkie says:

      Anony,

      Like others here have said, this guy sounds similar to my ex. He was moody, sometimes distant, easily offended by things that baffled me, and although he called me his girlfriend, I didn’t feel welcome in his life. I felt like I was tiptoeing around in his space, as to not be too ‘much’ for him. I almost felt like I was intruding sometimes. I stuck it out because he was sweet ( compared to the abusive ex ac), he was always on time, called when he said he would, etc. but I never got close to him. Something was missing. Whenever I would try to talk to him about ‘stuff;, he would get defensive and nothing would get ironed out. I’d felt like I pushed the wrong buttons. I became wary. Of course he blamed it on me, and eventually dumped me. This guy your with sounds like trouble down the road. If your gut is telling you things aren’t right, listen to it. We can justify it as our own fears gnawing at us, but needing intimacy and closeness in a relationship is not needy Hon. It’s normal to want those things. Don’t let him twist that on you, and don’t you twist that on yourself. Best of luck to you.

      • Tulipa says:

        “I stuck it out because he was sweet ( compared to the abusive ex ac), he was always on time, called when he said he would, etc. but I never got close to him. Something was missing.”

        This was part of my justifying zone for staying with the EUM I was always comparing him to the AC and of course the EUM was going to come up smelling of roses in comparison to an AC.
        But there wasn’t any getting close to the EUM if one went too far assumed too much of a relationship bam he would do something to say nope you can’t win me over.
        And something was definately missing.

        • anony says:

          “But there wasn’t any getting close to the EUM if one went too far assumed too much of a relationship bam he would do something to say nope you can’t win me over.”

          Yeah I think that’s the fallout I’m going through right now. Lots of space and him making ZERO effort to engage me. Except if I go away and don’t stick around like he’s used to he makes minor efforts to reach out. But then if I go along with it he gets lazy/dismissive again.

          Funny enough, I asked about him calling me friend. He had this deal about not wanting others to be in his private business. I asked if it was a commitment thing and he said no. Then he said, “well I don’t think it is.” Like he wanted to be sure he was being honest.

          Ugh this is hard to sort out.

          • Tulipa says:

            anony

            “Ugh this is hard to sort out.”

            It is hard to sort out because it isnt something you can sort out.
            This is where the concept of twisitng yourself into a pretzel comes into play no matter what you do what you say you cannot get a straight answer out of these men.

            I look at my last break up all about breaking up with me moving on with his life yet still wanting to know if I would have sex with him.

            I figure even if you were a top lawyer you wouldn’t be able to sort things out. They are too slippery to be pinned down for an honest answer.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      I agree with ALL of the responses you have received. He is not only EU and a bot of an AC, but totally passive-aggressive, which IS abusive in it’s own right. It’s covert, rather than overt.

      YOU are NOT high-maintenance. YOU are merely asking for the BASICS of a relationship…whether it is platonic, business or romantic. YOU are NOT the problem in this equation…He IS.

      I’ve learned the hard way. If it were me in your position, today, I’d FLUSH and leave him in the dust. HE is the unhealthy one and they just don’t change. There are plenty of HEALTHY, smart, educated, good looking guys out there who not only WILL refer to you as his girlfriend, but will APPRECIATE you.

      If a guy is making you dance to his tune or making you jump through hoops to please HIM, tell him there’s a perfect job out there for him with that attitude. Head Clown in the circus. And you’d be happy to provide a glowing recommendation for the job!

    • anony says:

      Wow. Thank you all so very much. You have given me a lot to think about. I say I can be needy because I have major abandonment issues, and the buttons get pushed easily. I didn’t see this man as an EUM or Narc or AC so I was open about that, thinking if someone cares for you then they use those moments to help you heal.

      That’s what set off this latest withdrawing fight thing. He withdrew something that symbolizes deeper commitment, I got upset and was open about it. I even told him it was my abandonment stuff and I need reassurance when it happens. He tried to reassure me. The next time I saw him I asked for cuddles and he had other plans – but he did try to do what I asked the next day.

      I’m so confused about it. I really can be very needy, attention-seeking. I like validation a lot. I like someone not being so secretive that I must ask questions to get info.

      I guess for the time being I will proceed with caution. I think as one of you said he might be one of those passive aggressive Good Guy Gaslighters who is mostly subconscious about it. He gets deeply offended if I think his actions have ill will. (The offense seems genuine.)

      But bottom line, practically speaking I dunno how well I can manage a RL with a passive aggressive who uses the silent treatment. He won’t refuse to respond to me but he makes me do all the work.

      Not to mention… four people in my life have told me it sounds like I am carrying too much effort in the RL. With my history, I don’t even know how to go about making it more balanced. I suppose if this man IS an EUM then he will not allow that to happen.

      You all gave me much to consider. I’m still confused. There are plausible reasons for so much of what he does. But I guess in the end, even if it has a valid reason it isn’t right for me to sacrifice my needs.

      Ugh he’s so good on paper! And so cute! And so charming and hot in bed when he’s trying. This is such a shame.

      • jewells says:

        Anony,
        Might I suggest some counselling for your issues that you seem to be very aware of – which is half the battle of overcoming them. Then you could be in a better position to assess the situation and see if his issues are indeed interfering with having a healthy relationship or if it’s the combination of yours and his issues that are creating the problem between you.

        • anony says:

          Thank you. I have done some counseling and last time I saw my T she says you’re doing so well I don’t think you need me! I need to give her an update lol. I think my guy has abandonment stuff too so one issue is I get insecure, it makes him insecure and he doesn’t reassure me. But if I feed him the working solution how can he not do it?

          • jewells says:

            Lead a horse to water, can’t make him drink…

            • Mymble says:

              Who’s decided he has “abandonment issues” and that these are causing the problem in your relationship?
              You can analyse them, diagnose the illness, condition, or trauma that causes them to act as they do and prescribe the solution but if they don’t want to “get better” or change then you’re banging your head off a brick wall. A perfect case study is my alcoholic father. He blames his problems on an abusive childhood. He is probably right (but how would I know). I notice how complacent and in denial he is about the damage he has inflicted on his own women and children. Anyway he has been married a few times and all these women have thought they could help him with the power of their love, support and insight. They presumably dismissed the experiences of the earlier wives on the basis that those other women just weren’t up to the job, were unworthy, didn’t understand him. Well not one of them was ever able to get him to stop because either he doesn’t want to stop or he can’t. I don’t know which it is and I don’t really see what difference it makes, now; the outcome is the same.
              Your man either does not want to change or he can’t; (although I tend to think the former); either way it will
              grind you into the ground.
              If you have to tell someone
              “stop being rude to me”
              “stop sending me to Coventry for no reason”
              “acknowledge me as your GF”
              you’re on a highway to nowhere.
              If he were hitting you, would you think it necessary to explain to him why your relationship would be better if he stopped?
              Sending someone to coventry, ignoring them is at best very disrespectful and at worst an act of great hostility. Of course he knows you don’t like it. Nobody likes it.

          • sushi says:

            anony, I am going to be blunt ( gulp) and hope I don`t hurt your feelings.I think you are in complete denial of the reality of your relationship and you are looking for any grain of hope of faciliating the change in him and your relationship. I was hell bent on finding a cure for alcoholism and narcisitic assclowness so that I can have a great relationship with a guy who was perfectly happy being an alcoholic and a narcistic AC.I spend a lot of time and money getting help from professionals, nearly drove my shrink to distraction. I could not get rid of that hope. What slowly shifted my denial was everyones stories on here, we all go through the same stuff, and none of us are an exception to the rule.

          • La Pintura Bella says:

            Anony…

            I think you are completely in the Justification Zone AND blaming yourself. It’s time to take off the rose colored glasses. You may have abandonment issues, however, it’s been my experience that those issues only arise when someone is giving your CAUSE to be insecure. And does sound like he’s giving you a lot of cause.

            Instead of trying to “fix” him, you might thin about how it makes you feel and that IT IS UNACCEPTABLE. It will probably make you angry, and if it does, it will give you the impetus to chose yourself over someone who is being passive-aggressively abusive.

            In my opinion, you deserve WAY better than what you are settling for. You can find a sweet, cute guy who actually treats you really well…and then you’ll wonder what you ever saw in this guy.

            Hugs.

    • runnergirl says:

      Anony, I know you have a ton of spot on brilliant comments to digest and think about. Your post and the responses got me thinking about your “high maintenance” concerns. It sounds to me as though he could be the high maintenance one and I think there are some “but” issues.
      The “but” issues: “My guy treats me well most of the time. He does most of the things I ask for. We have some good laughs together. BUT: “He can be really moody. He can basically ignore me most of the time I’m at his house. We always stay at his place. He likes the idea of me leaving stuff at his house but he introduces me as a friend.” “Sometimes he can be spontaneously sweet. He really liked the idea of me meeting family/friends.” BUT: “It’s just, that I feel like he does not want a RL with any hard stuff.” Listen to the buts.
      I see a lot of my past internal dialogue in your comment regarding you being “high maintenance”. You describe him as moody, ignores you, withdraws affection, you feel a little neglected, things are on his terms, he doesn’t want a long term RL,etc. Who is the high maintenance one? It sounds like he is extremely high maintenance. As the others have said, he sounds like a few of the guys I’ve been involved with. Then when you concluded with: “So because I have these issues I can’t really tell whether I’m dealing with an EUM or whether he is just a little exhausted from dealing with my high-maintenance self.” The lights went on for me. That is exactly what I would think. He has all these issues so it must be because of my issues. NO, NO, NO! He has issues. You have issues BUT you are two separate people. You didn’t cause his issues and he didn’t cause yours. I don’t know if my response helps you or even makes sense. Your post really solidified for me everything Natalie has said about people being separate individuals.
      All that being said, dear, I’d get out ASAP. Too many buts, mixed messages, and ambiguity, which creates self-doubt and erodes your self-esteem. BTW, I’m not an expert and you may disregard this response. Hugs though. Sounds like you are invested and attached and it may be difficult to disengage.

      • anony says:

        Thank you for the wake up call. I need that sort of thing. I should start reframing it as he is the high maintenance one. The mixed messages have been there from the beginning. In fact last night he texted me some positive words, and when I replied he ignored it. I said it confuses me when you reach out then don’t so please try to be more consistent. His response was that he wasn’t ignoring and just had nothing to say. Wiggle wiggle. When he wants to talk to me he has NO trouble finding something to say. This is b.s.

        • Allison says:

          Anony,

          This relationship sounds exhausting!

          I, too, had a relationship that was filled with continuous drama and uncertainty, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why I stuck around. Relationships will have their ups and downs, but for the most part there will be ups. You will feel secure, and not be continually questioning every conversation, text and e-mail. This is too much work, and extremely unhealthy.

          Please ask yourself, why you are choosing to stay in this situation. I think you know that this guy is no good, so why don’t you get out?

          Also, the passive aggressive behavior is a no go, as it it very controlling and cruel – my ex did it too!

  55. lo j says:

    Oh so many buts! My last EU had buts for EVERYTHING! And in our last (well … his last tyrade) discussion, he yelled at me in a restaurant in front of our children and everybody, “I am sick of the excuses.” Ironic, but unfortunately enlightening to me for my own behavior. I had numerous buts and excuses of my own. And I saw how buts had kept me stuck, a victim, unaccountable and irresponsible, blaming, and I saw in him how limiting the buts were … and unattractive! Ugh. Now I’m aware of the buts, in me and others, and it prompts me into some kind of action. So grateful for his words. Hopefully he has learned as well.

  56. Awakened says:

    @anony I would definitely say that there is some emotionally unavailabilty there. The withdrawing attention and affection and ignoring would be an eye opener for me. He doesn’t do this but he does this is what you are trying to filter out but you could easily miss the main point doing this and main point is that there is some uncertainty somewhere. It’s in your gut that something is not right in your beautiful picture. Hopefully you are not wearing rose colored glasses on. He ignores- not good. He withdraws – that’s not good. The fact that he isn’t rude; isn’t married or doesn’t dissapear for a week does not mean that he’s right for you. Someone can still have all the good points and still not be right for you. Natalie had a posting on this a while back. I would definitely proceed with caution just incase I have to FLUSH.

  57. Jennifer says:

    Natalie’s book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl has been the single most important book I’ve read as an adult. Seriously. I’m not trying to peddle her book but really I CANNOT recommend it enough. I developed a fatal eating disorder in my last unavailable relationship and if I hadn’t ordered and started her book, I might not have made it. Not trying to exaggerate but that book gave me the courage to leave a toxic situation that was becoming near fatal for me in that my self care and health had gone to such shit due to the stress/confusion/manipulation/distrust/anxiety/ sneaky invalidation and my low self esteem (I didn’t know I had low self esteem as I had false confidence and I didn’t even know what self esteem was). These bad relationships do so much damage to our health and souls. I had no clue what the hell was going on in regards to the dating front. Now I’m street smart/way more confident and well…freaking alive and on my way to health spiritually, physically and mentally.

    • Lavender says:

      The book and the website really helped me to leave an abusive situation. So grateful I discovered it.

      • Jennifer says:

        Lavender,

        Me too. Getting the knowledge to see what was actually going on and then the courage to leave and stay away happened for me the more I read her book, read this blog and took her self esteem class. Such great resources. I am SO grateful.

    • anony says:

      Oh wow. Lightbulb moment. Ever since this new phase of the RL with this guy started, I have been feeling depressed and not wanting to take care of myself. I thought it was kind of a preemptive breakup experience, like this looks like it’s gone to crap anyway so the grief started. But now I’m not so sure.

      Bumped into him today somewhere, was polite and terse and left quickly. He texted shortly after (usually he waits on me to text, and doesn’t text or respond while he is where I saw him). When I saw the text – some positive words about a new good thing in my life – I started to sob. That makes no sense!

      Also sound familiar?

  58. intuitive says:

    Natalie, thanks for the tip on how to put my fears and concerns first, followed by the but, followed by something that affirms my own self. I am dealing with some concerns in a relationship I would like to start with someone, so I wrote out a few statements like this. It is healing to have my own worries front and center. Then talk about what I am observing in the relationship and what I will DO to address my feelings.

  59. Tinkerbell says:

    An EUM can easily make it seem as though you are “high maintenance”. Actually you represent hard work which he is not up for. All he wants is the ego stroke and the sex. He leaves you feeling very insecure because he won’t allow you to relax and know that he really cares. If he provides too much reassurance he defeats his own purpose which is to get what he is after if and when he is ready for it and leave you high and dry whenever he feels like it. Then you’re left confused and don’t know how to approach him as he is like a bar of soap in bath water. The more you try to grab the quicker he slips away. This is not love. This is not fun. It IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE. Flush as fast as you can.

    • swissmiss says:

      I always learn from your comments, Tinkerbell. They pull the wool from my eyes. What does ‘high maintenance’ mean anyway? That you want connection, engagement, to be taken seriously, and because you’re addressing an EUM brick wall, you are repeating yourself ad nauseum. HALLO ANYONE THERE?! As soon as you hear these words, or feel them about yourself, flush!

      Today from the ex-MM: ‘My wife is trying really hard, BUT she’s not you.’ OOOOO. Sneaky.

      • Mymble says:

        Swiss miss
        Is this the MM who ended his affair with you, in order to (allegedly) work on his marriage? Or perhaps placate his wife untill she starts to trust him again? He isn’t working very hard is he? He is treating you both really badly, why don’t YOU dump HIM and block him? This is just such a waste of your time and emotional energy and while you’re still in contact, then the affair is not over, and he will suck the life out of you. And yes he is very sneaky, and mean. This is deliberate, cold blooded, manipulation to prevent you from moving on. (That and entertaining himself! All this emailing and txting they do is, I think, like a porn habit – entertainment, passing time) Keeping you as an option for if and when he decides the coast is clear.

        • Lilly says:

          Mymble, “This is deliberate, cold blooded, manipulation to prevent you from moving on”. I agree and this is what the exMM is trying to do to me right now. After all that has happened, including the loss of my child, he is trying to keep me as a sexual option for when the coast is clear. I’ve already turned down one offer to go see him, but he’s now asked if I want to go to a “work related” conference with him early next year. This is despite the fact that I’ve told him not to treat me as a sexual object and after I donated all the money he gave me when I lost my baby. I didn’t want to keep any of it. He gave it to me because he said I needed a holiday, but it made me feel like a prostitute. In the midst of all this we have had two papers accepted for publication and are working on a third. This work is important to me, but I’m still hurting badly. I’m trying to keep it professional, but sometimes I slip up. Just entertainment for him, but so painful for me. But I’m stronger than before and I’m listening to my instincts. I won’t be going to the conference.

          • Learner says:

            Lilly,
            Good for you that you declined attending the conference with him! I just read over some of your recent comments, and it is clear that you ARE becoming stronger, and your insight seems to be growing also. I am cheering for you!

            As for me, I have been having some of my own insights recently, and have returned to therapy, after the therapist had thought I was doing OK and had “terminated” with me. Reading BR can be difficult sometimes – realizing how many other people are hurting as we are – and I can’t always bring myself to read all the comments these days because of that. However, the growth it brings about is invaluable.
            Hugs to you NC sister (5 months now) xo

            • Lilly says:

              Learner,

              Yes, our insights are the key to getting through all this pain. Once we become aware there can be no going back, but it’s a painful journey! I’m happy you’ve returned to therapy. This stuff takes time and you need somewhere safe to talk about the issues as and when they come up. Thank you for recommending it to me because I don’t know where I’d be without it or BR, this has literally been my lifeline.

              Can you believe it has been five months since we made the giant leap! Five months of sometimes searing pain, but at the same time protecting ourselves from more pain. I’ve learned so much. If we keep pushing forward the future WILL be brighter for us. No more AC’s ever!

              Speaking of ACs the ex has gone very, very quiet since I’ve turned down his offers to meet up and “discuss research”. Once upon a time I would have jumped at the chance, all the time kidding myself that he wants to be with me. Well times have changed. I will never disrespect myself again. I’m feeling strong today!

              Sending many hugs your way Sis and I’m always in the background cheering you on, xxx.

    • Teddie says:

      Best definition of this kind of creature ever! Bang on, thanks, Tinkerbell

    • anony says:

      “All he wants is the ego stroke and the sex.” I can’t tell if that applies here or not. In the beginning I had some concerns and fears, then it slid into a nice groove and I felt very cared for, and then now there is this whole withdrawing thing happening and it seems he is withholding reassurance even though he knows I need it in a RL.

      There are things that make it seem like your statement is VERY true (especially recently, in the last month or so). And things that make it seem like it doesn’t apply.

      Am I showing the signs of someone who is being gaslighted? Ugh.

      • jewells says:

        Anony, I feel for you, I’ve been in a similar position. It’s hard to tell exactly what is going on from your description, you seem to be unsure if ‘it’s you or if it’s him’. Some counselling for you to address your issues would be beneficial so that you can determine whether your expectations of another person meeting your needs is realistic (therefore he is EUM) or if you are carrying baggage of the steamer trunk variety into the relationship (which is a seriously heavy burden to expect a mere mortal to carry for you). I know I’ve carried sets of steamers in the past, working my way through to get to the carry-on variety :)

  60. Jennifer says:

    Tinkerbell,
    “He leaves you feeling very insecure because he won’t allow you to relax and know that he really cares.” So well put. You are absolutely right. This is exactly how it was with my ex. My father who is an extreme narcissist did this to me as a child too. He never could quite consistently be decent to me for fear I get to much self esttem, call attention to his shite behavior and get the hell out. Which I did. The emotionally unavailable ex was just the same. You are right this cycle is extremely emotionally abusive. And if you try and play their game back it doesn’t work. You just end up being abused and emotionally abusive. And the emotionally unavailable man always wins. He made the game and he doesn’t play nice. These men (my exes) will go to such nasty spiteful lengths to get women hooked and under their control/power, The best solution is to spot these men, run, stay away and NO CONTACT.

    • Lilia says:

      Jennifer, that is so true! They always win. And the worst part is you end up playing unhealthy games yourself.
      My EUM completely disappeared once I opened up to him and told him in all honesty that I had feelings for him and couldn´t go on waiting for him to make up his mind to take me seriously. It seemed this dismantled his whole strategy, it was the only way for me to maintain NC. If I had kept at trying to outsmart him (behaving like an EUW myself) things could´ve gone on into eternity.

      My father is a complete narc as well. The thing I´m remembering now is that he once made me trip intentionally when I was little, and told me that was to teach me not to trust anyone, not even my own father. He thought that was very funny, I think it´s sick.

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Another daughter of a narc father here. Yes, thy set us up to fail and to repeat this original relationship with men.

        As for the EUM always winning the game…there is one very simple and highly effective way for US to win. DON’T PLAY. Recognize what they are and walk away. Pack up your toys and leave the sandbox.

        They will be playing this game forever, repeatedly and never really winning. It’s an illusion as sure as the one they create to hook us. WE, meanwhile, will have moved on to find REAL love, happiness, joy and fulfilling lives.

        • jewells says:

          Yeah, pretty sure my father was a narc too. Passive aggressive, giving with one hand and taking with the other, never giving approval, only showing emotion when it was negative. I cut him off years ago, he still plays his games, has everyone on ‘poor d****’s” side with his tales of ‘whoa as me my daughter treats me horribly’ – no I don’t, I just don’t treat him to anything anymore. I struggled for years with the cut off, but I had to do it for my own self preservation. He only looks for what ‘he can get’ not for ‘what he can give’. Money was a tool for manipulation as that was all he had to work with. As long as I recieved money from him, I was tied to him. Since I have become independant and not in need of his ‘generosity’, I have found that there was nothing else there but emotional pain between us. It did take a long time to cut the ties from him even as an adult, as I had no self esteem or confidence, so was not functioning well in my early adulthood to be self supportive. But when the ties were cut, the healing began.

          • jewells says:

            And what brought me to BR is part of that healing. I’m also starting some intensive therapy today, and have committed to it up till christmas – christmas prezzie to me!

          • La Pintura Bella says:

            Jewells…

            Are you sure we don’t have the same father??? Your description of your dad could have been written by me about my dad verbatim. Wow! I absolutely know what you’ve been through, how you’ve felt and have experienced the same destruction. Big Hug to you!!!!

  61. teachable says:

    Sorry I didnt mean to vent like that. Let’s just say like all of you here I GET the BUTS

    From my parents every year I can recall of my childhood:
    “We’d like to take you home to live with us teach BUT (insert 13 years of never ending excuses ALL of them BS!)”

    From the exAC..
    “I’d like to be in a relationship with you BUT I can’t give you what you need” (you got THAT right! I have no need of a CORPSE! shudder!)

    From my father who adopted me at 6mths & who I found out was not my real father as a young pre teen…
    “It’s great that you’re handling this so well & that you still think of me as your Father BUT I have a new family now & there’s no room for you in my life anymore” (promptly, disappeared. poof just like that. wow!)

    From the pedophile I’m taking to court for violently raping me & murdering my unborn child in utero whilst I was an underage teenage girl:
    “I know what I did was wrong, but if you remember, you didn’t come home the night before. Your friend dropped you off that morning & you’d had sex with him. I know you did! I could smell it on you! (Actually, I had not had sex with this person, a long time platonic friend, however, I digress)…

    And lastly, that great excuse that makes it ALL, well, just perfectly ok then, at least according to my Mother (my sister accepts at least that no, mentally ill or not, what our Mother has done is NOT ok, b.c btw, she’s not THAT mentally ill, for goodness sakes, for if she was, I would be a tad more understanding) Rather, our Mother CHOOSES to be mentally ill b.c it just so happens to be a nice little cop out from taking any sort of responsibility for herself & her behaviour ie the classic borderline!

    It’s no excuse BUT I was mentally ill!!

    Hence:

    The next person who “BUTS” on me in a harmful inappropriate manner, would be well advised to STAND CLEAR!!!!!

    Ok enough from me now. Returning to you all. Im exhausted from battling my demons ovwr this one. You got me here Nat. Im definately a big steaming pile of BUT mad as hell still (which is totally FINE by me. I have a LOT to be mad about!) LOL

    Joins Rev on the steps for a ciggie. I know me bad. Im stopping very soon. Just humor me huh? Collapses.

    • Revolution says:

      *sitting on the stoop with Teach while she puffs a well-deserved ciggie*

      Teach–The people you speak of, those who were supposed to have your back but instead had a “but”? *shakes head* I just don’t have the words. I’m right next to you with a frypan of my own.

    • La Pintura Bella says:

      teachable:

      I’d be happy to lend you my Viking broad-sword should you have need of it!

      • teachable says:

        You girls are great and funny! I needed that laugh. Believe it or or not I worked through all of this stuff and had forgiven my Mother for it (& even told her this) & gave her a whole fresh slate to start with in my early 20′s. What did she do with it? Well. sadly, she took that opportunity to continue her abusive ways until finally a decade later (13 years ago now) I had to eventually cut off. I pit her really, as I suspect this latest attempt I am making WONT work out (because, again she has not changed) however it won’t be because I have not made an appropriate effort. Sigh… And yes, as you can imagine most ppl do say, why even bother. What can I say? She’s my Mother, and I have no Father? I do find great peace when she’s not in my life though so a very SHORT leash this will be (which is why I suspect she wont last long)…

        • EllyB says:

          @teachable: Just a word of warning: NC is NOT going to change your mother. If that is your goal, then what you’re doing would be “silent treatment”, not NC. The “silent treatment” has never truly worked on anybody, not on healthy people and even less so on toxic ones.

          On the other hand, true NC with your parents is not a taboo. Have a look at k’s blog (http://theabilitytolove.wordpress.com/) to find another advocate of NC with toxic parents. For the records, NC (I mean, true, permanent forever NC, not some kind of temporary “coercive measure” in order to change them) with my parents was the only thing that has saved me from suicide.

  62. Jennifer says:

    Another observation regarding Unavailable Men. They get such a high/fix on breaking false confidence. I thought I was this super independent sharp tongued female and that no man could break me. I was rude/mean to men and I thought this made me drip with desirability. Yeah, only to the wolves looking to attack. My ex was an extreme mama’s boy. I mean it was sad. And he had a crazy need to hook/control/invalidate a woman. That young woman was me. I thought I could remain in control and numb to the bad behavior/deplorable treatment. I couldn’t. I got really really sick. I initiated no contact seven months ago. I am better for it and on the mend. Case in point be a decent realistic person/attract a decent realistic person or even better: be a warm loving yet assertive and strong human being with a sense of self value and esteem and get the same.

  63. Jennifer says:

    Also a funny anecdote to think of as a result of No Contact: After I broke up with the last abusive emotionally unavailable ex, I changed my phone number. I don’t know if he’s tried to text or call. I’d bet he’s tried to text. He was a heavy/shady texter. Anyway one friend said she’d been texting my old number by accident and that it’s some dude named Adam. Well the other day I accidently called my old phone number and some /scruffy/grupmpy deep voiced at least middle aged character irritatingly answered. I said, “Oops wrong number,” and quickly hung up. Then it occured to me, how sweet it would be if my ex was sending the usual sappy/creepy texts to this Adam and even called and he answered. Oh! One can only hope! The joy! You know I’ll never know if this is the case and ya know I’m PERFECTLY fine with this…and this is a Mr Unavailable fantasy I can let myself indulge in a bit. But as it involves the ex assclown it won’t be on mind for long b/c that a hole it slippin fast from my thoughts!

    • Revolution says:

      Jennifer,

      We’ll know what happened if we start seeing Adam comment on here. ;) LOL.

    • Mymble says:

      Jennifer
      I think having a good laugh at them (or the things that *could* happen is a great way to knock them off the pedestal and remind yourself that “They are just not that special”. Regard it as defence against the dark arts (in particular, Boggarts).
      Reading Harry Potter to the kids ATM.

      • Victorious says:

        yes my mumble I do this. If ex narc creeps into my thoughts I make sure something vaguely nasty is happening to him. Nothing is going his way. My mates refer to him as Voldemort!! Abandoned by his mother at an early age, gets a kick out of hurting people, wants to control, wants power over others, doesn’t FEEL anything, cannot love.

  64. Spinster says:

    Even on a level of basic language arts, “but” negates pretty much everything that came before it. Such a small word, yet such a powerful purveyor of the truth on many levels.

  65. Lou says:

    I too got caught up in the words before BUT….
    He came back saying he wanted to get back together, messed me around and then said ‘I love you, miss you, we click, I don’t think that I will ever click with anyone else as well as we do, I miss you when we don’t see each other BUT I don’t have the overwhelming feeling that getting married it is the right thing to do’…. I am still clearly haunted by that statement.
    I was hooked on the first few lines and hung on for another couple of months while he looked around for someone better… what a fool.
    When I look back now, I can see that he used the BUT for a lot of things which meant that he could sit on the fence for longer – wasting my time.

  66. Tinkerbell says:

    Swissmiss. Not very long ago I met a man online. After it was established that we liked each other I told him I was “high maintenance” , meaning the things you mentioned and more. I had to explain to him what “high maintenance” meant. When I used the term he had no clue what I was talking about, but when I met him on our first and only date, he had no trouble behaving like I was exactly that, and making me feel I wanted too much. All I wanted was to be treated with care, respect and decency, which was what I explained to him. I quickly learned he didn’t know how to deliver those qualities. But, to be more accurate, he just didn’t want to. It was too much trouble for him with all his degrees and high IQ. It all fell apart after a few hours. Looking back now, I must have unconsciously know he was a jerk or I never would have used that term to describe myself as they were perfectly legitimate expectations. Don’t use that term to describe yourself and run if someone applies it to you.

    • FX says:

      Tinkerbell, just a thought but I think we can become overzealous from reading BR! I think it would be very off-putting to any man/woman to hear a list of requirements and have someone self-describe as high maintenance before even meeting. I may possibly agree to meet them BUT I would already have a bad impression for them to overcome and probably be on the defensive, too. There is also the possibility that a really bad guy will just use your script to reel you in. I’m still working this out, too, but I think it’s more comfortable and effective to just let them unfold with your boundaries in place.

  67. Lilia says:

    I got this one:
    Yes I did cheat and that was wrong BUT you don´t make a lot of efforts lately to look or act sexy when I come home.

    (This was right after my second child was born and I didn´t even have a notion of what day it was, only that my now ex came home after nine every day because he decided to learn a new language right at that moment and took classes after work.)

    Argh don´t get me remembering all of that, BR ladies! Now I´m imagining what it would be like to break a bottle on his head.

  68. Astrid Azanga says:

    Relationshit. That is funny. That is exactly what these men give us.

  69. Tinkerbell says:

    FX. Good point. I agree. Fortunately, I won’t be using that term, as I’ve been seeing a man who is just about everything I’m looking for. He has never made me feel that I had to state my “requirements” as he’s been very genuine and very respectful from day one. Plus, I’m learning more every day since returning to the dating world after many years out of it.

    • Mymble says:

      Tinkerbell
      So true – if you need to tell them how to behave in a relationship – I mean the fundamentals – then the game is already over. They are showing you who they are and asking them to be someone else is futile.
      I married someone with the intention of “changing” him; he even did want to change, but in the end he just couldn’t. Or maybe he just thought he did..but deep down he didn’t really.

      • teachable says:

        Yes agree. If we have to show them a damned thing about how to be decent or respectful hidey ho – they can EFF OFF!

        Is that plain enough language do you think? LOL

        • Mymble says:

          Teachable
          I think that just about covers it, but just to be sure that actions are matching words, you might want to add in some appropriate hand gestures.

  70. titi says:

    Confused123, it seems to me that the multiple dating thing is considered normal in American culture. I’m from Europe, and I consider it rude. When a guy say he wants to be exclusive, it just means he likes me, respects me, not that he loves me for god’s sake. If I found out my date is dating other women too, I would find that very disrespectful. It’s like he thinks I need to compete for his attention. No, thanks, dude, go find a monkey that will entartain you.

    As far as I remember (correct me if I wrong), you were very uncomfortable with the idea he is seeing someone else too, but you somehow managed to convince yourself you’re fine with it. It doesn’t matter what women here (or anyone else for that matter) think about multiple dating; it’s how YOU feel about it that matters. No one can tell you what’s the “normal” pace in a relationship. You seem to be focusing on the things that don’t matter, but keep overlooking some big shouting red flags. For example, if you had your last EUM professing love in the first month of dating, you seem to think that a guy who doesn’t do that is a real keeper, while in fact he can be equally emotionally distant as the one before him.

    Ask yourself if you’re feeling good with this man, and if your’re okay with being a second choice. Do not overthink it, FEEL the answer.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      titi… Maybe the next time he wants to see her (confused123) she should say sorry but I have a date w/Joe that night :)… Give him a taste of his own medicine. Knowing he is dating others means he is not interested in being in a serious relationship with anyone it seems to me..If thats OK with confused123 I say go for it. But for me it would make me anxious all the time & I would have to FLUSH ..

      • Bellaninha says:

        Anony,

        I feel for you as it sounds so much like my ex-EUM (of 5 years) 
        He was attentive to me in some ways, like helping me with my new business and he’d say often “You are such a good person”(but no progression, no initiation of discussions of a future together, me feeling constantly anxious he was going to leave me) I stayed WAY too long so I urge you to look at your feelings before 5 years have gone by and you are in the same situation. Certainly I cried after sex many a time, looking back that’s just awful.

        Whenever I get nostalgic and wish things had have been different, and doubt my decision to end it finally … I remember:

        On moving in together, after 3 years together. EUM: “Im old fashioned, my parents didnt move in together before they were married” (said at age 36)

        On marriage. EUM: “I’m worried about getting divorced. I need to be 100% sure. I don’t believe in divorce”

        On buying a house. EUM: (well he sort of got this right) “The property market will crash (so I will invest all my money in shares)” … Which subsequently crashed too… 

        On kids. EUM: “They’re so expensive. I only want to have kids when I can afford to not work” 
        “Children should be seen but not heard” 
        Me: “do you want kids?”
        EUM : “of course”

        After some pressure (read lots of tears from me) and looking at oh about 20 flats, finally on finding the perfect 2 Bed place to rent together.EUM: “I don’t like it. It’s opposite a [famous, really cool] music studio. I’m worried about the trucks in the street” (as distinct from living on a ridiculous busy high street in a 5 bedroom share house)

        2nd go at convincing him to live together. EUM: “Moving in together is too expensive when I am contracting and don’t know what will happen with my job…” (on a 1 year contract at £600 per day!!) 

        Friend at a wedding shocked we were together 4.5 years together and still not living together. Told EUM this and that I was upset. EUM ” It doesn’t matter what others think, as long as we’re happy”!! 

        3rd go: (I know I’m an idiot!) EUM:”OK I’ll move in to your place. Do you want to see if J (my housemate) wants to stay too” (cheaper rent, tight-arse again!!!) 

        Endless excuses… All on his terms…Glaring red flags..!!
        Yet I stayed.. Perpetually dating…I ruminated for a long time but in the end, I ended it. 

        At least we NEVER moved in together so we had none of that shit to sort out!

        I went NO Contact immediately.  I found Baggage Reclaim shortly after and all Natalie’s posts reaffirmed I was making the right decision to never speak again. I think if I had found BR sooner I may have realised what I was dealing with, as I suspected him of commitment phobia, but couldn’t quite understand it, and soooo wanted it to be different, making excuses that he was the one for me “so good on paper”

        He never came begging. You cannot change someone. He just didn’t want to be the bad guy ending it.

        Anony – be grateful you have all the other ladies wisdom to see what you are dealing with.
        It is so hard to hard to let go but that pain you’ll go through will soon be well and truly over, and a much much better future is out there for you. Only you can decide but just to say time really does heal.

        I have me, my confidence and my life back! I am thankful to be removed from someone who makes money their sole existence, and/or makes excuses out of it. Someone who would never make me, or a family with me, a priority.

        Now I have healed and know I am a person worth being in a relationship with, I can spot red flags early on and take care to spend time only with positive people who bring something to my life.
        For so many years I thought meeting that special someone was the be all and end all. But now I truly deep down believe it’s much better to be myself, even if it means meeting and dating a range of guys for all my life, than be for so many years again with a totally wrong person who brings me down. 

        All the best to you Anony and anyone not knowing which way to turn. Sending you strength! Xxx

    • Lilia says:

      titi,
      This multiple dating issue is terribly confusing. I don´t really understand what the idea is? At least when you go on a job interview you´re competing for a position in which you´ll get paid.

      I´ve lived in Europe as well, now I´m in South America and it´s unacceptable in both places. If you´re going out with someone, it´s understood that it´s a monogamous process leading to a relationship (whatever its characteristics), and if things don´t work out you move on. Going out with more than one person at the same time would be considered dishonest and rude.

      The thing is, it seems “dating” (as understood in the US) is latching on thanks to internet dating sites. But as far as I´ve seen, people are using multiple dating as an excuse to sleep around with as many people as possible.

      I couldn´t take someone seriously if I knew he was multiple dating, it would just mean he isn´t that interested in being with me.
      At the same time, I don´t think any man would want any kind of commitment with me if I was dating others.

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        Lilia, couldn’t agree more. After reading thousands and thousands of words about this subject over the past months and discussing with friends ad nauseum, your brief, clear posting really says it all: “If you´re going out with someone, it´s understood that it´s a monogamous process leading to a relationship (whatever its characteristics), and if things don´t work out you move on. Going out with more than one person at the same time would be considered dishonest and rude… I couldn´t take someone seriously if I knew he was multiple dating, it would just mean he isn´t that interested in being with me. At the same time, I don´t think any man would want any kind of commitment with me if I was dating others.”

        It’s the only thing that seems fair, decent and honest between people. Thanks for helping me clarify my own thinking about this.

  71. Halva says:

    Phew, I think I just had a lucky escape. I’ve moved back to the same city my ex lives in. We split 2 and a half years ago and have stayed in touch since. He’d been really flirting with me and asked me out for ‘drinks’ last week. It felt like a proper date, drinks bought, more flirting, a bit of touchy-feely stuff like his hand on my knee etc…

    Fast forward to the end of the date and he says he wants to kiss me. We do. Immediately he states that he doesn’t know what it means that we’re kissing. Fast forward a few days……nothing. Not a peep. So I thought perhaps I’d invite him out for a coffee, to sort of gage the situation. He wouldn’t broach it, even when I hinted. Eventually I just came out and asked if we were OK. The answer?

    Here it comes ladies: “It was great to be out with you, I find you very attractive, it was a lovely night and it was great to kiss you, but that’s it really, I’m not in the right place.”

    He then went on to outline that he can’t promise me that he won’t have a few drinks some other time and want to kiss me again and then said it’s a shame that things get complicated as it would be nice just to keep it to sex!!!! ARrrrrgggghhhh.

    So, I listened to the ‘but’ and decided he’s an ass. I’ve had enough!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Halva…. He is an ASSCLOWN !!! Go NC with him & forget you ever met him.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Also, I think he was just testing the waters to see how you would react to his advances.. He wants you as an “option”.EWE, kick him to the curb :)

  72. Ruth C says:

    Heh. Checked back over the past 2 months of chats…and it’s me the person with the buts. The more I look at things, the more I see just how afraid and stuck I am in the past. Even after 7 years of being on my own.

    Time to let things go.

  73. Emily G says:

    So, I am currently dealing with some major confusion and rejection- and it sucks…bad. For the past 3 months I was dating a guy I met online. At first he seemed very interested (constantly contacting me, making plans etc). When this started to dwindle I confronted him and suggested maybe he wasn’t ready to date, he got very defensive and told me he wasn’t wanting any type of relationship, and that he couldn’t see himself taking things to the next level with me. Of course I should’ve ran for the hills but I didn’t. We “worked it out” and continued to see each other for another couple months. I started to feel as though he was developing feelings for me…things were going fairly well. So I thought, until after hanging out last w/end. I recieved an email the next day(yes an email) saying he thought we needed to stop doing what we were doing. He told me he liked me, liked spending time with me, BUT just “didn’t have those feelings” and I didn’t understand why. He said he wasn’t afraid of commitment or getting hurt BUT he (again) just didn’t have feelings for me. The next day he was contacting me telling me he still “liked me” (whatever that means, grow up Peter Pan), but didn’t have all “the right feelings” and then followed that with but “I do want to clarify I DO have some feelings for you”. WHAT?! I have never been so confused. He said he wanted to stay in touch but I said it wasn’t a good idea….but I’m still bumming and I feel like a crazy person from dealing with this nonsense. Sorry for the novel here but I need some other people’s insight here…PLEASE HELP!!

    • natashya says:

      emily… it never feels good to get dumped, but count yourself lucky that he at least told you he doesn’t like you in ‘that way’ after only a few months. he might be EU, he might not be. that is not the issue. he probably likes hanging out with you, getting sex, an ego stroke or whatever but he doesn’t have ‘those’ feelings for you. believe him.

      yes, it might be nonsense and confusing, but he could have strung you along for months, maybe even years. he flip flapped a little, but i think it’s pretty clear.

      you need to go NC, do the unsent letter exercise (it’s a good one), grief as much as you need to and then thank him for not stringing you along any longer. he’s giving you the opportunity to meet somebody who DOES want to be with you and appreciates you for who you are. hang in there. i know it isn’t easy.

  74. titi says:

    Cut the drama. You don’t even know the guy properly (it’s been ONLY 3 months). He said he doesn’t want anything serious with you. However, with his “I like you” statement, he’s testing the ground, so that in case you don’t have healthy self esteem, he could get laid every now and then.

  75. grace says:

    titi
    And don’t let the fact that it’s only three months blind you to the complete lack of progression.
    My situation is slightly different as I’m religious but by the three month mark, the boyfriend and I both specified we are seeing each other with a view to marriage. It’s not the same as fastforwarding. There has been no proposal, or “let’s get married” or “I want to marry you.” but “I see marriage in my future” “I want to get married one day and not too far away” and “What do you think about marriage?” This is a normal conversation. Maybe not at three months but he certainly shouldn’t be saying the exact opposite, ie he doesn’t want to take things to the next level and he doesn’t have the feelings for you to do that.
    The feelings he has for you go like this, sorry to be blunt:
    1. he feels that he likes having sex; you happen to be there and are willing
    2. he feels that he is ready for a serious relationship (though I wonder) but not with you
    3. he feels that he enjoys female company (we are gentle, supportive, feminine, and nurturing after all) and likes getting it from someone with no expectations
    4. he feels that he’s been honest with you and that you are on board with this arrangement as you are still there

    Your one and only way out of this is to exit the “relationship” (which I would consider more of a FWB arrangement) and instigate NC.
    He’s broken up with you by the way, so you need to conduct yourself accordingly, ie don’t chase him down for crumbs or let him waste your time.
    Don’t overestimate their feelings for you. I have feelings for my friends, colleagues, work and pet fish. I am in no way prepared to make a lifelong commitment to any of them. Except maybe the fish as they don’t live long.

    • Snowboard says:

      “Except maybe the fish as they don’t live long.”

      hahahaha I love this!

      Emily G, cut this guy loose. I don’t mean to encourage game playing, but it can be useful to understand human dynamics: if a guy tells you, “I don’t think you’re very special,” he is communicating disrespect. If you continue to demand his affection, *you* are communicating that you have poor self esteem and are desperate for his approval, reinforcing his negative perception of you and extinguishing any attraction he may once have felt. In fact, you will become like a dead weight in his life, something he feels like he can’t get rid of, no matter how hard he tries. If, instead, you take the attitude, “Oh wow, I completely misjudged this guy; I thought he was smarter/sweeter than that,” and walk away (not in a melodramatic way but in a calm self-confident way), then you will make him wonder if he may have been wrong.
      Of course, if the guy is EU (as yours seems to be), at this point he will start blowing wildly hot again: sparks, fireworks, flames. The trick is to not fall for the bait, as we all know what will happen if you go back with him. But maybe (just maybe) he’ll learn something of a lesson about the way he treats women and get closer to recognizing that he is going to need to do some work on *himself* if he ever wants to be in a relationship.

  76. Emily G says:

    Thanks for all of the responses, they are greatly appreciated!! I get it, or I’m trying to…his flip flapping back and forth just threw me off. I have a pattern of dating and falling for guys like this. One would think the rejection would get easier but it never really does. I am finally understanding that the problem here is me and my level of self esteem. Overall I would say I am a confident individual until it comes to relationships. Maybe I’ve just been burned too many times or allowed myself to get burned. It’s all a work in progress, I’ll get it right one of these days! I do not plan on speaking with this particular guy anymore…the NC is already in the works. His response to me saying we should no longer talk was “I think you are worth much more than you think that I do. Sorry for all the pain.” Ouch. I’ll be okay though, I always am. Thanks again ladies!!

  77. teachable says:

    EllyB, You have experienced mobbing. I experienced the same thing as a child & as an adult in two workplaces. You did not ’cause’ or attract this ‘gang up’ style of bullying in any way. You most likely do posses traits which unknowingly contributed to why you were targeted. Are you a top performer at work? Do you consistently out perform your peers? Are you attractive, outgoing, vivacious? These are the traits which people who are targeted by mobbers posses. Google mobbing & learn about it. Then come sit next to me & as we make our way through BR I will be more than happy to shelter you a lil under one of my big steady wings. Remember you did not CAUSE this. Something bordering mighty close to this was even attempted toward me (for like 2 secs) when I first came to BR! I spoke my part & it soon stopped.

    Hold your head high. I am most adept at handling mobbers. What they have NO IDEA of when they first have crack, is who they’re messing with. lol. The two work episodes I mention BOTH ending up paying me & nice fat little lump sum compensation payments for their disgusting behaviour. lol. Like I said, I can show you how to handle bullies, gangs (or ‘mobbers’ ) even, just fine!

    Hugs. T xxx ;)

  78. teachable says:

    LOL @ mymble!!

    Ellyb I was having genuine NC with my mother & indeed intended it to be permanent (after she began this by refusing to allow to have her phone number or address, for no reason whatsoever other than some imagined minor infraction (I think it was that I did not return her call quickly enough), & the manipulative games she plays being a ‘borderline’, after she had moved. This, after at the time, I had just recently coughed up $3000 to pay her unpaid bills, with no expectation of ever being repaid, simply because she was a pensioner & I was trying to be kind & working full time, & could easily afford it, was just the last straw…).

    I am indeed considering requesting that if she wishes to reinitiate any sort of regular contact that it be on the condition that she agree to us attending therapy together so that our differences can be spoken about in a safe environment & my expectations as to what I need in order to have a relationship with her is made clear.

    Interestingly, I have been asking her for this for over 25 years but she had always refused. Now that she is having counselling herself though, perhaps her view might have changed? Also, perhaps if she realises she will lose me for good if she doesn’t make some sort of an effort it might help the penny to drop because I think she can see that for all intents & purposes she already very much lost me, years ago… In this sense, her task is to see if the relationship is repairable. Mine is to see if I can forgive her. I’m not sure yet to be honest. I forgave the child abuse decades back but the adult abuse is a whole fresh wound. It’s her job to fix though & I’m not doing her work for her. I have my hands well & truely full dealing with the fallout her abuse has caused…

    Otherwise, I agree, nothing will change, & to frank, I just cannot be bothered going through her BS all over again. It is my greatest sadness, & indeed somewhat tragic, that truth be told for the last decade, after being more hopeful when I was younger, I have finally given up, & instead just been quietly waiting for her to pass away (not in a mean spirited away) so I can finally have some lasting peace… understandable I guess but a sad indictment on her parenting, to say the least.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!