One of the issues that many people who have felt burned by a relationship experience, especially those where the other party unfolded into something dramatically different to what they’d envisaged or believed, is that sense that due to having misjudged this person, they don’t feel that they can trust themselves. They worry that they’re going to invest trust in someone else who turns out to be a heavyweight bullsh*tter or who just quite simply cannot live up to the picture that they’ve painted in their minds. They relive the experience over and over again and beat themselves up for not being a good judge of character, but if what happened was actually based on assumptions, then they’re actually beating themselves up for something that they didn’t do.

There’s a big difference between judging character and assuming or should I say, guessing character. They are not one and the same thing.

When we make a guess, we estimate or assume something without having enough information to be sure of being right. 

This means that with a guess, we might be right, we might be wrong, we might be close. By understanding that we made that guess though, then we accept that we’re working with estimated/assumed information. My five-year old sometimes estimates how many items there are. If she wanted to be sure of being right, she’d count them. Em has this grating habit of saying, “Guess who I bumped into today?” It’s not as if we know three people between us and so I start suggesting names and he’s giving me a look that says, I can’t believe you haven’t guessed it yet. I’ve started asking for clues…

If you’ve ever met somebody and jumped in head first with very little information, that’s guesswork. If you noted one particular quality or attribute or even a few of them and then assumed the existence of others, that’s also guesswork.

Sure, there’s potentially an element of ‘judgement’ there in the sense of glancing at the information in front of you and then estimating or assuming what you’re dealing with, but it’s not the type of skillset you would use for judging a person’s character or situation, after all, if you were doing that, you would be working with the knowledge that people unfold, you don’t know them at a glance, and it takes time and experience for you to able to gather knowledge that would help you discern their character and/or the situation.

There’s a gameshow here in the UK called Deal Or No Deal. I know it has its fanatics but jaysus, it’s basically a guessing game. Drives me batty. Twenty-three people each have a box and one of them is playing for an amount between 1p and £250K. They don’t know the amount in their box but as they choose from the other twenty-two boxes, they gradually attempt to work out the amount that they have in theirs. What I find so funny is that the contestant will choose a numbered box because they have a good vibe about the person standing behind it or they’re wearing their favourite colour and I’m thinking, It’s.A.Bloody.Box! That person doesn’t know what’s in the box and has zero influence over the amount inside. It’s a guessing game!

Obviously people have won money and some have misjudged an opportunity to walk away with money from ‘The Banker’ (a voice on the end of the phone that offers them money to walk away at strategic points in the game) but it would be foolhardy of somebody who doesn’t win the amount they were hoping for, to beat themselves up for not having guessed right. Guessing isn’t the same as judgement.

When we beat ourselves up for what essentially boils down to not having guessed right, we miss the point.

Dating is a discovery phase.

The lesson isn’t to learn how to guess better – the lesson is for us to recognise that human beings are not the same as boxes with numbers or other inanimate objects. Judgement is honed over time and experience. It also requires us to be conscious, aware, and present. We not only have to be willing to be listening, watching, and having an active response, but we also need to be willing to listen to ourselves.

We can look at an orange and think, Hmm, that’s an orange, but it’s ludicrous of us to expect to look at person and guess all of their qualities and characteristics based on a limited amount of information that we may be biased towards skewing anyway or even based purely on what they’re telling us or claiming they will be in the future. Hell, we buy things every day based on reputation, and even then, our experience of something can be totally different to what was tooted or expected. Considering how impacted our sense of self can be and how our responses to painful experiences can have longstanding consequences on our future perception of ourselves and our choices, gambling with guessing on who to let into our lives at such an intimate level is dangerous.

If you’re going to guess, at least acknowledge that you’re guessing instead of calling it judgement. It will keep you in reality.

Even when we use guesswork where really, we need to have observed that situation, our own responses, and also their who that person was unfolding into, once it becomes clear that what we guessed is inaccurate, we have an opportunity to put things right within ourselves by using our judgement now.

Even if there are elements that we’re still a little unsure of, with the knowledge we’ve gathered, we’re a damn sight closer to reality than we were in a guesswork bubble. The great thing is that when we’re willing to listen to ourselves and also willing to heed code amber and red information, these help us to judge ourselves out of situations that are not befitting of us. The knowledge that we are gathering helps us to make a judgement and of course, that’s a process of trial and error in itself, but the more we gather and process information in reality instead of guessing ourselves in and out of situations, is the more that we learn to trust ourselves. If we want to have confidence in trusting ourselves and be better judges of character, we have to cut down the guessing and be willing to do the due diligence that comes with the discovery phase. Less guess, less mess.

Your thoughts?


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120 Responses to Judging Isn’t The Same As Guessing: Why it’s time to stop giving you a hard time for being a bad guesser of character

  1. Anna Bee says:

    I absolutely agree!! It is especially dangerous when this guesswork happens during the infatuation stage. The blinding ‘love’ during this stage inhibits our ability to make rational and reasonable choices. Instead, we act on impulse. We allow our imaginations to create a dreamlike figure of the person that we’re infatuated with; fantasizing about the best happily-ever-after possibility with this person after only seeing a small part of who they truly are. False expectations lead to disappointment and heartbreak. Then the inevitable and infamous “What was I thinking?” moment arrives. The answer is in the question, we weren’t thinking!! We were so busy chasing our hearts that we forgot to bring our brains along the way.

    • HappyAgain says:

      Anna you are right. Ive been guilty of this and as Ive become more aware of myself I have slowed my roll. This website and Natalie’s self esteem class have been very helpful. The last couple of dates I went on and guys I talked to I didnt turn on my “sparkle” trying to get them to like me. I just enjoyed myself, talked and paid attention to what was being said. Letting things unfold and progress if they should. You know what? Taking my time, not getting ahead of myself or rushing into anything I was able to decide neither of these guys I wanted to pursue anything further with.

      • Joan says:

        I’m way past guessing. Last year I learned my bf had been involved with another for two years. The pain was unbelievable. He promised to break it off with her, and vowed he would never do it again. I love him very much, but I don’t trust him. I did the unthinkable. I set up a fake online account & within days he sent the fake me, a friend request. I accepted and immediately, he starts trying to take it private. He write things(to the fake me)”I can’t you out of my mind” “Thoughts of you remain in my head” Need to hear your voice can I have your number” So I asked him about his gf(the real me) He says, “It’s not what it seems.” “Things have not gone well. She’s a good person and means well…just let me call you to explain.” I mean he was really getting into the fake woman. I sent the messages to myself from her, and forwarded them to him. He has no clue I set this all up. He thinks she(me) just did it being jealous. Once again, he’s so sorry, doesn’t understand why he did this. He cried, begged and pleaded with me not leave him. He says, he’ll get counseling. I love him with all my heart. I don’t know what to do. I really need words of wisdom because I can’t seem to bring myself to walk away. What the hell is wrong with me?

        • HappyAgain says:

          You dont want to make a choice to accept him for who he has shown himself to be. You want to believe everything he says to the real you (not the fake profile) because it is easier to and then you dont have to accept the real him, the disrespectful, lying him. You can choose the illusion. It is easier sometimes to love others than to gird up ourselves get our self respect back and focus that love on ourselves. The better question than whats wrong with me is why wont I choose to accept the truth and love me enough to learn from it. I wish you all the best. Its a journey we’re all on and really accepting disrespectful behavior repeatedly all boils down to loving ourselves and coping skills. I personally have had a hell of a ride to bring me to a place to recognize it and continue to work on me to answer alot of things. If you can take Natalies self esteem course I really recommend it. We believe in you. Smile. Be good.

        • Allison says:


          This sounds like so much work! A healthy relationship does not involve the necessity of playing detective. You know that you can not trust him, as has shown you that you cannot.

          You need to ask yourself why you’re are putting yourself through this? I agree with Happy, you need to learn to love yourself, and realize you are better than some cheating, lying loser. Do most of your relationships roll like this: much drama?

          He has shown you who he is, and the therapy means nothing, other than he got caught. Your happiness is up to you!

          • Joan says:

            Hi Happy & Allison,

            Thanks for your words of truth & wisdom.

            Finding Nat’s website is start to my healing. I wrongly believed this guy was my soul mate. We share a daughter together and I would never advise my child to stick with a man who lies & cheats on her. My lack of self-esteem & loving myself has led me down this hurtful path. Although, right now he’s being super sweet & loving. In my heart, I know it’s only because he got caught cheating a 2nd time.

            Looking forward to taking the self-esteem classes.

            Again, thanks you very much.

            • Allison says:


              Ouch! Two times! You definitely know the answer.

              Remember, your daughter picks up on this. By sticking by this guy, you are showing her its OK to be in this type of relationship. I know that you would never want it for her.

              • Lynn says:

                Joan – you deserve so much better. You are only teaching him that he can walk all over you and you are not a doormat! He will continue to cheat…and you will continue to hurt. Please consider ending this relationshit.

        • Southeast80 says:

          Joan – almost cried reading your post. Sigh that was me 5 months ago – but I was accused of invading his privacy. Sigh – you deserve a strong and loving man, who isn’t so blinded by his own insecurity that he can’t see what a wonderful girlfriend he has.

  2. Goldie says:

    If and when I am single again, I’ve decided I would try something new… NO online dating WHATSOEVER. I dated online on and off since my divorce in 2010, met a lot of new people, made a lot of friends, got two relationships out of it, my previous one (that left me burned big time) and my new current one (hope I got lucky in this one – but we both took it very slow and did not push things)… and with few exceptions, one thing I’ve seen across the board is this terrible pressure to commit, to be exclusive, to be a couple, to move things along at a far greater speed than they should be moving. In my experience, after five dates, a guy would either expect exclusivity and being a couple, or he’d decide I’m stringing him along. And five dates in online-land usually translates to 10-12 hours together, spent over the course of two or three weeks. Not nearly enough to make a commitment of any sort! And that’s your commitment-oriented guys that are looking for a relationship – that’s the better kind. I’m not even talking about the players. It wasn’t just the guys of course; I too was guilty of thinking along the lines of “this guy sounds nice, I’ve got to commit to him now, because if I don’t, someone else will!” My previous relationship, we were sort of compatible on paper – same politics, same views on religion, common interests, liked same music etc – but completely incompatible in reality. But I only realized it 7-8 months after the breakup (he left out of the blue, without giving a reason, after two years together). I was too busy working on a relationship and doing couple-y things with this man that I’d only met a couple of months ago, too busy doing things with him as a couple that took up all of my free time and energy, to stop and ask myself: are we even a good couple? are we good for each other? do we help each other be the best we can be, or is it the opposite? We hardly even had any common core values, as I again found out later. So, if I ever have to do this again, I decided I’ll just get out a lot, meet a lot of people, and if something happens organically over time with one of them, great! If not, that’s cool too. But I’m definitely done with the high-pressure meat market that is online dating. Never again.

    • Diane says:

      Agreed. I never even get to 5 dates before there’s pressure for a relationship (ie sex). One guy actually said to me, “I think you know within a few minutes if you like someone” after pressuring me via email right after the first date (ie one whole HOUR together) to start a relationship. Another guy wouldn’t go out on a second date with me unless I could guarantee that he wouldn’t become “just another two or three date thing.” And again, I’m supposed to know this after an HOUR? I suspect it’s the whole “online” thing. No one wants to “waste” their time — because they can just get back online and find someone else. If you go out on 3-4 dates and don’t end up in a relationship, or at least sleeping together, then that was a “waste” of time. Oddly, just as I cancelled my two accounts, I did meet someone very nice. But it’s only been one date. However, he’s the first guy in months who hasn’t pressured me after date number one!

  3. Matlou says:

    I thought I can get facts by asking all what I wanted to know so that I cannot make assumptions or keep on guessing, but what did I get? nothing, he was just intending to keep me for his ego as long as it can last.

    Sometimes I would be thinking that may be I cannot interpret the situation correctly with little information that I had, but now I can see that I should have listened to my VOICE INSIDE ME

    • happy b says:

      Matlou, I remember realising my then-AC never really told me anything about himself after many years, I would get blanks when I asked him to be open. So different to his whole shtick of being cuddly and sharing and caring.
      we can only learn about people through their actions. As Nat’s explained before, be extra cautious around people who emphasise how good, caring etc. they are – it shouldn’t be necessary to tell someone this. It reminds me of someone I’m trying to gauge my trust levels with – he once said ‘decent people like us’ during a conversation, and after that, I wished I could go back and say, ‘who doesn’t think they’re decent?’. It raised alarm bells. And the ACs that bring so many of us here are masters of disguise so these little insights are helpful.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hey Matlou, one thing I’ve realised with ACs is that, even if you ask the right questions, they won’t tell you anything that they don’t want you to know. It is, of course, an ego thing, and a means of control. You’re right – trust your instinct in these situations. Best of luck!

  4. Jane says:

    My ex and I broke up last month because we were “too different”. He would do something inconsiderate or thoughtless (like absent-mindedly walking out of a room while I was talking to him). I would tell him it wasn’t okay and that I found it disrespectful. Each and every time without fail, he would tell me it is not a big deal and that I was making mountains out of mole hills. I always asked why the fact that my feelings were hurt was not enough for him to acknowledge that certain behaviours were not okay, especially if it was something that didn’t matter to him. We had this argument enough times that he got fed up and I got fed up and we broke up.

    During the break up, I found myself reassuring him that he was a good man, saying we could work it out and basically stroking his ego. I even went as far as taking responsibility for everything wrong with our relationship as he never complained or had an issues and all our arguments stemmed from my bringing something up that was bothering me. He LUCKILY didn’t agree to give it one more chance.

    I have now taken a step back and I realise that our dynamic was completely wrong. He was in a relationship where all his needs were being met and when it came to my feelings he would get angry and inconvenienced by them. However it bothers me that he has walked away from this with me giving him the impression that he was a good guy and that our problem was that we were too different. Why does it bother me that he may never realise that his behaviour was not okay? Why do I need him to know he was wrong?

    • Suki says:

      Jane, you are hoping that by having your feelings validated, you will be validated. Whereas the truth is that validating them yourself is the only way. If you ask him to validate your feelings, most likely he will again tell you about those molehills and you’ll feel even worse than before. Instead, validate yourself – if you must, the BR community definitely validates you! Even friends and family can be a minefield – sometimes I’ve told people stuff and they dont get it. ‘thats not a big deal’. No, they werent there. Sometimes I have to explain a lot and then they get it, and only then can they validate me, or they might not even realize that its validation I needed – they think we’re just having a regular conversation. So the only real validation is through yourself. I’ve also had situations where everyone just everyone has validated my actions in a situation and i still feel unsure because i am still to validate myself.

      AND you dont need to make him out to be the bad person in this. it is not necessary there be a bad guy. He wasn’t too nice but you played along. You said it right ‘our dynamic was wrong’. Now you are worried he has walked away feeling like a good guy (but you dont know that). Also, HE might be thinking that you have walked away feeling like the good person (After all you were the one that complained and he was the one that was being asked to change). There was not huge AC-ness in your relationship as far as you report, perhaps you can forgive yourself for staying in a relationship that was no good and allow yourself to grieve rather than looking to have him suffer instead.

      • shano says:

        So true. They will not care much about anyone they walk away from. Do not be so hard on yourself for playing his last game, they all will think of themselves as the victim no matter what you have or have not said to him.

        Not a good fit. I said of my Ex assclown, crazymaker, possibly/ maybe some other woman could put up with that, but I could not. It was a dealbreaker that kept breaking.

    • dancingqueen says:


      You don’t “need” him to know, you want him to know. That comes from many things, but at least in my exp, it comes from my sense of justice: if they were a jerk, I want them to come to that realization!

      The reality is that they won’t. You are wasting your time, trying to get someone to see what they are sure to try to not see. Plus lets face it, it will make you come across like a crazy person, rubbing their face in their own s$$t. Better off looking at yourself; what are you not seeing about YOU, while you are focusing on them? You can use that information for the next time.

      Good luck, there is no shame in making mistakes. We all do it.

      • Jane says:

        Thanks Suki and dancingqueen

        Even if my feelings were hurt, the ex wouldn’t acknowledge that something was wrong unless he felt it was wrong and nothing was ever a big deal because it didn’t impact him directly.

        I got things like, “you care too much”, “let things go”, “I am a laid back guy nothing bothers me”. I had started to believe that maybe it was all me and that I wanted/expected too much.

        However, I think I had got used to that dynamic because I am clearly still waiting for him to tell me that it is okay for me to be upset about the way he treated me and for me to think it was not okay.

        I agree I need to learn to validate myself. It was always easier trying to explain why I was upset and why he should care than accepting that I was hurt, he didn’t care, I should not be in a relationship with this person and ending it.

        • shano says:

          Oh, I know this pattern well! “Even if my feelings were hurt, the ex wouldn’t acknowledge that something was wrong unless he felt it was wrong and nothing was ever a big deal because it didn’t impact him directly.

          I got things like, “you care too much”, “let things go”, “I am a laid back guy nothing bothers me”. I had started to believe that maybe it was all me and that I wanted/expected too much.’

          I thought that too, but then they start giving you even less to test the lower boundaries! Do not wait for this to happen.
          He was getting all his needs met, and you were not. I had the same for ten years, so feel lucky you are free now, haha

        • Lynn says:

          oh jane…I just said oh my gosh out loud. My ex would always say I am a laid back guy, things don’t bother me, I like simple and I just worry about me. He is true EU. Nothing ever ruffled his feathers except for when he didn’t get his way. Then his dad’s anger would come out in him. He’s just like his dad. I never felt like he was listening to me even when we were sitting on the couch in the same room. He would be staring at the tv and eating. I always found myself saying ‘are you listening to me?’ As for you telling him he’s a good guy – he already does thats the problem. He doesn’t think anything he did was wrong….so it doesn’t matter that you said it. These men live in their own fantasy world that they have created of themselves….even if you did tell him about himself, he wouldn’t listen because truth is, he probably never really heard you anyway during the relationship. Focus on you and working on being a better you.

    • Elgie R. says:

      OMG…let me join the others who are AMAZED at how timely these postings can be. Jane, Suki, and Dancing Queen…you have saved me today.

      Last year I went NC with ACMM for 7 months, then I allowed sporadic contact for four months this year. Each contact took a piece from my soul, even though my attraction to him was lessening.

      Jane, it was very much as you described – our dynamic was completely wrong….he was in a relationship where all his needs were being met and when it came to me, he would just ignore most requests I made to get my needs met.

      Somewhere in May, I decided I was OUT. For good. I emailed him goodbye, thanked him for easing this old lady’s loneliness for a while, said no hard feelings, Goodbye. His lazy contact continued. I allowed one more visit, yes we had beer and sex……nothing special, we both had our release, mine was a struggle but it happened. For two days I was teary….felt so empty. He lazy contacted me a few times….he seems to sense when I want to pull away. I waited for about a week and emailed him a second goodbye, giving more details of what I was missing and why I was moving on. He lazy contacted me regularly, and I noticed my hurt resumed after each lazy contact, so I replied to his last contact by saying back off, buddy, you don’t give me what I want, you want me to keep giving you what you want, and that is a very unkind thing to ask for.

      He dropped out with no more contact.

      I felt powerful about that last contact, but I’ve had a tough few weeks. I’ve started feeling less powerful, and I felt like stroking his ego and emailing him that he was a good man, we just have different needs.

      Why in the world would I do that?? He is a married AC and a self-centered sex partner.

      I am lonely and I do miss seeing that he was thinking of me…how sad is that? He was pretty much the only person leaving messages on my phone!

      Suki, you made me see that I am seeking validation from the only place I had been getting it.

      I now realize I have a narcissistic mother who invalidates me regularly – and she is my best friend, my only friend. It’s hard to realize she has not been my biggest supporter, and has undermined my growth in many ways. I know for a fact that I would crave seeing AC after spending time with her.

      Any time now, she’ll be asking “Where’s your friend…haven’t seen him lately?” Even though I told her it was just a booty call, not a relationship.

      Dancing Queen – you are right in saying that when I am craving AC, there is something difficult in my life that I am avoiding.

      I am trying to heal myself. I have a heavy heart right now…trying to get outside of myself.

      • Suki says:

        Elgie, what you said about not being validated by parents and yet having to have them as your closest family/friend really resonated with me. I was always told growing up that I wasn’t having the feelings i was having, that nothing is wrong, that I am not depressed, need another sweater oh yes i do (this seems to be something all parents do but add it to a constant invalidation it means you are not allowed to experience and label and act on your own emotions), not not hungry etc.
        I also constantly sought out validation from the ex-AC – usually validation of how crappy he was treating me. But seriously how many times have you ever been told how crappy you are? ever? No, right? No one can deal with it. It is unfair of us to be with people that we think are crappy and then to tell them that – we are in fact invalidating them in the worst way (even if they are AC. There is no point telling someone they are the pits yet we still love them. Whaaa?? And yet thats we do because that is what family meant for us – people that were crappy to us but at the end of the day was who we depended on for all of our needs).

        -if you feel like telling someone how wrong they are on the inside, wrong in who they are – dont do it. Leave them instead or accept them. There are books about communication – you’re supposed to say ‘when you do x, i feel like x’. You’re not supposed to say ‘you ruined my life, now validate me and work on this relationship’. You’re supposed to follow through and if you have identified deal breakers you should break the deal.
        Thank you BR folks for always having such great discussions!

        • happy b says:

          Elgie R, you’ll be really thankful before long. I understand the quietness when you don’t have the exciting messages etc., but you’ll never feel as empty as you’ve felt in this unsatisfactory relationship, or as lonely. It’s like the jelly sweets of love, sweet and addictive but nothing in them to make you properly healthy and happy, the opposite. Rebuilding a life takes time, but you still start to see the results quickly and feel stronger and stronger.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Hey Elgie,

        It sounds like you need to spend more time widening your interests and social circle; loneliness often comes when we don’t have enough going on in our lives.

        For me, I have a hobby ( dance, at least 2x a week) and a couple of other interests that I explore through meet ups, between those and my friends I feel pretty fulfilled.

        You should check out and explore some interests and btw, there is no “Hang out and meet ass clowns who are lame in bed” groups, that I noticed ;).

      • Pauline says:


        Dancing queen is right, you really need to get out more and then you will notice that the MM/AC wont have any more room in your head and heart. You will be busy meeting new people and having new experiences.

        Stick with NC, given a little more time you will get a much better perspective on who you are and what you can do without using him as your fallback guy because that’s who he is, the guy you fall back on when you’re feeling bad about your Mother or anything else. For you, he’s been very convenient for sex and for listening while you are having a blast about your mother or anyone or anything else and then he goes home to the wife and kids. No skin off his nose, he gets sex and he doesn’t care about anything else to do with your feelings or life, he has his own to take care of.

        At the end of the day you know he will NEVER be there for you, he’s MARRIED, he’s not going to leave his wife and you did the right thing for yourself when you told him it was over. And if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t really want him anyway. He’s kind of boring and not giving you any sort of mental stimulation and definitely not adding anything positive to your life.

        There is a big wide world out there that doesn’t include married assclowns. Try it, you might just discover that you can have some fun.

    • Lynn says:

      Jane – he already thinks he’s a good guy anyway so don’t beat yourself up over saying those things. And chances are if he was walking out of the room when you were talking to him – he’s not really hearing you anyway. You need to focus on you and you being the best you you can be.

  5. Tbird says:

    Thank you Natalie. Time and time again your blog posts arrive just when I need to read them. They taught me about NC and have guided me through my first 6 months of NC! I am so grateful for the education I have received from you and above all the validation, enlightenment and understanding of relationship dynamics. Being able to articulate what really is important in human connections is invaluable. Thank u for your gift!

  6. dancingqueen says:

    This was, again, a good post at a good time. I am doing my due diligence now, and I have to say that it has been very helpful. The person who I have been dating for a little over a month is not really much of a due diligence person; he thinks that he can go by his “gut feelings” but I need time and unfolding. I would have felt badly about this in the past, but now I don’t. And I know that if he tries to make me feel badly about it in any way, that he is not right for me.
    Crossing the fingers and hoping that it goes well, but if not, it will be fine: I will land on my feet regardless:)

  7. bridg says:

    why don’t people trust themselves? why are people SO bad at knowing themselves? i don’t get it.

    • Waltzing Matilda says:

      Dear Bridg,

      I think that the short answer to that is family of origin ‘issues’.
      But you have highlighted the root cause of much maladaptive behavior. It will be interesting to follow responses to your questions. Reading this blog will help you to get it. I am happy for you if you know and trust yourself, some of us had to go the long way round.

    • dancingqueen says:


      Question: where does that comment come from? If you know yourself so well, that is great, but are sure you are not getting a little ego boost from that slight cut down?

      Personally I actually am glad that I didn’t know myself for a long time; all those “mistakes” in figuring it out, made for some interesting experiences.

      Maybe you haven’t put yourself out there enough, to test whether you know yourself as well as you think. For me, living abroad in several countries, severely tested my notion that I knew myself. I learned that a lot of what I thought was “me” was a combo of social conditioning, being around the same people and not questioning my reality, and being around the same old same old.

      But hey, maybe you are just the lone genius here and if so, great for you! Maybe we can all join your lead…;)

    • Stephanie says:


      Because self-awareness is a process a continuing process at best. Being able to have a honest conversation about yourself happens at different stages in peoples lives, thus learning to trusts oneself is something to learn over time. Then it depends on the situation, sometimes we learn based on existing experiences, but what about the things we never experienced? Sometimes it hard to say how you would act if you’ve never been faced with a particular situation.

      • happy b says:

        Bridg, I assumed it was a rhetorical question and not necessary meant as a put down.
        If we realise we’ve been our own worst enemy (some examples – drug/alcohol abuse, being in humiliating relationships etc.), we’re right not to trust ourselves and to question/ second guess all our habits and reactions.
        Why are we our own worst enemy? Speaking for myself and probably lots of others, the people who are expected to teach us right from wrong, e.g. as parents, don’t act in our best interests. And in my case, this wasn’t necessarily out of malice but because they weren’t even able to look after themselves, be it physically or emotionally. Tragedies happen.
        Now I trust and know myself very well, but that has taken the kind of discipline and patience that is applied to studying because I wasn’t taught well how to understand and manage my emotions, they were unimportant. Maybe it seems natural to you to know and trust yourself, as it is to many others, but so is speaking English/your language, and you couldn’t do that without being supported in it as you grew up.
        When we’re adults, we can no longer blame our problems on parents and upbringing, we’re responsible for ourselves and this is liberating. But it’s not easy and many people just don’t know where to look or have the tools, so I think we should hold out some compassion.

    • Lynn says:

      bridg – my ex is avoidant of his issues and 3 months after we broke up he immediately got into something with a separated woman. they now live together. my guess is they both are avoidant of their issues. i get frustrated sometimes thinking that I am alone while he is already with someone – but I have to remind myself that I took the time to work on myself and to heal while he isn’t dealing with himself and she probably can’t be alone. I doubt they are healthy – and I want healthy. He contacted me about 1.5 months ago and was very heavy in complimenting me, telling me he missed me, he wanted to be with me etc. We ended up sleeping together. So definitely not healthy and if he truly was happy with her he wouldn’t be putting his penis somewhere else. He is messed up…but a lot of people are like this. They live for the now, don’t think of the future, how actions affect others, and only think about themselves. These are the people who should be alone and working on themselves like we have. I do believe he is with someone at his level now….someone just ask messed up as him and doesn’t expect anything from him.

  8. Still Learning says:

    I just went through this on a date the other night. I had a feeling leading up to it that this guy was just looking to get laid. He travels to my City for business weekly and kept asking me to go for lunch or dinner at his hotel, which I declined. Finally, we agreed to meet at a different restaurant and sure enough, he was suggesting we get dessert back at his hotel even before we had our dinner.

    I did go back there for dessert, but made it crystal clear that was all that would be happening. He pretty much rushed me out of there when he realized nothing further was going to occur. Fine by me. It takes me a while to get attached to a man, usually a few months, so first dates are pretty meaningless to me, but if there are red flags like that, it’s an automatic flush!


    • Mephista says:

      I hope that the dessert was tasty and he paid for the dinner! :-)

    • dancingqueen says:

      @still learning

      ick! Where in the world do these dudes sprout from? OMG. My new boyfriend and I were laughing about this just the other day. This whole jump-into-bed-barely-knowing-each-other thing, esp as one gets older, would be so awkward! We waited for almost 5 weeks of dating and we still both got nervous despite a large glass of wine each lol.

      I think that he was hinting that you were dessert…when you ordered chocolate cake instead, he was probably thinking “Damn, she did not get my suave metaphor” lol.

  9. Diane says:

    I have been reading this site for many months and have come away with valuable insight to why, how and what to do, pity its taken to my sage years of 55 to get here, I wish your blogs Nat had been around when I was growing up so my mum could have imparted words of wisdom, instead of floundering around and feeling it was a sink or swim situation, as I have come to realise that Mum was and is as clueless about men as I was, I would like to think that this is no longer the case with me.

  10. Flavia says:

    Bravo, Natalie! Another brilliant article.

    I was just discussing the issues with “guessing” with my friends, and this is spot on.

    Thank you for the wise words!

  11. Revolution says:

    Oh Natalie, you have no clue how many dimensions you reach with these blog posts of yours, girl. For instance, I am applying all you say–not to a romantic partner, but to a job! About a month ago, I started what I *thought* by all intents and purposes was to be my dream job, only to realize that a) I am NOT the right personality fit for the work “culture”, and b) I pretty much suck at the job, even though I’m putting all of my physical, emotional, and mental energies into it.

    The thing is, have you guys ever *wanted* something or someone so much with almost a primitive LUST, convinced that you are the right fit for it/them…only to find out that you actually DON’T fit with it/ them after all, and you actually don’t enjoy it/them one bit? Oh, I’m so confused….I thought that this was THE JOB(TM) for me. But it’s turning out NOT to be. And the worst thing is that I’m failing miserably at it.

    I was called into a meeting today with my boss who expressed concerns about me not being in the place he needs me to be after a month of working there. The sad thing is that, as this is a copywriter job for a big, respected company, it’s my dream job. I’ve been writing for 13 years AND I’ve had nothing but good feedback from other clients/bosses. Right now, however, I feel like a BIG FAT FAILURE. For the love of humanity. I’m even making mistakes that I’m not used to making. You know how it feels when you’re around someone who makes you feel clumsy–even when you KNOW you’re not a clumsy person–and you can’t help but to spill your glass of milk or back your car into a fire hydrant when you’re around them?! Well, I’m feeling the professional equivalent of that feeling. And the WORST part about it is that I’m TRYING MY BEST and pouring ALL MY ENERGIES into this new job, only to see it fall flat on it’s (MY) face, and (here’s the tie-in, Miss Nat 😉 ), JUDGING myself and asking “WHY in the hell didn’t you see this COMING? Didn’t you KNOW that this wasn’t the job for you???” Or, even worse, “Didn’t you KNOW that you’ve ALWAYS been a crap writer–you’ve just worked for people whose standards were low all of this time?? Now that you’re in the big leagues, you’re being found out for the FRAUD you are!” Oh shit. Dem some ISSUES I’m dealin’ with, yo. END RANT.

    • RP says:

      Dear Revolution,

      Now I cannot believe the timing of your post! I am in the same boat as you (job-wise) and I can really feel your pain right now. It sounds like you have “impostor syndrome”, not so uncommon, especially in women. Since your current boss devalues your “performance”, you automatically assume that your previous bosses/clients must have had lower standards. You are dismissing all the encouraging comments you received in the past because of ONE unfavourable comment. If you really hate the job, then of course it will be difficult to give the best of yourself. You have to ask yourself consciously whether you really detest your current job or if the pressure you are placing on yourself to perform is clouding your judgement. If you are out of tune with the work ethic of that company, then you can try to find a job where you feel more at home (this is what I did but I am still looking for a more satisfying job, I am trying for academic publishing jobs at the moment..). However, if you would like to wait and see if this job grows on you, then I would suggest talking with your boss to see where his concerns lie. Try to have a constructive conversation with him.

      Wishing you all the best Rev, believe me, I know it is hard!

    • happy b says:

      Revolution, you describe it so well, you must be a good writer! It makes me think of the times I’ve had colleagues observe my teaching, and I’ve really sucked, floundered on what to say to kids etc. And you have this all the time! You have my sympathies.

      I suspect it’s just that particular place. I’ve done just the same job I’m doing now in different places, and my abilities and experiences in each has been dramatically different. One place I consider toxic, it was like I couldn’t do anything right, and whenever I spoke out in meetings etc., someone would contradict me. Social events were a nightmare. Another place, I felt respected and like I could do my job as well as anyone, but there was a lot of BS and I couldn’t quite be myself all the time. And the third place, I never imagined I could like anywhere so much.
      Part of the differences I pin down my own ‘coming of age’ in my career and personal development, and think I can handle people and my work much better. But I suspect even with all my new knowledge, if I went back to the first place, I think I’d hate it just as much.
      It just takes 1 or 2 powerful people to give somewhere a cooperative vibe, or a competitive one, nice, nasty, or something in between, even if most workers are decent people.

      It’s easy to say ‘just leave’, but sometimes you have to before you can find something else, or you get in a vicious circle because you don’t have the energy to look around and your confidence and sense of self is eroded. In solidarity! Don’t give up on what you love doing.

    • EllyB says:

      Revolution: Adapting to a new job is always a challenge, and a month is a very short period of time. Even if it sounds counter-intuitive, maybe you should stop trying so hard? Focus on improving in one area or two and stop worrying about the rest (at least for now). Couldn’t you get your boss or some sympathetic coworker to coach you a bit? Businesses usually don’t want their chosen candidates to fail, even if they may criticize them.

      Perfectionism can be a hindrance too. Even if you don’t excel as much in this job as you did in others, the experience can be beneficial anyway. Maybe you’ll learn new skills which you could put to good use in other positions later on.

      I’ve also started a new job about half a year ago (after getting bullied out of the old one), and it’s been a somewhat bumpy ride for me. Skills haven’t been an issue (my former job had been more challenging in many ways), but I had trouble getting along with some of my new coworkers, and I had a serious fight with my boss (mainly over his tendency to micromanage). At some point I was in severe distress and I seriously considered quitting (partly triggered by my former bullying experiences I guess). Anyway, after a while some other coworkers started supporting me, and even my boss has changed his ways to some extent. Now I think I misjudged the situation first. Being new to a job is a discovery phase – same as with dating.

      • happy b says:

        Oh I missed you’d been there a month, Revolution (thanks Elly B). That leaving idea was a bit hasty then!

    • Elgie R. says:

      Revolution, give yourself time to get past the “wall”. You know you are a good writer, you are just facing several new challenges all at one time and maybe right now you are not hitting anything out of the park…but remember…. you HAVE hit it out the park before, several times. These challenges mean growth is happening, your craft is being “honed”.

      I fell in love with a computer when I was in high school, way back in the olden days of the teletype…so when I took my first computer language class and did not understand ANYTHING I just KNEW I had made a mistake! What made me think I could do this. I was definitely not a natural. But somehow, 6 to 8 months down the road, I started to “get” it. That’s when I realized I had gotten past a “wall”…. Some people never hang in there and get past the wall.

      Or as I read on somebody else’s blog – you’ve got to learn to “Embrace the Suck”. When we try to stretch ourselves, we are going to inevitably suck at many of the new things. Embrace the Suck. It is the only way to grow.

      • oona says:

        I’m not sure I understand what is really happening for you Revolution and I’m a bit confused by the replies given to you but I thought you seem to be saying that you feel you should be doing something else???? So the only question I have is – What can you do? – to be where you want to really be?

        • Revolution says:


          You see…this is what happens when you have a couple glasses of a nice Cab and you pour your soul out on Baggage Reclaim. Natalie has allowed this type of drunk-posting from me for years! :) Actually, it’s not drunk-, but more like buzz-posting. Still, I’m an honest girl. Made more honest by “the grape.” So…it is what it is.

          I appreciate all of your comments, and they have all been most helpful. I don’t have the time to outline how each one has helped me, but rest assured that they each have.

          The final verdict? As a hot-headed, impulse-driven, action-oriented woman (for right or wrong), I up and quit my job yesterday. There are so many things to say, so many arguments either way (whether to stay or leave–both of which I could argue quite intelligently), but the long and short of it is that this isn’t the job for me. Now, girls. Anyone here who “knows” me knows that I’M FAAAARRRR from a prima donna. I need to work and I’m not particular about hard work. But shit. I just CAN’T write what I don’t (and quite honestly never will) understand. Difficulty is fine. Impossibility? Well hell….

          Sometimes I think I’m too impulsive. And I make rash decisions. The irony is that I save my own ass time and time again, except for in the romantic realm, in which I fail to hear my own voice, screaming about the wrongness of my choices.

          What can I say? I was not made for a quiet life. I will always be a feisty, stormy, hard-headed bitch. I just gotta find my place. Maybe I never will, but I’m ever on the hunt….

          Thanks for listening from out in the ether, ladies. And thanks primarily to Natalie who always holds a place for each and every one of us eccentrics. :)

    • So True says:

      Feng Shui helped me with this!

  12. Stephanie says:

    In hindsight, there were so many red flags in dealing with the ex-eum. For me, lack of experience and being caught in the physical attraction clouted my judgement. In addition, my ego kept me from acknowledging that I guessed wrong and felt so foolish that I let this man fool me. See I thought I was a good judge in character of people, but you find out real quick when you lack experience with dealing with certain types of behavior and have self-esteem issues you didn’t know you had, you will miss vital signs that something ain’t right.

    I have learned as I’ve gotten to know myself and have a better understanding of people, I don’t make the same mistakes. There are times some people slip under my radar, especially if they are skilled at deception. But I have learned to trust my spidey senses and act accordingly.

  13. Peanut says:

    I recently had another experience with a man I had previously had an experience with. This time it was nice, though not fully satisfying for the either of us.

    I got some of what I wanted. There’s a lot to this person, but I don’t think either of us (that I know of) want to take it anywhere significant. After some space (for the both of us), I hope we can be friendly.

    After we spent the night together, he was rude and aloof at parting. Of course it stung a bit, and I said wait hold the phone to myself. We had been rude and cold/cranky to each other. I realized any kind of intimacy with anyone triggers a cynical, off putting response in me. Perhaps he’s the same, but my shit is my shit to work on, so why put much stock in his?

    I made some really insensitive dickheadish comments to him which he actually handled quite well. I’m just grateful I had a decent night though I have no expectations for anything further. He is free to do as he pleases and so am I. We owe each other nothing.

    • oona says:

      Really? The man was rude and aloof but you ‘hold the phone’? What is that about Peanut??? That’s right you owe each other nothing but you do owe yourself your full attention and that does not include sweeping, ANYTHING that makes you feel bad, under the carpet – and you want to be friends with him???

    • Selkie says:

      Peanut, is the same man who hurt you last time you were intimate? If so, please realize putting yourself in a ‘less than’ situation is not better than being lonely. It’s creating drama and pain. Why do that to yourself? It’s like self cutting. If it’s an entirely different man, I apologize. Still, whoever, him being rude and aloof afterward is not a basis for friends in the aftermath. It’s still accepting less than you deserve and showing you have no boundaries. Stand up for you Peanut, okay? You have so much to offer, forget bozo’s like this.

  14. Louise says:

    Again another post that resonates deeply with me and is so timely.
    Have been working with someone who has flirted outrageously, future faking and all sorts, in the last couple of weeks. Have done alot of work over the past year and this was a shock to my system, that I still had some erotic charge to someone I knew was not a good guy.
    Still I had to work with him, and boundaries were being pushed left right and centre, and I spent the whole time guessing, is he married, is he single, what a waste of energy.
    Found out he was in a relationship, and felt so relieved that I knew the score, he immediately became unattractive. I get home after I have left the project and he is the only one to email me, continue the flirty banter.
    I no longer am hooked, but still sad because after all the work I have done, I still must have something in me, that is a magnet to eum. Does this work, self inventory, ever ever stop ?

    • Selkie says:


      I don’t believe we arrive at this mystical enlightened place of bliss in life where we never have to self evolve again, but I do think we can come to rest in a place where it isn’t such a struggle. I heard this line in a movie recently when a happy successful man was asked if he had any problems. The man replied “life”. Life happens, AC’s happen, douchebags happen, and you didn’t bring it out in them. You may have had hopes before he unfolded, but that isn’t a bad thing.
      I don’t believe that we need to burden ourselves with why an idiot player douche bag is attracted to us. His lack of character is not about YOU. He merely played his hand because you were there. He probably does it in the coffee shop to the barista on the way to work, to the lady in the post office, to the bartender, his neighbor, his friends wife, etc. etc. I’m sure in his experience it pays to cast a wide net. The difference is that once you saw his colors, you lost interest. That’s huge in the self discovery department. Getting better at knowing and respecting yourself will not deflect assholes like some kind of repellant, but it’s how you handle yourself in the face of them that is about you and how much of your time you’ll let them waste. I get disappointed too when I find a man’s attentions are not what they seem or very genuine, but over the past couple of years I’ve learned to shrug it off and not take it personally. After the initial let down, I feel proud I no longer want to engage with pointless men who have nothing to offer or try to play games with me. I simply am not interested. They still approach me sometimes though, but it has nothing to do with my vibes or aura….it’s just them playing the odds. I saw the positive change in my self esteem in the way I HANDLED it, and so did they.

      • Selkie says:

        PS. All the hard work we do on ourselves is not a guarantee that we will find the love of our life, sadly, but it is a better way to live and greatly improves our odds of recognizing a special guy if he does come along.

      • Louise says:

        Selkie,I think what you say about them just playing the odds, is a really positive and logical way to go about processing this. Thank you for your feedback, reconfirming that it is a need in them, is really important to keep repeating to oneself and not that I am a eum magnet. Cheers x

      • Louise says:

        Selkie, Izzybell, Shano and Noquay, thank you for your responses, this community is a life line, and Nat’s wisdom.

        The thought of him now, sends shivers down mine spine, I recover faster cheers br x

        • Louise says:

          Nearly a week as passed since I left the job and the run in with the future faker . I will have to go back one more time to see the finished product, but Louise has left the building as it were.

          Insights have been pouring in and the major one was that when I guess wrong I punish myself and subsequently shut down, as a few of you brilliantly pointed out to me . I can trace this way back to being eleven years old and it needs shifting and outing once and for all. Just because a guy flirts with you and then unfolds to be a player, it doesn’t mean you have to go dead with your sexuality. Just because you got it a bit wrong it doesn’t mean you have turn off your light, just because someone was at the core a AC, doesn’t mean you have to eradicate any traces of femininity from your being. All of which before therapy and BR I have done. Being in your feminine sexuality, with clear boundaries, is such a powerful place to reside, there is real power here, no wonder they attempt to shut us down, shame us for choosing them ultimately.
          No more shame, no more shutting down,

    • Izzybell says:

      hi louise,
      I don’t think you did anything wrong, or that you are a “magnet” to unavailable men. These dudes just try their arm whenever and with whomever they can– and the work you’ve done has saved you the trouble of being drawn/responsive to their overtures. I really think the only difference between someone who repeatedly gets into painful relationships with unavailable people and someone who doesn’t is that the former notices the signs, how it makes them feel, and gets turned off much sooner.

      • Izzybell says:

        oops, I mean the latter!

      • Louise says:

        So I have to go back into work and see the AC guy I guessed wrong, for two last times, and today was the first time I had seen him since I had been informed of his partner. Well what a difference ten days make.
        My initial reaction was god this guy is crazy. He totally was saying random thing and being really bad at this job. He told me he was very tired, but gradually throughout the day made his way closer to me physically. I kept everything very professional, and he kept giving me these heartbroken eyes look. No doubt when the thing/project gets launched tomorrow his long term partner will be there, poor woman.
        His behaviour was ridiculous, but still I came away thinking about him and my insight was that I often have mistaken intimacy, for someone clearly having no boundaries and dare I say it, slight mental health issues. My sadness is now for me and the fact that I grew up in a very deprived area, and was subjected to a lot of communal pain, but I am no longer a Florence Nightingale, and someone who wants something very different now.
        After tomorrow I never have to see him again, and can after 36 years go about creating healthier dynamics. I have spent too long being guilty, and subsequently allowing my life to slip by.

        • Louise says:

          I did see him today for the final ever time. And low and behold, he did get his partner to come along. She was all over him, doing any thing he asked and he wanted me to meet her, I just walked away at this request. I had sat next to her whilst the presentation was taking place and felt somewhat sorry for her. She appeared to be a little out of control and definitely low self esteem.
          Before I went, he did the “We must work together again soon, get me in next time – any time you can”

          So I left, vowing to never speak to or work again with this type of ac. He had actually criticized my work throughout the process, yet thought I would forgive him. So what did a short trip down ac memory lane teach me. Yes people do unfold, don’t try and create something from an erotic charge, which at the end of the day is merely transference the source of which is some unresolved child hood issue and last of all aim higher in every sphere of life…

    • shano says:

      Just make a rule: no men at work, no married men, and no drunks, haha Learn to be friends with men like this, they prey on the new girl, right? Just friends, because there is one in every crowd.

  15. Noquay says:

    Some people can hide their character for very long periods of time. You cannot accurately judge anyone without accurate information. Nat puts it best; people take time to unfold.

  16. Rosie says:

    Elgie R-I’m not as sexually experienced as you but the two men I had casual sex with were horrible at intercourse. It was all about tbeir release & I was just there as the blowup doll. I stayed in an fwb “relationship” for two years with the first guy. He was a previous boyfriend. When we were in an actual relationship the sex was much better. I don’t think I wiuld have stayed in that fwb “relationship” if I had friends. I had none at that time and I stayed in that “relationship” bwcause I was in denial that he had broken up with me and he was my only “friend”.

    With the second guy, I had friends, BR, & support so it was easier (not easy!) to recognize a bad situation and to change my mind about contnuing down that self-destructive parh.

    I don’t know where I’m goung wirh this so I apologize if I’m wasting your time. I guess my whole point is that it’s easy to not recognize situations for what they are when the alternative seems even worse. Also, could there be a relationship between selfishness and bad sex? That’s what I’m beginning to think. Hugs, Elgie!

  17. Tabitha says:

    Well today the weirdest thing happened.

    I haven’t posted in about a year I don’t think. I have lurked here and there and picked up nuggets of Nats wisdom but overall I have been doing pretty well.

    So today I find that the Narc Ex will be on a training course with one of my staff members. I just saw his name on the distribution list for the confirmation email and it nearly made me throw up.

    I don’t know if it was shock but it really unsettled me and I got to thinking about it all over again…WHY didn’t I realise what a schmuck he was? Why did I let it all go on as long as I did? Why didn’t I see he was 10% Dr Jeckyll and 90% Mr Hyde? I do blame myself for it still and I actually didn’t do anything wrong other than not getting out faster.

    So I get off the phone from telling my best friend about it and the ex calls. I haven’t spoken to him for over 18 months and have ignored previous texts and phone calls and it’s 18 months since he bothered. I had deleted his number so just picked up.

    How weird is it that he called me that same day? He called because he saw my name on a professional academic document and he “was so proud of me and wanted to congratulate me.”

    I managed to be courteous but I don’t know why I didn’t just tell him where to go. I guess I am just not as angry as I though I was.

    A big thanks to Natalie and all the “Old regulars” who have helped me to get to this point where although I will never be indifferent, his contact cannot really disturb me. It’s a revelation!

    And Nat is right, just when you think it is safe, they come back.

    • IWokeUp says:

      I hope to soon get to where you are Tabitha. Its been 4 weeks of limited/no contact because we had to work together for a bit following the time I decided I had had enough.

      I know for sure that I dont ever want to be with him again because of the stress of the relationship but I struggle with the fact that he contacts me lazily sporadically like nothing happened trying to get together for lunch or whatever. I dont know why considering that I am certain I dont want to be with him again that not a day goes by that I dont think about him with disgust at him and/or myself for what I allowed him to get away with and the red flags I ignored.

      I want to get to the point where I dont think about him, that I dont beat myself up over it. I want to be over him but I have my days when I am fine and others I cry a lot.

      Somebody tell me how to stop thinking about him and our failed relationship of 4 years please!! Help. I want to forget him!!!!! :(

      • Tabitha says:

        Honestly it just takes time. I wrote out a list of his many faults which helped me through the early weeks and months. Do not underestimate the damage that these men can do though. It took me well over a year to stop thinking about him every single day………

        • IWokeUp says:

          Thanks for your reply Tabitha. I dont know whether you are religious or not, but I am a spiritual person and last night I prayed so hard in tears for God to heal my broken places. This morning I woke up feeling better and though as usual there were thoughts of him, (as you said this will take time to not think of him every day)it didnt hurt so much. I am going to take it a day at a time and I am going to also, like you, write down all his horrible traits, even though I can remember them quite well without that. How sad is that?

          I have broken NC once and responded to a text of his telling me the same I love you and miss you to tell him that if he truly did care about me at all at any point not to write to me anymore outside of work related matters. True to form that didnt stop him from ‘lazy’ texting me to see if I would give in after a week or two.

          It is the fact that he doesnt stop and yet doesnt do nearly enough to show any love or consideration for me that makes me sick to my stomach.

          Its much later in the day today n Im still doing okay. I dont hurt so much today. I wish he could just understand tht every time he contacts me, it sets me back just a little bit. But that would be too much to expect from an assclown. Ive put his number on my reject list now where I dont receive his call and his texts if any will go to spam, I dont know how well it works. Im hoping, no praying, for the best..

      • Mephista says:

        Forgive yourself, WokeUp. Forgive yourself for not being born clever, for your parents not giving/ not having right experiences to recognise s&&t when you see one, for nobody telling you about this type of people, for not getting instructions for use etc.

    • oona says:

      Yep its just like murderers who return to the scene of their crimes. Tabitha his return has disturbed you and unless he was a saint – rightfully so – but thankfully you are choosing not to take it personally?
      Instead of using it as a reason to question yourself as to what you did wrong it may be an idea to try doing some luxury things for yourself instead ie send the message to yourself that you did well! – take the concentration off him and back onto you – sometimes I find I am not dealing with something in myself (ie giving myself enough of the things I really need – love) and there is a clue in my honest feelings when I initially had a reaction to seeing or hearing from ex’s…sometimes there is lingering jealousy, sometimes lingering anger which all need a safe voice not repressing…sometimes nothing….

  18. oona says:

    In my mind Nat you are saying the proof is in the pudding – and if we taste it and don’t like it – why blame ourselves for tasting it, if it DECEPTIVELY looked good.
    I blamed myself because I felt I deceived myself – I was aware of bad things mounting and chose to disbelieve them or plain ignore them – even though they were really important things for me. I didn’t actually know how important until it all went tits up – that’s true – so to blame myself for deceiving myself is actually unfair because I was unaware of the true significance of my deception, unlike now.

  19. Elgie R. says:

    Hiya, Rosie. I never experienced bad nooky until I started dating ACs. Or rather, when ACs started hitting on me and I responded. I am a thick-eyeglasses woman, didn’t get contacts until after college, my first “real” job….so I flew under the AC radar for quite some time.

    Most men I’ve known were adequate sexually, nothing about the relationships as a whole that would make me want to marry them. Two lovers were awesome, and one of those was a good BF for 4 years. Until the pipe…..but that’s another story and a closed chapter. All were nice guys, but ordinary in attractiveness, and I never felt the “spark” that ACs bring. . I don’t think awesome looks and good sex go together in men. I’ve learned now that the “spark” is the uncertainty that ACs bring.

    I web surfed how to bring the better sex topic up with AC, you know how we women are told we must be so careful with the male ego……..and I am HORRIFIED at the number of women living with bad sex from husbands and longtime boyfriends.

    Yes indeed, there is a direct relationship between how selfish a man is outside of the bedroom and inside of the bedroom. My good boyfriend used to write me lovely poetry, buy me jewelry “just because” – not precious gem stuff but the kind I would buy; once he got my car prettied up without telling me, and he was thrilled by how happy that made me…..

    ACMM is incredibly selfish about “things”…..he brings FOUR beers over – two for me, two for him…NEVER a six pack in four years.

    A single AC I dated years ago, and dumped after 7 months of never having an O with him….called me 8 months later to take me on a “trip”……turned out is was one of those timeshare freebies. We slept together in the same bed that weekend, but NO sex…..the whole way back home he complained about how he NEVER takes a woman somewhere and not “get some”. I ignored him. I told him we he called that he should take somebody else, but he insisted…so…oh well.

    I’ve kinda been drifting since that good boyfriend, really.

    I am doing meetups, all geek-type meetups…most folks are twenty or more years younger than me. I just did one a few weeks ago, between break-up-with-AC email number two and three. At that meetup I had a real mental connection with one of the male presenters, great conversation, laughter. He gave me a scruple, just as a little token gift because it interested me. It is a silver reproduction coin symbolizing “scruples” that were used as weight measures back in the olden days….I did not know that, but learned that from him. Scruples. Imagine that.

    He has no idea how significant that little gesture was to me. Now if I can just find someone like that who wants to date me!

  20. Dancingqueen says:

    @revolution: you can do it! You can get through this! Relax! Breathe! Drinking calming tea! We are sending you good wishes!

  21. Alone says:

    This post is so relevant for me today. I am 7 weeks out of a 4 month relationship with an EUM that was going nowhere, that I pulled the pin on after he literally was not showing up for. I am a classic Dreamer from Nat’s book, and I imagined a relationship far beyond his casual interest in me. I was unhappy in the relationship, devastated to have to walk away, and now, still clinging to the hurt even though I don’t want him back! I realise I have zero relationship experience (widowed 20 months ago after marrying my first LTR) and I went into this relationship naively (even though there were red flags EVERYWHERE) and still expected this perfect relationship to emerge.
    Now that it hasn’t, I’m now beating myself up that I should have known better, that I wasn’t perfect enough to admit it was wrong in the first place and I wasn’t perfect enough to not expect so much from him.

    I have to realise that love isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. I’m allowed to make mistakes. And I’ve learnt so much. But for someone like me who expects perfection from myself, it is really hard to let go of and forgive myself. I don’t think I wasn’t good enough for him – I know it’s him, and I was the one who dumped him. But behind that I think I’m not good enough to have recognised him for what he was and for allowing myself to be hurt. Especially when at the beginning I was EU myself – protecting myself from heartbreak of losing my husband.

    Oona, your comment was me too.

    • oona says:

      Mephista puts it well a few posts earlier than mine on this thread – she says forgive yourself – for you weren’t taught and didn’t have what you were needing to know to be in whatever situation and get out early enough to not get hurt – that was other peoples responsibility not yours… :-)

  22. Matlou says:

    I am in the same path as you IWokeUp

    I still think of him a lot, but I am so determined to keep my NC. I loved him so dearly that is why I cannot just erase him, but I can tell you so far, I have a good feeling that with time, there will be that moment he will just be a memory.

    All what we need is time to heal

    • IWokeUp says:

      Yes, time. I hate that he is constantly on my mind. I truly loved him. I just love myself so much more. Hang in there Matlou. One day at a time. I am so proud of myself for each day I make it without contacting him or responding to him.

  23. Peanut says:

    oona & Selkie,

    True. True. True.

    I get soooo tired and frustrated being lonely, so I justify settling. Thanks for calling me out. I had to sit down with myself and do the same. He disappeared and I am crushed (we’ll see how long that lasts though). But I’m grateful he jetted out of the picture. He wasn’t good for me. I did it to myself. Just because someone behaves a bit differently doesn’t mean they’ve morphed into acceptably giving you what you need.

    Back to the drawing board. Thank you ladies. I was wrong. Again.

    P.S. He looked like my ex. *sigh*

    • oona says:

      This is the best bit Peanut – now you get to give yourself what you really want and need! And you know more about what you really want/need – have more clues on what to see and are closer to it… Good luck…

  24. gottoletgo says:

    Hi Ladies, I’m hoping someone can give me some words of encouragement on my issue. Thank God I found this blog, too bad it was too late! I was involved in a long distance relationship for about 4 years, in which we only met twice,yep I know I know. He was and is still a loser. We’re both in our early/mid twenties. He never worked or studied further,lived off money from his dad,which was cut off last year which forced him to get his first job at 24, a crappy minimum wage thing which he likes because its not ”pressured”. He was lazy in all aspects of life, work, exercise, relationships, if it warranted too must effort he rather give up and withdraw. I actually wanted to move to his country leave my life and my great job for him, I know, idiotic but there you have it, I was really into him and only now realise I was more into the him in my head than the real him. I based who he was in the few weeks we spent together on who he really is and now see that who he was during the months apart is the real him, the consistent him.
    He was a future faker, promised marriage etc, said yes to everything in the moment only to have his way at the last minute and change things, so it always went according to what he wanted in the end and what I wanted got pushed to a later date which never came.
    I’m pretty sure he cheated or met someone else thats when things changed and he really showed me less and less respect not in words but action, like avoiding me saying he ”was asleep” for hours on end after sending a message a minute before, etc. I knew it was bullshit but I stayed and now I have finally and really gone NC after trying and giving in before and seeing no improvement just more anger from me, to the point where I went ape at him over a small issue (which was something he kept doing the last few months) and he then stopped contacting me, so I sent a goodbye message, blocked him from emailing me and am trying to move on for real this time.
    My problem is that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and ruminate and over think about a random moment, message, excuse, incident, whatever and then feel like he really has met someone else and while I know I shouldnt envy her she really has a loser on her hands, I feel like maybe he was this way with me because of distance and he will be amazing with her because she is there? I shouldnt care I know,because if he is involved he has still been looking for me, which means he isn’t 100% in that relationship either, but feel so rejected. I mean I planned moving there to be closer but he kept moving the time and making excuses, I think he was an EUM as well.
    How do I get over this area? I tried to be the best I could be, to close the gap, to make it work and I just feel so rejected.
    Thanks for any advice

    • Jane says:


      It is hard but you will get through it. When you imagine a future with someone and it goes away, you can’t help but think what if and try and blame yourself and imagine all types of scenarios. However, you have to actively try and stop yourself whenever you think about him and what could have been.

      Treat yourself the way you would want your future daughter to treat herself. Behave in a way you would want your future daughter to behave and most importantly, the times when you don’t feel strong and you want to cry and ruminate over this loser, forgive yourself the way you would want your future daughter to forgive herself. It will get easier.

    • Allison says:

      Go to,

      Everyone has their own methods to move on from bad relationships. Personally, I got involved in everything imaginable: dancing, school, volunteering, yoga, politics etc… Not only did this keep my mind busy, but also introduced new passions, as well as new friends. It was a win-win!

      One other thing, please stay clear of long distance relationships- I believe Nat has written on the topic. You can not have a healthy relationship if there is not regular interaction- It’s fantasy. I would also address your own EU traits, as by choosing a long distance relationship, and for such a long period, indicates that you were not really looking for someone who was available.

      Good luck!

    • Stephanie says:


      I sometimes equate the loss of a relationship like the stages of grief. Sad, angry, mourn, acceptance. You will go through all these stages, but the most important when it comes to healing is acceptance. Start seeing the situation as they are and not how you want them to be! Hope can be a dangerous thing when your not keeping it real with yourself.

      Right now your ego is bruised, but when you need to realize that he was never going to be the type of man you wanted him to be and that you deserve better you will start to feel better. But you have take this time to reflect and figure out the lesson learned from this relationship and grow. We all have been there and you will be fine and it will get better.

  25. gottoletgo says:

    Thank you so much for the advice.
    Jane – this really got to me and made me tear up, to think I put the most important person in my life, me, on the back burner when at the end of everything, all I have is myself and I know better next time.

    Allison- this is true, I think in some ways I was, but we had so much in common and clicked so well, I couldnt help but develop feelings. I know now for sure I never want an LDR, every emotion you go through in a normal relationship is magnified in an LDR because of distance and not knowing things for certain, this is what makes me the most angry at myself, knowing bullshit when I heard it, knowing I should get out, but staying because i doubted myself because ”I never really knew for sure” being so far. I hate that I was being so stupid for so long, betting huge amounts on potential, but Im trying to forgive myself.

    Stephanie – I know, my ego is bruised because as Nat says in one of her posts something about how you cant stand the fact a loser did not want you. Yes, I totally relate, this is the worst feeling but I have to take myself off my own pedestal and just accept and move on. Knowing all this is one thing, the brain knows what to do and how to do it, its the feelings that take ages to follow suit.

    This blog has helped me so much, even though I had already wasted so much time on him, at least I did not waste any more as I am sure I might have had i never read almost all the posts by NML and kicked myself into gear. Especially with NC.

  26. Allison says:

    Got to,

    I have the same feelings, and mine was local :(. Thankfully, it didn’t last long :)

    My experience was a great learning experience, and was more about me, than him. I am very thankful for the situation, as it helped me make necessary changes in my life.

    Hon, you’re young, you are fortunate you are learning this in your 20’s, not your 40’s.

  27. Noquay says:

    Really learning about self judgement the past month. Always felt guilty for not flying out, visiting my dad more often, sometimes not being there when he called. Trying to clean his filthy house, one I kept offering to pay a cleaner to tend to, really has shown me many things. His final collapse/death was due to his own choices not to ask for help, not to answer his phone when others called. He obviously had something respiratory going on for a month or so and chose not to seek help. Odd in someone who had so many surgeries etc to stay alive but then people are not logical. Always felt I owed him for not physically abandoning me as a child. This week, I have discharged that debt. Lately, I have been understanding that while I fall far short of perfection or anything close to it, my situation in my current home town, is just that, purely situational. Although I am in mourning and not at my best, I was walking downtown where I am staying and people would look up and smile, I mentioned that I was alone for a few days and invited a guy I met in the course of dealing with my dad for a glass of wine and he showed up. We had a great evening. Read zilch into it but had a good time, good conversation. I make bad decisions about ACs, am limited to LDRs even for men who are just friends because for 9 months out of the year, I have no other choice. My dads passing has left me with 5 s@#$loads of debt and the house that my ex and I bought and furnished for him going to my ex because dad lied about it being in my name absolutely. My goal now, is to rebuild savings, continue to fix my own home, make it higher value, try and work when the semester starts and not feel the rage and dissatisfaction that goes along with being there at least til I can get in a place to afford to be able to retire and have a life, meet like minded people, have a rship again. Many tell me to give up my farm, animals, live a small life, work a small job, be alone. This week I have seen where that path goes. My dad did not have enough to retire on, could not afford to travel much outside his dying town, had a total of four friends plus whomever he saw for health care, and emotionally, was incapable of asking for help from a daughter that would’ve been glad to do so. Don’t wanna go there myself.

  28. Mirror of My Faces says:

    I watched ME a couple of days ago, as I mentally sparred with this slick dude. My face was jammed into a stupid school-girl-crush grin; I couldn’t form my poker face because these stupid giddy feelings kept passing through me.

    I thought to myself, “Forget it. I can’t fight me right now,” so I just let the feelings happen, and I forced my brain to stay focused.

    It was a business meeting, and there I was getting turned on by a man who was planning on “eating me alive.”

    This guy is smart, quick, confident, independent, adventurous, and …,but I put him in my bastud box, and nailed the lid shut, so I won’t be tempted to take him back out in a vulnerable state because he’s also manipulative, self- serving, and dishonest.

    I’m living my values: He tried to play both sides
    against the middle. I get it; he’s doing his job, but I want a man who maintains his integrity at all times; NO it’s not just business–it’s a lack of integrity. I don’t want to be handled. And with guys like him, I’d always have to be on guard–exhausting!

    You can be dang sure, what somebody will do to someone else, they are capable of doing to you. But, I didn’t like what he was doing to the other side, period, so I pondered and validated my dislike for his behavior, as he, oblivious to my feelings once again, continued to hammer out a plan of attack.

    I observed a disconnect behind his business charms; there’s no real warmth or sincerity. There’s just allotta polished acting. He can turn it on and off, flip it, flap it, and send it sailing into the wind; it means nothing.

    He’s cold and calculating, not concerned about how he is affecting others, just focused on the goal.

    But, I’m proud of ME for not telling him about himself. (…, and enforcing my boundaries with grace. That was soooo cool. :) ) It wouldn’t do any good anyway: he would simply try a different form of attack; it’s best not to tangle with predators, if you are capable of empathy, you can’t ‘win,’ and all he’ll do is just change tactics. It’s the thrill of the hunt alright. It’s playing games– “Hunt or be hunted.”

    My family is a cerebral clan. They always challenged my thinking, and I love it when other people challenge my thinking, and I love challenging the thinking of others. When I was a child, I did it for fun and attention. It’s an ego-feeding game, so I need to be careful with it because I think I got off on seeing if this guy could spar with me, but later I asked myself, wtf? Intelligence and strength are nice, but why do I do this? It isn’t a test of either. I don’t want to mentally spar with my man. Or do I? It’s just a stupid game that only proves who is the biggest asshole. It’s one thing to have a discussion or respectful debate, but during a spar it can become mean spirited. (Wtf? Do I want to argue? Do I want to be right? I smell external validation issues, and triggers from conversing with my father. Maybe that’s why I get activated during disputes. My childhood self-esteem and self-worth depended upon being able to spar with the likes of my dad. I’m getting an aha moment, as I write this comment.)

    Anyway, after the meeting, we spent some time together, and it turns out he has this other well documented side to him that appears real. He’s human; there’s a certain method to his madness. He has a whole other side of his life where “he does nothing , but good things.”

    But he’s staying in the bastud box because to try and figure him out, … I’d be guessing. So when he called me last night, I kept reading a good book, and sat on my hands, and I guess I’ll be thinking of him until I stop thinking of him. I’ll just ride it out. It’ll pass right? There’s no way I’m attached to this man. He’s a stranger. Right? RIGHT.

    • Maleficent says:

      Hunt or be hunted, Welcome back, Quote Frank Underwood, House of Cards, Season 2

    • oona says:

      YES please ride the lust out – it is not love it doesn’t last. And yes it is an external validation thing and finding positive ways to validate yourself is essential for yourself – like writing on Baggage Reclaim etc…things that won’t harm you in the short or long term. When you start persistantly flirting with an AC you can take it as a sign you are not for-filling all of your REAL needs and you are actually neglecting yourself and vulnerable.

      • oona says:

        Think of it like a scab that itches – you need to leave it alone to heal – or it will bleed and get infected.

  29. Rosie says:

    Mirror of My Faces- Boy oh boy! There’s so much in your comment that I love and can relate to but since I’m doing this by phone, I’ll reply to what you said about tangling with predators and their change of tactics. You are so on the money! The more we explain our “no”, the more info we’re giving that they use to get the “yes”. It’s all about closing the deal, nothing personal, you understand. 😉

    You’re right, too, about integrity. If a person lacks it in how he does business, then he lacks it in his personal life because this is who he is. I don’t remember the name of the book, but in it there’s a fable about a scorpion and a frog. The scorpion promised not to sting the frog because he needs the frog to cross the lake. The frog believes him and, sure enough, the scorpion stings him. The frog called him out on his promise and the scorpion replies, “I can’t help it. It’s what I am.”

    I’m not into astrology, but rhere must be a reason why one of rhe signs is named after the scorpion and why this sign is associated with sex. 😉

  30. teachable says:

    Not to invalidate anyone elses exp, but for what it’s worth Rev, I think you made the right call. I’ve never had a job that started badly, improve in the long term. In every such case where I’ve compromised myself to stay & smooth things over, this was only a temp salve & things ALWAYS turned bad again. Sometimes, very, very bad (insert my current chronic illness & unemployed status after three jobs like this in a row! Ugh. Silly me was reliant on holidays for study leave so endured toxic workplaces time & again. Never again. Lesson learned!)

    New employers tend to be on their best behaviour with new recruits as we are with them. If it starts badly, generally speaking it only gets worse from there (much like romantic r.ships I think).

    Thinking of you Revs & chin up hey. THEY weren’t the right fit for YOU. End of.

    Teach x

    PS I just got a dog for company. It’s helping a lot. I’m preparing for a return to uni now. Baby steps but getting a dog was a good call! 😀

    • Revolution says:

      Thanks so much, Teach. Even though I need less validation as I get older, it’s still important to hear it. Yeah, my body does this weird thing when it knows it doesn’t belong in a situation or with a person. It gets ill, gets stiff, gets overly tired…..picture trying to drag a six-year old to church. You get the idea. The irony is that the people at this place couldn’t be nicer. It’s the job itself and the work culture. I’m all for hard work, but I don’t believe in giving my lifeblood to feed the machine. Maybe that’s “un-American” but so be it. Silly me, I don’t think we should sacrifice ALL our time and energies on a job. Especially one that taxes your adrenals. I can already feel it happening, and I’ve barely been there six weeks. Nope, been there done that. I’ll figure something out, I always do. Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your example, Teach. And congrats on the new doggy and also getting ready for uni. That big brain of yours will be put to good use, I’m sure!

  31. teachable says:

    Noquay, I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your Father, as well as of the sad complications & circumstances. On the other hand, you’re wise to take the lesson from his example. You DESERVE happiness & to live somewhere you like & where folks appreciate you. Big hugs Noquay. Any debt you felt to your Dad has indeed now been paid. It’s your time now. Gentle thoughts your way from me as you navigate this difficult time. Teach xxx

    • Noquay says:

      Thanks Teach. Glad you have a dog. I miss my two right now, as poorly mannered as they are. Yep, I have learned a lot from dad and actually have been putting it in practice for years. Stay in shape, stay thin. Don’t drink to excess, ever. Never drink alone or to try and numb your feelings. Live within your means. Be tidy; never know when someone we else may be stuck with your mess. Don’t ever be afraid to tell those close that you love them; tomorrow may be too damn late. Live your heritage, don’t let anyone make you feel shame for who you are. Finances must be kept apart from relationships, even marriage, always have plan B as things may not work out. Get your affairs in order, NOW. Don’t make it someone else’s problem. People are who they are, no matter what they promise. Everyone’s journey thru life is different; accept facts as they are; no amount of judging on your part is gonna fix that. It is what it is. Get an education; it opens up doors that would otherwise be closed. Not to speak I’ll of the dead, but dad, in his younger days, lived beyond his means, didnt take care of himself, made disasterous financial decisions, to the point that I had to support him for years before heading to grad school. He wound up with 18 years worth of deteriorating health, bankrupt, alone. He teaches me every day. Now, as I am figuring out what to do next, I am paying off his debts, including his funeral expenses, preparing his funeral service, which I will conduct. A lot of my future depends on the housing and job markets, both of which are in trouble. My preference is to retire ASAP in a way that allows me to have a vibrant social life and still live my woods/farming values. Staying here at friends has kinda shown me what that may look like. If I can increase my woodworking skills, maybe adjunct teach a class or two, grow most of my food, get my wood off my land, maybe do syrup in spring, I may do OK without being marginalized the way my dad was. I cannot believe how much I have missed big water, lush vegetation, folks who also hate mining and guns. May not be able to happen for a few years but the path is becoming more clear.

  32. Nell says:


    I have an interesting one for you. I split up with someone last week because they werent emotionally available. He didnt do anything wrong per se but i just felt he wasnt ready. So we split even though we are good for each other, he recognises his unavailability and was trying to do all the right things as we did get on so well. I still felt that wasnt good enough and could sense i was getting half a loaf instead of the full one. Tricky huh

    • Allison says:


      Not really. A common theme on this site, as they’re not all assclowns.

      You did the right thing, as you would of continued to feel more hurt and disappointed, due to his lack of availability.

      Stick to your decision, as he will not change.

  33. IWokeUp says:

    I decided to break NC after he texted me the last time this week to ask me to see him for lunch and actually responded to let him know that I was serious about ending our relationship and for him to please stop contacting me out of the blue every week or week and a half as if I hadnt told him it would be over between us.

    I told him that it actually throws off my healing process from a relationship that meant something to me and if he really did “love me or loves me as he claims” then to please let me move on and not to contact me again.

    His response “I understand ‘baby’ I wont text or write to you anymore. No need to respond”. That was on Friday. Its Sunday. Lets see how this goes. (oh God Im not your babyyy!!!)

    Can an assclown really get over his own shallow needs and honor my wishes to be left alone to heal and move on? I thought I would give it a shot to see if there is a human being inside of the narcissist somewhere. Yeah, like thats gonna happen.

    • Allison says:

      I Woke,

      Have you blocked him?

    • Elgie R. says:

      I Woke Up, wake up! Your AC is lovin’ the situation. Giant ego stroke you gave him, there. He is preening…thinking “I’m so awesome women can’t get over me easily!”

      He doesn’t care about your healing process, and he will reach out again when he needs an ego stroke, because he’s pretty certain you’ll deliver.

      The AC in my life has texted 3 times since I declared myself OUT. And just as BR says, I was at the point where I no longer checked for any text from him, it seemed things had finally died down for good…I was answering my phone for other reasons when I saw AC had lazy texted me hours earlier that day. I admit the first text gave me the closing validation I lacked –he had disappeared with no comment when I said my final goodbye…I white-knuckled through the urge to do the “are we good..?..let’s be friends” thing….read the BR posts on the subject, which helped tremendously.

      However, the next two texts AC sent scream RESET and turned me off. I deleted them and feel no need to ask him to stop. My silence will speak….and I don’t want the emotional fallout of any “conversational” missives between us.

      • IWokeUp says:

        Youre totally right. I did give him a huge ego stroke. I wont do that again and Im okay with that fact so long as he can clearly see that I am serious this time about not getting back with him regardless of what he does or say. I can live with myself because he is seeing that this is not a bid for attention or me throwing a hissy fit. This is me done with him with no regret and sticking to it 100%. I wont break NC again though. Bad idea. Assclowns dont care. They do what they want when they want so long as it benefits them.

  34. Chloe says:

    Gotta share this. I know which box this guy is in, and it’s not one that I’m keeping. Was at stage to have first sex with man I’m in relationship in, and we spent a weekend together. He blamed me for his E.D. ( erectile dysfunction) by saying that I need a SMALLER one. Haha. I didn’t reply to his comment, but two days ago when he brought it up on phone he recalled the event as me not ‘opening up to him’. I told him straight out in plain English, that he needs a hard to insert and perform sex
    ( that type anyway). Two strikes and he is OUT. OH, three actually, 1) he has ED and bad sex is a deal breaker with me, 2) He did not communicate well on incident, 3) He blamed me for it. Ready for my next date.

    • Allison says:


      Ha ha!!!!

      What an asshole! Putting his issues on you! I can guarantee that he will never forget that convo!

    • Jane says:

      Chloe – well done! The three strikes rule is one I need to implement.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      ED does not necessarily mean bad sex. It very much depends on how a man deals with it, cares about the pleasure of his partner and gets pleasure from more than just penetration.

      I have had seriously fabulous sex with a lovely decent man who happened to have partial ED; it’s a damn shame he was EU and not ready for a relationship but that’s another story.

  35. teachable says:

    Chloe, I dated a guy that had great difficulty orgasming once. I’m not a dead lay between the sheets & was using every trick in the book but it was EXAUSTING. In these days of google I did a search & learned this is a sexual dysfunction problem & quite a serious one at that (he really did take WAY in excess of ordinary time to climax). I basically just informed him that HE had a sexual dysfuntion disorder & that I wouldn’t be remotely taking it on that the problem was ME. The cheeck of him, he then admitted HE KNEW THIS (despite not fessing up during the act when I was exceedingly tired & even commented such). I stopped dating him primarily for other reasons but was honest this was part of the problem. I actually told him if he expected women to spend inordinately extended periods tending to his ‘problem’ he might want to consider getting some ‘hired help’! Bottom line? If they’re not sexually functional they’re not ready to be in a r.ship! Ugh.

    Noquay, you have learned much & been a loving, supportive & compassionate daughter. I really hope you find the right partner eventually. You deserve this! xxx

  36. teachable says:

    You’re right Rev. Enduring or tolerating chronic stress inducing situations is very bad for us, both physically & psychologically. The endocrine system transports hormones activating neurotransmitters via feedback loops that cause the body & brain to change over time in ways that are very harmful to our health because the fight/flight stress response is not supposed to be a chronic state of being. Rather biologically & psysiologically it’s designed for emmergency situations (such as in cave man days running from a dangerous animal or fighting to protect our young). Cortisol is involved in this & is harmful in high levels over time. That is the simple explanation. A more in depth one would talk about the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis & the hypothalamus-pituitary-thryroid axis (I think that’s it, spouting off the top of my head here, lol) with both impacted in different ways in response to chronic stress & arousal. The takeaway is, as you so astutely acted on, that it’s helpful in life to prioritise our health above all else. If we don’t have this we’re in a challenging position indeed (as I am now but slowly healing from). Be it external validation or not you made a good call imho. Good for you. Doing so was courageous & backing yourself! There is now room in your life for something more suitable to come along.

    PS My brain is slowly kicking into gear. I’m very relieved. Great challenges lie ahead for me so it’s a day at a time here. I’m allowing myself to think big though (toying with trying to get into medicine as a post grad after my undergrad degree). I know that in time more will be revealed. I’d be a later comer to medicine but hey, why not? It’s only 1 additional year to get to 1st yr practice in a hospital as a Dr on my L plates, than it would be to qualify to practice as a psychologist so I’m genuinely considering giving it a tilt. Wouldn’t it be ace if the former homeless kid with an awful childhood could eventually become a Dr? I think so! Plus, imagine how many folks I could hopefully make a difference to then!! 😀

    • Revolution says:

      That was great for me to read right now, Teach. Thank you. I mean it. By the way, I think you’d be an excellent doctor.


  37. Mel says:

    I was wondering, hoping that some wise BR veterans would have some advice for me. I’m 15 weeks post break up from a EU MM (he ended it) there has been NC for the last 13 weeks. I’m doing OK but not as good as I would have hoped by almost 4 months. I’ve been dissecting the last 2 years in my head like crazy and all it’s doing is upsetting me. Some days I’m doing really well, then others I fall apart. No one knew about him so I’m totally on my own with this. What a waste of 2 years, I wish I had never met him….I feel like a total fool, an idiot, and I wouldn’t dare confide in anyone cause I know they will think less of me, what we did was wrong and I am paying the price….he’s not, but I am! I stupidly fell in love with him and it blinded my better judgement, the crumbs relationship and my over eagerness to please him wore me down and although I ended it several times, I wasn’t strong enough to stay away. I know that it’s better now and although I feel like I’m free, I still feel like I’m shacked to this man emotionally. I’ve come to the conclusion in hindsight, that although I was madly in love with him, he probably never even moved past like with me, and that really hurts….it hurts my heart and my ego. I’m being really hard on myself and I just want to move fwd, however I feel that I am stuck, any suggestions?

    • Louise says:

      Think Mel, you need to keep reading all this BR stuff and maybe look at some childhood issues, perhaps go right back to the time that you first felt you were madly in love, and any issues of abandonment you had around those formative years.
      You have to feel all of this, that is what recovery is, but after the work you have to do, you get your life back.xx

    • Elgie R. says:

      I feel just as you do, Mel. Stuck. Don’t feel like crying, not overly sad, not happy, just stuck. I too am seized with embarrassment over how foolish I was to think I was in something mutual.

      And now that I am doing work on myself, and I realize I was raised to be a codependent by a narcissistic Mother…. I see the narcissism in my Mom almost every day, in almost every interaction. I sit alone and think “She was NEVER 100% on my side in the game of life.” I feel cheated. AND stuck.

      I did the final breakaway from AC in May 2014 and I have been examining my relationship with Mom for over a year now. But , in May, I got cheated out of $10 buying lottery tickets at a Mom&Pop shop. The way the purchase had unfolded, I was convinced I was cheated purposely. I wavered between being my usual mature self and eating the loss or going back like a crazy lady.

      For the first time in my life – crazy lady won out. I went back the next day armed with a steel pipe, intent on breaking at least $10 worth of stuff if I did not get reimbursed. I realized I would be on camera, possibly get arrested, but I was so MAD!

      SO the next day, I went back around the same time I had been there the day before, I took my pipe out of the trunk, went in and waited patiently behind a customer who was already there. This time the same female clerk was there AND a guy – seemed like her husband – was there too. While she waited on the customer in front of me, I looked around for something I could break with the pipe in my hand. Her husband started eyeing me and walked around to her. I also saw a sign that said NO REFUNDS. CHECK YOUR TICKETS BEFORE LEAVING. I did not let that deter me.

      When I got to the window, I said in a controlled angry voice “I was in here yesterday about this time. I cashed in $27 dollars worth of winnings and asked for a $20 scratch-off and $7 worth of tickets. Here are my $7 tickets, but you gave me ONE $10 ticket” She said in broken English “Oh..I ‘member you.” I said “All I want is another $10 ticket”.

      She gave it to me.

      Never did anything like that before..EVER. I was trying to understand where that anger was coming from…was it residual AC anger..?…Mom anger..?..I wasn’t sure.

      There will be a lot of backlash emotions in our futures I think. I have no advice. I wish I knew how to handle it too.

      • Elgie R, says:

        In my current “stuckness”, I reached out to BR again and mined GOLD from a 2013 post “When are you going to Forgive yourself and Allow yourself to Move on”.

        Mel…..we gotta give ourselves compassion and empathy. For us overgivers, I think the lesson is: treat YOURSELF the way you would treat a friend who was suffering.

        From the 2013 post –

        Bob’s reply said – Keep your memories, feel you feelings, but KEEP MOVING FORWARD”.

        Mymbles reply –
        “looking into my crystal ball, and based on my experience and that of many others , the AC will be back, eerily at about the time you’re really starting to move on. Attached men don’t have too many options so they like to keep whatever ones they have open.”

        From Lau-ra –
        ” growing up hurts”. ……..I believe that perfectly illustrates what many of us here are going through.
        It hurts, because you’re growing out of your bad patterns. It hurts, because you’ve finally realised that you were also contributing to your pain and withholding kindness towards yourself (though I bet you weren’t doing the same to other people, even if they’d deserve that). I hurt because I hate to admit that I had to have those painful times in order to understand that such crap is not enough for me.
        The lessons we didn’t have a chance to learn (about accepting yourself, knowing ones needs and refusing to live with less) because of dysfunctional ties in our family (over-critical, EU or abusive parents) still have to be learned. And it not our fault that we only get to learn them now and this way.

        I’m here at work….alone….enjoying the quiet office…deleting AC texts from my phone…

        All in all…feeling better.

        • Mel says:

          Thank you for your kind words, it’s hard isn’t it? I had a narcissist father and an unsupportive bi polar mother, so my childhood wasn’t a fairy tale either…..I was never ‘enough’. I estranged myself from my father 15 years ago so having this crumbs experience with my EUMM was a real step back for me. I now have to step fwd and try to not make the same mistakes again. I heard a quote that goes: never make someone your priority, who makes you an option…..what’s even sader/harder for me to accept and move on from, is that I don’t think that I was even an option! What was I to him? I gave him my true self, my authentic self, I was loving, supportive, giving, I sacrificed (I’m ashamed to say) my relationships with my friends and family for this man….he sacrificed nothing, not one crumb. I’m such an idiot. I’m worried also about meeting someone new cause right now I don’t trust my self, I don’t trust my judgement, clearly I have shit taste in men or they are the ones attracted to me, It’s a chicken and egg scenario. I feel like maybe I should just shut myself away from the world for the rest of the year. I can’t risk getting invoked with another AC, maybe I’m just better off single and alone.

  38. Peanut says:

    I reread my comment about that man who was rough with me. I had recalled another tryst with him that wasn’t horrifying and labeled it ‘nice’. I am that desperate and that is sad. I’m scared to meet someone good. To trust. To love. And ohhhh am I NOT ready. Still.

    I lost my goddamn marbles. That man was a monster. Just came back from the Dr for STD testing (haven’t got the results back). They were so nice and comforting it gave me hope. And I contacted the ex :( He’s the same! I have no expectations though. Maybe that’s my problem. Or that I have such low standards because I don’t know any better.

    I am currently undergoing outpatient treatment for substance abuse/mental illness. I’ve been secretly using/suicidal for a long time now. I’m working hard and sick from withdrawl. But I just keep moving. Dating moves further and further from my mind. I’m just trying to survive and doing what ever it takes/what is asked of me by the professionals.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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