woman waving to train

There are two big questions hovering in the comments recently that pretty much amount to the same thing:

How do I let go of the guy that didn’t reciprocate my feelings?

How do I let go of the guy that I didn’t actually have a relationship with?

In essence, how do you let go of a one-sided attraction which in your mind has created a relationship out of…your feelings?

For a start, you can’t ‘break up’ when there is nothing to break up from. The only person you have to break up with is you and your rather overactive imagination and feelings.

The issue here isn’t really about ‘him’ as he’s not really part of the equation when you’ve created an illusion rather than keeping your feet in the real world – the issue is about you and the fact that you don’t want to let go of your feelings, your obsession, your drama.

There are four key reasons why these situations come about:

You are a queen of projection. You choose men that cater to your own negative self-fulfilling prophecy and are likely to leave you ‘crushing’ on them and then you project the feelings that you think you have on them and assume that because you think you feel a certain way about them, they should feel that way about you too. You want them to notice you, to see you in the way that you see them, and you conduct the great majority of this stuff in your head without communicating it to them and then wonder why they haven’t reciprocated your feelings.

You think that your feelings are big enough for the two of you. You lose all sense of proportion and become so consumed in how you feel that you want him to be swept up in all the love you have to give and that one day he’ll catch up to how you feel and return it. Trust me, they don’t.

You don’t actually want to be in a relationship. You’re living in a dream world and afraid of being rejected in the real world. In choosing men who are aloof and unlikely to be interested in you, you get to avoid having to be hurt in a way that you’re trying to avoid. Instead, you build sandcastles in the sky in your head and then feel rejected by your own daydreams because the reality is that you need some sort of inspiration for these illusions and he is not a part of your life. You’re very emotionally unavailable.

You don’t want to let go. As many of us have discovered, even if it’s the most toxic thing to continue feeling as we do or being involved with someone, we continue, not only because it’s a bit like ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ but also because even when there is nothing or it’s crap, we don’t want to let go. We don’t want to get real with ourselves in case we find that we have something difficult or painful to look at, we don’t want to admit that we’re often creators of our own pain, and we certainly don’t want to admit that we’re letting go of something that didn’t exist, and if it did, it was for the most part in our heads.

Remember, it’s a bit difficult to make someone accountable for something that is a grand illusion in your head when you could have been making them accountable for real behaviours. Likewise, you can’t wonder why someone isn’t being and feeling what you want them to be when they’re not part of the relationship in your head.

These men end up acting as ‘inspiration’ for our latest round of feelings and it’s like they put some input in at the beginning and then we just take it from there, refusing to acknowledge whether they are even there or not and if they are behaving in line with what’s in our heads and if not, why not.

Quite frankly, any misery you are feeling is for the most part, your own creation because you are not interested in keeping your feet in reality and have been too busy wallowing in your own world. In doing this, you’re not seeing signs that you need to get real, and you’re not hearing signs that you need to get real. In fact, the person may have no clue that you are even interested in them, or if they do, they may have told you that they’re not interested and you switched to unreciprocated feelings mode and hovered there expecting him to see you in the way that you want to be seen and magically catch up with your feelings.

It doesn’t matter what they feel – you’re only interested in the fact that you feel what you feel and you want them to feel that too.

The thing is, from the moment that you recognise that you 1) are not having your feelings reciprocated and/or 2) that you’re not in a relationship with them, major warning signals should be going to your brain that there is something seriously wrong if you are still trying to get them to reciprocate and obsessing about them over an extended period of time.

It’s one thing to have a crush and it’s the other to crush the crap out of yourself in a self-destructive pursuit of pain and then blame it on someone else.

If you have made the choice to continue loving and chasing him with much of it taking place from your head as you wait for crumbs or nothing at all, you’re on a serious avoidance mission because it’s like you want to hide away on these self-created feelings of rejection rather than get out there in the real world and risk yourself in a real relationship.

Whilst I recognise that in some instances, we can be misled by a guy to believe that he feels more than he does, I tend to find that women who are in this situation are invariably in it because they decided that they were crazy about someone and don’t want to let that, and the fantasy go.

You’ve decided that you want him, love him, and to hell with it, you’ll find a way to show him that he should notice and love you too. You’re gonna ride this imaginary donkey of love till it collapses.

We’re back at the juncture again where we think that deciding that we love or feel something about someone creates an automatic IOU.

We’re also back at that juncture where we’re loving without any foundation for loving and then refusing to opt out because we don’t want to let go of the fantasy or the illusion and get real…and deal with our problems.

And trust me, if you’re doing this, you have some big issues to deal with because you’re engaging in incredibly self-destructive behaviour and repeatedly creating a rejection situation for yourself and then wondering why you’re in pain – because you did it, not him!

In all honesty, the only way that these situations end is when YOU end ‘it’. You don’t need to say anything because to be honest, I think some of these men would be a touch confused if you told them that something was over that they didn’t think had started.

Stop calling, stop chasing, stop texting, stop seeing a bread loaf when there is barely a crumb.

Stop waiting, stop hoping, stop projecting, stop the madness.

Stop creating drama and then wondering why you are miserable – as it’s all one sided, you are the master orchestrator of your own soap opera.

Commit to being in the real world. Take things at face value so when he doesn’t call, it’s because he doesn’t want to speak with you, not because he’s waiting for you to make a move. When you don’t hear from him for months, it’s not because you did something wrong that you need to figure out – it’s because you are not in a relationship and whilst you are daydreaming the crap out of your life, he is out there living his.

Yes that’s right living and if you spend your energy wanting men that don’t want you and then obsessing about why they don’t want you, your life will be at one mega grandstill.

If you point blank cannot accept that 1) it’s for the most part in your head, 2) if he doesn’t want you then it’s time to start learning to stop wanting him, 3) you’re creating your own drama and pain, then you must at least accept that you are 100% responsible for where you are now and that you don’t get to let yourself off the hook and blame him.

And then go and talk to someone because spending your life and brain time escaping from the real world whilst hurting yourself and not wanting that to change says that it’s time you spoke to someone and got to the heart of your issues.

But if you are at that point where you want to and can do something about this, don’t try to make things anymore complicated than they are because when you let go of something that doesn’t and didn’t exist, you have that power and are in the driving seat of what happens to you. Don’t make out like he has to do something to end this – you have to do something and cold turkey it out so that you can gain some real perspective and get to the heart of why you are engaging in this self-destructive behaviour so that you don’t go back.

Your thoughts?

Get ahead on understanding waste of space men and relationships with my ebook, Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. Find out more and download. Also find out more about my No Contact Rule web seminar, or if you need personal advice or analysis of your relationship, check out my consultation service.

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

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


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284 Responses to Letting Go of a Relationship…That Doesn’t Exist

  1. Complicated says:

    Just wanted to write an update. Tonight, is one full week of no contact for me. I’m focusing on the positive and taking things one week at a time…easier than thinking I will never hear from my EUM again (or at least until he needs an Ego boost). I’m hoping when that need of his arises, I will be stronger and more able to just delete the text or email without feeling the need to respond. I still feel sad obviously, but I’m not brought to tears on a daily basis thinking about my EUM. Everynight, he still appears in my dreams though, but hopefully this will go away with time. It still really bothers me that a person could say & do the sweetest things for months and then just abrupty stop communicating with me the very next week!(?). This unresolved area/ambiguity is the hardest part honestly.

    The “nothingness” and “non-communication” and simply the thought that he could just discard me so easily and quickly is the stinging part, but I guess the resolution will have to come from within….thanks to everyone on this site for being so supportive and here for one another. You are all truly a blessing.

  2. Guin says:

    This is absolutely perfect. I am so glad this person had the guts to get down to the nitty gritty and even be mean about it at some points. This was probably the starting point for me to start moving forward from a “relationship” that was really a guy telling me what I think I wanted to hear, then I found out he is with someone else and they are moving in together. Thanks so much

    • Lindz says:

      wow i can so relate, my assclown EUM is just something else, the hardest part is all the things he said.. like awww when *WE* are engaged, i dont mind you having your own life.. yeah right.

      Still cant believe i got played. but Karma is very sweet.. and now I’ve moved on..

  3. Pushing.Thru says:

    By responding “tired – you?” you are giving him the impression that you’re still “there” for him – he’s thinking “phew… she’s not THAT mad, she still engaging conversation, i still got her. NEXT!”
    This piece of shit feels no need to even continue with that conversation… 2 WORDS from you, and he’s satisfied.
    He goes on with life while you sit there kicking yourself feeling like a rejected loser. Probably spending the next 2 or 3 weeks thinking – why the hell did i respond? Waste. of. Time.
    (I’m sorry to be harsh,… i’ve been there it’s devastating,)

    • used says:

      Exactly.

      Also, given the exchange, it sounds like she may have broken NC and written him first. If that did happen, then he may not have responded b/c of the reasons you stated AND b/c he wanted to “teach her a lesson”–to not weake him up late (hence her concern for him, as shown by the “Tired–you?”).

      She is giving him a major major ego massage being the doting ex-gf while he gets to feel great about his attraction and manhood FOR HIS WIFE, the one he CHOSE.

      • Complicated says:

        Pushing.Thru – you are so right on!
        Used – Nope I didn’t contact him. This will be 3 weeks of NC, which I’m very proud of! Every day has been a struggle, but I’ve done it. Unfortunately, I was weak enough to respond to his text, but it happened and can’t be erased, so moving on. It was more difficult to ignore someone than I thought it would be…but I’ve never been one to just up and ignore someone. Have to work on that part :).
        Take care everyone and stay strong!!

        • Used says:

          Glad you didn’t write to him first, especially since you showed so much empathy toward the (yes!) Piece of Shit with your “tired, you?”

          No excuses for his behavior. What a cowardly, indecisive jerk.

        • Over It says:

          Complicated,
          Just came upon your post.

          I don’t know if you recall, but I read you the riot act when you first came to this site.

          Sorry about that, but I felt like since there was a husband in the picture, I wanted to at least try to get you to snap out of it.

          It seems like you’ve gotten a lot of good advice here.

          Stay strong.
          I know, easier said than done.
          Will be thinking good thoughts about and for you,
          and sending good energy your way.
          xoxo

  4. Cherry Kook says:

    I discovered this site after weeks and weeks or trawling internet sites on commitment phobia, fear of intimacy, passive aggressive, anything that I could get my hands on to give me validation for the way I am feeling. i cannot handle it and know that this has become an obsession. I feel empty inside and completely broken. I dont recognise myself anymore. I have panic attacks, dont sleep, dont eat and live and breathe this relationship. I know the way that I am is completely unhealthy.

    I had been dating my ex for nearly 2 years and it has been only 2 days since I last spoke with him. In typical style in the beginning he came on strong, was extremely charming, flattering, kind, fun, adventurous, everything that you could possibly want in a guy. Although he was so different from my usual type. He asked me to be his girlfriend within 2 weeks. He said I was everything he had been looking for. I ignored the warning signs of the fact he had been single for 9 years since the break up with his ex, who completely broken. Once bitten twice shy dont they say. He also has extreme childhood problems but im not going to get into them.

    Within the time of us being together he must have broken up with me over 20 times. I know how ridiculous. We have done the ‘dance’ so many times that I am dizzy. The usual happens everything is amazing, he loves me more than anything, we love each others company and then as soon as it gets a little close for comfort he withdraws, starts being critical, hurtful, inconsiderate and cold. To say it is the worst kind of mental torture is an understatement. It really is like going out with Jekyll and Hyde.

    I am told I am very beautiful and know that I am attractive to the opposite sex. I am very creative, intelligent, outgoing, kind, caring, empathetic, fun, spontaneous, loving. Yet overtime this has killed my confidence and filled me with so much self hatred and self doubt. I have lost over 3 stone and feel like I dont know who I am anymore.

    He tells me that he loves me and says that I am everything he wants in a gf but that he knows he will keep doing this to me. He suffers from anxiety and panic attacks when we are together. I love him so much its ridiculous. When things are good they are so good. But I know that I am only in love with the good side and I cant see the bad side going away anytime soon. He is in therapy now and his therapist has advised that his problems are so deep rooted he will need long term psycho therapy. I am understanding of this but to who’s expense? I give everything and get mixed messages in return with no sincere commitment. I went to counselling and was advised that the only way that you can change a person is by changing yourself and the way that you think.

    I have pleaded and begged and yet I cannot control the way he feels. We are both sad when we are apart but I know deep down that right now we are not healthy together. He needs to sort his shit out and I need to do some soul searching. I realise that I have my own problems to address. I have come to realise that we are not that different in that we are both driven by fear yet we respond in different ways. My fear of being alone forces me to reach out, where as his fear of closeness, intimacy and commitment force him to withdraw. I know that if this situation continues it will only get worse and I will feel worse.

    A part of me feels he is my soulmate as we connect on so many levels but know I need to be strong. I have become a shell of a person. Sometimes I cant even feel. I have other important things going on in my life, I am only 24, but even doing things that interest me leave me feeling empty inside.

    How do I move on and start to feel better inside, as right now I feel as if I am dying?

    • Lucy says:

      Cherry Kook,
      Darling, you are very young to have to deal with something like this, even those of us on this site who are older struggle when we come across these type of men. You do have a lot of wisdom and see very clearly how damaging being with this man is and yet it is difficult for you to break away. Simply put, you are both involved in a dance of destruction, each of you bringing dysfunctional, unhealthy patterns into the relationship. You are step perfect, you compliment each other. thats why he feels like your soulmate, but trust me, he is definately NOT. A soulmate is a man who is capable of healthy, functional loving, who can commit to a relationship and is not afraid of intimacy, who makes you feel good about yourself, who loves you just the way you are, and this man is none of those things. You should be proud of the wisdom and insight you already have about the relationship – you mention your fear of being alone for instance. The first thing is to cut contact, hard though that is going to be, because it is time to look after yourself, do what is best for YOU, look after the little girl inside you who is being emotionally abused by this unhealthy, dysfunctional man. Download Natalie’s No Contact rule book and stay on this site, it will help you maintain NC and you will learn an awful lot from Natalies posts and the experiences of the women here. Also, find a female pyschotherapist, a pyschotherapist has the right expertise to help you unearth the root cause of why you are with this man and why you find it so difficult to leave someone who is clearly destroying your physical, emotional and mental health. Don’t wait darling, put yourself on the road to recovery and happiness RIGHT NOW. You have your whole life ahead of you. Lots of love and luck, you can do it..
      PS I was involved with an EUM for three years off and on and have been NC for five months since finding this site;, it was very difficult to cut him off to begin with but now each day takes me further along to road to a healthier, happier me..

      • Cherry Kook says:

        Lucy

        Thank you so much for your reply, it was insightful and inspirational. I know that everything you say is right, I just wish it wasnt so hard!! I know that the only way for me to end this awful situation is no contact. However, a part of me feels guilty as I feel like I am deserting him in his hour of need. But like a friend said, if he loves me as much as he says he does he will prove it and move mountains for me. I do believe that people can chance (maybe that is me being slightly over optimistic) but why would he when I am accepting him as he is and his treatment of me. I know I need professional help as to realise why I have accepted his behaviour, I do believe it may have something to him being slightly like my father, who also suffered an emotionally available parent and behaves like a Jekyll and Hyde. Maybe I am trying to change history? All this knowledge and wisdom is all fair and well but understanding and moving on to a better place are 2 different things. I want to feel better now as this is killing me.

        Thank you so much for your support. X

    • MH says:

      Hi Cherry,

      Hope youre completely over this loser by now! How are you???
      I was wondering, as i was reading your post: what was he treated for? Was he bipolar? I wouldnt be surprised. Let me know!

      Hope youre well and happy now, and completely recovered by now. You deserve to be happy, and in a healthy loving relationship. Youre too young to “die”, emotionally.

  5. debbie says:

    Unless you are ready to follow through with any threats of leaving and enforcing NC then it’s been my experience that no matter how much to curse them out, tell them to leave you alone etc… all they will do is blow you off and wait until they think you have calmed down and pop back up hoping to get a foot back in the door.

    IMO it’s not over until they say it’s over if they know you aren’t serious on your end.

  6. JJ says:

    Debbie

    You made a good point because some after going through so many repeated cycles of breakups with the same EUM they don’t seem to take you seriously and they wait until they need they’re EGO’S struck again and try and pop back into your life… That’s why I think its important when NLM stated that you really have to be aggressive about the NC and go past the times that you failed and gave in.. Mean business in other words.. You have to paint the picture by not giving him any open door back into your life and that includes a door that’s cracked so keep them closed. By the end of this month; I’ll be hitting a home run with NC… His birthday is this week and I wish him nothing but KARMA…. it has its own GPS and it will find him soon.

  7. debbie says:

    Bottom line about these men is this they will use every trick in the book and then some to get you to cave in. They will keep coming and coming until they know for sure they have kind of chance of ever getting back in no matter how many times you curse them out.

    I have been NC for more than 3 months and haven’t heard boo from him nor do I care to. Unfortunately I can’t control what he does and when he does it including trying to contact me.

    What do have control over is me and my life and how I choose to live it.

  8. Lucy says:

    Cherry Kook,

    You are probably right about the connection with your father – repeating a past pattern so this time you can conquer a situation which when you were a little girl you had no control over – a professional will be able to help you with this.

    You said you feel guilty about deserting him in his hour of need – but what about deserting YOURSELF in YOUR hour of need? Believe me, I know how hard It is to walk away from someone you feel you are deeply in love with, but your head already knows something is very wrong here, being in love does not mean being in pain, and in time your heart will catch up. In the meantime apply all that compassion, love and understanding you were giving to this dysfunctional man to yourself. Your friend sounds very wise and is right, as Natalie so rightly says ACTIONS speak louder than words. Take care of you and be patient with yourself. When you go NC it will start to get better, bit by bit, no one said it was easy but the alternative is more pain and you have had quite enough of that already. It helped me to keep a diary to pour out my feelings every day and it is wonderful to look back and see how far I have come. It is a journey Cherry Kook – to a whole, happy, healthy new you who will be ready to embark on healthy functional relationships. Take good care of yourself, we are all here for you.. x

  9. Cherry Kook says:

    Lucy

    Thanks again for your reply. I downloaded the no contact book and read it, and couldn’t believe how much like our situation it was. Yet, low and behold he calls yesterday and I call him back?!!!!!!! What is wrong with me. Why have I no will power and self respect. What was he calling for… oh because he wanted to see how I am. How the fuck does he think I am. He has ruined my life. I am at University and I cant even do the work as mentally my head isn’t there. Whilst he just gets on with his. He says he’s sorry. He doesn’t even know the meaning of the word. Why do I want to be with someone that treats me like a doormat and like I don’t exist!?! He says that he realises we are just too different and that he needs to be with someone ‘strong’ – what exactly is strong?! I was strong before I met him and he trampled all over me. I know I am sounding like a victim here but I hate myself for being like this! This is the text he sent me afterwards ‘i think we cant be friends. we both need to move on and i will continue with my treatment. i am sorry for what i have done i never wanted to do it but you never challenged what i did so i came to think it was ok. I need to be with someone who challenges me and you need to be with someone really nice and loving, a person more like you. We are just too different and need to let each other go. I am glad i met you and will miss you like crazy but this will get worse. Your worth so much more and need the right person to give you that. I am not that person. Take care.’
    If i had a pound for every time he has said something like this and come back I would be rich. Why do I let him do this to me?!
    I am hurting beyond belief.

  10. JJ says:

    Cherry

    He is only using that as an excuse to have one foot in the door and one foot out knowing all alone that he doesn’t want to have a right relationship with you because he simply can’t. EUM’S have issues communicating effectively and having lasting relationships. I had been through repeated cycles with my MR. EUM and narcissts male so many times and we wouldn’t talk for days and I’d be NC but he’d know just when to make his entrance back into my life with the phone calls of oh i just called to see how you were doing.. That highly dis qualifies as any real reason to call me in the first place when in fact you already know how I am doing.. Moving on with my life!! Use your own judgement but I advise if you want some sanity; dignity; and some power back from this emotionless man that you stick to NC and move on with your life… This sounds like the same story with all the comments but just a different chapter…. Same ASS CLOWNS!!

  11. Pushing.Thru says:

    @ Cherry,

    I was 25 when my EUM, who is 10 years older, divorced with child said something similar when i confronted him for the first time on his unstable behavior … “I know what you want and need, I CANNOT GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. i’m incapable of doing that.. you deserve better”
    I told him to get out of my life… and that’s when things went bananas…

    He started to call more often trying to pull me in, i fell for it every time, and the treatment became worse, my self-esteem was at it’s lowest point… i took whatever i could get.
    (There was a point i started to think that him holding my hair back while i pleasured him was a sign of love… *shudder*)

    I have also had comments on my looks since I was 13, always managed to turn heads, very outgoing, full of life, caring, and free spirited….which actually made me feel worse. Made me obsess on how someone like HIM wouldn’t want someone like ME.
    I’ve learned EUM’s, or A typical men, if you’re communicating through FEAR and WEAKNESSES, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous you are.

    Although – if this guy manages to land a “stronger” woman, she will be going through the same difficulty once he “lands” her, just a matter of time – it’s who he is.
    I’m now 27, still thinking of my EUM…. it’s been 3 years.
    Stay here, read and learn, it will take some time to get your self-esteem back up there,…I haven’t reached that point, and not ready to give someone a fair shot… but I have faith that it will come…
    if i can do it, you can too.

    • Jessica Roberts says:

      Thank you, I feel truly inspired, same thing happened to me exact same thing.I am a work in progress and hope to reclaim once again my self esteem that was left for the knackers’ yard.

      Peace x

  12. Pushing.Thru says:

    May I add – almost 6 months NC
    BIG HUGS!

  13. Cherry Kook says:

    Pushing.Thru

    Thank you for your reply and words of wisdom. It appears that there a lot of this type of male out there. After telling him he was emotionally unavailable his reply was that these men simply haven’t met ‘the one’. How deluded are some people? Like in NML’s book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl she states that they are not the right man for anyone, yet they fail to realise that. Right now I am so unhappy. I had 2 panic attacks and have never felt so alone in my life. I know that I have many issues to address but don’t even know where to begin on my road to happiness. I am lost and lonely and my heart is destroyed. I want so much to be happy with myself but dont even know where to start.

    Thanks to everyone. Lots of love. :)

  14. Pirouette says:

    Ouch! This hurt a lot. But I also got swept up in a relationship that was primarily in my head. I allowed myself to be sucked in by his many “One Time in Band Camp” stories, started hanging out with him, and before I knew it, I was crushing on him HARD! Never mind that he had several friends-who-are-girls; never mind that he never asked me out; never mind that he seemed to be stringing along several girls at once; never mind he could be rude, abrupt, and commanding; never mind that I initiated most of the contact between us, etc. He put up with it for a while, and now he doesn’t respond at all. I just fell for it all because I wanted to. I don’t really blame him, although he did flirt with me. It just wasn’t serious from his point of viewpoint. It’s too bad. He’s my first real crush in a while, and I have to admit that it was fun falling–at least for a time. Now I realize I was being ridiculous, and I feel like an idiot. I feel embarrassed, and I’m working to recover my dignity.

  15. Pushing.Thru says:

    @ Cherry,
    I just read your post – i’m so so sorry to hear that.. i know how you feel. I’ve been there, still trying to come to terms with the fact that it was all in my head, how humiliating!
    I also suffer from anxiety, and it was at it’s peek when i was “with” him – in my mind of course.
    There was one time that i freaked out (he had probably stiffed me again or made plans with me that night and never called me as i waited for his call/text like always ALL night long)
    and he responded with a text saying “your gay, ttyl”

    I couldn’t even breath from the anxiety i felt that night.

    I hope you have continued with NC…

  16. JJ says:

    Pushing thru

    You made a good point it does not matter how gorgeous you are.. these type of men clearly don’t care.. They are incapable of having committed relationships with any woman. So it clearly doesn’t matter. My emotional unavailable ass clown narcissist ex was the same way. I don’t know if his EGO was as big as his big ass head was… (sorry but I hate him).. and I know hate gets you no where but I’m thankful that he treated me the way that he did cause now I know what to never settle for. No matter how good it looks cause what looks good to us isn’t necessarily good for us. This is what I have learned. I have been NC going on two 2 months now and I don’t even miss him the least bit. He’s probably somewhere sucking what ever piece of money he can out of some other woman cause the only thing he does well is USE the hell out of you until you have nothing left to give… I am so glad that I finally woke up…. and had the courage to cut him out of my life. GAME OVA!!!

  17. Woke Up! Finally! says:

    I have to say that everyone one of the comments made on here is exactly what I went through…and it is so comforting to know that people are in the same “boat” as I am ….or now gotten out of. It’s amazing how a person gets so wrapped up in what the “EUM” is doing that it takes away the things that used to make you really happy…or when you go and do things and he is not putting himself there with you…you think automatically what’s wrong with me…what can I change about myself to make him want to be with me…I went through this cycle…time and time again…It was like a roller coaster of emotions….HE CONTROLLED when he wanted things to happen or what BENEFITTED him at the time….and I just wanted him there. I am an outgoing, beautiful, caring, makes people laugh personality, helps family and friends, considerate, stubborn at times, and motivated person….why not me?! It was like a fantasy totally…he would say things that would trigger…me thinking that we will be happy together someday…but then he would state that he was “Scared of Committment”…but that he still needed me in his life…he would tell me to wait for him..that someday it may be….NOT…lol…On my part….I needed the folgers so I could “wake up and smell the coffee”…I made it easy for him to pop in and out of my life…I did that part to myself…and as I grow older I find myself wanting more…wanting to move to the next chapter in this journey I call life….when I started noticing more and more the things I want to do and develop into the person I am meant to be….I see him slowly disappearing…I cared for the EUM for 2 1/2 years….in the beginning it was so fun….one night that stuck out was we were invited to a bonfire at my sister’s house…he put himself their with me..and we had the best time together….I remember that night the most because it was 3 months into the “So Called Relationship” and it was the last time I felt like we were normal…I don’t hate him…dislike him…or even want to wish him bad in life…because I believe that is negative energy and “truely being happy” requires positive energy…and basically a waste of my time…Think of YOU…hang around people who make you feel good about yourself…talk about your feelings….and know that you are not psycho or going crazy because you feel the way you do…know that you have the power to create change in yourself…you do….you can’t go back and change anything about the relationship that you are going through…the only thing you can do is live for the now and make plans in your future that focus on “YOU”….being happy..that person you once new…of course you are going to be different because this “So called Relationship”….has happened. You can’t change your past but you can make big plans in the future!
    My EUM used me for his “Ego” trips…when he needed someone to lift up his spirits…I was the one he called on….he would bring up other girls..or he would try to make me jealous for his pleasure of playing “GAMES”…and I fell for it everytime…over and over again…I could feel dumb for doing it but when you think you care for this person so much and they know what to say and when to say it…it’s easy too….Now I look at it as a lesson learned :-)
    I have learned so much from this EUM…and I have wonderful people that surround me everyday that I would drop them to run when he texted/called…which most the time in the end was when he had been drinking….it’s amazing the words they try to persuade you with then…but your head gets full of fantasy or the “Somedays”…or “things will change”!
    I think about him everyday and struggle to have this person out of my life…but that is when I think to myself…I have all these wonderful people that are in my life telling me what an awesome person I am and “Someday” when I’m ready…..Mr. Right will come…I just turned 28 last month…and everyday gets brighter and brighter…I got flowers…over 100 “Happy Birthday Wishes” on my facebook wall…and calls/texts…It made resurance to me that this one person EUM – should not take anymore energy from me….Everything works out for the best….it’s believing in yourself that you can over come it! I’m on the track of recovery…but I see a bright future….he will tell you that he “Misses You” and play games with you still….but know “You” need to find a better place. Don’t get me wrong…not everything is “Honky Dorry”….and I think of him often….but we aren’t good together because I will always have the feeling of wanting more and I’m not settling or saying it’s okay for it to be this way…I’m saying NO….and standing up for myself to want better.
    THank you for having this blog….I am very much appeciative and am excited to be apart of…communicating is an awesome thing when going through a challenging time….if you have more insite…please share.

  18. Brand New Day says:

    OMG I can not believe what I have been reading here within this website. I am in my 40s and for the last 4 years I have felt alienated because I thought I was the only woman who experienced nearly every single topic this website has mentioned. As I read through the advice from NML over the course of a month, I incredulously ticked almost all the red flag boxes! Then I read the comments and I wept with relief that I was not the only one, but I was shocked that there were SO MANY OF US long-suffering sisters out there!! And the guys could have all been one and the same person with their pathetic excuses and behavior!
    It first started with clicking on a link to “Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl” when I had reached the end of my tether and sanity. All the signs were there in black and white. The same with EUM, then AC, “On again-Off again”, “The Other Woman”, “Drama”, “Talking and Thinking too much”, ED, …
    I could not believe it! It was the “Wake-up!!!” call I needed.
    I can happily say I am 6 weeks NC this week (Hallelujah!!!). No, it’s NOT easy but I wasted 10 years of my precious life for a long-distance romance with this OS jerk. We lived in the same country for the first few years, and then I saved (and wasted) my hard earned money to travel to see him. I should’ve known better, but he was initially a charismatic, caring, handsome, intelligent man, filling my head with promises, hopes and dreams, before becoming an unavailable, egotistic, cold, narcissistic, manipulating parasite! Parasites are by nature stealthy and not always easy or pleasant to remove once they’re under your skin (think: leeches, ticks) and the wound they leave behind does take time to heal, but with time it DOES heal.
    NC’s painful, especially when I saw (ok, looked-up last week while I was still obsessing) images of him on the net appearing smug and gorgeous with a beautiful woman at a social business event. I know he was showing-off (he sent me a link to the site after all), but for the first time ever, he appeared so shallow to me and whatever happens, he’s still an AC… the woman with him just hasn’t found out yet.
    So when NC gets tough, I ALWAYS tune in here for strength. When I feel weak, I read the advice and comments from others and it never fails to make me strong again. And let me tell you that now, without the constant din in my head from over-thinking my “relationship” and the aching heart, anxious from waiting and wanting to be loved but continually being hurt and disappointed, I am finally seeing through the fog. I’ve stopped depending on someone else for my worth. I’m thinking a little less and less of him every day and I can now clearly focus with logical thought on the right way to go forward…without the AC and his heavy, soiled baggage! I vow NEVER to settle for crumbs again! I’m in charge now!
    Thank you NML and all you wise women out there. Thank you!!!

    • Used says:

      Brand New Day–

      Exactly, exactly, exactly.

      The key word you use is SHALLOW. These types of people, men and women alike, are SHALLOW. Who cares about the basis or the reason! They are shallow and lame. Period. How can anyone like this have a committed relationship?! So, b/c the women (or men) who are not shallow or lame, and who do want a relationship or commitment, don’t see (or may not want to see) their S.O. in this light, they get used/victimized/etc., then confused, then acquainted with this site (after googling “emotionally unavailable” probably, like I once did!).

      What an idiot, sending you that link. Clearly, a show-off. WANTS to see you beg for him. NEEDS validation.

      And don’t think you are the ONLY woman who supplied him (and who has the ability to continue to supply him) with the above-mentioned wants and needs.

      Such insecure idiots. And they affect decent people’s lives. Well, as I say, “NO MORE and IGNORE.” Act as though they don’t exist; they effectively won’t (in your mind); and this in itself DRIVES THEM NUTS!

      • Brand New Day says:

        Used…

        I love that: “NO MORE and IGNORE”. I think it perfectly sums up where I’m at!

        It’s so true what you say, that it drives ACs NUTS! I’ve come across a couple of other ACs since my NC with my AC-ex, because now I can pick these players a mile off. And guess what? I ignore their “charm talk”, inuendo and their womanising ways and it DOES drive them nuts. They begin to talk louder and try harder to get attention or catch your eye. It’s hilarious how juvenile, predictable and obvious their behavior is to me now that I don’t rely on or need anyone else to make me feel good about myself. And the best part is… that I feel in total control.

  19. JJ says:

    BrandNew

    You are at 6 wks NC so we are about the same and yes (Hallelujah!) It does get easier. When I drag I come to this site to get motivation to move forward. You made a good point about your AC; Narcissists ex. These type of men literally drain the life out of you. They are like leeches cause they take and take from you until you have nothing left. I cut mine off 44 days ago and I have never felt better!! Whatever woman he’s involved with is in for a journey to HELL… cause these type of men( Narcissists) are not capable of any thing that spells relationship or committment.

  20. Brand New Day says:

    Amen, JJ:
    “Whatever woman he’s involved with is in for a journey to HELL… cause these type of men( Narcissists) are not capable of anything that spells relationship or committment.”

    They DO drain the goodness out of you, slowly but surely. I had control over my life and emotions before I met him. My AC was oh so clever to always make me feel that it was ME who was being unreasonable, not him. In the last couple of years I tried to break it off 2 times and he ALWAYS jumped to action to placate me back into submission. He was the master of control and like a prison guard, rationed out his attention just enough to keep me hanging in there.

    I finally realised that he only ever contacted me when he was bored or down. He loved to boast about his exotic holidays but when I planned to visit him, even though he was so exited, he was always time poor for me, almost to the point of being jittery, like he had to be somewhere else. Whenever I was ill or needed a “shoulder to cry on” because of a bad day or whatever, he almost never replied.

    When my health started to deteriorate (anxiety/panic attacks) I realised that this was really not good for me but it still took me over a year to do something about it. I think it was because I was afraid to admit I wasted such a long time on such a AC…at my age too. I prided myself on being intelligent and a good judge of character…he proved me wrong. Lesson learnt. My rose coloured glasses are off forever now. You know what they say…”Once bitten, …

    Hang in there JJ. I’m with you and all the other girls getting their lives back again.

  21. romantic dreamer says:

    I was in a short term relationship with an AC. My own fault as he had told me before that we were not compatible, that we did not share the same likes and dislikes, etc. Fast forward to last week when he told me that while he liked me, he did not have the romantic or emotional attachment to me. He also told me that he slept with someone else and proceeded to tell me how aggressive the girl was. WTF??? I should have told him right then and there that he was right and that I agree that we should not be togethor. Whats worse, I sat back and plotted for a week how to bring him back to me. I sent him pics and xxx messages. He lapped it up and is now dying to come back for that free-no-committment-sex. Such low self esteem! (sigh!). Well I made a decision today that there will be no sex whatsoever from now on. NO FWB. I will not contact him and will respond to him if he calls but the response will be very polite but dismissive. Because the ‘relationship’ is still new and I played many games with him in the beginning (If he did to me what I did to him, I would have cut him off a long time ago), I will sit back and see if he comes to me. Right now he has the upper hand and I need to change that dynamic. So, I am letting him go. NC. If he comes back, then it will be on my terms and with him begging. I lowered my standards because I wanted him once before, but never again. I am much too good for that and worth so much more.

  22. romantic dreamer says:

    update: he came back from a trip and did not contact me upon his return. I don’t know why I thought he would. To add insult to injury, he saw me online and then immediately either hid himself or signed off line. My feelings, pride etc are hurt. As my best friend puts it “that piece of crap”. I wish I knew how to break and hurt him. I don’t hate him just really mad at myself for even liking him and thinking that he was a decent person.

  23. riviera says:

    I think that in the illusion the thing we lose most is perspective. When I got to see the full picture clearly I realized I was not even interested in him. I just needed to feel that I had successfully made another emotional conquest.
    So my advise would be to get your perspective back and really really look at it without the need of validation and the fear of rejection. You will laugh at it all and then you will find yourself at peace… genius!
    ps. In living this illusion we are our worst enemies

  24. aphrogirl says:

    I love this post as it was one that woke me up a little over a year ago.

    Recovery from assclownitus has been quite the journey for me. The thing that is on my mind today is the illusion factor..the arseclown fed me a confusing combo of measly crumbs which encouraged my active imagination to develop a big illusion of a great guy.

    Constantly finding myself in that confusing place where the reality collided with the dreams/ fantasy led me to an instability that mercifully led me here.

    Recently I have been thinking, just what was the perceived attraction of the future faker vision of him that I held on to for so long?

    To answer this I had to actually develop a picture in my mind of what this illusion was all about. I found that I fantasized a belief of him as a calm centered stable loving person in my life. But I was surprised to see that the most important part of the fantasy was the calm and stable part.

    Though this calm stable security is what I want, it also happens to be how he wants to be perceived by everyone. And he often told me how strong, stable, bla bla bla he was. But he really was not that man to me.

    My big awakening came recently when i realized that what I wanted so much from him is what is missing in my life. I am coming to know that I need to find that sense of calm stable security within myself.

    My illusion is that he would provide that to me. Of course, of all the people I have ever known … he was the least likely candidate EVER ! This actually makes me laugh, it is so illogical and impossible …what was I thinking ? Oh yeah, that is the fantasy part. Wishful thinking is not the same as intellectual thinking.

    So, the whole point of the trying experience was that I needed to learn to find in myself the very thing I was hoping to get from him. I am guessing that we all seek different things but I’d encourage anyone here to think about the most appealing fantasy about the AC, and then consider how that trait might be within yourself.

  25. Pushing.Thru says:

    @Romantic Dreamer…

    You thought he would contact you?? More like subconsciously expected it! You will be let down everytime – a little more sand kicked in your face and your self-esteem deteriorates…
    You are still in the land of expectations, hoping, waiting, wanting, wishing. Have you read all of NML’s posts?
    We have all been there, in order to hold on to your dignity it’s time to
    Let Go and Let God.
    Get this Energy Vampire out of your life!

    Much Love x

    • Used says:

      Pushing Thru–
      Yes! Exactly! That is it! The subconscious expectations! THOSE, when unmet, are the real killers! And when they are not met and the stabbing pains and sand-in-your-face happen, you (should) learn the meaning of “he/she doesn’t have my back”–b/c they just backstabbed you!–and you (should) realize that this is the process of your self-esteem getting knocked.

      All you can really do is leave. Say “goodbye” in your own mind. Saving yourself is the closure you have to have, and really only need!

      Good post!

  26. Pushing.Thru says:

    @Aphro Girl -
    Love love love your post.
    The mind is a powerful thing…. and it’s amazing how spiritually disconnected we can become… once i was back here on earth it felt so great giving myself what i needed so badly from him.

  27. JJ says:

    These type of men (narcissists; EUM’s) have lots of CONTR0L issues
    as well. I remember my ex telling me one day when I was over at his
    place one night out of nowhere his statement to me was “see I know what
    your problem is; you are not OBEDIENT. When you learn how to be obedient we just might work. I thought to myself yea obedient? Letting you treat me like crap and using me as just an OPTION? NO LONGER!! I think back to him saying this to me and realize that it was all that he was about. I let him have that power over me and enforcing NC (7 weeks today) and cutting him completely out of my life allowed me to take back that power. He was furious and is still probably in DENIAL that I am done!!
    After all they stay in denial because they’re EGO’s are too hard to convence.

  28. lucky says:

    what if he is your coworker…how would u avoid him? he always smiles and talks so nicely to me…we are “friends” right now..but doesnt treat me like a friend outside of work…he doesnt even wanna meet up to hangout with me anymore because he says that he is too busy and has no time. i mean we talk occasionally but its work related along with casual..how are u? ahhhh its so hard!!! wen i see him at work…if i give him a bad look or ignore him….it puts me in a bad position cuz i work with him and i gotta deal with him. idk…it gets even harder to ignore things. :(

  29. Anna says:

    This was probably the hardest article i have read out of all the articles i’ve read here at BR. Why? Because i was recently that girl the article was written about, getting caught up in a fantasy that was never going to turn into reality. I was involved with a guy briefly, who told me from the beginning that he didn’t want a long-term relationship but somehow i didn’t hear that part and relied on his words and actions to tell myself that he did infact care about me.
    What followed was me putting myself through anxiety, waiting to hear from him, hoping that the texts and calls i got meant alot more than they actually did, and in the end i had a wake-up call from reality to realise that hey, it’s me who has created this so-called relationship in my head and therefore it is my responsibility to end “it”.
    I don’t dislike him, although to be fair the person he was when i met him was completely different to who he was by the end of it all. I cared about him but i think as aphrogirl mentions, there was something about our so-called relationship that i want to have in life that i was seeking in him. I think for me that was closeness, affection, attention and to feel special. When i felt these things with him within a short time i assumed this was because we were meant to get together, when in fact he didn’t want that at all.
    It turned out he had feelings for someone else which i suspected and asked him about. I was angry but realise now i had no right to be angry, although i was caught up in the fantasy and had been reading things into little things he said, thinking that he had stronger feelings for me than he actually did.

    So, it’s been over 2 months NC and he lives in a different state to me anyway, i don’t look at his facebook or anything like that and don’t have any ill feelings towards him. I actually feel alot better about myself after finding this site and knowing i won’t pursue someone again like that who clearly doesn’t return the same desire to be in a relationship with me! But it takes these experiences sometimes to be able to move forward and after all the pain and anxiety i put myself through, it’s made me see what i need to address and that no, he wasn’t the right one for me but that’s ok because i know there is someone out there who will be!

    • Pirouette says:

      I can totally relate to this, as I experienced the same thing. The guy I was interested in told me he was not looking for in a serious relationship. I was hurt, but I accepted it and backed away. However, he then turned around and started pursuing me. I was confused. Didn’t he just say he didn’t want a relationship? After a major make out session and my trying to get clarification about our “time together,” he blew cold again saying he didn’t think things would work out between us. This kind of thing went back and forth and forth and back until finally, for the second time, I cut contact with him. Right in line with his other narcissistic traits, he has supplies of women everywhere. If one doesn’t work out, he has another. I was just a temporary replacement for a “friendship” that went south. I saw him with a new victim this past Sunday, pouring out his tales of woe to her. I just had to keep it moving, because even though I’m disappointed, I’m finally free of the insanity.

      • CC says:

        Pirouette…. I had to laugh reading your comment, this is basically my story exactly. My heart felt that he really liked me but just couldn’t deal with the intimacy so I kept around waiting, hoping that it would change. But when the blowing cold became too much I had to get out. I was starting to feel used but the guise of friendship kept me strung along until I finally broke it and went NC. Guilt ensued… but that was the “nice girl” in me and I stuck with it hard as it was. After months of NC the heart catches up with the head eventually and you do see that this type of behaviour does not fly with healthy, kind, loving men. It’s the ones we need to avoid who employ these tactics to get what they want without having to pay with honesty, expectations, and commitment. It is true relationship insanity. He had so many backups… he has backups for his backups. And then the exes he convinced to be friends again. I realize now that he is just one big ego needing a constant massage. I see him now like a 6 yr old boy needing love from a mother. Sort of sad to view it that way.

        • Pirouette says:

          “He had so many backups… he has backups for his backups. And then the exes he convinced to be friends again.”

          LOL! Were we seeing the same guy? From what I know, the guy I liked had three main sources of supply: a rock climbing gym, a dance organization, and a horse ranch. I think he was trying to woo his ex(girl)friend back, but she’s not having it. I should have known something was up when she defriended him on FB. She’s a very smart, conscientious young lady, so I knew there must have been a good reason for her to cut contact with him. I wish I had paid more serious attention to all the red flashing signs before I got myself tangled up in his crazy web. I think I’m finally starting to see him for the person he really is, the person he actually warned me about but I didn’t want to believe existed. Off the pedestal he goes.

          Oh, yeah, the guilt’s a mutha, ain’t it? But I had to realize I have nothing to feel guilty about. He doesn’t want a relationship with me, and I am under no obligation to continue to serve as an ego stroke for him. I am under no obligation to be “nice” to him. I’m making myself a priority from now on. Everyday gets better.

  30. liciabug says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I just wanted to let you know that after stumbling across baggage reclaim over a week ago, it has awaken me, it has changed my entire outlook on my relationship with my Mr. Unavailable. I lost who i was over this last year and half of trying to get him to see me and love me. I though if I gave him all of me, gave him all my time, supported him, forgave his bad behaviour,etc. that he would one day reciprocate, and he never did. He would tell me he had “love for me” but did’nt want a relationship, that he had “friends” but I was the one he would want to settle down with once he got his life together. I gave him so much of me that I lost who I was in the process while he gave, and I accepted, the crumbs he gave me. After reading your posts a lightbulb went off in my head and I am letting go and feeling empowered. Im learning who i am in relationships, why I fall for these men and how to notice the red flags, for this I thank you.

    • not again says:

      I loved your post it is exactly my story. I total gave every ounce of myself ot him. I still have a problem though thinking he is looking at me like a fool and laughing to himself. Do any of you ever feel or felt this way?

  31. paula says:

    Thank you for having this site I thought it was just me that was feeling like i am, he took me for a mug and I let him, I know now from you it is because i have no boundaries- but it hurts so much i still cry.

    It was about the great sex, I thought he was the one- how lucky was I -.
    nice hotels and dinner dates, he made me feel really special, when he was there–then the gaps got bigger, he was too busy at work i kept making exuses for him.

    He only spoke to me on the phone twice it was all texting- I have spent days on this site now, embracing how it will be for me from now on. Thank you all for writing these posts, I will get there.

  32. The Doormat says:

    Hi everyone,

    I miust say : ouch. Well, I have stumbled on a pattern of not one, but two continous cycles with this one! The first one at the start was my best friend… and i continued to hang around, accepting bread crumbs for a long time . Seven years!! I kept waiting for him to turn around and not take me for granted. He grew tired of me, his family never approved. but he seeked me out whenever he needed something , and I gladly accepted because I just couldn’t get enough of being around him. I kept accepting small gestures of ” if only you were this way then maybe …” but truth be told, he never really promised anything. He knew how to keep me there, because boy when t was over, it was over.
    He was always criticual of everything I did and I always felt like it was a privilege to be around him!!
    Whenever things happened to me, he ended up saying it was my fault, I was a liar, etc but really it was just excuses beause the next month he started seeing this other girl. At the start he was denying it, but then he disappeared for months and acted like we never were friends or saw each other. Even then, I refused to believe it.
    And then, I had a dream and realized he was engaged. Which he was. He got married a couple months later…
    Which leads me to sitution number two. in order to escape situation number one, I went to see another boy and by this point I had moved away as far away as possible in another continent. He was sweet, nice and everything the other boy wasn’t. But he knew I was kind of broken over the other thing so he backed off.
    I refused to believe that it wasn’t possible and tried to see him again and he offered many excuses, besides whenever we were together things would happen, and i know that it wasn’t pleasant for him. So I told him how I felt but I knew since he is also emotionally not available and all these other girls like him that he wasn’t ready, and like he basically told me ok, fine…but i thoght maybe iI scared him off, maybe I jumped the gun… so i backed off some more, but still thought maybe things might be possible…but whenever I would get too close he would back away. And then u know, there were other girls…but I didn’t want to not talk to him, i felt like he needed a friend, so i stayed. None of these situations worked out because he couldn’t commit, he never had time , etc.
    And then he told me we were gtting too close, but I honestly thought that we were friends and didn’t see it that way- or didn’t want to admit it… then we stopped talking for a long time. After two months he was super attentive, and super nice again and i fell for him all over again. but it was just one thing after another, i couldn’t muster the strength to tell him how i felt… and then i found out one of my friends were going to visit him and liked him so I had to tell him. I did, and naturally he told me we were friends, and nothing more.
    In the meantime, he is getting to know this other girl, although I don’t know how serious it is. I am trying not to find out, but the suspense is killing me
    Ironically guy number one has decided to move where I am , a whole continent away based purely on the fact that I mentioned I was going to live there and he wants to study… so he is coming and his wife might too and I am frankly amazed at his self absorption.
    Guy number two hasn’t even bothered to tell me about the girl, even though he knows we all know each other and I am going to find out
    I am here, miserable, and it’s all my own doing despite not wanting to fall into patterns here I am and I keep going things over and over in my head

  33. jennyana says:

    A few months ago I met a guy at work. At first I wasn’t attracted to him; he seemed nice and everything, but nothing more. After a few weeks I noticed that he started talking to me a lot (only through chat, by the way), waited for me when we left work, flirted, asked for my number, mentioned we should hang out, etc. I began to like him a lot. Well, guess what? After the first kiss (which wasn’t a date), he completely changed. At first I started blaming myself, thinking that maybe he wanted to take things slow and that I had done something wrong. Then I realized there were red flags all the way. He never called me in the evening or weekends (just a few text messages), never invited me to go out on the weekends, stopped chatting with me. Am I hurt? Yes, but I can see now the “relationship” was all in my head. Now he sometimes talks, other times he doesn’t (by the way, I don’t initiate the conversation when this happens). What happened here? Is it a case of “relationship in my head” or Mr. Unavailable? I always though that if he had a real interest in me he would have made plans to go out in the weekend, called me at night, etc., not talk one day and the other not.

    • AmyV says:

      I’ve been a faithful reader for over a year now, coming on board after trying to figure out why my first relationship after my separation (now divorce) was so confusing. He was classic EUM. Unfortunately, I think I am too and it is really becoming a problem. Now I’m trying to let go of a FWB/booty call relationship that I attempted to make more than it ever was. I am 41 and thought I was more mature than this, but clearly I still have alot to learn.

      A man I work with (separated like me, 39 yrs old, now divorced as well) and I embarked on a consensual casual FWB arrangement in 08. It was kind of an unspoken thing, and not very frequent. Typically the result of being liquored up at the same party. We’d flirt at work, but it was understood that we would not date, and it would be secret. I really honestly had no interest in dating him. I work in a construction office, and already get enough teasing about my personal life, I did not want anyone to be able to tease me about this co-worker.

      I’ve had 2 relationships since starting the FWB, one (3 months total) of which was with an EUM and in the second (8 months), I was the EUW (I settled for him because he seemed like a decent guy, but I was never really attracted and he had so many issues that I ignored just for the sake of “having a boyfriend”). But I treated him poorly and strung him along. Very ashamed of doing to someone what I had had done to me.

      Anyway, in-between the relationships, I had my FWB. No cheating, he was just there when I was single again. We’d end up at a party or bar together, and we’d have a fun night. And that was about it. Sure he’d try to pursue me when I when I was in the relationships, but I’d ignore him and just laugh about it. Figured he was just playing, and he didn’t have my heart, so I didn’t care.

      But then it changed. He was right there when I broke up with my 2nd b/f. The day of. Thought I had it all under control b/c he was just my “go-to guy”. But then we actually started arranging times to see eachother more frequently. We both have kids but soon we’d be getting together each week we didn’t have them. It got too frequent and I got FEELINGS. I tried to break it off. Told him I had feelings, knew that wasn’t part of the deal. He left me alone for awhile, but not long enough. He would pursue, heavy flirting at work, LOTS of text messaging. Blowing hot. But no dating because, of course, we were “secret”. And I made the mistake of falling in love with my FWB. And imagining that he felt the same, and making up a relationship where there was none. We barely dated–only hung out with friends together, or after work, or late night housecalls. But I managed to create a relationship out of it. A couple weeks ago I really pressed him for more. Told him I felt strongly toward him, told him it would bother me if he dated others. He had a half dozen excuses as to why he wasn’t ready to date, but I found him on Match.com, still active this week. And I haven’t had a text from him in 2 weeks. Ouch.

      So, now I’m attempting the no contact rule with someone I have to see every day, multiple times a day, at work. It hurts, and I can only blame myself because I entered into the “contract” willingly. Big learning? Never get involved with someone you work with because IF emotions ever come into play, someone will get hurt. And I do believe FWB is very hard to keep up if there is any frequency in interactions.

      I thank God for Baggage Reclaim because I have spent every night here trying to figure out how to change my behaviour and I think it’s helping. Thank you NML.

      • judy says:

        I think you are a very passionate woman and when I read your post, what stood out for me was the interest deep within in wanting love and to love in return even though you fear you are an EUM.

        Forgive me if you think I am lame, but think about a couple o’ things. Firstly, it is extremely difficult for women to not bond with men whom they are sexual with. As difficult and lame as this sounds, hold off on sex with everybody and see who sticks. Stand back and get a grip on the men, who they are, what they want, and how sincere they are. I am living without sex for several months now, I miss it but I feel fine, believe me you can do it.

        Secondly try this meditation with yourself, go inside to your first layer of thoughts and feelings and “peel the onion”, go in and in until you reach your beautiful, peaceful heart and see the purity that rests there.

        I don’t think you made any mistakes, I think “all good experiences and lessons for learning”. No villages burned nor is anyone in jail. Good for you for trying. Be love (not sexual at first) and love will come to you.

        • AmyV says:

          Judy
          Thank you for the kind words. I agree, it is extremely difficult not to become attached when sex is involved. I really thought I could do that with this “friend”, but wow, it didn’t take long to get attached once the intimacy became more frequent. And it took me 4 months to realize that he was behaving exactly like my first emotionally charged (and devastating) EUM relationship. It was a real kick in the ass, I’ll tell you. I ignored the reliance on text messaging because we saw eachother everyday at work and talked. I ignored the reluctance to actually “go out” as part of the “secret relationship”. I ignored the reluctance to give anything “emotionally” as a by-product of a messy divorce, etc… But it finally struck me, when I saw him actually online on Match (I don’t have an active profile on Match, but I can still see other people’s profiles), that…OMG…he wants to date…but not me.

          So now I’ve reluctantly decided to begin dating a man who’s been courting me for the past 3 months (I’ve kept him at arms length and not dated him or done anything beyond talk as friends until this week because I was waiting to see what was going on with my FWB). I am wary, because I don’t want to rebound, but I also don’t want to shut someone out who has been doing what a gentleman is supposed to do. Consistency, calling versus texting, wanting to take me out, etc…. I am going to hold off on sex this time around and try to do this right. I’m not feeling the fireworks though, which is where I’m concerned about my own EUW issues (worried I only feel the fireworks for the unattainable morons). I falter between feeling that I should take some time to be alone, and not wanting to lose what could potentially be a good thing.

      • shay says:

        hello.

        just reading through all the comments here.

        Natalie!

        what a brilliant work of art: this post!

        Cherry!

        i won’t even go into my story. same. same. same. even the part about him wanting me to give him feedback and challenge him. wow.

        Here are some steps I have taken that have gotten me out of my hole:

        1. I said “thank you” to the pain. If there was no pain, we’d keep our hands on the hot stoves, and in the fires and on the hot pavements, and we’d be burned more than if we had pain.

        2. I gave myself permission to stay on my course of destruction. For however long it took, knowing I could opt out at any moment.

        3. I analyzed the things that were good about the guy. The things that kept me mesmerized. I looked for those qualities in myself.

        4. I began to look at the five major feelings (and who cares exactly what they are? people differ in their assessment…), and every day I looked at each of these feelings and what was coming up in association with them, and then I gave those associations to God:

        anger
        fear
        sadness
        humiliation
        happiness

        5. My guy broke up with me and left no option for more contact, but he was one who kept breaking his own rules and contacting me. So when I found out he was going on a trip alone, to a beautiful beach destination, I wrote him an email: “Have fun on your trip. I WON’T BE IN TOUCH. But remember that I love you. And I will pray for you.” And when I hit Send, it felt so good! It felt great. And I thought to myself, “That is my last email to him. Ever.” And I went No Contact before I ever saw Natalie online. And my self esteem began to return.

        6. I got in touch with friends, even though I didn’t want to. I went out with them. (And it was fun.)

        7. I began to take positive actions to better my life. I sold my house. I moved. I studied for a new career. I passed tests. I started LIVING. For ME.

        8. I read every book I could on dating and waited and dreamed of the day that I could get “out there” again.

        9. And now I am out there again. It’s good. The pain has lifted.

        THE PAIN HAS LIFTED!

        I AM NO LONGER IN PAIN.

        How wonderful. I earned it. And I also view it as a gift.

        May you have that experience too, Cherry. And all of you on here!

        Love,

        “Shay”

      • shay says:

        hello.

        just reading through all the comments here.

        Natalie!

        what a brilliant work of art: this post!

        Cherry!

        i won’t even go into my story. same. same. same. even the part about him wanting me to give him feedback and challenge him. wow.

        Here are some steps I have taken that have gotten me out of pain:

        1. I said “thank you” to the pain.

        2a. I gave myself permission to stay on my course of destruction. For however long it took, knowing I could opt out at any moment.

        2b. I kept listening and reading.

        3. I analyzed the things that were good about the guy. The things that kept me mesmerized. And I looked for those qualities in myself. And found them.

        4. I began to consider the five major feelings (and who cares exactly what they are? people differ in their assessments…), and every day I looked at each of these feelings and what was coming up in association to them, and then I gave those associations to God:

        anger
        fear
        sadness
        humiliation
        happiness

        5. My guy broke up with me and left no option for more contact, but then he kept breaking his own rule and contacting me. So when I found out he was going on a trip alone, to a beautiful beach destination, I wrote him an email: “Have fun on your trip. I WON’T BE IN TOUCH. But remember that I love you. And I will pray for you.” And when I hit Send, it felt so good! It felt great. And I thought to myself, “That is my last email to him. Ever.” And I went No Contact instinctively, without ever reading about it. And my self esteem began to return.

        6. I got in touch with friends, even though I didn’t want to. I went out with them. (And it was fun.)

        7. I began to take positive actions to better my life. I sold my house. I moved. I studied for a new career. I passed tests. I started LIVING. For ME. This was key for me. Every action gave me a surge of energy and positive regard for myself. They weren’t actions like getting a massage or buying a new dress. They were actions that propelled me forward.

        8. I read every book I could on dating and waited and dreamed of the day that I could get “out there” again.

        9. And now I am out there again. It’s good. It’s fun. It’s upbeat.

        I’m not healed entirely, but the pain has lifted. And I get stuck wanting more from a guy than he wants to give… still. But I’ve come a long way. And I’m very thankful.

        Cherry, just do one thing at a time and enjoy your process! You say you’re in so much pain that you don’t know what to do. Cherish these moments of intense feelings, because you feel ALIVE. And work forward. And forgive yourself. And love yourself!

        With love,

        “Shay”

  34. Tania says:

    Thanks again for your pragmatic no frills advice…you gave me a concrete example about how emotionally unavailable i still am, while thinking it was all about the insignificant other…very interesting!!

  35. starry says:

    Thank you for the honesty in your post. You are probably the first to hit the nail on the head in my situation and ask the exact questions I had in my head. Its startling to discover that many females experience this as well. I reckon this happens far more often than anyone cares to reveal.

    After reading this, I realise this dreadful pattern I had been applying to my life which began pretty much after my worst breakup. I am terrified of dating again and this was a perfect excuse to always decline being set up as I had a “guy on my mind”. Plus, it gave me short term happiness to believe i was loved. Although in reality he probably never reciprocated and there was no rship.

    I’ve grown tired of waiting and wallowing in self-inflicted misery for a rship that doesn’t exist. I agree – time to wake up, connect to the real world and live my life in the real world.

    • judy says:

      I think we all need to “wake up” to our fabulous, powerful, creative, rich selves. I don’t want to sound like a wacky, lets hate men pro-feminist. Let’s face it – we can’t go back to change the morals, alot of us has had sex on the first date then fell in love and obsessed. i have done this so often and its ok, i am here now.

      I am over it all, to me even with all of my failings (my pile of dead sheep – quite high, I am 50 and single) – the best revenge is to live well, succeed, look superb, create and make money doing what i love. That great love will come, I will not sweat it and I am not going to worry anymore. I am the most important.

      in all of us is the supreme one, the great and the good and as women, lets let go of all this excess obsession, confusion. it doesn’t matter what happened if the guy is gone, rejoice! you have your superb self to be with and work on.

      best of luck all and take the best of care!!!!

  36. D says:

    I feel like i’m among friends here having read the posts I have been having an in my head relationshi with a guy who used me to massage his ego so he could leave his ex gf only to get back with her and then when he finally did leave her again he chose someone else to go out with at that point was when i had had it with him but i was still emotionally tied to him. The fact that he later became a manager of the place i liked hanging out just made it unbearable i was yo yoing fromi’m not going there anymore’ to ‘he can’t stop me going to the place i enjoy’ only to go there be ignored and left feeling like invisible shit.

    I then met someone else and i think i did it to make the other one jealous and it worked he started talking to me again but by then i didn’t trust him anymore so when he told me to call him I couldn’t becuase he had a habit of being dr jekyll and mr hyde so i textedhim instead saying sorry but i couldn’t call him thats when he started avoiding me again hahaha and he made a comment to someone in a joking way ‘she doesn’t trust me’ with the intention for me to hear …I didn’t disagree I actually was thinking ‘well can you blame me?

    It’s been just over a year and i went back to the place i used to be a regular at and what can i say I had an amazing time the first time i went and I stayed clear of him the second time the band wasn’t doing it for me and i got bored so i left (in the past i would have stayed even if i was bored just to be around him and hoped that he would have looked my way and smiled, just a little acknowledgement would have made my night…cringe)

    So grateful for a place like this

  37. Struggling Through says:

    Thanks! This is the kind of kick in the butt I needed. Day 13 for me and struggling because I want closure. My situation was not totally unrequited but the other party never really committed either. Just strung me along and played games for the last year.

  38. warrior women says:

    I discovered this website yesterday and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. In the past 24 hours, this site and all the strong women on here have given me the strength to stand up for myself and to the EUM (I actually haven’t told him, and don’t plan to.. I’ve just vanished from him) . I was amazed at some of the comments, because I felt that I could have written every single one of them. Once I realized that my ex is an EUM, it seemed the fog had lifted and i am now able to see the light in all of this. I’m not a weak woman, I’m physically and mentally strong, that’s why I just couldn’t understand why I was having such a difficult time with this relationship. Now I know, it wasn’t me…. it wasn’t me at all, it was him and his manipulation of my life, my time, my love, and my energy. I take it all back, it’s all mine again.

    For 4 years now, I have felt like I was in the wrong, that I needed to change so I could be with him. Not any more! I’m not wasting my energy or my time on someone who doesn’t treat me with love and compassion. I’m sorry that he cannot love me the way I want to be loved, but that’s his problem and not mine. I do love him very much but I honestly cannot stay with him and this feeling of being so alone is worse than actually being alone. It’s worse because he chose to not love me back instead he took from me the love. He was beyond mean to me, so mean that I would just sit there stunned. He’s hit me, he’s threatened to kill me, he’s been verbally abusive and I absorbed it all, I loved him unconditionally. But you know what, no more. He had his chance to make it right, to say he was sorry, he never did! NEVER! I’m not mad at him, I’m not mad at me. I smile now because I’m free, I feel like my heart no longer has scars on it, i feel like my heart now is beating stronger than ever.
    Now I’m open for someone to come into my life that is worthy of my love. I’m no longer closed off and I know when that someone finds me, it’s going to be a beautiful thing. I’m an amazing woman and I deserve an amazing man!

    I just wanted to thank all the women here for what they have written. I wish more women would rely on the strength of other women for all things, instead of turning against each other.
    thank you all….. I hope my post will also give you the strength to move on. You are beautiful, you are doing your best for you… otherwise you wouldn’t be on here reading this, you would be curled up in a little ball after being beaten down by a man that is disqusting and not worthy of your devotion. It’s time you take back your life and give love to someone who will love you back.

    Peace to all you warrior women.

  39. Ada says:

    I was infatuated with someone at work for the past 7 years while I had a caring, loving bf. The result was not pretty – I felt constantly rejected by the one I want and sought solace in the man I felt I did not want or desire. Recently I’m again infatuated with a guy whom I felt a strong chemistry with and started stalking him on FB. Being smarter and wiser, I know the cost of doing this to myself, so I deactivated my account. On the plus side, all these men who I am infatuated with inspired me to be a better person because I see their good qualities, which are then magnified by my imagination. However, the psychological toll of imagining a “non-existent” relationship is certainly not worth it!

  40. HAC says:

    Coming across this site was my epiphany.Today is my 6th day of NC AND i FEEL GREAT..i’m confident that if I have made it this far , I will make it all the way ..this blog has made it so much easier for me cos now I see that I’m not alone on this painful journey.It’s funny bcos my Assclown told me from the on set that he had never been in love… in the 53 years of his existence..now shouldnt that have been my red flag?..I still forged ahead regardless .In my naivete I was hoping I’d be that girl ..the one he’d been waiting for in the entirety of his five decades on planet earth..so I set myself up for a major heartbreak…. yes it hurts, plus I feel like a complete idiot for doing all the calling , all the chasing , all the texting etc.It wasnt exactly so at the begining ..he chased me down but as soon as he conquered ..he retracted.In retospect, I’m compelled to think that he gets his thrill from having women fall for him and better still having them grovel and beg for his love and attention.Said the right things..did the right things..an incredible lover…. but his heart was far removed from every gesture he ever made..scary isnt it?.Being the incurable romantic that Iam, I always equated passionate lovemaking to love..LOL..I have since discovered that people are wired very differently..silly me! So Iam forging on like a good soldier ….taking baby steps until I purge myself of this poisin..hopefully It shouldnt be too long..but how it hurts!!!!

  41. Elle says:

    HAC, your comments could be describing the situation I am in…or was in – I am a little further along the NC road…There are many of these things that my ex said (or wrote) in ending things, which all seem fairly reasonable, but among them were comments about how I was chasing him and sucking up to him and how unappealing that was (and, for good measure, he also said that I was merely a physical attraction for him). I can see now, for him, he was getting all this love and tenderness for very little in return, which made it feel despicable. I wasn’t sucking up – I know what that is – but I was giving an adult form of love and encouragement that was not merited or reciprocated so it came across that way.

    Plus, I hadn’t scaled back properly to the early day stuff where, for various reasons, it is important for the man to feel in control/do the chasing.

    Equally, as you suggested with you ex, he had already told me how he hates (his words) how women always suck up to him and let him get whatever he wants (RED FLAG). I have the icky role of being one on that list now! These people!

    Glad you’re feeling good and being gentle with yourself. I am having mostly good, even euphoric days, then I get overwhelmed by the shock, hurt and indignity of it all… I am, at the moment, trying to reframe it in my mind as an incredibly painful, but hugely valuable and timely lesson and test of my own emotional maturity, self-love and self-composure. I can feel this vague sense of gratitude for the experience, just about…

  42. HAC says:

    Elle yes.. there will be bad days..days when you feel vulnerable and you are tempted to pick up that phone and call or days when you are filled with self loathe and even days when you feel so much animosity on the inside ..but the great thing is we are headed in the right direction, we’ve seen these people for what they truly are.I am in my beginning stages , where am still grappling with the stark reality of my situation so I havent gotten to the “missing terribly” syndrome but I know it will come, so am gearing up, cos the truth is , there will be days when we ll miss them but then “how can you miss something or some one that was never truly yours?”

  43. Elle says:

    …Thanks, HAC. This is my first AC experience, at a fairly ripe old age of 33, so every new phase of it is off-putting to say the least! But I have been thinking about that issue of being rejected by someone who never truly accepted you. It’s weird to me how those who truly love and accept us CAN (in theory) reject us but they just don’t, and those that don’t accept us CAN’T (in theory) reject us (only the possibility of accepting us), but we take it so terribly, as if they had gotten to know and love us, and then bailed! It’s like that issue you mentioned of missing someone who was never truly present. My ex-AC said that directly, that he wasn’t with me. I had, of course, tried to address this remoteness in the relationship and he blamed me for starting trouble! Anyway, on with the right path…

  44. janee says:

    There’s a lot of truth to this article but, seriously, why so harsh? I think we’re harsh enough on ourselves as is.

  45. Leo says:

    I’ve been going through a tough time. I’m in a loving relationship with my bf of many years and became infatuated with a coworker, After over a year of working together, he started giving me a huge smile when he came in and all of a sudden I was hooked. Luckily, I found out he was moving to another country for a new job. However I was struggling with my feelings for him at the office, but never let it on that I was interested in him. In fact I did the opposite: I even shook his hand goodbye after everyone else hugged him. So basically, I spent the whole time trying to hide my feelings for him because I was in denial hoping that they’d go away when he left. He finally left but the feelings didn’t stop.

    I know that he’s been back to visit his family and I’m always hoping that he’ll contact me but he hasn’t. The only email I’ve gotten from him since he left was an update email sent to both me, my coworker and my boss with some pictures. Although I could have easily replied, I had the good sense to delete it and try to forget about it.

    All sense and reason seem to be out of my head. I feel as though I’m doing some of the right things, 1) didn’t try to add him to facebook, 2) didn’t send him any emails. But then there’s always a nagging feeling that I haven’t done enough to let him know I’m interested and of course a whole lot of guilt for wanting him to be interested. Overall, it’s been a very confusing time for me. I’m used to having a sense of control over my life, and I’ve been doing the ‘right’ things at every turn but my mind is still in fantasy land. Any advice?

  46. Confused says:

    I remember when I met him 7 years ago he told me he can’t take me serious because I have 2 kids but I said to myself I can change his way of thinking so I settle just to be his sex partner the years went by still no dinner no movies no nothing but he always called me when he needed sex anything and I was always there bought him the most expensive things ever it would be days he get mad and ignore me for weeks I would cry call him text him beg him to please stop being mad then he would call then back to being mad back and fourth now here I am he has been ignoring me for 2 months I text I call no answer I even tried no contact for 3 weeks then I started calling texting still no answer I talk to god go to church I still can’t get over him I just don’t know what else to do I think he cares about me but I just don’t know I see a lot of you on this post did it and are feeling great why cant I get the great feeling why can’t I move on I miss him like crazy but he don’t care,..

    • grace says:

      Confused
      There is nothing to be confused about. You keep doing the same thing and get the same results. You read this blog, go to Church talk to God but because you keep doing the same thing you get the same results. Then you think those things aren’t working. They can only work if YOU work. Stop texting him. He has gone. No, he doesn’t care. Yes, you’re annoying him.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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