love heart question markFollowing on from love lessons about getting the relationship you expect, not every man is worth keeping, and trying to get men to be the exception, here is another (rather big) love lesson:

A relationship with too many questions, not enough answers, and a fear of asking questions and/or a fear of getting the answers, is a very unhealthy, illusionary relationship.

When your relationship has question marks all over it and they’re not being answered, and are possibly multiplying and you’re burning up brain energy wondering what ‘this’ all means, it is a red flag – either your mind is working overtime and you’re dramatising your relationship or the person is doing things that cause you to question who they are and what you’re involved in. Either way, questions are not being answered.

I dated a guy several years ago who ended up being my epiphany guy/relationship because I looked at myself and my love habits in a totally different way that made me face my own contribution and it became nigh on impossible to go back to the Me Before Him. In our barely there relationship of five months, I didn’t know where I stood with him. He’d pursued me, texting, emailing, phoning, and wanting to spend time together and within two weeks of finally ‘getting’ me, he started to veer between warm, lukewarm, and cold. I wondered:

What’s going on with him?

Why isn’t he calling/texting/emailing like he used to?

Is he not over his ex?

How does he ‘see’ us?

Are we in a relationship?

Until I told him to take a run and jump, I did not directly ask him any of these questions and I barely asked them indirectly. I cracked jokes, used sarcasm, dropped barely recognisable hints, and avoided being ‘needy’ or asking ‘difficult’ questions for fear of either scaring him off or me asking him for the status of something that I wasn’t even sure I wanted – yes, I was a walking conflict of interest with commitment issues.

There are two things (of many) that I can teach you that are unavoidable facts about relationships:

1) Often, you actually hold the answers to all (or most) of the questions that you have about your relationship and/or him without having to ask the guy a thing.

If you have your eyes open, your feet in reality, the fur coat of denial and the rose tinted glasses removed, plus use of instincts, gut, judgement and awareness of your boundaries, red flags, and matching actions with words, you have all the answers – you just need to process the evidence.

2) If you can’t or won’t ask questions of the person that you’re in a relationship with or are dating, you are sealing the demise of the relationship and setting an unpleasant tone.

You must ask questions and if the answer falls short, get clarification. If the answer means something shady for you, don’t deny it! Accept the information and apply it to your relationship and ask yourself what it means to you and take action.

In the end, when it came to my ex Mr Unavailable and I, all of the answers were right in front of me and had been for the entire duration of our ‘relationship’.

What’s going on with him? – He was making it clear through his actions that while he may have pursued me, he had since realised he wasn’t ready for a relationship and was doing his utmost best to manage down my expectations by teaching me not to expect the same level of contact or effort as before. His actions were telling me that I was an ‘option’.

Actions speak louder than words.

Why isn’t he calling/texting/emailing like he used to? – He overestimated the level of his interest and the reality of being involved with me panicked him. The novelty had also worn off and he was busying himself being a Jack The Lad.

A key sign that you’re with a Mr Unavailable or in a dubious relationship, is that things seem to go into reverse.

Where other relationships grow, they go from hot to cold and then flit between temperatures, manage down elements of the relationship (or all of it) and basically stall the progress. If you’ve come to a halt, are regressing, or taking two steps forward, and then one, two, or more steps back, you’ve got a reluctant passenger on board.

Is he not over his ex? – He’d been with her for nearly a decade and two months later he was chasing me. I doubt he was over her and even if he was, he wasn’t ready for a relationship.

Whatever actions (or words) that point to ‘he’s not ready for a relationship’ it means….he’s not ready for a relationship. It doesn’t matter if there is one or twenty reasons why that is the case, the point is that he’s not, which means it’s time for you to move on.

How does he ‘see’ us? – He saw us as ‘fun’ ‘casual’ ‘cool’ ‘convenient’ but certainly not a ‘relationship’.

If he doesn’t see you both in the way that you see yourselves or how you’d like to be seen, you have a glaring disparity.

Are we in a relationship? – If I had to ask this, the answer was NO.

Don’t make assumptions based on illusions and don’t spend extended time with someone pondering what your status is – it’s likely that it’s not much because you’re certainly not feeling it.

I could have spared myself copious amounts of brain energy consumption by judging him by his actions, how I felt, and the ambiguity and anxiety that was our non relationship.

Even scarier, I could have found out what the status of our ‘relationship’ was by asking him.

So why don’t we ask questions?

We’re afraid of how we may appear. We don’t want to look or sound needy, too interested, too anything.

We’re afraid of hearing something that we don’t to. That very thing we want to know or should know is the very thing that may suggest that we have to adjust our ideas about the person or the relationship we thought we were in or that we were going to get – the end of the Big Dream/the illusion.

We’re afraid of conflict. Whether they have communicated that asking questions will result in negative consequences or we have assumed that there will be negative consequences, either way, you end up in the dark both out of a lack of judgement but also out of fear of their reaction. Fear of conflict sets a really bad tone for relationships as you’re compromising on a very negative basis and possibly without the input of the other party. You’re not being yourself.

We’re afraid of change. We think it’s better to be in the uncomfortable familiar than to ask questions that put us in the uncomfortable but potentially more comfortable unfamiliar that results from change. This fear causes us to be afraid of taking action in our best interests and is likely to have us placing our reliance on other people to be and do different.

We do but we’re hearing but not listening. Some of us do ask questions – we’re just not that interested in the answers. We like to talk a good game, discussing the situation to the nth degree but not really doing anything – Women Who Talk (and Think) Too Much.

We think hinting is asking. I call this Going Round the Houses. We assume that they pick up what we really mean when we ask indirectly or in a veiled way what is going on. Instead, they miss the point entirely, plus we get to keep living ‘the dream’, albeit feeling frustrated that we’ve been ‘asking’ but not getting a straight answer.

Hard as it may be for some to hear, it’s time to start asking questions. Yes you might be vulnerable in that moment, be met with resistance or negativity, be put in the position of having to make changes, be forced to have your ears switched to ‘listen and process’ mode, and be direct instead of skirting the issue and hinting it, but it means that you will be in a relationship based in reality, not in illusions, which gives you personal security and power to decide where you want to be.

Trust me, if you don’t ask questions, people make decisions on your behalf and assume that you are going along with the terms and conditions of whatever they’re offering – think of asking questions not only as part discovery and part clarification, but it’s also a way of getting the ‘small print’ out in the open.

Back in part two.

Your thoughts? Have you been avoiding asking questions?

Learn more about values and common interests with my special ebook bundle. You can also check out my ebooks including The No Contact Rule, a dedicated guide to getting over someone by cutting contact and injecting some boundaries into your life so that you can move on to a happier you, and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl, a no holds barred guide to emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, in my bookshop. For personal advice or analysis of your relationship/situation, check out my consultation service.

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51 Responses to Love Lessons: When You Can’t or Won’t Ask Questions of the Man You’re Dating/in a Relationship With (P1)

  1. prickly says:

    I did not read this through. I read the title, and the first paragraph. I did not need to read anything else. Enough was said. All so so so true. Thank God I’m out of it! Please please please if anyone can identify with this, it is a slippery slope. End it now. xxx

    • Drica Lima says:

      I myself am not afraid of asking questions but I know a lot of women who won’t ask questions. They just fear the response. There is a small voice inside us that already tells us the answer but asking the question to get a real answer is just so much easier however heartbreaking it may be.

      Drica
      .-= Drica Lima´s last blog ..What Is Your Life About? Love Now. =-.

  2. Elaine says:

    I asked questions but received “I don’t know” as the answer. Also, I don’t doubt that many guys will tell you what you want to hear and continue on with the same behavior. At that point, if the answer doesn’t match behavior or isn’t consisent with what you want to hear, you need to get a clue quickly and take action.

  3. JJ2 says:

    From NML: “either your mind is working overtime and you’re dramatising your relationship or the person is doing things that cause you to question who they are and what you’re involved in. Either way, questions are not being answered.”

    My A/C claimed it was the first one (dramatising), and I claim it was the second (him doing things that caused me to question). His thinking that I’m “dramatising” is just as valid as my feelings that “things aren’t right.” So, who is right? Either way, I had to walk away.

    • AmE says:

      JJ2,..Exactly,…. “dramatizing” or “complicating things” are both claiming the same thing. Otherwise, they would deal with the question or issue adequately and straight forwardly,…. and move on with things. No?

  4. kyun says:

    I love thisPost!!!!!! .Asking question has been my biggest problem,I guess because I have always been afraid of the response.

  5. JJ2 says:

    “Are we in a relationship? – If I had to ask this, the answer was NO.”

    In my case, I’m a bit of a committment phobe. If *I* have to ask it, the answer is usually YES, I just don’t want to admit it. In my recent A/C situation, I was trying to deny my feelings, and pretend they weren’t there. He pressed ME! When I finally admitted it, well, then HE started the hot and cold stuff.

  6. Moving on in 2010 says:

    Oh Natalie-

    Another wonderful article that I wish I had in my pocket when I was with my ex-EUM. I would ALWAYS skirt around the issue and avoid asking questions about where he felt we were in our “relationship”. I always walked on eggshells because I was afraid that if I asked him, I wouldn’t get the answer I want and that he would get scared off because he would feel like I was pressuring him. So, I think deep, deep, deep down inside I knew that this relationship was never going to work, but I didn’t want to admit it.

    The big downfall in this “relationship” was lack of communication (face-to-face). Almost everything was by text and that’s not the way to resolve things.

  7. mE says:

    you have described exactly, natalie! exactly what my epiphany ‘relationship’ was like. while i am not where i want to be, i finally realized my own contribution to my confusion and lack of acting on knowledge i already possessed. i do have a huge fear of appearing needy. he had major communication issues but so do i. i have a habit of sitting and seething and living off of illusions. you are so right about having all of the answers already as well. that crippling fear that you’ll get into a huge fight, be called names, be alone again or be dumped, whatever – is always there. and it doesn’t work, doesn’t make me feel good about myself to not be me and not voice my opinions or admit i have needs. i am a person, of course i have needs!! i vow to never sit back and try to coast while allowing something that’s gone swiftly downhill to erode my self esteem. ever again!!!! it’s tantamount to watching a thief come in and remove your belongings one by one until you have nothing, and not saying a word about how awful and unfair it was until they’ve gone.

  8. Movedon says:

    Yes I did ask the questions but I got ambigous responses and when asked for further clarification I got “well its kind of gray”. He avoided conflicts of any kind – in all areas of this life not just with me. That should have been a big red flag for me but it wasn’t. I was Ms. Fix It. Problem solver to the extreme! Define the problem come up with possible solutions etc….. In the end he said “we don’t communicate well” – I said ” you don’t communicate at all”.

    I think it was part of him managing me down – if I didn’t get straight answers after repeated requests I stopped asking then started relying on sarcasm – that only made things worse. He could just laugh it off and no real communication happened – because he didn’t want it too. Got what he wanted in the end – out. Took me to realize that was the best thing for me was for it to end.

    • aphrogirl says:

      I think the thing with some EUM’s is that *not communicating* is a way of life they are comfortable with. It is right there along with their fear of intimacy and discomfort with their own emotions.

      I think some of these guys start off hopeful in a relationship, wanting intimacy, but end up running from the discomfort as soon as they start to get close. Its like they never grew up and learned to handle emotions. The EUM I knew even expressed a desire to transcend, in the oddest small voice, like it was coming from a small child inside him.

      Course thats what triggered my ” let me help you honey ” behavior. Ooops, that ended up taking me way down and taught me a real big lesson.

      It is hopeless to have a relationship with the wounded sort who is not emotionally mature enough to work through their own fears. They revert to comfy behavior of shutting down, ending the communication on both ends. This also ends any chance they will grow and learn, so you have a relationship that is essentially stuck on stupid.

      What I learned was that there is no hope of anything meaningful or mature if things are flaky, flip floppy and non communicative.

      The EUM can seemingly go on like this forever. However, if you are sure you want more than emo-lite, that is all you really need to know. You want more than that person is capable of giving you.

      • NONE says:

        aphrogirl you are 100% right!. These guys are what I like to call emotionally inepts!

      • JJ2 says:

        Mine “shut down” on me by withholding sex. Can you believe a GUY would withhold sex? I had one who did. And I know he wasn’t cheating.

  9. Col says:

    your description of your epiphany relationship above could have been my own words for my recent EUM/epiphany relationship . Eerie. But, typical EUM!
    GREAT post NML

  10. Trinity says:

    @ NML——-A key sign that you’re with a Mr Unavailable or in a dubious relationship, is that things seem to go into reverse.

    An exact description if my last relationship. I wish these silly men would do some self reflection every now and then and work out where they are in life. Instead they seem to flip from relationships, screwing people over and then taking no responsabilty for their actions. Which means again, no self reflection and there for no change!!! If they don’t want a relationship then don’t be in one !
    My x blew to the xtremes with hot and cold! From the plans he would draw up on our future and me being perfect and him being estatically happy to everything being wrong. Why? Usually because I had dared to chat to him about something or sometimes over nothing to do with me. 4 instance, each week he would literally chat excitedly about moving out together, we would be saving, buying stuff for the house, making plans and telling people, he would go into exact detail, the dog we would get and all. The next week because things were not perfect! It would change to, I don’t see it working, not sure I want to move out then the next week back to excited. How confusing, right?
    I realised two things 1. I was perpeptually disappointed and 2. This seemed a bit like a power thing. If your perfect and do as I say you will get me if your not I’ll withdraw the dream and me. So one day I dared to say to him in an email that took me hours to write because 1. If I spoke face to face he would get overwhelmed or somehow I managed to do something wrong, wrong tone, wrong word anything for him to get upset at ME rather than look at the issue we were suppose to be discussing. So this email said in the nicest possible way ” let’s not discuss moving out anymore as I think it causes us issues and causes upset for me and I even mentioned it might take what seems to be a burden off him” that was the meat of the email the rest was tip toeing and making sure I didn’t upset him.
    Of course it did upset him. I was rewarded with 1 week of him barely talking to me, cold responses to emails and txt. Everytime I asked if everything was ok he said yes, I’m just tired. All that week I tried to get the anxious fear out of me. His bday was on the Sunday, I kept making his card, wrapping his gift and making the reservation for his bday dinner. I thought, maybe I’m just being anxious?
    He walked in on his bday with a break up letter, said it wasn’t working for him and walked out. I was devastated, he then sat in his car outside, I called, he came back in and said he didn’t no why I loved him or what he was doing, we talked and worked things out.
    This is what happen just about everytime I spoke up or accidently said the wrong thing. If he didn’t break it off he at least withdrew from me. Each time scaring the crap out if me, leaving me anxious confused, exhausted and my self esteem being knocked down. Each time left it harder for me to enjoy his wild swings back to lavishing me and giving me everything because I new at some point it was going to be snapped away again. I wasn’t sure what was real, is the relationship real? I was on eggshells.
    So I stopped asking questions and going to him. This left me even more miserable, boxed in, gagged and a feeling of being with a man who was extremely judgemental. Why was he turning simple conversations into highly dramatic and upsetting events?
    I thought while in the midst of the confusion that if I didn’t rock the boat then that adoring love he showed me would be more consistant.
    After he dumped me anyway, then since our split of ten months he has consistantly tried to be friends and stay in my life. I realised, finally it’s not me it’s him. He is an emotionally unstable, inconsistant, judgemental and manipulative man. He held all the power by giving and taking. Which controlled me.
    Even as friends, even with 7 months of no contact from me, he is still the same. I see it because we work together. He is constantly up and down, confused and inconsistant and still miserable.
    My lesson, one of hundreds as this has also been my epithany relationship.
    If your with someone who can’t even have a normal conversation about normal relationship stuff, someone inconsistant, if your feeling trapped, scared to just talk. It’s a huge red flag, get the hell out because it won’t matter what you do, how perfect you are, you will never win because really it’s his internal battle and misery that’s the issue, not you and not me.
    He had these issues before he met me along with many more and he has them still after the break up and until he has the courage to help himself, he will have the issues for years to come. Where no doubt another poor women will run into him and the whole thing will start again. He will leave again citing that all the issues are hers.
    While I’ve moved on and grown and accepting my issues and worked damned hard on myself. He is still 10 months later trapped in not being able to completely let go of me. He still can’t commit to being with me or with out me.
    Funny thing is he actually doesn’t have a choice anymore. I’m not there but oddly enuff he is still running in circles,bit scary really. It’s almost like he is still in the relationship.
    Always speak up but keep your side of the fence clean, be mature and adult about things. If they still can’t cope with a grown up conversation, make things harder then they need to be, cause high drama over a simple conversation or withdraw. GET THE HELL OUT !! Or like me he won’t allow the relationship to grow, prosper and progress. Some people simply prefer misery, hardship, being in limbo and drama. I prefer growth, happiness and real intimacy which can only come from trust and being able to communicate with one another.
    Take care everyone :)

    • aphrogirl says:

      good lord, I was just writing about this, but on a less personal level. I was a good friend of the EUM but could not get involved more because of his flakiness. I could see how if I had, it could have ended up like this. I am sorry.

      Some of these guys are so flippin insecure, it borders on a personality disorder. The insecurity then manifests in all sorts of assinine and goofy and pitiful behaviors.

      We mistakenly think that our love can give them the confidence they lack but, you sooner or later you find out that is not how it works. Sooner is better than later but…later is better than never.

      I wish them all well, and I pray for a miracle for the EUM I know every day, but I could not live with the flakiness of him in my life.

    • NONE says:

      Great post trinity! I feel exaclty the same I could have written this. I feel so familiar with the cold and hot behaviour he showed you. Very draining, confusing, hurtful etc.

      • Trinity says:

        The hot and cold thing would have to be one of the most counter productive things ive ever experienced in a relationship. It does nothing but undo any progress, good work, trust and intimacy each time they go cold/withdraw.
        It’s how I found this site; I remember feeling desperate and typing into Google “men who withdraw or go cold” and up popped Baggage Reclaim. Finally I new it wasn’t all in my head, this was something very real and its seems a lot of people do it.
        I really can’t think of a more immature way of handling things in a relationship. It’s exhausting because anything you have built has been lost for awhile and slowed right back down as you pick up the pieces and build trust again. I liken it to you and your partner building a sand castle and just as it starts to look stable, he kicks it all down and you have to start again. Almost like just as i would start thinking “things are good, progressing and stable” BANG suddenly my relationship was being taken away or be reaccesed to the enth degree yet again by my partner.
        My x was silly enough to say to me that I should have trusted him 100%. I did trust him, in one sense, I new he would not cheat on me that was the last of my worrys and so forth but my trust in his emotional stability or ability was slowly being eroded through no fault of my own. This is a person who was also saying in the last 3 months of the relationship “something is stopping me from committing 100%”
        I told him, your asking me to trust 100% and yet in the same breath your telling me you cant commit 100%, I believe the two are directly linked” YOU CAN NOT expect some one to have complete trust when 1. Your partner keeps withdrawing from you over nothing or small things and 2. Your partner tells you I can’t commit 100%. He said he hoped somehow i could just trust 100% anyway!
        Talk about not accepting any responsability for ones actions.
        In retropsect he was saying regardless of what happens, how many times I leave then come back, how many times i go cold and not talk to you for days to weeks, how many times i show you im incappable of a conversation with out getting emotionally overwhelmed, how many times my moods swing erratically………… you simply must trust in me.

        Doesnt work that way,like Nat has stated……..actions speak louder then words. Unfortunetly i was coming to realise with great heartache that i could not really trust in this man’s stability to build something solid with no matter how i tried and how much i wanted to.
        I walked away knowing i really tried my very best.
        Take care :)

        • JJ2 says:

          Trinity, same thing with my guy, except he never said he wasn’t committed. He kept saying that “I was his whole life…” etc. He just kept withdrawing (even though I was staying in his house with him) and claimed he loved me.

          He would get mad and say things like, “take responsibility for your actions” but did HE ever take responsibility for HIS actions? HELL NO! Although he never claimed it, I felt like he never thought he was wrong and the problems were all in my head. HE WAS WITHDRAWING! So I would threaten to leave, and then he would “blow hot” for 24 hours, and then withdraw again.

        • JJ2 says:

          From Trinity: It’s how I found this site; I remember feeling desperate and typing into Google “men who withdraw or go cold” and up popped Baggage Reclaim.

          That’s the same way I found this website: Googling on “Men who Withdraw.”

    • JJ2 says:

      “If I spoke face to face he would get overwhelmed or somehow I managed to do something wrong, wrong tone, wrong word anything for him to get upset at ME rather than look at the issue we were suppose to be discussing. ”

      In my case, I couldn’t do emails or face to face, either way it was “wrong tone.” Boy, your comment just made me realize that I wasn’t wrong! You’re right, when I tried to suggest changes to the situation, it would get flipped back and be about ME having a “bad tone.”

    • JJ2 says:

      “Why was he turning simple conversations into highly dramatic and upsetting events?”

      Oh, but YOU are the one causing the drama (according to the A/C….)

      Same thing happened to me. I would say a simple comment, like, “gee, the sky is too blue, can someone turn the blue down…” and all of a sudden, my comment was about HIM, and he would get mad, and drama, which, of course, was all MY fault…….

      Gee, did you date the same guy I did?

  11. KRLINKA says:

    I’m wondering, what questions SHOULD I be asking in a dating relationship?

  12. dlite says:

    yes NML! What questions? I hope thats the next post!

  13. Sara M says:

    My ex, Mr.Unavailable skirted the issue until he finally confessed that he’s dating another girl. So I backed off and attempted to cut off all contacts with him, the thing is, that made him chase me back and initiated a “coffee talk” to console me, assure that we’re still good friends, assure that I’m still his best friends and fix things between us. How nice of him.

    Right after that he turned hot and cold on me until i was so screwed up, I began chasing after him. That’s when I realised that I’ve turned into the worst version of myself and decided enough is enough.

    The problem is he owes me money (which I lent to him out of love, how nice of me) and everytime I approached him, gently asking him to pay back, he gave me reasons like, his pay is not enough, his financial station is unstable, etc. so I delayed asking for it.

    Until I found out that he’s asked another girl to go on vacation with him. Ding Ding! Hello, I thought you’re financially unstable? So I started seriously asking for it, which includes a few text fights and me saying that he’s taking me for granted and he turned it against me by saying that I’m a mistake and hopes that I won’t do this to other people again. When I tried to reconcile, even helpfully texting him options for him to pay me back on staggered basis, and smooth things out, he shuts me out, refuse to take my calls, basically demoralise me by acting like the victim. That happened 2 weeks back and after trying to call him one last time, I decided to stop all communication and just let go.

    Now, because we hang out with mutual friends, I came for this dinner with the friends and he was there and as soon as I entered the room, he walked out, avoiding me. And when I’m finished and about to walk out of the restaurant, I saw him with another group of our friends and it felt like I was being punched in the heart. But still at that point I’m determined to just let go and live my life as normal. Except for saying that he took me for granted, I’ve never cursed him or resort to accusatory name-calling because I’m not like that. His friends told me that he gets upset whenever our friends ask him about me.

    My question is this, I’m giving him the easy way out, pay off all his debts to me and consider this whole thing between us, finished. It was my money and I have every right to ask for it back. What is wrong with him? I know I’m over analysing here but I’m hurt and it’s unfair and I don’t understand why he’s doing this? Why does he have this attitude of prolonging my misery like this?

    • Elena says:

      Sara, if you truly want your money back you will have to take him to small-claims court. If he didn’t sign a promissory note of some kind, you will have a hard time proving it was a gift and not a loan, but pressuring him will get you nowhere. He is done with you so he’s not going to respond to that. To show you mean business you may have to resort to a lawsuit if you can’t “eat” the money and let it and him go.

  14. myrtle says:

    When you know, you know.
    The questions that you keep from asking are the ones that need to be asked. It’s basically choosing yourself and being committed to your needs over his , that’s when you’ll finally ask the questions.

    I’ve learned. The ONLY reason I resent him is because I gave my power away. I’m finally claiming it back. I can only be hurt as long as I choose to be in a situation that does not give me back what I put into it. Never again will I resent a man, because I won’t give my power away again, I will respect myself rather than “settle” for poor treatment.

    Myrtle
    Recovering Assclown Addict free of addiction 12/29/09
    Almost 6th months sober.
    : )

    • aphrogirl says:

      I agree, there should not be a lot of questions that need to be asked…when someone is basically good to you and consistent in that behavior, you know it. When something is wrong we usually know it too, but due to our inexperience or habits of denial, we may ignore the red flags, I know I did.

      When you are getting to know a person its best to listen hard to what they are saying and pay attention to what they are doing. Its also important to be very clear on your needs/boundaries are. That way when something odd arises, you will be able to ask a clear question to address your confusion and sense that something is wrong.

      If you listen hard to the answer, with a critical ear, and do not whitewash it, you will be able to tell whether you are dealing with a basic EUM or a nastier version of a user. By minimizing the answer, and trust me… the lack of an answer is a bigger answer than any excuse.. we do give away our power to do what is right for us.

      If you get to the point of having to ask a question about anything regarding personal integrity…you will probably be able to tell if your needs will be met in this relationship by listening hard to the answer and watching the followup actions.

      I learned this the hard way that if you hang round with an EUM long enough, you will find that all the questions that appear in your mind end up rolled into one simple three letter question …WTF ? In a way I was asking that of myself as well,,… what was I doing to me by staying in a relationship like this ?

      Confusion and the resulting questioning of where you stand are the norm with these people. If you have to ask……you probably already know the answer. But it is up to us to then drop the hopeful illusions about the relationship, and move on.

      • lindsay bluth says:

        Great response! LOL @ the WTF, because only when we get to that stage can we pull ourselves out of the cycle of endless AC and EUM.

        LOVE your last paragraph.

  15. Trinity says:

    @ aphrogirl.

    You raised some great points which I agree on wholeheartedly. I believe mine started off very hopefull, I think he thought because he had found somebody nice, lots in common, loving, loyal and all tha jazz, that he would be ok.
    But his issues still came back to haunt him and then me. It’s a definate discomfort (4 some) with their own emotions. Mine had no idea where his emotions stemmed from. He didn’t no how to connect the dots. So if he suddenly felt anxious/scared/worried he blamed it on me. Must be to do with me. What was really happening was as he got closer his anxiety levels/fears/worries shot up because he was frightened of getting hurt and could not truly comprehend that I was who I claimed to be. So he sabataged it. His emotional maturity and mine were on different ends of the scales. He learnt to equate his anxiety/fears/discomfort with me because if your emotionally immature all that lovely intimacy is scary stuff “I could get hurt here” the closer they try to get the more they fear. They leave and for my x, 4 awhile he was happier without me but now you can see all that crap is still there only with the volume turned down because he doesn’t need to fear being rejected or hurt. However he is still unhappy and still can’t let go and still is anxiety ridden and still hot/cold and all the rest only now he has even more baggage.
    “gee maybe it wasn’t her, maybe it’s me”
    Like you said aphrogirl you hope you can help with the confidence and it works 4 awhile. The issues a partner has can only be resolved by them, no matter what you try and how much you give. That fear always creeps back in as soon as you stop to rest and BANG your back to square one. Exhausting.

  16. Trinity says:

    @Sarah.
    He sounds awful, he has lied to you, manipulated you, confused you, been rude to you and basically stolen from you.
    I’m not sure why he did this or what his issues are, if you think about it you probably no the answers.
    But read what I wrote in that 1st paragraph.
    He sounds like scum and he has to wake up being scum each day. That’s your pay back right there. He also enjoys jeeping you on ice. The fact is some people are just not nice/good. His actions speak about him, the type of person he is. Not you.
    Stay away from him and let him deal with the karma. Put the focus back on you and rebuild your happiness. Happiness and moving on is the best revenge and is best for you.
    Be good to yourself :)

  17. juli says:

    Sara M~ 3 words: Small Claims Court.

    Serve him with papers, see him in court. There is NO REASON you should have to harrass that coward. And there is NO REASON you should not get your $$ back. Teach that bastard a lesson!

  18. Gina says:

    That is true what you said NML, alot of times I didn’t ask the question because if I was really honest with myself I really didn’t want to be in a committed relationship with them anyways. Then I had to question why I was choosing these people that I was unsure about, took some soul searching and personal growth. It boils down to self-love and you can definitely get a measure of it by the relationships you involve yourself in. Its so funny how they walk and talk the same way in the beginning, chase you like your the only woman on earth, then once they know they got you it’s like you aren’t really even there. What frustrates me is I am very familar with that pattern, so I realize I kept choosing it because I didn’t have my shit worked out emotionally.

  19. Gina says:

    The way I see it is these Men who act this way are our “highs” – they “numb us” with instant gratification of attention and “false proclaimations of admiration and closeness”. We know we don’t have to do any work and we know it’s false (just like feeling immediately good after taking drugs or getting drunk) but we get love drunk because we aren’t truly ready within ourselves for real intimacy. Just like when an addict needs to take drugs to feel good, they haven’t put the effort into feeling natural self love – always looking for a quick fix even know they can never really run from the truth.

    • aphrogirl says:

      maybe is in the beginning of a relationship neither party is quite ready for intimacy, and thats OK, because you really can’t know another person right off the bat, it takes time to learn what they are made of.

      But yeah, some people may want intimacy, but are not emotionally ready to handle everything that goes along with intimacy. I do think that I am ready, but my guard was up continuously with the EUM because off all his confusing there and gone assclownery.

      I have never known a person quite so needy of intimacy and avoidance addicted at the same time. Ultimately, I learned this is untrustworthy. And all the grief I brought onto myself was all about me choosing to stay on with someone who led me to believe that they wanted intimacy and consistency; it just would take some time.

      While I can see that taking time is a sane and normal approach at first, it becomes abnormal if it continues without improvement. It also becomes abnormal if they do things to break the trust that is building while you are working to know and trust each other.

      Now I know, with any relationship… If it’s not going forward, it might be stable but… it just as likely may be going backwards.

  20. juli says:

    Gina~ I agree. The way we fall for the attention and fakey fake true love forever, is a sad testament to our own emotional unavailability. We are just as bad as they are, except our victim is OURSELF. Their victim is OURSELF also. sigh.

  21. Lillibeth says:

    I’m not afraid to ask questions but my bf is an expert at evasion. Me: Would you like to have a child with me? Him: Yes, at some stage but not now. Me: Would you like to live with me? Him: Yes, at some stage but not now. Me: When can we do such-and such? Him: I don’t know but it will happen naturally. etc etc. He uses humour to turn everything into a joke and refuses to talk seriously about our future.

    So I would add to Natalie’s (excellent) post: If you ask and don’t get answers, consider it a red flag. He’s probably just stringing you along.

    • aphrogirl says:

      omg, I see new insights here every time. You just described my 30 year relationship with my ex and I never thought much about it. His answer to most everything was that things will happen naturally.

      Half the time this left me to plan things like vacations and he often would happily go along with them. The trouble came when I was uncomfortable with doing nothing about an important issue..like..when I wanted to plan for big stuff like baby, financial stuff, facing some tough health issues he had, retirement.

      For these things I would be way stressed out about not doing anything to solve a problem that needed to be solved together ( parenting was HELL with him, he did not believe in discipline), and when I would be vocal about wanting to try something together, he would usually say uh huh, like he was agreeing to try my idea … but then do nothing.

      The ex is a pretty good guy, honest, a hard worker, reliable, not an EUM, nor an AC . He has always had the reputation of being a really together person amongst our friends, admired because of this calm laid back ” whatever happens” approach. I did learn to roll with things better because of him and I am grateful for that.

      But I finally realized that he was a good man but a lousy partner for me. When I realized this I said it seems you do not want to work on this relationship anymore. And he said that was true. And that was that. Then he actually became something of a goofy AC for the first time in his life. This was only amusing to me because we were not together anymore.

      He did not want a partner, he wanted a nice low maintenance wife in his life like I might want a nice new low maintenance car in my life. Think this is an old fashioned view, king of the castle and the women is right there with him doing what he wants. I might be able to cut the 60 year old geezers a bit of slack on this, but not the next generation. Guys like this do not make great long term partners unless you settle.

      • JJ2 says:

        “He did not want a partner, he wanted a nice low maintenance wife in his life like I might want a nice new low maintenance car in my life. Think this is an old fashioned view, king of the castle and the women is right there with him doing what he wants. I might be able to cut the 60 year old geezers a bit of slack on this, but not the next generation. Guys like this do not make great long term partners unless you settle.”

        Nope, don’t cut the 60 year old geezers any slack. If you want an “active partner” then you will be unhappy cutting the 60 year old geezers some slack. I’m in my mid 50′s, and I dated a 60 year old A/C. While we were dating, he was perfect, everything I wanted. When we lived together, then I got treated like a room-mate. Yep, he didn’t want a cherished partner, he just wanted a room mate who would go their way and he go his.

  22. For Real says:

    Natalie, when I read this immediately it reminded me of that movie Meet Joe Black, where the guy thinks to himself I am going to die, and he gets the simple answer of Yes.

    This is exactly what came to my mind when I began reading it….especially when you said: “Often, you actually hold the answers to all (or most) of the questions that you have about your relationship and/or him without having to ask the guy a thing.”

    You are so correct, majority of the time I have known. My spirit tells me from the beginning “no” something is not right. I don’t really need to ask the guy “Hey are only trying to sleep with me” because majority of the time the answer is Yes. I think most of us don’t ask the questions because we are more afraid of the answer. i know that is/was my is issue.

    Again, thank you for this one.

  23. Trinity says:

    @JJ2
    Yes, you can’t win no matter what you do and it’s exhausting, draining, manipulating, immature and such a waste of valuable time.
    If a partner is more interested in throwing a spanner into an otherwise civilized conversation and create high drama and you never really get what you tried to discuss acknowledged or he goes round in circles pin pointing your tone of voice is wrong or what ever. Then there is your answer right there. He either is incapable, doesn’t want to move forward and grow which comes from being intimate about the harder things. Or he will always spin his wheels with change, making it harder and longer then it needs to be, so patience is required? But I think only a certain amount as we are nit there freaking mothers!!! Or he wants the high drama and he is emotionally unintelligent.
    Either way, like Nat says look at his actions and make your own choice. If it’s like pulling teeth to have a simple conversation? And you can’t express yourself? Well who wants that? Basically put that with your instincts/ gut feelings and make your own choice/decision.
    A person who is emotionally healthy and wants to be with you will be delighted that they have a partner who wants to have a grown up conversation about something hard -he will want to move forward with you and get on with the good times.
    Let these guys keep making their own life hard and we can opt out :)

  24. MaryC says:

    @Sara M…..unless you absolutely need the money and I guess it depends on how much it was, less than 1K, I’d just forget about it. He knows what a ass he is and he obviously has no intention of settling his debts. He’ll say it was a gift but that doesn’t work for men. Have you ever known a man who took a gift of money unless he was being kept. Take the high road but make sure all your/his friends know exactly what he’s done.

    I know from experience…My ex took all the money we saved together when he left (he was cheating) and used it to take his new gf on vacation. I never once asked for my share back because I’ve never spoke to him again. All our freinds were horrified about what he did (cheating and money) and they let him know just how they felt and some aren’t speaking to him either.

    I never bad mouthed him just told the truth. What could he say, it was a gift.

    • lindsay bluth says:

      He’ll say it was a gift but that doesn’t work for men.

      On “Judge Judy” this scenario happens at least once a week with men walking of with women’s “gifts” and women walking of with the judge’s admonishments, “You look like a smart girl, why did you give him money?”

      Have you ever known a man who took a gift of money unless he was being kept.

      Most of the men I have known are eager to partake of a woman’s money and have a “What’s yours is ours” philosophy fairly early in the game.

      (Sorry about the situation with your ex!)

  25. AmE says:

    Unfortunately for me, I was “going in reverse” with a male FRIEND. That’s right, FRIEND. Neither of us claimed readiness for a relationship,…and we went in reverse! Talk about confused. Also, the claim that I would be the one ‘pushing away’ is bunk too. If ‘pushing someone away’ is expecting them to be honest,….then there are more problems than my ‘pushing’…..IMO. Here’s the screwed up thing,…I would expect the same level of honesty/behavior from a female too… I have learned to weed out a lot of female friends and their own set of crappy behavior by having level expectations of people regardless of their sex.

    • Seeking Clarity says:

      Ame, I never looked at it quite that way. Why is that we don’t apply the same standards with our female friends? I have had female “aquaintances” that I hold at arms distance. I do this because they have showed me time and time again through there actions who they are. I have no problem trusting my gut when it comes these types. Yet when it involves a guy I like…..well it’s like i purposely search my bottom drawer for the rose coloured glasses. That was before, but you are right the same standards should apply.

  26. Emily says:

    This is an excellent post. I think that your comment about LISTENING and HEARING is very important. I have been the one, in the past, to not hear what the man was saying (he was usually saying that the ‘relationship’ was casual). However, once I began listening, I soon got out of those situations.

    Now I am in a relationship which has clear communication. This is the case because he is very interested in me, and I am very interested in him.

    Bottom line:
    When you are both into each other, the communication is easy, clear and honest. Or an easier way to say it: when he is REALLY INTERESTED in you, he will let you know, and you won’t have to question it. The only question you’ll be asking is: Am I interested in him?

    Communication with your girlfriends on the topic of your love life will change from:
    “He said/did x, y, z… do you think that means he’s into me? Does that count as a relationship?”
    And instead you’ll be sharing:
    “He is so sweet, he said and did x, y, z… it is so amazing to see and feel his love for me.”

    That’s my experience.

    • aphrogirl says:

      Well put ! that girl talk example is a nIce summary of the difference between a painfully confusing relationship and a stable relationship.

      Anyone who is recovering from the AC ride from hell needs to be reminded of that feeling of calm that is in a healthy relationship, thank you for that.

  27. Theotoks says:

    This really hit home for me.

    I got involved in a conversation with him and I was flooded with emotions (abandonment) and I didn’t ask questions. I assumed by the tone of his voice and the critical things he was saying that he was breaking up with me. He was not. I actually went NC and went through weeks of heartbreak and all along HE DIDN’T BREAK UP WITH ME. I had a small voice in my head telling me ASK HIM but I couldn’t/didn’t.

    WOW.

    Our instincts and intuitions are not always right and we need to check by asking for feedback.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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