Are you focused on the person or the bigger picture of your life?

When you struggle to let go of someone, there can be sustained periods of rumination and in essence, stewing in what you feel is a rejection of you. If there’s been a series of disappointments, you’ve likely lost sight of you and your values, which means you don’t have the perspective that’s so needed to handle and manage the inevitable disappointments that arise in life.

Whether it’s for a date that didn’t happen, dates that didn’t progress, feelings that weren’t reciprocated, your relationship not working out, or even discovering that someone isn’t what you thought they were, you become fixated on this person (or even a series of people that you thought were “it”) fulfilling your hopes and dreams.

By focusing on the person instead of on the bigger picture of your hopes and expectations, you lose hope because the disappointment leaves you feeling like there’s no point in bothering and your ‘last chance saloon’ has gone.

This person isn’t the only way that you could have your hopes and expectations for a relationship fulfilled though, plus just because they don’t or didn’t fulfil them, doesn’t mean any and all hopes for a relationship are over.

When you struggle to get over the disappointment, it’s because you were over-invested in the potential, ‘vision’, and ultimately the hopes, plans, and outcome that you had set your mind and heart on.

If you’ve been invested in various people and the hopes and expectations you had for a relationship have to adjust due to practical factors, the disappointment is natural and to be expected, but you have to work your way through these feelings to acceptance so that you can create new hopes and expectations.

To continue to immerse yourself in disappointment like a vocation, raking over your past and ruminating on all of the things you ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda done if only’, creates self-rejection and ultimately regret, because as time passes and your outlook and what you’re doing hasn’t changed, that’s what you’ll come to regret – not the various things you’ve been through that brought you to this juncture but the stubbornness you used to lash yourself with and stop you from moving forward.

The disappointment, regret, and rejection is tied up in the idea that what you hope and want in your life is gone and over.

What do you want? This is where your focus should be – on the bigger picture of your values so that you can focus your actions on living congruently with them, not on a person outside of your control. Your purpose in life isn’t to have someone rescue you and make your life ‘better’ – if it doesn’t work out, it’s like returning to the life you didn’t want.

Wherever there’s disappointment and a sense of feeling rejected, you can be assured that there are illusions, giving you an inaccurate, if not downright distorted view of reality. It’s letting go of these that give you the much needed perspective…and freedom.

What are you stuck on? List them all, don’t hold back. What is it about this disappointment that you keep returning to?

You wouldn’t be disappointed if what you claim things ‘should’ be was real…because you’d be living it.

Walk your way through the relationship and work out where you got the illusions from.

Where did it start?

Did they say or do something? Did you?

What specific thoughts have you had that led you to this idea?

The things that you believed them to be, why did you believe it? Was it based on evidence? Was it brief? Was it based on ideas that you carried into the relationship that may be based on someone else they remind you of or unhealthy/unrealistic beliefs? List examples and the longer you were together, the more you should see of this.

What is the cause of the actual disappointment?

So for example, when someone doesn’t follow through with a date, is it because:

You’re disappointed because you misjudged them?

They seemed so nice and you were looking forward to it?

You hoped that this might be ‘it’ and you could be ‘done’ with dating?

You’re disappointed because you assume that you must have said or done something to put them off?

You compromised yourself and it still didn’t pay off?

You banked on this being the one that would make all of the previous heartache worthwhile and right the wrongs of the past?

For a relationship, it might be that you’re shouldering all of the blame for it not working out, so yeah, you’re bound to be disappointed, just unnecessarily so.

Taking a bigger picture view, this person cannot meet your expectations. They haven’t – it’s why you’re disappointed. They haven’t – that’s about them, not you. Don’t make everything about you – it will compound your hurt.

The facts say that they cannot meet your expectations – it’s holding onto the illusions that they can or could have if only X/Y/Z had happened, which normally boils down to, if you had changed, if you hadn’t breathed or put a foot wrong, if you had got them to change, or if you lived in a fantasy world, that’s disappointing you.

Let me say it again – it’s holding onto the illusions that they can or could have fulfilled your hopes and expectations and that your projected future could, would and should have happened, that’s disappointing you. The tighter you hold on, the more you revisit it – it’s like experiencing the disappointment over and over and over again. It gets even worse if you continue to lie to yourself about them while in the meantime, they behave like a jackass in the present completely contradicting you anyway.

Disappointment and rejection paves the way to new and ultimately better opportunities…if you don’t spend months or even years avoiding admitting a mistake or accepting that it’s over. The length and depth of the avoidance is what causes a ‘setback’.

You can release and grow if you make the connection between relationship insanity – carrying the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours while choosing same type, different person (or variations of your type), and then expecting a different result – and disappointment.

Relationships serve to teach us about ourselves – the same lessons will keep coming back at you like Michael Myers in Halloween until you heed and learn from them.

Persisting in relationship insanity, means you’ll continue to be disappointed.

Even if you do the whole long shot mentality thing and go with the safe option of unavailable relationships so you can avoid ‘rejection rejection’, you will be disappointed even though it’s ‘expected’.

Your life and your repetitive choices are telling you that you need to adapt your thinking and your habits in order to start fulfilling your hopes and expectations for your life.

Lessen disappointment by living in line with your values so that you can be authentic. You will compound the disappointment if you deviate from them due to the attachment to the idea of this particular person being the ‘key’ to your life – you figure it’ll be worth the risk and then feel embarrassed or even ashamed when it’s not.

If you stay on a Bullshit Diet, it also means that you don’t hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see, and create meaning where there is none. You’ll communicate your expectations, thoughts and concerns – some people don’t do this for fear of disappointment. Then they get disappointed anyway and wish they’d spoken up….

Don’t try to be a perfectionist or the exception to the rule of shady behaviour – these create unrealistic goals while giving you a realistic but unwanted outcome; pain.

Like conflict, fear, and rejection, disappointment is unavoidable but you don’t have to let it claim you and you certainly shouldn’t use it to make judgements about yourself that leave you with eroded self-esteem. Let the disappointment go – forgive you and be kind to you because aside from nurturing you, it means you won’t disappoint you by not being on your side.

Your thoughts?
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl in my bookshop.

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207 Responses to Moving On From Disappointment: Are you focused on the person, or on the bigger picture of your life?

  1. katy says:

    Back in december I had surgery and a man I was in a casual relationship with (we had dinner, sex, he bought me things, and said we were “more than friends) didnt’ show up to see me after saying he would. I felt horrible and ended it. I then apologized and tried to get him back. He wouldn’t go for it, but I insisted and he eventually came back after demoting me to booty call. I then became enraged at how I was treated, no calls or texts returned, saying he wanted to see me with another man, not calling me the day after we slept together etc, well, he grew tired of me and my wants and now I can’t even get the demoted status back. I haven’t gotten over it. I write every day, and try to work out the lack of control and how I need to make my own life but I just feel like I am tired of not being good enough, it has been years and years of being disappointed because I want someone to love me.

    • grace says:

      katy
      if you want your demoted status back, tell him you’ll do the other man thing (I don’t recommend it)
      or
      if you want someone to love you, love yourself first rather than a man who seems incapable of loving anyone.
      December isn’t that long ago, stick to the NC and do nice things for yourself in addition to being angry.
      On the plus side, you’re making me appreciate my current “panda courtship”.

    • Mona says:

      Katy, I know how you feel. I was in a similar situation, I felt like you did, did similar things, and he grew tired of me also. I too have been taking it pretty hard, I even worry myself about how hard I am taking it. My last message to him just yesterday I felt like I embarrassed myself. Contemplated about what I wanted to say. Sent a message then accidentally send another right after with words I thought of sending but decided not to send. In a moment of anxiety quickly wrote I didn’t mean to send that. Then ended up going back just to state but it doesn’t mean I don’t mean it. You know how they say ‘scared straight’? Well I felt like I was ‘embarrassed straight’. I immediately cried about it, then laughed about it with my Mom, even felt like I was going to pass out right after.. goodness. That’s it, I’ve been saying this for months but I’m just going to leave him alone. I hope and pray I have no set backs. What we need to start doing is loving ourselves. This article speaks to me.. to us.. and like it’s telling us, don’t deviate from our values but live in line with them. I wish you the best and same for anyone else.

    • RML says:

      Oh Katy…it’s rough when we feel pain of our own making. And it’s really rough when we just want to erase our past. I’ve been there. I want to encourage you to focus on things that make you feel good. Do things that you are good at, things you find interesting, look at things that you find pretty or whatever it is you need to do to draw yourself back to YOU! Don’t focus on what’s happened recently, because we can’t undo the past. But we can make things better for ourselves going forward. He can’t demote you anymore, because you’ll be too busy promoting you. Make a solid choice to not continue down this path. No Contact = No New Pain.

  2. Bel says:

    Great article!! It puts the focus on one`s self and how one can find answers in the self rather than in a partner.

  3. yoghurt says:

    It was pretty difficult not being disappointed with my life when I woke up and realised that not only did I not have the EUM, but I also wasn’t going to/didn’t have the sort of family life that I’d expected, the ‘experience’ of pregnancy that I’d dreamt about (although I should add that the ‘pregnancy experience’ is a load of rubbish dreamt up by people who want to sell you stuff), not a lot of practical and no emotional support in parenthood, the freedom that I used to enjoy, the support of a big group of friends… even my own home. That was pretty crushing and took me a long time to get over.

    The thing is, once I stopped using him as a coat-hook for all of my other issues, those issues broke down into manageable chunks and I found that I could deal with them. I moved into my own home, I’m making a serious effort to reconnect with good friends, I can live with not having had the ultimate ‘pregnancy experience’ and I manage on my own without much support – which is easier now that I treat myself a bit better.

    Whenever I focus on him – and it still happens occasionally although I think I’m doing well – I have a few days of “Argh! My life is over!!! Because of HIM, ohwhywon’theloveme mnyuhmnyuh”… and it’s so unpleasant that it’s actually becoming relatively easy to avoid it now. Thinking about him = miserable. Not thinking about him = not miserable.

    This weekend I went out (woohoo! rare), met a guy who seemed nice, got my number from my friend and has sent me two friendly texts. Looking at it practically, I don’t really think that it’s got legs, which is mildly – VERY mildly – disappointing. But every so often I’ve caught myself starting to think of it in the context of the EUM (“hey, maybe he’ll heal my broken heart! lalala”) and have to slap myself quickly before it turns into a !!big deal!!… aside from anything else it’s JUST TWO TEXTS and besides, it’d be a bit unfair to land ANYONE with the pressure of getting me over the past couple of years. *I’M* getting me over it, and I’m managing that by myself.

    • grace says:

      yoghurt
      I’ve read a book called “It’s called a breakup because it’s broken”. It has its limitations because it doesn’t dig into issues of EU-ness but it does give practical suggestions for moving on, and one of them is “Don’t wear your heartbreak out into the world”.
      I think when we are heartbroken, or have been, we take it on as part of our identity and we feel that other people have to KNOW about it. I was sharing at church the other day, about how grateful I am for my life , and afterwards I thought – I don’t want them to get the wrong idea and think I’ve had it easy. I felt that I missed out a chunk. But they don’t need to know my bad history. It doesn’t define me. When I’m skipping down the road with the man (he walks me down the hill, I wish it was a longer walk), full of the joys of spring, am I less me ? Is the real me someone who’s prone to depression, anxiety and ruminates on sorrow? Do I have to tell him about that? No. It may come up, but I’m not going to present it to him with the “fix me” agenda ( I’m aware that a part of me has that urge).
      As for the pregnancy experience – my sister suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum and threw up nearly every single day of her pregnancies, she’s had to be hospitalised with each pregnancy and put on drips, she was still throwing up when in labour. When she was throwing up with baby two (even water mader her sick), I begged her – please, no more babies (not that she listened – the third one nearly killed her but it turned out well).
      You’re not a failure for not having had a wonderful pregnancy.
      No-one’s life is perfect but I’ve observed that we have perfectionist tendencies and find reasons to beat ourselves up. No need.

      • yoghurt says:

        Thanks Grace :)

        I take your point but I think that there is an added dimension in being a ‘single mother’, because to an extent that DOES define you. The shape and the substance of my entire life changed when I became pregnant and a toddler at home is not the sort of thing that I can exactly gloss over.

        I think that I’m learning the difference between going “the monster ABANDONED me to my pregnancy” and “it didn’t work out” (which is just as much, if not more, the truth, and healthier to say and think). There’s a bit in Bridget Jones though, I think, where she says something like “pregnant women are strange, as is like walking around saying ‘I’ve had sex’ ” – there’s a tangible and permanant and overwhelmingly important element to my life that indicates that I’ve had a relationship fail under difficult/serious circumstances, and it’s been hard work getting my head to the point where I don’t need to explain and justify that, either to myself and other people.

        The ‘pregnancy experience’ is a load of cod – once I forced my brain away from the circumstances and the bloke and isolated that issue then I saw that quite clearly (it’s just another part of life! It’s not a theme-park!). And I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t have a difficult pregnancy physically – a friend of mine was pregnant under similar circumstances and she had hyperemesis AND an AC being nasty to her… very very glad that I didn’t have to cope with that!

        What I’ve found, though, is that identifying myself as a ‘heartbroken’ person with a bad history ONLY happens when I’m viewing the world through EUM-coloured glasses and thinking about him a lot. Once you take him out of the equation – and yes I’m sure that he sees me as a reject and a failure and Not As Good As His Girlfriend and so on – my life is HAPPY and HOPEFUL, it’s allowing his presence in it that drags me down.

        • rosenfire says:

          Dear Yoghurt,

          It’s been a pleasure to read your posts in this thread. They’ve helped me, and they are also so well written. You have a way with words; thank you for sharing your story with us. And, best wishes for your future.

      • yoghurt says:

        Just re-read your post, it is so lovely to read about you being so grateful for your life and skipping down the hill.

        I realise that I keep forgetting to thank Natalie for her amazing posts on this blog (I sort of take it as a given cos they are so indisputably brill – thanks Nat!) but also thank you for sharing your story – it is pretty inspirational :)

  4. Broadsided says:

    “When you struggle to get over the disappointment, it’s because you were over-invested in the potential, ‘vision’, and ultimately the hopes, plans, and outcome that you had set your mind and heart on.”

    I would say, Amen to this – total truth here. Thank you for another extremely valuable post. It has taken me way too long in life to realize that just because sex is off the charts, just because we have a blast together and have good rapport/chemistry does not mean anything about “our relationship.” The man can only show by actions over time what he is bringing – and initially by words, but MUST BE backed up by action OVER TIME. Talk is indeed cheap – but can be useful as an initial weeding-out tool. I’ve been so guilty of over-excitement which has led to extreme disappointment. I have now taken to heart the sexist concept that men do better when women are not so “available” to them. I’ve been counseled on this by everyone from my 85 year old mom to my 23 old daughter (who has an endless number of guys chasing her – but oh, how she plays it cool). In my relationship re-try right now, I have totally backed off and the guy’s stepping up to the plate. Whether or not this is “it” doesn’t really matter – I am practicing new concepts of restraint and evaluation. I’m also giving him time to heal and work through his grieving process without expecting much in the emotional department right now – my way of offering love.

    NML your walk-throughs as you have in this article – identifying exactly why one is disappointed, and in the last article, separating fact from fear – are infinitely useful for self inquiry and improvement, and thank you very much.

    • Margo says:

      “In my relationship re-try right now, I have totally backed off and the guy’s stepping up to the plate. Whether or not this is “it” doesn’t really matter – I am practicing new concepts of restraint and evaluation. I’m also giving him time to heal and work through his grieving process without expecting much in the emotional department right now – my way of offering love.”

      Broadsided: I mean no offense, but if you are truly dealing with an EUM, why continue to emotionally invest in him? It sounds like you are banking on advice from others that backing off will make him want you more, when in truth, you should really focus on healing yourself; forgetting about him entirely; and finding a better partner. The odds are that once you’ve done that, he will come back knocking on your door. Only then, you will not want him anymore because you’ll have realized through the process that you deserve and easily can find better.

      • Down and Out says:

        Margo….brilliant reply.

        I’m not saying that this is what you’re doing Broadsided but personally I HATE game playing, I know in the beginning you have to play it cool to a certain extent, your getting to know the person you don’t want to come across heavy, I understand. But in a relationship those games should fly straight out the window, life is difficult enough without worry all the time about these things. That is just my opinion.

        • amanda says:

          I was drawn to these comments because of mention of the communication “game”. (Making yourself appear less available, in hopes that this will make him invest more in the pursuit). I’ve stopped dating right now, in part, because it seemed like I fell into the pattern of being the over-communicator at the beginning of a connection. I need to sit with myself for a while and figure out why do that… and I have some good clues. That’s fodder for another post.

          I’m coming out of a draining MM/EUM situation (which is why I have gravitated to this wonderful blog). While I have not been able to strictly enforce NC, I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer knee-jerk react and reply within 30 minutes of getting an e-mail from him. I’m working on 48 hours of NC right now (from when I last heard from him – I’m no longer in the habit of contacting him, unsolicited. I haven’t contacted him for 6 days). Let me tell you how good it feels. I feel like I am in control. I don’t feel like I am punishing him or “teaching him a lesson”. by being as withholding in communication as he is with me (I know that he is too EU to really even care if that is my point). Rather, I feel like this whole communication game (and my neuroses around it) is now like a light switch. When I chose to NC (or to take my time in replying), I have my hand on that switch. It makes me feel calm, and it makes me see how silly it is, afterall, to keep close tabs on who communicates the most or the least in a relationship. All of that energy that I had put into being angry or hurt of feeling rejected… well, I can put that back into myself.

          So, it stops feeling like a game.

          Ideally, you want communication, like everything else, to be in balance with your special person. You don’t want to have to think about who has said more or less. If you have to engineer the flow, then something is off. I’ve been on both sides of the imbalance, and it is hard either way.

          In the beginning, you want give things time… not just to play “cool” or make him hot to pursue you. You want to give things time so that you keep a firm grip on yourself, who you are as an individual, etc. You don’t want to lose yourself into that other person. Hard line to walk, when you are so very excited about them… but its so important. You shouldn’t need to keep tabs on how many days have passed, etc…

          • Broadsided says:

            Thanks for all your comments – there are a wise group of people here! A wee more clarification from me might be in order. I dated this fellow for 2 months – and we were extremely hot and heavy – had known each other via work connections so weren’t strangers when we got together. He did not appear to be emotionally unavailable – in fact, was forthcoming with expressing his feelings, and we’re both open communicators. There was no contrived game playing and all was going along smoothly – I appreciated it after a relationship with a total EUM. He did explain that he has some problems with depression, etc., that he wrestles with. Well, his mom passed away – whom he was close to – and he went into a complete state of off-the-charts bereavement, abruptly broke up with me and said he could not deal with a relationship, etc. He looked awful and was totally wacked out. Then after a week off, said he would like to try again but still felt emotionally shaky. So, 2 weeks later we are re-dating and things seem to be evolving more closely again, and he is getting back to his normal spirits and self. However – while he was out of state at the funeral, I was texting him, etc., trying to offer support. This apparently was too much for him at the time. Also I realized prior to that, since things were good between us, I did not take time to back it up and play it cool. I was way TOO available and invested – this is one of my faults. So now – I do not want to be the “relationship facilitator”. Because HE is the one coming out of grieving and healing his emotions, I thought he should be the one to initiate contact for awhile. Also – to be honest, after an abrupt breakup like that – I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt but am taking distance to watch carefully. I do not want to invest myself again unless it proves warranted. It is my TOTAL hope that if we both decide we are in a serious relationship again – like one that is “going somewhere?” (we are monogamous now) – there will be a naturalness to it again. I guess I am sort of playing a game if you can call it that – a temporary game that I choose to play because I want to see what he is bringing to the table – sort of as a self-protection to myself. Not sure if that makes sense. I have had issues with not playing it cool, not using restraint, assuming everything is what I want it to be…

            • amanda says:

              Wow, Broadsided… sounds like a really tough situation! Not your typical A-clownery. Your dude definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt, but correspondingly, you have to look out for yourself. It seems like you’re doing that as well. Good job. Your understanding of the situation is changing day by day, as is his! Easy for me to say, but your dude is going through one of the emotionally toughest things anyone has to go for, and he only has the emotional capacity to look out for himself. He can’t be there for you.

              You want to help and support him. You do this because you care about him. You are also supporting him because you want to be part of his life… you want to be important to him, and you want to have an impact and influence. You logically understand what is going on for him. Emotionally, it is going to take you a while to really understand that he can’t be there at all for you… at least, as the caring boyfriend you deserve to have. He wont be able to give you any validation right now.

              I know this very well from my own experience. The MM I was seeing broke off our affair because he experienced something difficult like this. I tried to stick arond, be his friend and support, and he appreciated that, but being his “friend” was harder than being his “lover”. My motivations were (and still are) all mixed up, and the MM has been even EU than before because of what he’s going through. It’s easy to make excuses for him since he’s going through such a rough time, but in the end of the day, I’m still getting 1% of what I should be getting from someone who purportedly is that important to me. So, even if he is the nicest person in the world, a person whom you just met, hit with something of this magnitude, can’t be there for you. Easier said than done, but I would recommend that you completely let go of your expectations for him right now. If you want to be on the sidelines as support, he’ll appreciate that, but you can’t expect anything back. If you keep feeling hurt and jerked around, distance yourself completely. He’ll be ok. You’ll have to trust that of him.

              Again, easier said than done, but this is an exercise in letting go. Hopefully, you’ll run into him in a year, and he’ll be in a better place, but you’ll do yourself a disservice by hanging on until then. Live your life to the fullest. Good luck!

          • Mymble says:

            Amanda,
            I’m sorry to say but you ARE playing games. Email games. Only marginally less ridiculous than txt games. I did for MONTHS too. It is a major waste of time, and the feeling of being in control is an illusion. Its the thin end of the wedge. If you are in control, then why do you say you cant enforce NC? What exactly are you in control of? You CAN strictly enforce NC, and until you do you are leaving yourself open to more hurt.

            • amanda says:

              Exactly. I know that its a game, whether its e-mail, phone or text. No matter how much of an AC the other person is, they aren’t the one making you play “the game” you are doing it to yourself. You want so much for there to be something more to this non-existant connection that you create an expectation for a certain level of communication, but keep running into the reality that it isn’t there. Communication becomes a test… a game… that keeps failing. That is why I am moving into NC. As you may know, its not easy to shift right into it. I bet that most of the heartbroken people on this site have had a few false starts. As I said, 6 days, and counting since I last said anything… 2 days since I last heard from him (his e-mails would be my trigger). I’ll probably fall off the wagon, but I’ll hop right back on. I hear you loud and clear.

              I think that you’ll agree with me that if, over the course of a week or so, you begin to feel a real imbalance in communication with the person you are “dating”, then something deep can be wrong. It this is the beginning of a connection, then its hard to gauge what “should” be the flow. This is because everything is up in the air. If you find yourself worrying too much about how long to wait before responding… first ask yourself why this is even an issue, and get out and enjoy the rest of your life!

              • Mymble says:

                Amanda,
                There was a post a month or 2 ago about the topline data. The topline data isnt communication, it’s that he is married. Emails are a distracting but very minor detail. He isn’t EU he is U.

                • grace says:

                  Mymble
                  Absolutely. When the MM was “in contact” (ie texts and FB and messaging) with me I was monitoring how often he “contacted” me, how often I replied, how quickly I replied, when to go NC, how to keep him in my life. It’s all shite.
                  In the end, I realised I AM TOO GOOD FOR THIS! and HE IS MARRIED.
                  No, I’m not super vain. I can’t imagine how wreteched a woman would have to be to deserve this kind of treatment.

              • Infinite Corridor says:

                Don’t go in with expectations to fail! And don’t play games. You’re the one that’s gonna lose– he’s not even playing. He’s just broken/unavailable.

                This person does not care about you. They can not. You need to sever. They are not communicating with you to tell you the words you want to hear– they are fixed, they are going to do the right thing for you, let’s ride a magical unicorn into commitment land together– you know this! They are merely checking if the door is open. It has almost nothing to do with you, except your crazy availability and vulnerability. Do not LET him be in control, do not LET him be a trigger. Shut his ass down. NC! all the way!

                I’m using Jerry Seinfeld’s “secret to productivity.” Put a big red X on your dayplanner or calendar every day you do not contact him or respond. Aim for a week. Once you’re there, you will not want to break your chain! If you want real control and power, exercise it over yourself. This guy is not worth it. He’s not! But you are.

  5. Low-La says:

    Hello Natalie and all you strong ladies!
    I usually cry when I read these posts and I wonder how long it will be before I get over this guy, and I know it’s my own fault for taking so long because i keep responding to his emails, etc.. I know it’s wrong, but I feel so completely alone, I reply to him just to have someone to talk to! I don’t have but one or two friends locally, many friends are online and it seems to be hard to make new women friends at my age (over 50). I did blocked his email, but then like an idiot would check my trash folder obsessively to see if he’d written.
    You’re right about the “illusion”, I know he couldn’t make me happy in the long run (there was a significant age difference, he was much younger) but there was the great sex and the good times and laughter we had together that really hits me hardest. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, it’s just that he’s so much younger that I know he’ll eventually want someone younger even if now he says he won’t. It’s a tragedy, because if we were closer in age, everything would probably be ok, but I am just having so much trouble letting him go. I guess I am just in a mid-life crisis! I’m trying hard to take care of myself, but it’s not easy. Thanks for this blog and all you great women, I am learning how and hoping it gets easier!

    • Tanzanite says:

      Low -La

      Is it a mid life crisis or just needs that were never met at the right time resurfacing ?

      I settled for a good bloke and was so devoted to my family I didn’t really have a life of my own.As soon as the children started leaving home it was as if I said-

      ” Right,where was I up to ? ”

      I’m not just talking about men but goals and aspirations too.

      • P. says:

        … and perhaps we change and they change, as well? My friend, who knew me and my ex for years (I was married for over 19 years when the divorce became final) said I matured and he did not.

        One of the therapists I saw said it was a pretty common occurrence people splitting up at that age…

        • Tanzanite says:

          P

          I agree.

          I have changed so much that I couldn’t be with my ex husband or the AC now,although I would love to have some kind of friendship with my ex husband. We had some good times together.( 18 years )

      • Low-La says:

        I guess both! He made me feel SO loved and adored and I’d NEVER had that, from family or any other relationship. And yes, the goals and aspirations are very, very difficult for me, not only because of my “accommodating” nature, but I was diagnosed with PTSD and suffer from a “foreshortened future,” meaning I literally can’t see the future. If you and I say we are going to go for a drink on Friday night, I cannot envision it. Hard for me to set any kind of goals or even know what setting goals might look like. It’s an uncommon and very difficult obstacle, but I do have a therapist now.
        Thanks for your reply!

        • Tanzanite says:

          Low- La

          I have heard of PTSD but I have never heard of a foreshortened future. I can imagine this must be very difficult from what I have read.

          What jumped out from your post was ‘ accommodating nature ‘ I think we all have that in common when we have a need to be loved.There are always different ways of looking at things and when you think most of us are in pain because of the past or the loss of the future,the present is a good place to be.

          Perhaps all we are meant to learn from life is acceptance of ourselves and other people and everything else is a bonus.

          Good luck with the therapist and love to you x

  6. MaryC says:

    “Persisting in relationship insanity, means you’ll continue to be disappointed”. Nat you couldn’t be more right, getting out of our comfort zone (our behavior) is at best difficult but not impossible.

    I’ve done very stupid things in what I thought was in the name of love but it just turned out to be low self-esteem and scared to be alone and even worse scared he could live without me. When I decided I loved myself more than I loved/wanted him my whole outlook changed. Yes he still crosses my mind and sure there are twinges of sadness but those days are far and few between anymore. I much rather be happy/healthy without him than spend my days in turmoil.

    • lioness says:

      I so agree, Mary

      Your response resonated with me. I sometimes still think about the EUM even though it has been a year (but 6 mths NC via tel/text etc). I sometimes wonder when thoughts of him will stop invading my mind. I was indulging in relationship insanity with him and betting on potential as he wasn’t inherently a bad guy (they usually aren’t) and with distance his issues seem even more obvious. These thoughts happen a lot less these days but unfortuately as we sometimes move in the same dance (ie salsa) circles it makes it difficult. I used to find it v difficult seeing him with his FBW but realised quickly that he was using her as a ‘beard’ (she’s a lot older) and his male friend as ‘buffer’. I’ve have been moving on in leaps and bounds with my confidence and done courses to help me improve my self esteem. Recently finished a course of counselling which help a lot. It is working I think it just takes a long time for some people to ‘let go’ I have noticed my ‘joy’ for life and looking after my wellbeing has been returning, albeit slowly. I have also re-discovered the good supportive people in my life. Surprisingly, (are maybe not!) was was invited out for coffee by a client I was doing some freelance work for. I politely declined as I do not want to mix business and work – my gut/re-found values have started working and I am listening to them now:-) Still it was good and shows you are never in the ‘last chance saloon’. You’re right better to live happy and healthy than in such turmoil because of these EUM. When you let go of them/these psuedo relationships life if definately better!

  7. free_at_last says:

    Katy, you are worth SO MUCH MORE than this creep can offer you! I had a similar situation, only my MM/EUM wanted to see me with another woman and kept pushing me to get one of my friends to hook up with me so he could watch and possibly join in. Got to the point where it’s all he talked about, and the only thing that would get him to come around. And I got to the point where I was actually considering doing it, just to ‘keep’ him. However, I came to my senses, realized how horribly he had been treating me…it took things getting really, REALLY bad (story for another time) before I finally went NC. I’ve only been NC for a couple weeks, but the clarity I’ve experienced is amazing. I too, was sending emails all the time before NC — some demanding answers (he’d promised to leave his wife, but never did), some simply trying to get him to be with me more/or renegotiate our relationship…maybe I’d be okay with something casual if he just agreed to keep seeing me). Basically, I was willing to give myself away completely just to have this man continue to bestow his crumbs of love on me. HOWEVER, before I went NC I sent him one last email, only this email was much different that the others. In this email, with my new-found sense of self-respect, I told him what I thought of myself and that I KNEW how badly he’d mistreated me but I was taking the high road and wishing him the best, that I hoped he could get his screwed-up self figured out but that I was moving on with my life and it was only going to get better from here. I took a very dignified tone with the whole thing, no swearing or whatever…but made it very clear what I thought of him and that I would never speak to him again. In short, he was out of my life for good. I chose to end it on my terms, which is the gift that NC gives you. And it was so liberating…I immediately felt a sense of relief that I was no longer investing all my energy into making this messed up situation ‘work.’ Of course, as predicted, the assclown has tried to break NC, but I simply ignore and delete, delete, delete. He has no hold over me now. And I expect sometime very soon I won’t even feel a pang when I think about him. I hope you can do the same. NC is worth it, and will give you your sanity and self-esteem back. You deserve it, girl!

  8. BGirl says:

    I seriously heart this post, as I do all the others. I have such a bad habit of trying to be responsible for other people’s actions, that I can’t focus on my own and the reasons for them. I think we tend to get caught up in not wanting to fail so bad, that we comtinue to hurt and degrade ourselves when we should have left that “dead horse” a long time ago. For me, it was “My friend slept with a guy after 1 week and they are still together. My cousin has a bad attitude and is negative but she had someone. Or my friends sister’s Mom is never single and always have someone.” So why have I done or not done all of these, and I am still single. When I should be asking what is causing this mindset that I have that keeps me stuck on hurt? I have come a long way and I still have a long way to go. This site has helped me so much, though.

  9. Happy Girl says:

    “You banked on this being the one that would make all of the previous heartache worthwhile and right the wrongs of the past?”

    This was it right here for me. I let my last relationship parallel the one I had with my dad, and I didn’t even start to realize it until a few months ago. I grew up seeing him only on his terms, being shown I wasn’t a priority, taken only to places he wanted to go, never being asked what I wanted, feeling ashamed and/or hesistant when I spoke up with my needs, and being told I was wrong for expecting almost anything, and then being made to feel like I should be oh so grateful when he randomly felt guilty and then scrambled to make something up to me, again in his own way. The man just never listened or paid attention, and still doesn’t. I finally said something to him-my father-a few weeks ago, and he admitted to his faults. He called it a “character flaw” and said I am not the only person to tell him this, and it is something he constantly needs to work on. The dude is 62 years old.

    Thinking I could ever change my ex’s eerily similar behavior after one year would be equivalent to embarking on a suicide mission and expecting a victory thanks only to divine intervention. But then again, I responded to it by acting the same way I did as a child-I sulked, I gave the silent treatment, I retreated, I made smart ass, cutting comments, or I just acted like everything was okay. I expected him to step up and be a completely different person, the kind of person I’d hoped for when I was younger who would make my life the kind I daydreamed about, without giving any kind of productive input. And I’m starting to see how in a lot of ways, I set him up for it.

    I am far from saying that anything about the dynamic was okay, and I know I can’t change the way any of it went down. But reflecting on it objectively and rationally has shown me that I am NOT responsible for someone else’s built in characteristics, and I AM responsible for my own behavior. At some point, something someone else does is going to remind me of a past experience. I can’t continue to respond to them as I would have as a child, based on an experience with one person, and expect them to make it all okay for me because that’s what I wish it could have been like 20+ years ago.

    • teddy says:

      nicely said~

      my bf of 5 years broke up with me in October, and the reason was because i always hoped that he would step it up and be a man. Being a man as in, finishing his education, getting some kind of certificate, get a real/steady job with average pay, and finally have a goal of getting settled down with me, but i’ve only waited and nothing has happened, and he did not want to change, instead he saids i was the one holding him back on doing the things he wants to do. He said i was too much to deal with because i always start fights (about him having something) and that i would never change.

      Instead i was dumped for hoping he would be like a normal person! This part said it all :

      “Let me say it again – it’s holding onto the illusions that they can or could have fulfilled your hopes and expectations and that your projected future could, would and should have happened, that’s disappointing you. The tighter you hold on, the more you revisit it – it’s like experiencing the disappointment over and over and over again. It gets even worse if you continue to lie to yourself about them while in the meantime, they behave like a jackass in the present completely contradicting you anyway.”

    • yoghurt says:

      “But reflecting on it objectively and rationally has shown me that I am NOT responsible for someone else’s built in characteristics, and I AM responsible for my own behavior. At some point, something someone else does is going to remind me of a past experience. I can’t continue to respond to them as I would have as a child, based on an experience with one person, and expect them to make it all okay for me because that’s what I wish it could have been like 20+ years ago.”

      I like this a lot. I know that the single most ‘freeing’ moment I’ve had in the whole process when I realised that my feelings for him were very little to do with HIM and everything to do with me, my past experiences and my negative self-image.

      After that day I stopped waking up in Groundhog Day every day, feeling rubbish and trying to work myself up from feeling rubbish until I went to bed and woke up feeling awful again.

      It also helped me to realise that I was heading for a crisis ANYWAY when I met him – I was treating myself like shit and shooting myself in the foot all the time with negative self-talk and a lack of confidence. I was just lucky – and I’m very grateful – that the crisis turned out as well as it did, I had a lovely baby instead of getting nastily abused or similar.

  10. Healing One says:

    I am reading a great book by noted Canadian doctor, Gabor Mate, about addiction. He says we become addicted to the things we OVERVALUE. I loved that, because it’s so true. We overvalue and become addicted to certain men because we think they are going to “heal” us and take away our pain. Of course we are constantly disappointed. No one can do that! When we look at our expectations, we also find illusion, as Natalie points out. Illusion is all about–again–taking us out of the here and now. Taking us out of our pain–real or perceived. Getting out of this awful cycle is about more than “loving ourselves”. It’s about examining what our expectations are and why we think we are carrying them around. It’s about understanding that until we stop overvaluing things outside of ourselves, we will always be disappointed and, in some sense, addicted.

    • Tanzanite says:

      Hi Natalie/everyone

      Another brilliant post.Is it me or are they getting better ?

      I have made great progress by looking at the bigger picture.I have also made great progress by dealing with the past and it didn’t take long .

      Was it Socrates that said-” An unexamined life isn’t worth living ? ”

      I think he was right.

      One of my biggest problems was I had a relational deficit and my life has improved a great deal since I addressed that issue.One of the ladies has already said that it’s difficult to make friends as you get older.

      There’s just one thing.I have no interest in finding a new man and I don’t think I can love again.I am just happy when I meet someone who can tell the truth.

      • P. says:

        What is a relational deficit? I have not heard that before. Would you mind explaining?

        • Tanzanite says:

          P

          It’s basically a lack of people, or the right people in your life.

          I know a lot of people but there aren’t many that I could discuss what has happened in my life over the last 3 years.

          “A safe person” One that you can trust, will listen,empathise and love you enough to point you in the right direction without taking the moral high ground.It was the best thing I ever did and I wouldn’t have got into this mess if that basic need was being met.

          Hope that makes sense.

          • Tanzanite says:

            I would also like to add-

            If you had a mum that didn’t / couldn’t meet your emotional needs, you have a relational deficit .

            • P. says:

              T,

              How did you know? It took me many years to realize certain things. It still might be too raw to write about this, but I am developing boundaries, and very tenuously also the very fragile links to the (possible) people that you talk about. I understand, no, feel this, completely.

              • P. says:

                T,

                you sound very hurt, maybe not even by a man, I can feel that, perhaps feeling the same in me, and it makes me want to cry, but I won’t :).

                • Tanzanite says:

                  P

                  I was devastated !

                  I have made huge steps forward though.

                  If you start by making the right connections and not giving a damn about what people think of you,you are well on your way to recovery. x

                  • P. says:

                    Tanzanite,

                    Thank you for your support. It means a lot. I am trying, and with all that is going on – trying to finish school etc. – support of understanding people is very important. Hope to talk to you later, or on another thread.

    • Doubtful says:

      “…we overvalue and become addicted to certain men because we think they are going to “heal” us and take away our pain.”

      I think this relates to me. I was married to an addict for 12 years and have been single for the last 15 years. My first foray out was a barely there relationship (if you can call it that) with someone who had a girlfriend. I looked at him as my healer. I think part of him knew that.

      Anyway, what little it was is over. I went NC and then broke it by reaching out to him. He told me he would call me back and then went NC on me instead. Hurt on top of hurt.

      • Limerence says:

        LOL, it’s always great when the AC goes NC on YOU! I remember how tormented I was when the AC did that to me as well the first time back our “relationship” ended. Count it as a blessing. My MM/AC is NC w/ me as well. He owes me money and he won’t even respond to legit work related stuff. I’m not hounding him down or anything, but we had an agreed upon date of him paying me back some money. Didn’t happen. And frankly, I don’t care. It’s not worth the money and if he wants to make work an awkward place by being NC to the point that he won’t even function in his role as a worker, that’s his business.

        I see him at work and it’s not even HARD now that i’m focusing on me. Sometimes I get a thought in my head, like “I miss him…” but I think it’s just a phantom, habit thought. It’s just that illusion creeping in again because what we had wasn’t good at all.

        I’m in therapy, working through David Burns’ 10 Days to Self Esteem, and really putting the focus on ME and the recognizing my distorted thinking.

        It’s hard, because I feel guilt due to the affair and I feel bad because I did end up genuinely caring for him. It’s not easy but I’m getting to a point of feeling good about myself and I KNOW in my heart, head, and soul that booting him out of my life was the right choice. I used to know logically, but not in my heart.

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          LOL, it’s always great when the AC goes NC on YOU! I remember how tormented I was when the AC did that to me as well the first time back our “relationship” ended. Count it as a blessing. My MM/AC is NC w/ me as well.

          These ACs are so infuriating!

        • Doubtful says:

          I just know it in my head, not yet in my heart. You are not the first person who speaks of illusions. I definitely had some illusions. And I still think it was ME who is at fault for things falling apart. I can’t believe it went from something – whatever it was – to nothing at all. And, I’m the one discarded (even though I am the one that left).

  11. S. says:

    NML, this is what I needed to hear. It’s been two years since we parted, and though the relationship was a farce, I continue to cling to what might’ve been, especially during those moments when my confidence is weak and my sense of personal direction uncertain. Ending with him definitely meant shedding the fantasy and returning to a life I’d wanted to escape desperately. Your words have reminded me that I must construct a life worth living, and not seek someone to rescue me from the hard work involved. I will strive to do — and think — better, and trust that there is also better out there for me. A million thanks for this breath of fresh air :)

  12. Chris says:

    it’d be a bit unfair to land ANYONE with the pressure of getting me over the past couple of years. *I’M* getting me over it, and I’m managing that by myself

    So hard, so true.

  13. S. says:

    And thank you, too, Healing One (and Dr. Mate). Addiction as ‘worth overestimation’– definitely food for thought.

  14. runnergirlno1 says:

    Oh dear. I totally identify with every sentence. I think for me I’m still struggling with letting.it.go because I’m struggling with letting the illusion go and then struggling with how I built/maintained the illusion when reality wasn’t measuring up. Yup, it’s the ruminating machine. As you said Natalie, I actually know “why”. The tighter I hold on to the illusion, the more I revisit the trauma, the shoulda, woulda coulda. For me, it’s time to stop and it’s time to look at the bigger pic. I really like the positive suggestions as to how to look at the bigger pic. What am I stuck on? What is the cause of the disappointment? Excellent exercises. I know I’ve walked my way through the non-relationship but these prompts are really, really good.
    Okay ladies and gents, there’s a bigger pic. I’m in.

  15. Crazybaby says:

    I’m finding this so hard. Having been with an EUM who was my boss for 4 years (til the company went bust), he started seeing someone else whilst still stringing me along. He had done this before but a long time ago, and I thought we had got much closer after I had told him I loved him, (and two weeks later the company went bust so we were no longer working together, which he claimed was an issue, and that things would be different if we weren’t working together – and they certainly were for a few months). I tried to talk to him about how I felt, and despite him insisting nothing had changed, he backed right off. Two months later he re-employed me at his new company. Now we sit almost next to eachother and it’s driving me crazy because I still want him back. I’ve sent flirty messages from time to time which he has responded to but still not met up with me. I can see he’s still very attracted to me. I know I should be over him by now, and I know I was the foolish one who believed he would fall in love with me and then we’d be properly together – why wouldn’t he? Hmmm yeah – the minor details of him not wanting to settle with anyone, and my low self esteem resulting in me not behaving with self respect around him. I’ve been out with lots of guys during this time but they have all been utter frogs. I’ve tried going out with anyone and everyone, ones that aren’t usually my type, ones that seem very kind and gentlemanly (at first). I’ve been getting on with my life, focusing on other stuff, but still can’t get him out of my head or my heart. Reason doesn’t seem to work, no matter how many articles I read. Even the fact that I know he’s currently sleeping with someone else (if not several other women). I wish I could find a decent rebound to take my mind off him, but I can’t. I’ve really got it bad. Am I the only one who finds this so hard?

    • grace says:

      crazy
      Dating lots of men looking for a rebound is not getting on with your life. Or even looking for one man to fix your pain.
      You need to look for a healing that doesn’t involve men or sex (despite the Marvin Gaye song).
      You need to face up to who you are, your amibitions, your qualities, what you can do for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
      And I’d start looking for a new job rather than trying to join his rotation.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Ha! Tell me about rebounding…

      When I cut off the AC and went NC on their sorry @ss I actually got worse with my going online dating sites/collecting attention and the like. Sometimes you get worse before you get better.

      Anyway, there was one time long ago I was in a fantasy non-relationship where the other person was off overseas for an entire year. Well anyway, I was feeling cr*p about myself but I *did* get a rebound – with an EUM! Cue even more problems but when that EUM left, the first EUM came back and guess what – ALL my feelings came back and I was back at square one! It was like all the grief was put on pause and then came back again after an entire year!

      This is what happens when you don’t process and use rebounds as painkillers to bury the problems- you may forget the pain, you may forget the situation but I strongly believe that it actually lives on subconsciously in your mind, affecting your decisions and so on, you have no idea it is still there, until some traumatic event occurs that triggers it’s re-emergence like a bad case of psycological herpes!

      Best to deal with your problems rather than use re-bounds to bury them.

      • Ruby says:

        Amen to that! I just broke it off with my rebound EUM. And even though i didn’t particularly like him, was only using him for sex, ego stroke, and to get over the prior EUM, I’m feeling sad, lonely and disappointed. The same way i felt after breaking up with the former EUM. My advice, heal yourself before you get out there again or you will continue to be stuck in dating insanity with the same type of guy. I personally am going to take some time off from dating and concentrate on raising my self esteem, since low self esteem and lack of self worth is where my attraction to EU’s stems from.

  16. Anne says:

    Another great post that helps to change my day for the better….

    I feel like you know just what to say, like you are reading my thoughts. I think you read all of our thoughts.

    Thanks, Natalie… you make a difference in all of your readers’ lives.

  17. Ollie says:

    I have done the could’ve should’ve would’ve and I always thought well maybe….. These thoughts not only heeded my life they wound up making me miserable. I cannot hop into a time machine and make things better or make my ex suddenly nice or make him not leave me for another girl. I can obsess and think maybe he is different now and obsess thinking what does she have that I do not have? Sure I have my disappointments like everyone else but I also need to focus on me and moving on and not obsess over and over again. Time to put on my big girl pants and get real!

  18. Magnolia says:

    It took quite a while to get over the AC and honestly I didn’t fully feel the weight lifted until I found out that not only was the future I sort of convinced myself could be ours wasn’t for me, but it wasn’t for him, either. His glam life has gone tits up. But I might be still hanging onto resentment had I not felt like he got his comeuppance.

    I’m not fixated on any other old flame anymore, but I do wonder if my expectations are ever going to be met. I just visited one of the sites listed on the sidebar of BR, Evan Katz’s site, and the whole thing was about how smart, successful women are wrong to think that a guy wants them for their smartness or success. They want warmth and affection, he says, and many of the posts seem aimed at reducing women’s expectations that they will find a tall, successful, etc etc guy. I really felt like he was saying I have to grow my hair back out, buy some dresses and learn to giggle.

    I have friends who are with the kind of men I’d like to see myself with. I have never dated one of these guys: the athletic, professionally successful, kind and monogamous guy my own age. That’s what I get hung up about. I don’t pine for the guys that have passed through my life; I’m waiting for the guys to be the kind I might consider really pining for!

    But we’ve gone over this: I have chosen to go after guys I didn’t really want to avoid getting “really” rejected. So if anything, I’ve been caught up on trying to fix a broken version of me, or to make this “less than” version of me finally measure up, pining for some lost ‘perfect’ vision of myself – but in a way that’s kind of like wishing an EUM would suddenly change and become different. I can’t change the past, and I’m not broken, I just have to look forward, keep approving of myself just as I am and keep creating good things in my own life.

    • EllyB says:

      @Magnolia: I know it’s a difficult topic. I think being smart and successfull on the one hand and warm and affectionate on the other isn’t mutually exclusive. Anyway, we shouldn’t try to became warm and affectionate in order to please a man. We should do it for ourselves (or rather acknowledge those traits in ourselves because they are already present).

      By the way, I want a guy who is warm and affectionate too. Smart and successfull alone wouldn’t do for me either (no matter what some other people might say about different gender roles).

      I know some guys consider our brains and our successes a problem in itself. This is indeed a problem. Theirs, not ours.

      Besides, I think our hair has nothing to do with it, no matter what some ACs might say!

      As to the athletic, professionally successful, kind and monogamous guy our own age – is he really what we need? I would never “trade down”, but I’m not looking for perfection either (or at least I know I should not). Monogamous and decent are “musts”, and I want somebody who has some skills, nurtures them and generally enjoys what he is doing. Athletic I don’t need (I’m not athletic either). Of course, this might be different for other people.

      I think seeking perfection is a problem in general, because the criteria for “perfection” are questionable. Does perfection really represent what WE need, or is it just the “ideal” of some school bullies and parts of the media industry (in my book, some journalists are no better than school bullies anyway)?

      Of course, the same applies to ourselves. We shouldn’t strive for meeting other people’s idea of perfection either.

      • yoghurt says:

        “I think seeking perfection is a problem in general, because the criteria for “perfection” are questionable. Does perfection really represent what WE need, or is it just the “ideal” of some school bullies and parts of the media industry (in my book, some journalists are no better than school bullies anyway)? ”

        I think that this ^^^ is a really perceptive point. When you feel good enough and comfortable in yourself, you just want to meet someone who’s good and perfect for YOU. When you’re not, you want someone who’ll prove to the world/whoever that you’re good enough, and so you go looking for all the wrong things and the outward signs of status and success.

        I have a bit of a problem (/soapbox rant) with the whole “Women! Who are you to STRIVE for PERFECTION? Lower your standards IMMEDIATELY, stop whinging and know your place!” business – specially from the media – mostly because it’s only fed to women.

        Men are told things like “scientists have proved that men are more attracted to women with big breasts because their hunter-gatherer instinct blablabla…” and told that it’s perfectly natural and okay to want to ogle whoever whenever because of whatever. That double-standard irritates me and makes me want to Not Follow the advice, but in either case it misses the point.

        I do want to be with someone that I find attractive, but I figure that the healthier and happier I am and the more that I’m focused on living an authentic life that makes ME happy, the broader my sense of ‘attractive’ is. Whenever I’ve been hung up on looks (in my case – shock when I’ve often told myself I’m too ugly, hey?) then it’s usually been at a time when I’ve been miserable and felt that I had something to prove.

  19. Sam says:

    This article has brought me to tears, it makes so much sense and made realise what I was doing to myself and why. Keep them coming Natalie x

  20. ner says:

    Great article!!
    this website is helping me a lot!!!

    THANKS!!!!!!

  21. Jane says:

    This has come at such a good time for me. Whilst the exEUM and I broke up 6 months ago we were still texting, meeting up occasionally until a month ago when I realised I was still very much attached to him. I could say I was single but I wasn’t because I was still invested in him, still thinking about him to avoid thinking about myself.
    The last month has been hard. The last weekend, which in the main I spent totally alone, unbearable. I spent most of it crying and raging. Frightened of the feelings that are coming up. Without the distraction of him I am forced to be with me, to be alone, to deal with my stuff, which for me and my abandonment issues is the scariest thing ever.
    When Natalie says -
    ‘What do you want? This is where your focus should be – on the bigger picture of your values so that you can focus your actions on living congruently with them, not on a person outside of your control. Your purpose in life isn’t to have someone rescue you and make your life ‘better’ – if it doesn’t work out, it’s like returning to the life you didn’t want’
    This is exactly it! I have been looking to others to make my dreams come true instead of creating it myself – or even when I’ve been creating it myself in truth it wasn’t for me. I’ve been feeling really anxious and sad and elated – I think all my feelings are mixed up – some are to do with the ex but mostly what is happening now is me facing up to myself and all the stuff I have not faced because of the ‘distractions’ I’ve been giving myself.
    What is the life I want? For the first time in 20 years I’m in a position to create that! I should be celebrating that not crying over some guy who wasn’t what I hoped but was, in fact, who he presented himself to be! And the scary realisation that it is just me – I can’t rely on being with another, that might never happen, so I HAVE to be happy with me and what I create. And the realisation of what exactly is important in life TO ME – thats all that matters…..its about what I want, not anything else.
    I know I have the power to be loving and caring because I give it away to others – so time to direct that to me. And time to stop being so hard on myself, slow down and smell the roses.

    • Kathie says:

      Jane.. I feel your pain…. At the beginning weekends were the worst. But it gets better with time I promise. The best thing you could of and did do for yourself was to cut all contact with him. Going NC gives you a chance to deal with the end of a relationship. Grieve it , like you would the death of someone you love. Those feelings cant be buried or ignored. As painful as they are now its part of the healing process. Been there done that. One of the hardest parts for me was building a life with him or anyone. I reached out to old friends to reconnect, got on meet-up.com and found a womens group that meets for dinner or a movie… Its been almost 6mths and I have finally found peace within me. I dont need anyone to validate that I am a great person, attractive, funny, lovable ect… It comes from within…. I think only when u know u are in control of your destiny to be happy and have a fulfilled life either with or without someone is when u can move on with your life… To find closure of that relationship is such a relief. To let go of your hopes & dreams with that person & then will realize they werent that great anyway if they didnt want to be with you in a relationship…. U will get stronger everyday u are NC…. U can do this !!!! The rewards are amazing !!!!

      • Jane says:

        Thank you – that gives me great comfort to know that in time these feelings will subside. I know a lot of what I am feeling is grief – I just don’t want to feel it! Its not nice! But take it a day at a time and believe when I come through I’ll be ok. Thank you x

  22. Helsbels says:

    Another great article Natalie! I’m loving this site, it’s made me sit up and take notice! I feel i’ve gained some very useful tips and although I’ve never been one to suffer fools gladly, it’s amazing how looking at things from a different angle makes you think , wow now I see where I went wrong on such and such occasion! Keep ‘em coming!

  23. katy says:

    Thank you for everyone who commented. I actually did offer to do the other guy and it still didn’t work, just because its clear to him that I still expect things like phone calls, dates etc and he only wants to be “spontaneous”. I am very disappointed now, and can’t really see the master plan fully yet. I am just hoping I did the right thing letting go/driving away someone who didn’t want to love me. I am trying very hard to forgive myself for acting like a total freak to him, because I can’t see much that is lovable about myself now. Especially when I go over all the other people I have made a fool of myself with. Its like if I let it go and move on, its not sufficient punishment for how I have acted.

    • Katy, reading your comments made for some uncomfortable reading. What a harrowing experience. Here’s the thing – it’s not about getting punished, but if there has been a punishment in this, that’s the experience you’ve had with him, not walking away. Walking away is the opportunity, you just don’t see it that way because you’re still doing this:

      it’s “holding onto the illusions that they can or could have fulfilled your hopes and expectations and that your projected future could, would and should have happened, that’s disappointing you. The tighter you hold on, the more you revisit it – it’s like experiencing the disappointment over and over and over again. It gets even worse if you continue to lie to yourself about them while in the meantime, they behave like a jackass in the present completely contradicting you anyway.”

      You don’t need to be punished for how you’ve acted – why on earth are you behaving like an aggressor, abusing and punishing yourself? Why would you adopt this role in your life? You’re not a child and even they should not be punished in abusive ways for mistakes. This man, whether you did or didn’t have a threeway, slept with donkey’s, or did exactly everything he wanted, didn’t have a relationship on offer. You have misread the terms of the deal or *assumed* the terms of the deal – his deal is his deal. You’re either in, or you’re out, and you’re obviously out because you don’t agree to the deal, as you rightly shouldn’t. Why are you disappointed that a man who lives by the seat of his skiddy, shagging pants isn’t calling you or having dates? He’s an unpaid gigolo – there’s nothing to see here.

      You can still be lovable and fuck up – badly. That’s what me and many people here have discovered – we can love ourselves and heal out of our mistakes, even the big ones. If you’re going to judge people by their fuck up’s, it’s a shame that it doesn’t cut both ways. He’s a complete shit behaving badly and you’ve still found him lovable. Let it go. Wind your neck in and don’t let your ego and your pride take you for a fall. When you learn to accept disappointment and move beyond it instead of tantruming and negotiating yourself into a crap situation, you are free to pursue a better life. Let it go.

      • P. says:

        “we can love ourselves and heal out of our mistakes, even the big ones”

        -for some reason this has almost made me cry…
        -maybe sometimes we do not even know what those mistakes were, but perhaps we can still heal?

      • katy says:

        Thank you for responding, I haved fucked up beyond what I can believe. I ranted and raved via text so bad to this man that I am humiliated. I have only myself to blame for that, but now to accept that its over has left me feeling disappointed in ME, as much as him. At one point last year, I was sleeping with 4 different men to try to fill up where one would fall short. I am down to just one now and he’s married (i know) I thought for sure this other guy (the threesome guy) was it, he was older, 64, and im 36 and for some reason I thought this could be it. I am writing every day, all day sometimes to process this and so much is pouring out.

  24. theseamstress says:

    Wise words Natalie, can you just sit on my shoulder for a few months and keep banging me over the head with a few reminders and home truths?
    I’ve been a lurker for a while, I love this site, it’s made me feel less isolated in my crappy endeavours. I read old posts when I’m feeling weak to buoy my sense of self.
    I went NC in Nov 11 after a messy two year break up. Why does it take so long to break up? Almost as long as the relationship in this case. It was carnage and I walked away. I’ve been completely lifted by what I read here, the support of understanding sisters and keeping a sense of perspective at how I can make MY life right for ME first. It was harder than I thought but I sat on my hands, put a plaster on my heart and hoped for the best for both of us (a little through gritted teeth but I tried) Still NC, still strong about it. I know that’s what had to happen.
    So, complacency must have set in, at how well I was doing…I thought I was ‘cured’ and I went on a date this weekend. After numerous emails with this guy and much flattering discourse, this all added up (to me) to what appeared to be a very credible possible love interest. Over excited by the possibility of a real connection, off I went skipping to the date. Only to come crashing down to earth that very same evening.
    He spent the whole date feeding me Flattery and talking about future dates etc (yeah I know) he completely put me on a pedestal and as much as I lapped it up like an idiot I did have flashing warning lights.
    He didn’t try to get me to bed but talked a lot of sexual innuendo and I think he realised I wasn’t going to fall into that. Cut to the next day and I got an email saying it wouldn’t work blah blah and I feel stupidly devastated. What a waste of time, expended energy on hope and feeling dizzy. And foolish me for thinking I was ready for it. Reading this and realising that ONE lousy date with a future faker and I’m feeling miserable because of it. Why did he lead me such a merry dance?
    So I’m a bit healed because I recognise it but still broken because I let it hurt me so much. This post highlights how I need to concentrate on ME more. Of course, he wasn’t the only one that I’ll ever go on a date with but today it feels like that and I’ve wasted far too much thinking time on that already.
    Thank you for everything that you write Natalie, I’ve read…

    • grace says:

      seamstress
      No, no, no, you should be PLEASED he disappeared! They do that to women with boundaries – they’re only interested in the ones who’ll fall for their “charms”.
      As my counsellor said when I asked him “What would have happened if I’d stood up to these men?”
      “THEY WOULDN’T HAVE WANTED TO KNOW YOU”
      Celebrate!
      Good things await.
      However – you can learn something valuable from this. Keep the pre-date emailing/texting/IM-ing/facebooking/psychic connection to an absolute minimum.
      It encourages fantasizing and we need to avoid that.

      • theseamstress says:

        Thanks Grace. You are right. I think I had a close shave. BUT I am gutted that I fell for the charm and the future faking. And that I have been asking myself what was wrong with me that he didn’t want me? I think I know the answer doesn’t lie with me but it still knocks another chip off and makes me suspicious of all of them. I don’t want to be that damaged so I must install a damage limitation scheme. And you are on the button with less online contact and more real contact before these things get out of hand. Phew, took my eye off the ball for a moment ..

      • Fearless says:

        Grace:

        As my counsellor said when I asked him “What would have happened if I’d stood up to these men?”
        “THEY WOULDN’T HAVE WANTED TO KNOW YOU”

        This is so true Grace. I have heard you mention this before and each time you say it, it makes me shudder. But it’s always a good reminder that we need to stand up for ourselves and be more than prepared to let the chips fall where they will; these AC/EUM types will walk away/not want to know a woman who is not prepared to tolerate their very bad relationship behaviour. Every time I tried to assert myself or even raise a concern, the ex EUM just effed off/stopped engaging. So I do think this is one of the things we really need to get about these men – they are with us/picking us for a reason, and it’s not a good reason.

  25. Mymble says:

    This post does make sense and in fact I have been trying to come to terms with the idea that no-one can “save” you, or rescue you from pain or unhappiness, these are things you have to do for yourself. All the qualities the AC /MM had – cultured, literate, involved in interesting things, competent and organised – which I wanted – cannot be obtained vicariously, you have to be them yourself, do them yourself, there is no lazy shortcut.
    Still, I am having a very bad day, very sad and angry. I am realising how screwed I am going to be financially by the separation/divorce, and really frightened and worried about that. My husband has told me that because I am the one ending the marriage, he is going to get as much as he can out of it (ie as much as he can out of me). While he admits behaviour on his part, (sort of, but not really) and knows it isn’t working, he feels that he is apologising (sort of, but not really), and that should be enough for me. It’s ironic that because I spent years supporting him, that means that I may have to continue to do so even when the marriage is over. I appear to have been friend-dumped by two friends due to this, one of whom I spent huge amounts of time with discussing and advising on her work problems, worrying on her behalf etc. The other I likewise was very supportive of when her marriage ended but now has been very nasty, and says I should give up the kids and move out, continue to support my husband in the house and pay all the bills etc.
    Even my Mother has told me I should just stay where I am and not put everyone through this. I am so disappointed in her. I sem to have no support at all. I know I have to do it myself without relying on others but am finding this harder than anything I have experienced before.
    I am just hoping that all this pain has a purpose, and that I will emerge at the end of it stronger and content that I did live and act according to my values and that I did not do the easy thing and stay in a marriage which in my view is a sham. But at what cost?

    • P. says:

      at the point I thought I would rather be homeless than live with him, there was only one way – out

      you probably know in your heart (and I seem to remember from your previous posts that you might have had another relationship while married? but I might be wrong, and so not sure about the whole situation) what to do

      those other people are not in your heart…

      • Mymble says:

        P
        Yes I did have a 6 month affair with someone else, which was why I started reading BR. I flushed him 3 months ago, and have been NC ever since. Part of the reason I did that was because I knew I had to deal with my marriage. (He was in a lot of distress too, with his marriage breaking down, but he didn’t care about me anyway or treat me well, so I got my hand well burned in that fire.)
        I should say, I was completely faithful to him for 15 years.
        Quite honestly, I am beyond caring what anyone thinks about it all. I am angry enough at myself – not just about the things I did in the recent past, but all the other things, my decision to marry in the first place, my failure to leave years ago when it became apparent it wasnt ever going to work.
        I have no intention of becoming homeless, as that would mean losing my kids.

        • grace says:

          mymble
          grit your teeth and get through it.
          I strongly believe the problem isn’t so much divorce as people marrying the wrong person or marrying for the wrong reason, many of whom know on their wedding day they’re making a mistake (cue: Exhibit A – moi).
          You don’t undo the wrong marriage by staying married. You undo it by getting divorced.
          Yes, finances are a problem – have you got a lawyer?
          Change is scary but still completely worth it.
          This is when you find out who your real friends are. See it as a purging process – it’s good for you in the long run.

          • Mymble says:

            Grace,
            Yes, I remember feeling really uncomfortable as I said my vows, and wondering why it was so serious when it was just a registry office thing.

    • Tanzanite says:

      Mymble

      I feel for you I really do.

      So, you have decided to leave then ?

      I am so sorry your friends have behaved like that, especially because it’s now you need them the most.If it’s any consolation I would be happy to talk to you if it helps.

      love to you

  26. charityv says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH: ” Let me say it again – it’s holding onto the illusions that they can or could have fulfilled your hopes and expectations and that your projected future could, would and should have happened, that’s disappointing you. ” THIS IS WHAT IT IS!!!!!!

    I recently broke up after 1 1/2 years of a long distance relationship. From the moment we met were hooked on each other, had sex on our first date and were together ever since. Madly in love, understanding each other, doing the talking and havin great sex and all. Of course there were bumps but we managed them fine. When I last visited he started talking about his deepening crisis and that he wants to live unattached and wants to have an open relationship and more… but didn´t have the guts to actually tell me that he wants to break up. Dumb as I was I didn´t say f*** off right away but had to think about it. I did and then told him that I don´t want it for myself but would accept it when he wants it. I was thinking that our relationship was solid and he´s committed to us. WRONG!!! When I told him that I choose us and what our relationship meant to me he started to get pissy and aggressive and told me all of a sudden that he doesn´t value our relationship as much as I do and that his feelings for me are not as strong as mine for him. WOOPS! that came as the shock it was for me and off he went. The NO I gave him came out of my heart&my whole body!

    I believed in the good thing we had but one can´t make it up for two. Apparently he didn´t. When a 42 year old man can´t get his act together and flees from a relationship that he couldn´t handle then go with god I´d say. I went into NC since then. I don´t blame myself at all for having this relationship and wanting it to last.

    I don´t want him back, I´m angry and disappointed at times. But I believe that by improving my boundaries and communicate them better I will find what I deserve to have. A relationship in which the feelings are mutual and the commitment is on the same page. Sharing life and love thinking about the future and being responsible first and foremost to yourself but also to the person you´re in love with. THAT´S what I want.

    It´s hard to let someone go when you love that person but loving me is MUCH more important to me cause that is what I learned from life: As long as you don´t love& cherish yourself nobody else will…

  27. tracey says:

    This is great advice! I’m a dating coach and one of my clients who is struggling with feelings of disappointment sent me this article because she found it to be helpful. Thank you Natalie for helping my wonderful client and for sharing your kind words. I very much enjoyed reading it.

  28. Niki says:

    Many of the women who lay their souls and problems bare here are not dumb or blind. We know what we’re in/were in and know that yes, improved esteem and self love are key to walking away from a man who means us no good.

    But how do you get to solid self love?

    Just as EUMs et al have a formula – I swear, no matter the country, age or race these men say and do the same things, it boggles my mind everytime – I’d like a formula to getting to self love.

    A formula for wiping away the residue of the person who wasn’t even worth a second thought but now consumes every waking moment; seeing that the person believes they deserve so much and offer very little. That is the formula I want. And yes, baggage reclaim offers many, many ways to address this problem but it’s the connector, between knowing what to do and getting it done, that is the struggle.

    Why do we think we’ve let go and are still holding, how do you let go! That it the frustrating part, to feel like you’ve moved forward and then realise you really haven’t. At this point, I wish it were a physical task that had to be done to ensure that the ‘letting go’ really happens; because that intangible letting go, sometimes you wonder if it’s possible.

    What Natalie said in this article is so true:

    when someone doesn’t follow through with a date, is it because:

    You’re disappointed because you misjudged them?They seemed so nice and you were looking forward to it?…You banked on this being the one that would make all of the previous heartache worthwhile and right the wrongs of the past?

    I, for one, have had all of these apply to me at some point in time and I’ve worked on changing my behavior. But sometimes, honestly, you feel like you’re waiting in vain. Alot of the men nowadays are so assified (yes, I made that up) .

    But the morals and standards that Natalie emphasises here are vital because I’ve been in a relationship that wasn’t worth the title and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I know some women hate being alone – and I’m tired of it too, as I’ve spent most of my adult life single – but being with someone who isn’t ‘really’ with you feels so,so,so much worse.

    Thanks for sharing with us Natalie, you’ve definitely helped me through some dark days.

    • yoghurt says:

      “That it the frustrating part, to feel like you’ve moved forward and then realise you really haven’t.”

      Sympathy – this really leapt out at me because it’s SUCH a familiar feeling! What I’ve come to realise about the process is that the heartbroken feeling doesn’t just disappear one day in a puff of smoke, but it does start to come and go.

      At the point I’m at, I feel incredibly sad about it for about three days out of every three weeks – the rest of the time I feel fine and at the minute I feel really really positive and happy. The bother is that when I DO feel sad, it’s like being in a hole that I can’t see out of – I almost imagine that the happy times are the delusional ones, whereas really it’s the sad times that are.

      The other thing that I’ve found frustrating is that, really, I’ve known what my thoughts and feelings SHOULD be since the beginning. But it’s taken a long time and a lot of rooting around in my psyche to actually start thinking the right way and feeling the recovery.

      I have a theory that you have to get to a certain point of ‘fed-up-and-bored-of-feeling-sad’ before your brain says “right! Enough! Let’s find another way to channel all of this”, but I’m not sure about that one.

      • charityv says:

        I find your theory very convincing and something to hold on to. Sadness comes and goes but no matter what, we have to stick to our thoughts and feelings. If we work on moving on for our own sake and happiness, the merry-go-round of feeling happy and sad will vanish. Feeling happy will win and when we look back it will be a part of our history which formed us. Right now I´m feeling sad too but accept it as a part of the heeling process. I don´t think about what could I have done better or why it didn´t work out, I just feel sad. As I said before, leaving someone you love, and you know when you did that, isn´t easy. But holding on to my own happiness and wishing everyone else the same happiness is what keeps me going. My brain will eventually say ” Right! Enough of all this.” But first my heart has to send the signals or maybe the other way round :)

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        Why do we think we’ve let go and are still holding, how do you let go! That it the frustrating part, to feel like you’ve moved forward and then realise you really haven’t. At this point, I wish it were a physical task that had to be done to ensure that the ‘letting go’ really happens; because that intangible letting go, sometimes you wonder if it’s possible.

        The title of this post says it all. And it touches on comments in other post on ‘how do you know that you’re there’. It’s when you realise that you don’t need guy X, you need *a guy* that has characteristics 1,2,3,4 & 5. Just like you don’t need house X, you need a house that has characteristics 1,2,3,4 & 5.

        NC is the first step to break the chain. It separates you from them, like two venn diagrams (overlapping circles) pulled apart and this also means that you might be shocked to find that your circle hasn’t got much in it or there is a big bite in it!

        The No Dating Rule (8 months) and No Sex Rule (3 months) (together) followed for me and allowed me to break the powerful, physical compulsion to repeat the insanity. Trust me, this was extremely hard. I got professional psychologist support and NC mail and was reading BR 3 times per day, the NC book and Mr Unavailable and the FBG book too.

        I tried the exercises. Sometimes a few months would have to pass by before i’d attempt the exercises a second time because my perspective was different and clearer and I’d get different answers 2nd time around. The new values worksheet helped a lot.

        Homing in on my pattern and experiences with the psych helped expose an unconscious pattern of mine I was repeating and then move to identify the root causes and home in on them. The process is still ongoing, but my life has healed so much in 9 months. I have names and words for things I didn’t have before that helped me see and think. I still am occasionally p*ssed with the AC, but hey, they were the one wanting to hook up and play around.

        Happiness comes from within, from values, beliefs, living them, re-interpreting the world by them and acting by them. It really does.

    • Stephanie says:

      Niki

      But how do you get to solid self love?

      Thanks for asking this question. I misjudged the person totally although I saw the red flags, when he just ended it I didn’t see that coming and it left me feeling heavily disappointed and depressed for weeks. The thing is I over invested, fantasised, lapped up the illusions, and believed all the future faking. I know that I’ve definitely made a lot progress during my 4 months of NC and I’m certainly not feeling depressed any more but I don’t seem to have completely let go. I know this because since he disappeared in October last year I have thought about him in some way every single day and he really doesn’t deserve me thinking about him at all. Is there a formula to self love? Of course I love myself, but I can’t love myself enough if I’m still thinking about someone who used me as an option. How do you physically get to the point of letting go, moving on and forgetting the person? Am I making sense?

      I recently went on a couple of dates with a guy I met in the supermarket, he seemed nice but on our 2nd date last Saturday, he desperately tried to lure me into bed and I wasn’t having any of it, I told him it was too soon, he was upset by this and said “I needed to just chill” . I haven’t heard from him since and I haven’t even given him a second thought!

      • yoghurt says:

        Stephanie

        I can only speak from personal experience here (and I’m a bit cautious about that cos I can’t quite guarantee that I’m not still a bit loopdaloop) but I found that the day I stopped thinking about the EUM was the day that I started thinking about me.

        It was the day when I stopped and said “Right. I am exhausted and damn BORED of throwing all my energy and wellbeing at a situation that I’ve got no control over. This is no way to live my life. WHY am I doing it? What makes me think that I’m not worth more than this? Why don’t I deserve to go off and focus on finding happiness elsewhere like someone else would?”

        It led to some really tough questions about my past, my parents and my experiences growing up – and there was a horrible stage that I went through where I (mistakenly) believed that my whole life had been appalling and I’d only just realised :O. But once I’d started separating out the issues of what I ‘deserve’ and what I ‘want’ and what I *really* think of myself and why then I was cooking with gas.

        It hasn’t cleared up overnight, I have down days and things that are difficult and so on. But I feel like I’m getting somewhere now and after a year of being in a situation with absolutely no movement and being miserable you know what? Feeling ‘okay’ actually feels really really positively GOOD.

        The depression and the overthinking is, I reckon, your subconscious’ way of saying “Oi mush – issues here. Get them sorted” The experience has triggered something – maybe a painful belief about yourself – and there are two ways out of it.

        One is to pursue the same sorts of experience again in the hope of making it different ‘this time’. The supermarket guy shows that you’re not doing that and that’s good, because it’s the Bad Option. The other is to work out what has been triggered and why, so you can consciously overcome it.

        • ByeAC says:

          Stephanie,

          Isn’t it disappointing & disgusting that there are so many men out there that are horn dogs? It seems like most don’t want a relationship these days, just hook ups, and with as many girls as they can find. When they meet one of us who says it’s too soon they leave as that’s all they were after. They know there are many girls out there with low self esteem & low standards who will give it up quickly w/no commitment from them so they have no incentive to grow up. So gross. But that’s fine good riddance I don’t want those anyways. I have to say it’s esp irritating when they at first come off as all mature and caring for months and then flip the switch & act disinterested when you tell them you’re waiting. Losers.

          It’s these kind of stories and personal experiences that give me little hope of ever meeting a mature man with good old fashioned values. Used to be somewhat common in my grandparent’s youth. What the hell happened? I blame the sexual revolution and the bunk a lot of women have bought that “boys will be boys.” Crap on that. They make choices same as us. We have to have boundaries and ENFORCE them regardless of how we may feel, for our own protection.

          Always remember this. It is better to be alone than in a crappy relationship.

        • Broadsided says:

          I would say that the best thing for my self esteem and self love was NC-ing for 10 months my last EUM boyfriend, to whom I was addicted and who was driving me crazy, and had my self esteem on a roller coaster. AFter that, I actually took 7 months off dating. Because relationships always offer some complexity towards oneself (at least I’ve found), having this total break allowed me to fully heal and get in a strong and peaceful place. Even though I went through some coniptions as described above with the man I’m currently dating – I am not invested in it working out at this time (it may or it may not) – e.g., I believe we’re trying to see what we have, but I am off the assumption wagon. Yet I believe I am a bright, attractive and loving woman – I do love myself – and will remain such and therefore will keep my head and heart in the game, going forward if this does not work out. I’m putting myself back in the driver’s seat, not in the passenger’s seat where I’ve always been – this is not a strong position. I think there is nothing harder on one’s self esteem but to remain with a man who is not good for you – especially one you can never really be close to – the EUM was REALLY hard on me for we’d have skyrocketing, amazing times then he would disappear, then come back, then disappear, etc., and it kept me totally off balance. I was also married to a verbally abusive trial attorney – this was awful, too. They other thing I have tried to learn – since I’m harder on myself than on anyone else – is just to behave lovingly in my thoughts towards myself. To know in which areas I’m doing the best I can do. To see areas I’m not happy with and can work towards changing, and to do so. And these posts – about not over-identifying oneself as in the relationship, overinvesting our hearts prematurely, overhoping – they keep us in a strong, self loving position. I am not a young woman – but am young at heart, soul and body. I have learned so much from NML’s posts and from the many valuable comments – I’ve pointed both of my adult daughters in the direction of this site. Where else can you find people who have shared some of these weird relationship journeys – each of which has been a “first” for me?

  29. brenda says:

    Nat,Ladies.I Need some major advice…
    A couple of weeks ago I met a Man off a dating site.
    I had not been actively looking,but got a great message stating how this Man was a Christian,The way and words he spoke were nothing I have ever heard before,I was really looking for a more spiritual connection with God and really this Man seemed to fill my thrirst for Knowledge…Fast Forward…
    This man works in a camp 2 weeks in and 2 weeks out..
    I emailed him daily and called a couple times,as we agreed to that,Kinda a getting to know more about one another…
    Well,I never recieved one response to my emails,not one call,And when I went on the dating site,there He was too…
    I was so dissapointed in this Person who claims to hate hurting women yadda yadda yadda..So I sent him an email,not rude,but just to say I thank him for the talks about God,and that I will no longer accept in my life someone who does nothave the decency to email me back,but can go on POF??
    I get this Man owes me nothing,but to me that is not treating someone with care,respect..
    My Mother is quick to say how awful I am to assume??
    I am so confused if I am being totally out of line,too judgemental,or did I spot a red flag???I guess to be honest I did put faith in him becauseI honestly figured a man of god would not do this??
    Please advice anyone..

    • grace says:

      brenda
      there is a lot of assuming going on here
      - talking about God doesn’t = good relationship material and doesn’t equal compatibility
      - beware the preachy type who get off on having an audience; was he actually interested in YOU?
      - emailing is not a way of getting to know someone or of deepening a relationship.
      - what’s the proportion of actual face-to-face time to emailing time?
      - remember christians can be EU too.
      - how much of this is your fantasy – it’s hard to tell from your comment alone. But it sounds like you hardly knew him
      - emailing someone every day and calling them when they’re not responding sounds like you were clutching at straws
      Flush and move along.
      And if you want to know God – you have a direct line already. They say God works in mysterious ways but I can’t believe that internet dating is a good source of spiritual sustenance.

      • yoghurt says:

        “They say God works in mysterious ways but I can’t believe that internet dating is a good source of spiritual sustenance.”

        Pure brilliant, and true whichever way you look at it.

    • Magnolia says:

      brenda,

      If you email the guy repeatedly and call, and he doesn’t reciprocate, he is showing you how much he values your calls and your time. he’s just some guy off a dating site – and only two weeks. You’ve seen his colours right away. Good for you for seeing the red flag. Flush and move on.

      It sounds to me as though him presenting himself as a Christian is what hooked you. Also it sounds as though you want a lot more spiritual connection with others who are mature in their walk with God. You can get the godliness from others outside a sexual relationship, and can deepen your own relationship with God; in fact, the more you focus on your own, the easier it will be to tell when you meet someone who calls themselves a Christian, maybe even shows up regularly at church but shows little of the character: i.e. honesty, respect, generosity, etc.

      • Fearless says:

        Brenda
        be very wary of a man on a dating site spouting forth to strangers about what a good Christian he is – aye, right. The ones who are don’t feel the need to tell you all about it.

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Hey there Fearless and Brenda,
          Natalie’s post reminds of one of Fearless’ previous comments a few months back about focusing on the guy rather than what is desirable in a mutually co-piloted relationship based on respect, honesty, and trust (whatever order). That previous thread and this post really strikes home. There is a bigger pic.
          And Brenda, I hear you totally. When a guy is able to tap into what may be a common interest, it’s difficult to sort out common interests from common values. The ex tapped into my love of “War and Peace”. Now what guy on the planet has ever read “War and Peace” and could talk about it? We were instant soul mates. Some guy who claims to have a spiritual connection with God and some guy who claims to have read “War and Peace” sometimes doesn’t form a good foundation for a relationship.
          I’m with you though. Darn. For me, I’ve come to value honesty, respect, and trust. Now I’ve just got find the guy that’s read “War and Peace” and values honesty, respect, and trust. Only joking. It’s the big pic. Honesty, respect, and trust. I don’t much care if he can even read.

          • Fearless says:

            May I just pop in here briefly to say that it’s good to hear from you again, runner!! (Hope you and daughter are doing okay) xx

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          Those who doth protest too much!

    • Kmac says:

      Brenda,
      I had such a strong reaction to your post I thought better of writing at first. But you asked for advice, so I will outline some points I think might be helpful:

      1) History has shown us repeatedly what a Man of God, as you put it, is capable of. The Holocaust and September 11th come to mind first.

      2) A way with words is just that and nothing more.

      3) You agreed to send e-mails and call as an attempt at getting to know one another. The fact that he did not respond to any of it should tell you everything you need to know.

      4) If your mother is quick to tell you that you are ‘awful’ about anything, you should consider not listening to her very carefully.

      5) If someone is ignoring you, they do not have a presence in your life, so refusing to accept them in your life is kind of a moot point.

      Although I am a staunch atheist and a student and practicioner of Buddhist philosophy, the best advice I ever received about life came from a nun:
      People don’t always act the way you want them to, and most of the time, it has absolutely nothing to to do with you.

      If you’re searching spiritually, ponder that one. It will take you much further than the words of a M of G on P of F any day.

      • rosenfire says:

        Dear Kmac,

        Your numbered list is fantastic. Thank you! They were all insightful, but #4 made me want to do a little dance.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      I had not been actively looking,but got a great message stating how this Man was a Christian,The way and words he spoke were nothing I have ever heard before,I was really looking for a more spiritual connection with God and really this Man seemed to fill my thrirst for Knowledge…Fast Forward…

      This man works in a camp 2 weeks in and 2 weeks out..
      I emailed him daily and called a couple times,as we agreed to that,Kinda a getting to know more about one another…
      Well,I never recieved one response to my emails,not one call,And when I went on the dating site,there He was too…

      Brenda! STOP!!

      You are having a major disproportionate response to an EOI (Expression of interest). Nobody has signed deal #1 (dating) or deal # 2 (ltr). Dangerously, the triad of fantasy relationships are there too – distance, moderating excuse the controls contact and failure of the touch test. You didn’t even physically meet this person.

      The common interests has been used to bust through your BS detector system and you have been sold on pure written and spoken word.

      You are investing waaaaaay too much into Assanova Fantasy Investments PLC far too early. I would suggest you consider a blanket ban on online dating – I have been on dating sites for 5 years, trust me, you have to be fortified to be on there. Log off!

      • Happy Girl says:

        Brenda, just wanted to throw this out there about your mother’s comment to you. My sister, who is happily married to a great guy, was always telling me things like this when I got into situations with guys I’ve dated in the past. She so wants me to be married and happy, too, but the advice she gives ends up being counter-intuitive to how she ended up that way. A few years ago she always wants me to give people “second chances” despite what I tell her is a gut feeling, called me too harsh in my first impression judgements (like a guy who smoked pot every day, or another who threw a fit when I wouldn’t go to his house to watch a movie after one date, or the dude who was bellied up to a bar at 6:00 p.m. on a Tuesday and was on a first name basis with all of the bartenders), and encouraged me to make the first move because a guy might be “too shy”. Doing these things got me short term dates, but they never resulted in long term, happy relationships. Even when we were talking about my ex, she told me that she thought we could have worked things out if he had been more communicative and willing to talk about our problems…to which I replied “You mean if he had been an entirely different person?” She got my point.

        She had the best of intentions, but the basic message she was sending me was that I needed to mold my values and behaviors around someone else’s to make both of us happy and being an exception to basic rules. Not that when I meet the RIGHT person, I won’t have to compromise like that. This was all based on how I went about my life in the PAST, not how I want to live my life NOW.

        I’ve since refused to let anyone else try to dictate how this should be. I also had a well-meaning friend tell me recently “You want a guy who still wants to go to bars and hang out.” What she really meant was “I want you to date a guy who goes to bars because that’s what I do and I’m afraid that we won’t spend as much time together if that’s not the case.” I could meet a great guy tomorrow who would rather spend his time at a coffee shop, or prefers to drink a glass of wine at home with dinner or a few beers watching a football game in his basement instead of getting hammered at a pub every Saturday night, and I’m pretty sure I would be fine with it. And me being fine with it is all that matters.

        Like Natalie said previously, YOU are the…

        • Broadsided says:

          Brenda – I am a Christian and do want a Christian man. But as described above – Christian men are all over the map in not only their beliefs but their practices and lifestyles. My last total EUM was 7th Day Adventist. My current man is Lutheran but has human failings. One of my friends who is Jewish liked the fact that a man she was dating had Torah readings posted all over his bedroom wall. Yet he was a player and unfaithful. I just think it takes awhile, whatever the faith, to see how it materializes in that person’s life. Some are only what they are “on paper”. Or maybe they are good at their religion and bad at relationships – most fail at the “do unto others….” part.

          Also – it’s hard enough creating something over time while you’re actually dating. Just from a brief online interchange – man, you can’t assume ANYTHING. There was no relationship there, remotely.

  30. lucy711 says:

    Thank you for this! A light bulb just went off….I dated a guy for 7 months, prior to him leaving in September. He left in September for vacation and I have not scene him since. He called a few times, in October, and sent text messages in November, responded to my text messages December and January – stating that he would be home middle of February. I decided in Feb, know that he is in town at this moment, but have not heard from him nor have i reached out to him, although I am not sure why.. Needless to say, it has been a very confusing time for me. I knew that I should not feel disappointed in him for being who he is, although at some point it would have been nice for him to state that a relationship he could not do.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      My fantasy non-relationship years ago was someone I asked out, they told me they were going overseas on exchange for a year, but we went out anyway, we never slept together and they told me ‘oh, when I can come back you can always try’.

      One year later… I was still trying! Crazy! I thought this guy was THE ONE (as much as I hate that term) and I HAD to get them. Of course, I ended up pulling major drama when I bumped into them… with someone else. Because we were ‘friends’ as well it was so damn confusing to work him out and huge amounts of energy went into trying to figure out what the situation was. They avoided me and went NC but if we did bump into each other they were walking and talking twitter feed. Very cruel, but I was off on la la land fantasy island. It was very hard to get over them because I would see them everywhere all the time.

      People like that are so cruel, but I was so naiive and stupid. CUT HIM OFF AND GO NC, and if you bump into him, hi, bye, I’m busy and RUN the other way.

      From now on, if they don’t sign deal #1 (official dating) then it is FLUSH.

  31. Liz says:

    I think this is a great post.

    And another one that I feel really hits home to me.
    I was involved with that I thin was an emotionally unavailable man, one that was with me and his gf told me he was confused then said he loved me wanted to be with me, then said he isnt sure needs time on his own but still wants us to be v good friends , then shortly after I found out he was sleeping with other women, he was avoiding me , made me out to be the one that instigated it all but it was him, and then started to date someone else at work ( we work together),. I was so shocked, hurt and disappointed.

    I had such a big problem accepting the disappointment , the rejection that was so public, replaying events in my mind why her not me. Its like something in me just refused to let it go. And that is exactly what it was an illusion…. not the real person, I had taken myself off into an imaginary world where we were together and I had planned out exactly how things were going to work out and how I was told they would. The acceptance of the whole situation the disappointment took me months and I still feel like I havent 100% recovered from it .
    However what I decided to do was to start to focus from within , I started to eat well again, get back to my regular exercise regime all of which I neglected because I was consumed by him and the situation. Focusing on my life and what Iwanted out of it and more importantly the person I wanted to be. I do not ever want to be that person again. I am working on my foundations and building them, growing my career, my own business and looking after those that always look after me.

    Its hard especially with him being with this new girl at work , but as you said NML relationships teach us about ourselves and I learned a lot about him, me and these situations. Had I looked at the facts and stayed realistic I never would have set these unrealistic goals or had these ideas of what he said was going to happen.

    thank you NML for another great post, it really helps me reading these.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      then said he isnt sure needs time on his own but still wants us to be v good friends , then shortly after I found out he was sleeping with other women, he was avoiding me , made me out to be the one that instigated it all but it was him, and then started to date someone else at work ( we work together),. I was so shocked, hurt and disappointed.

      Isn’t it amazing! These assclowns are totally out of control, do not give a damn, when they leave you, they leave you with stars in your eyes and head in fantasy la la. Something similar happened to me – I found the town bicycle on their facebook page and don’t they all pull the friend card. FRIEND is a big RED FLAG, in fact it should be FOCR – Flat Out Code Red. I have it down as a ‘magic word’ now that will trigger instant FLUSH. My AC told me that “Sometimes I really like you, other times I see you as a friend.” Pfft.

      Boundary: I will always flush ex dates and ex relationships no matter what. Good, bad, indifferent – FLUSH.

      • Polly says:

        Yes well I’ve said before I’ve been in the position of being demoted to friends or moved from relationship to friend to ‘friendship relationship’ and back again at will. Moving the goal posts isn’t in it. I absolutely agree that any mention of ‘friends’ is a massive giant-sized red flag.

        On a completely different note ToA, I remembered something this morning to add to one of your lists of top AC behaviour.

        Doesn’t clean up his own dog shit. Just leaves it there for someone to step in. Nice

  32. dody says:

    Natalie

    You are so spot on! This site has been a GOD send! I wished I would of found you 20 months ago-it would of spared me of a lot tears and sleepless nights. I have been stuck in heartbreak-not moving forward at all. I have played the coulda woulda shoulda game far too long.

    What do I want for my life? PEACE- will be a good start. All of my life has been centered around others-kids, husband(who gives Assclown a whole new meaning), work, house – anything but me. I feel like for once it’s going to be about me-what I want and what I don’t want. Sounds selfish-something I have never been-but survival is what’s on the menu from here on out! I have been on the back burner far too long! I AM DONE!

    My husband of 21 years had an 14 month affair in our 16th year of marriage-I gave him the gift of reconciliation-I worked my tail off for 18 months from discovery day-you would of thought I had the affair-but reality is I was the only one saying what I would do to change what I needed to change-I would ask him what he needed-never did he once ask me what I wanted or needed-thing is I was also in the same crappy marriage – nothing changed for me. Then I met someone on line who’s wife had also had an affair-you know where this is heading?-yep! my own affair-I became what I dis-liked the most-a cheater. I fell in love with this man-needless to say it didn’t end like I had envisioned! I have been dealing with such heartbreak-it made the discovery of my husbands affair look like a walk in the park. But the illusion is over! I know I have to let it go! I still struggle-good and bad days. But acceptance is my goal for now.

    Soon I will file for divorce-and I will start a new chapter in my life-it will be on my terms with my boundaries firmly in place. My lesson in all of this is I can’t be with the one I love-but I sure in the hell don’t have to be with the one I don’t love. It will be tuff financially-I’ll probably have to have two jobs just to keep my head above water-but I will have PEACE in my life-and some day I will have love again!

    Sending support for all!

    • grace says:

      dody
      Wonderful comment. Stay strong.

      • runnergirlno1 says:

        Dody,
        I’ve been through three divorces and each one sucked emotionally and financially but I came out on the other side. Talk about disappointments. Somehow after years of marriage, the illusion does fade and it really becomes: ” My lesson in all of this is I can’t be with the one I love-but I sure in the hell don’t have to be with the one I don’t love”. Good for you. I also know about putting everysingle thing on the planet before me, him, my daughter, house, job. I’ve also been through the affair thing. I would have to agree with you, affairs are really illusions of the highest order. Mine didn’t end as I envisioned either.
        Sending support, acceptance, and forgiveness to you and to me. Eyes on the prize…us. Not them.

        • dody says:

          Runnergirl

          Thanks for your kind words and encouragement! I look forward to the day that I can finally say, “What the hell was I thinking-why/how did I let so much of my precious life slip a way loving someone who could walk away from me so easily”. I feel like I’m on the rollercoaster from hell! If only my heart could catch up with my mind!

          It sounds like you have had a very rough road to tow-my hat’s off to you-you give me hope! And you are so right we are the prize!

      • dody says:

        Thanks Grace!

        I always enjoy your posts! Keep them coming! :)

        The encouragement here is a blessing!

  33. Karina says:

    After almost a year of enduring so much emotionally from head to toe with all the drama that went on with my ex, his new gf andmy other ex, I’ve realized I need to set my foot down and really work hard for what I want.

    I just want to thank you Nat for making it a bit easier for me to figure it out. I’m going to bring this up to my therapist and see how we can move forward in my recovery.

  34. Faye4812 says:

    I have read the articles on BR for the past two years, but none have applied to me at the exact time in my life until now.

    I was recently “rejected” by an Attached- Cohabitating Man ( he has been living with his “wife” for 18 years)/AC by phone exactly one week after Valentine’s day. (Mind you that he literally “blowed up” my phone that day and sent flowers for me too). His hand was forced, so he had to tell me that he has been “dating” someone else (WTF!) since November. Needless to say I was disappointed in myself and the “expectations” I had for him.

    I was wallowing in the Shoulda, Woulda , Coulda’s, blaming myself, etc., until I came across this post. It was the “ah ha” moment I needed. This statement alone sums it up for me:

    “The facts say that they cannot meet your expectations – it’s holding onto the illusions that they can or could have if only X/Y/Z had happened, which normally boils down to, if you had changed, if you hadn’t breathed or put a foot wrong, if you had got them to change, or if you lived in a fantasy world, that’s disappointing you.”

    I realized that I had been holding on to a “knight in shining armor” illusion about him. The fact that he is in a long term “attached”/ cohabitating relationship by itself while “dating” is enough to dispel his “worthiness”. He even tried to blame me for the “break up”, but I had sense enough to know that he “cheated” because that is who he is and will continue to be REGARDLESS of what I said or done.

    Lesson is learned . Still struggling somewhat, but I know first I need to forgive myself for getting involved with such a loser in the first place and recognize that his “rejection” was actually a blessing for me. Second, I will explore myself to find out why I chose this loser so it will not happen again. Thanks Natalie for your insight. This was “right on time”!

  35. Little Star says:

    Dear Natalie, sometimes I think you can read our minds, REALLY! In the post you said: “By focusing on the person instead of on the bigger picture of your hopes and expectations, you lose hope because the disappointment leaves you feeling like there’s no point in bothering and your ‘last chance saloon’ has gone”- that exactly how I feel now:-( I do not know how to move on from this disappointment???? I had few dates (via dating sites), and few guys proclaimed their love and admiration, so I decided to check them out by putting a fake profile, and surprise, surprise – all three of them contacted “New Me”…HOW can I trust anyone?!!! I think my dating days is over and I am going to delete my profile and just stay single for the rest of my life!!!

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hi Little Star,
      Your post caught my attention because you were quite the online dating genius to post a new fake profile. I understand you are disappointed in these three guys but since you know what they are up to you can quickly flush and quickly. I’ve not done much online dating or and probably won’t given the experiences others have described on this blog so I’m no guru (that’s Natalie). Natalie has many wonderful posts about dating with your self-esteem in tow, dating as a discovery phase, and the 10 commandments of dating (on the left side of the website). A big red flag for me after more than a year on BR would be any guy professing his love for me after a few dates. I am learning I am truly wonderful. However, how would a perfect stranger know he loves me after a few dates? I know it feels really good in the moment but that was my need for external validation talking and probably his need for a shag (sounds so harsh I know). For me, someone professing their love before we know one another is an abort mission. Take a parachute and jump. Although in the past I usually married them before the third “date”.
      Maybe it would be a good idea to take a dating break for a while, particularly the online variety.
      It sounds like the mad hatter (Grace’s term which stuck with me) but you may need to learn to trust yourself before you trust them. For me, Natalie’s prompts in this post regarding the causes of the disappointment is extremely helpful. Which one of the three guys was the “one” and why? There were three the “ones”?
      I think Tired of Assonova has some great online dating advice. DELETE.

      • tired_of_assanova says:

        I had been on dating sites for around 5 years, that’s right FIVE YEARS. In that time I had ONE decent relationship.

        ONE.

        Apart from that I had a parade of EUMs galore, scammers, porn peddlers, supplement peddlers, flakers, creeps, hell I was EUM too and I went from one EUM to another EUM like a frog leaping from lillypad to lillypad. Looking back on it, it was crazy. You get very words focused and image focused and can become lost in fantasy very easily. Not only that, perfect environment for multiple dating and so forth.

        Funny thing, most people I met online and didn’t work out are STILL ONLINE years later.
        EUM!!

        Log off.

      • Little Star says:

        Runnergirl and Tired_0f_Casanova!!! Thank you very much for your comments…you are both spot on!
        I re-read Natalie’s posts again and realised that it is not about these losers who I met on line, it is about ME! I have to concentrate on myself first…and later who knows! No more of on-line dating, I rather joined Gym instead:-)

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Good to hear Little Star. Logging off may be the best way for now to avoid EUM/AC’s inevitable disappointments. I’m a regular at my gym for my mental health or I may be addicted to the endorphins. My gym is a safe harbor. Folks aren’t looking to hook up. It’s just a nice place to unwind . After a decade at my gym, I went on one date with a nice guy, didn’t work. Although just recently there is a guy and we have exchanged glances.
          But here’s the point, it is always about YOU and the bigger pic of your life (trust me as I type these words I’m responding to me too). It truly isn’t about some random online dudes who profess their love after a few dates. Blech. They wanna get laid and move on (trust me as I type these words I’m just learning this lesson too). Be still my disappointed heart.
          Now that you’ve responded, may I add that I just howled at how you posted a New You and they hit. Your comment reminded me of fishing as a kid. I put new bait on the hook but only the bottom feeders continued to hit. Throw your online bottom feeders back where they belong. The bottom. Off Line as Tired of A says. Let us know how the gym goes.

  36. Sunshine says:

    >>Disappointment and rejection paves the way to new and ultimately better opportunities…if you don’t spend months or even years avoiding admitting a mistake or accepting that it’s over. The length and depth of the avoidance is what causes a ‘setback’.<<

    In case this helps anyone…I recently reached the point in a discovery phase with someone where it was clear he doesn't meet my requirements.
    After, I cried for a while, and was very gentle with myself.
    Later in the weekend, a friend of mine asked me whether I had false impressions of where things might have been going with him, and I burst into tears. Yes, I had, and I knew I had along the way, and I was very honest with myself, saying out loud, "I am fantasizing" whenever I noticed it, and continually checked reality vs. fantasy. (See? Fantasy guy in the dream is doing x,y,z…REALITY guy is NOT doing those things.)

    I realized I had to let go of all of the illusions, and later found myself imagining dramatic goodbye scenes, and torturing myself with thoughts of, "We'll never (do this..or that)…x,y,z will never happen…" and just really wracked with sobbing over all of the parting scenes I imagined in my mind. Then a I heard my inner voice, "NOTICE the habit here." And suddenly I could really really SEE, that NOTHING bad was happening, it was literally pictures in my mind and dramatic scenarios that was making me so upset. I made myself look around, check right, check left, look up, look down…IS ANYTHING BAD REALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?? No. I realized, the overreacting, excessive emotion and dramatic scenes were a HABIT I had, that I could remember doing for ages and ages.

    The thoughts about how he and I would never do this or that together, were followed up by rational thoughts, "Well, him and 7 billion other people on the planet. So what? Am I going to grieve that I will never kiss every other person on the planet I will never kiss?" it was so funny that I couldn't help but laugh.

    I started my mantra, "I can accept this, I CAN accept this, I CAN accept this. How easy can it be, to let go I wonder? Can I imagine a light, friendly parting scene?" and just kept imagining everything being calm and easy.
    Later on, I got down to the REAL grief of it, of being given away by my mother and the pain of growing up in a reality where people who didn't want their babies give them away so I better be Good or I could get given away again. All sorts of feelings came up around that, and the pain and insecurity of clinging to an abusive family who just weren't capable of meeting my needs. That was more pure, just raw emotion pouring through without a story or dramatic images, just impressions and not much thought.

    I looked myself in my own eyes in a mirror while I bawled. Noticed a thought, "Ugly," followed by a very FIRM voice, "That's a LIE." It was amazing to look into my own eyes and really be there for me, seeing that I am not alone, I have myself. I felt very soft and loving towards myself.

    Then it was done. There is still more to be released but I can see clearly now it doesn't have anything to do with "him", and I feel free and able to let go and be open to something even better.

    • grace says:

      Sunshine
      That is so helpful to me :
      IS ANYTHING BAD REALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW??
      I was running through a million and one doomsday scenarios regarding a man who I haven’t even been on a date with. How could anything bad have been happening? It was all in my head.
      Sure, feelings are important, but they may not be telling us what we think they are telling us.
      I thought they were telling me PANIC, ABORT, RUN, be VERY AFRAID. When, in fact, they were telling me – Slow your roll. Actually Nat told me that, but I listened and feel happy again.

    • Natasha says:

      “IS ANYTHING BAD REALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW??”

      Sunshine, that was VERY helpful for me to read as well! I’ve been on a few dates with someone I like and I have tendency to panic about things that haven’t happened yet/may never happen/I have only ever heard of happening in Bridget Jones sequels. Thank you for the wise words :)

      • Sunshine says:

        I’m delighted my experience helped anyone, thank you for the kind feedback!
        I haven’t read Bridget Jones, but I have certainly played out Shakespearean-level drama scenes in my head, sometimes nonstop, for hours on head. I placed a daughter for adoption 20 years ago, and for at least a couple of years I cried several hours every week, imagining a hundred different life-or-death emergency scenarios in which her adoptive parents would bring her to see me to say goodbye…It honestly has been like crack, my secret little drama factory in my head where I could generate intense feelings of grief followed by an endorphin rush seemingly infinitely. I was much more comfortable feeling awful, and wallowing in self-pity.

        I felt like I reached a turning point several weeks back while trying to soak my anxiety away in hot bath…I felt fear and panic, like I was spinning out of control and the usual “I’m safe, I’m safe, everything’s okay” soothing thoughts started up.

        Then another thought surprised me: “Are you SURE, honey? Check!”
        I was so startled! I looked around, touched the bathtub, the walls, looked all around, ran my hands down my body and externally validated that I was in fact, safe. When I was crying in the car, I ran my hands all along the seats and looked all around to confirm I was not in any immediate danger.

        The steps Natalie lists in this post about questioning why do we believe what we believe, and where did the disappointment come from, are pure gold.
        I think this is how I’m learning to trust myself…I don’t just believe everything I tell myself, I investigate :D

        • runnergirlno1 says:

          Thank you Sunshine for your comments. They really helped me too. I wish I had the right words to soothe and comfort you regarding the adoption of your daughter. I think I wish I could hug you and make you and your daughter safe. You are both safe.
          Your comments just shook me and I can’t stop crying, let alone make any sense or be a source of comfort. I appreciate your honesty. Damn the tears won’t stop.
          But there’s a bigger picture. You are safe. Your daughter is safe. You did the right thing given the circumstances. Hugs and hugs and hugs and hugs.

          • Sunshine says:

            I smiled and my heart swelled reading your response, runner, thank you. Yes, we are safe, and so are you, and don’t just take my word for it, check for yourself.

            I wish you could hug me, too! Let the tears fall and let’s give ourselves one from each other, okay?

            One of my favorite affirmations is, “I salute my ability to survive.”
            We made it. We survived. That terrifying stuff from the past isn’t happening anymore and we don’t have to keep doing it to ourselves. Our parents were ignorant and just plain wrong about a lot of things, and nothing about us made them do any of the things they did, no matter how much they may have tried to make us believe it.

            Have you heard Alanis Morrissette’s song “Precious Illusions”? I must have listened to that song a hundred times, and it has been true, letting go of the pain and the pictures in my head actually feels like losing a friend, or a “something” and has at times been terrifying to even contemplate. Eventually they dissolve though, and I’m feeling so much more at ease with myself and life than ever before.

            Many big warm hugs to all of you!!!

  37. Lisa says:

    I’m sitting here reading this and thinking, “when will I learn?” I’m so tired of thinking someone cares about me and then finding out it was all a lie. My latest episode was someone I started talking to on FB. He sent me all these sweet messages and we just clicked “online.” He is in a relationship per his FB status, but he said he doesn’t want to settle down due to him just coming out of a marriage. Anyways, we went out on one date. Had a great time, came back to my house, kissed and talked and it never went any farther. Then, he proceeds to text or call every day and finally we had sex this past weekend. Now, he told me ahead of time, that he goes and sees this lady every other weekend (but I think it’s more often than that) and they don’t have sex. She’s a good girl and doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. So, here I am to be the bad girl. And stupid me, I went along with it. I told him I’d be his bad girl and she could be his good girl. So, we had sex Sunday. He texted me very little Monday and today I haven’t heard anything from him at all. It’s taking every thing I have not to send him a text, but I want to so bad. He told me how much he cared for me and he’d never hurt me. And not to fall in love with him. I just went along with it. I just get so lonely that I’m willing to put up with anything. The sad part is I’m willing to be the bad girl, but now I haven’t heard from him and I wonder if I ever will. WTH is wrong with me? I’ve been in therapy because this is not the first relationship I’ve had where I was willing to do anything just to have someone. Just trying my best not to text him and hope he will get in touch with me tomorrow. That’s just sad and I know it, but can’t seem to get it right.

    • grace says:

      Lisa
      Whoa!
      This reads like a case study.
      I know you’re going through a really tough time but the signs were all there from day ONE. I don’t say that to make you feel bad, but so you know that this is completely avoidable for the future. It’s a tough lesson but worth learning:
      1. Say no to virtual relationships whether by FB, IM, email, or your own fantasizing
      2. Don’t even start to get involved with anyone in a relationship.
      3. If they say they don’t want to settle down, believe them.
      4. Do not “text/call/IM” every day with someone you hardly know . Fantasy relationship alert
      5. Don’t have sex expecting it to lead to commitment or a better relationship
      6. Don’t compete with other women – either putting yourself above them or below them
      7. Don’t resort to lazy, low-risk communication. The day you agonise over whether to send a flippin text is the day you know to FLUSH and run
      8. Words AND actions must be in alignment and always put the least first. If he says nice things but hurts you; it’s the hurt that counts. If he treats you well but tells you he doesn’t want a relationship, it’s the not wanting the relationship that counts
      9. Believe your experience more than you believe him – he says he won’t hurt you? He already has.
      10. Don’t date when you are lonely,depressed, anxious, Dating isn’t for fixing those problems; fix those first yourself and you’ll make decisions that are good for you.
      Get out of this. You can’t be his friend, FWB, online friend, sext buddy. Nothing.
      Save yourself because he sure as hell isn’t going to do it.
      When you are strong, living your values, optimistic, bright, compassionate, open, honest, willing to be vulnerable – you’ll meet a man who values that, not the kind of man who is looking for someone to exploit.

      • Lisa says:

        Grace, thank you for your response. Every relationship that I have had in the past 2 years has been from POF or now FB. I realize that both of these are not great places to meet someone decent. I just have a problem telling people no and being a people pleaser. I have seen a therapist because I also have abandoment issues from my childhood. I think I’ve resigned myself to never being good enough for anyone and just willing to take whatever comes my way. There have been 3 guys that I’ve had a so called relationship with that after they quit seeing me, it made me physically sick. I had to go on antidepressants for a while. I quit seeing my therapist because I don’t think I will ever be good enough for someone to stay around. Still haven’t heard from this guy and already feel the anxiety starting. Oh one more thing, I’m 51 years old and I’ve never had a man tell me that he loved me. How sad is that. I’m a lost cause. I’m going to get off here now because I just want to cry and wait on him.

      • Broadsided says:

        Wise words, Grace!!

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      FLUSH

      This guy is an assclown and a drip feeder manouvre extraordinaire.

      he proceeds to text or call every day and finally we had sex this past weekend. Now, he told me ahead of time, that he goes and sees this lady every other weekend (but I think it’s more often than that) and they don’t have sex. She’s a good girl and doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. So, here I am to be the bad girl.

      What a sick, depraved, assholic scheme. You have just received this deal? What a terrible deal! You are being signed up to be a PTC – passing the time candidate.

      This guy’s scheme is also a warning that withholding sex is solely for our benefit to make judgements with a clear head only. Withholding sex will **not** convert Mr Unavailable or Mr Assclown’s fundamental character – no they will just go find someone else to screw while they work on prising you open.

      • Lisa says:

        tire of a..
        what can I say? everyone on here that has commented is right, but I don’t know how to stop. Simple as that. Some attention is better than nothing at all. But, thanks for your words of advice.

        • yoghurt says:

          Lisa
          “Some attention is better than nothing at all.”
          Nah, it’s really really not.

          I’m reading some Quit Smoking literature atm (in preparation… again…) and one of the points that the writer has just made is that cigarettes DON’T MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD. Actually they make you feel BAD, except for the 5 or so minutes after you’ve smoked one and you feel normal. And all the time, as well as making you feel bad, they’re filling you full of toxins that will eventually make you ill.

          Same with this sort of dishonest, negative, draining, userish behaviour. It doesn’t make you feel good, it actually makes you feel horrible except for the very brief ‘high’ of vague normality that you get immediately after indulging.

          If I believed that when I gave up smoking, I’d spend the rest of my life dying for a cigarette and snapping at everyone forever then I’d never give up. But when (not if, WHEN) I give up I know that I won’t. I’ll have a bad couple of weeks and then I won’t think about it anymore. And what’s more, I’ll be able to appreciate and have nice things in my life again, like exercise and tastebuds and my sense of smell and so on.

          Same as with you. If you stop letting these horrible blokes into your life you’ll feel lonely and vulnerable and frightened for a while, then you’ll stop wanting them. And, in the meantime, you’ll open yourself up to nice positive experiences with nice positive people that will stop you caring about the stupid opinions of stupid horrible dishonest people.

          It’s an addiction, simple as. What you’re saying is like a smoker in the desert saying “well, I can’t eat or drink… but as long as I smoke, at least I’m getting SOME nutrients in my body”. And while you’re sitting there smoking, you AREN’T looking around for food or actually getting out of the desert, you’re just poisoning yourself.

          • yoghurt says:

            Hmmm, think I might’ve flogged that analogy to death.

            I should also add that I’m terrified of quitting, because I don’t like the idea of how difficult it’ll be (so I really do sympathise with your state of mind!) But I’m more concerned about the long-term effects of NOT quitting…

        • tired_of_assanova says:

          It can be hard to stop a pattern that has been going on for ages. I read my journals from three years ago and guess what? I was doing the exact same mistakes, same behaviour, same results, same fantasy as got me into major trouble with the latest AC.

          How do you stop you ask – I would suggest like this:
          1. Go NC
          2. Ban dating
          3. Delete all online profiles and delete IM programs
          4. Defriend anyone on FB who is not actually a friend etc
          5. See a psych and tell them you have a pattern of poor relationships and you want to break it
          6. Discover your values – see the values worksheet.

          There usually is a driving issue and the poor relationships are just a symptom of something deeper – low self esteem, a critical heartbreak experience, domestic violence in childhood or just not being able to say no.

          One of my principles now: I will decide who comes into my life and the circumstances in which they come. I tell myself every time someone tries to keep a foot in. There isn’t really anyone so special that they cannot be cut off.

          • Broadsided says:

            Tired_of_assanova – true words, too. NC works!!!! That’s how I got away from the guy I “couldn’t stop” with because the good was good but the basic whole thing was not happening. It is the only way to heal and move on. CUT!!!! (Very few people are totally bad. That’s why we stick around too long.)

    • Natasha says:

      Lisa, my dear, you CAN get it right! Forget this halfwit (I’m not even sure I entirely believe that the gf doesn’t sleep with him – remember, there are people out there that can lie through their teeth/arseholes/eyebrows when they want to get laid). I think the best thing to do is to get back into therapy – since you already know that this sort of thing is not what you want, you’re halfway there! I’m thinking that maybe you’re telling yourself that it’s all hopeless, that you can’t resist fools like this (you can! if they tell you they’re in a relationship already, you can flush their arses) and you’re acting accordingly. If you tell yourself, “Though I may find them attractive/want to go on a date/etc., if they are showing code reds and yellows straight off the bat, I CAN step away.”, I think it’s going to help tremendously. One of the best things I did for myself was take a year off from dating to address what was making sh*tty relationships attractive to me. Focus on you! *Big Hugs*

      • Lisa says:

        Natasha
        You’re right, but I just see no hope of ever being anything but sex to someone. It’s like that’s all I’m worthy of. Anyway, thanks for the reply and hugs. I need all the prayers and hugs I can get.

        • Natasha says:

          Lisa, I’ve been there! Here’s how I got past it:
          - Whenever I’d think, “No one’s going to want me for anything other than sex.” I’d turn it on it’s ear and say, “Why? I have x, y and z to offer. Does it make any rational sense that these qualities wouldn’t be appreciated by someone?”
          – I had a serious think about the people I’d been involved with that treated me as less-than. For example, Did they clearly have assclown tendencies? (Hint: The answer was always “YES”. Decent men don’t treat you as less-than. If they’re not interested, they move on and leave you alone. Truth.)

          Hope this helps!! For serious, you have so much to offer. *Even More Hugs* xx

          • runnergirlno1 says:

            Lisa I just want to offer more support to what the brilliant ladies have offered. I’ve walked in your shoes too. You do NOT have to be a doormat to a guy and hope to get an upgrade by doing whatever. I truly remember thinking the exact same thing. “Oh well, something is better than nothing and what the hell else do I have to do.” I think I even wrote those words in an email to him. That’s the classic dance of an EUM and a FBG. We fit together like a kit and a glove. Have you read Natalie’s books? Another valuable clue (red flag) is when you spend more time texting or emailing than seeing. But of course, EUM’s who have a wife or gf can’t really call or see you cos they have a wife or gf. I’m just starting to come to grips with this myself. It ‘s a giant disappointment. Simply put, you are probably not going to get upgraded to x by doing y. I did the same thing.

    • Shame to Admit says:

      Dear Lisa,
      You remind me of me so much…I was in the same position for four years on and off…Trust me I was so fed up to be a “bad girl” and be used for sex only, when my AC declared what he done to his Ex (took her to travel, bought her expensive things and she ended up cheating on him)…later he met another girl but apparently her body was not that beautiful as mine…and me was believing him!!! I was so stupid and naive and lost FOUR years of my life, while he had both worlds and enjoyed life for the full!!! Where I am now? SINGLE and miserable…hate myself so much for that. BUT what can we do??? Lisa, please ignore him, it is just beginning, do not allow this guy to RULE your world!!! HUGS for you:-)

  38. Fool says:

    This post and this site has been a therapist to me in what is the most painful week of my life. My story is not unique, but it’s hard for me to even recap it
    I had a one-night stand that should have stayed that way. My EUM came about last spring and was a catalyst for me to break up with my relationship of 16 years. I couldn’t handle cheating, and to me it was clear that things needed to change. SO I never really processed the end of that relationship, I’m still not yet. Because then the ups/downs crazy bizness of a long distance relationship with my EUM lover began. And I went insane. I found a job near him, and a rental place not too near to not trigger his bachelor ways, and I began a month there-month here life. Painful for everyone, especially my children left behind with my grieving ex. He kept tossing in allllll those future forwards, and there were TONNES of indicators that he was a commitment-phobe. I did every single boundary-bereft thing a woman could do. And he got more and more and more distant and kicked up the awful behavior I guess in an attempt to make me do the heavy lifting. Classic. Then last week I had a near fatal car accident and he came to pick me up and drop me off at my place. I was a mess, and tackled, of all things, the Commitment Questions. He asked (again) why I was pushing this, and said he wasn’t wanting a serious relationship, blah blah. When I said I deserved more, he said “you’re right” and promptly left….I think he actually ran. The strength of my grief scares me.
    NC is so hard hard hard, I am utterly obsessed for all of the reasons I keep reading here, and I’ve booked my first ever app’t with a therapist. Same with my kids. But now I don’t know if the move is such a good idea, I’m so deeply confused and frankly I just don’t trust myself at all right now, I’ve no clarity. And it’s a lonely place to be, which I guess is better than waiting for the inevitable moments he doesn’t call or show up or just be there. Grieving the illusion indeed.
    Thanks for letting me share – it’s the first time, but likely not the last.

    • Mymble says:

      Hi F,
      Your story has certain similarities to mine (above).
      Funnily enough I was ill on the day I finished with him, it’s seeing how little someone cares about you when you are vulnerable that really hurts, and probably why you pushed the commitment issue. He was not treating you tenderly when you really needed him to do that. You knew what the answer would be, and at some level you must have wanted it to be over.
      When I get the urge to make contact I remind myself – he doesn’t care, and there’s nothing I can do to make him. I remind myself what it feels like not to care about someone – that is what he feels for me. You imagine you will never get over it. I spent days in bed crying over mine. It will get better, and possibly quicker than you think. I downloaded the “Unsent Letter” worksheet, and did it, it was very helpful for processing everything, and I like to read it again occasionally, when I feel sad/nostalgic/want to get in touch, because it shows me how much I have recovered.
      The rest of your life sounds like an unholy mess too – you will need to form a plan of action for dealing with all that, with a timetable, once you have got over the worst of the grieving. (((Hugs)))

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Because then the ups/downs crazy bizness of a long distance relationship with my EUM lover began. And I went insane. I found a job near him, and a rental place not too near to not trigger his bachelor ways, and I began a month there-month here life. Painful for everyone, especially my children left behind with my grieving ex. He kept tossing in allllll those future forwards

      I feel for you. I’m a veteran of fantasy relationships and while it is common to think that they are 100% imaginary, often there is sparse contact, sex, and visits sometimes. A month on / month off arrangement sounds also like it fails the touch test.

      He asked (again) why I was pushing this, and said he wasn’t wanting a serious relationship, blah blah. When I said I deserved more, he said “you’re right” and promptly left….I think he actually ran. The strength of my grief scares me.

      Yes, they always crap themselves when they detect it getting too intimate and serious. I really feel for you, you need as much support as you can get. Write down the bad things/things that made you unhappy and find counter-evidence.

      My counter-evidence was:

      If they wanted to be with me, none of this would have happened.
      If they wanted to be with me, they would have moved and they didn’t.
      If they wanted to be with me, they would not be sleeping with other people, but they were.

      • Doubtful says:

        “If they wanted to be with me, none of this would have happened.”

        I keep trying to analyze what happened and why. Not necessary. He didn’t want to be with me, that’s all.

    • allie says:

      I don’t quite get it. Did you cheat on your husband or did he cheated on you?
      Whatever if the case, this whirldwind “romance” if it can be called that has damaged you more than enough. It is obvious by his own words and actions that this EUM doesn’t want a relationship. The best thing to do it would be to stop, take care of you and what was it that make you fall for this affair to the point of leaving husband and kids and losing your self respect on the process. Maybe it is not to late to make things right with your own family and rebuilt it. I had been through a unwanted divorce, i was like in the other side of your story, so maybe there is hope, but don’t wait to long.

      • Polly says:

        Hi F,

        When I read this it made me realise how far I have come. Which I hope will give you some reassurance that things will get better for you. I almost ended up leaving my LTR over an obsessive affair. I have kids too. I didn’t leave in the end but still clung onto the AC to the death. When he took a sledgehammer to the affair when things got too close and comfortable I was left bereft and also felt ‘stuck’ in a LT relationship that I had effectively taken absence from for 2 years. But slowly slowly thanks to help from a counsellor, friends and of course BR I feel better, am moving on and importantly am addressing my own intimacy issues and rediscovering my partner. Sometimes I panic and want to run (like a true EUW) but I don’t, I stay and think and try and understand myself.

        You’ll get better. Be prepared for it to take time. Good luck

  39. BeatriceBlue says:

    Sometimes the bigger picture is tied up with the other person. I’m feeling so disappointed at the end of another rel’ship (Mr NPD number 2). I wanted to have children, he zoned in on that at the start and used it as bait. Well here I am four years later, no child. I am fed up attracting manipulative creeps who are great at setting their own lives up exactly as they want (although there’s an emptiness at the heart of this man that will prevent him ever being happy… but hey, who’s happy…)

    I learnt a lot from him so all is not lost. But it’s too late now. I wanted a child of my own and have to accept that due to my poor choices I have missed the chance.

  40. little feather says:

    This post really helped me put perspective on my recent ‘disappointment’. He was a disappointment, in many ways, but I need to leave that on him and not internalize it. I did the best I could no matter what judgments he made about me. I had a few bad days and weeks over this but now see that I would of been stifled in this relationship. He was rigid and stiff, not very open and locked up inside himself, but my fantasy had him being something different. My fantasy of who he was also had me believing I was less than when he rejected me. I’m getting over that now. He released me from his shallow little world, and now I’m free to shine, which
    I intend to do. I feel a shift in me and it feels like fresh air through this old shuttered house.

    • Outergirl says:

      Thank you Little Feather!
      I need to remind myself that was very true for my a/c as well.
      Drinks, dinner [at the same limited # of places], bad movies. I like going to plays, museums, concerts beyond ‘battle of the bands’! I’m not a teenager anymore and neither is he. Rinse/repeat. I’m not saying I did not have fun with him, but it was always fun that he liked first and foremost. If there was anything beyond his limited scope, I did it without him, which was better then letting him limit me, but I want someone who would like to do at least some of the same things as me.

      • little feather says:

        Yes, Outer girl exactly. We had so much in common, but hardly ever did these ‘favorite things’ together. That was a problem for me and I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t want to be joined at the hip, but I wanted to do more than have dinner and watch a DVD two or three times a week. After 6 months, I was still doing so much stuff alone. He was always to busy or too tired, or would look down his nose at my suggestions. I brought this up but it was completely twisted up by the time the conversation was over and I was left feeling like I was the one not trying in this relationship. I can see now that he would use this tactic to avoid any change. The distance in this relationship was what he was comfortable with and he managed any threat to this by blaming stuff on me. It was a catch 22. NC and time has really helped me see through the confusion and that he was using ‘mindfuck’ tactics to control his involvement. I don’t think he was even fully conscience of it or trying to be mean, he just isn’t very evolved.

  41. Niki says:

    yoghurt: “The bother is that when I DO feel sad, it’s like being in a hole that I can’t see out of…” So true. You know it’ll go, but there’s the fear that it’ll always be back. Maybe it’s the fear that brings it back, what a cycle.

    charityv: “I don´t think about what could I have done better or why it didn´t work out, I just feel sad.” That’s exactly it. I’ve left that phase a while now, I just want to get to the Moved On, Up and Over, and feel light and free phase.

    tired_of_assanova: “The No Dating Rule (8 months) and No Sex Rule (3 months) (together) followed for me and allowed me to break the powerful, physical compulsion to repeat the insanity. Trust me, this was extremely hard.” So true. Walking that walk is not easy, and the wants of the present overshadow the needs of a lifetime. I even noticed that I guy I was interested in recently was the ‘same guy, different package’ which Natalie often speaks of. The horror.

    Stephanie: Like I said, these men are ass-i-fied! Next time somebody pulls something like that, don’t even honour it by explaining why you won’t have sex with a stranger (-_-). Just raise your eyebrow and roll out. “Of course I love myself, but I can’t love myself enough if I’m still thinking about someone who used me as an option. How do you physically get to the point of letting go, moving on and forgetting the person? Am I making sense?” You are, and I’ve reached the same conclusion – maybe we don’t love ourselves as much as we thought. Cause if we did, these fools could not have passed go and collected $200.

    Thanks ladies, and thanks Natalie for this site. It has stopped many a woman from doing some dumb, destructive ish. And hopefully it will eventually lead us to better selves who attract men of worth.

  42. tina says:

    i enjoyed this read. i am constantly disappointed since i was young. i see now it was my expectatioins BUT i had 9 years with mr. eum narcisssistic banker. so we are DONE. no contact. no bueno. But I have since reconnected with an old flame via the linkedin. He sent me a message apologizing for bad timing, and how much he loved me but it didn’t work in our late 20s and then was going on oh beautiful ex what does this mean for me… And i got suckered. I have to go back to remember why we combusted in the first place… oh he laid his hand on me, was jealous and left me in a lurch in a time of need. and then reappeared as if nothing was wrong… he is european ans was looking for a “wife” to keep him here but said plain out I wasn’t going to do that for him and we had this passion. OK>>> so we reconnect after 15 years. He is married. and was writing and telling me sweet things then POOF he disappears. I am concerned i am subsitituing one bad thing for another since MR. EUM is gone. I am going to another disappointing thing. ANy help ladies. Keep me strong and not feeling bad..> Ciao. T

    • Stephanie says:

      Tina

      I dated an EU narcissistic banker! Lucky for me it was only 3 months not 9 years, but the damage was still done. The new guy on Linkedin is he a banker as well? Because its where they all hang out. However, my advice is to stay away and do NC, he seems EU as well. All of a sudden after 15 years he decides that he wants to know you again and he’s married! Keep away Tina.

    • tired_of_assanova says:

      Read the other posts on this site. This is a recipe for a catastrophe!
      FLUSH

    • Allison says:

      Tina,

      I don’t understand! He’s married, abusive and unreliable. Where is this gong to go?????

      Time to reevaluate your choices.

      • tina says:

        Thank you all. I know I don’t know why I get rid of one and another pops up. I know FlUSH. dumped him out of the email. My last interaction was the 15 years ago. He did me wrong but tried to apologize in a 5 page letter (we wrote back then:) so I saw him a few weeks after receiving the letetr. We happened to be on the same corner waiting to cross the street. He said “did you get my letter”. Me “Yes. (pause) I burned it” light changed and i crossed the street and didn’t look back. Yes I burned that thing. So i had to go back to a time when I took no sh… Thanks ladies XOXO

    • Fearless says:

      tina

      You said it, “He is married”. That’s all you (and we) need to know. Run very fast in the opposite direction.

  43. Freeatlast says:

    ‘Keep it real and drop illusions’ sounds so obvious and natural yet so many of us live on illusions! I can’t believe I did for so long but I’m finally getting it!……… I love the story on the Alanis Morissette Unsent video. So true!

  44. Jones says:

    Nat it seems like you are some sort of psychic, its scary how you always write things that are relevant to me just at that very time. Ive reached a point where i feel like i have had it, maybe i wasnt meant to be with anyone.

  45. ChiTownKitty says:

    Well, things have taken a turn and today I needed this post. Met someone online, had three dates with lots of hot texting and emails inbetween–can’t wait to see you and all that. Then after our last date where things began to get mor intimate the deep freeze begins. No more flirty texts, no more I want to see yous, we had made plans but he never sent a confirmation or cancellation.
    I am sitting here devastated. Its more than the disappointment of the person not being who I thought they were, its the devastation of doing my homework, setting my boundries (which were respected) and still finding that I had picked an AC. I swear I wonder if I have a sign on me that draws them to me. I waited a year after the break up with my MM EUM AC to date again and this is how it turns out. Im 50, lets be honest the prospects are slim. I know I am a good person, I know I deserve to be respected but I feel like there is no one out there that feels the same way.

    • FX says:

      ChiTownKitty, I feel for you. I’m not as far along as you are in time and healing but I’m your age and have the same fears you realized and thoughts about who/what is realistically available. I know I shouldn’t have a “last chance saloon” mentality but I was a man magnet (LOL) several years ago when I met the AC and now I know I’m invisible to more men than not in spite of my other virtues. Sigh… On the bright side, I see so many kinds of couples in my day to day life/work of all ages and attractiveness and they have found each other somehow and some of them must actually be healthy, happy relationships! I know it’s small consolation in the immediate aftermath but it was better to find out who he really was and reclaim yourself after a few dates rather than several years… Hugs to you. Btw, are you in Chicago, too?!!

    • grace says:

      ChiTown
      It was only three dates – as Nat said to me – slow your roll. It’s indicative of nothing. To be devastated is an over-reaction. Turn down the drama. As Sunshine posted (which I have printed off and stuck to my computer) IS ANYTHING REALLY BAD HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?
      You’re back to how you were before you went on the first date with this man. Nothing has been lost except some of your time.
      Hot texts and emails are a 100% red flag. I would have halted it right there. They’re just a game. Don’t do it. Well, certainly not with someone you don’t even know. And never do it as a substitute for actually seeing them.
      As for being 50. I’m 47 and hear you but women here in their 20s, 30s and 40s complain regularly that there aren’t any men out there.
      It’s a wonder the human race hasn’t died out. It’s the desperation to make THIS ONE THE ONE which has been landing us in all kinds of difficulty.
      It wastes much less time in the long run to take a more considered slower approach. And that includes saying no to sexts, sexemails and charm offensives. If he (or we) can put it out there so quickly – surely he (or we) can just as quickly do it to someone else. There’s nothing special about being treated to a seduction campaign. He (or we) can do it to ANYONE.
      It takes time to know someone. To be respectful, careful and honest takes consideration. Burning up someone’s inbox doesn’t cut it.

      • ChiTownKitty says:

        Dear FX and Grace–Thanks so much for all your words of wisdom. I think I got so caught up in the whole “Im actually going on a date” and looking for specific red flags related to my ex that I missed the ones specific to this guy. As for the sexting I even said that I didnt want to be someone’s sext friend or fwb and he said he was good with that (and then did it the next day!). Let’s put it this way, he knew all the right things to say and do in terms of sweeping me along—and to be honest since I didnt see the red flags I was looking for, I was more than happy to go along for the ride. I now realize that he never really asked about my life, my plans, etc. I directed the conversation and he went with it…I mistook chitchat for substance. I really don’t think I can go back to online dating. I mean, he and I IMed for three nights straight (all chitchat for the most part) and thought we had a “connection” and decided to meet in person. Yes, there was a chemistry between us but now I realize that for him it was to see if I was passable for the the next stage…a physical one. To be honest I hadnt dated in forever (was married for 23 years) and everyone is telling me that things progress faster now…and well, I wanted it so I did it without thinking of the consequences or what he was really after (thank God I didnt sleep with him!). Yes, I am guilty of letting my libido lead me…but Grace and Sunshine you are right…nothing bad is happening now…I survived, I learned, and I am moving on. I wasn’t a big Whitney fan but there was one song I really liked of her’s “Its not right but its okay”…love the line
        I’d rather be alone than be unhappy!

        Thank you everyone for your support…

        ChiTownKitty

  46. Dazed and Confused says:

    Wow this post struck such a chord with me! My exAC of 9 months, sent me a guilt text about a month ago saying “why won’t I answer his calls/texts he did nothing to me” then exactly a month later I get a picture text of him holding a baby. I maintain NC (with the good advice of BR), then a couple of days ago I receive the following text from AC “are you okay? I’ve thought a lot about you. I want to tell you I’m sorry. I’m not trying to disrespect you, I know you asked me not to contact you. I simply love and care about you.”
    What in the world?!? Is my life just a game to this guy? He had chance after CHANCE and now this? I was enraged when I saw it at the sheer rudeness and ego of him thinking he can flirt in and out of my life and wanted to give him a piece of my mind. But I maintained NC. Thoughts?

    • Little Star says:

      Please stay strong, do not break NC!!!…I did the same so many times, allowed my AC to come yet again .. and after all his out of this world promises he disappeared again…WTF I was expecting??? I cant deal with this anymore, NC forever!!!

      • Dazed and Confused says:

        @LittleStar what would your ex say to you??

        • Little Star says:

          Dazed and Confused,
          he said: “Lets start from beginning, I want to have children with you” (even I told him I cant have them!), he was still insisting…and where he is now??? NO IDEA, and to be honest, I do not want to know…So fed up:-( Move on honey, he does not deserve you!

          • Dazed and Confused says:

            @Little Star- okay we may have been dating the same AC because the first time my ex came back he said “you’re the one I know it, I want to have babies with you and get married soon”…crazy town!

    • grace says:

      Dazed and Confused
      Ignore him. It’s still just a stupid text.
      I’d be slightly more impressed if he called you and asked to meet you in a public place with no chance of sex. Get back to us if he does that.

      • Fearless says:

        Yes, Grace. I agree. Whatever they have to say in a text, it’s still just a stupid text. They can plead all the love and care (and pish) in the world by texting, but I have learned the hard way that men who mean what they say do not text it to you – they try to DO something about it. Texts are just a means of fishing for an ego stroke, which they will get if you respond and show you’d be up for getting messed about some more. Once he knows you’re still an option for him to mess about with he just disappears again cos his mission is accomplished.

  47. Modvogue says:

    This post is what made me regain my sanity earlier today. Thank you! I still feel sad (after nearly 5 months after things have ended and being as diligent and strong with NC as I possibly can) and disappointed by all the things I didn’t get out of the relationship. I believe on an intellectual level I can get all the things I wanted even if this relationship is over, but it’s taking so long for my emotions to catch up. Seeing a picture of my ex and his new girl last night unfortunately had me in a tailspin all day and this post calmed me down.

    However my sanity was compromised a couple of hours ago, again!I ran into my EUM tonight! I immediately panicked at the sight of him. It seemed like he had some sort of magnet attached to him and I couldn’t help but immediately jump up and pull myself in his direction. :( Just last night I learned he had a new gf because unfortunately i still check his twitter page every couple of weeks or so. Anyway, I’m glad I knew he had a gf beforehand because after we exchanged polite ,fumbled pleasantries I asked him what he was doing on my campus. He said, “I’m waiting for my girlfriend. She has a late class”. I ~immediately~ ended the conversation and walked away. I think I kept my composure well and I’m grateful I knew about his relationship before hand because if that was the first time I was finding out I might have just stared stupidly at him with my mouth open or fainted.

    The last thing this boy told me is that he was taking a “much needed,long break from relationships” and that he doesn’t know how to be in a relationship/ doesn’t think he can stay in one. I’m not shocked that he’s in one, he always needs a girl around to stroke his ego but I guess I just wasn’t expecting him to act THAT inconsistently so soon. Not to mention, that I could have scarcely got him to wait around for me or come pick me up after class!

    All my feelings of anger, hurt, jealously, obsession and embarrassment are beginning to creep back up. I’m scared. I’m scared I did everything wrong and she’s going to get the best of him. I’m angry and sad because I feel like I “lost” when I even bothered to speak to him. I should have just walked in the opposite direction or just gave a small wave as I passed right by. I hope he doesn’t feel like I still like him or that I’m jealous. I don’t want to give him that satisfaction. Not after the way he treated me! He hurt and disrespected me so deeply. And now he had the gall to try to rub his new girlfriend in my face! Why is he so cruel to me? I want to take everything back. I want to hate him and I want him to know I hate him. I’m still working through the disappointment……. Any advice?

    • Outergirl says:

      ModVogue
      I say this with love..stay off Twitter, FB, whatever social media you can find him on. You CAN help it. Only you have that power. Magnet? C’mon girl, that is nonsense. Let this go and heal and find someone better to be with.

    • charityv says:

      You will get through it! Don´t be scared of anything, try to lose all the lost thoughts about him. forget about the hate, hating someone means hanging on to someone, this will torture you, not him. the reason why he is so lightheartedly when telling you that he has a new GF is because he moved on, for himself. nothing of what he said to you was about you, as harsh as it sounds. he thinks he told you that he´s not available for you anymore and that was it. men do not think about; I said something and I have to stick it. they are saying something and doing something else.

      when my ex and I started to drift apart it was because he said that he doesn´t want to be committed only to me aka one woman anymore. he wanted to fool around with other women and hanging on to me as well and out of politeness he was telling me. days later when I questioned about what I and our relationship meant to him, he told me that his feelings are not that strong and I value our relationship more than he does. all of a sudden he told me that he was already having sex with other women and that it´s no just about sex that he´s also searching for someone new…. I mean WHAT AN ASS! I ended it right away as it hurt me deeply. and it doesn´t make sense anyway, see. telling this and telling that. he´s saying one thing now and then saying something else later and maybe doing something else completely in the meantime. I don´t give a rat´s ass anymore. I´m in NC and I wish him all the best. I am sad and happy at times. It comes and goes. I believe in myself and love me even more for letting this go. Not keeping attached to it, letting go the insanity of wondering WHY? will cure us.
      P.S: no woman will get the best out of a guy like this. trust me.

    • Jen says:

      OUCH! That hurts. Definitely stay off of social media sites where you can find him. BLOCK DELETE!

      The hard this is realizing that he didn’t choose her over you. No matter what he says and does, no matter what it seems like. Probably she let him treat her in a way that made him feel like he could continue being the same person, the same BAD person. If they genuinely are a better fit, than so what? You will find someone who is a better fit with you.

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. There is no other way around it, it just plain sucks. NC, focus on your life, and eventually it won’t hurt so bad.

  48. runnergirlno1 says:

    So many evenings when I log on to BR, I’m just left in awe and sometimes in tears . This post and the comments from all of you have helped me so much. I discovered Natalie’s blog over a year ago and I was concerned as to how my comments would be received. Thank you Natalie for creating a safe harbor where we can grow and change. My goodness the BR community includes some of the most intelligent wonderful folks I’ve ever met, although we’ve never met in person. You are all amazing.
    Okay, we’ve got to do a BR Meet Up doncha think?

    • Miranda says:

      Count me in runnergirlno1, we could all celebrate our current NC number…..mine today is 46 days!!! I couldn’t have done it without the support of you wonderful ladies and of course Natalie!!!
      I got all the way through the day to mid afternoon before I realised I hadn’t had one thought about the ex EUM…..I think that’s called progress. May also be because I’ve been enjoying some ‘mild’ flirting at work today with a certain cute guy!!! hehehe
      M x

  49. wanttoforget says:

    Hello everyone! I am so thankful to have found this blog! It is so what I need! It’s been a little over 3 months since my relationship has ended. Things ended abruptly and without closure. We were together for a little over a year. I was madly in love with him and I thought he was madly in love with me, telling me anything and everything I wanted to hear…pages and pages of love words! He was quite the wordsmith, which was probably my weakness. However, he started to show his true self. Lies and more lies! Caught him once (after a very big fight) on a dating website he said he went on out of spite. I started to follow my gut and keep a distance, I postponed our moving in together; but I just couldn’t stay away from him. He made me laugh, loved my children and they loved him in return, boosted my self esteem, made me feel beautiful, was excellent in bed; but he also constantly made me cry and question his trustworthiness and his sense of responsibility and he also was making me turn into someone I wasn’t. But I blocked those gut feelings and continued to move forward with him. I am a nurturer so I thought I could change those things. I supported him through EVERYTHING! A few months prior to our relationship ending I found out he had lied to me about something very important! It wasn’t the act of what he lied about but the act of lying that shattered me completely. I broke up with him. A week later, I contacted him. He begged for my forgiveness, called me his world, said he would fight till death for me and while I did try very hard to forgive him, there was this red light in the back of my mind and in all honesty, I made him work for my forgiveness. I started to get a gut feeling that someone else was in the picture a few weeks after we got back together. (Did I mention we lived in separate states). I started to question him, he was at one point in time very patient but this time, he became very agitated and angry with me. I knew right there and that my gut was dead on, but my heart wasn’t having it. We had a few rocky last weeks, actually and in attempt to try and fix things, we planned a date night. Little did I know, it would be our last. (ugh and now the tears fall). It infuriates me because he knew and he acted like nothing was wrong. It was probably one of the greatest nights we had had in a very long time. The next…

    • Infinite Corridor says:

      Sorry if this is insensitive to joke about, but sometimes I wonder if these AC’s are all the same dozen guys masterminding a bunch of women– none of us seem to get to see “him” very often. Or maybe it’s a robot. That would explain the level of emotional availability.

      But really, the reason I say this is your scenario rings true with my own experience. My AC met my family and said all the right things, and yet, made me cry all the time. When it was getting close to the endgame, he pulled out the Marriage card and instead of making me feel great… it scared the daylights out of me!

      This guy is a dissociative, manipulative monster. Marriage, love, commitment, FAMILY, none of them are sacred to him. They mean something to you and me, but they are just words to these guys! How could he pull the marriage card while not even being monogamous with me? How dare this man integrate himself with your children while being unable on a basic level to treat you with respect? It makes me feel sick.

      Depending on how fresh the wound is, thinking of your last time together will make you feel sad. I definitely had that EXACT SAME dramatic-ass thought running through my mind– what would I have said or done differently if I had known that was our last moment together??? If only I had known!

      Uh. Nothing. Because I’m a genuine and honest human being.
      And also, Had. Past tense. I feel so much better now, and I’m about 2 months out. I’m not 100%, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

      Don’t think of it as the last chapter of Your story. It’s The End of a nightmare, not a fairy tale. You know at the end of horror movies when the psycho finally gets his comeuppance, and it fades to black? Then the next scene has sunlight, birds chirping, and the Girl who Survived gets to start her life again? That’s you! You’re the heroine of your own life, not a side character in his.

      NC, NC, NC, end of story. No more time for this loser. If you don’t feel like you can do it for yourself, do it for your kids! They don’t get to choose what men come in and out of their lives– you do! It’s better to have no father figure than a f*ckup (and I have personal experience with this, growing up with a single mom. Think what sort of things you are teaching them about relationships!). Look how he treated you once he got into your head; who knows what kind of rinkydink abandonment bullshit games he’d run on your kiddos down the line.

  50. yoghurt says:

    “Don’t think of it as the last chapter of Your story. It’s The End of a nightmare, not a fairy tale. You know at the end of horror movies when the psycho finally gets his comeuppance, and it fades to black? Then the next scene has sunlight, birds chirping, and the Girl who Survived gets to start her life again? That’s you! You’re the heroine of your own life, not a side character in his.”

    I LOVE this! What a brilliant way to think about it!

  51. HeartShapedNoose says:

    Hi Everybody
    Its been a long time since I was here. I think the last post I made was on Oct 12 2011, about how difficult I was finding NC.
    Well I fell off the Wagon and we started dating again. Nothing changed. He still wanted plenty of alone time, and would sometimes get angry when I would text a hello. He told me while we were apart he had slept with a 19 year old girl. (Hes 35). We live about an hour and a half away from each other, I would go spend weekends at his place, and I always felt uncomfortable.
    We have only been broken up for a week now, and the last weekend that I was with him was horrible. He had just come back from a 3 week solos backpacking trip across London, Paris, Egypt, Turkey. I spent 400 dollars that weekend because he told me that his trip cost alot of money and he didnt have the money to pay for anything. no valentines gift or card, even though he told me that he was going to send me something nice, he never did. He told me that while he was on his trip he had decided that he had trust issues with me, and wanted me to be “okay” with him continuing to be my BF but “letting him have sex with other women” He decided he could not be in a monogamous relationship, and I should try to be okay with that, if I wanted to be with him. I cried all weekend. He wouldnt comfort me, all he would say was “well, the ball is in your court.”
    When we were together on New years Eve, I noticed him texting early in the evening. I asked him after about 20 mins of this, who he was talking too. He said…”oh just a friend”. I said, “is this a friend that youve had sex with?” As he had also admitted when we got back together, that he had been lying to me that while were were apart, but still sleeping together, that he was also sleeping with a couple of his “friends” as well. ” He said, UMMMM..yes. Ive slept with her. But its more of just a stay in touch kind of thing now.” “All my female friends know that im dating someone now.”
    So its been a week, I talked to him today, and I asked him after he thought last night would be a good time to text me a friendly “hello” that he would also let me know that a “friend” was coming to pick him up and SHE was almost there, they were going to have drinks and dinner. Awesome.
    So he admitted to me today that although we have only been apart for a week, hes been on one coffee date with one…

    • grace says:

      HSN
      Stop speaking to him (or texting). You’ve no need to keep tabs on his sex life.
      You’ve learned a deep and painful lesson that will benefit you in the future – when you take them back they treat you even worse. Yes there are exceptions but I’ve yet to see one or experience one myself, and it wouldn’t start with him telling you who he’s slept with or getting mad at you.
      He’s not going to comfort you. You’re just another girl on his rotation.
      Flush!
      At the very least don’t have sex with him. That can sometimes give you enough distance to cut the tie, though there are dozens or more women here who are pining over men they’re not even doing that with. I did it for three years. Don’t be me.
      Work towards NC, with a sense of urgency (not “I’ll do it when I’m ready”).

    • Little Star says:

      HSN, I am sorry you feeling this way:-( Please leave this guy, how dare he is saying all these things to you?! He is openly accepting that he is sleeping with other women, no respect what so ever to you and your feelings…I feel like screaming! Stay strong please, all the best and hugs!

    • Ashamed says:

      HSN,
      This man sounds awful. As hurtful as it may be, NC will be less painful than putting up with his abuse. Men today think because they are upfront and honest about how shady they are, they are doing no wrong… that they were honest so it’s our issue when they act like sleezebags. What is it with these men? Where is the respect we as women deserve? It’s so disappointing… even a 35 yr old can act like this. Flush him- fast and hard so the scum ball can never crawl up the sewer and back into your life. You sound way too sweet to be with this EU AC.

  52. fitnessfreak says:

    Back again !
    Some of these comments encourage me…and some just make me so sad that lovely women are still chasing after these assclowns… and acting out of fear …as if these relationshits will suddenly come good … it won’t.
    My ahah / epiphany moment came …when I found myself stressing for 24 hrs ( yes 24hrs ) of my precious life …over whether to send a text or not in case it came across as ” chasing ” someone who after 6 intense months was obviously backing off.
    I suddenly realised ….I HAD GIVEN ALL MY POWER AWAY !!! ….to another human being …err WTF!!!!
    I allowed myself to grief the FF, the promises, the intimacy …and found a therapist.
    I am the own author of my own happiness !! ..I do not need anyone to do that for me ….I am ok when I see him …but more importantly I am totally ok when I don’t.
    ( that doesn’t mean I am in a relationship with him …but not NC …as we were very good friends for years )
    Anyway ..when I realised I was the only source of my personal happiness…guess what …I got happy !
    Concentrating on kids , family , friends , music ,job, nature , books , laughter, good food and wine…….everything that enhances ME !
    Suddenly I didst need him …I could take him or leave him !!
    Now beware ….this is not a formula to ” get that EUM back ladies …flush …
    But …conversely…when I found me ..got happy and content ..without him !!!…funny how he now “realises all his mistakes ” , …
    Luckily I don’t want a lather , rinse , repeat !!…
    So many opportunities for us girls out there who have our self esteem in tow ….
    Embrace the future ….with or without a guy…get happy with YOU …
    It all works out in the end.
    All will be ok .
    As Eleanor Roosevelt said ” you must do the thing you think you cannot do”
    Make those people important ….those who make you important.
    If you have stopped feeling important to someone who …turns our to be a dickshit , all shirt no trousers …or gay ( yep that is my story )
    Flush , flush , flush ….
    You are way more important than any guy ..EVER !!!…..even even IF you reach your goal …and he is ” yours ” …you are still more important .
    Get a grip !!!!
    I got myself happy .

    • runnergirlno1 says:

      Hey welcome back HSN and Fitness,
      HSN it sounds like you’ve been through the 2nd chance wash and got caught in the spin cycle. I’m sorry. It must be a giant disappointment. Based on your comments, your head is clear though. Listen to what this guy is telling you. He wants to have random sex, including 19 year old girls. I have a 22 year-old daughter and if a 35 year old man was having sex with her, I’d beat him with a large stick. This seems to me to be a take a parachute and jump moment. If you don’t its just going to be more of the same shit, different day. It’s broken and you can’t fix it. But here’s the thing, you can fix you. Take every single day you don’t contact him to focus on YOU.
      Fitness, good to hear from you. Remember me? It’s different when you can have a life independently of some guy. Sorry to hear the guy was gay. It’s great that you are establishing a life independent of a male and you are happy. I don’t quite have a life yet because I’m taking some time to heal but I see the difference. The exMM recently realized all his mistakes too. However, his laundry list of mistakes didn’t include the most grave and serious mistakes such as lying, cheating, deception, disrespect, distrust, and dishonesty. If you met him today, he’d claim he was honest, respectful, and trustworthy because I knew he was married. HSN, you may need to pull the rip cord and jump. It hurts and it’s disappointing. It may just be the inner sky diver in me. Pull the rip cord on these AC’s. I can’t believe I spent any of my time thinking the sun shone out of his arse. WTF was I thinking?

  53. fitnessfreak says:

    An aside ….
    So many comments …say ” do I make sense ”
    …isn’t that de ja vu…..in all the ” chats ” you have with your guy ….or your ex ….

    It means we talk too much, think too much …do I make sense ? ….do I make sense ….code for ..
    I have no peace…if I was happy and and ok with me …I wouldnt care it I made ” sense”…I would be ok with me ….expressing me….take it or leave it x

  54. Ashamed says:

    I really am grateful for this site, it’s quite addicting. Thank you for the comments on the “Don’t push your boundaries” post and I responded but I think too late as it’s hard to find them after a few days. Like Mymble, I found myself with an AC in an effort to deal with my reality… my lackluster marriage to a man that has not a clue how to physically show me love. I basically live with a roommate as we coparent. I cry often as I sleep alone. The AC was everything I always wanted but scared to marry. Instead I married “safe”. AC was fun, passionate, flirty, outgoing, smart, adventurous,
    thrill-seeker, traveler, cultured … we had a blast together – no matter what it was- at least in the beginning until it became very sexual (w/out
    intercourse) and we didn’t have to have full blown intercourse, the
    chemistry and passion was that good. Yes, I am ashamed and I feel used but
    I can honestly say, that throughout the torture of the hot/cold spells, great
    chemistry/laughs and then days w/nothing and the humiliation of realizing
    what I reduced myself to I really don’t regret it. Why not? Because I learned
    ALOT from this. This man, made me realize that I can feel again, laugh and
    have fun, be active and play sports. I don’t have to give those things up b/c I
    am a wife and mother. I may have taken the wrong road to see this but I can
    assure you, I will never have another affair. I do miss the laughs, the
    affection, the passion, the fun and the great
    conversation but I’m sure he was enjoying the same with others. I have gone
    NC again(2nd attempt) b/c I need to figure out my marriage. Do I stay in this for the kids? Don’t I deserve to be made love to the way I used to with my college love? I decided to marry my best friend thinking this was better
    than any passion as he would always be there for me. I underestimated my need for affection, warm hugs and kisses, a way a marriage was intended. I am numb and I am working my way through a decision … 2011 was a tough year for this marriage. My husband would get so mad at me when I
    threatened to leave and he intentionally made it difficult so I would stay as a
    result. I’m hoping that 2012 provides me the strength and clarity I need to
    make a decision and stick with it …it is so hard after all these years. I do think that being alone is better than…

  55. InLoveWithMarried-no more says:

    without your blog I would still be waiting for facebook message once a week from my ex married AC..I would still ne nervous, full of bitter, unhappy, and etc etc….Thank you!!! You gave me my life back!

  56. Rain says:

    I met a guy 10 months ago online. We’re both in our early 20s although I’m older than him. We didn’t meet in a dating website; we met on a fb fanpage of a nba player we both are a fan of. So we became friends. At first it was all friendly and casual and then as months passed our conversations became deeper. We sent long, as in really long fb messages DAILY throughout those months. Never had I lied to him and I know that he never lied to me either. I won’t share the details of our convos but he’s a kind person and I would not even talk to him that much if he’s rude. Anyways, back in October; we had a problem. During this time we haven’t really defined our relationship. And something happened that made us finally discuss what we are to each other. He asked me so I told him that I feel that we’re more than friends. He agreed. He said that even though at that time, he often tells me he loves me but feel scared and hurt deep inside because we’re not together physically. But yeah, we decided to treat each other as bf/gf with all the nicknames and stuff. We were happy until he decided to end it two weeks ago. You see, we had plans. The plan is for me to visit him for a week this June. We’re both excited about it. And then two weeks ago, as I’ve said he ended things between us by sending a fb msg. He said, although he wanted that one week visit to happen, he felt that after having to see each other it would be very difficult for him to deal with the long distance thing again. So he said he can’t go on with our relationship. He also said he would not be in a relationship any time soon because of the qualities he saw in me. I was devastated, but I accepted it. He said his decision was “firmly made” so I felt scared that if I stop him, I’ll be rejected again. I sent him a message too that day and we’re no contact since then and it’s killing me. I miss him so much. I decided not to log on to my Fb because the whole thing reminds me of him. Night time is the worst. I’m so hurt and disappointed. All my dreams of being with him are now gone. I just can’t accept the fact that we’re over. It hurts me so much. I feel like not contacting him will make him miss me and change his mind but as days pass by it scares me more that he had moved on and totally forgot about me. So it makes me think that I should contact him before completely losing him but a part…

    • grace says:

      Rain
      Have you met this guy?
      I think you should flush and move along.
      For all you know he could be married with kids. The man I “fell in love with” via a chatsite who seemed so sensitive and kind and honest was keeping a child from me and a vengeful ex and another girl that he was jerking around. The problem with these fantasy relationships is that you can easily project onto the person YOUR OWN qualities! I know, how effed up is that!
      Count this as a lucky escape and go meet a guy in the real world (after you’ve addressed what’s missing in your life that a fantasy relationship looks like a good bet to you).
      And, no, don’t demote yourself from pretend girlfriend to pretend friend either. I tried that and it’s absolute bollocks.
      General observation: What’s with the fantasy relationships? There’s been an absolute plague of them recently!

      • Rain says:

        Hi Grace and MYMBLE, I know he didn’t lie to me about his identity. I am also fb friends with her sister. :) And I know that his FB account is real, it’s too easy to tell when a FB account is fake. Let’s just say that all this time I’ve already proven that he is who he says he is. The thing about us is that both of us didn’t look for this relationship that’s why I highlighted in my comment that we met on Fb and not on a dating website because when you meet someone from a dating website, it means that you are looking for an “online relationship”. With us, it just happened. That’s why it’s hard because we both fell into this. Yeah if he’s really not the one for me then I’d be able to move on but at this point, I can’t see myself with anyone but him. Yeah I was thinking of being friends with him still but I don’t know if can handle that. But the thing is, I don’t want him out of my life. Ugh. I’m sorry I’m so weak and lost. But, really, thank you guys for your reply. God bless!

        • grace says:

          Rain
          The fact that this is “accidental” doesn’t make it more real. You seem to be buying into a “fate brought us together” notion. I understand it. I’ve done it myself. But it’s not real. To throw your emotions, dreams, time and life after a fantasy is totally unproductive and potentially harmful.
          Plus he doesn’t want to meet you anyway.
          And have you met his sister or is she just a FB friend too?
          Maybe there is just too much FB here.
          I’m a fuddy-duddy but my 16yo niece manages to organise school events and have a boyfriend (of two years) who she sees regularly (with her eyes) with minimal FB.
          You can’t see yourself with anyone but him because you’ve built up this powerful alternate reality. Abandon it and new options will open up before you. Like magic.

    • Mymble says:

      Rain,
      I sympathise bc an awful lot of my *relationship* (ha ha) was fantasy conducted through email. Even before I’d found BR my gut instinct was that this was bad and that he could be giving a completely false impression of himself. But if you haven’t met him and he is chickening out this makes me think he may really be someone quite different. Did you see that film about a man who fell in love with a beautiful girl on FB and went to see he without warning – turned out she was a middle-aged married woman with a disabled son and she had invented a whole FB life with nonexistent friends etc. True story. She did have mental health problems. Maybe. Maybe she made them up too. I would bet on it that there is something far wrong, that he has lied to you bigtime about important things, probably many important things. Sometimes I have thought I should flush my iPhone down the toilet. An Internet and FB ban sounds like a good idea.

  57. tina says:

    good for you. set yourself free. i knew that waiting game. and now i don’t. much better now. xo xo

    • Rain says:

      Oh man, waiting is so, so hard. It makes me so paranoid. I’ll just wait and wait and wait because I believe that the time will come that I will stop waiting if I’m meant to be with someone else. But for now, since I still love him I’ll just wait. Even if it’s so painful. Thanks for your reply!

  58. HeartShapedNoose says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for your encouraging words, I am having a tough time coming to terms with everything. I know that NC is the best thing to do, but Im having those moments after you break up with someone, where even when theres a ton of bad things, often more than good things, all you can concentrate on are the few good things that happened between the two of you. Im having a hard time staying angry, and remembering that I deserve better, and that hes a complete AC whos pattern isnt going to change. With me or anyone else he might be dating. Hes going to treat any other woman the same way, and even told me that when we were breaking up..”If it wasnt this trust issue thing with you, I may have found some other reason. I ve always found a reason to break up with the people im closest too.”
    Im confident that this website is going to help me, and I will stay strong.
    Cheers
    HSN

  59. Jane says:

    I’ve been trying really hard for about seven months now to move on from a huge disappointment. I fell in love for the first time in my life–at age 43. We shared some incredibly emotionally intimate moments, and I believed he was falling in love with me, too. But after only about two months together (and when things seemed to be going great), he suddenly told me he didn’t want a relationship (and was “done” with them) and that while he liked “everything” about me and wanted to be with me, he knew if we stayed together it would get serious and he didn’t want that because he knew he’d screw it up based on past history. It took me a while to accept it, but I finally started to. Then he immediately started seeing someone else and is still with her seven months later. Based on everything I know about their relationship, it’s a textbook “casual” one like Natalie describes. What keeps me stuck is wondering how he can be with her when he was so adamant that he didn’t want a relationship. I worry I won’t be able to trust what another man says after this.

    • grace says:

      Jane
      The bigger question is – how can you be so sure you loved him in two months? It’s not long enough.
      I speak as someone who has “fallen in love” after one night, or some internet chat, or a month (or two).
      Sometimes our desires and fantasies, mixed in with their future fakery propels us into over-committing. But it ‘s not really commitment if you don’t know what you’re committing to. It’s a dream.
      Are you NC with this guy – how do you know so much about his relationship? Thinking about them all the time is a very effective way to stall your own healing. I had a man yearn after me for seven years after I broke up with him. At the time I thought it was romantic and I must be oh-so-special. Now I think – he had issues. Trust me, I’m not worth seven years of yearning. No-one is. Give your healing a full year then move yourself along.

      • Jane says:

        I believe I was in love with him–but the him I thought he was. He’s a Future Faker–the kind who actually believed what he was saying when he said it and then backtracked when he realized he couldn’t follow through. And he’s also emotionally unavailable–with a serious fear of intimacy that he developed over the course of many years (and, I believe, led to his failed marriage). I have tried NC from time to time–not texting or calling him, de-friending him on Facebook, staying away from our mutual regular hangout or going in when I thought he wouldn’t be there and ignoring him when he was there and tried to talk to me, but when I’m caught by surprise (especially when he’s with her) I often panic. I know about his relationship with this girl through mutual friends and his blog. I’ve asked the mutual friends to not talk with me about it, and I’m proud of myself because I just figured out how to block my computer from accessing his blog. The next big step is to find a new hangout (easier said than done given different variables), but a step I know I need to take. Thanks for the feedback, Grace.

  60. Lala35 says:

    THIS just made me sigh with relief and understanding. I am going to read this again. When I feel sad, missing ex Emotional Retard (ER) and tempted to break NC I come here. Nat I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this site. I will pass this on to anyone I know who is suffering with an ER or any of his known associates!

  61. Ifeeoma says:

    i need a help please.

  62. Dawn says:

    Hi all
    I agree with what you are saying however, he has given you the option to choose how you would like to be treated. If, when you look at your bounderies and values, you realise that this is not the sort of behaviour or relationship you see for yourself you can make the choice not to be involved with it. You self esteem at the moment may be low and his behaviour may make you angry and upset, but his behaviour is a reflection of the type of person he is and not a reflection on you as a worthy person, unless you allow yourself to stay put and put up with his type, which will make you feel even worse about yourself, which is not fair on you. You are punishing yourself needlessly and it can weaken you, however, it could also make you stronger and more intune with your values and what you want in a relationship if you can say loudly NO actually this is not the sort of type I want because he makes me feel unhappy instead of happy , therefore it certainly is not love or even like come to think of it.
    I hope you can find your strong side and let this type out of your life and put this type way out of touch for your future relationships.
    I as interested to read that someone is just waiting, waiting for what? a miracle? him to change? (you cannot change a person full stop, they are what they are you need to accept that). Mean while you are making yourself unavailable for anyone else to try and make you happy and connect with you. What a waste of life in general, waiting, for a train that will never arrive? for someone to make you happy who has no intention of ever doing so? seems irrational behaviour when you take the want and hurt away. I am sure you do not need him, if so for what? if you say happiness you are relying on something out of your control to do that, again irrational behaviour. Step out of the situation yoy hold yourself in and look at ifor what it is at this moment of time, I am pretty sure you are not happy with it. Only you can make you happy and that can only happen when you think of your situation at this moment and not what happened in the past or what might happen in the future, Might is a very obscure word, it is not rock solid that will definately happen, especially with this type of person.
    Best regards
    Dawn
    Best of luck
    Dawn

  63. Wise ol owl says:

    Heart Shaped Noose,
    Your post only helped me realize NC is the only way to go in these situations and helped me strengthen my own resolve. Stop right now feeding on not crumbs but specks that this pig gives you. You WILL meet someone worthy of you when you love yourself first. I feel sad that any man would treat a woman that way, but please realize that life is way too short to put up with that. Also, if more women drew the line in the sand and really stayed away, for good, there would be far less men out there pulling this crap! Stay strong, stay away from that trash, and love yourself girl! Strut around like the peacock that got free!!

  64. Wise ol owl says:

    One more thing women–love should not be this hard. If you have to convince, conjole, make excuses, accept excuses, be blown off, worry and constantly wonder….guess what? He aint the one for you. I say, “happy hunting”– bid them farewell and wish them luck. Let them find what they’re looking for and you should be out there finding someone who it will naturally “flow” with, for that will be the one for you. It’s amazing to realize the power you truly have when you let something go. (It’s taken me many years to get to this point, but at 53–i finally get it!) Best to you all?

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!