Every relationship has some hope in it but not all relationships have reality in them. Choose to enter into and copilot one that has both.

In the past I used to commit to air aka ‘hope’ with heavy notes of bullshit. This set me up to be repeatedly disappointed by effectively Future Faking myself (projecting a future so I could get away with or get stuff in the present) and often allowing others to Future Fake and Fast Forward me, the latter being when someone uses speed and intensity in the beginning or when wooing you back or distracting you from what may be their assclownary or just the lack of matching words and action.

When reality didn’t match my hopes and expectations, I’d either be left wounded, disappointed and grudgingly single again or, I’d dig deeper into the How Low Can You Go Bunker and roll out the people pleasing big guns because it was ‘easier’ than admitting that I’d made a mistake.

There came a point in my life when I literally could not stomach anymore bullshit and it was when the prognosis for my then illness was pretty dire and I also had to face the fact that I’d spent 4.5 out of 5 months wondering if I was in a relationship with someone and being mucked around. These two things along with no longer being willing to play a role within my family that left me feeling powerless and it was time for me to breathe in the air of reality.

Overactive imaginations, insecurity and a penchant for responsibility dodging don’t go well with romantic relationships so I determined to be reality based and to phase in commitment – in effect, The Debit and Credit Trust System. This means entering into relationships and situations with a basic level of trust due to being safe in the knowledge that you have your own back due to being a resident in reality.

Increase (or decrease) trust based on consistent results over time – reality.

Rather than increase trust because somebody gave you the time of day or an orgasm, or assume trust because they have a certain job, sex appeal, status, level of intelligence, are in your church, or they like bowling and recycling, increase trust based on the reality of your involvement.

How do you feel on an ongoing basis? Actions matching words? Is your relationship progressing on an emotional, physical (not just sex but do you consistently see this person and what is it like when you’re together and also apart?), and intimate level? Do you share core values? If you don’t, trust issues will arise even if you’re not aware of why on a conscious level. Does the same person show up consistently or are you dealing with someone who seems to have multiple personalities? Are you hoping or are you living? Do you trust this person because they conduct themselves with integrity, loyalty, compassion, empathy, respect, care etc., or do you trust them out of laziness to go through the discovery phase or out of an avoidance of trusting you? Are you still the same person that entered into this or have you changed to appease? If yes, that’s a code red.

Phasing in commitment allows you to gradually get to know someone through the discovery phase and have the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental space to have a sense of your own reality. It also helps you to spot the other landmarks of healthy relationships – consistency, progression, balance, intimacy, mutual love, care, respect and trust along with shared core values.

It is unrealistic and foolhardy to jump straight in at the deep end, not just because it can be like leaping in with your eyes, ears and hands taped up into shark infested waters but more than likely you may find that it’s deceptively shallow where you jumped.

Going all in immediately or very quickly is a gamble that’s highly unlikely to pay off, not least because it gives the impression that you’re desperate to escape something.

Someone who wants to be in reality and they themselves want to get to know and learn to trust you will have no objection to taking time.

The Future Faker and Fast Forwarder seeks to circumvent the phased in commitment process by projecting and promising while expecting that you commit and give on this basis – hope that they will produce the goods. Sure, if they were willing to be themselves and show up each day to the relationship, you could judge whether to gradually commit on that basis. They pepper the bullshit with what appear to be ‘examples’ that indicate the expected outcome, then you reciprocate… and then when the results begin to diminish, you end up mind effed and/or working harder.

When both parties are willing to be accountable for themselves as well as what happens in the relationship, you get two people having a relationship in reality. If you want to take your time and the other party wants to blindfold you or fill up the relationship with smoke and mirrors, much as you might be tempted to take a punt on hope, it’s best to heed the reality that complying will end up causing you to detract from you while intentionally opening you up to harm.

Every relationship has some hope in it but not all relationships have reality in them. Choose to enter into and copilot one that has both.

Your thoughts?

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

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


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300 Responses to Phased In Commitment – Reality based instead of hope based commitment

  1. Vicki says:

    Thank u so much for this. Its just what i need right now and will keep comin back to monitor things.
    Excellent thoughts as per usual natalie! :-)

  2. Confused liz says:

    Ok so this is my first time posting on here and I just wondered if anybody could give me some advice (I apologise this will be quite a long post) so I have been involved with this eum/ac for almost two and a half years, in the beginning we both admitted we were a little scared as we had been hurt In the past, we started seeing each other after a few weeks, only on a Saturday as I didn’t want him to meet my little boy straight away , this went on for 5 months then he said he would like to meet him as he was not ‘going anywhere’ said he loved me , I’m the best thing to happen to him yada yada so we started seeing each other every weekend all weekend and eventually once through the week, only ever at my place (I have never been to his) everything was great we got on so well I felt he was my soul mate, a few times he made excuses not to see me like he was ill, he was seeing friends, his mom needed him etc etc but I kind of ignored this as I had no idea eum existed :-/ then my mom was diagnosed terminally ill with cancer last year and a month later he texts to say he can’t give me what I want/need/deserve. And ended it only to come back a month later stating how sorry he was and that I’m the best thing in his life and we should move in together, I fell for it of course and 3 months later the same thing happened after another one of his let downs , he came back several weeks later sayin sorry and he got scared etc and I believed him again! Then I lost my mom the end of last year , he supported me although I think he could have been there more , then in January he fone another Houdini on me saying how I deserve someone who can put me first etc , some weeks went by and he text me I responded and I have been foolish enough to be his booty call- twice :( he told me how he can’t imagine life without me or with anyone else and told me he has issues. I’m kind of stuck as to what I should do now as the texts have died down and he seems to act ‘off’ with me. Is now the time to go nc ? It hurts so much cos I love him and I keep thinking of the nice things he did for me and what he said etc , if anyone can give me some kind of advice I would be really greatful , thanks xx

    • Juzz says:

      Oh Liz,

      No contact…all the way. I have been in similar circumstances and without this site & it’s abundance of wisdom and Natalie’s no nonsense but very caring approach I would be a true head case.
      It seems like a long, lonely & treacherous path ahead but take one step at a time, one day at a time & there will become a day in the future that you will look back and be so very proud of who you have become. :)
      Trust me, most of us have been in similar positions. I have yet to enter a r’ship but I’m in a healthier position to do so now.
      Good luck

    • Tabitha says:

      Liz it does hurt but NC will give the the space and clarity to see this idiot for what he really is. A waste of space, unable to commit. Natalie has a saying I have found very useful “How much misery does it cost you to get your drop of happiness?” From what you have said, that is the question you have been asking yourself. Good luck, and do not respond, no matter how many crocodile tears he sheds. For all you know he has OW and just rotates you when he gets a little bored. You can do better.

      • confused liz says:

        thank you :) your words mean a lot and this site has helped me a great deal, in my head im just thinking why o why would we get on so well / he was caring/ kind/ bought me and my son nice gifts/ got along with him great always did nice things for me up until the last time he left, if he didnt mean it :-/ is this normal ac behaviour? he has admitted to having issues from childhood and claims to not want to hurt me further which is why he isnt ‘with me’ , oh and he is almost 36 and still living with his mom, always has!

        • Allison says:

          Liz,

          This man has shown you – numerous times – he is incapable of a relationship. Please don’t waste anymore time on him, as this could also be disastrous for your son – Your son needs someone consistent in his life.

          One of many red flags is that you have never been to his home or been incorporated into his life, you are being treated as a secret, and always will be – My ex did the same to me, being on the periphery of someone’s life is very hurtful.

          He is a waste of time. Please don’t allow yourself to be used any longer.

          • dancingqueen says:

            @Liz,

            I am so sorry that he was able to successfully cover up his awfulness for so long prior to pulling off the mask and subjecting you to all that. He was however definitely screaming with red flags.

            I think that you can learn two things from the slow beginning: one: big red flag from the very get go that he did not have you come to his place and that, at that age, he lived with mom ( if that is true…what was he hiding) two; if it took him 5 months to plead his case to meet your son he was not really committed. I think after about three months he should have been asking. It just seems way too long. One knows, after about 3 months, if one is fully “in” and then he should have been asking imho.

            NC is the best way to get this jerk off of your mind: you also need to ask yourself why you put up with this drama at all, after he flaked on you when your mom was ill.That was just so so low. Please get some help with figuring out the root of your decisions, rather than focusing on his behavior. There is no point in bothering to figure out him; he is just a jerk. Good luck:(

        • YMC says:

          Liz – don’t overthink it. Ask yourself one simple question”Am I happy” – don’t try to pick out happy moments or make excuses for him in order to ignore how you feel – one simple question “Am I happy” – do I feel like I have a partner and that I am loved and respected and cared for. You know the answer – you’re just ignoring it…and you’re going to pay the price until you stop overthinking it and prioritize your happiness.

    • Suki says:

      I see what Natalie is doing here. Her posts have gone from lists ’10 ways to spot an AC’ to ‘yes, you are responsible too’! Hard to take sometimes.

      For Liz: who cares what he does or thinks. The real question is what do you think and feel? Do you like being treated this way? If yes, keep on. If no, the answer is clear. He is not kind at all – if he is so mean on some occasions, then it doesnt matter how kind he is on any others. Red flags have been smacked around in your face and you are choosing to not notice. Why does he have the right to drop in and out of your life, with you a sitting duck? Do an experiment – you drop in and out of your life, and see how he reacts. Take social life as an experiment – dont get attached, see how people behave [isnt that the point of this post?].
      When I was with an AC, it was terrible terrible. The first 2-3 months, I can honestly say that was all his fault, he was future faking, he told some monumental lies, and some other whoppers. I didnt make him lie, so this is all on him. But the 3 years after that that I stayed with him, with his behavior getting worse and worse, and mine often not much better in giving back as good as I got, then I have to blame myself. He showed me who he was. And I stayed till the moment that I realized that the bad would never outweigh the good – but why wait that long? Its not supposed to be this hard, nothing is supposed to be this hard. Dont get used to feeling like crap because you’ll start to assume that this is normal. Feeling this way is not normal. And it has lasting consequences on your judgment – so get out now, NC, and dont wonder about his crappy behavior. Wonder about your non-taking of responsibility and non-ability to stand up for yourself. Trust yourself that you are strong, that you can control your life, that you dont need crappy commitment man to feel good about yourself.

    • Work In Progress says:

      Liz–your story is so much like mine! Four years with the same guy who just never showed up in the relationship but begrudgingly allowed me to think that things would change. My daughter is 6 and after two years I let him move in with us. He quit a job and then took forever finding a new one. I thought I was being careful and setting boundaries but I was actually letting him walk all over me. He didn’t pay bills until I would have a fight with him about it. Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer last year and passed away at the end of the year. He had lost both his folks some years ago and I thought he would be such a help during everything–definitely not. It took my an extra 6 months after my mom died to get my head out of this relationship fog to realize none of my friends thought he was good enough for me and I was basically settling for the hope that he would be a good husband/father. I just broke things off two months ago and am so much happier! Truly the hurt and stress you feel now will go away once he is gone and you focus on you and not him. Sorry about your mom and I wish you all the luck in the world! You are strong and you can do this!!!

      • confused liz says:

        thank you @work in progress, im sorry o hear about your mom too i hope you are ok. you are right, im sorry you have had to experience one of these hurtful men too. i have just deleted him from my fb, 2 days nc :) hurts like crazy but this site and time will be good to me im sure x

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Liz, he is showing you who he really is now. He is not the person he made you believe he was in the beginning. A kind and caring man doesn’t use women for sex, for “booty calls”. He will continue in blow hot and cold, on and off, it will not change. Buy all of Natalie’s books and go NC and get rid of this guy. He is only using you and his behavior is bad for your child.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Liz,

      Your post struck me as well. Common themes as in my recently ended 3-year relationship: ‘I’m the best thing to happen to him’ ‘he can’t imagine life without me’, ‘after another one of his let downs , he came back several weeks later saying sorry and he got scared etc’, and especially ‘I deserve someone who can put me first etc’. I heard all those things too. This is so hard. But I have come to realize lately that being unavailable comes in many forms. I don’t think they are all narcissistic AC’s (love that term – dated one for a year – yuck!) I suspect your guy is like mine – cyclically depressed. The good times are great, but they don’t last because when inevitable uncomfortable feelings come up, rather than being able to work through them, these guys need to escape. While I want to be there for him and help him through (maybe you do too?) I realize that we can’t do it for them. They have to find their way on their own. And if we love ourselves, we can’t hold our lives up waiting. So I am thinking these days about who I am and what I want. I am grieving the loss of him while staying open and willing to receive love, depth, and commitment from the right man. It could be him if he finally steps up and shows me he is ready willing and able to overcome his barriers. Or it may be someone else. Meanwhile I am getting to know and appreciate myself, and feeling better everyday about being on my own. We have so much to offer to others and to ourselves. All the best to you.

      • confused liz says:

        hi julie, thank you for your post, i have thought on a number of occasions that he may be depressed, but then does that answer why i have never been invited to his home ? :( i know what you mean – you have to come first and i am starting to put myself first too. i would love it if he came to me and told me he was seeking help etc etc but i highly doubt this will happen as he has already said that it is a bit of a ‘grey area’ him being with me as he tends to hurt me. after seeing everybodys posts and realising im definately not alone , i am feeling stronger everyday although it is still really hard considering how long i was ‘faked’ for. nearly 4 days nc now ( wonder if hes noticed haha) good luck to you too :) hugs xx

        • confused liz says:

          im starting to feel really angry now, as i know hes just getting along with his life without seeming to care and i just keep thinking to myself how the hell could he be with me for 2 years, say and do the things he did for so long then nothing? is this normal eum’ac behaviour? and will this feeling last ? :(

          • natashya says:

            liz — sadly, what you describe is pretty ‘normal’ EUMAC behaviour. many of us have had a taste of one or more of the 50 shades of assclown but at the end of the day, the story always ends the same.

            the feeling will not last. it may be your buddy for a while, but eventually it will fade. please have faith that the way you are feeling right now, won’t be forever.

          • Sandra says:

            I’ve been there and got professional help in dealing with my underlying issues. One thing that was helpful was to journal and plan meaningful things to do to fill up that time you would have spent with him. I planned 30 activities for 30 days. One was to put together a 1000 pieces puzzel. It took me 9 months, but at the end it helped. Time is what it will take. There are no short cuts. Sorry for your pain.

  3. lawrence says:

    Hi, Natalie -

    I see an analogy inspired by your “debt and credit” remark: future faking/fast-forwarding is like offering up as trade a shaky promissory note. It’s like trading with stuff you don’t actually possess – future goods that may never come to exist. Or maybe another analogy also applies: like rushing into investing in a dot.com which has nothing solid to back it up. A lot of money lost a lot of money in that back in the day (though some were rich on paper for a time). ;)

    Your phasing-in of trust, while starting with an open, trusting mind – strikes me as a spot-on, sensible suggestion.

    Lawrence

  4. Bea says:

    I was asked out on a date by someone who was my neighbor. I moved to a different state and he’s coming to my city for our first date. We’re both in our 50s. We appear to want the same things in life. However, we’re not sure that we want them with each other. There is a strong physical and somewhat emotional oonnection. We’re very very clear on the length of time required to know someone. I am hesitant about long distance dating. It reminds me too much of the online dating, which does not work for me. I am very visual. Body language and routine activities allow us to know someone. What do you think?

    • Allison says:

      Bea,

      Why didn’t you date when you lived near one another?

      LDRs rarely work. How do you truly get to know someone if they do not live in your area? Personally, I think LDRs are very EU, as they keep you safe from letting someone completely in.

      Why not date someone who lives local.

      • paolo says:

        I agree with Allison..As someone that has done LDR and also known others that have done so…They can be a trip to painville..Lots of pineing, lots of dreaming and fantasy,,and worst of all, alot of crumbs.

    • Tenneil says:

      LDRs are tricky. I’ve done it and I’d never do it again. I think they can work if you’re in an established relationship that’s been going on for a while already, but to date, no. I rushed into a LDR without properly dating (I met my ex-boyfriend while travelling) and the outcome wasn’t good. I ended up with a future faking, fast forwarding EUAC! It only lasted four months, but thank God it didn’t drag out any longer!

  5. skadia says:

    I wonder what to do when no one wants to take the time to get to know you. People consistently pass me over for getting to know me. Guys just don’t seem interested in me in any other vein than an ego stroke… seriously. I’m actually wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I had a guy whose brother tried to set us up about 5 yrs ago hit me up and try to get a booty call from me. Like what? We went on a date once and since I’m still single I’m your booty call? Shake my head….

  6. Kim says:

    Spot on, Natalie! I just ended a “relationship” with someone who tried to fast-forward me into giving up all of my free time to be his be-all and end-all, and this after 1.5 months. I had some bad feelings about this when he said he was falling for me after 2 dates, and tried to put on the brakes then, but he charmed me and said that he was just responding to how special I am (another load of BS, he didn’t know me, so how could he think that, really?). So, I relented and he wooed me, and of course I ended up sleeping with the guy, and then he starts this “oh I don’t want to be apart from you” noise, which, after I questioned what that meant, came to be that he wanted to move in with me. And I have 2 kids! So, then he decided that my place was too small, and we needed to find a place of our own, and surprise, surprise, guess who would have to pay for the whole enchilada, because he has NO money? He was looking at 150K houses and sending them to me at work. Then he started questioning how tight my pants were, how much time I was spending at the gym, were there men there, were there men at another class I take, and why couldn’t I ditch all of the activities that I did away from him and find new ones that he and I could do together. Needless to say, I dumped him, and then the real fun began. He started stalking me, texting, calling, emailing, threatening suicide, telling me to run, baby, run, so I hit him with a restraining order. Next time, I will listen to my gut telling me that this one is a PSYCHO!

    • This is hilarious! And kind of scary as to how similar it sounds to my story.

      I think you were so brave to actually go ahead with the restraining order.

      I was with my ex from almost a year (actual relationship was about 8 months) and he told me he loved me before we even started going out! Just like me to fall for that crap.

      Once we actually got together he started the paranoid behaviour and told me every guy I talked to was in love with me and how I shouldn’t be showing that much skin when we go out or talking to guys alone etc.

      Then when I finally ended it.. exactly the same as your AC! Got calls and texts day in and day out, sometimes around 50 missed calls within a few hours! He kept more in contact then than he had when we were together! I got emails, threats that he would kill himself if I didn’t go back to him, how no-one could compare to me and actually turned up at my apartment at 2am, drunk, arguing with security to let him in!

      I actually considered a restraining order too, but then he moved on with another girl and the hoopla died down!

      • EllyB says:

        How horrible! I’m glad you both got out and are (hopefully) safe from those ACs now.

        Btw I think this is a story that happens to men quite frequently too: An AC woman lures them in with sex and flattery, quickly moves in (often with the guy paying for everything), her behavior becomes more and more controlling and when he tries to dump her she quickly turns into a stalker. I’ve seen this happen several times. It is clearly abuse. Unfortunately many guys keep quiet about their painful experience because they think they are supposed to be “strong”.

  7. aquagirl45 says:

    This is awesome! Funny thing is that Im just ( at the age of 45) beginning to see how this behavior comes off as DESPERATE! I was being too lazy to do the work of really getting to know someone. This is so helpful Natalie. THANK YOU :-D

  8. Valley Forge Lady says:

    This is a reach out to Liz! You have the name Elizabeth…it is my middle name. I learned at a very early age about the life of courage of Elizabeth I. Her father killed her mother and her early years were spent in exile and emotional suspense. She was determined to survive and not be consumed by the drama. She made a conscious decision to be a queen and not a princess waiting for rescue.

    The guy in your life appears to be living off women. Men like this seek vulnerable women to exploit.

    You are the Queen or CEO of your life. You have a child and have endured the death of your Mother. This is your time to reign over your life. This man is a slacker who does not deserve anytime in your Court. Send him on his way forever.

    This will be a good and decisive move that you will never regret in the future. Make a clean cut. Repect yourself and blessings of your courage will make you stronger.

    Crown yourself Queen! Long live the Queen!

    • beth d says:

      Love this post Valley. Elizabeth I is my heroine. I have always admired her strength and character. We can all take a lesson from her in courage and fortitude.

  9. Tabitha says:

    “Does the same person show up consistently or are you dealing with someone who seems to have multiple personalities?”
    Natalie, you must have been watching from the sidelines! And yes also the fast forwarding and future faking. Never again!

  10. Confused liz says:

    Thank you ladies, your advice means a lot and I guess it has confirmed what I know in my heart to be true, the thing I’m struggling with is why was everything ‘rosy’ for over a year ? Is this normal eum behaviour ? Or have I just not noticed some of his traits until after this time? I think I’m questioning myself wether he is /isn’t an eum/ ac but his actions are proving that he is. God this is so difficult :( x

    • Allison says:

      Liz,

      You were never allowed into this guy’s life. I am assuming you never met his mom or friends either?

    • finallygettingit69 says:

      @ Confused liz, I have to chime in as a self proclaimed EUM expert. I like to learn things the hard way have a vast collection of unavailables. :) But this is about you… as a friend, I have to agree with the other ladies, you gotta let him go. Yes, you want to hold out hopes of him reverting back to when he made you feel the right things but that ship has sailed. Stay with the BR group & Nat and you will find the strength to go NC. You have to pick YOU and love you more than him. The EUM’s are a hot mess of contradictions (buys your kids gifts but can also be aloof and tends to disappear) which makes being decisive about cutting them off so difficult. Hugs from someone who’s been there. :)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Liz. He has been an EUM from day 1. He fooled you with all the loving “I can’t live without you” attention in the beginning so that you would be slow to recognize his true nature. Guys do this all the time (these types). He has treated you like you are a clown, with all the blowing hot and cold. You are a mother and what’s more you’ve recently lost your own mother in the midst of his BS. Please get him out of your life with NC immediately. Don’t get hung up on labelling him. It really doesn’t matter if he is an AC, EUM or whatever. He’s an unacceptable human being for you. Maybe someone else is not bothered by his behavior, but you clearly are. Own that and do what you’ve long needed to do. In all this time he’s never allowed you to visit him? He’s hiding something. But, it doesn’t matter now because you are gone. Right? We all support you.

      • confused liz says:

        thank you so much for your much needed help/advice. i have never been to his home, we were together for 2 years officially. the last time i seen him was last week and he said he wasnt using me and that i should know he wouldnt, that he cant imagine life without me etc but that he has issues and he doesnt want to hurt me, i have only recently discovered that these eum exist so thats why im asking a lot of questions and probably trying to justify his cr*p behaviour, i was just finding it hard to understand why he would say and do things he did when he can not possibly have meant them. i am starting to see things more clearly now , and i realise that he is probably never going to change so i still have not replied to his text (2 days nc) im so glad i read natalies book and found this site it is helping me a lot :)

        • Allison says:

          Liz,

          The fact that he never brought you to his home, told you, you were never part of his life.

          Of course, he lied to you, if he told you the truth, would you have stuck around?

          When someone says that they don’t want to hurt you, they know they are hurting you, and their behavior is crap!

          Ask yourself if you want a relationship with someone, by staying with this fool, you are clearly showing you do not.

          Lastly, there is a big impact on your son, and how he will learn to treat women in a bad way.

  11. noquay says:

    Liz
    This guy is an emotional leech of the worst kind. Reminds me of the “grizzly bear” ex who not only left me to face a momma grizz, but whose response to be breast cancer diagnosis was to cut contact for good. He has zero ability to be there for you. He is in it for him, him, him. Dump his worthless a$$!

    • confused liz says:

      thanks noquay, oh thats awful i hope you are ok also. i guess im just thinking in my head why would he be so kind/caring/get along with my son great/ buy us both nice gifts etc etc if he meant non of this? im just feeling really confused :(

  12. aquagirl45 says:

    Kim I recently experienced a similiar situation. Luckily I have family in the police dept that scared him off for me. Sounds like narcissist to me. No contact did the trick for me. Seems as if we both dodged a bullet

  13. Sm says:

    I am guilty of all except future faking. I have however allowed myself to be future faked many times and I will tell you, they jump out as fast as they jump in. I watched an exbf who future faked me at warp speed, future fake another chic into marrying him 9 weeks after they met. It was bizarre to say the least. I vow to be mindful of this and mindful at curtailing my own fantasizing and ignoring my own values from now on.

    • dancingqueen says:

      ” I will tell you, they jump out as fast as they jump in.”

      SO true! Once you see them moving in quickly, you need to start running;)!

  14. Bob72 says:

    Stop writing about me!!! Lol… excellent post, The pool actually being much shallower than it seems was dead on for me – very easy to see it now. There just wasnt much there of substance, but a whole lot of great words, projections, and promises. I know now that all that stuff doesn’t last if the “depth” of character isn’t there to back it up.

    Hope everyone is doing well, you all enjoy your Easter holiday – God bless and keep growing.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Bob. Great to hear from you. I remember your story and I’m glad you’re doing better. Happy Easter to you too!

  15. missmilkie says:

    the thing is that this can happen in friendship-relationships as well. like you dont meet a new friend thinking we’re gonna be an exclusive BFF thing. but then the other person starts charming and being so seemingly genuine and trustworthy..that you do pull them into ‘ur inner circle’ quicker than normal. quicker than all others before. why!? cuz you dont imagine this type of BS happening outside of ‘the dating game’. but it freakn does!! and then there is of course no sex…. but theres plenty of emotional closeness. until it ends in a heartbeat. from one day to the next.. just like that. when u can no longer be of good use. then u dont understand .. and live off of hope for a year and try to make it work and ignore red flags…until the pain is overwhelmingly unbearable. then you can finally let go…and heal. but still wonder why you foolishly gave your trust away…and your power. so this was my worst breakup ever. worse than ANY of my romantic breakups before. Im glad to have my power back :) stay strong everyone! it does get better!

    • paolo says:

      missmilkie…That’s because alot of guys pretend to be friends with a girl in the hopes that the girl will eventualy be more down the track..Guys can fool themselves in this way…I know, iv’e fooled myself this way a couple of times in my life.

  16. Confused liz says:

    Thanks Allison , you are right son does need consistency I think I just needed confirmation from people like yourself and all the other lovely ladies who have been through similar, to make sure I’m not going crazy and that he really is a eum. His family did know about me , though we never met. I met a few of his friends but not very many times. He text today asking how ‘my fine self’ was ! I havnt responded and I’m feeling kind if proud but it’s hard and I find myself feeling guilty, I mean why ?! Lol :(

    • grace says:

      Confused
      If you have an on-off relationship you may need to draw a line under it by “breaking up” with him again. it’s okay via text since that’s what he likes. Something like, hi I’ve decided to see other people and it would be simplest if we cut contact. Best xx. Then delete him off fb etc.
      If you have any off his stuff, stick it in a box and get it fedexed to his home.
      Don’t go back for more booty, not worth it.

      • confused liz says:

        thank you grace, i have just deleted him from fb, now its just his stuff i have in a black bag ! i think im thinking too much about how he was/ who i thought he was but its becoming more obvious by the minute. thanks again to all for the help and support x

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Liz, do you think he feels guilty for the way he is treating you??? I think not! That is the question you should ask yourself. Why should you feel guilty for protecting yourself from someone who only brings you pain and sorrow??? He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (and that is what he has been from the beginning), just waiting to devour you if you let him.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Oh…don’t respond but saying that just makes my blood boil, it begs the response “My fine self is grieving my mother you f**khead.”

      Unbelieveable. what a db. Stay strong Liz

    • Allison says:

      You never met his family in 2.5 years!!!!

      Girl, what are you sticking around for!!!

      • confused liz says:

        @ allison, i know ! lol i really didnt have a clue about eum/ac’s until i found nats book. looking back i remember little things that should have got me thinking before , but i guess i was blinded by love. i hope this gets easier some time not too far away :( meanwhile i am learnig about myself and my own issues and trying to sort them out. x

    • NCC says:

      Hi Liz,
      I’ve been following your story and responses all day. Another thing is…guys like this have no shame. If someone hadn’t returned my texts in a few days, I would either take a hint or ask if something was wrong. They want to press the RESET BUTTON BIG time and texts like “how is your fine self” serve that purpose to a T!! They want to “charm” us away from remembering how they have really treated us, aka like total CRAP! My ex EUM/AC would do the same thing after months of no contact. He would call me from a mystery number when he knew full well I blocked his number, and when I answered he proceeded to tell me how “cute as hell” I still sounded on the phone. He wanted to disarm me with his so called sweet nature, I was flabbergasted as his lack of shame to think I wanted anything to do with him. He knew my self esteem issues that that kind of statement felt good to me, but we have to see those words for what they truly are. An attempt to reset with us so they never have to live with or own up to their crap behavior. Best of luck I know your pain!!!

  17. Eva says:

    Dear Confused

    Get out now!! Your story is a replica of mine except I was stupid enough to let it carry on for 7 whole years.Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Believe me, it’s going nowhere and if you don’t stop now you’ll just end up in an even worse place.

  18. Confused liz says:

    Thank you @finallygettingit69 , you are so right and I’m sorry you have had to experience these types several times :( , It’s just the other two times he’s done this he’s came back all remorseful and been loving/caring etc again and this is what I have fell for unfortunately :( it’s not like we ever argued or anything, we got along great and had some lovely times even short holidays together.this is what I revert back to unfortunately and I can’t help thinking what if he did it again as he has admitted he has a problem wich is something I gues ??! He still has me on his fb profile pic after 8 weeks and his stuff is still at mine.still glad I ignored his text today as he needs to know he can’t pick me up and drop me as he pleases, thank you everyone for your help i don’t know where I would be without this site :) x

    • Lilia says:

      Liz, something I learned after my involvement with an EUM is that it doesn´t matter why they behave like they do. I strongly relate to your need to make sense of it all and to understand his motives, but it is impossible to do so, because we are simply not like them!
      When you try to figure them out it takes the focus off of you and your needs, and all your energy goes into deciphering the indecipherable. This, while you need all your resolve to maintain NC and begin healing from a very painful experience.
      Also, when you attempt to understand what it all meant and means to the other person, you still have some hope that it was all a misunderstanding, that this guy will step up to what you need. So then it is very easy to fall into the trap of accepting crumbs and fool yourself into continuing in this situation.
      There are times you have to just let go, you know? Just tell yourself I don´t need this cr*p, and be firm about NC. It may feel a bit bitchy in the beginning, but you´ll probably soon realise there were even more abusive behaviours from this guy that you weren´t aware of. So then it gets easier and easier to sever all ties with him.
      Take care and be strong, you can do it!

    • runnergirl says:

      Confused Liz, I’m very sorry you are experiencing such turmoil and confusion. It seems turmoil, drama, and confusion are the landmarks of a situation with a EUM/AC and the antithesis of what Natalie is talking about in this post and many others. While you are not responding to his lazy communication, if you can, download Natalie’s books. You may find yourself on a few of the pages! Good luck to you. BTW, having your pic on his FB page is irrelevant if he is not treating you with respect, love, and care. Round up his stuff and give it to a local charity. Also see my post below about “feeling guilty”.

      • Selkie says:

        Runner,

        “It seems turmoil, drama, and confusion are the landmarks of a situation with a EUM/AC”

        Isn’t this the truth. While no relationship is perfect, it shouldn’t feel BAD. Love shouldn’t hurt and feel unstable. If that’s what’s consistent in a relationship, then it’s more of a dysfunctional arrangement mixed in with a few crumbs to keep you hungry and waiting.

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Liz, his stuff is still at your house for a reason. It’s his excuse to weasel his way back in your life when he gets the opportunity. pack it up and deliver it to his mom’s house PRONTO!

    • Magnolia says:

      Liz,

      You asked about gifts. I came from a not-so-affluent home where my dad showed visible irritation about having to spend money on his kids (funny that, considering my mom has always made the $$ that supported the family).

      So the first few times I came across men who gave gifts I thought it meant they cared. It took time to learn that people can give gifts for many reasons: sometimes to make you feel you owe them, sometimes to lord it over you that they can afford more, sometimes just to feel generous, sometime because it’s the only way they know to show affection. It doesn’t mean they know how to do the things that matter.

      One of my exes is great fun around kids – he plays with them and kids love him. In part it’s because he’s still a kid himself – charming, boyish. He’d be the first to make you a mix tape with all the songs you like on it.

      But hold a stable job? Decide to pay down his debts? Decide that providing for a family is more important than his freedom to change his plans whenever he likes? Not so much.

      There are lots of people (and I have been one myself) who can share intense or fun or affectionate moments, but can’t handle the long haul. Just because your ex gave you gifts or was kind at times doesn’t mean you’re wrong to need and expect more reliability from a partner.

      • Espoir says:

        OMG,Magnolia – you have such a talent to put on paper facts, stories, feelings – no wonder you are a writer :)
        Same here my ex-husband was visible annoyed (although we never had $$ problems) when it came to gifts,flowers so when later my BF arrived with bouquets delivered to my work I thought OK : BINGO : I HIT the Jackpot !!!
        Well….like Magnolia said and looking back it was not because he cared…at all…so don’t try to find signs of whatever YOU want to believe when they are none…your wishful thinking is at work, yet again. And yes about not being responsible and putting his needs (travelling for work because his image of a great, skillful employee was the most important thing and leaving them alone for weeks) before a family of 3 girls when he was the sole provider. Ill stop now…Serenity now…serenity now…So yeah, gifts, attentions, they don,t mean squat – it is a way for them to pat themselves on the back and prove their EGO what great BF they are (mine was even pointing that the flowers were from an expensive flowershop – and not the shopmarket..bleah)

        • Espoir says:

          Oh forgot…don’t make me start about his financial situation…so Magnolia, you are spot on yet again. Thanks girl.

        • Wiser says:

          My EUM was buying me gifts the first week we were together (yeah, I know, a big red flag). Meaningful gifts, like spending time in a used bookstore to search for a rare book by my favorite poet. Expensive gifts like an ipod because he knew how much I loved music and I just had broken my CD player. Practical gifts like a great set of knives, a toaster and a coffee pot because most of my belongings were still out of state in storage. Wow, this meant he was really into me, right? The second week we were enjoying these goodies together. The third week he dumped me for someone else without warning. I boxed up all the gifts, every single one and left them on his doorstep, my one act of empowerment. It helped ease the humiliation a bit.

          I still have no idea what all the gift buying was about for him. But it ultimately meant… nothing. I won’t be fooled again.

          • EllyB says:

            Wiser – I would have loved to receive all those gifts… probably because all I ever got from my very rich narcissistic parents was totally random “bargain bin” stuff. So it’s very easy to see why many of us (me included) fall for this ruse. I’m glad you stayed strong, I’m glad you’ve gotten rid of all his gifts. I’m glad you’ve shown yourself self respect! Buy all those things for yourself instead if you still want them.

            • Tulipa says:

              It is easy to mix up getting gifts with caring.
              Ex AC one no gifts some random stuff never anything for my b’day. He didn’t care and showed it in this way as well.

              Ex AC two expensive gifts for my birthday. I took this as a sign of caring especially after AC one but nope it was the simple fact he could afford it he didn’t care either his motives were off.
              I kept the stuff though.

              • runnergirl says:

                Thank you ladies for sharing with regards to “gifts”. I can see how gifts can make it seem as though it is a commitment reality based situ but obviously gifts can be a signal of hope when he fails to show up on a consistent basis. That was one thing the exMM did in the beginning and I took it as a sign of something significant. It wasn’t. It was a way for him to worm his way into my life.

                • jewells says:

                  Heeeey, I got gifts too. A coffee maker, new pillows, he brought me ciggies and beer. I was certain that it was a good thing, something significant regarding his intentions and committment. Looking back though, the ciggies and beer were the only things for me, the coffee maker was for him as he was a huge coffee drinker, the pillows cause he was allergic to mine. I threatened to dump the coffee maker and pillows on his doorstep. But then I came round and decided that I liked having my coffee ready for me in the morning as it was a fancy one with a timer, and hell, the pillows were nice too. Screw him, I’m keeping them. My next bf will also be able to enjoy his generosity :)

                  • runnergirl says:

                    Oh hell yes Jewells, keep the coffee maker with a timer and the pillows too. If these AC’s give anything of everyday use, I’d say keep it, particularly a coffee maker with a timer! Two summers ago, I bought a 20 dollar coffee maker, no timer, just an off/on switch. It’s still working splendidly. I do need a new pillow though.

                    • jewells says:

                      Yeah, I was fine before with a simple kettle and cone, or a on/off coffee maker. But now, darn it, it’s just so luxurious waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee :)
                      I vote for you to treat yourself to a luxury pillow! Nothing like a good night’s sleep and the smell of coffee in the morning :)

      • tracy says:

        I dated a guy last year who was big on gifts. I’m not that into gifts, so getting them doesn’t do it for me. But he insisted, and insisted on expensive stuff and it made me feel weird. He bought me a iPhone and all the accessories for my birthday, but we’d only been going out for two months at that point so it felt like I owed him something. After we’d been dating three months he took me for an evening/overnight at an expensive hotel in NYC. On the surface, he would say that since my ex-husband treated me so shabbily he was going to treat me well. But then he would ignore me or only text me after these ‘giving’ events, so I felt like a hooker…he got the sex, I got ‘stuff’, and, it felt, he got what he wanted in the end…no commitment, but a good time when he was ‘available’.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      You know the term “drama queen” applied to women? Well, men can be drama kings. All smoke and mirrors, not to be taken as any sign of commitment or love.

    • Fifi says:

      Liz
      It sounds like he isn’t sure what he wants or needs, but is like a baby bird that keeps flying back to the nest until he gets strength (often unfortunately another nest!) to fly away completely.
      If you cut contact, I am pretty sure he will go into panic overdrive to get you back – he’s just afraid of being on his own.
      I believe it has nothing to do with you as a person, whatever is going on is his issue, and the way he is treating you is not acceptable.
      He needs to sort out his problems before taking them out on you, and you need to let him go.
      This is not the way you should be treated by a partner.
      I sent my ex the “best if we cut contact” text, then blocked him from everything, and it has been the most productive, illuminating and ‘real’ time of my life. Good luck to you.

      • confused liz says:

        fifi, this sounds like what he is doing,its like he cant commit to me fully but he cant commit to not being with me fully either. im just not getting why he never done the whole houdini act until over a year into the relationship? he has admitted to having commitment issues. theres always a part of me wishing he would just try sort his issues properly and come back to me but i know this will not happen and that i have been more than fair to him and gave him enough of my time, i kinda wish the relationship itself was bad but we always got along great im afraid of not feeling that for anyone else, also cos i have a rare lung condition im thinkin will anyone want me. but i suppose there are issues of my own i need to deal with. thankyou again to everyone for your kind words and support x

        • Allison says:

          Liz,

          You may have gotten along fine, but he was not dependable, or there in times of need- the episode with your mom should be enough for you. You can get the fun with many people, but a relationship requires responsibility, care and respect, something you don’t get from this guy. I still can’t believe that you haven’t met his family!

          • confused liz says:

            you spean a lot of truth allison, your words help me to be strong, the thing is though when my mom first passed away he was here like a shot he came out of work to be with me and stayed the night and the next day, i know this doesnt justify his cra* behaviour but its what creeps up in my head, why why why.

            • Allison says:

              Liz,

              Didn’t you say he bailed when you initially told him? He was there temporarily, but he has not been there consistently, and you know he will not.

              This dude has not let you into his life, and continues to play a Houdini act. This is crazy making!

              You need to address why any of this has been OK for you. It’s not healthy, and its not much.

              Lastly, do you really think he will be around for your illness.

              So sorry about your mom. I also lost my brother to cancer. Don’t let this idiot muck up the time you’re trying to deal with the loss.

              Hugs

            • jewells says:

              Liz, unfortunately it looks to me that when your mum first passed away, it was his opportunity to be the white knight, your shoulder to cry on. It’s an easy in for these sorts, they prey on us when we’re vulnerable. He wasn’t there to support you when you needed to be strong for your mum, but he can swoop in and be a cushion for your grief and pat himself on the back for being such a good guy for being there for you at your weakest moment. (thus securing your ‘gratitude’ and most likely booty as well). Get well rid of this parasite. As for your thinking about your health issue and your ability to find someone better – that is something you’ll have to work on. In my view, it’s better to be alone than with someone who takes away from the quality of life that you could otherwise have. It’s like dragging a boulder through the park and wondering why you’re not enjoying the beautiful sunny day the way everyone else is…

        • Fifi says:

          if he’s anything like my ex, and I suspect he is, these EUMs try to hide from facing their issues in relationships, usually with high emotion etc as a distraction at the start. And then, inevitably, after a while in the relationship, when things normalize, and they are faced with themselves, they bail.
          And usually go looking for escape again in another relationship.
          My ex told me when he dumped me that he didn’t like himself, I said he needed therapy, he agreed but said he’d never do it – therapy is ‘weak’.
          Your job isn’t to fix him, that each person’s alone.
          After a while in NC Liz, things will start to look so much clearer and you will be free:)

          • jewells says:

            Good point Fifi, the ex EUM MM Narc AC (he was a doozie), entered our ‘relationshit’ on high drama, did the FF/FF, constant texting and making himself the centre of my universe by being all pervasive in it, then que more high drama when he realized 6 weeks in that I was wising up and tried to backpeddle out again. Unfortunately for him it backfired as that completely twigged me to what was going on and I high drama’d it back all over his ass and made him tell his wife under threat of her recieving his texts to me….
            But it’s so true, they cover with drama so you can’t see what’s actually going on. I think the word is confuscate. Indeed, he came to me to escape confronting the issues in his marriage, though he did not wish to leave his marriage, just make me the bandaid for it. Unfortunately he picked the wrong person for a bandaid and I did force him to look at himself and now indeed he is in counselling (with the wife) which I believe he knew was necessary all along, just avoided it until he had no choice. So, I kicked his ass for using me, but I also acknowledge my part in things where I was being blind, fantasizing and EU myself. So all in, it was a good lesson all round. But bear in mind it’s taken me 6 months to get to a place of peace with it all. So Liz, give yourself time and space and keep reading what goes on here. You will be happier in time I promise :)

  19. Jennifer says:

    After reading this site, I realize I got off easy. He never said he loved me, left on tour 2 months after we met. After 7 years of celibacy I fell hard for this man. He never made any promises. I filled in the blanks myself. While he was gone, I opened an art gallery, a dream I’ve had for a long time. He was supportive. He never abused me verbally. Just left and never came back. We stayed friends, this was the first time I have stayed friends with anyone I dated. I flew him back (I know) in Jan to see if it was really what I imagined it was last spring. He performed at an event series I produce through my gallery. He stayed for 4 days and it was truly the most content and fulfilled I have ever been as a person. Amazing performances, amazing sex, amazing friends it was how I always saw myself living with someone,creatively,intimately. Goes home where his son is. Calls, texts, attentive. 2 weeks later he emails me he is going to ask someone there to be exclusive. Had a total melt down. WTF? How can I miss this man? How can I stop?

    • Jennifer says:

      I have had almost 2 months of NC. Left one message owning my role in the imaginary relationship. That’s all.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Jen. Please don’t leave him any more messages. You’re giving him an opening that you don’t really want him to take advantage of. It’ll just be more pain for you, not for him especially if he gets the goodies. You’ve had 2 months of NC? Strict NC? You are stronger than you think. Forget his sorry ass and move on.

      • Wiser says:

        Jen, it may help to stop missing him by realizing he isn’t this great, awesome guy who got away but was just part of a great, awesome fantasy experience that felt wonderful. It’s really easy to get those two things mixed up, I know this all too well as this is the story of my last relationship. It was brief, wonderful, intense, the most contented and fulfilled I’ve felt in many years – and all a pure fantasy that came crashing down on me before I knew what was happening.

        Look at it this way – the “exclusive” person back home was probably in the picture while he was having his fun with you. But did she know what he was doing while he was away? Do you think she got this great “catch” of an honest and faithful man? His behavior says volumes about him, none of it good.

        If you had some days of pure happiness – wonderful! Cherish them, keep them as treasured memories. A good antidote to feeling miserable and powerless is to try to be thankful- not to HIM of course, he gets no credit – but just grateful that this kind of happiness is possible and YOU are able to feel it. Life brought you some moments of bliss, and no one can take them from you. If this kind of happiness came your way once, it’s a sign of hope that it can happen again. That was the gift that I took away from my EU experience, which on all other accounts turned out to be a misery. Not a gift from HIM certainly, but a gift I gave myself, to take a chance on feeling something again after many years of post-divorce celibacy and blandness – and I did! I discovered that I am still able to love and feel passion and experience moments of utter joy and fulfillment. I’m not dead after all. And I refuse to let him and his crappy EU behavior ruin those memories for me.

        • Jennifer says:

          Wiser,
          you definitely are. :) It is amazing that I was able to feel so good with someone and I am grateful. I have been in very abusive relationships prior to the celibacy and hid away to protect myself. I always call having a healthy relationship “the final frontier” because I have been clean and sober for 26 years, spiritually evolving and my life has become everything I’ve always wanted, through the gallery and events I am meeting so many wonderful new people. He always said the beauty I found in our relationship was because of who I am. I guess he’s right. :) I LOVE BR!!!!

        • paolo says:

          Wiser. Your fantasy relationship which made you feel so amazing is something that happened to me last year and it really resonated with me..It was brief but i’d never been so in love..Sometimes i regret it and other times i think like you and am really glad i got to feel that way at all..After reading your comment i hope that attitude sticks with me because some people never get to feel that intensely in love, ever..It was around my 40th birthday i felt that way. Life truely began for me then, but alas, like you, with someone EU..I’m still in the mind set of thinking i’ll never feel that way again with someone, I hope it changes and turns to hope one day, that like you, if it happened once, it can happen again…I suppose we have to believe where there’s life there really is hope.

          • EllyB says:

            Paolo – I’m not familiar with your story (sorry), but to me it sounds as if you’ve been exposed to a lot of fast forwarding/love bombing by an EU/AC woman. They are capable of making us feel amazing for a while, because they are very good at figuring out our deepest needs and wishes… but in the end they always exploit those vulnerabilities in us. I think they make us feel so good because of some unhealed wounds inside ourselves (often due to childhood abuse or neglect). For me this was certainly the case.

            I can imagine how difficult this is for guys. Unfortunately men are often discouraged from acknowledging that they have unmet emotional needs. I think it is crucial to deal with those, though.

    • natashya says:

      jennifer, it seems like it was a relationship mostly built on fantasy. and from experience i know all too well that these relationships can really mess with you. i don’t know of any magic bullets to forget someone like that or stop missing them. i’m dealing with a similar issue. 6 months post split and 4 months NC and he’s still in my head (though slowly taking up less precious mental real estate).

      keep NC and keep at it.

      • Jennifer says:

        You are right. The ONLY way to clear your head from all the mess is NC…I will keep at it. :) Besides, I’m too busy having a cool life right now…:) Thanks to you all!!!

      • paolo says:

        natashya, same as you..6 months post split,4 months no contact and she’s still in my head too, although, like you again, slightly less lately…Sheesh..It’s like you people are living from the same life script as me :/

        • Exactly the same here. 6 months post split and 4 months NC. AND still in my head continuously.

          Surely it should be over by now. I should have moved on. Feels like I needed a deadline to be ‘over it’.

          • natashya says:

            letting go, just like grieving, is a process. you don’t just perform a ritual and that’s that (though rituals can help). some days it’s easier, some days it’s worse… but i think if you keep NC and journal/meditate/exercise/do your affirmations or whatever it is you do to keep moving, eventually you will get there. the key is to keep at it.

            • Thanks Natashya.

              You’re right, it is a process, but there are days when NC just seems pointless because nothing as changed in terms of how I feel. Except now I don’t even have any of the good times instead!

              • Mymble says:

                Wish
                Know exactly what you mean!
                But the rewards of continuing are short term and short lived. You have to think long term though. You don’t want to end up stuck in AC groundhog day for the next year or decade.

                • jewells says:

                  hahaha, AC Groundhog Day, ach indeed. Thank goodness for Nat and her blogs…

                • Mymble, I know what you’re saying. And the rewards are definitely short-lived as I found out every time I was giving him chances.

                  The scary thought of being in a awful relationship for 10 years terrifies the hell out of me, perhaps even more than being single for 10 years. You’re so right.

              • natashya says:

                wish… i don’t have the ‘good times’ either, but by keeping NC we don’t get the new pain piled on top of the pain we already have.

                to me, that’s the point of NC. after the break up, every time i engaged with him, i was a total sobbing, near suicidal disaster.

                since i went NC, i ‘just’ had to deal with the pain that already existed but it didn’t give me any fresh pain to deal with on top of that. THAT is the point of NC.

                right now? i don’t want him in my life. if only to protect myself (i still have feelings for him). i don’t want to know if he went out on dates, either good or bad. i don’t want to know about his plans for the summer as i would have been doing those with him. i don’t want to know anything that’s going on in his life. whether it’s good or bad, it will still hurt me and i can’t afford more pain.

                • Yes, someone else said that in one of the comments on this site (might even have been you!) and that is exactly what I keep telling myself, that there is no NEW pain.

                  But there is no new (or old for that matter) happiness either.

                  I can totally relate with the aftermath of an “interaction”. Every time I run into him, which has happened about 3 or 4 times since NC, I just break down completely for the next few days. Often getting so low that it is hard to even find the strength to just keep living.

                  I can see you are further along in the healing process because I am still crazy curious about him at times. I just want to know what he’s doing, if he misses me, who he’s with now, is she prettier?, do I know her? etc.

                  But I know and understand that NC is necessary to spare me the additional pain he will be more than happy to put me through.

                  • natashya says:

                    wish… what ‘happiness’ are we talking about? every time i talked to the EUM after the break up, or when i broke NC there was just sadness, frustration, rejection and pain. after he dumped me, there was not a single moment of happiness for me when it came to the EUM.

                    • For me, even though I ended it, I kept running back to give him chances, there were times when it was like the beginning again.

                      We were laughing, joking and I felt safe with him. There were some amazing nights when I was happy again – though temporarily because every time I thought about the fact I was lying next to a guy who had lied to me and cheated on me, I felt sick.

                      But there were good times too, when he was the only one who could make me smile, even though we weren’t together.

                      Since NC whenever I have run into him, he’s made a reference to a joke or a “scene” from when we were happy together, and it has brought the memories flooding back. That’s the happiness I miss and crave.

                • Christine says:

                  very good points about nc natashya. It really is about putting yourself and your happiness first. protecting yourself and valuing yourself higher than anything else.

                  Good luck everyone X

              • Allison says:

                Wish,

                You are getting your self respect and esteem back. That’s priceless!

                • Allison says:

                  Also, your good times are yours to create, not someone else’s!

                  • Eventually, I hope that I will get my self-respect and esteem back (I can’t remember the last time I actually “had” it). But the only trouble is to see that far into the future when the short-term seems so much more significant.

                    I totally agree with the idea that my good times are up to me. I just need to believe it and apply that philosophy now :)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Wish Upon a Star. During my NC period from the MM, going through such a sad time in my life, I felt it was taking me way too long to get over it all. Actually, looking back now, it wasn’t that long. But I definitely, unconsciously, wanted to set up a deadline. Someone on BR said something that made me realize that was futile. The pain would have lasted longer. The old adage is true: “What you resist, persists”, and I discarded the idea of having a deadline. You have to acknowledge the pain and experience it before you can truly begin to heal. At the same time you have to put it BEHIND YOU. Repeatedly asking yourself why you behaved that way, or trying to diagnose him and why he did what he did is remaining in the mess and perpetuating those horrible feelings. Granted it’s a part of the grieving process, but you cannot afford to stay in that stage long. Maintaining NC and living your BEST LIFE, is the best way to finally overcome the hurt. When you get there you will feel brand new. And, actually you are because you will never go back there again.

            • “Repeatedly asking yourself why you behaved that way, or trying to diagnose him and why he did what he did is remaining in the mess and perpetuating those horrible feelings.”

              Tinkerbell, I think you’ve just found the problem for me! I have been dissecting the relationship, day in and day out. Trying to work out how it could have been salvaged because:

              1. I don’t want to keep blaming myself and want to see his part in the problem too

              2. I don’t want to make the same mistakes again

              It does sound silly, and I understand that part of the grieving is to stop trying to accelerate the feelings, but it would just be good to know that in the future (perhaps soon) I won’t be feeling this way and it will all be fine! It’s the hope, not necessarily the deadline. Something like “You will hit the 6 months mark and it’ll stop.”

              Too wishful, I guess.

              • Wiser says:

                How about, “You will hit the 6 month mark and it will be BETTER.” That’s something I can pretty much guarantee if you continue to do your healing work.

                • Thanks, Wiser. I think that will definitely be worth it. It can only get better from here I hope.

                  Two more months and I want to look back and say, “I might not be perfectly happy, but I’m getting there and I’m a long way from the hell I was in”.

              • natashya says:

                you won’t be feeling this way forever. can you think of a situation in the past where you just completely shattered and thought you could not recover from? and yet you did? it will be like that with this break up as well. just because it doesn’t feel that way right now, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

                • This is why it is so hard. I’ve never had a situation like this (or any similar) where I have broken down so completely. I have always known that there was hope, until now.

                  It I had something to look back at and think “I did it then, I can do it again,” then it might perhaps have been easier to deal with.

                  But it’s all so new.

                  However, I can see that change is always possible. And like I commented earlier, it can only get better (I hope!).

                  • Allison says:

                    Wish,

                    Do you fill your life with activities and interests? It sounds as if you depended on this man to fill up your life.

                    • Allison,

                      I had hobbies and was very social before I met him. I loved reading too.

                      But when I was with him, I let all of these go. He got mad if I was meeting up with people and not spending time with him, or if I was reading and couldn’t see him. So I cut off friends, hobbies and interests to spend time with him instead. I forgot I enjoyed the other things, because I enjoyed being with him so much more.

                      I am trying to get back to where I was now. But it’s hard after all this time.

                      It’s a mistake I’ve learnt from though. Next time, I will continue living my life while enjoying time with the guy too.

                    • Allison says:

                      Wish,

                      If we lose who we are when we are in a relationship, it is a sign it is unhealthy and co-dependent.

              • Tabitha says:

                Wish I think we have all been there. As Natalie says, Trust The Process. The distance you get with NC is what you need to see him for what he is. Then you can start to see what it was about you that contributed or kept you in the relationship for too long before bailing. For many of us these answers can be found in our family of origin. At first I blamed the ex narc for everything but over time I could see that my own self esteem issues had made me accept his BS and that I had a whole lot of work to do on me. This is work that is ongoing.
                I know it sounds crazy now, but I am virtually at the point where I am grateful for my experience. It has led to a ton of self improvement and increased self awareness. I would actually say that I am happier now than I was before I met the ex narc, as I feel more like me. More authentic and honest. I am developing boundaries and my self esteem is slowly rising. Don’t get sucked back in. The pain just isn’t worth it.

                • jewells says:

                  Tabitha, wow, you summed it up much better than I could. I’ve touched on most of what you just said in many posts, but that was so succint and precise I love it! It’s so true; had I not gone through the exMM AC Narc, I would still be blissfully unaware of so many things that I was unsatisfied with in my life. He was my wake up call, I have been working on me for the past 6 months, coming to a place of peace with it all. I do know that I still need some work, that compassion is still in the works, but my self esteem is coming around, I feel better than I have in years and I just had to go through a heart and gut wrenching experience to force me to face some things I couldn’t/wouldn’t/ didn’t know how to before. I’m still a work in progress, but I see where I am responsible and that in turn empowers me. I now understand that the responsibility for my happiness truly is in my hands, and that is refreshing and makes the future so much brighter than before.

                • Hey Tinkerbell. That’s why this site, Natalie, and each and every one of you has been so so helpful with your advice and your suggestions. Just knowing that there are others who’ve gone through this and made it to the other side is an inspiration.

                  I can’t believe that you’re happier now than you were even before the experience with him! That’s incredible news. Congratulations! I hope I can say the same sometime.

                  I can actually say where I went wrong too. But the pain (and the good times) are too recent to fully get the “distance” to analyse everything.

                  I’ll keep working at it and I want to try my best to make sure I never go back to him. No matter what happens.

              • jewells says:

                Hey Wish,
                I don’t know when it will ‘be ok’ for you. I know for me it took the 6 months, but then my dalliance was only a couple of months to begin with. I think the hardest part to come to grips with has been my part in things. There were (and still are some residuals) so many feelings to process, including grief, humiliation, mortification, horror, shame, blame, anger, disbelief…if you can name it, it could be there to go through. I promise it will get better as long as you keep focusing on you. Take lots of long steamy baths, eat healthy, exercise, do whatever you need to do to take proper care of you, nurture you, and the light will appear at the end of the tunnel. Even on your darkest days when you don’t feel like taking care of yourself, even just taking a long bath will be soothing enough. I also read alot and drank loads of chamomile tea. The books I read in the time period right after the end of my relationshit when I felt the worst – the girl with the dragon tattoo trilogy. It’s good to read something with a kickass female hero who doesn’t take crap :) Stay away from tv and romance novels – they will only feed the fantasy crap, and hinder healing.
                I also felt determined to not make the same mistake again, so have been in therapy, and am also now involved with a personal development program. I have resolved to make that whole experience work ‘for’ me, make me stronger and better for it.

                • jewells says:

                  Oh, and be sure to stop analysing what he did and why…you can’t make sense of nonsense. He’s an AC, that’s why. The only person you can control is you. Your job now is to work on loving yourself so that you won’t fall prey to another EUM AC ever again.

                • Hey Jewells,

                  Mine was a year, every day, 24 hours a day with him, for an entire year (relationship was 8 months) and I just don’t want to waste anymore time with him or thinking about him.

                  Thankyou so much for the practical suggestions! I love the Girl with the dragon tattoo (only read the first one a few years ago) and I will definitely be reading the rest now!

                  I didn’t realise that the romance novels and the romance movies (not to mention the soppy songs – “our” favourites – were an hindrance. I do this all the time!

                  I tried therapy, but it just wasn’t working for me, so I’ve taken a break from it to do my own healing for a while and see how it goes. I never want to be this low again and every little step is going to help :)

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Wish. If it takes longer than 6 months, just stick with it and have faith that you will one day feel like “new”. It took me over a year to get over that sick affair which (thank God) I only tolerated for 6 months. You WILL BE OKAY. Believe in yourself.

                • Thank you, I will try my best to stick to it. I’ve come close to giving up several times and thinking that I’ll just call for a quick chat or maybe coffee, but something in my head is finally saying “NO.”

                  I want to get there too.

                  • jewells says:

                    Yoda says: do, or do not, there is no try…

                    Listen to your head, or whatever it is that’s saying NO, cause it’s on your side…Everytime you entertain him in anyway you will delay your healing. Don’t give up, we’ve all been there. Sit on your hands, call a good friend who knows the situation – set it up that you can call on her whenever you have the urge to contact the AC so she can support you. Put things in place to replace him in your life and mind, take up new activities, meet friends, knit, play with the cat, help your neighbour. Anything. You can do it, you have to to love you.

                    • It’s definitely my head screaming NO. Every other part of me says ‘one more chance.’ But I’ve started following my head over my heart now.

                      I’ve been venting to friends already, but I think now it’s about time I stop craving the need for ‘help’ and start focusing on making my life about ME instead.

  20. noquay says:

    Liz
    Thanks for your concern. I have been cancer-free for 6 1/2 years no thanks to grizzly dude. AC.s can often act caring until theyre not. Both grizzly dude and at work AC came off as super caring then morphed into hot/cold, then thought I was a thing to discard, much like last weeks trash. The latter occurred over two years, really gradual. This is what these kinda men do. I agree with previous posters; this jackass is a piss poor role model for your son.

  21. runnergirl says:

    Natalie, I love this. It’s helpful to see what a healthy, reality based relationship may look like and how it may progress based on “consistency, progression, balance, intimacy, mutual love, care, respect and trust along with shared core values”. I’ve been discussing the movie Pretty Woman in my classes and it is startling/stunning to listen to the young 20-somethings. First, they don’t see the movie as analogous to a modern day version of Cinderella. Second, they think Pretty Woman and Cinderella are reality! (BTW, so did I until I discovered BR and I’m 50-something.) Then they accuse me of dashing their hopes and dreams. I really needed this comment in my classes today: “Every relationship has some hope in it but not all relationships have reality in them”. The male responses are interesting because they think they need to be the dashing prince charming, alpha male who future fakes his way into a relationship. They don’t really think much about what they can actually deliver.
    I think you need to make “BR The Movie”. It would be about a healthy co-piloted relationship based in reality and based on shared core values, respect, and trust developed through a discovery phase. Actually, it could be a series of movies as the couple goes through a healthy discovery phase. The series could start with Ryan Gosling and Shannon and end up with Johnny Dep and Angelina or maybe the originals Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. (Forgive me, I’m from the US and don’t know major UK actors/actresses but you could fill in.) Imagine if the leading ladies and men were actually based in reality and not being peppered with bullshit and punting on hope (excellent description).
    You could also do “Nightmare on Assclown Street” as a contrast.

    Another unrelated comment: My online profile states that I’m interested in a copilot. You’d be surprised, or maybe not, how that one sentence elicits some interesting responses. It is quite obvious when somebody interprets that phrase as he will be doing the piloting and I’ll be along for the ride. NOT! DELETE!

  22. runnergirl says:

    “The Future Faker and Fast Forwarder seeks to circumvent the phased in commitment process by projecting and promising while expecting that you commit and give on this basis – hope that they will produce the goods. Sure, if they were willing to be themselves and show up each day to the relationship, you could judge whether to gradually commit on that basis. They pepper the bullshit with what appear to be ‘examples’ that indicate the expected outcome, then you reciprocate… and then when the results begin to diminish, you end up mind effed and/or working harder.”

    Oh dear, this one paragraph so described my 2 year debacle with the exMM. He was a master of peppering me with BS and I was a master of working harder.

    You, Natalie, are a master of nailing mind effery. More than any PhD in these areas.

  23. JessicaP says:

    @missmilkie & @paulo…
    I am a female currently going through a horrible situation with a bloke I trusted as a friend, ended up being FWB with, & who blew hot & cold any time it looked like I might want more. He was quick to call me up when I played cold, though. I fell for it a few times, too.
    Thank you both for your sides, & Paulo, thank you for your honesty.

  24. Juzz says:

    @confused Liz

    I can see your confusion (believe me I’ve been there!) weighing up the good & bad, the nice & nasty. But it isn’t as black & white as that. AC/EUM aren’t all bad, clearly. I’m sure his actions are not intended consciously.

    I guess I realised I needed to do nc when I found myself questioning. Found myself weighing up the pros & cons, found myself seeking answers on this site & others.

    Deep down you can’t be happy…otherwise you wouldn’t be questioning the situation.

    NC, for me, was one of the hardest times in my life but boy did it give me perspective. I just committed day by day to nc (sometimes just hour by hour). I read & re read the emails I received, blogs on here etc. Then one-day I felt a ton better.

    I’ve just moved into consolidating how I relate & my issues (again with assistance from this site – workshops). Reading your posts makes me look back at my journey…& I just checked my x AC facebook for the first time in 18 mths. The man I was obsessed with, the man that had my anxiety levels at record high, the man I believed was my world & …. I felt nothing.

    Good luck x

  25. Aura says:

    Confused Liz,

    You sound like a nice person, but you can only give someone the benefit of the doubt so many times hey? If someone keeps repeating the same bs ‘missing in action’ and then ‘missing you’ routine it’s a pattern.
    Patterns repeat.
    Patterns repeat.
    Patterns repeat.
    If you want the pattern to stop, stop playing your part in the pattern. Do something different. The Chinese definition of insanity is where you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

  26. Michelle says:

    My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other since 2005. The first 5years were not ‘serious’ in his eyes. We dated and did not live together. I found out in 2010 that he had been seeing other people. In 2010 we got more serious and moved in together. We have been exclusive since and he recently asked his former live in girlfriend from years ago about wedding rings and he wants to buy me one and propose. She text me and asked if he had proposed yet. (She is married to someone else and has been for several years). Months go by and no proposal. I asked him and told him that she let me in on the supposed “surprise” proposal. He said he decided to wait “until things got better”. Very vague. I’m assuming he just told her that he was going to propose and did it for some odd reason to get a ‘rise’ out of her. He says “i’ll be around as long as you want me around”. He does not believe in marriage and thinks marriage is a joke. Says not couples are happy and that marriage does not guarantee faithfullness or anything. He says if we get married it will ‘ruin a good thing’. I am college educated and am not stupid. Perhaps blinded by love? I know he cares about me and he has lived with me for awhile but I am honestly unsure about his future intentions. I feel that at any moment he could get up and walk away. Married men do it all of the time. Advice? Thoughts anyone?

    • Allison says:

      Michelle,

      If you want to get married, then ditch this guy! He has already told you that he does not believe in marriage, please listen.
      It sounds like you’re on different paths. Find someone that is looking for the same, and not waste another 8 years.
      Did you know you were in a casual relationship for 5 years?

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Michelle. From what you have written and from my experience I would say believe what he tells you. Sometimes we have to read between the lines with these relationships. From what you have written I can see this relationship staying the way it is for a very long time and you grow tired of it or he finds himself falling for someone else. Its sad when you truly love someone & see yourself spending the rest of your life with them but your really just living in fantasy land and a fantasy relationship..They always have one foot in the relationship & one foot out . Just enough to keep you hanging on..ughhh.. FLUSH

  27. Tenneil says:

    I remember first learning about Future Fakers and Fast Fowarders a couple of months ago, crying to myself because I couldn’t believe how foolish and naive I had been! Boy, have I learnt a lot. It’s funny how an event in your life can totally change the way you look at your life as a whole. It’s made me more aware, wiser and I’m finally taking control my own life instead of trying to control someone. This guy just isn’t who I thought he was and what I wanted him to be. I still feel a little down about it sometimes, but I’m more hopeful that there is a greater love out there for me. He was my first “love” and I’m sure most of us have placed high hopes on our firsts. When a relationship doesn’t last, we just have to take it as an opportunity to grow and become better versions of ourselves for better people who’ll eventually entire our lives. I definitely do not want to settle and it’s definitely been one hell of a journey. I’m grateful that my EUAC experience only lasted four months and I’ve gone through this now at 24, so hopefully won’t have this happen to me later in life.

    NC hasn’t been too hard for me, I stopped speaking to him two or three weeks after he broke up with me. I think by then I had discovered BR! I still find the concept so bizarre… one minute a person can mean the world to you, the next, you’re not a part of it anymore. It’s weird that I’ll probably never see him again, but it’s for the best. I just want to focus on myself and when I’m ready, be available for someone who’ll actually treat me with love, care, trust and respect.

    Thank you so much, Natalie. I know you probably get that a lot, but you’ve honestly saved me from myself. Experiencing one EUAC was enough pain for me and you’ve saved me from a future of them too. I have found answers to all my questions and more importantly, I am now finding myself. :)

  28. paolo says:

    JessicaP. It sounds to me like what’s known as the elastic band effect..You push, he pulls away..You pull away and he comes chasing…It sounds like he’s ‘hook’ as Natalie would put it, is to be attracted to women that either aren’t showing interest in him or don’t want a commitment themselves..If you want a commitment from him it sounds like your wasting your time as he is either not that into you enough to see you as long term girlfriend material, (sorry if that’s brutaly honest) or he is just an EUAC and messing you around.

  29. sheabutter says:

    hi ladies,
    i am hoping someone can help me with a man situation. i was going to the gym today and found a dog running in the middle of the road. i turned around to try to stop the dog, who then ran up to my car (a real sweetheart boxer), then a car pulled up behind and a very nice looking man jumped out and asked if it was my dog. he saw it wandering and followed it as well.
    after about a half hour of coordinating and, ultimately, leaving the pup with its owner’s neighbor, we shook hands (for a second longer than needed), held eye contact (for many seconds, felt like a minute), and he said something like i hope to see you around and i said me too. then asked where he worked again (he had mentioned it previously) in the hopes he would say something else. he seemed a little shy/nervous but i was totally lost in his eyes. so, my question is, do i just enjoy the moment we shared and move on or try to run into him again or even contact him at his work? it feels creeper stalkery to me to contact him like that but i feel like we had a moment. do i leave it alone or not? please help. i had a date tonight (with someone else) and kept thinking about running into this guy.

    (other things happened during our interaction that showed me how caring and just plain nice he seemed to be, but i spared you all the details, it might be too much to write.)

    thank you! :)

    • Mymble says:

      Noooo!
      I did stuff like that once or twice, when I was a teenager. I still cringe a little!) Pursuing a complete stranger is a bad idea. For all you know he has a wife and 6 kids, or is gay. The chances of it working are about one in a million, whereas the chances of embarrassing yourself are very high.
      Im sure you’ve got many other more likely possibles.

    • natashya says:

      fantasy machine is running in overdrive! so you shared ‘a moment’. enjoy it for what it was and move on. really.

    • Tulipa says:

      Sorry too easy to head into fantasy land. Stay grounded if this man really wanted to see you again he would have said what is your number I will call you some time or lets grab a coffee do you have time ?
      “I hope to see you around” not good when he is standing right in front of you with options and you had to ask where he worked he didn’t volunteer the information.
      Don’t stalk.

      • Allison says:

        Agree with Tulipa!

        If he were interested he would have asked you out.

        • EllyB says:

          Well, if some almost-stranger DID ask me out, I would be a little wary too. It’s mostly ACs/EUM who have the guts to ask some woman out whom they barely know.

          Otherwise it wouldn’t matter to me who asks out whom. If the encounter had been a little less brief and less random, in my opinion it would have been totally ok if SHE had asked HIM out (of course, she should have been prepared to maybe get a “no” as an answer).

          Btw I agree with DiggingDeeper too. I think the REAL date should be way more important than the imaginary one. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair towards the other guy.

    • DiggingDeeper says:

      Hey, I’m not trying to be mean, but did you ever stop to think that maybe he was just interested in the “real sweetheart boxer”? I mean no offense to you, but some people just really like dogs, and they will try to help a lost dog, etc, or keep it…ha!

      I have some beautiful dogs of my own, and men stop me all the time, and I’m cute, but they are clearly only interested in my dogs. :)

      And, I don’t get it: I think I would have been more interested in the date that I did have instead of the date that I didn’t have, but that’s just me, and I really don’t know your situation.

      Were you just not interested in your date?

      • sheabutter says:

        no offense taken, the dog was super sweet. but, thank you all (!!!) for the feedback. i think i definitely jumped on the fantasy train with this. haha.
        yeah, my date and i didn’t have chemistry like i had hoped.
        so, i will not be looking for this guy and just enjoy the moment for what it was. i feel silly even reaching out, i asked a couple friends and they gave me the exact opposite advice (of each other) i needed an objective view.
        (just to clarify-he did volunteer where he worked before i asked him again when parting but that doesn’t matter now.)
        thanks again all! deep breath. exhale. ok, g’night :)

        • sheabutter says:

          i guess i should also say that my last relationship ended very badly (he did that fast forward thing on me and i fell for it for a few months) i think we would’ve been married by the end of the year if it were up to him but i caught on early enough to end it. one month later and he’s already in another relationship and i found myself deleting everything of his and blocking him for no contact because even though i don’t want him i still felt compelled to check his facebook, etc.
          so, dealing with that, and having a nice interaction with a guy probably has left me feeling like “yes, that! i want that feeling!” instead of what i just went through. blaaaaah. thanks again and take care :)

    • Lilia says:

      Sheabutter
      I agree with all the others, don´t dwell on it and leave it as a nice moment you both shared. I´m thinking since I found BR and cut the fantasies I´ve learned to enjoy moments like that and not get anxious thinking I have to do something so The One will not get away. It´s a complete waste of time because if you do meet The One, wouldn´t Destiny manage to pull you two together? That is, if you believe in that kind of thing.
      The way I see it, this guy had every chance to pursue things further with you but he didn´t. Perhaps he felt some attraction, but it was obviously not enough to take some concrete initiative. “Hope to see you around” is too vague.
      Just forget it and be happy that you connected with someone, even if it was briefly. It shows that you are capable of connecting, so maybe in time a LT relationship will come up.

      • sheabutter says:

        thanks lilia, you’re totally right. after reading your response and the other others above, i feel a lot better about the whole thing. and a surprising weight lifted off of my shoulders about it. :)

  30. runnergirl says:

    Wow, Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot believe it. I’ve reconnected with a best friend and managed to establish boundaries. I do not pick up when she calls at odd hours. I call her back when I have time to talk. I’m not at her beck and call. I actually made plans to see her today rather than being on standby. I told her I would call her…and I did. She said I was different. It’s like we make plans in advance otherwise I’ll have other plans. She’s not used to me having plans. It’s great having a life even if my life is just planting new plants in my garden.
    So all was going according to plan today. 15 minutes later, exMM #1 called. I was beyond belief. It’s been two plus years since I’ve heard from this married man and I never expected to hear from him again. Of course I didn’t pick up. The 90 day block expired over four years ago so his call came through. I just stared at my cell phone wondering what in the sam hell he is thinking. There is NO HOPE there dude. You are married. STOP. I’m going to contact my cell provider with regards to their 90 day block policy. Obviously, it doesn’t work. I need a decade block. Hello, married men…do not ever contact me ever, ever ever again. Go home to your wife.

    • XFBwoman says:

      Just wondering: after 2 years, do you know if he is still married?

      • jewells says:

        XFB, doesn’t matter anymore if he’s married or not. Just by having us as his OW deems HIM unworthy forever on once we’ve become BR educated. I am here due to a MM, and I can say now that I will never look at him the same way again. I see him as forever untrustworthy. He lied to me, his wife, himself, his family, his friends… His lies had no bounds, he had no thought for anyone but himself, though he loved to say that he was taught to put others first…hahahaha. He loved to play the hero, but had no concept as to how to treat his wife and family and those he ‘claimed to love’. What it boils down to is that his words mean nothing. If he is no longer married, his wife gave up on him probably after and exhaustive go round the merry go round of ‘working things out’, only to discover that he only did lip service and meant none of the things he said about wanting to make it work as words are a tool for him to get what he wants, there is zero integrity in them and actions certainly do not match. So who cares if he is married or not, he’s already proven himself unworthy of our attention regardless.

        • jewells says:

          Oh, the ex MM despite declaring that he wanted to make things work with his wife, managed to make it clear in the conversation that he still saw me as an ‘option’ in case things didn’t work out with the wife. hahahahahaha.
          I am so not going to be in his filofax of ‘options’ to draw from later on. He better go find a tree to bark up that he hasn’t already pee’d on.

          • beth d says:

            He better go find a tree to bark up that he hasn’t already pee’d on Ha ha Jewells They are really too much lol Well they always like to keep good supply around. If you let them they will keep you around forever. It really is amazing how NOT unique they are. That is the best about BR educated women. We choose to opt out of the harem, fallback position, ego booster and head cheerleader role.

          • runnergirl says:

            Jewells, I experienced the same thing. ExMM #2 went through counseling with his wife after he got caught. After the heat was off, he was emailing me to see if I’d still play the option role. His last email was two weeks ago. I agree. He better go find a tree to bark up that he hasn’t peed on. Ah…reality! It is nice, stable, and truly comforting. I’m not NC. I’m done. I wouldn’t, couldn’t think of single thing to say other than, so you are still cheating on your wife?

      • runnergirl says:

        Actually XFB, I haven’t a clue whether he is still married. It’s been so long with zero contact, honestly I don’t know. Here’s the thing though, it actually doesn’t matter. If he was as single as a song bird, I wouldn’t be interested. Jewells pretty much summed it up. Cheating MM’s have a capacity to lie a blue streak. There is no hope for me with a MM or even a newly single divorced formerly cheating MM. Cheating MM’s are liars PERIOD. I don’t do liars anymore. That’s my reality.
        I still want to tell these cheating emailing turds to get effed. I won’t. Silence is golden.

    • Tabitha says:

      Runnergirl! Wow! Well done not answering. You are an inspiration to us all. Just keep telling yourself it would have been the same old same old……

    • beth d says:

      Runner We need lifetime blocks with these psychos!!! They never stop hoovering and knocking at that locked door. Their egos are amazing…did he think you would look at the phone and melt? LOL

      • runnergirl says:

        Beth d…you are right, it’s not up to our cell provider to block these guys, it’s up to us!

    • Little Star says:

      Runnergirl well done, proud of you that you did not pick up the call from married man:) What he was expecting, that you are still in love with him? How weird…

      • runnergirl says:

        Thanks ladies. It really wasn’t a tug on the heart strings moment so there was no chance in hell I was going to pick up. I’m so very, very grateful I wasn’t the exception to the OW rule in that instance. Yeah, like after too many years to remember, I was supposed to melt? No thank you. Not a chance in hell. He was probably bored and needed a little stroke. Everything Nat says about these types getting back in touch has been true for me. Just a little flip through cyber space to see if anyone will bite.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hahahaha, Runner. You had the very same experience I had. In fact, you may be one of the ones who commented. When you block someone it should be PERMANENT not for 90 days like I, too, experienced, and the chump called me after almost 2 years! I need a decade block, too. I can’t be bothered remembering when the 90 days is up. Ridiculous!

      • runnergirl says:

        Tinker, I think I did comment and we did have the same experience about the same time. As folks are pondering a deadline, I guess our cell providers provide us with a 90 day deadline and then it is up to us!
        Sounds like you are doing a good job staying in reality and phasing in commitment with the new guy while ignoring the chump. They either have ego’s bigger than the planet or simply nothing to do…or both. It certainly isn’t “love”…

  31. Confused liz says:

    Yes he bailed less than a month after I found out my mum was terminally ill (the first Houdini act) then again during , then 8 weeks after she passed away which is still ongoing, he did come over as soon as he found out and looked after me and my son , came to the funeral but a crappy thing was he left me alone in the night when he knew I didn’t want to be alone ( he had work next day pfft) thank you ladies for your advice once again it’s helping me move forward and realise what he is :)

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Confused Liz… So sorry about the loss of your mother… I lost my mother in June 2011 and it still hurts sometimes. It didnt help that my long term EUM cheated 2mths later .I was devastated & found myself grieving the loss of both of them. But he did show me his true colors. What I find eery about it is right B4 my mother passed she told me he was not the right one for me and that she wanted me to find someone to take care of me and HE WAS NOT IT …My sister & I both think she saw what he was doing & put and end to it.. I immediatly went NC and have never looked back. DO I still think of him, occasionally, but I would never let him close enough to hurt me again.. That chapter of my life is closed/over…

      • confused liz says:

        sorry to hear that kit-kat, my friends and my sisters say i need to get rid of him and i can do better etc etc, itsa just hard and i find myself thinking about the good times. the fact he hasnt tried to contact me in 4 days just makes me realise more what he is like. i cant wait to feel free and you are all helping me get that step closer, so glad i foud this site :) thanks everyone

  32. Peanut says:

    I get chills thinking of the dangerous men I’ve been with. Not good ones. Like nausea. I’m lucky to be alive. I went for the lowest of the low. The deadliest of the deadly. I had nothing to live for and I swore these were the only men that would take me, have me, considering how I was damaged goods. Or just damaged, never even good to begin with.

    A natural process happens between lovers. Chemicals get released, biology kicks in, and well you know the rest. And the SCARY thing is, in order for experiences to feel good with a partner, the partner does not have to be of good or decent character. That’s where awareness should step in. Who do we want to have these experiences with? We should be paying attention to the kind of person they are, not just how they make us feel. Being as we are human, we are prone to flattery and charm, if we’re not careful and fail to properly scope out the situation. Some people are asses. It’s our job to figure that out before we give up the goods and our precious, short time (even if we live to be 100) here on earth.

    • natashya says:

      i love what you wrote, peanut:

      “And the SCARY thing is, in order for experiences to feel good with a partner, the partner does not have to be of good or decent character.”

      this is so true. it comes down to biochemistry and it can be very misleading.

      before i got unceremoniously dumped last summer, i did not know anything about emotional unavailability or future faking and fast forwarding. i honestly had no clue. i knew what i felt and what i felt felt good and right.

      now i know that the fireworks are basic biological chemistry and that these feelings aren’t facts. it’s so very important to stand back, observe, make sure that dating is indeed used as a discovery phase and that words are backed by actions and that gut feelings and red and amber flags are never to be ignored.

      • Peanut says:

        Amen Natashya,

        “Feelings aren’t facts.” This was a hard pill to swallow for me. I was dreadfully clueless, too. I thought feelings determined EVERYTHING in life. Nope. And thank God that is not true. Or I’d be stuck in an Alice and Wonderland type world falling down every rabbit hole I encountered, never truly exercising my human right to choose rationally from a place of self respect.

  33. Teddie says:

    Wise words, Peanut! The tragedy is when we stay on even after it’s stopped feeling good. Turns out, we are very selective about what feelings we heed!

    • Peanut says:

      Teddie,

      “Turns out, we are very selective about what feelings we heed!”

      This really stuck with me. Hit a chord really. It’s so true. I’m not sure you meant it in this context: If we don’t love ourselves or believe we deserve love, then we seek out partners who will essentially make us miserable in the long run. We go through the biological hooh-rah and then BAM, all our fears of being unlovable become personified in this person we may have deemed perfect for us in the name of feelings. Honeymoons fade, authentic love grows. Take care. Onwards xx.

  34. Tired says:

    Wishing , tinkebell said it the best way it could be explained . You give yourself a deadline you beat yourself up when that time comes and youre not over it . I dont think you can wake up and notice youre over it . Its when you dont notice that you are do you see . There is no time limit each person has its own individual character . Some of us are tough and get on with it some of us are soft and it takes a while . I know as well as everbody here how yuky it is first few months . When will it end i hear you say . But given time and you filling it with stuff that gives you happiness is a good start . I notice in me the hurt is receeding . If i think of snything it hurts for a tiny bit and goes away . As the months tick by you do start to heal . You are no longer in a circle of hurt . Yes you see things as they were but its past and the past cant hurt you unless you let it . I have decided to carry on collage and do somthing for me . Putting my life first . I put so much on hold ie taking a part time job so i could see the yuk in his lunch hour . Ive spent my whole life appeasing and a pleasing a bug No . I received a text from him asking for me to email him as he was leaving his job . He wked five mins away from wherevi lived and said he was changing his number . I didnt reply a week later he sent me new number . Again i didnt reply . He wants a ego stroke ever now and then when life is boring . Not from me . Life has been shoving oppertunities in my face as though its trying to slap and say hey we got rid of that bell end so you could go live your life . Wishing you will heal , ho do somthing wonderful that makes you really hapoy . A course , hobby , a pet. But make it about you and youll get over him without noticing :)

    • Fifi says:

      tired,
      “spent my whole life pleasing and appeasing a bug” lol, am still laughing, ex shall henceforth be referred to as The Bug. Which is actually a step up from how I privately referred to him as, and much more conversation-friendly:)

  35. Tired says:

    Kit kat , your post spot on . That was me .

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Tired. Yes, I see me in her writing too. I stayed way past the sell by date & paid heavily for it..Live & learn . I try to share my wisdom to save others from going thru what I have experienced. Its up to them whether to take my advise or not..All I can say is : I am so thankful I found this site & all the amazing posters on here.. It truly empowers me to stay the course :)..Happy Easter to all !!!

  36. Confused liz says:

    I also find myself thinking ‘what If he’s with other women’ and this makes me feel sick to the Pitt of my stomach :( even though it shouldn’t … I guess it’s normal to feel this way though until I’m over him ?! X

    • jewells says:

      Hey Liz, search this site for Natalie’s blogs on exactly those thoughts – of him being with another. It boils down to ‘it doesn’t matter, he will be the same with them’. But look for her blogs, they will guide you through the ‘meditation’ of how to get to that thought. Hang in there, it WILL get better. Keep exploring this site, you will find a wealth of information and stories of others that will help you get through this. You are not alone in your experiences.

      • confused liz says:

        thank you jewells ( and all you ladies for your much needed advice/support) i have read lots of blogs and will continue to do so as this site has helped me sooo much. i cant wait to be free just at the minute it seems so hard and i keep thinking of good memories etc which i suppose is natural

  37. Wise ol owl says:

    Liz, so sorry about your mom. A man that cannot be there for you in your hour of need is showing you who he truly is. You can’t let that go. He had plenty of time for you when HIS needs were getting met, though. This is the take away from your time with him and hopefully that will seal the deal as far as NC with him. Speedy healing to you. To Natalie, thank you so much for this article. Your many writings on the subject of staying based in reality have helped more than words can convey. As I plan to plant my garden, literally, I know one thing. In 60 days I still may not have a man, but I will have some beautiful tomatoes & hot peppers!

  38. Tired says:

    Confusedl liz
    Try not to think about it . I know its hard but one youre thinking on somthing you dont know about . Plus it does your recovery not any good . At first it was all i thought about then after a while its oh well and the shitty feeling fades . Got to get on with you in the here and now . It wont change a thing and it wastes pointless thinking :)

  39. i entered into reality dec 8 2012 when i went no contact. it has been liberating and painful at times. i have rediscovered friends, given myself permission to get through professional hurdles, given myself time to heal a little. i say a little because almost 4 months no contact and i still miss him. i still hope that he will call or text. i re-read your blogs natalie and i re-read the comments because they remind me of the reality of the relationship and how it was not good for either of us. i somehow havent been able to let go of the times that were good or the dreams we shared. there are times i feel i am ready to meet someone new and open my heart again, then i have moments of overwhelming anxiety about the professional decisions i have to make and that i am single with a ticking biological clock and i lose hope and faith. i am crying alittle more these days. even though i get reminders that i am loved, and lucky and blessed in so many ways. i am struggling to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get things done. i remind myself that i am worthy of my own love, of the love of a decent man. thanks for being here.

  40. confused liz says:

    thank you, i am trying my best not to waste my thoughts on him, but still feel veryconfused as to why he said what he said – some of it just last week and we havnt been together for 2 months (his doing) im just glad i have realised there are lots of people in similar situations and that its his issues, not mine. 4 days nc but this is soooo hard!! :( x

    • Wiser says:

      If you can, try to separate what he SAYS from what he DOES. Look at this really honestly. We get so carried away with loving and flowery words, but all that matters in the end are actions. If there’s confusion between what he says and what he does (or fails to do), go with what he does as evidence of how he really thinks and feels.

  41. lo j says:

    Another note on the “gifts”: It can bee used as something to hold over your head later on as well. For example, an ex had given gifts, done stuff around the house, etc, but repeatedly flirted publicly on FB, something he knew bothered me. If I said anything, oh God forbid, the fit thrown and the “look at all I have given and done for you!” Loyalty and trust and not doing something that you know hurts the one you are supposed to love are far better gifts than clothes, jewelry, or a coffee maker.

  42. Tired says:

    Kit kat thats what i kick myself that i should have drawn a line under it when he ended it and got married . Should have sorted me out properly . But it was pre br days and i was living in fantasy land . It is hard going out there , like example going to a pub for a drink on youre own , men seem to do it with ease . Women are look at oddly . I wish i had more courage to do it id go off see bands and stuff i enjoy but i feel so self conscious when i do stops me going out

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tired. I go to lunch with one girlfriend at a time, since I like more one-on-one getting togethers. Don’t think you’re alone in going to a pub by yourself. I’m FAR from doing anything that bold. I’ll go to see a movie alone but very reluctant to eat in a restaurant alone. Funny how we have these little ways and can be strong in other respects. When I wrote that post to Wish (and I hope she sees it) I was thinking of you. I’ve been following your progress. You have no idea how happy I for you. I’ve learned a lot my self as I continue to read here. When I was hard on you, I didn’t realize, even though I had gone through my crap, how irrelevant deadlines are. You have really experienced the pain and even though it has taken you quite awhile the important thing is that you’ve gotten there. I am so proud of you for not responding to his feeble efforts to contact you. Let it be and keep moving on. BE HAPPY. Hugs, Tink.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tired. See my post to you.

  43. Tired says:

    Thanks Tinks
    I am a softie but i do need someone to be hard or id still be wallowing . Time really is the big factor in healing and tho id walked id let a drip drip ofcontact keep me stuck. I pondered for a tiny while as to why hed want to stay intouch . Hes moving on with his life . And i didnt reply as i didnt want a bit part or have his life rubbed in my face. For once i did somthing for me. It takes time to recover strength . On the way back up ive come across some shady men and believe me feeling low and shit nearly nearly fell into the ac trap again . But this time round i can see ! Plus i can see the future outcome with these men . I working on my self confidence and to stand up for my self . I get frustrated that im nit moving on quick enough but i know you cant force it . Its pathetic i want to say look ive moved on who are you ? But i know thats not natural and ive got to let time help me on that . Its not a compition . I spent whole of easter in as i knew i would be going out for wrong reasons . I still have feeble days but i have good ones to lol . Hugs

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Tired. Have you considered Natalie’s Self Esteem course? I would probably be a good thing for you to sign up. We put up with so much BS because we have low self esteem. It takes awhile to get to the point where you KNOW YOU DESERVE BETTER.

  44. Penelope Pitstop says:

    I’m about to meet up with the ex to tell him that I don’t want any further contact. I know it sounds odd to meet up to do this and I guess that if I am really honest, there is a bit of hope still there that he will change his mind.

    About 3 years ago, we were in a relationship and I was the one sitting on the fence. I was looking for the ‘zsa zsa zu’ which I now realise was stupid. I didn’t have the butterflies and thought that there wasn’t enough attraction on my side. We were both in v late 30′s and wanted a family etc.

    I was made redundant from my job and took it really, really badly. He rallied around and asked me to move in with him. I still sat on the fence and ended up flying across to the other side of the world to my family and basically hid from the world and licked my wounds. In hindsight I was suffering from a bad case situational depression.

    He came to visit and all I did was push him away – I guess that you could say that he was EU and so was I. I eventually came back to the UK after 4 months and he wanted to marry me, start trying for a family right away and generally build a life together. For a 39year old who was now unemployed, it could have been everything I have ever wanted. I could have had the lovely house, doting husband and father of my children an not had to work (he has a v high paid job).

    I was so scared – again in hindsight – very much scarred from an old relationship and sat on the fence. I proceeded to have a kinda one night stand with an old flame – although no sex. This made me wake up and want to be with the ex and I then made the decision that I was going to build a life with the man. I started the process of moving in with him.

    As I was doing this, he read my emails that I had left logged onto his laptop and saw the exchanges with the old flame. It only happened once.

    He broke up with me after this and then we have had a lot of communication over the years, including him wanting to get back together and then deciding he didn’t want. It was awful.

    We have both seen other people but I am not currently and he is now.

    I was made redundant from my current job a couple of weeks ago and all the feelings have come back – what could have been… why didn’t I take what was on offer… I could have had a lovely life etc. But I am alone and lonely and just getting older and now probably won’t have a child.

    He has been in contact and is trying to be suportive but he has a girlfriend and I can’t handle it….and need to break contact. why was I so stupid ?

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Penelope. You were not stupid. You just did not love him. Just because he may have been good to you and good for you does not elicit true love from you. You did the right thing by not forcing yourself to have feelings you did not have. He has a girlfriend, now? Let it go. Don’t entertain regrets. You didn’t want what he offered. Nothing to regret.

    • natashya says:

      penelope… you admitted that you were EU and he was EU. how do people who are both EU make a healthy relationship? they don’t!

      i think you dodged a bullet. you could have brought a child into a dysfunctional relationship.

      sorry if this sounds harsh, but i think a reality check is in order. you can still have a lovely life. you don’t need him for that.

      please, stop torturing yourself with the coulda, woulda, shoulda. tell yourself you’re a lady of grace and dignity, go NC and start to heal yourself. it’s never too late! good luck.

    • Mymble says:

      Penelope
      This man was not your one and only chance for happiness, family life, children, etc. You’re putting him on pedestal now, but at the time you chose not to go down that path with him. You now feel that was a mistake- but you can’t know that it was, you will never know what your life would have been with him. You can’t change the past. Let him go and focus on what you are going to do now without dwelling in regret. For what it’s worth, being a stay at home mum of young children can be a particular kind of hell for many women, lonely and depressing.
      He may have been a nice guy but he wasn’t all that special.
      Children are not a recipe for happiness I can assure you – the evidence is that people get less happy when children are born and happier when they leave home -but if that’s what you really want, then there are many ways of having a family of your own.

    • grace says:

      Penelope
      It’s very easy to think that a man will make things right. You’d be financially better off. You’d have a nicer house. You wouldn’t be lonely. You’d be happier. Even though I’ve been in a stable relationship for eight months now, I’ve not found that to be the case. The boyfriend has just been made redundant, his parents are dead set against us getting married (I’m a lot older than him, I see their point). I have a whole other person to think about, not just myself.
      Sometimes, I find myself starting to fantasise about how my life would have been if I’d got myself sorted out earlier. Or if I was x years younger. Or if I had met the boyfriend earlier. But what’s the point? It’s not going to change the situation I am in now, in reality.
      He has a girlfriend, you need to find a job. That’s how it is. Don’t start losing yourself in what ifs.
      I absolutely understand the feeling that you won’t/are unlikely to have a child. You’re not the only one going through that. But if there’s a chance, if you’re still young enough, it’s really time now to concentrate and go for what you really want, not waste more months/years kicking fantasies about in your mind.
      And even if you do give up the hope of children, there’s still no reason to hang around for x more years of this. This relationship didn’t work in the past, it’s not working now. Your fantasies and problems and loneliness can’t make it viable.

  45. frieda says:

    This is so timely for me, just coming out of a 3+ year relationship. Met another guy who was pushing me for a commitment after way too short a time. I think guys have quite a different concept of healing from a lost relationship!

    Anyway, someone once said to me, why make someone your first priority if you are not theirs?

  46. confused liz says:

    today i find myself feeling very angry. i just dont know how someone can be with you for 2 years and say the things they said/ do the things they did then nothing they can just forget. im finding it very hard maybe because this is my first experience with one of his type? i hope this passes fairly soon i feel like im going insane :(

    • jewells says:

      Hi Liz, just so you know it is a normal phase to go through. I also was so angry and confused that I felt like I was going insane. Don’t worry, you’re not. It’s called cognitive dissonance – it’s the state caused by holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time. You are having lingering belief still in the things that were said (the fantasy) over the 2 years, and yet you are realizing the reality and it doesn’t match and they are in conflict. Keep examining the reality, and the belief in the fantasy will subside and you will feel sane again. Hang in there!

    • Allison says:

      Liz,

      Words mean nothing!!!!!!!

      This dude has not introduced you to his family, home or life. He has bailed at important times and has been incapable of any commitment. He has shown you over and over that there is no future .

      Time to acknowledge the situation and actions – or lack of – for what they are, and try to move on. I know it’s hard, but you need to remove yourself from the denial and excuses stage.

      It is now time to focus on you, to understand why you stayed in this mess.

    • Lilia says:

      Liz
      Anger is a good thing! It means you´re beginning to defend yourself. It may feel uncomfortable for a while but it´s the healthy reaction to abuse.
      Don´t worry, it won´t last forever.
      I would be concerned if you were feeling sorry for yourself all the time, because that would mean you don´t have the inner resources to heal from this experience. But it´s clear that you´re no victim, hang in there!

  47. Christine says:

    I have a weird situation and I’m hoping someone could give me some advice.
    Also THANKYOU so much not just for the articles but for all the comments under each one.

    I’ve just discovered that the EUM I’ve been ‘with’ since August used me asking him for some space as an excuse to decide the entire thing was over and get back with his ex, without telling me.

    I thought that we were slowly going forward and told myself to trust the process.

    I am now seeing all of his behaviour for what it is, and that is enlightening. But, we were very close friends for a year or so before anything happened. He left is GF (who he is shagging now) to be with me. I know, i didn’t see this as a red light. He is ten years older than me and very authoritative and very much was my rock and anchor.

    Now I am doubly devastated as I have lost my friend as well, and he’d made it very very clear that our friendship was very important to him (while downplaying the significance of his relationship). He is apparently so terrified of being with me after his marriage broke down but thinks it’s okay to lead me on while shagging his ex.

    If it was just a romantic relationship to get over this would be easier, but he was my best friend first and foremost. I’m not sure I can handle this betrayal of trust.

    Any advice for this weird situation would be very appreciated. I ignored all the fast forwarding and future faking at the beginning as I was already in a state of total trust with him due to our friendship.
    Thanks, C x

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Christine. A true friend does not abuse the friendship and your vulnerable feelings. He is just not that special. It was not more than a romance because he was not a friend. He does not even qualify to to be considered a bf, as he bounces between women for his own selfish gratification.

    • natashya says:

      christine, he is a crap friend and crap relationship material. what happened here is that he unfolded. he may have taken his time, but he unfolded into a lying, manipulating assclown.

      i know it must really hurt to be in this situation, but do you really want to be friends with someone who did this to you?

      for your own sanity and dignity, for one i’d go NC.

      • Christine says:

        thanks both of you. and all for the support everyone shows each other here.

        I tried nc and it worked. I asked him not to get in touch and he didn’t. I said I’d call if I felt ready. I did call then a while later and he hung up on me twice. he then texted to ask why I was contacting him. He has since not replied to any of my four texts I sent him. These were gentle texts.

        This all happened two weeks ago. I am in little bits and pieces over it. Sorry for whinging on, this is so tough.
        X

      • runnergirl says:

        Christine, I’m sorry you’ve been betrayed by someone you’ve trusted. For some reason, there is a common thread with regards to these guys being our best friend, a rock, and an anchor. So when things go south, it feels like you are losing your best friend as well as a romantic interest. It’s not a weird situation, it’s pretty much standard. Your best friend left his GF to be with you and then went back to his GF? I’m not judging you by any means. I was an OW to a married man who was my best friend and he downplayed his 20-something year marriage and his 3 kids because, after all, we were friends first. I put a lot of false stock in the best friends card. I experienced what Nat describes: “When reality didn’t match my hopes and expectations, I’d either be left wounded, disappointed and grudgingly single again or, I’d dig deeper into the How Low Can You Go Bunker and roll out the people pleasing big guns because it was ‘easier’ than admitting that I’d made a mistake”. Maybe you made a mistake? This “best friends” card gets played at the onset of a romantic interest and then gets played again when there is a parting of the ways. The best friends card is the joker. As you note, there was a red flag at the onset: He had a GF. There was a red flag for me too: He had a wife. Once you can move into NC, block him, and focus on you, it may become obvious he really wasn’t your best friend after all. That’s a hard pill to swallow and I still gag a bit. You are not the only person to wake up and find your best friend is smoke and mirrors. Arggh. I still hate to admit it. He was my soulmate and we could share everything, except a life of respect, trust, and commitment. I need a new definition of a best friend. Hugs to you. Stay with us on BR and download Natalie’s books. It does get better!

        • Christine says:

          Such a hard pill to swallow, thanks runnergirl x
          We both value loyalty and trust so highly because of previous trauma in our lives, especially mine, that he knows all about.
          He was the catalyst to help me move on my my past and was so supportive. To use me sexually and in any way after knowing me so deeply, is disgusting.

          I come back here often throughout the day just to get a shot of support and strength.
          Thanks all x

    • Allison says:

      Christine,

      This man was/is not your friend!

      Friends do not use, hurt, or disrespect one another. He should be ashamed of how he treated you! Please stay away from him! He’s a creep!

      I’m confused? He was a close friend or best friend? Didn’t you only know him for a year+ ?

    • Lilia says:

      Christine,
      The same thing happened to me. The guy who was supposedly my best friend and who I trusted most in the world got me into a very confusing EU/AC relationshit. I´ve never had a worse bf, if I can call him that.
      My divorce from my exhusband was easier than the experience with him.

      I spent a lot of time wondering about his betrayal of our friendship, and I think the reason I got so deep into this mess was that I trusted him as a friend, so I couldn´t imagine he´d ever put me through all his ACness.

      The conclusion I came to, about a year later, is that he is just not worth it. I´ve decided to sweep him out of my life and you know what? I´ve discovered that I really DO NOT NEED HIM.

      The irony in all this is that in the past I somehow had the feeling that it would be really bad to get romantically involved with him, and that we´d end up ending out friendship afterwards. Which is exactly what happened. But I guess I got carried away by his lovely charming ff, just when I was suffering from low self esteem. I´m now taking this as a learning experience, I´m enjoying my life at the moment and I hardly think about him anymore.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Christine. I felt the same way about the ex-EUM as you do. I THOUGHT he was my best friend. But as I was trying to sort all of my feelings, the hurt, the sadness & the feelings of being betrayed by him I realized if he truly was my best friend he wouldnt have been willing or able to do the things he did. You just dont do that to someone you say you love or someone you have shared everything with. Yes, it hurts and its hard to walk away from them but you have no choice. They chose to do those things, and in my situation it was all about him, his wants, his needs, his whatever. I did not deserve what he did and he does not deserve my friendship or to be in my life in any way ,shape or form. END OF STORY …

    • grace says:

      christine
      You can be good friends with someone and yet a crap boyfriend/girlfriend. friendship does not require the same level of commitment and fidelity as a romantic relationship. You can have as many friends as you want, you can only have one boyfriend/girlfriend and that alone can be enough to scupper a relationship. Your friends don’t expect you to be faithful just to them, they don’t expect to share your finances, they don’t expect to have children with you.
      If you start dating a friend, don’t see it as the culmination of a friendship, see it is the beginning of a new relationship, so you let it unfold. And you must go in with the proviso “If this doesn’t work out, I have lost him/her as a partner AND as a friend”. You have to go for broke and not make excuses for them or yourself or the relationship because you’re “friends”. Once it’s romantic, you’re no longer friends, and normal rules apply. don’t overcommit because you were friends first.

      • tired says:

        Runnergirl is so right about their youre best friend at beginning and end . He didnt want me , didnt want me gine from his life ,yeh whilst he was setting him self up with new bird ‘ boy did i really discover what my so called best friend was . A slimey lying ,using crapbag . They are not worth us .Flush . I was a bit down yesterday knowing hes left job gone for good . But i kicked myself up arse . Good its better for me hes gone change is good . It means a better life for me. OTHERWISE ID STILL BE A SIMPERING STUCK IDIOT KISSING HIS SLIMEY ARSE LIVING IN FANTASY LAND ‘. Heres to waking up lol

    • DiggingDeeper says:

      Christine, I recently developed a strong physical attraction for a male friend of mine, and he also has a girlfriend.

      I want to keep the friendship with him, so I’m staying away from him right now –I went NC–I’m hoping that my feelings for him are only a passing crush or romantic craving, as I struggle to work on my own ‘issues.’

      We’ve only been friends for a about six months, and as his friend I know how much he loves his girlfriend because he told me, and most of his actions demonstrate just that, but from my point of view, I’m starting to feel like some of our conversations and interactions are ‘crossing the line’, as far as the level of intimacy that I can sustain without triggering my physical attraction to him (it is getting too close to full intimacy)–I was having trouble, as we continued to share some deep feelings about ourselves, coupled with our hands reaching for one another unexpectedly on one occasion, and probably too many hugs, rubbing strokes on the back one day by him, and a touch on his leg by me on another day, which caught my attention, but only after I did the deed.

      I’ve ALWAYS felt 100 percent sure that I don’t want a long term, romantic relationship with him because I don’t feel like we’re well suited for one another (I’ve always felt like their were too many differences between us, namely our current life goals and wants and needs). And if he ever left his girlfriend, and then tried to pursue me, I would automatically lose respect for him because of my values.

      And, I don’t want to hurt him or his girlfriend. I really care about him, and I think he has a good thing with her, and I don’t want him to ‘blow it’.

      I know that one day, he’s going to confront me on my ‘disappearing act’, and I’m hoping that by that time my attraction will have passed because I’ll have figured out what’s driving it, and I’ll have an ah-ha moment that will just kill it in an instant, and I’ll be able to have an open and honest conversation with him about it, and it won’t feel pointless–better left unsaid–or too uncomfortable.

      But then I think maybe my feelings for him are ‘real’, and maybe I’m just denying that I already have romantic feelings for him because these feelings are in direct conflict with my values, which ultimately means, for me, that we cannot be friends. But if that is the case, I’ll choose ME, but it won’t be without some pain because I really value our friendship.

      Or, maybe one day when I am not so ‘emotional’, I’ll realize that I fast forwarded myself into a friendship with him, and he fast forwarded a relationship with me, and that he isn’t really my friend, and yes, that’ll be a tough pill to swallow, but I’ll swallow it…after-taste and all. :(

      Good luck to you.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Digging Deeper. You are wrong to be fantasizing about this guy. You say he has a girlfriend and, by his actions appears to love her. And you also say you don’t think you two are well suited to each other. So where do you think you fit in? Do you want to be Ms. Option? If the first factor doesn’t cause you to drop this nonsense, then certainly the second should. Cut out the dreaming and look for you own man.
        You’re on a rocky road, which you may regret later.

        • DiggingDeeper says:

          Hey Tinkerbell,

          I just had a dream about him last night. Ha!

          We were sitting across from one another on some form of transportation, and we were talking, and then he kissed me.

          Oh, Runnergirl, Paolo, and Selkie, I think the Slowest Learner Award clearly goes to me. :)

          So where do I fit in? nowhere :(

          Do I want to be a Ms. Option? H#$% nooooooo! ;(

          I get it: Ugh, I was fantasizing about being able to drop the attraction, and keep him in my life, and on and on…rationalizing….

          Internal Boundary: If I ever find myself attracted to one of my male friends who has a girlfriend, I will end the relationship without trying to control the outcome.

          Enforce Boundary: NC

          Strategy: Continue my plan to stay away from him; commit to it every day

          Internal Boundary: I will not fantasize about unavailable guys. period.

          Enforce Boundary: pull myself back into reality, gently when I find myself fantasizing about him; think about something else, or do something else; and no more rehashing the relationship.

          Knowledge Base: Understand that this is a romantic craving. I am using him to escape…as a stress reducer. I don’t want him in the longterm; this is coming from a place of addiction; the addiction is talking, so take heed. (And, I don’t want to be an assclown. :/ )

          Strategy 3: Find some healthier things to do when I want to take a break and/or reduce stress, and do those things instead of fantasizing about him.

          Stop dodging my responsibilities; have compassion for myself, but suck it up and move forward.

          Thanks Tinkerbell for pulling me back into reality. :)

  48. Confused liz says:

    Thanks again ladies ,I’m so greatful for your advice I’m understanding much better now, though it still hurts I know that he is a typical eum/ac and I know I need to remain nc and try to stop thinking what he’s doing , and work on myself. I’m in the middle of doing my driving lessons and have just passed my theory test so this is something that takes my mind off him / the situation , and this site is my saviour ;) thank you all again x

  49. paolo says:

    Natalie. You make me realise why it’s never worked out with every woman ive ever be involved with…I feel like my eyes have only just been opened since reading your blog posts.

  50. Confused liz says:

    Oh also I was just wondering if anyone could advise me on his belongings I still have at my house, I was going to get it dropped off to him but this would cause me to have to break the nc rule :-s as I would need to let him know his stuff was on its way so that he is home …. Thanks again for your help and advice all :)

    • Tabitha says:

      Liz you are making excuses. Are you posting it to him? If he isn’t in then he will get a card through the door. If it were me I would rather pay any kind of postage costs than break NC. Otherwise is there any way it can be left with a neighbour. You owe this man NOTHING. Good luck!

  51. Kat says:

    I just want to say, this website has helped me so much. Words cannot express how thankful I am for your wonderful writing. Your articles have helped me get out of this relationship with an eum after only a year. And to think, I’d come to think this was “normal”, or he was “just hurt”. The inconsistencies and lack of trust finally became too much for me. When I look back, I saw everything from the get-go but chose to ignore it!! Thankyou for empowering women with your wise knowledge and articles. Your website is supporting me in my “no contact” phase of this breakup. He texts all the time and I have no desire to enter into conversation and be manipulated, again. Never again! I’m free. Confused Liz, GET OUT NOW. Anything kind he ever did for you was a fake, a facade, a selfish means to get what he wanted. He is not capable of giving you what you or your son need, even if he insists he cares. Get out now and be free and happy!!! You cannot meet the man you deserve with an assclown on your mind! Dump the jerk and move on girl!

  52. runnergirl says:

    Oh gracious Natalie. In responding to Christine, your topic sentence just smacked me upside the head. I so future faked myself to get by with shady stuff I was doing in the present. Of course, I allowed him his share of future faking. Most importantly, I future faked myself too! I’m sure many of you already get this obvious fact. I just got it. Light bulb. Ahha. Face Plant. Here’s the good news, since I finally get how I future faked myself, I can refrain from such self-defeating behavior in the future. Sometimes it takes me a year or more to understand what you are saying. I’M GETTING IT FINALLY. I love the Debit-Credit trust system, although I’m still working on my financial boundaries. I’m getting that my personal boundaries have to work the same way. There has to be something in the account before somebody can make a withdrawal. I can’t “hope” there is money to pay the mortgage. How obvious. I can’t hope a MM/AC/EUM is going to pay my mortgage yet I hope he can treat me with love, trust, and respect? Disconnect. Error. Time to reboot my brain! I think I need to change my name to “Slowest Learner on the Planet”.

    • paolo says:

      runnergirl..I think i may have the title of slowest learner.. Every relationship iv’e had has been of the unavailable variety. Whether it be myself or the other or both.

      • Selkie says:

        Runner and Paolo,

        Me too. I’m a turtle, but I guess we can’t future fake ‘ourselves’ into being emotionally healthy. Although lately, I’ve wondered if I think about this stuff TOO much and have turned everything into being about me improving, learning, accepting myself instead of just living and enjoying things. Not accepting myself, or feeling inferior, or too flawed to be loved, drives me to try too hard to become acceptable…to myself. I keep moving my own goal posts and lack clarity when it comes to my own progress. I feel like I haven’t come far enough sometimes and put too much pressure on myself to be ‘better’. It gets frustrating when I feel like I still have one foot stuck in the mud.

        • paolo says:

          Selkie, It won’t be frustrating if you meet someone else and they show red flags you never would have noticed before BR. Then you’ll be glad and know you’ve made progress.

          • natashya says:

            i agree. i sometimes get so tired from this constant ‘work’… but at the same token i know it will all be worth it. i won’t get fooled again.

        • runnergirl says:

          Selkie, I get what you are saying. You don’t have to be perfect. I do it too and lack clarity. Some days I figure I’m making progress, particularly when I flush a red flag situation as Paolo suggests. Then other days, I feel like I’ll never be in a reality based situation with another human being, other than myself. Your comment about putting too much pressure on myself to be ‘better’ is exactly spot on for me. I have to closely monitor my negative self-talk. Maybe Nat’s post applies to a phased in commitment with ourselves as well? The debt-credit trust system analogy works with regards to another person and it works with regards to me. I think this takes practice.

  53. teachable says:

    My post is a slightly diff angle on this topic.

    My maternal g.mother died two days ago. This sparked contact again with both my sister & mother, who I had committed to no longer having in my life, due to the manipulation & emotional turmoil/abuse, from them both seperately & in conjunction w ea other, ongoing over many yrs.

    It’s been a challenging time for me. I chose to set aside our differences to show a united front in my g.mo’s final hours. Doing this allowed my mother to be with my g.mo when she drew her final breath. I don’t regret this. I see it as ‘taking the high rd’ & am happy I facilitated this gift to my mother & g.mo (my mother was the only family member present at the time of death).

    This truce was also an opportunity for me to rightly apologise for some hurtful things I said to my sister prior to recently previously attempting to go NC. Those things may have been true but I am not my sister’s moral keeper. I refrained from pointing out her hurtful behaviour which triggered me unleashing upon her what I truely think of her (which is that she is highly manipulative, & dishonest). My apology was accepted. I appreciate this as my side in this is now cleared. I may think such things but it is not always appropriate to say them. As they say, there is a diff b.tween leveling with ppl, & leveling them. I did not expect her to take responsibility for her behaviour as that is simply not who she is, or ever.has been, at least with me. Hence her lack of any real remorse for her part in things has been as expected.

    So now, to the topic of this post. My mother has decided to give me her ph number & address & admitted she had been living all along at her last known address (after telling staff there to tell me when I phoned, she no longer lived there) for the past few years of our estrangement. This means, my sister LIED about my mother having moved to a diff care facility when I enquired abt this some yrs bk, presumably, at my mothers request. I’m yet to raise this with my sister.

    I still have to get through the funeral which will be harrowing enough in saying goodbye to my g.mo, let alone what I now know abt.my mother & sister’s deception.

    What I’m.wondering, is can it be possible to give these two ppl a fresh slate to write upon in a last ditch attempt not to have to sever my only core family r.ships (I have no father or other siblings) & to use the ‘phasing in committment based in reality’ technique or ought I just attend the funeral &.mysteriously go nc again. In doing the latter, I worry abt the example it sets for.my adult son, whom i’m currently estranged frm (after parental alination frm birth by his father) if I go full nc with my mother. My mother is mentally ill so there are mitigating circumstances for her splitting.behaviour. i’m less forgiving of my sis, esp.given the performance she made about how it was ‘the most diff thing she ever had to do in her life & it broke her heart’ not to be able to give.me my mother’s new number, after her supposed move to a new facility! What a load of bullocks as.she didn’t even move (the facility is too far away for me drive.there & check & I had no reason to disbelieve what I was told). I will say I’m considering making a formal complaint to the.gvt body which funds this facility for the deep anguish their willfull deception caused me for some years now.

    Or do I try a low contact alternative? Any advice anyone might have would really help. Sorry to babble on so. It’s.been a diff time.

    Love to all. T xx

    • Tabitha says:

      This is so tricky Teach and so personal. I was NC with my narc mother between ages 21 and 29. I stupidly let her back in full throttle when I had my kids. I then realised about 3 years ago that I was in trouble with her again. Her manipulation, triangulation, general fucking nastiness was getting more and more overwhelming. I gradually went more and more LC with her.
      Last weekend she dished out a whole load of vile abuse at me in front of my family and I am now strict NC again.
      What you have to weigh up is whether you will be able to forgive yourself if they fuck you over again. How resilient are you at this point in your life if they revert to type?
      Only you can know the answers to these questions Teach. I would say give it a while yet. You are grieving your grandmother and need time to absorb that more before making such a big decision. Good luck.

    • Selkie says:

      Teach,

      I’m so sorry your Grandmother passed away and the challenging family dynamics that make this even harder. I don’t have any solid advice about your mother and sister but only that they are family and maybe worth more chances I guess. Maybe low contact instead of no contact, or even minimal contact while trying to maintain your own composure, letting them be who they are. I know this isn’t always possible. I haven’t talked to my Dad in years and years. Anyway, hang in there….I”m sending you positive thoughts.

  54. lo j says:

    C-Liz … What I did … In my last relationship breakup contact via fb email (go figure) I had asked if he wanted I could send his stuff. He never said anything about what he wanted me to do. (I wouldn’t make an effort to contact him if you haven’t broached the subject all ready.) You could send it to him fed ex.
    I put his stuff away for a while. Out of sight. Just a few clothes is all it was. Then later, donated the nice stuff to a nursing home and chunked the rest. And one night when I was good and ready, had a little bonfire and burned the cards/ticket stubs/ etc Very healing actually.

  55. Anita says:

    I have been reading here for a while now but this is my first time posting. I feel completely stuck in my life right now and I don’t know where to turn.
    I’ve been involved with my EU/AC for 18 months now. Its the same cycle over and over again, things seem ok, we get closer, he pulls away, dumps me and then comes crawling back and we start again. Although recently the dynamics have shifted slightly, he dumped me just before xmas and then came back but this time under the guise of “friendship” which turned into booty call several times. I’m ashamed to write this because before I met him I would have never dreamed of letting someone use me in this way but I’m so terrified of letting him go and I don’t understand why! He’s done and said terrible things to me and I still keep letting him back.
    After the last time I saw him, I was told my a close friend that it was common knowledge that he had been unfaithful to me whilst together (I always had a horrible feeling but never any proof) I got so mad and called him up on it, which of course he denied. He then said he wanted to cut ties as I “clearly am struggling to move on” – which infuriates me because there have been times where I have tried to move on and he doesn’t like it. He then text to say he was coming for his stuff that weekend. I stupidly panicked and started begging and pleading for some unknown reason. He didn’t show up to pick his stuff up and I didnt hear a word for 3 weeks…until last night. He text to ask how I am and to say he was in the area this weekend and can he pop in for a cup of tea and to get some bits. Just like nothing has happened! I don’t understand if he’s just being nice so that he can get his stuff or whether this is his way of crawling back again. I’m really worried about him coming and I don’t know how to deal with it, I feel like I love him but hate him at the same time. I hate this weak person he has turned me into and I don’t know where to go from here :(

    • paolo says:

      Anita…Dump his sorry ass and never have contact with him again. No matter what..No matter how much he tries to contact you…The elastic band effect is the oldest unavailable assclown behavior in the book. It’s a cliche.

      • Anita says:

        Paolo,
        You are so right. I don’t know why it’s so hard to do, he brings my nothing but pain.

    • Allison says:

      Anita,

      Have you considered counseling?

      One thing that helped me, was to try to understand what I was getting by remaining in an unhealthy situation: NOTHING!!!!

      I hate to say this, but he did not turn you into anything, you stuck around – So many red flags! You know who this man is, but are choosing to stay in a toxic situation.

      What do you think will happen if you cut him out of your life?

      • Anita says:

        Allison,

        I have been thinking about counselling, I definitely have some underlying issues from childhood that most probably need addressing.

        Yes you are right, I guess I am to blame…I ignored so many red flags and carried on regardless. If I think about it, he showed me who he was from the start. Alot of things from the beginning have been creeping back into my memory the last few days and I even remember the first red flag I should have taken notice of – He told me he left the mother of his first daughter when she was pregnant, I asked him why and he responded with a puzzled look on his face “why would I stay with someone just because they’re pregnant?”. Wow. That’s one of many examples. And I’m still sitting here feeling broken by the man. I must be crazy!

        I’m not sure, I’m scared but I’m not sure why. I have always been afraid of change, since a young age so maybe that’s why. I know I have no choice though, I’ve just got to do it.

        • Allison says:

          Oh Anita,

          I think we have all ignored the red flags. I excused and ignored, until it became too much. Your situation is soul-destroying! I think you need to understand why you want so little for yourself; it is self-destructive!

          This experience was the best thing that has every happened to me! I learned a great deal about myself, and have a much fuller and happier life. I am thankful that I hit my bottom, as there was no where to go, but up. I hope this is your bottom!

          Change is not scary, it is empowering!!!! This is your life. It’s up to you!

    • Fifi says:

      I’m with Grace – take control of your own time and just post the stuff – that way you’ll have done the right thing and can just forget about it.
      And don’t worry too much about whether you love him – he’s clearly not good for you now or ever, and that’s all you need to know. That but-i-love-him stuff kept me in push-pull cycle for 2 years – and it always ends the same as it’s just delaying the inevitable split.
      Time to put your life first now – it soon won’t matter what he thinks.
      Meditate if you can, I find it really helps to keep you connected to how you really feel/are – I don’t think you’re weak, you’ve just travelled a fair distance away from yourself for the last while – once you reconnect, you’ll know what to do.
      good luck!

  56. grace says:

    Anita
    Fix a time and arrange to have a friend with you when he comes to get his stuff. That will knock some of the drama out of it. Or meet him in public. Or post it. Don’t just sit there all weekend waiting for him to come and have sex with you.
    This “collecting stuff” business is just a way to extend the “connection” and drama(I know cos I did it). Don’t let a few t-shirts and a toaster stop you from moving on.
    When I look back, what I regret most is that I let these things drag on and on and on. The men aren’t that special. Because … if they were they wouldn’t treat you like this!

    • Anita says:

      Grace,

      I think that is probably his game. He’s done similar things before. He moved out of his flat 6 months ago to be nearer to work and was very keen for me to take over his tenancy, at the time I thought he was helping me out as myself and my son were in between places but looking at it now, its obvious that it was a perfect opportunity for him to keep me there with the door open. He’s even left me with his cat! Until very recently he was still referring to it as his flat and letting himself in. I do think he definitely wants to cut ties now though, its never felt this final so maybe by him coming for his stuff that door will now close?

      • grace says:

        Anita
        Why would he cut ties when he has you where he wants you? YOU need to cut ties. You’re the one who’s not happy, he’s fine.

      • A says:

        Anita,

        I’m sorry that you’re hurting. One thing that I notice from your posts is that you’re still letting him call the shots–still wondering what he’s thinking and what he will do next, whether *he* thinks it’s over this time and whether *maybe* it will be because of something that he does. What about what you want? Why do his whims dictate what’s happening between the two of you?

        You need to take the focus off of him and bring it back to yourself. If you take control and make your own decisions rather than thinking about what he wants and what he might do next, I think it would really help you in your healing.

        And really, who cares what he wants? You know what the deal is with this guy, make the decision to walk away and stick with it. He’s not treating you well, and that isn’t going to change. Summon up some anger at having been treated this way and resolve to make a change–it’s the first step.

  57. Confused liz says:

    Thanks again ladies , I have decided his stuff isn’t important and am just going to keep it locked a away then give it to charity when I’m ready. I still don’t know why I’m wasting any thoughts on him and ‘ missing’ the good memories we made. Ughh . But I do feel a lot stronger and you are all helping, one week tomorro nc :)

  58. Confused liz says:

    Anita, your situation sounds very similar to mine :-/ I know it’s awful and really hard but you deserve better than this man. Keep checking this site and reading all the stories/ comments really does help. I can relate to how you are feeling but it will get easier you need to go nc to realise that this man isn’t what you thought, good luck to you x

    • Anita says:

      Hi Liz,

      I’ve read your posts and our stories really are similar…even down to the fact that mine is also 36 and is now living back at home! You also deserve so much better than this man is giving you. I’m so glad I have found people who understand, all of my friends and family don’t want to know anymore, they’re so sick of it.
      I will continue to read everyone’s helpful posts and comments and do all I can to detach myself. I hope you do the same. As mothers we owe it to our children to be happy and I know that he can never make me happy. Good luck to you too x

  59. dawn says:

    Feeling so frustrated….I have worked so hard on myself to overcome my self esteem issues in the hopes of attracting a healthy relationship. I finally met someone that I thought was a quality candidate. He is the complete opposite in almost every way to what I am usually attracted to. He lives an hour away which has been great as we have been able to take things extremely slow. I have never taken my time ever in entering a new relationship. Lots of talking and getting to know each other. No sex! For 2 months he has been attentively contacting regularily. We have been able, due to work schedules, to get in only 3 face-time dates. Then a week ago he completely cut off contact. Between texting and talking we have been in contact every day since the start. I left him alone the first 2 days as I know he has some stressful things going on in his life, but the 3rd day the panic started to set in and I texted him a few times with no response. The 2nd day I texted and then called him as I was actually worried about him. Day 3…I was pissed and sent an email to let him know how the wall was way more hurtful then the disappoint of hearing the relationship was over. He is 40..who acts like that…No call, text or email to inform me the relationship was now over. Just silence. This was over a week ago. I talked to a male friend of mine. I let him read the email I sent and he made me write another one that was a little less aggressive:) Still nothing… I am trying to learn why the universe brought me this latest assclown. But I question, is he an assclown? What is it about me that these guys flock like flies to honey. It really felt so right and organic. I am trying to look back to figure out what flags I missed. The only thing I can think of is that he has an ex girlfriend how continues to try to keep up contact even getting her 8 and 10 year old to text him and keep in contact.( Her husbands kids) I told him he needed to make it clear with her that it was over. It was me or her. I will not share. He said it was hard as she has a health issue now he is trying to help her with. This convo we had 2 days before the cut off. He told me that he wanted to see where our relationship could go and that he was going to take care of putting an end to the other. PS did I forget to mention that she is married to someone else and has been for the last 4 years. Um Yeah…. So I get that he is struggling to get out of the last toxic relationship. But he can still be honest with me. Tell me its over. Or maybe we can try again when he cleans up his life if I am still available of course, but don’t just blow me off. He also is dealing with the death of his best friend and his biz is struggling right now. My friend told me to look up the rubber band theory. I did, But I do not think this is what they are talking about.

    • grace says:

      Dawn
      You’ve had three dates in two months. An hour away doesn’t make that all right, it’s not that far at all. That’s how long it takes me to get to work!
      It’s a fantasy relationship, you don’t know him.

      • Allison says:

        I agree with Geace!

        The travel time to my ex was 1.5 hrs. We saw each other at least twice a week – wont do that again, the commute was a pain in the ass!

        There was no relationship, as you only saw one another three times. Why not find someone closer?

    • Bea says:

      Well..what do you know? I never got to the first date. The April date was never confirmed from the start of the conversation. He disappeared and reappeared blaming me for his disappearance. One thing is clear – he will always remember me! I followed my intuition and beat him at his own game! Other women will thank me!

    • Wiser says:

      So sorry this hurtful and disappointing episode happened to you. And so unnecessary too, if only he had the capacity to be honest and honorable about it! I really think we’re living in an age where there is a breakdown of common decency, courtesy, generosity, civility, maturity and integrity. This is happening at all levels of society, even among so-called “great” guys who may very well be extremely smart, well-educated, professional, work for noble causes, seem to have a moral compass, etc. There is something stunted, some quality of character that is undeveloped in these people. I don’t know why this is the case, or why we are the generation of women who are stuck with an explosion of these immature cretins. My point is this is endemic to the times we live in, and NOT to take it personally, that there is something about you that “attracts” these guys. It’s just that the odds are you are going to run into a higher percentage of these types (and I think this is true for both men and women) than past ages when treating people decently was more highly regarded – and expected – than it is now.

    • Suki says:

      Dawn,
      Just even your first sentence – there is a more important reason to work on your self-esteem than finding a partner. For yourself. Because its a healthy way to live, and it saves you drama, and its nice to be happy, and its nice to know how to deal with life. I think two texts is already enough for someone that you had three dates with – more than that and you sound too needy – why are you hanging on so tightly to someone you met three times? When someone doesnt want to engage with you, that should make you let go, not hang on tighter – i know this is easier said than done – sometimes its good to just see it written down. If someone doesnt want to be with you, thats ok. Right? I mean he isnt interested. If he comes back to you now with a story other than ‘i was in a coma for 2 weeks’ [a verifiable story], you know what to do. NC.
      Self-esteem is not a guarantee that you will get what you want in life. The aim is to have self-esteem and to try to be happy regardless of how life goes. Its not an excuse to be in a bad relationship either [as in, life is imperfect so its ok if my partner is imperfect. Yes, but there is imperfect and there is deal breaker, there is imperfect and there is 'doesnt contact you after only three dates which is a good sign of non-interest']. Also, I am all for exclusivity but it is too early after 3 face to face dates to tell someone its you or the ex. You should decide for yourself whether someone having this type of relationship with their ex will work out for you. If not, then move on. Dont try to change them or make them choose.

      • yoghurt says:

        suki – just wanted to say that every time I read one of your responses I want to go “YESSss” and punch the air. Spot on. Again. :)

    • runnergirl says:

      Dawn, the ex GF still in the pic, even if she has been married for four years, is a problem. Have you read Natalie’s multiple posts regarding dating as a discovery phase? He has unfolded and you’ve discovered he is not over his ex or out of that toxic relationship. You’ve only met him in person 3 times. For me, it is difficult to know if things are progressing organically after three dates. Texting and talking don’t really count as face time and can end up being misleading. In my former situation, texting and talking ended up being a substitute for being together. Reliance on cyber-space is another red flag for me. Additionally if you read Natalie’s posts on dating, now I struggle to understand how we can call it a “relationship” after 3 dates and a plethora of cyber communication. Then he disappears? If it were me, I’d run, block him, and not look back except to register the fact that you will run in the future when a guy isn’t over their ex, relies on cyber space instead of face to face, and then disappears. It may have felt organic, slow, and right but your gut was already telling you there was a big problem when you issued the “it is me or it is her” after 2 months. Sorry if I sound harsh. One more thing, another potential red flag: “He told me that he wanted to see where our relationship could go and that he was going to take care of putting an end to the other”. That is potential option, OW, booty call territorial. Giant red flag.
      It’s up to you to bring closure for you. Tell you it’s over.
      Congratulations on not complicating this situation with sex. Good for you girl. And you don’t have to go look up anything else. You’ve found BR. Keep reading. All the answers to your questions are right here.

    • Magnolia says:

      In any event NML has written about the rubber band theory:
      http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/are-men-really-like-rubber-bands-erno-part-one/

    • Ms Determined says:

      Dawn, let me get this straight. You went on THREE face to face dates with this guy. This week alone, I’ve seen my barista THREE TIMES A DAY, and I don’t know if I’d want to bang him. Er, wait. I would totally bang my barista. He’s hot and makes good coffee. It is lucky your guy was not a barista, or only had his penis in your immediate vicinity three times in two months for the avoiding of the sex reasons. But I digress.

      Busy work schedule huh. You’d better be telling me this guy is the EA of the President of the United States (obviously he wouldn’t BE the POTUS himself, because he is married, and only a crazy lady would date a married guy, right?). No one is that busy. I smell a massive fucking rat. A rat packing an ex-girlfriend with a “health problem” (err, mental health perhaps?), an expired best friend, a business going down the toilet while he is carrying on some future child therapy-necessitating relationships with the children of his ex’s husband (did I read that right?) OR: whatever brain seizure inducing BULLshit he is using to persuade you his continuing association with her is legitimate. Oh yeah. IT’S ALL TOTES LEGIT.

      You are soooo lucky to be rid of this shitty guy I can’t even tell you how lucky you are. You are so lucky that every time I try to think up appropriate words for just how lucky you are right now, my head explodes. So I’m not even going to try anymore, I’m going to use that energy to give you a little piece of advice.

      DO NOT waste a second more of your precious dawn-time trying to understand his nonsense by searching the Internet for lame theories about rubber bands. This is the only theory you need to know. Let’s call it the Douchebag Theory. You know that one… you suspect a guy is a douchebag, and he goes on and unequivocally proves the theory for you. Your only job from now on is to heed the findings. It’s the science of assclowns. You can’t argue with science. FACT.

      • Tabitha says:

        I was just thinking about you today!!! How is it going with amber flag guy?

        • Ms Determined says:

          Tabby! Did you get your hair did anyways? Don’t waste the nice hair on jerks. Been thinking of you too.

          I notice Nat has just written a kickass post that’s relevant (surprise! Nat writes a timely post! THAT NEVER HAPPENS, RIGHT?) to where I’m at with amber flag guy. UPDATE TO COME. After work.

          • Tabitha says:

            Hair is BLONDE!!!! Didn’t you know that when you sign up for Natalies posts, secret cameras are installed via a wireless satellite thingammy so she knows EXACTLY what to say to us and when. This is A FACT.
            Hope you had a good day at work and look forward to your update :)

    • Sm says:

      Dawn I think the real problem is that you talked on the phone for 2 months so it seems that there was a relationship there to you. I stopped doing that a long time ago when I realized these guys were just looking for someone to pass the time with which is evident by the fact he only met you 4 times. That’s the number one sign of unavailables they want to waste your time to fill up theirs be mindful of that. All kinds of red flags, he likes the attention of the exgf because he doesn’t want anything more and she likes it because its an ego boost.

    • Lau_ra says:

      dawn,
      I was reading your post as if I’d be reading my story.Everything was just the same, but the difference is that I failed to comply the no-sex rule, which brought way more trouble than you could ever think – I’ve been sobbing on that guy and that whole experience for almost 8 months now and even doing the therapy.
      That guy of yours is an AC. Not because he doesn’t want you, but because he’s unable to carry a decent conversation about the situation between two of you and just walks away saying nothing and not even reciprocating your effort to sort things out in a civil manner. People who are prone to ignore others/vanish when some issues arise do so all the time, not just with you.
      So you’re doing everyhing right. I’d just say – don’t give him another chance to efff your brain if he happens to show up after some time with some lame explanation like “my ex has problems (man, she has a husband as well, leave them alone!)/her kids have problems/my business is in trouble” etc.etc.
      My latest experience taught me one thing – there is no such reason, which would be good enough to justify treating someone in a “less than” manner.
      And drop those rubber theories – in my view, these are made to justify the crappy behaviour of ACs, and Nat does a wonderful job enlightening us on the ways to recognise that and remove ourselves from these pointless relationshits.

  60. Confused liz says:

    Hi Anita , I feel exactly the same -when I find myself really missing him (god knows why we do when they have acted so shitty consistently) I read through the blogs on here and realise there see people who have been through similar and that we are not alone. Sure I find myself thinking of the ‘good times’ but I just realise now he can not give me what I deserve and neither can u get what u deserve from this man , we need to take the drivers seat for a change and make them realise we arnt gonna be sat waiting, we owe them nothing after how we have been treat, I’m also in a similar situation regarding his stuff, he admitted last week that he hasn’t took it cos this would be ‘closure’ pffft yeah!! That’s what I need but he refuses to take it, and now I’m determined to stay in nc. Also all my friends and even family are the same , they’ve had enough :( lol another reason I’m so greatful for all u lovely ladies and mats brilliant books etc. we can do it ;) x

  61. stacey allam says:

    i dont think these guys and gals do ass clowenery on purpose at leaast knowing from personal experience being both the ass clown and the ass clowned people just get caught up in the feelings of being in love and when it comes time to talk commitment there hit with fear and withdrawl this website makes it seem like people do this type of thing on purpose and while some im sure do most dont especially as a twenty something kid that didnt know any better i took great pride in the appearance of being open minded and putting up with alot bs way longer than should have and also dolin out the bs way longer than i should have

    • paolo says:

      Stacey allam..I agree with you completely.

    • grace says:

      stacey
      I don’t think it matters if it’s intentional or not. Unintentional can be worse. People who don’t know why they do things are a pain ( I know, having been that way myself). They’re dishonest, unreliable, lie and cheat. When you ask them why, they’re like rabbits in the headlights. They don’t know why – so we spend months/years trying to figure it out for them. That’s what makes it such a waste of time.
      We are still responsible for what we do, whether or not it’s intentional.

  62. paolo says:

    In my view if anyone has contact with an ex, if they don’t have kids together and have to out of necessity, then it is asking for trouble. It makes them even more unavailable in my view..I had this problem with my ex, was quite happy to have her ex contact her and there was always this distance and coldness i felt from her..Never quite emotionaly available…Sadly, i’m finding it more and more common that people are staying in contact with ex’s..It’s another nail in the coffin for long term healthy relationships in my opinion.

  63. Confused liz says:

    Thanks Kat , and all who have taken the time to advise me on this awful situation. I know your right, sometimes I think when people say it was false (when he was nice) what was he after ? I know I’m probably not making sense lol just trying to understand that part a little

    • Allison says:

      Liz,

      It could be: attention, ego, sex or support. He stood to benefit with no commitment on hand!

      Please try not to analyze, as the dude is a user!

    • Tabitha says:

      Liz it is called blowing hot and cold. They blow hot to reel you back in. Also, so that when they treate you shoddily, you remember THAT GUY, the one who made you feel like a princess. Most of us will spend several months waiting for THAT GUY to reappear, and then realize that he was only CONSISTENTLY like that for a few months. If you were lucky.
      You will know you are healing properly when you have stopped wondering why he did this or that. It’s history. What you need to do next, when you are good and ready, is to switch the spotlight inwards. Getting a PhD in Liz instead of in the AC ex will fare you much better in the rest of your lovely life.

      • Christine says:

        That’s a lovely comment Tabitha, and one I think everyone should print and stick up somewhere – ‘get a PHD in you’ – in loving you, in investing in you, in nurturing and developing you.

        He is no longer the subject matter for your mental thesis.
        X

    • shattered says:

      Liz – I understand how you’re feeling. At the moment I’m trying to make sense of it all. I’m N?C with the ex AC, but have found out that ‘Mr no committment’ is now living with the woman he’s was seeing the same time as me. After over two years with him, it doesn’t add up. Then I had the returning childhood sweetheart, who was making plans to come and see me from the other side of the world – I just found out (via Facebook) that he got married last week! Its hard not to feel discarded and that I was of no consequence to either of them. Having a bad day today.

      • confused liz says:

        shattered- :( so sorry you are feeling this way too.that is an awful thing to happen. im having a bad day today also. i keep thinking of him and wondering why he did what he did (i know i shouldnt) but its so hard, this is my first experience with one of these men and i had no reason not to believe what he said/did. hes the first man i introduced to my son since splitting with his dad 5 years ago, and after 2 years with him i had no idea it would turn out like this but i guess iv learned what to look out for and the things i need to change about myself etc. im just over a week nc, i know its his birthday next week and il be tempted to text him but i owe him nothing so i will remain nc. funny thing is i know part of me is probably hoping he comes back saying hes gonna change, why the hell i would want him to is beyond me :( good luck to you , we deserve better than these idiots x

  64. Gabrielle says:

    Your blogs have truly blessed me and helped me put an end to my toxic relationship cycle!

  65. confused liz says:

    thanks tabitha , thats exactly what i intend to do- some days i find myself missing him and the way he made me feel (when he cared to turn up) but i just try to think of the reality of who he actually is and this helps, i feel stronger each day i just wish the memories would go :( does anyone have any advice on how to stop thinking of him so much and kind of ‘glorifying’ him/the situation. thanks again everyone x

    • Allison says:

      Liz,

      Make yourself very busy.

      Look into new activities: volunteering, classes, yoga, dancing, outdoor activities, Meetups etc… Just get out the house, but not to meet friends to talk about him. Not productive!

    • Tabitha says:

      Just to clarify, I am sure I got the PhD comment from Nat at some point and am recycling her wise words rather than creating any of my own. Re stopping thinking of him, Liz. Oh God. i wish I could wave a magic wand for you. I remember the absolute compuslive thinking of him 24/7 I literally could not do ANYTHING without thinking of him. It was awful. I think it finally started to get a little better (not much) around 4 months STRICT NC. Now I am nearly 6 months (can’t believe that!) NC and I maybe think of him a couple of times a day. Still far too much as far as I am concerned but massive progress.
      I worried at some point that I would be stuck obsessing about him forever. Fortunately, it turns out, HE’s JUST NOT THAT SPECIAL!!!!!!!

  66. Bob72 says:

    Hi all… need a little help today.

    Im done with my ex.. its over. We’ve been broken up 6 months now, out of an 8 month long relationship. Most of you know my story. She is a queen future faker and fast forwarder, and I future faked myself as well and stuck my head in the sand and let it all happen because I was getting what I wanted in the right now as well. Basically I got caught out when it all came tumbling down and she said she couldnt do it anymore – and held onto fantasy land for a long time afterwords because I couldnt accept that all the proclamations and promises werent real and just sounded good at the time to her when she was caught up in her hot phase. Im over it, and I don’t want her back.. even if she did try to come back someday I know she hasnt changed a bit and theres better for me out there. And I still have alot of work to do on myself so I dont always feel like I have to have someone in my life to be whole – Im working on it and getting there. New house just for me (first time in my life Ive bought a house without someone else in mind), back to church regularly, kicking ass at work again, dating w/o future faking and seeing things unfolding for a change, therapist, going to find some charity to help out with this year… Im feeling better, and incrementally getting better a teeny bit at a time. Even on the bad days I know I cant quit, and the bad days arent nearly as bad anymore.

    My dilema is – I need advice on how to deal with seeing/dealing with her at work :(. It really hit me today, I was feeling so good, looking forward to the gym after work and a date I have tomorrow, was going to make spaghetti for myself for dinner lol.. and I overhear a coworker talking to her on the phone and my good mood goes to shit. I hate that she affects me so much!! I dont know how to not let it though. And for some reason I cant seem to stop myself from saying hi to her when we pass eachother, even though I know she doesnt want to hear from me as polite as she tries to be – and I know I should just walk by and ignore her but I tried it once and its just not me. I cant do that to anyone thats just not who I am. I dont hate her anyway and Im really not mad at her – just very dissappointed in her and who she turned out to really be. The only part that hurts still is her acting like we dont even know eachother – after all the crazy over the top love she proclaimed, plans for us she shared with me, hell I saw her naked for 8 months lol… how does someone pretend like all that never happened and like we are complete strangers?? That part I can deal with.. I havent said anything more than hello or made small talk to her since November and dont intend to. I want better for myself. How do I get over feeling like crap every time I see her though, or even hearing people talk about her?? I cant walk around with blinders and earmuffs on and I am not going to fast forward my own relationship just to get out of feeling crappy – that was my MO for my whole life and I will not repeat it anymore.

    Any suggestions? Do any of you have coworker relationship stories to share that I can get some pointers from?? And yes I know, I will never date in the workplace again lol.. it was kind of hard not to but I have learned this lesson too.

    Thanks, I’ll be fine too just hate the up and down roller coaster sometimes.

    • Wiser says:

      Bob, my heart goes out to you because I was exactly in the same place for much of the last year. I know how painful this is! I was fortunate that I was able to move my office to another building about a month after he dumped me, so my encounters with him were much reduced after that. That first month was hell though. After I moved it got better, but it never failed that if I had to go to headquarters, I would run into him in various situations, pass him in the hall, cross paths in the parking lot, etc. and had to steel myself to nod and say a cordial hi. I had to endure many, many meetings and even social events where he was, including multiple day-long staff trainings, and often he’d bring his new girlfriend as well, as she was associated with our industry and was a cooperative partner. Oh, that was fun!

      What helped me to cope was minimizing contact as much as humanly possible. I made it a game – how many days in a row was I able to do my job without needing to contact him for ANYTHING. And my job was one where we really were supposed to work closely together. But I figured out ways to work around him, and only emailed him when absolutely necessary. I made it a rule that I would never call him on the phone. If he called me, I kept it as brief as possible. When being around him was unavoidable, such as when I had to sit there and watch him do a 3-hour staff presentation (and he put on a very positive, public persona) it would help to say to myself, “never forget what he did, what he said and who he really is.” I knew what a creep he was even if our colleagues didn’t, and it helped me to feel calm and composed. I also decided from day one that I would have nothing to do with him on any kind of personal level, we would make no small talk, ever, and I stuck to that. This was incredibly empowering.

      I’m assuming that getting a new job is not an option for you… ok, then what you need to do is everything you can to minimize contact, avoid places where you’ll be put together. If she usually goes up the A staircase, you go up the B. Keep your door closed so you don’t have to hear conversations about her. Don’t eat lunch in the lunchroom for a long time. Or whatever. Tell yourself that you’re tough enough to endure passing her in the hallway, and you are. Say a cordial ‘hi’ if ignoring her seems too awkward. Be professional. Be dignified. If you have to interact with her about work issues, do it by email – do not talk on the phone if you can help it!

      I think the bottom line is that you have to completely surrender to and accept the reality that you will see her once in a while. And while it will never be comfortable, eventually it’s not such a terrible thing. It will get better in time. In my case, he finally retired in February and thank God is GONE from the workplace! I am so proud of myself that I NEVER bashed him to any coworkers, never talked about our relationship, never showed him my anger, never complained about him, never let it affect my work. You can do this too!

    • simple pleasures says:

      Bob, you sound like I did after 6 months, “I’m over it’…”the only part that hurts is (them)acting like we are complete strangers.” And I only have to be in the same room with him once a week. And looking back I realized after 6 months I was only in the bargaining, and denial stage of grief. Like you I wasn’t angry nor hate him, just disappointed by the fantasy. I thought how can I not feel for him when I see him, and pretended no contact while subconsciously hoping he’d acknowledge me, which he usually did. I never initiated the “Hi” but felt good when he did. I thought I’m doing well, lots of activities, friends, helping the homeless etc. when will I not care?
      It has made the difference when I did real no contact. That’s only been 3 months (but after 12 months of denial, bargaining, sadness, shoulda woulda coulda, phd in mathprofessorassclownery, phd in s.p. childhood stuff, just like all of us here. I now know I will never initiate any interaction with him. If he acknowledges me, I politely respond “Hi”. I AVOID EYE CONTACT !!! That helps. I say to myself, you are a recovering mathprofessor addict, enjoy your recovery. Grieving the loss of a love you wanted is a process, good days, bad days. When you really, really, really don’t want their attention you’ll feel relief. My character is one to say “hi” like you, it means you want them to acknowledge you and give you attention. It is still being in contact. You won’t heal, until you give up hope. YOU put up the boundary and seize your power, in your mind you say, “not saying hi today, used to love you but need to move on, so no egostroke from me to you today. No eye contact from me today. Movin’on, slowly but surely. Two steps forward, one step back.” By the way Bob, you are doing GREAT for 6 months of self development. As for me, 3 months no contact with being in the same room once a week, I recently shredded my journal and thought, you silly girl, he wasn’t what you thought and you got caught up in a fantasy. You learned a lot. And found Grace, runnergirl, yoghurt, revolution, lilly, tired, Ms. determined, Dancing queen, Tinkerbell, Miskwa, noquay, mimble, magnolia,selkie, demke. and..
      Natalie
      One final thought, you have a date for tomorrow? Remember you are in a rebound situation, which could be hurtful to this new girl. Be careful with her feelings.

      • Ms Determined says:

        Simple Pleasures NAILED IT GIRLFRIEND.

        Bob, I’m feeling for you, I really am. It’s not a good place to be in when merely spying someone from afar (note I did not say SPYING ON, I hope you are well past this stage. Wait, everyone spies on their exes, right. Right?) seeing her makes you feel shitty. Or hearing her very name mentioned makes you feel shitty. You feel shitty because you think it’s shitty that you don’t matter to her in spite of the fact she let you play in her ladygarden for 8 months.

        That’s a whole lot of shitty.

        Tell me to shut the fuck up Bob, but I don’t think you should be dating. Because all the shittiness she triggers in you comes from you. Until you can see her and feel nothing, you need to keep working so you don’t transfer that shittiness onto some poor unsuspecting lady who is just trying to get herself some hot piece of Bob ass a healthy relationship. In other words, don’t be using dating as a distraction from you. Remember, you don’t need anybody’s validation but your own right now.

        “I am not going to fast forward my own relationship just to get out of feeling crappy”.

        This. As if not feeling crappy is dependent on a relationship at all. Bob feels good in Bob’s skin = all that matters.

        All that other good stuff you’re busying your hot ass with sounds cool. Keep doing that shit.

        • Tabitha says:

          Oh you crack me up Ms D! Great advice for you here Bob, and from Simple Pleasures too. I love the line “you are a recovering mathprofessor addict, enjoy your recovery.”
          Life has been tough the past few days as going through early days of NC with narc mother. Thanks for clearing the fog.

      • runnergirl says:

        …And you discovered Simple Pleasures!

        One of my simplest pleasures is totally blanking the abusive ex coworker!

        Just writing about it gives me pleasure.

      • Lilly says:

        Simple Pleasures,

        Love what you said to Bob(Hi Bob). I also loved that you described exactly what I’m going through right now at SIX weeks NC. It is a painful process trying to let go of a love I wanted for me and my son, but I’m doing it. I know I haven’t completely let go yet because some days I badly want to make contact. At those times I re-read his last emotionless, cold email and it does the trick. I will continue to trust the process and I am truly grateful for having found all the amazing people here like you. It’s posts like this that give me strength to keep going in the right direction.

    • yoghurt says:

      Heya Bob

      I didn’t have to work with the exEUM, but I did – and do – have to see him three times a week when he picked up our son and it took a long time to get used to that.

      One thing that helped was reminding myself regularly that it wasn’t so much to do with HIM as with the issues that he’d brought to a head. He could’ve been ANY old crackpot unavailable and I’d’ve felt the same ‘Oh I’ll Never Be Over Him In Particular’ emotions, because what I was coming to terms with went much deeper than him.

      Once I’d dug down and got rid of the sense that a) he was too good for me b) I was never going to be as happy as he made me (ha!) again and c) didn’t all this go to show how inadequate I really am? then he didn’t really hold that much power – he was just another bloke. I still see him regularly and he doesn’t even cause a blip.

      That’s rather a long-term solution, I’m afraid, but while it was ongoing I found that it helped to keep telling myself “these are just feelings, they’re not reality and he’s not God, he’s just another bloke”.

      I also got to the point where I basically told myself that if the worst came to the worst and I DID feel rubbish for a few hours, then it wasn’t the end of the world. I knew I’d pick up again after a while (usually once I’d found something to distract myself with) and as long as it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my life then it was just another emotion. And I can handle those – and so can you, you’ve proved that over the last six months.

      Once I’d realised that the crappy feelings only had power over me if I chose to let them, they seemed to fade as well. It’s natural to feel some grief/anger in life, it’s part of what makes you alive and you have to feel what you feel, but the spasms will get shorter and shorter and eventually they’ll disappear. And you’ll still be standing.

    • runnergirl says:

      Bob,
      In the early stages after a break up/NC, it sucks having to see the ex a work. I have a former ex (years ago) who I pass in the hallway a few times a week. When we first broke up, I thought I had to be “friends” with him and we had friends in common so I thought I’d never be free from him. Through reading BR and Nat’s books, I realized I don’t have to be friends with him. Over the years the common friends retired, things changed, and now when we pass in the hall, I totally blank him. Yeah, he saw me naked but so what. I made a mistake. He was emotionally and verbally abusive so that may be different from your situation. I don’t feel as though I can even bring myself to acknowledge his presence. With time, healing, and therapy, you’ll probably get to the same point where it simply doesn’t matter where she is or who talks about her. You are doing great work. Keep the focus on you. The roller coaster will smooth out and become one of those tame kiddie rides.
      PS. I agree with Simple Pleasures regarding rebounding. Easy goes it with a new girl at this stage of your healing process.

      • Bob72 says:

        Thank you all so much, I know I can always come here and get such great advice and see different ways to look at things – Simple, Ms D (made me lmao btw, no dont ever shut the fuck up :)), Wiser, Yoghurt, Runner, Tabby, Lilly, you guys (gals) rock :).

        I promise I will be very careful dating… nooooo future faking myself or others, no fast forwarding, and if I or the other party is out of hand I am no longer afraid of saying what needs to be said. I know it is still a tendancy to distract myself from me, and I know I am still not completely available for someone else because I am still not there yet, but it is really great practice for me to test out things things I have learned, and see my issues as well as the flags other people throw off that I have never ever noticed before. And who knows, maybe that special someone is there waiting??? Its wierd dating with your eyes open.. my only requirement used to be that the other person showed interest in me… wow how pathetic. Baby steps.

        Hugs all.. much love and good wishes to you all :)

        • DiggingDeeper says:

          “It is weird dating with your eyes open,” heck Bob, it’s weird living with my eyes open, and my only requirement used to be that the person was ‘hot’, and then I would try and change everything about him I didn’t like.

          It sounds as if you are doing great to me. I only had to deal with my ex for two weeks at work after we broke ‘up’. It was hard for just those two weeks, but I did, as someone else on here mentioned; I just took the high road, remained professional, focused on my job, and cried offsite in a bathroom when I needed to at lunch time, and I remember only acknowledging his presence in the hallway by nodding my head, and if I had to stand next to him by the elevator, I would just pretend like I was reading the nearest flyer, or stare at a plant or ….

          You’re a cool dude, good luck to you.

  67. BabySteps says:

    @digging deeper

    Thanks for writing out your boundaries. Funny, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stick to my values. I was beginning to think that I had some messed up values, but now I see I do have ‘good’ values, er, I’m just busting my own boundaries. I get it.

    Natalie ur a G!

    Thanks so much Digging and Tink! :)

  68. Jelby says:

    Liz, someone wonderful on this site once gave me some simple but effective advice. Don’t waste your time wondering about why he did the things he did. Focus on your own path. His path stinks.

  69. teachable says:

    Thankyou Selkie & Tabitha. The mind effery has begun already when I asked my Aunt was she aware it was a lie my mother had moved again. My Aunt tried to maintain the deception (there were prior moves I knew of & she tried to cover the deception with reference to one of those moves. I didn’t bother arguing the point but given I know of those.two moves already & my mother’s full admission of her deceit I’m clear on the truth). In a nutshell, dealing w such ppl is exhausting. As you can prolly guess, none of them educated or career orientated. Anyone who is (namely me prior to getting ill) just doesn’t have time for this sort of drama. Anyway, the funeral is in the morning. I will consider the advice of you both &.hold off any decisions until afterward. Thanks again. Much love. T xx

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable,

      Sorry you have lost your grandmother.I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Take care, xx.

      • DiggingDeeper says:

        Hi Teachable,

        It seems as if you were already dealing with a lot of losses, and now you are grieving your grandmother.

        I totally agree with what’s been said: try not to make any major decisions right now. I say give yourself time to grieve. And, try to take extra good care of yourself…some extra pampering and self-love.

        I know what it is like to have to handle multiple, major issues’losses, and I can’t say that I did it perfectly, but I ‘pulled-through,’ and your strength will pull you through as well, and when you are ready, you will be able to make the ‘best’ decisions for you and yours,so, do try to just take it one step at a time, and try to avoid putting any extra demands or pressures on yourself.

        I only contact my mother on a minimal basis because I found that her issues were triggering my issues to the point that I would feel those awful feelings of knocks to my self-esteem and confidence, and the shame…, so I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone interfere with my healing, family or not…, but I didn’t want to totally lose contact with her because I do feel compassion and love for her (her family was dysfunctional as well.), so I call her; we chat, and if all goes well, we chat some more, but if she starts in on me, etc, I just politely excuse myself from the conversation, and when it doesn’t go that smoothly, I just hang up the phone.

        I used to feel responsible for the happiness of my entire family, but now I know better; yet, sadly your situation with your mother is different due to the mental illness, but even in that situation, please look at for YOU.

        Take care of yourself, xx

  70. lo j says:

    Yoghurt … And Bob … Love what Yoghurt said!!! It’s about how you feel about you. Not to take away from the loss, by any means, but when you know that you are OKAY, the sting is taken away. She’s just a chick that it didn’t work out with. That’s it. You’re still awesome Bob, not someone less than because she moved on.

  71. BabySteps says:

    @Dawn

    I really like Runner girl’s response to you–spot on and very thorough. Even though you put too much stock in the texting and phoning, he still unfolded, and you discovered something that you didn’t want to put up with, so you expressed your boundary, but you have to enforce your own boundaries, and let go of
    the outcome, which can be confused with consequences, usually when we are hesitant to enforce our own boundaries, as Natalie says, it’s because there is something else that we want that we are afraid to lose. In this case, I’m betting it is the relationship with him. So, now you turn to him, and turn your boundary into a demand and try to control him by telling him, “It is me, or it is her.” Thus, this way you are trying to get him to enforce your boundary, and in your case he refused, which is his right of choice, but you also have a right of choice to walk away, but you don’t’ seem to want to walk away, so you keep texting, emailing. I can understand your disappointment. You’ve done all this great work on you, go have fun with you, and as Natalie says,”date yourself.” I bet you are a lot of fun! :)
    And then, maybe you won’t be so dependent on
    a guy to make you happy, and it’ll be easier to enforce your own boundaries. I’m working on enforcing my boundaries too, so good luck to both of us. :)

  72. Bea says:

    I over invested in relationship potential. We lived in the same apartment building and on the same floor. His parking space was right next to mine. I was clueless of his interest until the day I moved back to Chicago. He approached me by the elevator and asked me out for pizza. The look he gave me was what caught my interest. It was the look that lead to the over investment. I associated this look with fate. Texting and talking was great. However, he fast forward a bit too much. As we got closer to April, he disappeared. Otherwise, I would have end it sooner.

  73. teachable says:

    thankyou digging deeper. wise advice. i’m following it. just not in a state to make any big decisions atm. am practising minimal contact in interim, as almost any/all contact ends up being devestating to my self esteem. trying to take in a lot here. not helping.my mother & sis just dumped extra crap on top (there’s more but will spare details). trying to take care of.me. sure as.hell aint no-one in my family ever.gunna step up! (makes me angry & more determined to get away.frm them one day for good…)

  74. [...] to healthy trust levels if you don’t learn how to trust and rein in trust – The Debit and Credit Trust System. Trust based on results not [...]

  75. Viktoria says:

    I also, like many others, just want to say a huge thank you for making this site and writing the book. I have been wasting my time for 5 years now running around with an assclown thinking the reason why it isn’t working out is all my fault and living in a dreamy world of “what-if-someday” as you so right-on have described in this article. Your page has helped me tremendously to open my eyes and realize what I have gotten myself into and what the reasons for it are. I never realized that I was emotionally unavailable myself, I just thought it was a case of being unlucky. I know now that I need to work on myself before I can get what I want – a healthy mutual relationship.
    Thank you so much for changing my life – no matter what my friends said I didnt listen or realize, but your articles and book really got to me and made me see it. I couldn’t be more grateful.

  76. Cris says:

    Thank you for writing this article! You described exactly what I went through. You put into words what I think happened to me but couldn’t explain. I rushed into something that wasn’t right for me and was blind to the subtle red flags. I wanted to be in love so badly that I convinced myself that he was the one. There were tender moments that I will cherish always, but we owe it to ourselves to trust our instincts and not overlook things that make us worry about having loyalty and respect.

  77. Alyson says:

    I agree with most everything that has been said in this blog post. Sometimes people do get together for comfort, companionship and more and yet aren’t ready for the full package. I don’t think that’s inherently wrong or even bad. However, if one is abusing/using another that’s where the line needs to be drawn. No relationship no matter what the terms are should have abusive elements in it. Kudos for all of the posters that have had the courage do get out of these kinds of relationships.

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