Any relationship that's reliant on the other party changing to what you need and want in order for the relationship to work for you, is a non-starter and a code red.

Image credit for photo: NWK at SXC

I think it’s safe to say that everyone understands what the term “being on the rebound” means and yet time after time, many of us dare to go where we’ve already gone before and had our fingers and hearts burned, and we inflate our emotional airbags and be the “Buffer” to a rebounder. We allow ourselves to be used, whether its consciously or unconsciously, as a soft, comfortable landing for someone who is still emotionally and possibly even still legally attached to their previous relationship. What we don’t realise is that when we’re buffering, we’re actually providing a refuge for their ‘recovery’. Or we may just be helping them to remain shut off from feelings and thoughts that they’re trying to avoid.

We hope to be the exception, we hope that they’ll forget about whoever it is because, why are they still loving them when we’re right here ready to love them? We feel rejected when they don’t forget about the person they hadn’t forgotten about when we first met them and we feel even more wounded if after the breakup, they move on all ‘healed’ to a new relationship.

When this happens, it’s like you’re “the bridge” – you provide safe passage for the rebounder as they struggle emotionally and possibly physically and spiritually with the fallout from their previous relationship. When they get to the other side, they often disconnect the bridge and leave you behind, or… start scoping out other options while keeping one foot on the bridge in the meantime.

Ever been with someone who you were attracted to with their assclown or unavailable ways but were expecting them to change their character or retain what attracted you but be available? Fond of ‘florencing’, which is where you tend to be in relationships where you think you’re the solution to their problems and they’re your purpose for your fixing / healing / helping ways? If you have, you’ve likely ended up being “the bridge” there too.

When they don’t reward you with the relationship or the character that you expected, you feel disappointed, rejected, angry and even misled. You may not realise it, but being a “Buffer” or a “Florence” is passive and passive aggressive behaviour where you’ve used a mix of suppressing your own needs, expectations and people pleasing (being indispensable, the fixing / healing / helping, the seeking approval, the being super-understanding, super-accomodating and relaxing your boundaries, possibly by switching off your electric fence altogether) to assert a hidden agenda which is, you do all of this, and in return they love you and give you the relationship that you want.

Any relationship that’s reliant on the other party changing to what you need and want in order for the relationship to work for you, is a non-starter and a code red.

It’s strange that so many of us struggle with criticism, conflict, rejection and disappointment and yet we don’t realise that when we don’t accept who someone is, even if it means that we have to judge ourselves out of the situation because there’s a conflict of core values, we are rejecting who that person is.

But here’s the thing: Whether you’re an emotional airbag or a nurse tending to your ‘patient’, unless someone has major issues and wants to take cover under the airbag or remain as a patient, they’ll want to leave the retreat, ‘rehab’ or ‘hospital’.

Aside from how emotionally debilitating it is to be in a rebound relationship living with the ghost of the previous relationship, whether it’s the effects of it or the imprint of this person who may even still be lingering in their lives, it’s not your job to make a person who is unavailable due to not being over their ex, available. If you participate in this hot mess, not only will you compromise you greatly and put you in the position of ‘campaigning’, but you’ll basically nurse them out of unavailability and prime them for their next relationship. Either that or you’ll nurse them until it becomes clear that you want them to be available and then they’ll move on to the next Buffer and keep moving until one day they emotionally implode.

Equally, you’d be better off fixing / healing / helping you instead of avoiding facing your own issues and using ‘potential’ as a way to seek validation in your attempts to right the wrongs of your past. I guarantee you if you continue down this path, you will wind up in a lot more pain than you would have done if you’d taken the personal responsibility that you already have for your own emotional wellbeing.

Trying to get an external party to right the wrongs of a past that they had nothing to do with or to mend your internal issues is like trying to stick in a liver for a heart transplant.

There’s no point in acting like someone’s emotional retreat, hospital or rehab because no matter how good the ‘service’, ‘bedding’, or ‘environment’ is, most people want to leave at some point. They want to stand on their own two feet and get back to life. You really want to be in a relationship because it’s mutual and you want to be there, not because you feel guilty and like you ‘owe’ one because of everything the other party has put up with. I would especially caution you if you Florence, because often what happens is that the person wants to distance themselves from anything and anyone that reminds them of the “old them” and have a fresh start whether it’s to form new healthy habits, or to press reset with someone else…

Some people overestimate their capacity for a relationship and once you realise that they’re on the rebound (steer clear of anyone who is fresh out of a breakup no matter how confident they sound), you have to do the right thing for you because many are very good at convincing themselves and you and then next thing it’s “I can’t give you what you want. I’m not ready for a relationship yet.” Better for it to be a ‘short stay’ than a long one that crushes your self-esteem.

As for Florencing, you’d be better off channeling your energy into you and helping out with shelters and charities than you would be using romantic relationships as a source of healing and self-esteem. Aside from the fact that self-esteem has the word ‘self’ in it for a reason, you’ll likely wind up on your own emotional stretcher.

Your thoughts?

You can read more about Buffers and Florence Nightingales in my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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192 Responses to Why Rebound Relationships & ‘Florencing’ Are Like Hospital Stays Or Retreats For The Emotionally Wounded

  1. Kim says:

    Soooo true and sooo right on. I dated a guy for 6 months who claimed to not be on the rebound even though it had only been a couple months since he had broken up with his gf of 3 years. He made me feel special at the beginning, until I realized he didn’t want to put a title on our relationship even though we had been dating a few months. HUGE red flag. Eventually he dumped me. He claimed that he didn’t want to continue using me as a “band-aid” anymore to get over the hurt of his failed relationship. We all know that band aids only stay on so long until they fall off or the wound is healed.

  2. Mika says:

    Relationships and people don’t build your self-esteem.

    Yes, you may feel more confident when you’re getting the attention you want… But what happens when things go wrong the shit hits the fan? Your self-esteem comes crashing down like a pile of bricks.

    Rather than relying on other people to prop you up emotionally, do something else that makes you feel good as a person (like charity or volunteer work). By not relying on men or other people to make you feel good inside, you can begin to focus on rebuilding your self-esteem on a much more solid foundation. So the next time someone treats you like crap–you won’t validate what they’re doing by tolerating their bad behavior.

    Great stuff, Nat:)

  3. MSA says:

    Great post Natalie! I have a question though, does this only apply on rebounds, or anyone who’s going through tough times? I’ve been dating this guy for 2 years, it was great at first, then we’ve been on a rollercoaster of breakups/makeups… I know he loves me, but turned out he has some unresolved pain that he needs to deal with before getting into a relation; related to not properly grieving the loss of his family. We’re on a break now, we talk, I support him and he asked to support me whenever I need him to. But he said he’s not ready for a relationship yet, and I’m not either. I believe I need to heal first from the breakups before we can get back together (this was what I’d planned to tell him if he’d asked me back right away). I’m ok with it, but this post had me doubting a bit if I’m his Florence?! I really hope not. There are a lot more details and factors with us, but this is what’s related to this article. Thank you!

    • dancingqueen says:


      Much of what you wrote seems like a big red flag and abort mission:

      ” But he said he’s not ready for a relationship yet, and I’m not either.”

      So it sounds like neither of you should be in a relationship.

      “I’ve been dating this guy for 2 years, it was great at first, then we’ve been on a rollercoaster of breakups/makeups…”

      the words “at first”, and “rollercoaster” don’t sound good.

      “this post had me doubting a bit if I’m his Florence”

      You probably were his Florence if you are thinking that, but as long as you are out now, now that you know, it is not a problem, I just hope that you won’t expect this to go anywhere. It sounds like it has all the marks of a no-go:(

    • grace says:

      Very Florence-y. His problem is your problem . He doesn’t want a relationship and now you don,t. You know how he feels and you know the solution.
      It,s sad he lost family but that doesn’t give him carte blanche to mess you around. There are always details and factors in eu relationships but are those of us in good relationships that simple and are our lives so easy, or did we step up and take responsibility for ourselves, how we treat others and how we allow ourselves to be treated?

      • Allison says:

        Great points, Grace!

        I also believe that the past is a clear indicator of the future. MSA, please don’t wait for this man to change – as he won’t – and find someone who is ready to accept you into their life.

      • MSA says:

        Thank you Grace… Actually, this is not the reason why I’m not ready. I had expected him back after our last breakup and had this in mind; that I wouldn’t take him back now, not until he proves I can trust him again and had planned on some kind of a healing journey for both of us. Thanks again

    • Allison says:


      Is this man getting any counseling to deal with his problems?

      Please don’t wait on standby for this guy to decide if he wants you in his life.

      • dancingqueen says:

        Msa you will also need to figure out why you are doing this, before you get involved with someone else or you will just repeat it. He is not the only one eu here imho.

        • MSA says:

          Thank you for your feedback, it got me thinking deep about my relationship, as I mentioned in another post, reality is full of more details than those red flags. It leaves me wondering if there could be “white” flags to balance out those “red” flags? as lame as that may sound, he’s been very supportive when I needed him, he saw me at some of my darkest times and stood by me. I’m only thinking it’s only fair to do the same with him? and if he were my own Florence and rehab at some point, I didn’t end up moving on away from him, so why would I assume it’s what he’d do?
          I didn’t expect to fall for him when we met if anyone is wondering why get involved when I’m out of a failing marriage and he was already having problems? He did his best not to let his issues affect me or our relation, but it did and that’s when we realized things had to be put on hold. I know this sounds like the most complicated relationship ever, but we’ve come this far.. and now, each of us is just doing their thing, dealing with their problems and future, and we’re not completely against the idea of getting back together when the storms are over. We had a mature talk about it, and agreed to let each other know if/when there’s someone new in the picture, so that the other won’t be on some illusion about a future together. Thanks again for all those who cared to share their thoughts, this has been very helpful

          • Linden says:

            One thing I’ve been learning as I go through life is that not everything has to be black and white for me to make a decision about it. I’ve been guilty in the past of staying in relationships so long that finally they had to explode dramatically before I could finally feel “done” with them. If you’re waiting for an unambiguous sign to tell you to go, you might find later that you wasted more of your time than you needed to. I think when someone tells you he’s not ready to be in a relationship with you, that’s a good time to take him at his word, not weigh this negative piece of info against other more positive pieces and try to make them balance.

      • MSA says:

        Hi Allison, thank you for your post.. Yes, he used to go for counseling until he had another blow, but he’s most probably back to it now.
        We both had a lot of obstacles in our relation and we faced them all. It cost us some breakups, but we were able to overcome them. I know it doesn’t sound like a joyride, but what in life is easy? I am separated with 2 boys, on my way to divorce and relocating, so can’t claim I’m a martyr of his circumstances. The reality is much more confusing than how words sound. I keep swinging between thinking I’m his Florence and seeing he truly loves me, and is only acting responsible by not engaging me in a relation until he’s ready. For the time being, I’m just focusing on my kids and career, putting off the whole dating issue for now. So, I’m on standby anyway

  4. Becca says:

    Spot on post!
    Looking for answers to everything that went wrong and then BAM! got this post. All the answers are here. I was the classic Flo Nightingale and came with the emotional air bag attachments.
    He was so sure he was over her in the beginning, convincing me and saying all the right things. Even though it was only a couple of months since he split with his wife of 5 years. (looking back now, this was a major red flag I chose to ignore)
    Forget managing down my boundaries, I must have thrown them away completely, because for the next 2 years, the majority of our conversations were about what the ex wife was up to and who she was seeing.
    There I was each time, fluffing my emotional airbag pillows to help soften each blow of bad news for him.
    In the end, he just up and decided that living with me was no longer what he wanted and for me to stay with him, I should leave all my friends and family and go live with him in the country. That was the final straw. He left, I stayed and then I turned into the fall back girl. We would go for weeks without seeing or talking to one another (even though we both work in the same street of the city and catch our trains from the same station). I only seemed to hear from him when he wanted something. Usually an ego stroke or he would turn on the water works and tell me how much he missed me hoping to get a shag.
    I was messed up for a while, but then came across this website and that’s when things started turning around. Thank you for being the light.

  5. Kim says:

    Just when I think I’m being responsible or not acting like a Florence, I read your article and reality slaps me in the face.

    My only question now is how do I stop dancing the steps of a Florence, which I seem to know too well, and attract people in a new manner with new dance steps, ones to which I am unaccustomed?

  6. K says:

    EXCELLENT POST, Natalie!!

    I love the way you word things into simple concepts that everyone “gets”. Unfortunately, this is more common then uncommon. In my opinion, this goes also to the core of the FEAR OF BEING ALONE. Even if it is not a conscious intention, it is AMAZING how easily we are “vortexed” IMMEDIATELY into a relationshit, throwing caution, boundaries, values and morals to the wind in an effort to make that person *the one*, when they may well be the worst!!

    TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE. WHAT in God’s name is the RUSH? If we spent more TIME in what it takes to really get to know someone, as they UNRAVEL or in your terms, “UNFOLD”, we might save ourselves YEARS of heartache. With the little amount of time given to each “dating” relationship, if we are NOT aware of our boundaries, VULNERABILITIES, values and morals, and RUSH the relationshit, or allow ourselves to BE rushed, the cost in TIME in the FUTURE will be excrutiatingly painful.

    It’s WORTH the time to get to know one another. A LONG TIME. *Just a few months* IS NOT long enough. I’ve known women whose psychopaths or other toxic one, didn’t unfold for a YEAR in a supreme WTF moment, by then they are SUCKED IN and it’s too late.

    Boundaries are SO important as well as knowing what your VALUES are, right from the get go. If you know and are willing to wait, when they UNFOLD, if you don’t see it immediately (chances are if you are ‘healed’ and have healthy boundaries, values and morals you will SEE RIGHT THROUGH the seduction of a toxic one, trying to RUSH a relationshit).

    TAKE TIME. TIME. TIME. TIME. Toxic individuals DO NOT like TIME.

    VERY thought provoking article! Obviously! LOL!

  7. kaz says:

    hey nat! bravo!! i seem to fall into these relationships by accident. my last ex did exactly what you wrote about, i fell into the relationship where i clearly didnt want to. he made me promises and what not, i clearly knew that he wasnt ready for a relationship. he kept telling me that i was his future now. quite clearly a couple of weeks later things escalated to the point where he was rushing me into meeting the family etc. i thought clearly something is wrong with this picture, was he trying to put me in the position of his ex gf?? i thought about it some more, i realised that this is probably the reason. he didnt want to talk about his feelings. ive just realised now that i need more time for myself, i need to be happy with me before someone else can come into my life thats worth my time.

  8. Ms. Option says:

    Natalie is so right with this one.
    It’s been a while since I posted. Since then I have been working with the mm for almost 3 months. About a month ago he announced he was ready for us to move in together. We started looking for houses. He told his wife he was ready to divorce. She moved out and dropped the bomb on him that she was heavily involved with someone else. And guess what? He starts being distant with me and then tells me in a phone conversation that he can’t believe she was involved with someone else and that it was like a punch in the stomach. HELLO, he’s been involved with me 3 yrs. He also said he cared more about her than he realized. And then tells me he is so confused and emotional that he shouldnt be talking to me at this time. I come into work, he avoids me. Tells other coworkers he’s missing her, trying to get her back. Then last week he starts talking to me again, sending messages, so my suspicion is she is back and he is pressing the reset button with me. Telling me he doesn’t want the fact that he needed distance to ruin what we had and can potentially have in the future. But right now he just wants to take it slow with us and not end all things. This after a month ago I was his everything and he was moving in with me. He was doing his normal flirting with me today and pulls his phone out and her picture is his background, I saw it before he could close it. The 3 yrs I’ve known him her picture has never been his background. So yes I’ve been the Florence, rebound, bank, therapist, etc. and all it has gotten me is heartache, rejection and tons of hurt.
    I finally started counseling 2 weeks ago. I need help to get away from this destructive person. And now I have to (thanks to me getting him the job) work with him and hear everyone that works here talk about how wonderful he is. He has them all snowed like he did me, especially the females. I wish I could go back months ago and taken Natalie’s advice. Just don’t go into these things thinking you will be the exception.

    • grace says:

      Hmmm it may not feel like it to you,but you sound better already. More real. Expect ups and downs but stay away from him, and it will be up and away.

    • Grizelda says:

      Ms Option you already have things completely figured out and I hope that your emotions catch up quickly.

      His wife has to be commended for playing the player like a virtuoso. And now she has won him, right? What a win that is. Take a good long look at the prize. Mmm lovely. She wins thoroughly damaged goods that come bundled with disloyalty, disrespect, jealousy and outrage, short-term plans and poor impulse control, with a free neverending supply of lies and deception tossed in. Lucky woman. She must be the happiest thing in the world.

      Although Natalie’s right about the Florence syndrome WRT re-bounds, I think that’s only a proportion of the Florencing that goes on by ladies like us. Re-bounds, pah — who needs re-bounds when we’re so into Florencing we’ll Florence men who clearly neither want nor need nor seek Florencing. We’ll be thoughtful and good and giving of every last ounce of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally, to feel needed and purposeful and sharing. They, on the other hand, just want a warm body with a pulse and a few other mandatory parts in reasonable working order. Heartless doesn’t even begin to describe how many of them (a) behave, and many more of them (b) ARE. Just ARE.

      • Confused123 says:

        ” She wins thoroughly damaged goods that come bundled with disloyalty, disrespect, jealousy and outrage, short-term plans and poor impulse control, with a free neverending supply of lies and deception tossed in. Lucky woman. She must be the happiest thing in the world.”
        This is what I remind myself when I feel sorry for myself for being dumped by “the” (I no longer call him “my”)cheating ex. What a price indeed!!!!
        To add to the list the ex is also unavailable, ovelapper, lying, lacked any empathy. I’m so happy he is her problem now.

    • swissmiss says:

      Ms – You’re on your way–you see him for what he is, and you’re in counseling. You cannot turn back this awareness. It doesn’t matter if he’s fooling others. You know the truth.

      One of the turning points for me was the MM’s anger that his 32- year old nephew would be staying overnight in his house, unchaperoned, with the MM’s 53- year old wife. It wasn’t ‘respectable’, didn’t I agree? He asked it while he was standing buck naked in my sitting room. The shock that MY ‘respectability’ did not matter one iota was like an axe through my skull. Who was I? Just a Florence, there to do a job, asking for minimum wage in return. I am still furious with myself, especially for having any involvement with an individual whose values (like ‘defending the family honor’) were completely out of sync with my own.

      Like you, just a few weeks ago, I was The Big Love. Then, in my last (and final) conversation, he wanted me to take credit for healing his marriage.

      • sushi says:

        him buck naked in your living room outraged about his wife`s respectability-precious! The picture perfect image of an EU AC, one of their main features is the fact that they have one set of values for themselves and another for the rest of the world.They are allowed to screw around, but their wife isn`t allowed an imagined possibility.They have barbed wired boundaries while they trample on yours. My last one was highly suspicious of me being dishonest with him even though I gave him no hint of being untrustworthy but turned out he lied to me about so many things from the very beginning and when I questionned things that were coming up I was the guilty one with a trust problem. I`m upset with myself and regretfull too, but this is so unproductive now, they were a lesson, no more no less.

        • Grizelda says:

          I can second that, Sushi. I recently was at dinner with a colleague who’s a notorious AC — a real top-league pathological liar and cheater. Because I’m female, obviously he couldn’t let the 90 minutes pass without hitting on me. He gleefully ‘revealed’ (which is common knowledge in the industry) that he likes to hook up with a girlfriend in London to play away with, while his wife stays at home in the countryside. Both he and his wife were married cheaters with young children who met through a dating site (yeah), and were having a fling with each other when they each dumped their spouses and ran off together to get married, which proves once again — as if we ever needed more proof — that if they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you.

          I digress. So Big Cheese AC colleague decides to try the ‘poor me, I need some theraputic shags and won’t you help me’ tactic. Now don’t get me wrong, this guy is astonishingly handsome, fit, wealthy and successful. But he is pure poison. He obviously has no idea I now have blood type BR + (Baggage Reclaim Positive), providing me with a new-found natural immunity from emotional and sexual vampires like himself.

          I leant forward conspiratorially (which of course he mirrored), and I said “So, your coming to London to play away actually works out for your marriage, right?” He sort of nodded eagerly like ‘yeah, yeah, you get my meaning, but where is this going?’. “Because your spending two nights each week in London also gives your wife enough time and space regularly to meet up with her boyfriend out in Gloucestershire. That sort of works for a marriage, in a funny way I guess, doesn’t it?”. His micro-expression in the moment that followed was explosive. He went bolt upright, eyes literally agog and popping out of their sockets, nostrils flared, the corners of his mouth pulled right back in a rigid snarl, and his shoulders hunched and stiff like his hackles were up. He immediately relaxed into a soft smile and chuckle. He paused a moment and chuckled again. He shook his head sharply once, as if somone just tossed a few ounces of cold water on his head, and said “No. No, she doesn’t have anyone else on the side. She, um, she just wouldn’t. I don’t think she would. She’s happy with her life now. She, um. No, she um. How’s the spaghetti vongole?” He sounded none too sure. As for me, I’m glad I jerked the rug out from under him. How DARE he. I hope it caused him all sorts of bothersome thoughts about his behaviour and made a dent in his arrogant suit of armour — fantasy, I know, because this species of assclown has terminal assclownery. But goddamn it, I’m not sitting by any longer and politely listening to shit like this, too embarrassed to say anything.

          • La Pintura Bella says:

            Bravo Grizelda!!! Well done! I can just see the horrible realization he experienced and then the lies he’s telling himself kick in. How ever did you keep a straight face???

          • sushi says:


            And their second common trait- they are so arrogant!

            Blood type BR+ indeed. Doesnt that feel just so good to be in a situation like you just described and not be affected and rattled by this mans behaviour, just watch yourself be cool as a cucumber and give them a bit of their own medicine ( if necessary)? And to be so detached, and yes immune.
            I have the misfortune of having to see the ex AC from several years ago at work. He`s been trying to press a re-set button with me and I`m friendly and professional, chat, smile and give him zero response to his acrobatics, which I have a feeling is driving him nuts with frustration because there is no ego stroke forthcoming. It`s just like a watching a small harmless dog bark and make pointless noise. Ah, the glorious BR :)

          • Magnolia says:

            You’re an awesome storyteller, Griz.

        • Brenda says:

          That has to be one of the greatest ways I ever heard it said…

          “One of their main features is the fact that they have one set of values for themselves and another for the rest of the world.They are allowed to screw around, but their wife isn`t allowed an imagined possibility. They have barbed wired boundaries while they trample on yours.”

          Had this scene in life more than once and on both sides of the fence, Neither side is any less the “destructive” side to be on either.

          What’s worse? Your actually expected to feel worse them more than yourself for having been lied to and when all you did was be true and committed. ( Retarted and just more proof of how babied these assclowns really get ) Yeah I am so strong I can take anything and handle it, But ONE of your harem women looks elewhere and your entire world falls apart, LOL!

    • Magnolia says:

      Ms. Option – glad you’re seeing him for what he is.

      I must say that this line made me smile: “The 3 yrs I’ve known him her picture has never been his background.”

      Er, the 3 yrs you’ve known him, she has always been his background, always been in the picture! The image of him scurrying to hide a picture of her as his background seems iconic of the whole MM/OW situation.

      But glad to hear you’re in counselling. There’s a brighter future ahead.

      • runnergirl says:

        Hi Ms.O, good to see you back.
        Magnolia’s comment made me smile too. Yes, his wife has always been there whether her pic was or wasn’t there. MM’s have a wife which is why they are called married.
        I have to admit, the first time I saw a pic of the exMM and his wife (campaign lit), I was shocked. The pic is real just like their wife is a real person and he is married to her. He may need a little rehab on the side, that would be the OW role, and then he leaves the OW hospital and goes home to his wife. Yup, the wife has always been there. She’s been in the pic all along, otherwise we wouldn’t be OW’s, right. I know, however, how it hurts. The pic makes her real. She is real. I’m still digging out of the OW hole. It still hurts. I still want to scream.

        • Lilly says:


          “The image of him scurrying to hide a picture of her as his background seems iconic of the whole MM/OW situation”.

          Hard hitting words indeed. I’m well and truly out of fantasy land and have landed with a big jolt. As Runnergirl comments “She is real” three words that really, really hurt. What was I thinking.

  9. selkie says:

    I’ve been on both sides of this rebound game. Both are emotionally futile. Dare I say, I’ve learned my lesson. While some kinds of unavailability are harder for me to spot, this one is like a neon flashing red flag. Been there, done that. Ain’t got tiiiime for that noooo more! I recently had it attempted on me, some guy I just met through mutual friends talked to me about how he and his ex just broke up, talked about it A LOT all puppy dog like and then asked for my phone number. I was like ‘nope’. It was almost insulting it was so obvious, but I kept that part to myself. And damn, it feels good to know my own worth and act on it. No more accepting stale shitty crumbs. I want a basket full of warm fresh baked bread, with butter and jam. Someday, I want it served to me in a warm bed, but hey, I’m getting ahead of myself now.

    Another fellow I know casually was ranting about his ‘evil’ ex wife, talking about how she took all his money, then asked me to go to a movie because he really liked talking to me. I thought, ‘yep, he liked talking TO me, not with me’. I can’t handle a whole evening listening to him about go on about his ex wife. Nope. With a smile.

  10. Natasha says:

    Lo-o-o-o-ord have mercy, I just got home from a horrifying first (and last) date with a Rebounding Dude. Oh, it was bad. I had to keep pretending that I was coughing to cover up the fact that I was about to bust out laughing when he locked eyes with my breasts and beseechingly whined that he needed “a nice girl” after his allegedly horrid ex. As his story about how said ex “didn’t appreciate him” rounded the 10 minute mark, I let my ears glaze over and watched a basketball game on the television directly over his head.

    For my Flo Girls: Notice how not one thing about this dude was attractive to me? Get the sense that I wanted to punch myself in the face forty minutes into the date just to have an excuse to leave? This is as it should be!

    You are a Full Fledged Person that deserves a Full Fledged Relationship. You’re not a nurse that wanders in to check their vitals/serve them Jell-O/or (saints alive, no) give them a sponge bath. To paraphrase the late, great Amy Winehouse, if he tries to come to come over to your house for rehab say “no, no, no”!

    • pinkpanther says:

      do you even like basketball?

      thanks for the belly laugh

    • Magnolia says:

      “Get the sense that I wanted to punch myself in the face forty minutes into the date just to have an excuse to leave? This is as it should be!”

      Oh man, Natasha, I’ve so been there! It’s great that we laugh instead of putting on the nurses’ outfit!!

    • Confused123 says:

      I have had the same experience. When I first started dating (I’m still new to it) I went on a date with this seemingly nice man. In short this was our one (and last) date. Lord! It was mortifying on so many level. Firstly, he talked about his ex through the entire evening and how she used him for sex for two years all the while he was falling in love with her and her kid. He was having Brady brunch dreams of a life with then.
      Now, she’s broken up with him and screwing some other guy in the office they work. It is a small company of 45 people. At this point, the tears started to flow out of his eyes. I literally passed him the tissues… OMG….I wanted to run.
      After, he composed himself, he offer to have dinner. I agreed and had an amazing seafood dinner. Hey, my thought was that if I’m going to play therapist to him (even for one night), I might as well get something out of it.
      The seafood pasta was amazing, BTW. :)
      Only memorable part of the whole night. Oye!

      • Little Star says:

        Thank you Confused123 for making me smile:) I could imagine lovely Confused sitting and listening sob stories of this strange Dude and even passing him a tissue (haha). One good thing – you enjoyed your food, at least something nice come out of it, did he paid for dinner???
        WOW, live and learn…no more losers in our lives girls!!! NO MORE!

        • Confused123 says:

          Little Star: Oh heck yes he paid. If I have to sit there and go through a round of whining (or in this case tears), I may as get something out of it. I always make them pay if they are so blatantly unavailable that even they know it on some level. LOL! If it just incompatibility, I do pay for half. :)
          The most interesting part was the looks the bartenders gave me as he started to sob. This is a bar I’ve been going to for years and they were concerned for me. I had to give them the “yet another AC” look. Unfortunately they know that “look” all too well from me. I consider this a good thing.
          Ordinarily, I would have made some excuse and left but he was a nice guy. He was going through a tough time but not ‘relationship’ material in any shape or form. He needs some couch time and serious introspection but heaven forbid he actually takes time to goes through with it.

          • Bellaninha says:

            You are hilarious Confused!
            ” ‘yet another assclown’ look”
            This is making me smile too…
            Think there’s almost a business idea in that for you and the bar!
            Sort of like speed dating but speed counselling!

    • Natasha says:

      Ladies, you have me full on snort-laughing hahaha!! Thank you so much for making my day :)

      p.s. Now I want seafood pasta!

  11. TrafficJam says:

    I’m still on the rebound after ending a multi-year relationship a few months ago. I tried dating a bit at first and realized I wasn’t emotionally available myself. I stopped trying to find people and focused on trying to find myself. I did not want to date, I just wanted to live my life. I started going to lots of social events and dance classes. Unfortunately, in this process, I ended up attracting a lot of suitors.

    It was hard to avoid the attention. I was hungry for affection and validation. I did want to date, I just wasn’t ready to do so.

    However, some guys are pushy, and I guess at this vulnerable and guarded state I’m in, the ones who get through to me and over my barriers seem to be the ones least likely to respect me and my boundaries in the first place.

    Anyway, post-breakup I ended up spending significant time with a few ACs. One of the ACs appeared to care and understand me, accept my issues, etc. at the beginning. We started dating. I confided in him a lot of things, and he in me. However, the AC was physically quite pushy from the start, and about 1 month in, he gave me a sex ultimatum. Of course I said no! In the process, he said a lot of really nasty and hurtful things, saying I had wasted his time, asking if I could introduce him to some new girls in a few days, naming the next girl he would try to sleep with (who I knew), expressing some pretty entitled attitudes (for example, he feels that girls are using him if they dance with him but aren’t interested in him sexually!), etc. I was shocked, disgusted, and really, really hurt. I did not expect this side of him, and I feel that much of our interactions must have been much less genuine than I assumed.

    He later apologized, and I think he does feel bad. I said that in some ways his behavior was helpful, because it made things very, very clear for me. I have engaged NC/limited C – I said up front, during his outburst, that I would need space. I miss the companionship (which I can’t get back, trust is shot). However, I’m tempted to tell him that I’m hurting a lot…

    • dancingqueen says:


      Confiding that you are hurt to a man who tried to bully you into the sex you “owe” him and who feels that women who dance with him “owe” him; that makes about as much sense as asking a rapist to apologize and feel remorse. He will do one or two things:

      He will act sorry, so he can get you in the sack, then revert to his prior behavior and you will be even more needing his validation.


      He will be even more inappropriate, immature and self-absorbed.

      Now look at the two options above; which one do you prefer? Because there is no way that you will get the fantasy that you are conjuring up, of him being genuinely sorry, having empathy for you and exploding into a decent guy. You say “and I think he does feel bad”; no he doesn’t. You would not feel hurt still if he really felt bad, because he would have been falling all over himself going to therapy, re-apologizing and basically knocking himself out to communicate multiple times, how sorry he is:( Please step away from this and validate yourself, because at least then you get validation from someone who has a good heart.

      • TrafficJam says:

        Thank you, dancingqueen! Your advice was a good prediction of what happened.

        I felt a strong need to talk (and the AC had suggested that we be friends during his weird pressure ultimatum, so he was happy to talk). I broke down and contacted him. I pointed out a few things I felt he did which weren’t good (aside from the pressure). He chose option 1, saying he screwed up and wants to try again. I have realized I don’t want to be with someone who could be so cavalier and hurt me so much, and also who has such apparently different values from mine (and wants sex more than he wants me). However, having the apology and groveling was helpful for me, it served as a sort of validation (and weakened some of the sting of rejection)… Not sure what to make of that.

        I don’t plan on taking that AC back though!!! (fortunately I am moving soon, and also pretty skeptical of him, so hopefully I can defend myself against future overtures of his).

    • TrafficJam says:

      Update: Wow, this story just gets more and more crazy! Apparently the AC in question had no intention of leaving me when he gave the sex ultimatum, the ‘discussion’/rejection was all a targeted and elaborate bluff to try to get me to capitulate and sleep with him. Sick!!! So no regrets on getting out of this one…

      • dancingqueen says:


        well I am glad that he did not choose option 2; that is the worst, imho. There is nothing worse than seeing Mr Hyde. Glad you see him for who he is. Yes, it is true that validation can make you feel better, even if the person who is doing it, does not really mean it. But stay away from him:)

  12. Renee says:

    This doesn’t just happen in relationships. It can happen in regular frienships too. When you put yourself on the back burner while you “Florence”, people will only give you what you demand. Once they’re purpose has been served, they will definitely move on since the relationship wasnt mutual. Being able to give love is no issue but these types of people have trouble with allowing themselves to RECEIVE real love in return. These people give and give and are always neglected. Maybe it started in the its sort of second nature to accept more neglect. When you get used to bad behavior you begin to almost be drawn to it. We have got to turn that around.

    • maya says:

      True, it’s not only confined to relationships. I’ve played flo to quite a number of (so-called) friends. It’s not easy to stop myself from being played. But I try. and try. and try harder now.

  13. natashya says:

    earlier this year i dated a guy who was on the rebound from his decade long marriage. he and his wife had been separated for 3 years. i even talked about this with him as he still spoke very fondly of his (ex) wife. he said he was ‘over’ her.

    however, after a few months it became clear to me that he wasn’t. whatever i did, i felt it was never good enough. he was absent minded and started to withdraw from me emotionally and physically. we were traveling abroad and spent pretty much all our time together. it left me completely bewildered how he didn’t seem to want my love and affection after blowing so hot in the beginning. i was starting to wonder what was wrong with me. when i saw him talk on the phone to her, i noticed his voice changed and there was a glow on his face, i’d only seen in the very beginning of our ‘relationship’. i knew right then and there what was going on.

    he overestimated his capacity for a relationship. it didn’t matter how much i gave him. he was incapable of receiving, let alone giving in return. but for a long time it left me feeling ‘not good enough’, while i had given everything i could.

    someone who has been separated for a while, but not divorced yet, has obviously not cut all ties with his/her ex. never again will i fall into that trap.

    • maya says:

      My ex was divorced from his first wife for more than 2 decades, but I think he still pines for her. I wondered if his second marriage suffered due to that.

      I know because they have children together, they have decided to remain friends and friendly. But I drew the line when he was at her beck and call and it’s always about their kids. I wouldn’t have minded if the kids were still kids. They were not. They were in their 30s. Married. With their own kids.

      Why didn’t they just get back together if they’re still keen, I wonder.

      • Linden says:

        My ex still carried a torch for every girlfriend he’d ever had. I think he thought it made him sensitive. What it really did was make him unavailable to the person in front of him, and I suspect on a psychological level that’s the true purpose. Probably he uses getting over me as the reason why he’s EU to whoever he’s seeing now.

  14. Jule says:

    Yeah this is right on. The AC I wasted my time and energy on this past summer was still stuck on his ex wife. :( Every single time I saw him he brought her up almost as if they were still like together using words like “we” and “my wife”. He told me he regretted his divorce 5 years ago! Then he admitted once that he cheated on her. That was close to the end of the line for me. How can a man who is unfaithful to his wife be anyone I could ever trust? By then I knew it was never going to be on solid ground – how could I compete with years he had with her? Then I found out he was screwing around with a married woman 15 years younger than me. AGAIN, How can I compete with that? I did kid myself for a while that he would eventually figure out I was pretty damn great and he was a fool but that never happened. How can you convince someone of that who can’t even see what’s in front of them because their mind and heart are elsewhere and all they want is sex at this point? Sad. Yeah I finally WISED UP.

    I am 10 days NC now girls and it hasn’t been too bad. I haven’t thought of him much. I was on his side of town the other day and that made me think of him a little but I managed to stay on track with pushing those thoughts to the curb. I am scared of the day I will run into him, as I know I will eventually but maybe by a stroke of luck, he won’t be sexy and he’ll look dirty, ugly and disgusting to me. At least he’ll probably be drunk.

    • Little Star says:

      Jule, I am sorry that you going through this painful experience:(
      You made a great point about “exchange”, you were looking for emotional comfort and he was looking for sex…wow. Good for you, you said “NO”, I couldnt! I wanted him to be emotionally supportive (love, care etc) but he was using me for sex:( At least he helped me to move on from my ex AC…
      All the best to you Jule, read Nat’s posts and books, they are SO helpful x

    • natashya says:

      “How can you convince someone of that who can’t even see what’s in front of them because their mind and heart are elsewhere and all they want is sex at this point?”

      that’s exactly it. but once you’re in it, it is very confusing. especially if they tell you that they DO want a relationship. and then you are right there, offering them that and they STILL reject it. it’s hard not to take that personally.

      i did wise up as well. i started talking to another guy recently and as soon as i found out he was still living in the same house as his ex (separated 3 years ago) he was flushed. no way i’ll ever be competing with a wife/ex wife again who they are ‘best friends’ with. lesson learnt.

    • Grizelda says:

      Jule, don’t forget the golden rule about a man’s past behaviour being an absolute indicator of future behaviour. He carelessly trashed his marriage. He carelessly trashed his chances with you. He WILL carelessly trash whatever the hell kind of scenario he has going on with a married woman who, like him, has red flags sticking out of every one of her orifices (and please would you FORGET about the age thing, it doesn’t matter– if it did, he wouldn’t have been with you at all!).

      His self-certified ‘hurt’ isn’t hurt. It’s just a story he chooses to tell and act out because it works for him. It gets him good treatment from women. It’s a story he told you so that you provided no-strings sex and a totally undeserved ration of hassle-free loyalty from you. He is absolutely and without a doubt cranking out the same exact story to the married woman.

      You are best off out of his pathetic little theatre.

      • SM says:

        I agree griz, he is not hurt over losing his ex, he’s using it to make himself look good. Guys will do that ‘oh I know I cheated on my wife but I feel really bad about now and wish I hadnt done it’. They use it to pretend that they’ve grown and changed, when usually its just the opposite.

      • RadioGirl says:

        Yes, Grizelda, on date #2 (yes, yes, I know – sheesh!) my ex cranked out the sob stories about his failed marriage and his subsequent on/off girlfriend who it turned out he was still not over. It was all for just that very reason of making me start performing the old Florence Nightingale routine for him. Sadly for me I fell for it, and the rest turned into a painful lesson/epiphany relationship. Natalie wrote a brilliant post about this tactic:-

  15. Little Star says:

    Thanks Natalie! I was a user of my current AC, as I desperately wanted to forget my ex AC. I am not proud of it, but it helped me so much. I also helped him to forget his painful divorce and separation with his son (now they are in contact)…I am not ready to date anyone for now, BUT I will not say “NO” to the Right guy even if I am not 100% emotionally ready:)

  16. teachable says:

    Oh great. I only had to read the bit in the yellow box to know this latest effort with my mother is probably almost certain to fail then. I’m going to pretend I did not say that. I’m going to TRY to be positive at least until I get an answer on requesting therapy together… Prolly may as well also start believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, & Easter Bunny too tho… You know, just to prepare myself for the ‘land of make believe where she will agree to this’ that likely lies ahead… that wasn’t very positive was it? Kicks self & decides this is not a good day to quit smoking after all… heads out to get ciggarrettes!!!!

  17. teachable says:

    Excellent work Natashya!!! Good for you!! :)

  18. teachable says:

    K. I’m totally with you. TIME is so important. A few months is nothing. I spend YEARS quietly observing ppl in my social circles. It often takes nigh a on a DECADE for true character to be revealed (truely).

    We may not have a whole decade for courtship, but this expectation of mere months to know someone intimately is quite unrealistic & just not possible. It takes a good couple of years to build proper trust & intimacy.

    Otherwise, you’re right, it can take quite some time for major cracks to appear although there are, I think, always tell tale signs from very early on (even subtle ones) Pushing for physical intimacy before a woman is ready, no matter how long this takes, is definately one of them & as subtle as a sledgehammer! A guy who REALLY wanted you as his ‘forever relationship’ wouldn’t risk losing a woman with this sort of straight up shoddy behaviour.

    Traffic jam, you would be crazy to contact Mr Pushed For Sex After One Month. He has just shown you his ass! The only thing you ought to be doing is kicking it the hell out of your life for good! Ugh! User sleeze!!!!!

    • TrafficJam says:

      Thanks teachable!!! Great point! It is a huge crack and majorly douchey behavior to push a girl for sex when you know (1) she is vulnerable and (2) she is not ready for it yet. Sometimes I wonder why I am attracted to dodgy individuals.

      I’m a bit conflicted here in that I understand that different people are ready for sex at different times, so I don’t think a guy is nec. morally wrong in leaving because he is not getting sex, but I definitely think he would be wrong in pushing for sex when the girl is clearly not ready for it, and in being a majorly spiteful and hurtful AC in the process.

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        “I don’t think a guy is nec. morally wrong in leaving because he is not getting sex…”

        What’s moral about that??? He was ready/pushing for sex after one month because apparently his ENTIRE reason for being in the relationship was to get sex! Now if you’d been together for 6 months and told him you wanted a committed relationship from the out-start, he did as well, and everything was going as it should, except that you were withholding sex in order to control him, then yeah, leaving under those circumstances wouldn’t be wrong. In that scenario, he was being used, lied to, etc.

        In YOUR situation, he wanted sex. Period. And he didn’t have the balls or the respect to be upfront with you about that. He dangled a “relationship” in front of you to manipulate you into sleeping with him. HE lied in this case and you are right to leave him. See the difference??? He’s doesn’t have a “moral” leg to stand on as far as I can see.

        • TrafficJam says:

          Thank you La Pintura Bella! Good point!

          I think the AC primarily wanted sex, but I also think he did want a relationship BUT had some really twisted ideas about what that entails (which are wholly incompatible with my ideas and worldview). I think it’s rare that guys just just want sex, although often it’s a primary goal, which it most certainly was here. (And, yes, if the AC did want a girlfriend, as I think he does, it may just be so that he can get regular sex.) In this case we had a lot of common friends, group and social activities, so a pump and dump would be awkward and also make him lose a lot of social capital and respect.

          Later, the AC said something along the lines of, “for me, dating involves sex.” That he did not think a relationship could last without it. That in the past, girls had given up the goods within 2 weeks (which he didn’t think was that fast). Since I had known him for a few months, and been a fairly close friend for about a month before we started dating, he thought by now I should know him well enough to know if the sex was going to happen, and so he gave the ultimatum because he assumed it was never going to happen, ‘didn’t want to waste his time’ so he could move on.

          I *do* think on some level he meant well and just didn’t know what he was doing. I’m not saying any potential naivete at play here makes his actions okay – it most certainly does not – and it’s most definitely a dealbreaker! However, I’m still trying to make sense of the moral issues at play. Any more thoughts on this?

          I think, in this particular dance group we are in, people have a lot of one night stands and move ‘fast.’ When I was getting to know the AC, I had said multiple things to him to the effect of I could never move that fast, it takes a while to know someone, people unfold slowly, physical stuff is a big deal to me, I don’t do it casually or outside of a relationship, have not had many previous partners, etc. So it’s possible that he assumed I would be within a factor of 3 of our peers in speed to intimacy.

          What is a reasonable timeline for these decisions? How can I communicate better/avoid these situations better in the future? Or are some of these experiences inevitable regardless of what you do? I was really, really trying to be clear with him from the beginning re: my boundaries.

          • Linden says:

            Hi TrafficJam — Sounds to me like you communicated your boundaries just fine. He just didn’t like them. Too bad for him. A reasonable timeline for these decisions is whatever makes you feel comfortable, not whatever makes someone else feel gratified.

          • yoghurt says:

            This is interesting, trafficjam, and it’s got me thinking…

            “I think it’s rare that guys just want sex, although often it’s a primary goal”

            See, here’s where I disagree, I think. Yeah, maybe it is true that it’s a primary goal but perhaps it shouldn’t be – at least not for the sort of healthy relationship that we’re after.

            The idea that men are somehow biologically driven to want sex, think about sex and to be motivated by sex is, imo, one example of the mythological drivel by which society creates a safe space in which men like this can operate.

            Maybe men (and women!) do have such an urge. Maybe it’s their responsibility to apply a bit of logical thinking and suppress it where appropriate, though. I can’t remember Natalie’s quote exactly but it’s something like “Your penis/vagina does not know what you need in a relationship”.

            Coming at it from this angle, the idea that it would be a ‘waste of time’ to be in your company if he isn’t going to get an orgasm out of it is a bit insulting. The idea that you aren’t worth a temporary hiatus in his sex-life is depressing (oh no! it might drop off! :O ). And the fact that he isn’t able/prepared to let down the barriers and become intimate and emotionally connected with someone that he hasn’t been naked with suggests that he has issues with unavailability and wouldn’t be a great choice of partner anyway.

            I mean, imagine that you got together, got married, had his baby a few years down the line and then got struck down with, say, severe PND that killed your sex-drive? Would it be a ‘waste of time’ for him to stick around and look after you during that time, or would he be justified in looking for sex with someone else because he didn’t know if/when it would end. It’s not a good attitude for a long-term option to have.

            I should add that none of this reflects on you – it’s a reflection on him and the rather simplistic and

            Imo, you communicated your boundaries perfectly, which is why he’s pushed off and although I know it doesn’t feel very pleasant, that’s the goal. Having boundaries won’t turn the sky green, make birds fly backwards or change the minds of people like him – hopefully he’ll work it out himself when he’s ready but it’ll be off his own bat. In the meantime, rather than being hung up on him and wasting time with someone who wouldn’t make you happy, YOU’RE free to go out and find someone who does agree with you. That’s how it works. :)

            • yoghurt says:

              Sorry – v messy post, full of typos.

              I should add that I was cracking on for thirty before I applied some ‘logical thinking’ so it’s not like I’m the fount of all wisdom…

      • Little Star says:

        Traffic, you should be proud of yourself, you did not allow AC to use you…When the guy really into you, he will wait:) GOOD LUCK!

  19. SM says:

    I know a lot of people who think its perfectly acceptable to ‘set’ someone up on a date the minute they leave their spouses home (not even divorced yet and sleeping on a friends sofa). As a matter of fact, this is more the norm than not. Because of you Natalie, this is my number 1 rule. Never, ever date someone just out of a relationship.

  20. G-Money says:

    Wow was this me, I have been spending these last few months sorting through the decisions I made and understanding why I made them.
    I was very immature when I met him (he was 2 months out of a 10 year marriage)My self esteem was quite low, I was never the one to get male attention and here was this gorgeous guy showing an intense amount of interest in me, it threw me into a head spin.
    He was broken but my silly self thought “sure who isn’t”. We lasted over three years, at the start I had nagging thoughts that I was a rebound but we steadily moved along. He said he fell out of love with his ex wife way before they broke up and it was just a matter of time, he was staying for the kids sake. She would beg for him to come back but he showed no interest in that life and we continued on and eventually moved in.
    He had no feelings towards her but there was still the aftermath of hurt and processing that I know NOW he didn’t get enough space and time to deal with properly.
    I was his emotional airbag (epically warped beliefs I had discovered I got from my mam) I enabled, I over empathised and I tolerated/minimised and normalised very poor behaviour.

    I’ve gone through every moment, fight, conversation in my head seeing if there was anything I missed and besides the glaring red flags of just out of a marriage and me not having a healthy amount of self esteem, I never heard him once take any accountability for his marriage – it was all her crazy fault, and he justified his behaviour with “well it was in reaction to her behaviour”.

    I have been glued to this blog for months, I’ve cried, I’ve had tantrums at myself, I’ve allowed every emotion to flow through me to teach myself how to listen to me again, properly. I couldn’t believe how naive I was and in these last five months I have learned more about myself then I did in two years of counselling.

    Natalie you have saved my sanity, It’s been difficult accepting who I was and my part for the break up but the reassurence is amazing that I am in the drivers seat now, I know what I don’t want and who I don’t want to be. I am actually excited about being single, If you were to tell me that five months ago I would have laughed and cried in your face.

    I’m not ready for a co-pilot just yet, I still need and want to spend some time by myself and enjoying who I am again. 2012 has been a very tough year, roll on 2013 and a fresh new start.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey G-Money,
      “I have been glued to this blog for months, I’ve cried, I’ve had tantrums at myself, I’ve allowed every emotion to flow through me to teach myself how to listen to me again, properly. I couldn’t believe how naive I was and in these last five months I have learned more about myself then I did in two years of counselling.” Me too. Me too. I’ve been glued to this blog for two years and have learned more from Natalie and the wonderful BR folks than any counseling. I hear you totally on the tantrums,the naivete, and the glaring red flags! Natalie saved me too. Here’s to 2013 and your fresh start. Cheers.

      • G-Money says:

        Runnergirl, I tip my hat to you, congratulations on your interviews and telling it like it is. It is amazing how we can integrate everything we learn here into the various aspects of our lives. Heres to the next stage with the the senior group :)

        I’ve never felt so at home as I do when reading Nat’s posts and all your amazing stories. I was so lucky to find this site and although still quite early days, I know BR will always be my source for learning and knowing I am not alone.

        Indeed, to 2013 – here here!!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I was my ex’s rebound. I was in denial. I wouldn’t even let myself think the word “rebound.” I thought, “No I’m/it’s not like that. This is different. He says he likes me and is pursuing me, so that has to mean he’s over his ex, right?” Wrong. He wasn’t. I felt it. I knew it. She was with us everywhere even though I’ve never met the woman. The “better” he got, the more he pulled away. I sensed this and broke it off with him. Shortly after he went to her begging to take him back. She did. Why/how I can’t fathom. He spent half the time they were apart trying to seduce me all the while insulting and complaining about her to me. She must have known about me. He flaunted me to all their mutual friends and stuck his tongue down my throat in public places. He used me. He just wanted to get back at her, and get her back. Mission accomplished. He had no real feelings for me. I was disposable to him, yet I felt inferior and flattered that a guy like him would even want to be seen in public with me.

    • Jule says:

      Jennifer, I hope you know now that you are no way inferior to this piece of crap. He is a total effen loser with a capital L. Big hugs to you, beautiful girl. Don’t let yourself feel inferior to ANYONE. Next time, tell yourself, they are LUCKY to be in public with you.

  22. pinkpanther says:

    You have written some doozies, but this one takes the cake.

    When I think of my former self, I throw up a little in my mouth.

    And the thing is, I do have good self esteem, I do have self awareness, I do have the ability to enjoy being alone. I’m not “even that bad”. I’m not terribly delusional, I don’t use drugs, work, etc to avoid reality. I’m a really well rounded person, yet, still IN MY PAST, I’d fallen for all this crap.

    The last stealth UW that tried to make a relationship with, was just out of a long term relationship, I kindly declined, and said, “hey, if in a year you’re over the ex, let me know” Well she did, after ONE WHOLE YEAR, contact me. I declined at the time because I didn’t want to be her emotional buffer, and I even told her that.

    So a year later she calls, we take it slow, still blows up in the end by her saying, “I’m not ready for a relationship, I can’t give you want you need, bla bla bla”. She knew all along I was ready for something substantial, but I guess she needed some company, some sex, and someone to spend the holidays with so she wouldn’t have to be all alone (boo hoo). In the end I believe she has no understanding of what she did. I wouldn’t have either if it wasn’t for you. I”d have thought, wow too bad, but I wouldn’t have really understood what went down.

    So, that didn’t work out too well, and she ended up saying every damn thing you have sited in this post of yours.

    I wonder why it is that human beings have such a tiny, unpoquito repertoire. You really and truly have an uncanny gift for spelling it all out, sometimes word for word.

    I am so glad I found you, but I wish so much that I could have found you years ago. I wasted so mach time, so many little pieces of my heart on all this crap.

    The general level of unconsciousness is astounding, even for people who aren’t assclowns, just regular people bumbling along, we hurt each other and half the time don’t even have a clue.

    This post makes me wince at all the lame shit I’ve fallen for. I don’t plan on wasting any more of my time repeating this garbage with/for anyone. I will never be a buffer again, thank you!

    • Espoir says:

      OMG PP – I could have written your post word for word : someone even said to me ” You are exactly what the doctor prescribed” (he was kind of a medium…yes, yes, I know :)) and I brushed it off ”Who me ? Rubbish” :))
      Thanks for the wake up call, Nat and everybody else on BR.
      I’m almost 2 months NC and everyday I feel stronger.

  23. Yevette says:

    This is a great post as usual. I thank God for peace of mind and contentment. There is much to be said for being single. A person can be alone and not be lonely. That does not mean that I don’t have lonely moments from time-to-time, but it sure beats being in a one-sided, unequally yoked relationship!

    • Jule says:

      oh yeah Yevette. Completely agree with you here. I’m also feeling better being single than in a one sided thing. Too bad I didn’t get that early on in the year before I got consumed. But yeah single now and liking the freedom

  24. Wise ol owl says:

    When I think of the servitude role I played in the past, cooking lavish dinners, driving them to airports, even buying clothes for men in my past, I just go “hooo boy!” All that effort, and in the end, a lot of work for not a lot of results. I guess in looking back, the biggest lesson for me is to treat myself with the same love & respect I put out there. Right now, Im putting the focus back on me, where it belongs. You can’t expect real love to follow when you put yourself the words of George Benson, “to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Thank you so much Natalie for helping me get there!

  25. Grizelda says:

    Girls, please stop blaming yourselves.

    I think it pays to remember that many rebounders know exactly what they’re doing and will deny, deny and deny again that they’re using you as a human bouncy castle. They’ll serve up all sorts of lies and manipulations to keep you from walking off stage and quitting halfway through the first act of their hastily-assembled production entitled ‘Well SOMEBODY’S Got To Save My Ego’. They also don’t want to suffer the indignity of being cast as the Bad Guy… despite the fact they’ve happily cast you as Fool.

    I say this because, if you think about it, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose from pushing hard to engage your emotions despite the fact they have little intention of returning them and therefore don’t deserve them. It keeps you hanging round playing a losers’ game. This is the key: they’re the ones with the massive hidden agenda. They’re the ones who need to be seen with a new girlfriend pronto to a) prove to their friends and family they’re ‘ok’ after the relationship crash; b) prove to themselves they’re ‘ok’ after the relationship crash; c) gain the attention of their ex and make her jealous/angry after the relationship crash; d) take full advantage of being free enough to tear through a swathe of women after the relationship crash. They have nothing but ‘the relationship crash’ to define what it is they’re doing.

    They’ll tell you that the ex is old news, maybe that they hate their ex, that they’re so glad the old relationship is over, that they learned all sorts of valuable things as a result of the relationship (“I’m a changed man, see?! I’m wise and mature and relationship-ready! Now get your pants off.”). All of which might be bald-faced lies just so they can act out their agenda. And yet you can bet your bottom dollar that when they’re done with you they’ll actually have the temerity to pretend like they’re surprised to be going back to their ex or falling for someone new. Yeah, surprised. As if they don’t have a choice in the matter and it’s all totally beyond their control and they’re not to blame.

    • FX says:

      Grizelda, Wow, just wow… Interestingly, I think I was/am the one he is probably trying to justify/blame/use to blow off the new “supply” – since I’m pretty sure he’s personality disordered of the NPD variety. I watched this play out the first time I went NC and, unfortunately, let him catch me again after he devalued and discarded her, too… Now, “his life has no meaning without me” but I will bet my bottom dollar some OW is getting the short end of that stick again… I have been NC for 6 months but he’s sent emails to old accounts I found later/recently and to which I have not responded.

      What you said is all true and textbook. I actually told him when he wanted to get back together (after a break after several years, having lived together, etc.) that I didn’t think “either of us was relationship ready”. In those exact words! He probably is using those words now on someone else to sound enlightened and get into their pants, look better, feel better, etc. And, then, lather, rinse, repeat, he’ll come chasing me – or maybe not since I have been NC/MIA for so long… A girl can hope! Doesn’t matter really because he’ll never get a reply from me again. I’m done being the repeat rebound with the same AC!

    • Tulipa says:


      What you wrote will help me a lot.
      The part about being cast as the fool oh yes he had me pegged as a fool.

      It isn’t easy untangling all the bamboozlement and why I was eager to play the fool.

      I will remind myself of this if he come calling again.
      Not to blame yourself is tough too especially if you knew what part you were cast in and stepped onto the stage anyway.

    • Grizelda says:

      FX wow, that’s a seriously slow-motion rebound/fallback thing he’s trying with you. All those years and he’s still at it, proving he hasn’t matured one day past the mental age of 13. You are the only grownup in that shituation.

      Tulipa, I hope you relieve yourself of blame. I don’t mean to infer that we girls haven’t let ourselves down, because we have to some degree or other by allowing it. But we have to acknowledge that we’re often lied to and deceived by guys who have a nefarious agenda. They construct a domestic scene that looks pretty clear of baggage and previous-relationship detritus. You look under the bed and in the closets, all seems pretty normal. But it’s a form of entrapment on their part. Let’s not forget that guys can be just as guilty of entrapment as women can. They get sex and goodies and sex and gifts and treats and sex for months or even years before they start to exhale and let the ‘real them’ hang out — and suddenly there’s evidences of exes reappearing, new women getting in touch (who are these women anyway??), his profile mysteriously appears on dating sites, he has to cancel your plans because something-or-other, he disappears for three weeks… And we sit around saying ‘well, maybe he just wasn’t ready for a relationship with me so soon after such-and-such.’ No. Just, no, stop it please. He’s not a child, he’s an adult supposedly, and if he’s an adult beckoning on a new relationship, he has to take full responsibility for his actions if they’re less than genuine.

    • Confused123 says:

      “They’re the ones who need to be seen with a new girlfriend pronto to a) prove to their friends and family they’re ‘ok’ after the relationship crash; b) prove to themselves they’re ‘ok’ after the relationship crash; c) gain the attention of their ex and make her jealous/angry after the relationship crash; d) take full advantage of being free enough to tear through a swathe of women after the relationship crash. They have nothing but ‘the relationship crash’ to define what it is they’re doing.”
      WOW…My ex did all of the above. A, b, c, and d. I always knew he was never over is ex. Even his friends commented on how he orbits around her even after she cheated on him, divorced him and is in a serious relationship with someone else now.
      Now, he’s moved on to the next (who was his ex. They dated breifly) to have a “relationship with her” after dumping me. I do know one of the reasons he went back to her (after she contacted him) was because she is tall and glamorous and he need someone like her to prove to the ex that he can “catch” a glamazon. I wonder how that will work out given that his track record is of use and dump.

  26. Ziggybutterfly says:

    Again, wow. My ex was 3 weeks out of a 3 year relationship that he got into immediately after his divorce, when we met. It was a whirlwind romance, fast forwarded, future faked. I was his emotional rehab, and when he felt strong again, I was no longer needed nor wanted. I knew at the start he was too soon out of a relationship but he seemed so strong and over it, and so into me, I went along for the ride. I ended up in more pain emotionally than I could ever have imagined. This guy did not want to be treated well, he wanted to create chaos and ultimately derailed my life and my plans/goals in other areas. Time to pull myself back up by the bootstraps and PRESS ON. The future is bright and I look forward to becoming happy – truly happy – alone and on my own.

  27. Ms. Option says:

    I hope my emotions catch up soon also. Because right now I can’t stop crying. Had to see him at work today when I left he was talking up the mousy girl , at work who is gaga over him and can’t get her work done for following him around. After sending texts wed night begging me to talk to him and I stupidly responded now he’s not taking to me except at work. Oh and I forgot to mention that last sat he asked me to loan him 7,000 to buy a car he wanted, which I responded with “why would I loan you money?” he gave his usual poor me response and also said because u care about me. When I didn’t respond to more attempts at that conversation he then apologized for asking Tues. and said he shouldnt have put me in that position. Then thurs he sends me a text saying he has went everywhere trying to get a loan to have money for Christmas, and to pay phone bill etc. and that no one will touch him because of bad credit. Then comes the text “I wish I knew a tall, sexy blonde that cared enough about me to loan me money.” He’s unbelievable, to have the balls to ask me for money after what he’s just put me through the last month. You are right she has gotten a prize.
    It’s unbelievable the things that come out of their mouths. I can’t believe he said he wanted you to take credit for saving his marriage. Just like I couldn’t believe he told me he cares more about her than he realized when a week before he told me he hated her with every atom of his being.

    • swissmiss says:

      I feel for you, Ms. I wish I were there with you, we could recoil in disgust together. The last conversation I had with the MM, which I referred to, he started it by saying, “I woke up this morning thinking of you,” meaning he had an erection. Was I supposed to be flattered?! Then 2 minutes later, he was thanking me for saving his marriage. Those dots are not hard to connect! And what stands between Point A and Point B is little Flo, drained, humiliated, worn out. Stay away from him, Ms, he is toxic waste.

    • Teddie says:

      “It’s unbelievable the things that come out of their mouths. I can’t believe he said he wanted you to take credit for saving his marriage. Just like I couldn’t believe he told me he cares more about her than he realized when a week before he told me he hated her with every atom of his being.”
      Just like Natalie has pointed out many times: they often just speak out of the dark parts of their anatomy. Thing is, if you don’t have it within you, you don’t reconognise it, so by the time we’ve wisened up to their lingo, we’re already in the relationshit. Stay on this site and please change your name to “Ms Option NO More”!

    • Grizelda says:

      Astonishing, Ms Option. Your seven thousand dollars would buy him a sturdy set of wheels to squire around town the lovesick little pest from work, wouldn’t it? Gee I can’t see why you won’t play ball with that one.

      Oh and by the way. Any man who refers to a ‘girl’, ‘lady’, ‘female’, ‘woman’, ‘girlfriend’, ‘wife’ or ‘gal’ as nothing more than a HAIR COLOUR to shorthand demote her from the status of human being to nothing more than a hank of dead keratin biomaterial has a serious disorder in the way he relates to the opposite sex. This is the largest and brightest neon-lit interpersonal red flag that deserves its very own category in the Big Book of That’s Not Okay.

      • Sadder but Wiser says:

        I think Natalie should gather up a listing of the most outrageous, jaw dropping things these losers have said and done taken from blog comments over all the years of BR. I’m talking about things that are not only screaming red flags, but in their own category as Griz said. It would be a best seller!

    • A says:


      Be careful. I have the feeling that once his wife becomes too “available” to him he’ll lose interest and be knocking on your door again. Make sure it’s bolted shut.

  28. Magnolia says:

    I’ll add that maybe we should add getting out of a long-term job or moving cities as another amber flag. My ex started conversation with me while he was looking to change cities, and by the time he was ready to move, (and needed help unpacking), guess who was there to cushion the rough patch of being alone in a new town?

    He never complained of being on his own, and always made it seem as though he was making life more interesting for me, but in the end I felt used when he grew nasty and it seemed he wanted to hang out in the swisher circles to which, by then, he had been well introduced.

    I remember going out with a couple guys when I was still in a mode of talking at length about the ex. I was so embarrassed to be still talking about him over a year later. I remember thinking, hey, it’s been a year, you can go out and date, Magnolia! But nothing came of those outings. Who knows if they were good guys who saw my willingness to go on about the ex as a red flag. Good for them if they did.

    I also just moved to a new town four months ago and I have been uncomfortable meeting anyone under the banner of a date. I am still just getting my bearings, establishing who my friends are here – I did’t want to do what my ex did, just find someone who will be there on weekends until I establish my social network.

    In September, in a fit of giddiness, I went over and said hi to two exceedingly handsome Quebecois dudes that were a few tables away at a restaurant – from that conversation, though no names had been exchanged, one of them actually looked me up and sent me an email at my work address. The kind of thing that flatters, right? That begins romance movies …

    He wanted me to drive an hour (halfway btw each of us) to meet him. If everything else were in place – my friends, my life, etc, I could see exploring meeting someone who lives two hours away. But I knew I just wasn’t ready to even entertain dating, the potential for sex or relationship. I said I’d be in touch when I was ready. I haven’t followed up.

    Same with the rather handsome guy I met on the plane the other week, who gave me his card and told me to call. I mean, the issue with them putting the ball in my court, telling me to call, is the subject of another post; what I’m getting at is that there have been a few opportunities to have some fun, kill some time, etc and fill the void with some fine male company – but I’m still working on me, on my self-esteem, and making sure I’m over all my shit.

    I imagine whatever guy I do meet when the timing and compatibility is right will be glad I’ve done that work. I mean, I want someone who expects certain things from a relationship and who cares that I’m able to step up to those.

  29. Trust your intuition says:

    I always look forward to reading the blog posts on this site. They have helped me tremendously dealing with my ex and to really begin to let go of the baggage and the hurt.

    We dated for a couple of years and we broke up. Of course he has moved on with someone else (I know her, I asked him repeatedly towards to the end of our relationship if he liked her, he denied it). While we broke up many times (mainly me breaking up with him bc i was so tired of his shit the last time we finally called it quits within a few weeks he was flaunting his new relationship all over the place. I was so hurt that someone that i was so invested in emotionally could hurt me in those ways. I was distraught that he could move on that fast to a new relationship and put it all over social media. (I kept thinking I would never do this to him)

    He of course still emails me to meet up with him, saying that he needs to talk to me. I have really initiated the no contact rule and have been enforcing by ignoring his emails.

    Rebound or not, what I think about (because ive also done that) is that regardless of whether he sees it as a rebound (or what she is thinking..and i think he may really like her, be in love etc) we were in a serious relationship. Even if he was over me when he got with her, processing hurt takes a long time. He also has so many issues (on a deep personal level) that unless he takes the time to really examine himself and his life, no relationship he gets into will save him. I think people that jump into another relationship are in some ways running from themselves. You cant run yourself into the arms of someone expecting them to save you.

    That causes so many problems later.

    As for me, I am taking time and healing. I am not dating and really focusing on me. I acknowledge that there may not be one path (righteous path that is) but I know this is the path for me.

  30. Trust your intuition says:

    I also would like to say that men are socialized so differently from women. Men process hurt in different ways. A lot of times many of them secure a new relationship before they leave the one they are in because they dont deal with their emotions in healthy ways. Women we have support groups, we blog about this, we talk with other women. Men are not socialized to discuss their feelings, process emotions. So they just keep on truckin’, relationship to relationship, destroying themselves and the women in their paths. Its really sad I think. They are used to us women being their pillow, their shoulder to rest on. When the woman in their life has had enough of their irresponsibility or whatever the issue, they move on to someone who will tolerate it (until she also learns better) But ultimately, they dont really process their issues. They just displace the baggage to some other woman’s shoulder. Its a mess i tell ya.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Trust your intuition. Your post has got me thinking. Although I still have a twinge of bitterness & hurt every now & again for the things the AC did that brought our relationship to a crashing halt(cheating,lying,ect) I sometimes wonder exactly what he felt emotionally & how he felt about himself. I never imagined he could or would want to hurt me in the ways he did. We were together a long time, longer than some marriages. I know he was totally shocked I went NC immediatly. He never expected it. He thought he could continue to be there for me, lick my wounds,help pull me thru the heartache. NO THANK YOU. I think it was to reduce the guilt he felt. He knows what he did was so wrong,that I didnt deserve it, but it was like he couldnt help himself. I guess once a cheater always a cheater.He cheated on his ex-wife but gave me some lame excuse that I accepted. MY BAD. I am finally at peace with everything now. Its been a long 15mths of soul searching, buckets of tears, therapy, praying for peace, but slowly healing. Had I not commited to NC I know I would never be as far along as I am. It is the only way to come out of that very dark tunnel of grief & heartache.I never want to go in that tunnel again & I wont because of what I have learned from this experience… I just hope someday I can trust again, love again, but I just dont know if thats possible…..

    • Brenda says:

      But ultimately, they dont really process their issues.

      Maybe that is becasue we don’t often leave them the “right way” and I think it is our resposibity as well to leave them with 100% truth of the why’s, Not just your a bad boy.. But look, I was not really all mature in allowing this and see that was a mistake, Maybe my love or what I thought was love was not doing you any favors either and I realize that am ready for a real man now, That is why I am leaving.

      Maybe then some would relfect more, but expect others to just continue on to the next pillow.

      Maybe they will go through pillows till their balls hang low and they need viagra to get it up anymore as I think some of the issue is they just don’t want to give up all the selection availiable to them.

      Even when the cost sometimes really sucks for them, They never seem to get convienced the one they have is enough.

  31. katy says:

    Grizelda’s comment was Brilliant! (will repost later) I’ve been a Florence for 2 years patiently supporting – only getting cross when he was hurting somebody else (why didn’t I get cross when he was hurting me!!!!) We only had 1 night (his marriage split came later that weekend) which was a bit of disaster due to him being emotional about his infidelity! And yet I really adored him – believed every lie – that he would change for me – that I could help him. But after it he avoided me at work for 3 WEEKS! But somehow I became the airbag through his now almost finished divorce – BUT turns out he had an internet (fantasy) relationship going on with a beautiful woman 15 years younger me – would see her on work trips. Plus had in fact been unfaithful many many other times when away for business. I got trapped by knowing that this is not how he was raised and him saying he is struggling to regain his faith and really wanted to get back to his values. The trouble is I work for him. Yesterday I challenged him on his behaviour with other women at work (two have come to me).Told him he had really hurt my friend by being creepy (she was not into his advances) and he accused me of only telling me out of malice!! WTF? I’ve covered for him – he could have lost his job! This has gone on long enough. We’re not even in a relationship yet I’m still being hurt by 2 years ago when used as meat, and loyalty to how his parents raised him when he’d tell me that he really wanted to change, get back to church and re-invent his life. He even has begun telling me about how excited he is about her coming to visit in January. Yet is unsure that he wants anything long term with her. I don’t want to hear this. I can’t hear it. Yesterday I HOPE shattered the dream that he is capable of change. I know I should ‘flush’ but I know that he can also charm me. I love my job & my colleagues. I may have to resign to flush which is dangerous to do in this environment and just before Christmas.Honestly I don’t really have the money to be without work. My consolation: – Grizelda’s post” She wins thoroughly damaged goods that come bundled with disloyalty, disrespect, jealousy and outrage, short-term plans and poor impulse control, with a free neverending supply of lies and deception tossed in. Lucky woman”

  32. runnergirl says:

    Thank Goodness for you Natalie and the BR folks. I read this post this morning before I headed off to the final day of the interviewing process for a colleague that will be my counterpart for the next decade or so after two decades of being the only full-time faculty in my department. In academia, it’s a bit like having a committee choose your next spouse. Most won’t have to see him/her again. However, I will. We had two female candidates head over heels above the rest and two male candidates a distant 3rd and 4th. I swear I’m telling the truth. The males on the committee argued that the distant 3rd and 4th could be “changed” or “fixed”. Those were the exact words they used. I sat very still (despite the fact it felt like my hair was on fire and my brain was going to explode) listening to how they just needed “a little polishing”, some “counseling”, and they’d be fine. They could be “changed”. Once folks were done, I asked who would be responsible for changing, fixing, polishing, and counseling. Ummm…well…that would be moi. So Natalie, this is for you: I replied “I don’t date, marry, and/or hire anybody that needs to change, be fixed, needs polishing, or counseling. I’m NOT a Florence”. My comment just hung in the air. We took a break and when we reconvened, folks (mostly) agreed. We have two perfect candidates who don’t need to change, why do we feel the need to Florence?
    I know my comment doesn’t pertain precisely to romantic relationships, however it was interesting to observe a similar dynamic with regards to a professional work environment. The Florence tendency runs deep in both genders. I couldn’t help but draw the analogy that we have two perfect guys (only they are girls) and we would overlook them to try to fix the guys (just so happened they were guys). And it was the guys on the committee insisting that the guys could be fixed. The catch, I’d be the one doing the fixin’. NOT my job.Period.End of. The story won’t end here, however. The next level is the senior admin. Although,I hold the cards. If I walk, there is no hiring. I am totally prepared to walk, thanks to you Natalie. I am NOT a Florence. Period.

    • Mymble says:

      Good for you.
      That is fantastic that you didn’t give in to the majority.
      A lot of people deny that sexism in the workplace still exists but clearly it is alive and well. My observation is that they are perfectly willing to take on women at a lower level but when it comes to promotion the men win every time regardless of ability.

    • SM says:

      Runner good for you! This seems to be a running theme amongst people in general that spills over into the work place and creates what I call a ‘slowing of incoming cash’. I’m in sales so to me everything is bottom dollar and that includes the time spent bringing the weakest link up to speed. Time Is Money or love,companionship, good times or just a feeling of peace. If we have to spend our time bringing someone ‘up to speed’ or ‘florencing’ them etc…then that takes away from the good stuff flowing to us.

    • Magnolia says:

      Amazing, and brutal, to see that other folks in a work situation still see a man who needs a bit of mommying as a more attractive candidate than a woman who has her shit together.

      Makes you wonder how the women who do make it, do it? Only with the kind of broad shift in thinking in the whole population that BR is helping to bring about will we stop looking the other way when a man is helpless in some areas, and holding it hard against a woman if she’s not willing to step up to Florence men in those areas.

      So glad you were able to articulate your boundaries, runnergirl! Inspirational stuff.

  33. tracy says:

    It’s so hard to know when they are ready, when they’re over the ex. I did a lot of on-line and when I was starting I let a guy who was ‘separated’ make contact, I met him and when I asked point blank how long he’d been out of the house (now I live near a state with a mandatory one year separation before divorce, so I figured he was at the end, and I, being a newby to dating post-divorce was still on a STEEP learning curve…) he replied, “TWO WEEKS”. I was flabbergasted! He’d put himself on-line virtually days after he left. Needless to say, I was wise enough to flush.

    Last year I stupidly got involved with someone who was seven months past divorce, but was so not ready. Still had lots of photos of the wife around the house, and while I accepted it because he had custody of the kids, his feeling was that NOT ONE thing in his house should change ‘for the kids’. Eventually I realized that ‘for the kids’ was code for “I’m not over her”, as all our conversations eventually revolved around what she and her new boyfriend were up to.

    But I’ve also been with an AC who was 5 years divorced and yet was always comparing me to her…her cooking, clothes, weight, housekeeping, education were better than mine, yadda, yadda, yadda. Yet to hear others, he picked on HER quite a bit while they were married.

    I guess the key is to really have your ears open early on and really listen to HOW they speak about their ex. If he finds her annoying, yet she’s not consuming him, he’s not out to get her, he doesn’t need to prove something to HER, then proceed with caution. But if he can’t get off the topic of HER, if he even lowers himself to refer to her as ‘a bitch’ or something else rude, FLUSH.

    • natashya says:

      but where do you do draw the line? my ex EUM was separated for 3 years, but still good friends with his ex. they were together for over 10 years, so of course, a lot of his stories involved things he did with her. just like a lot of my stories involve things i did with my husband (married for 11 years). i don’t speak badly about my husband (just about a few of the unacceptable things he did), i don’t hate him, or resent him, i don’t love him ‘in that way’ either anymore. i don’t regret marrying him and i don’t regret divorcing him, either. i am neutral in my feelings about him (and those feelings aren’t very strong to begin with. he just ‘is’.)

      i am in my 40s now, so yes, i do have relationship baggage. so will the men i’m meeting.

      • swissmiss says:


        For what it’s worth, my experience is that emotionally available people who had prior relationships use the pronoun “I” when describing their participation in previous events. It signals that they no longer view themselves as part of a couple, that they they have individuated, and recognize they had experiences they felt and enjoyed as a solo human being. As soon as I hear wewewewe I am gone.

      • tracy says:

        Yes, I think it’s how they refer to events in the past, and even their physical response to talking about their ex. The one who kept his house as a shrine to the ex also had wedding pictures up in the house. SHE had been living with another guy for two years at that point. Five year guy was still worried about/angered at the fact that his ex was living with her boyfriend and all their kids, yet HE was the one who wanted out of the marriage, claiming he was coerced into marriage (coerced by a free apartment in Manhattan and a never ending source of parental financial support by her parents) and compared commiting to me as SUFFOCATION, but he wanted me to stay. He would put down his ex, put down her boyfriend, but compare me to her.

        Currently, I’m dating someone who really doesn’t LIKE his ex, but his physical and emotional reactions to speaking about her don’t have the intensity or anger that those other two clowns had. He mentions something about her (he has custody, not sure of the full backstory yet), but quickly moves the conversation away. It’s kind of refreshing, as I HATE my ex, but prefer to spend my days NOT thinking about him!

  34. Bellaninha says:

    Amazing, yet again a post so timely waiting there for me.
    I feel I’ve well and truly healed from my break up with my commitment phobe 3 years ago, but seem to attract these sorts of guys, on the rebound, or crying “poor me”. 

    I’m travelling in Central America at the moment so it’s unlikely I’ll meet a long term partner here I guess as I’m moving around a lot. I haven’t really liked anyone for 2 months since I left London but a week ago out in this town I met a nice guy. Admittedly we got physical too early (which I know isn’t good, I am the first to admit that I was changing my ways, and a big night on the booze didn’t help, and has undone some of my good work!) 

    Anyway, it progressed really nicely to catching up the next 2 nights with lots of laughs and chats. Cliche, but he wasn’t sleazy, it was just natural and normal. I was glad he hadn’t talked about any ex girlfriends (as many former dates of mine did!) then we started chatting about dating in UK v’s US. He then said he’d only recently stopped seeing someone, like 2 weeks ago, before he came away… She ended it as she was separated but decided to return to her husband (apparently)

    I guess I wasn’t thinking anything could really come of our dalliance other than a holiday fling for a few more days but just wanted so much for him to be a nice normal travelling guy open to meeting a potential someone like me (in othe words i was fantasising!!) The next night he went all weird on me, which was annoying, but I guess his way of pulling away, and me, well, I really did “hope to be the exception, we hope that they’ll forget about whoever it is because, why are they still loving them when we’re right here ready to love them?”

    Later that night he admitted he probably wasn’t over his ex, it was all too soon. He didn’t try anything and was really the perfect gentleman. At first I was annoyed (and felt totally rejected!) because we’d gone further the nights before and I’d lost the control I guess… I was desperate to have him validate me! 

    Disappointed yes, but he IS a good guy, I guess he was trying to move on (with trying out the fling with me) but realises he is still hurt. Hey at least it came out earlier. We departed as friends but realistically I won’t see him again. And like Nat says, when he is healed, it wont be me he wants, as it will remind him of that “old him” in his rebound time. My friend and I have moved to our next destination today so distance helps! Thing is I don’t really know him, and he’s unfolded early. 

    I guess I’m just sick of my stupid pattern of attracting such guys who are on the rebound, aren’t over an ex, or who are still only separated, or whose mother has not long passed away, basically the “walking wounded” not able to commit. I know I’m travelling so technically unsettled and one could see it as non committal. But whenever I stay in the one place it’s like I am trying too hard and rarely meet anyone (until just before I leave town!) I guess I need to just get on with life and channel my energies into what makes me happy. For now that is travelling with my best friend. I just wish such guys wouldn’t come along to muck me up!

    I really do though feel now after 3 years since my ex, I would like to meet someone who adds something to my life. Not drama! It seems the guy seems nice, genuine, gentle, into me, at the start, then it all unfolds about Date 3. I don’t think this latest guy is malicious or anything, it’s just annoying to have him now in my head, when I’d had over 2 months of being ok on my own.. Sorry I needed to vent. I know I just need to keep listening to my gut and not become too attached too soon. Let them unfold…

  35. sushi says:

    The opposite of Florencing is to look at a person/situation and just accepting it how it is.
    Natalie is right, they are not house renovation projects, actually they are more like mushrooms. Going mushroom picking, you must have the knowledge which ones are edible and which poisonous you wouldn`t try to change a poisoned mushroom, that would be just insane – and boy did I try for PhD in crazy. If in doubt it really is better to pass it by than take the risk. I would love to know just why it was such a monumentally hard thing to just accept and why would I choose to work so hard for such measly crumbs. So many of us here do it. I hope not too much of this crap I went through rubbed off on my children. I`m going to ask them a for their opinions on stuff, what they think, how they feel about situations, I think it`s a good one for me too.

  36. miskwa says:

    A looong time ago, I was hotly pursued by a rebounder. I was naive and didn’t see it coming. He used me as his therapist, then overlapped with a woman, whom, unbeknownst to him, was a friend of mine. Little did he know, she was trying to escape an abusive relationship of her own. The rebounder got rebounded. Talk about karma. What really frosted my a$$ is that a mutual aquaintance chastised me for being hurt saying “men are like that”. WTF!? Men are a train wreck for about 2 years post divorce and rather than fix their own @#$% try and overlap. Ironically, I avoided at work AC for two years after his divorce for this very reason. Ah well. Related to this post, is it safe to assume that men who have been already divorced twice are to be avoided like a disease if you are yourself looking for a marriage/ltr? As I tend to have much more in common with men older than I (52) and do not want to be recruited as “mommy” material, I was getting a lot of on line hits fron tbe twice divorced.

  37. teachable says:

    Griz that post of yrs is absolutely BRILLIANT. It’s late & I’m exhausted but I just wanted to say, incredibly insightful & well put!! A lot is said on these boards which is profound, wise & well measured, but rarely are all three in the same post. This was one of those times. You literally took my breath away.

  38. teachable says:

    Agreed Traffic Jam.. Pushing for sex when a woman is not yet readu for it is (IMO) code red & I would opt out immediately on anyone not respecting that boundary with me. If a guy leaves because he couldn’t wait it shows only that he didn’t care enough. A guy who want’s a woman as his forever relationship will not have a problem with waiting for sex until the relationship is marked by whatever level of committment the couple feel is appropriate. I’ve posted elsewhere, I’ve seriously considered waiting until marriage!!!! There are reasons it was this way once upon a time!!

    • TrafficJam says:

      Thank you teachable! The more I think about this, the more I agree with you. While I could see this question of the timeframe for sex being legitimately an issue for some guys who are nevertheless genuinely interested in the girl, I think the timing question would come up in these cases much later (after a few months, not just 1).

  39. teachable says:

    Natashya if it’s any consolation you sound very healthy re yr ex hubby & attitude to him & yr marriage & divorce. That is bound to impress a potential suitor. I think the prob lies where ppl are still in love with an ex. Like a single male friend of mine. I initially fancied him, but kept quiet & simply befriended him. Turned out he’d been divorced 15 yrs, ex wife remarried over a decade ago but very obvious to me he’s still very.much in love with her. They remain close ‘friends’ & I wasn’t surprised to hear they yook an o.seas trip alone together earlier this year. Goodness knows why her second hubby permits this. My friend says he’s good friends with his ex wifes new hubby too. Shame about the whole thing really. If he wasn’t still in love with his ex wife he’d make someone a lovely partner!

    • natashya says:

      thanks, teachable. however, it’s also the reason why initially it didn’t worry me that my ex EUM was still good friends with his ex wife, while a good friend of mine tried to warn me. i wouldn’t call my ex husband a good friend, but we do keep in touch every once in a while.

      however, a man who’s ‘best friends’ with his ex is now definitely a code amber, if not red for me.

  40. teachable says:

    When I met my now deceased ex who landed me @ BR, 20 yrs ago he wasn’t a flo job. Toward the end of our r.ship though, I discovered he had a binge drinking problem (he’d hidden this amazingly well btw, as I rarely saw him drink or drunk!) In any event, I split up with him & said come bk when you’ve got that sorted & a minimum ocg 1 yr sober. I didn’t stick around because I feared he might relapse forever & a day, as many do & I didn’t want to wait around & be anyone’s nursemaid. When he reappeared in my life approx 3 yrs ago, it would be 12 mths before I had any idea, he was now battling terrible drug addiction. Nontheless, with the grace of something much greater than I, mercifully I was able to keep him far more out of my life than in, for the final chapter of what was really, a tragic, lonely life. I looked at a photo of him yesterday & really studied the expression is his face & eyes. At the time of his death he had lost all of the women in his life who had once loved & cared for him, with the exception of his sister. I imagined what it must have felt like lying in that hospital bed, & not a single soul there to console him as he prepared to pass away. (His sister was in Bali at the time). It must have been truely terrible for him. Yet as I looked at that photo, & I thought about all things, I know he’s done to so many women, I knew that his ending, as awful as it was, was a direct consequence of the life he had lived. So no. I was NOT there flo-ing him then either. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think back to the incredible cruelty of his emotional abuse & I don’t know. I just don’t know. 20 yrs ago I loved him & way back then, in a different time, I know he loved me too. But again, some of the cruelest possible wounds he deliberately inflicted, well, they’ve left me feeling the guy I loved already died a long, long time ago…. (I thought I was over this already. Kinda not I don’t think so much now :( )

  41. teachable says:

    PS I also accept though that having any contact with him AT ALL (despite this being minimal & with long stretches of NC in the last 3 yrs. 9 mth here, 6 mths, there, 7 mths again etc) given he was emotionally abusive in that time WAS still to the extent of that contact, flo behaviour. I have no excuse except to say I completely failed to maintain appropriate boundaries (ie NC ought to have been maintained at the first whiff of anything untoward) & have been totally humbled by what happened. It brought me to my knees & has taught me many valuable lessons. The biggest one is that I don’t want to keep leading a solitary single life, decade after decade anymore. Life is too short & I deserve to love & be loved!

  42. teachable says:

    I would just like to say I’m having a low self esteem day & feel shite. I really do. I feel like a complete & total f*ck up. So over it. Whish I had my own flo to look after ME for a change! No-one ever has really looked after me EVER in my entire life. I don’t even know what that LOOKS like. I’m adding that to my list of desirable qualities in a partner. Must have capacity & desire to be protective of & look after ME. I’m so EXHAUSTED from looking after everyone else. I think it’s time someone looked after me a little bit instead for a change!! (If you ‘know’ me this should surely make sense?) I feel a little selfish saying this but I don’t think it’s balanced to be 43 & to never have known what it’s like to be lovingly cared for, protected & nurtured in an intimate r.ship. Surely, this cannot be right never to have had this?? (I have never married or met ‘the one’ for me. Could this be why perhaps?) Or there is something wrong with me I’m not aware of???

    • sushi says:

      the grief comes in waves and feels like a mother of all breakups sometimes. The waves will get smaller and less painful over time, really, it will happen.
      There is nothing wrong with you, I`m a few years older than you and never had a nurturing and truly intimate relationship either, lots of other people are in the same situation and they end up finding it when they are good and ready. The low, shitty days put an element of panic into the mix, but you know, panic is only a feeling, not reality. Hold on in there and hugs.

    • Victorious says:

      Ah teachable I know what you mean. I never had a proper childhood. Nobody has ever looked after me either and I am 47. In fact that was what attracted me to ex narc in the first place, he was full of how he was going to look after me. I guess he was clever and had been listening closely during his initial week long interrogation of me, and so he knew what would hook me. I truly believed I had hit the jackpot and that finally someone was going to care for me and support me. Well that lasted about 3 months and then it was back to business as usual. Me doing all the caregiving and all the worrying. One day teachable -but in the meantime we have to make sure we are taking really good care of ourselves. I am sorry you had a shit day and I hope today is better for you. If this cheers you up, it is ex narcs birthday today and guess what I got him? yes, jack shit!

    • Magnolia says:


      I often feel the same way – though I believe you’ve lived far more neglect as a young person than I did, so I imagine your pain is quite acute. I know pain isn’t necessarily quantifiable, and life isn’t a competition about who suffered more and deserves love that much more. But some folks *have* suffered more than others in their lives. So when you speak about how you feel, I empathize and yet my understanding is that you have indeed suffered more than I have and much more than many others.

      You’re right to feel you deserve love. I can only imagine that some times must be incredibly lonely and infuriating for you – I often hear the anger, the fury, in your posts. You are very strong but everyone needs space to be not strong and still be loved. You need that.

      I still have days when I shake my fists at the sky. I’m 39 and sometimes I just weep thinking that some people not only find love, but find it in time to have children – I can’t imagine why, if there is a God that could possibly intervene, would He not touch my life with love so that I could create a family.

      I’ve suffered a lot, but then those who haven’t, who grew up with love, just grow up and have more of it? WTF? Unfair, right?

      Mind you, I don’t think you really want a flo – it’s not love. It could tear you apart, as it once did me, to wrench yourself from the toxic embrace of a man who wants to rescue and fix you when you are still (however justifiably) furious and lonely.

      Anyway, I don’t have words that will magically change your life (or change mine) but your post just resonated so much with me, that I wanted to reach out and say that I really do think it is possible for the edge of that pain (the ‘no one has ever cared for me’ pain) to soften. I do think it’s possible to care for yourself enough that eventually, you do feel as though you have been taken care of in your life.

      Sometimes I think I’ll never fully “get there,” and I still have days like you describe. But it’s now been two years of BR for me and I have never liked myself better, and I’ve actually felt, genuinely, on a few occasions, that I am somebody’s sweetheart (my own, awww). Now, the tone in my body and in my heart when I say a sentence like “my parents neglected me when I was in pain” is a soft statement of fact, not an anguished, unheard cry.

      I also sometimes think on Grace’s experience – six years single – three not liking herself, and three liking herself, I believe, Grace? I’m only two years into this liking myself thing and it’s unlike anything I’d have believed possible. When I very first read Grace’s posts (forgive me Grace) she was happy but I thought she was kind of unenviable, just a lady who had come to some warped denial about her own isolation that she called self-love. I was terrified of this place of not getting love from anyone else. But the calm, wisdom and peace in Grace’s posts quickly made me more interested in how she had achieved her state.

      I still very much want to share my life with someone and share theirs. But I’m starting to actually feel that I have to keep loving myself until I’m truly – truly – no longer angry (tho some sadness is okay) if no one else comes along to do it.

      So if the pain of the old neglect is still raw, and the injustice of your past is not yet totally redeemed for you, Teachable, you’re not powerless. There’s still got lots of Teachable-loving that you can do that will both 1) take the edge off the injustice and 2) bring you closer to that companionship and care you so deserve.

      Remind me that I said so the next time I have a bad day!!

      Hugs, Teachable!

  43. Bob72 says:

    This was a really good post… this is exactly what I did I think – tried to “save” someone in order to get what I wanted, “the real relationship and warm person” in return. When I asked for it and it wasn’t there to give she jumped ship. “I cant give 100 percent to anyone right now”… “I’m just not where I need to be”…”I just cant be in any relationship right now.” Talk about dead on.

    “Either that or you’ll nurse them until it becomes clear that you want them to be available and then they’ll move on to the next Buffer and keep moving until one day they emotionally implode.” Perfectly put, describes my situation exactly, and its like a lightning bolt in my brain now.I dont want her to emotionally implode though :(.. she doesn’t deserve that she tries so hard.

    I guess the thing was I had no idea she wasn’t emotionally unavailable until I found myself totally all in and wanting to help her through it all… she seemed so cool, vibrant, fun, and well “normal.” But like I’ve learned here and many of you have told me the whole fast forward thing was a red flag in itself and I stepped over that not even noticing because it felt so good to be loved so much. I dont think anymore that the problems between us just cropped up after we were together already, I think they were there all along and we just went so fast I felt I was too invested in our relationship when I finally got to see the dynamics. Wish I knew then what I know now… Her not over her divorce (anger, resentment, not love), her family issues, her inner conflicts between “settling down” or keeping her active fun free single life and what was best for her kids… all of this made her completely emotionally unavailable to me and I never had a chance – but I tried to make it everything right her her anyway, to be her hero, and when I asked for the her that loved me to come back she just couldn’t do it. I get it now.

    I have to stop saving people though, thats my part in this and I get that now thanks to this site and you wonderful members. I’m still getting over her thats for sure, wanted to crawl out of my skin last night a few times with bad thoughts of her spending her saturday night without me.. but tomorrow it will be 3 weeks of zero contact of any form and I know I am getting a teeny bit better every day. I also know my issue with the rejection and everything are coming from within me, not from her. She’s not to blame for any of this feeling I have, just like I am not to blame for her choosing to break up. Call it timing, like her friend did, but I know now like I know anything it would never have worked as is. There was too much baggage for either of us to climb. I’ve made a relationship career out of trying to save people, and now I am 40 and single lol… its time to make a change and actually opt out from now on instead of putting in my entire soul. I don’t take rejection well enough to keep this pattern!

    And if anyone has any more tips on how to make the crappy feelings go away when they come please share lol sigh… I still get them 3 or 4 times a day and this morning they almost made me cry – its been a long time since that happened. I know, its really only been 3 weeks since Ive been “breaking up right” lol.. so the almost 2 months total weve been apart dont really count at all. Hopefully that half the time of the length of the relationship thing will be about right and I will be ok around January! This will be the first relationship I have ever gotten over without jumping into another serous one though, thats gotta count for something. I never thought I would be strong enough with my rejection issues. Thanks all

    • Tulipa says:

      Hi Bob,

      This book maybe helpful to you

      “It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken” By Greg Behrendt and Amiira Behrendt.

      I know the cover says it is for girls but Greg writes about his own break up and it has lots of tips in it and that could apply to either gender.

    • Grizelda says:

      Please stick with us! Keep reading Natalie’s articles — you still have a lot of processing going on in your mind, and that’s what those periodic surges of sickening panic/depression are all about.

      The articles here will help you internalise what you need to internalise. I think everyone who visits this site does sadly learn some pretty dark stuff about how people behave in relationships and what really motivates them. It’s certainly not all sweetness and light. But making sense of things intellectually — including the regrettable home truths behind our exes’ behaviours that are quite hard to read about sometimes — will prompt your emotions to follow on accordingly. There’s a horrible and painful time lag between them, though. You seem to be feeling the lag right now, by the sound of your comment. Hang in there, stay NC, and your emotions absolutely will start to catch up.

      That you’re not simply writing off your relationship breakdown as ‘shit happens’ will mean that you’ll turn a corner eventually and resolve things — unlike other guys who shrug and mumble ‘shit happens’ and just kick the emotional can further down the road.

    • sushi says:

      I recommend Natalies recommendation, write! on here, journal, your thoughts. Soldiering through your pain rather than choosing the bandaid option is so worth it but produces what feels like a thought diarrhea ( sorry) and all that stuff is much better on paper, where you can see it and make sense of it rather than rattle around in your head.
      I found reading other peoples stories on BR really helpful, you end up enriching yourself rather than just going through the break up, good luck.

    • dancingqueen says:

      hey Bob,

      ” Hopefully that half the time of the length of the relationship thing will be about right and I will be ok around January!”

      I have found that really dysfunctional breakups have a halflife time of their own. They don’t break down like normal ones do. The horribly 4 month one I was in years ago, that landed me here, took a year to get over. My most recent breakup after 6 monthes took one month. It really depends on how healthy the breakup was, to how long it can linger. so don’t beat yourself up if it is not on your timeline.

      On a side note, a long time ago, I knew someone who dated Greg Behrendt and he was a horrible boyfreind then lol!

    • natashya says:

      bob, you are well on your way. you instated NC and you seem to have a healthy way of looking at the relationship. yes, she was EU. it doesn’t matter how much you gave her. she was not capable of receiving, let alone returning. that is not about you. that’s about HER. and yes, it feels like rejection and it hurts so much but it doesn’t say anything about YOUR worth.

      i am in a very similar boat as you in this process. the NC really helped me. unfortunately, i broke it after a month and it really set me back. i had a really horrible week because of this. STICK TO NC. i am back on it and there won’t be any breaking of it again. lesson learnt.

      also… the crappy feelings. i get them constantly. i sometimes give in and just cry a little (and sometimes a lot). sometimes i take a deep breath, feel the pain in my stomach and imagine i’m holding a balloon with these feelings. i breathe out, release the balloon and watch it fly away. this often works as well.

      i also keep on reminding myself that rejection is the universe’s way of saying i was going the wrong way. i was not happy in that relationship (at least not the last 6 to 8 weeks). i often felt very anxious, ignored and rejected. love isn’t supposed to be like that, and neither do i want to feel like that. definitely not in a supposed ‘love’ relationship.

      i really commend you for stepping up and dealing with this in such a mature way. i wish more men were doing this. my exes were always immediately on the chase and dating again after the break up. my ex EUM is doing exactly that again, after admitting he is still in love with his ex. but hey, i can’t make him deal with his issues. that’s his business.

      hang in there, and keep reading here. this site is my therapy and has helped me so much already. i also signed up for the BR self esteem course and am excited about that. just knowing i am not running away from my issues also makes me feel better.

      it’s only been a few weeks for you. it does get better. some days may be worse and you may feel as if you’re not making progress at all. but you still are. the healing process isn’t linear.

      • Bob72 says:

        Thanks everyone, and I will check out that book. I just want to get over this in my heart too and not just my head. I know it wasn’t good or meant to be and I need to see it for what it was. I am battling my own issues and fantasizing about how great it was – but it was all words that made it so great and very few of those words actually came true. I was future faked and fast forwarded to the Nth degree.

        I damn near freaked out this morning. My boss isn’t here and I knew no one from my area would be in the meeting, and I started rationalizing how it would probably be ok if I just went, and sat next to her again. After all, since we’ve been apart I’ve lost alot of weight (due to no appetite really), started working out again, thought I looked better, and maybe I could say hi to her and show her I was ok… I almost did, and I stopped myself. I went off and did some other stuff and by the time I was done the meeting was over. I know deep down even if I wouldve went and came off as “ok” to her it wouldnt have done anything, and I wouldve been more hurt from no response or warmth from her, felt like a fool, and probably be set back to the very beginning with my trying to overcome this. If she cared she would be in touch!!! I need to never forget this. She’s moved on, I need to do myself a favor and move on too. Its not fair to me or her to keep these feelings alive in me.

        I’m glad I didn’t try to see her, and then the thoughts of creeping around online and crap came back too but I held my ground and didn’t. Unfortunately Ive been reading this stuff all morning trying to get steady again so havent been doing a whole lot of work – but I know every day isn’t going to go smooth and I have to find a way to keep going. I guess I’m still shocked and hurt the most that its like I never existed to her and she truly doesn’t give a crap after all the promises and love professed. All the things I did to try to make our relatinship work… I know all that thinking is just my issues though, and the reality is I don’t have the slightest clue how she feels or what she is thinking. The honest truth is she probably isnt thinking at all.. trying to blot me out and move forward into her next adventure, or shying away from a real relationship so she doesn’t have to deal with the issues we did. But then again, I don’t know. And I need to worry about me and find a way I can live with the aftermath.

        I tell myself she wasn’t that great or special, she was too immature and worried too much about her friends and social activities than a relationship with me, she was selfish in bed and in general, she wasn’t that pretty, her family dynamics were ridiculous, she wasn’t real, she just wanted me to fill a role in her superficial scheme of having a family and settled down life, so many other things… I know all this and I still hurt over her – and still want her around and miss her and have to talk myself out of doing crazy crap like this morning lol sigh… I just want it behind me – I really do. Its taking all my will power to just leave her alone though, how the hell am I ever going to muster up the power to eject her from my heart??? Maybe hypnosis lol…

        Thanks again all, as always… I wont give up or give in

        • Linden says:

          Best to you, Bob72. I submit for your consideration that your situation with her, while crappy in and of itself, probably also reactivated older wounds from other life events in your past that are causing you pain in the present. She’s not that special, and your feelings are real but probably not all about her.

        • Sadder but Wiser says:

          Bob, I had smile at your comment that you wanted to show her you were “ok” and also that you’re looking pretty good! I can so relate. I sometimes catch myself thinking, wow I’ve lost some weight and my hair has highlights and I’m looking better than I did when we were together and the next time I have to be in a meeting with him (we work together occasionally), I’ll make sure I’m gorgeous, he’ll really notice me, and then feel bad that he dumped me, and then realize in a flash WHAT A FOOL HE WAS TO LET ME GO, and.. then I smack myself on the forehead – what the hell am I thinking???? This idiot doesn’t give a damn about me – if he did, he wouldn’t have walked out of my life. Do I really need to be reminded that I mean nothing to him and never did? Just like you realized, if they cared they would be in touch. Nothing is stopping them. Never forget that.

          Trying to get his attention through better body parts and makeup is just stupid and pathetic. And for what purpose? I certainly don’t want him back. Even if he felt a tiny bit of regret and loss for a nanosecond, so what???? Absolutely nothing changes except that I have demeaned myself in trying to get some response. I have to remember that the only person I need to impress in this world and improve myself for is ME!

          Bob, the fact that you fought off the temptation to go see her is huge. Each time you make the choice to respect yourself you move a little further down the recovery path. Don’t worry, your heart will catch up.

          • natashya says:

            yeah, i so get it. on some level, it’s still wanting the validation, even if you know the person is not good for you or you don’t want them back.

            don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way. if you don’t act on it, it means no new rejection and you are still making progress.

  44. Brenda says:

    I think this is one of the absolute best post you have here Nat.

    “you’d be better off channeling your energy into you and helping out with shelters and charities than you would be using romantic relationships as a source of healing and self-esteem.”

    They can be a source of healing and self esteem in way.. ( When you leave, not just for yourself but for them. )

    So many of us get rather “tricked” into these things with outright lies in the first place, More than once I would have never even gone there had I just been told the truth from the start anyhow, and that is hard to forgive and not be angry about when you discover it.

    Really hard to forgive and forget, beacuase you cannot get back what you were having before that you thought was something better than that.

    I think that is what hurts the most, you cannot get it back when it’s been destroyed like that.

    And it’s like..” Did you not know what I had inside of me was NOT something to wreck?”

    Then knowing chances are from experience.. they more than likely come back wanting YOU only when you had lost too much to want them back.

    It’s a loosing thing for BOTH parties, your not wanted when your there, They can’t want you unless your gone, and nobody in the end get’s anything if it can’t be “obtainable” that way.

    These UM really do a fine job of not loving in full in the moment they are with with anyone, it is a SAD thing, but I am not their mothering source anylonger, I have to after all mother myself just as much.

    Thanks for the great post.

  45. Wise ol owl says:

    Bob72–thanks for sharing. As one who has tried saving others, then being rejected for it, I know that time away from them (NC) helps more than anything. I fell into a depression more than once over ruminating about my mis-steps and failure to see red flags. I began to hit the gym to do physical excercise. I did not want to keep sinking down or get on meds., so I tried excercise and it is the magic elixir for me. I agree with Grizelda on many points, namely “don’t blame yourself” and her comment about certain “species of assclowns”–and that her bloodtype is now BR, just really priceless. I do agree with more reading of Nat’s articles and the comments, you will not only get support, but also begin to feel you’re not alone. You will also begin to identify precisely when this assclownery behavior starts sucking you in, and you will deflect it on the spot as Grizelda shared so beautifully. Find strength with us and good luck to you–may you emerge stronger.

  46. Tammy says:

    Hi all, thank you Nat and all the others who share their stories. It is a huge inspitation to me as I am about to go NC after an 8+ year non-relationship. Not the first attempt but hopefully the last. I feel so foolish when I read these posts and I think, “girl, what are you thinking? dump him already!” and then I’m brought back to reality with my situation and why haven’t done the same. These EUMs are so good at convincing you that “this time” it will be different. I’m so afraid that it might really be that I jump out in front of the moving vehicle yet and again and wonder why I get smashed! I have done the people-pleasing all my life and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why it wasn’t working. I was being accomodating so why all the conflict? After reading and re-reading the posts here I know it’s because I’m not being authentic. I’m putting aside who I really am and what I really want to make someone else happy and in the end I always lose. Me EUM has done EVERY imaginable thing you can think of, yet I keep feeling sorry for him and how he had such a bad childhood and if he will just let me, I can fix it and make it all better. He just needs to trust me and let me love him. Pathetic even as I write this is rings so loud in my ears! I haven’t posted in quite some time, and I’m sure my last post was similar to this. I can only hope that I have learned enough now from other posts that this situation does not change. Please send any words of encouragement as I need all I can get right now. When I said Im about to go NC, it’s because he is away on vacation which he failed to even tell me about. When he gets back he will have a rude awakening when he doesn’t get the warm welcome he thinks is coming. I’m so tired of being that girl! ps…no we don’t live together. Never have.

    • Allison says:


      Please end this! This is not a relationship!

      He didn’t even tell you that he was going on vacation? How do you spend time together? How do you get on with his family and friends? Do you see them at all?

      Please do not lose another eight years of your life. This man has nothing to give!

    • Bellaninha says:

      Hey Tammy,
      It sounds like you are hitting your epiphany moment with this guy. It often takes a few goes, so don’t be hard on yourself. I know what it’s like to feel alone and needing support on this. I was with my EUM for 5 years, not living together either, no progression of the relationship, and stuck in a permanently dating scenario. While my guy never did anything awful to me, I guess I could see for a long time that we weren’t right for each other, but I was somehow paralysed to him. He was rude to a lot of my friends, bitched about his own friends (and family), and prioritised money over everything. (I was SO bored listening to his moaning and stories of how his shares were doing!!) 

      Just before we broke up I had been home (alone) to Australia for 2 weddings. Obviously you can never know what goes on behind closed doors, but what I realised on that trip was that those 2 couples prioritised friendship, creating their own family, and treated each other and their friends with kindness. I realised that’s what I wanted. So when I returned to the UK I ended it. 

      That was about this time 3 years ago. I realised if nothing was ever going to change with us, I did not want to go to his uncle’s Christmas Day lunch, or make grand plans with him for a “happy new year’s eve”. I deserved more than another year of being strung along with, same as you, “this time it will be different”. 5,6,7,8 years is ENOUGH! I took the deepest breath ever, had a serious talk with him and said we have tried too many times. I saw him 2 days later, talked mostly about HIM and how he’s never done counselling, despite his dad passing away when he was 15. I had even looked up a local counsellor’s number for him! (Omg, I was SO Florence!) and the best he could say was “yeah, says I should go away for 2 months to clear my head and work out what I want”. I went NO CONTACT immediately. It is the only way! 

      I found BR just after that as it was Christmas and could not book into a counsellor for a few weeks, so was furiously searching the net for answers. I wished I had found BR earlier, but even so, it’s been my saviour. I also ended up doing 8 months counselling, for the first time in my life, which was good and bad. I am certain less counselling would have been fine, but  it helped in the beginning to shift a few thoughts and look into my own childhood  which contributed to my adult relationship patterns.

      I remember when I was in your shoes I could not see there would be anyone else out there for me. I had a girlfriend who would often say “if you do break up, you will be just fine”. The grief I went through was not easy, felt like he died or something. But I just tried to make sure I went through it, not ignored it. Sure I went through a phase of getting hammered with my friends, going out dancing and a bit crazy with all these new guys, who may not have been marriage material but the attention served it’s purpose for a while, suddenly into my late 30’s I was pulling “hot” guys (never happened in my 20’s). Might not sound like it- lol – but I led a balanced life.. eating healthily, and also ensured I had time to myself – took time for nice baths, pedicures, meditation classes, gym routine (that had been neglected in the relationship). I also could now splurge on travel and go away with friends a lot more (things that I love doing) and frankly breaking up with him is the BEST thing I ever did. 

      When I was hurting at the start I “visualised the future”. In that future I would meet a great guy that I did not need to look after or heal or have to change for… but someone who adored me for who I am and we both wanted to be in it together. Now, I can’t say I have met that particular guy yet.. but I enjoy my life and I am present and conscious with my decisions now. I have met MANY men in these past few years, and learned so so SO much about myself. I feel at 39 I am finally growing up.  I don’t panic as much about “time running out” as I believe things happen for a reason. If I don’t become a mum before my time, then I will go down a different fulfilling path in life. There’s so much still to discover in this short life!

      When I slip back into bad habits of pining over the latest man of the moment it’s usually because I’ve drunk too much, or got too intimate too soon. I know that’s still a bad habit, as is attracting guys that need Florencing. I am still working on this, and do have a few tears at times, but I mourn the loss and move on. I tell myself about how far I’ve come, continue reading inspirational notes here, and practise gratitude, daily, or as often as I can. Example 1: I’m thankful I never lived with the EUM as it meant I could walk away with NO contact THAT day! No couch to split, no CDs to divide… Also means when I do decide to live with someone it will be a house filled with love and respect and be special. 

      You deserve a lot better Tammy and you will get there! I have other girlfriends who were often the fall back girl like us, and who with some work and looking out for themselves have met great husbands who treat them with such respect and love. I believe the self love has to come first though, then the other stuff follows, your choices get better, you have the control. Look out for yourself, grab all the support you can get on here and with your friends and family as in the early stages it can seem like you have so much time to think. But go gently. You really will be fine. 

      Sending you lots of strength and love from a beach in Honduras (it’s truly possible to lead a fabulous life after EUMs!) xxxx

      • Magnolia says:

        Hey Bellaninha – here’s to 39 and being good with our path, whatever it is. You sound very balanced – I got a lot from your post!

        • Bellaninha says:

          Thanks Magnolia. I have followed your journey on here too for a while now, and you have been through a lot! Your old landlady was hideous! My recent practical application of *inner calm* could hardly help in that situation… Your comments are always helpful to others too. I’ve only really posted a few notes of late, ok essays.. It does help though to shift a few things. Sometimes I feel I’m falling backwards, still not quite attracting the right guys, evident around date 3.. But being aware is slowly slowly shifting that I think. Big 39 year old hug and thank you for reading my long post!! Xxx

  47. Confused123 says:

    I have an overall question. It might be a bit of topic but I wonder if after being “florenced” these men and women actually change and have better relationships. I know we should not care but I wonder.
    Personally, I’m still wonder about the ex-AC. Is he better with her? He definitely did a few things different after he began dating her (again). They dated briefly before and he dumped him only to come back to start something with him again. She wants a relationship and a child. He has after starting up with her again has cancelled his dating profile, actually admitted he wanted to have a relationship, introduction to his son right away, etc… None of this he has done since his divorce 3 years ago. It does make you wonder?

    • natashya says:

      i really do think most ACs don’t change UNLESS they’re putting in the work. i did behave a bit like an AC in a previous relationship. i was rebounding from my marriage and he was right there. i knew from the start he wasn’t right for me and i couldn’t see a long term relationship with him, even though i did move in with him rather quickly. i am ashamed of it, but my intentions weren’t sincere. even though i wasn’t a cheater or beater and i wasn’t blowing hot and cold, this was AC behaviour. he was a narcissistic AC himself, so it was a match made in AC heaven.

      however, i did really feel bad about what i did and promised myself i would never again lead anybody on or string them along, even if they were quite happy to just have me around for some company, an ego stroke and some sex.

      i took a break from it all and didn’t get into a relationship again for a few years after. and i did stick to my promise. i treated him with care, love and respect and was very clear about my feelings and intentions. it didn’t work bc he was EU but i do know people can change but only if they are aware and want to.

    • yoghurt says:

      I think that anyone can change but, like natashya says – they have to want to for THEMSELVES. They won’t do it for another person. And I suspect that there has to be a number of factors involved in that – the promise of a nice shiny new relationship is just one factor and if they respected that concept they wouldn’t have spent years messing it up for other people.

      Imo part of the problem is that they only want a relationship if it’s going to be easy and nice ALL THE TIME – they struggle with the idea that it might be hard work or difficult or involve doing things that they don’t immediately and automatically feel like doing all the time.

      So I don’t think that they change for the sake of a better relationship – a ‘better’ relationship to them looks like servitude and mediocrity. They might, as a result of changing, realise that their original ideas were off, but I don’t think that a !healthy relationship! is much of an incentive for them to start changing by itself, tbh.

      It’s easier for us passengers because we tend to be the ones that get smacked by the impact of an UNhealthy relationships. For an accomplished driver, though, why WOULD you want to swap a harem of people all desperate to make you happy and be ‘the one’ in return for ONE person who trusts you enough to maybe take you for granted sometimes and is probably occasionally going to be grumpy with you in the morning?

      It’d take more than a change of the body in front of you for you to be able to glimpse the benefits that come with commitment and caring, especially if you’ve hitherto failed to understand the concepts at all.

      Besides which, changing is hard and takes time – you can’t just click the switch to ‘kinder, more honest and braver person’ overnight.

    • Allison says:


      I too, wondered if he would be better with the next one. With time, it no longer mattered, as the only thing that was important, was that he treated me like garbage! I could never again engage with someone who had treated me with so little value, no matter how much they had changed.

      There are many good men, why should we pin our hopes on one changing, as it’s a colossal waste of time!

  48. teachable says:

    Traffic jam. I am making you a cup of tea as the pennies drop there. I know you realise how obvious everything he said & did was. Thank goodness yr smart enough to have given him the old heave ho!!! Good for you!! His gross form is equally as obvious btw, at 3 mths or 6 mths even, as it was at 1! If a man is seriously wanting / considering spending THE REST OF HIS LIFE with a woman, what on earth, pray tell, is the big rush????!! Those pennies ought to flooding like they just hit a jackpot right now because guess what? THERE ISN’T ONE!!!!! Except for a ‘quickie culture’ which has popped up in dating over the past couple of decades.

    Out of interest, a year or two ago, I did a little straw poll of male & female married work associates on how long they’d waited before having sex when dating their spouses. Turned out 9 mths, 1 year, etc was not uncommon. Oh well, just look at that. Surprise, surprise, surprise!!!!! EVERYONE is NOT ‘DOING IT’ like we were led to believe as teenagers in an effort to pressure us into premature sex & EVERYONE is STILL not ‘DOING IT’ now!!!!

  49. teachable says:

    And further TrafficJam, how I set boundaries around sex is that firstly, it should NOT even be a topic of discussion when first getting to know someone. If it is raised early in the piece I know immediately what their intentions are (bad sign). Secondly, I will often state, ‘I take a long a long time to get to know ppl & I don’t ‘do’ casual sex’. I just put it right out there. I state that I’m looking for a committed r/ship & someone I hope to spend the rest of my life with & that I am not comfortable proceeding to that level of intimacy until I might have found that person. It’s really that simple. If I’m pushed for sex before I’m ready, it’s buh bye!!! I’ve also been known to say I’ve thought of waiting for sex until marriage!!! I reserve the right to change my mind on this but if they don’t like it again… see ya!!!

  50. teachable says:

    Thanks Sushi. I will keep holding on. Just a bit tired I think. Not so well & my health is flaring up lately. Under a lot of stress & pressure. Prolly need to rest…

  51. babyangel says:

    Hi Tammy
    Your post struck such a chord with me.
    ‘I’m putting aside who I really am and what I really want to make someone else happy and in the end I always lose.’
    Wow that is totally me! I give and give then give some more. I always see their side of the story, I always feel guilty or sorry. I always try and be the better person telling myself ‘well i would rather help this person even if they are lying than not help them and something happen to them.’ Because then i would be responsible. God my mother taught me good! Put everyone else first, everyone’s needs before my own.
    I know how hard it is to go NC – I managed 44 days and then this morning I was feeling shit and texted him how I can’t stop thinking about him. Ha well he has obviously stopped thinking about me cos I didn’t hear a peep. So I try not to take it personally , not to feel rejected and as someone said ‘be thankful he has ignored me.’ I know I need to have time being single but I just want to be loved.
    Tammy you will find the strength, the time is right for you. 8+ years and not living together it’s time to flush. You can do it. Put yourself first from now on.

  52. Victorious says:

    Ouch babyangel. The only thing you can do here is really feel the pain your contact has resulted in. Try to remember it as that is the only thing that will stop you from doing it again. And please promise yourself that if he does respond you will revert to NC. You have control of this, not him.

  53. swissmiss says:

    Awoke this morning and the first thing I did was check BR. That will tell you how hard I am hunting for the right word or phrase to help me get past being used, and my allowing it.

    I relate to what Brenda said here earlier. It was so joyful to feel loved and adored—then to learn I wasn’t. For months he pressed me to leave my husband, he couldn’t live without me. Friends said GO FOR IT, this happens once in a lifetime, we have never seen you so happy. When I finally told him yes, I am ready, it was oh gee, this puts me in a tight spot…I am so confused…I need to think…

    He looked so much like my father, it was eery. When I was very young, my dad carried me in his arms all the time. My mother put her foot down because, in those days, it wasn’t considered manly to have a warm relationship like that. Although we had a deep connection his entire life, the signals were always the same from him: forbidden, don’t come near. When he was dying, it was the same–I was only allowed to put my hand on his feet, when I really wanted to hold him in my arms–my tall, elegant dad who had shrunk to 50 kilos and didn’t even know who I was.

    Just lying down with the MM brought floods of memories and a fulfillment I have never known. When I touched his feet, I would remember those dying moments with my dad. There was something deep going on with him, too, because he also had a facial-recognition thing with me. We could sit for 30 minutes at a time, staring at each other, trying to figure out what ‘it’ was. We couldn’t pull our eyes away from each other. There was such a deep familiarity. Laughter and spontanaeity were so easy.

    I was ready to make the big leap for that kind of magic, but he chose the status quo. I cannot believe that he wants that dead life with his wife, just putting one foot in front of the other. Whenever he would see her, he would laugh and say it was like crawling into a casket. If I think about it too much, I want to break NC. That is the dilemma–remember the good things and you hurt yourself again.

    That I was used to ‘heal’ him, then thrown aside–it’s unbearable at times. I want to get to a place where I accept that the longing for my father’s love was satisfied, and leave it at that, but there are so many lies to comb through…they completely invalidate the part that was beautiful.

    • Mymble says:

      Swiss miss
      I relate so much to what you’ve written. I felt as though I has never met anyone so “right” so me, and although he was about the same age yet he felt very fatherly and caring. (this was coming from a marriage where I was “mummy”. He also did the love bombing thing, at the beginning. Then it was very gradually withdrawn.
      Although I have been reading here a long long time it seems to have taken forever for my heart to catch up with head. I still sometimes thought wistfully about him. I still had remnants of feeling that he must care about me. One night not so long ago I woke up and thought “He is a shit”. And really felt it. I didn’t even feel angry, it’s just a fact. He is a shit. His wife didnt kick him out bc she is a closet lesbian, or she was jealous of his career, (as he told me) it was because he is a shit.
      I don’t feel great but I don’t terrible. I feel older, harder and more cynical.
      You will get over this, you will stop seeing him as the deeply connected kindred spirit, soul mate, most physically compatible, sensitive lover imaginable. (I have to say I put a lot of emphasis on the great sex, in hindsight he was okay but it was me in my own head whO elevated it to a religious experience)
      I don’t care about him anymore, and I don’t want him back.
      I ammvery envious of people who get there quicker, it seems I took longer than most. I have got there though. If you can stop yourself from break yourself from breaking NC it is better and quicker. There are people who go for years and years and years hankering and
      pining over some unavailable MM.
      You can’t see it yet, but he isn’t what you think he is. He isn’t your Dad, or anything remotely like him. Some day you’ll be shaking your head in disbelief that you ever thought they had anything at all in common.

      • Mymble says:

        Sorry for all the typos!

      • Ellyb says:

        @Mymble: I hear you re the time it takes to see the light. Just last night, my subconciousness has brought up my ex from more than ten years ago, back in my early twenties, the only long term relationship I ever had.

        For a long while I wondered whether I had been the AC in that relationship. After only a few months of dating, I was constantly jealous, and I kept telling him how ugly I was, how boring and how undeserving of him. I threw veritable tantrums while telling him I was sh*t, and I cried and cried and cried. Then I usually realized that I was acting like a nutcase and started apologizing to him, crying some more (but none of this ever seemed to appease him). I think ACs sometimes act like that, don’t they?

        On the other hand, I now wonder whether he intentionally fueled my insecurities with his pathological behavior? For some reasons, I used to believe only attractive, successful, wealthy guys could be toxic. He was neither of that, but plain, with poor academic performance and no money. He seemed shy and awkward, but he was very skilled at manipulating people, had a huge sense of entitlement behind his humble facade as well as a huge ego. For some reason, I used to believe those were the hallmarks of a “healthy guy” (blame my narcissistic mother).

        The beginning of our relationship seemend GREAT, the typical love bombing I think, with sex on date number 2 (sigh), amazing “connection” and so on. Early on, he also revealed his somewhat dodgy attitude towards women. For example, he had always pursued the most attractive/popular woman within any given group, as he told me. On the other hand, he once went out with a lady he found physically repulsive only for sex. He talked about her with utter contempt. Once he told me he found me attractive, but not enough to “turn heads when entering a room”, while one of the ladies he had pursued in the past had that quality in abundance (according to him). Another time he told me he had always wanted a woman with blue eyes (mine aren’t blue). Then he added: “I know I shouldn’t have told you that because it would only add to your insecurities, but then I only wanted to be honest!”

        He was always very subtle, he never yelled at me (although he once slapped me in the face!) or used any swear words. It always seemed as if I was the crazy one in the relationship, because I reacted so strongly (as mentioned above). But he was also very controlling early on, giving me the silent treatment for days whenever I complained “too much” about my traumatic childhood, and only “took me back” when I begged and apologized like crazy.

        • Mymble says:

          He does sound abusive. But it can be very hard to spot and to figure out when the “nasty” is mixed with the “nice” (mixed compliments and put downs) and is presented in a smiling, pleasant manner. Even as though he was doing you a favour. “just being honest”.
          Eye colour?! How incredibly shallow is that and probably a lie. Who on earth really cares about EYE COLOUR? Nobody. That was probably said for no reason than to make you feel anxious; I expect he’d have preferred brown eyes if yours were blue.
          The MM didn’t (often) put me down directly; but he never ever paid a compliment and after a while that starts to feel wierd. Even with a casual acquaintance at work it’s normal to say something like “great haircut!”, or some random pleasant thing from time to time.
          Gradually it wears down your self esteem, which of course is exactly what is intended.
          The comparisons with other women are the most offensive and demeaning.
          It’s often only a long long tine after that you suddenly understand what was actually going on – I had a “Eureka” moment about someone from long ago, the details would take too long to explain, but this website really helped me understand. It’s a useful exercise, it had always been a puzzle to me why hd acted as he did! The relationship that inexplicably didn’t progress. I’d see him and his like coming next time!

    • Grizelda says:


      I am sorry, but you do describe a cruel manipulative man with no conscience. It is twisted that he tries to attribute himself with being magically and mysteriously and suddenly improved as a man (just like that! without even trying!), thanks to you, and that your reward is that he shoves you off a cliff.

      Please look at the situation he created with you, pulling all your strings to get you to dance to his tune and then cutting those strings the moment you fulfilled his most audacious demands. I know he tried to tell you that, quelle surprise, he suddenly found feelings for his wife which he must have somehow lost down the back of the sofa a couple years ago — but to me (and as everyone knows I’m a bystander with a shrunken cold black heart made of flint!), those things sound calculated to hurt you. And I bet you have more examples where they came from.

      It is tragic that this kind of horrible man is being associated with the precious memories of your wonderful much-missed father. I know you can’t help it. But please let your beautiful memories of your father be your guide. He raised a strong and smart girl of whom he was very proud, and he would no doubt have much better things in mind for his beloved daughter than what happened with that man. You’re much, much better than that.

  54. Ms. Option says:

    I’m sure if we could talk, a lot of our story would sound the same. Sorry but the ” woke up thinking about you” line made me laugh. I have heard that many times. It’s amazing the things that come out of their mouths. I know he is toxic but it’s so hard when I have to see him at work. His humor has always been my main attraction to him and he knows it and uses it every opportunity he gets.

    • swissmiss says:

      Ms & Mym-

      As the Great Wizard of Oz said, “Don’t look behind that curtain!” You may have to see what he PRESENTS HIMSELF AS at work, but you know what is behind the curtain. Laugh at his humor, but don’t be charmed by it. I know how hard that is! I hope you can continue NC, it’s the only way. Yes, there’s a bit of anxiety at the beginning, but that fades. Who cares if he is thinking of you or misses you? It doesn’t MEAN anything.

      As for me, this is the FIRST TIME I have gone NC and not hoped for any communication. I just want to heal! I read other OW sites and it is cringe-making to read how everyone feels this magical connection that ends up being a complete con. All that’s missing is the villainous moustache.

      I SO appreciate you telling me I will one day accept this. It won’t come fast enough! He rocked my world! I have never been so close to another human being (or reptile, depending on which day you ask me). I picked a husband just like my family—sterile intellectual. Now I want to feel that fire that burned within me with the MM. But after learning it was fake, am I chasing a complete fantasy? I know what you mean about the sex. It was great, but I’ve had a lot of great, so it wasn’t that. It was the skin-on-skin contact, so forbidden in my family. Just to wake up with your bare legs entwined!

      If I think of what our life would have been like–the lying, the deceiving, the probable return to the wife after devouring my heart and soul—I know I saved myself from the jaws of a beast. I am determined to take positive lessons from this—afterall, my flo-ing kept it going.

      I have to admit, I have been completely humbled. This has really knocked me off my perch.

  55. Ms. Option says:

    Thanks for the welcome back. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen her. I’ve seen her in person, answered the phone at work when she called him, it’s just the 3 yrs I’ve known him he has acted disgusted by her, said he knew the only option was divorce etc. and now he has her pic as his background? I just wonder how he pulls out his phone sees her face and proceeds to send me texts. I know what you mean, I feel like screaming daily.

  56. Ms. Option says:

    No actually he probably wouldn’t use it to squire anyone around except his wife and kids. I always had I drive anywhere we went and use my gas.
    You made a good point, I have never thought about him referring to me in that way as dehumanizing me. I guess he does that a lot. He was always referring to his wife as idiot. I could always tell when he was feeling a little more generous about her he would refer to her by name instead of the idiot.
    You are exactly right. The 3 yrs I’ve been involved with him they have done this breakup get back together thing. I get cold treatment right after she leaves up until about a month after she comes back, then he comes on strong trying to win me back and stays hot and puts her out or she leaves, then he starts going cold on me, rinse, lather, repeat. I know it has to be up to me to stop the cycle.

  57. Ms. Option says:

    I just read your last post after u had posted my response.
    I don’t know if this helps but I know exactly how you are feeling. That is what is so hard. I truly believe we had this amazing connection. And if you are like me, one thing that’s driving me crazy is the question, was it real for him? or was it all manipulation? Its so hard to comprehend that if it was real that they can throw it all away. And yes nc is so hard. He sent me a text sat night “you have seemed cold with me the last couple of days. What’s up?” I’ve had to resist replying all weekend but I promised my counselor I wouldn’t reply to any messages until I met with him today. Regardless I will have to see him when I go into work today and that will be the big test seeing if I can keep my distance.
    Anyway I know sometimes people tell you they know how you feel but they really don’t because they have never been in your situation but I think I can truly say I’m probably feeling about the same way you are right now.

    • grace says:

      MsO, swissmiss
      Re his sense of humour and the connection. You’re not laughing now and do you feel connected to him right now? That is reality. The other stuff is fantasy.
      That’s the “power” of these relationships, the huge amount of space and time you get to make stuff up. That’s what makes a relationship with an ordinary, available man less intense. I am not able to imagine that my boyfriend is amazing and that we have a fantastic connection. I spend too much time with him squabbling, with PMT, tired, cooking, waiting for buses, waiting for trains, walking in the cold, more squabbling, to ever imagine that our relationship is supernatural. At any given time I know where he is and it’s not exciting. I don’t wonder what he might be doing with someone else. Our Christmas will not be wonderful, we will meet up , exchange a few gifts, have a laugh and squabble some more. There will be no wonder.
      Our relationship is real, down-to-earth, comfortable and mundane and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Crucially, there is no third party.
      I know how you feel too. For nearly three years I thought about someone I wasn’t exactly in a relationship with. It was a fantasy-fuelled nightmare and totally unsatisfying. I think that’s a good benchmark. Forget the connection. Do you feel satisfied?

      • Mymble says:

        That’s why they moan about their wives – partly to justify the cheating but also because thats the person they’re actually spending all their time with, doing all the tiresome day to day stuff, cooking, cleaning, shopping, looking after the kids. Whatever the other person is like, whether she’s pretty, ugly, old, young whatever you will get pretty ticked off with them sometimes, and find things to complain about – that is their life, and the OW is the escapist
        fantasy/recreation/pain relief.
        So the answer to the question “did they mean it” is yes and no, they did have the feeling, but they didn’t ever intend to act on it.
        Like what you do when you cry over a sad film. It’s just a feeling, that’s all. And eventually if you watch the film often enough, you stop feeling anything.

  58. Jemma says:

    I totally relate to Natalie’s post because as I’ve been healing and hiding from the world I feel like I’ve finally got on the right path to recovery, all thanks to time (natually) and you guys. I just wanted to say thanks ‘cos unlike rebounding to another person, BR for me was my hospital but now I’m ready to face it (mostly) alone. I realise now that the ex AC had just come out of a relationship and was still hurting (he told me they’d split 2 years ago (2nd time), not 2 months) so I thought that we could have a chance. I wanted to be there, show him there is hope, heal the hurt and make him see the loveable lovely me. It didn’t happen obviously and that’s when I found all you lovely people. But the other day it just hit me – if he’s gone back to his ex (like I think – just for sex) then let him, sod him. The only way I can stop myself from thinking of him/her is to tell myself I won’t let his business be MY business. If he and all those selfish wally’s out there want to waste their life – let them – but don’t let them waste ours!! We’re better than this, we’re millions times better than them. And for everyone who is still hurting over selfish shitbags it will get better, easier said than done I know, but it will :-) xxxxxxx

  59. recoveringloveaddict says:

    Wonderful article! The AC I knew,and unfortunately,got involved with, talked about his ex on a few occasions. He called her a b*tch and expressed desire to get back with her just he could do the same thing to her that she had done to him. I took that to mean he just wanted to have the opportunity to break up with her like she had done to him, to hurt her as she had done to him. Clearly, his wanting her back had NOTHING to do with missing her or loving her still, but just wanting REVENGE. Clearly, his anger had to do with being rejected and continuing to be rejected by her. In other words, clearly, it was all about HIM. His feelings for his ex had NOTHING to do with her.

    • Jemma says:

      Ha, my ex AC couldn’t get over his ex either-he was so stuck on what she’d done to him-sleeping with numerous men. I agree it must have hurt and I wanted to be the one that got him through his grief but in the end it all came down to making himself feel better by doing the same to her. When I eventually discovered that he had slept with her again it was because ‘well everyone else is so I might as well.’ Talking about the mother of his children in that way makes me sick. His revenge was then rejecting her when she asked for him back and sleeping around. But it makes me suspicious if they say he doesn’t care, if they didn’t care then they wouldn’t be seeking revenge. But they will learn that revenge doesn’t make them feel any better in the longterm and they’ll have to go through the whole cycle of moving on once again. One of the things I’ve learnt from BR is they need to heal by themselves and no matter how fun/sexy/good a woman is-if he’s stuck in the past then we have to leave them there to rot.

  60. tired says:

    i was a rebound . the ex mm used me because the ow went away. she came back and i knew i was going to be dumped so i walked . his wife found out whenthey had taking a break from each other and the wife doesnt want him back . i saw today that he is now in a relationship with the ow in open. It was her he wanted all along .i guess its my karma. i remain nc but im tired id like to move on it seems he has so why cant i ?

    • Jemma says:

      Hey tired, first of the ex mm didn’t want the ow – it’s just that his wife didn’t want him so going with the ow was the easy option. Don’t be surprised if their new relationship doesn’t work – suddenly being in a fulltime relationship (with no secrecy or fun) will be a shock to them both. And if it does work? Feel glad that you got away from a spineless idiot who in the longrun only cares about himself. You on the otherhand will be able to take some time on your own to heal, reflect and make better decisions in the future – more than what can be said for him and her. Make caring about yourself and putting yourself first your business and nothing else and in time you’ll find it easier to take the lessons and move on. But to everyone who worries about and cares too much about their ex AC settling for someone else and not you-BE GLAD!! He hasn’t changed THAT much to suddenly become someone else’s knight in shining armour. Maybe the woman he’s with has so little self-worth and esteem that she doesn’t care how she’s treated. Or think of it this way…she’s probably only showing the world that he’s her man because she knows she’s got the ‘prize’ and you haven’t. When the dust settles, we’ll see if they’re still smelling of roses or if he’s found himself another OW. But by then it won’t matter-‘cos you’ll be a million lightyears happier than you feel now :-)

  61. Lilia says:

    Ladies, I´m concerned about becoming a rebounder myself. How long do you wait before contemplating dating again?

    It hasn´t been a year since the nutty EUM completely destroyed my self esteem and lately I find myself getting giddy around a guy who doesn´t act as if he´s particularly interested in me, though we do seem to share the same sense of humor. And I don´t think I would´ve noticed him if things would´ve worked out with the EUM, he isn´t really my type (much shorter than me, lots of nervous ticks). How silly is that? I still dream about the EUM sometimes, is it normal to aim my hormones towards someone else?

    I was quite content to be on my own, but then I start the whole mental gymnastics again with a new guy. The thing that makes me angry with myself is that I feel I am trying too hard – well not throwing myself at him but being so damn funny all the time. I´ve discovered that is my flirt-mode: making men laugh when I´m attracted to them. I´m wondering if I should just step back completely with guys, so as not to fall in the temptation of behaving like a clown?

    • Jemma says:

      Hey Lilia, I think only you know when it’s best to move on but from what you say I think you are in the ‘rebound’ mode. Making a man laugh can be the sexiest thing a woman can do to attract a guy – so enjoy it! Have fun, work the room and make the most of yourself – but hold back!! If you’re still dreaming of the EX AC you’ll most likely react to a situation with regret. So…take…things…slow and only enter something with someone new on YOUR terms, when YOU’RE ready. So don’t chase a guy you think isn’t that interested, just take the time to enjoy their company and if it’s meant to be it’ll happen naturally. Good luck!!

      • Lilia says:

        Thanks, Jemma.
        I didn´t think making someone laugh could be considered sexy, I won´t feel silly about it now!
        The thing that bothers me the most is that I´m not really enjoying these interactions because they leave me questioning myself and wondering if he does like me or not. I think I´m still terribly insecure from my previous experience.
        This is like putting a toe in the water after an encounter with a shark.

  62. Jennifer says:

    I was my exes rebound. I put up with so much shady and just plain inconsiderate behavior: He was forty minutes late picking me up for a date. I called him out on it and he said, “No other girl I’ve dated has cared so I didn’t even think about it.” Later he said, “I felt a warm feeling inside after you said something about me being late. It let me know you cared. And my mom said to tell you good job.” He’s 25. I did care, yeah, about my feelings which he obviously did not. And ohhhh those apron strings. Oh and here’s another one: we were talking when his phone went dead or ran out of minutes and it hung up on me (this happened quite often). I didn’t hear from him until the next evening. I called him out on it and he said he had forgotten and gotten drunk. Speechless on my end. Sensing I was upset (and rightfully so), he said, “It’s not that I got drunk and forgot to call you, it’s that I forgot my phone hung up on you.” Hahahahahahahahahahaha. What a piece of work. Ah, but here’s the kicker. This is how he explained the relationship with his ex. His words: “She had sex with me on our first date. She initiated it. I felt used and tried to make her my girlfriend. It was this viscous cycle.” I’m going to have to agree with the words of my therapist on this one, “What an odd thing to say.”

  63. MissDelray says:

    Wow Natalie. Yet another post that nails my situation completely and makes me feel awake again.

    2 years ago I did not have the insight or self-esteem to pay attention to the gut wrenching signals that were screaming at me that this “broken” man who had one foot in an engagement was NOT RIGHT FOR ME. He pursued, he future-faked, he fast forwarded…

    I have never wanted to be an RN but man did I play excellent nurse for those two years. I hung in through tears, letters, stories, and more. I wanted to heal him, and in turn have him love me as the prize for doing so.

    My soul knew a lot more than I did, because I would get so annoyed by him and the simplest things… and I would initiate a breakup – only to have him come back with renewed fast-forwarding and future faking.

    After the 3rd (or 5th) failed attempt, I graduated from Nursing school having done my relationship internship, and he broke up with me, saying “I don’t know how to have a relationship” and “I don’t know if I will ever be in love”. I successfully did NC for 30 days, despite the fact that my company reorganized and he chose the seat directly behind mine.

    It wasn’t too hard to discover that he had a new “Friend” aka Nurse who was in the picture immediately after we broke up – and probably overlapped our relationship. And like many of the posters before me on this blog, he denied any type of romantic connection – until he was completely shut out of my life and had nothing else to taunt me with except his new prize.

    A mere month after the end, he forced me to learn that he was now with the new girl and she was “super special” and he apparently was capable of real love, just not with me.

    Thank goodness I was in process of getting a blood transfusion that changed my blood type to BR +! I have recovered now and have chosen to take care of myself and learn who I really am.

    I heard they live together, and it has only been 5 months since that confession. I can’t help wondering if he tells her stories about me, the way he did about his ex-fiancee when I was providing the cushion. I do wonder if and when he will ever tire of her, or if she is a perfect fit for him. I do try and wish him the best, but playing the role of Nurse feels like a punishment. But I have to remember he’s someone else’s problem now.

  64. tired says:

    its really knocked me off my recovery seeing it it black and white .even tho i knew he was in a relationship with this women now i knew for months.why has it knocked me for six ? hes moved on why cant i just snap out if it and get over it .i feel discarded ,forgotten like i never exsisted

  65. Tammy says:

    BabyAngel- Thank you for your response to my post. WHY do we do this to ourselves. Be glad he didn’t respond to your text. He’s doing you a favor. It can hurt when we reach out to someone when we are hurting and get NOTHING. It has nothing to do with you. HE’S UNAVAILABLE. Like Nat says, stop trying to get love or anything for that matter from unavailable sources. You deserve much better than that. You are a giver and once you learn (and expect) to receive something back you will find an amazing partner! Remember what you told me… FLUSH this guy! Wish me luck on my NC. I guess it’s started, I haven’t attempted contact with him since he left on his secret vacation. Not sure when he is coming back but he will probably make contact when he feels it’s safe. When I have tried NC in the past I do good and never make an attempt to contact him but it’s when he contacts me that I revert back to my understanding doormat ways. I need my ass kicked all around the yard! Stay strong! I’m on your side.

  66. teachable says:

    Thanks Vic. Yes it did cheer me up knowing you got j.s for yr AC’s Very happy for you. Really not well here. Sick in bed 24/7 :( My sister told me disurbing family news about family dynamics She’s very co-dependent & meddles in everyone elses affairs to avoid the fact she married for security not love & is therefore trapped in a loveless marriage (although pretends otherwise). Will avoid details but have had a migraine ever since. I can’t ‘flo’ her. I’ve told her this & challenged her on why she unvites THE most dysfunctional members into her life intimately as she does. She gives the BS line it’s ‘for the children’. I said, let the children’s g.mother (our aunt) deal with that or notify child protection if yr really concerned. I actually had a threat made toward me by that same aunt once. I couldn’t understand why & was totally shocked at the time. I realise now my sister must have told her I’d suggested to my sister tht she notifying child protection abt any concerns for the child I mention (the aunts grandchild). I responded by maintaining boundaries & disengaging. I dont get caught up with drama. I dont NEED it. Im yet to confront my sis abt her part in tht. She calls my assertiveness & having boundaries being a hardass. I find that offensive b.c she is so dysfunctional (the latest drama in her drama queen life unvolved a family member threatening her life, all be it tht an apology was later issued). Im going to call my sis now & disengage frm the whole thing. Im telling her I will no longer listen to stories frm her abt other family members. Fullstop. Also, I will tell her I believe she broke my confidence with tht Aunt re the child protection issue & that I don’t appreciate that & no longer trust her to keep my confidences. I will tell her that she will have to now earn my trust bk & tht this will take time. Little bit over ppl with drama. Time for me to disengage. My sister is an adult now & actually, I am not her mother & it is time she faced her own issues. It was very distressing hearing what I heard & I don’t need or want to hear any more of it, seeing as she insists on deliberately inviting such things into her life. Im so sad. My poor baby sister. If only we had not been seperated when we were younger maybe I could have helped her but she needs professional help from a counsellor & I cannot give to her. I feel deeply, deeply sad. :(((((

  67. Changing says:

    I still can’t forgive myself for being so naive and passive and watch him lose interest without even realizing what was happening. It’s like Natalie said in some other post, he was constantly ‘breaking windows u my house’, testing how I’d respond, would I let him. I didn’t even see this, was in denial, made up excuses for him. He was very deceiving, it’s true and even when he overlapped me with the next girl he showed a lot of attention and I felt our bond. He disappeared on me about 2 months ago and I believe is now serious with her. I have a feeling remembering some of his comments that slipped and i didnt pay attention back then that she didn’t allow certain behaviors. She is also a lot younger. I feel terrible I wasn’t wiser because I liked him a lot and he was close to what my ‘ideal’ match would be. feel that the big part of me losing him is my own fault. Guys that I meet now are just ok at best. Of course it hurts that he could just vanish. I can understand
    -maybe- at first, but eventually saying anything to me would have felt a lot more human.

  68. espresso says:

    Some of these posts are very painful for me. AFter a long term marriage with a “nice” EU man which I found difficult to extract myself from last year, my ex very quickly started an emotionally intense relationship with a woman he met on a plane at the first opportunity he had. He was on the way to a vacation where I was due to meet him a few days later in order to host our daughter who was living overseas. We had both made the commitment to work together to have a good post marriage relationship(we had been married a long time) and be supportive and kind as well as good parents. He told me straight-faced before he left on the plane trip ( I even drove him to the airport! ) that he had “to work on himself and knew he had become too dependent on me so “meeting a woman” was not a priority. lol.
    Twelve hours after I dropped him off the emails started going back and forth between him and the woman who he had spent 7 hours intensively talking to as they flew across the Atlantic. She was an emotional air-bag as he chatted about himself, and his respect for me and how we were “handling things so well.”
    When I saw their emails (sent via our shared business account) and observed to him the speed at which he was becoming emotionally involved with another women and the timing of it, he denied it and said he was just “trying to be more connected.” to people in general. Honestly the man doesn’t have a clue. But the interesting thing was the woman was a nice emotional airbag for him and listened intently to him explaining how much he still admired me and how we were handling things in such a respectful way. She went along and encouraged his over the top emails and then later when he stopped the correspondence because he began to have an inkling that it was really a destructive thing to do at this phase…he cited MY feelings as the reason (something I NEVER asked or wanted). Of course this meant HE never took responsibility for HIS choices with her. Never. He actually “blamed me.” So he “got out of it” “looking good.”
    So of course that really upset/infuriated me but one of the worst things was that when she wrote back she never even acknowledged that I was a factor, instead she said she did not understand WHY he was ending it and did not accept it or feel it was necessary. Her parting comment was to ask that he wrote a love story about two strangers who meet for the first time. IT still makes me almost vomit to think of all this. BTW she is a doctor and was in the middle of a very destructive divorce process herself. I often wondered later if she was also “using him” in that process and perhaps it would have been better for me to let the whole thing “play out.” I would have done it except for the destructiveness for our grown children that would have resulted.

    So even though he WAS the driver of this crap she was the willing passenger and thought nothing of me as a real person. She just didn’t care. This happened six months ago but it still affects and upsets me. It showed full blast the horrible limitations in insight and self awareness of my ex…something I had always been aware of. It was a sharp reminder that getting together with people with no insight (as I did) will always hurt in the end. And I want to stress my ex is not the typical AC.
    Another thought is that when one marries young it takes a LONG time to discern how another person operates emotionally. We were in therapy (all initiated by me) many times and one very experienced therapist once told him that it took three years for this therapist to get to know him at all and to realize he was completely emotionally detached and spent most of his time in a thought world of his own. I blamed myself for many years for what I thought was my inability to love a “nice man.” I am actively working on all this but sometimes I get triggered by posts…..

  69. teachable says:

    Thankyou Magnolia. I’m going to read & re-read your post. I’m not accustomed to all this anger & yet I am. For so long, before the deceased AC reappeared, I felt resolved about my childhood. For two decades all was forgiven. Then, after 26 yrs of NC super violent rapist pedophile no 1, suddenly out of the blue attempted to contact with me, via my son on a social networking site. This happened shortly after deceased AC had just reappeared after 17 years. I’d been in hiding from the pedophile fearing for our lives lives, all those years. That triggered the police report on what happened back then & stirred up a lot of old feelings. Anger is the predominant one. I tried as best I could to keep to keep deceased AC OUT of the picture, but failed on occassion, thereby opening myself up to emotional abuse. That was horriffic but my own fault for failing at NC from the outset due to my flo-ish tendencies, even though we weren’t in a r/ship. I was instead attemping to encourage him to seek treatment for his addiction, once I knew this was an issue, as I could foresee that the end was near for him. Turned out I was right. Needed that like a hole in the head but again my own fault & no-one to blame but myself. Then, there is my Mother. I’m rethinking that. I don’t think this is the right ‘timing’ to attempt to re-establish a relationship with her. I say this because those rapes happened because of her neglect. I tried telling her before that time that I was being sexually abused by pedophiles & violently assaulted as an underage teen but she didn’t care. If she calls again, I’m going to explain to her about the court case & why this is perhaps not the best time to re-establish a relationship. I will offer that if she wants to call 2 or 3 times a year to say hi that’s ok but otherwise, suggest we ought to wait until she is ready to have counselling together for us to establish a relationship. It’s just too difficult while I’m also fighting to save the house & dealing with serious illness. The last thing I need to be doing right
    now is looking to ANYONE in my family to meet my
    needs. They can’t & they wont. They never have. I’ve ‘dipped a toe in’ with getting to know my family more during this time of illness & I don’t like what I see. They have taken from me & given NOTHING in return. I’ve been seriously ill for two years now to the point of not even being able to work & none of them have visited, not even once, even when I’ve been struggling & needed & asked for help! I only live a 40 min drive away!

    I much prefer how I have ‘done life’ to date. Who cares if counsellors & self help groups & friends have ‘raised me up’ instead of a family? I think they’ve done a much better job than my family ever could & hence that is why I am the first of my entire extended family to be tertiary educated, the only one to purchase property w/out relying on a partner to do so, & the only one to have a professional career, as such. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. But I did not grow up with them, I have different values to them, & I aspire to a life which is very different to theirs. The more I learn about my family, the more not growing up with them seems like a blessing. It’s not that I think I’m ‘better’ than them Magnolia (although in some respects I do. The Aunt I speak of had sex with her son in law for goodness sakes!) It’s just that they don’t give me anything to ASPIRE to. I don’t know. I’m a bit over it. Maybe one day, when I’ve sorted all of this out, & get back to that place of self love you speak of, I will meet someone decent & kind & become part of their family instead. I’ve given up on mine. I’m tired of feeling used.

  70. Naz says:

    Hello all, I am not unfamiliar to Natalie’s great and helpful blogs I read them whenever I can.
    I have read so much as a form of therapy into understanding myself and where I have been and where I am headed towards.
    I have a variety of “unavailables” all ranging from a father who didn’t even want to look at me at birth as I was a girl to either abusive men along the way.

    Right now though I am in dire need of just some sorts of support please kind souls. I suffered a horrendous accident 4 days ago, my car is a total write off. I am even lucky to be alive, even luckier to not be seriously injured.

    So what do I feel like doing after the shock, the fear, the various mishaps…I so want to call or email the last assclown/unavailable who cheated on me. Who was an overlapped/future faker.
    In all that though he was the first to take notice of me, take care of me and give me some love so like a dog I hung to his heels. When he called I jumped it was all on his time.
    I seem to think that at least that was something than being alone. He wasn’t all bad, he took care of me when we were together, always checking to see if I was eating properly or sleeping. He was gentle, never calling me fatso or trash like the ones before.

    So i am struggling, I have had NC since September but I so want to say I am sorry or let him back.

    I know he has moved on already, he did this just 3 days after my last judgemental email to him.

    I should know better…so why is my heart sore and my tears just rolling…

    • Lilly says:

      Naz, I’m so sorry to hear about your horrific accident. The shock has likely left you feeling extremely vulnerable and it’s natural to want to seek comfort and support. But you need to make sure you seek it from people who will be there for you. You are remembering all the good things about your exAC/EUM, which is understandable because you want him to be a source of comfort for you, but this man future faked and cheated on you. I know he wasn’t all bad they never are, but now’s the time to be as honest with yourself as you can be and try not to overlook the bad times. I didn’t have a car accident, but I suffered the trauma of losing my baby earlier this year. I made the mistake of trying to seek comfort and support from the exAC/MM. He just wasn’t there for me and it was the most painful rejection I’ve ever experienced. Seeking comfort from people who don’t really care for you is futile and emotionally damaging. Try not to make that mistake it really has prolonged my recovery. Look to your close friends, family and us here on BR to help you through this. I wish you a speedy recovery emotionally and physically,and I’m so happy you were not seriously injured. Hugs, xxx.

    • Bellaninha says:

      Naz, I’m really sorry to hear about your accident, that must be frightening and painful. More painful would be getting in touch with the ex and having him be half heartedly there for you, or not at all. Your intuition will tell you if he want to be there. Seek the comfort and support in good friends who care for you. This time really will pass and the strength you feel for staying NC will surpass the sadness. Have a good cry, let it all out and then try to do something nice for yourself, even if it’s just watch have a warm bath then curl up to a movie or tv show that makes you smile a little.
      Sending you warm hugs and some warm e-soup. xxx

  71. teachable says:

    And Mags, you’re right, each person’s pain is their own & we cannot compare ‘our insides, to anothers outside’, as the saying goes. I can give you all the stats, (lol), & demonstrate on a population level, how much of a marked disadvantaged ppl from backgrounds like mine are at, but if I ‘went there’ in my head today I would dissolve into a puddle, or laugh – it’s 50 % bets either way – lol.

    I don’t want anyone’s pity though, & I try so hard not to compare myself to others, but of course, I find myself, in that human way we all slip into, doing the latter on occassion. Everytime I do it, I try to remember, hang on teach, you don’t need to play this game anymore. I am me & I am ok. Lot’s of ppl have had bad childhoods. As best I could at least in the sense of taking responsibility for my life as an adult, I stopped ‘blaming’ mine long ago, but reading yr words, I think I’m a bit scared, now, to go back there & acknowledge how awful mine really was. And who knows. Maybe I don’t need to? Instead, maybe all I need to do is hold ppl to account via the appropriate channels & move on.

    What I want most & am really looking forward to is the day when I can come to BR & post about how my healing is COMPLETE & I’m READY to date. I want to talk about flushing some bozo for raving on about his ex during a date! That would be real progress for me!

    And you are right Magnolia. I don’t think I REALLY want a flo, as that’s not love & someone like that would stifle & try to control me. Believe it not, way down inside I don’t think there is anything wrong with me. I just think I’ve just had some unfortunate childhood experiences which have popped up for me now to deal with (again, as I’ve already had extensive therapy related to them in the past). Moreover, I made a poor choice re permitting my now deceased ex to have access to me at a time when I was obviously quite vulnerable, no matter what efforts I made to limit this. Hence, I basically made a MISTAKE, which I did at least, with much support (including Nats NC guide), manage to rectify before he died, by successfully maintaining NC for 6 mths.

    Hence, if anything, notwithstanding the rapist issue, I’ve basically screwed myself over. It took 3 years to ‘undo’ my life though, so I suppose I can’t expect it to be ‘fixed’ overnight.

    PS It’s the 1st anniversary of my ex’s death mid Jan, which will be 2 years since I last saw him in person, & 18 mths since I last had contact. I think I’m anxious abt this being the 1st xmas since he died… Hope that doesn’t sound stupid…

    • Lilly says:

      Teachable, that doesn’t sound stupid at all and I understand your anxiety. As you know I lost my baby last January,and I’m also feeling quite anxious about this Christmas. This time last year I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be bringing my unborn son up alone and had settled into my pregnancy. He was kicking and moving and after the turmoil of discovering I was pregnant, suffering extreme sickness and surviving the hideous treatment from the exMM,I was bonding with him. I lost him shortly after Christmas and I was devastated. It sounds selfish, but I wish I could cancel Christmas this year. He would have been 9 months old. I can’t so instead I’m going to light a special candle and tell him I love him. Holidays can be joyous, but they can also be painful reminders of the loved ones who are not with us. We’ll get through it Teach. Hugs, xxx

  72. teachable says:

    Exresso. Thank goodness you are now out of that marriage. 😉

  73. teachable says:

    Ellyb, I’m tired so I’m gunna slip into teach, the kid from the block. Yr ex was a headf*cker. He didn’t deserve you or anyone else. He deserves, nada, zippo, adious! Good for you for getting rid of that clown!!

  74. teachable says:

    Trust your intuition I disagree that men are socialised to cheat, & overlap from one r.ship to another simply to avoid processing their emotions. Their are many healthy men out there. They turn to activities with other men, ie sports, camping, nights at the pubs etc when r.ships are troubled or more likely, extra hours at work. I don’t think the culture tells them if your r.ship is in trouble, go out & cheat though. I would accept that some individuals however will have had this dysfunctional behaviour modelled for them by either sex parents (& if it was the father of a son, the modelling will have had a much greater impact).

  75. lo j says:

    Magnolia … your words to Teachable were beautiful. How great it is to see you having a better relationship with Magnolia!! :-) I used to lament,”When do I get MINE!!” And all along I was … I just couldn’t see it. I missed out on some good stuff and invited in a lot of icky stuff ’cause I didn’t like me so much. Only occasionally do I feel that way now. Its so nice. You sound so good Magnolia!!

  76. lo j says:

    Grace … what’s squabbling???!! Is that what the kids are calling it these days??! :-) kidding … but I don’t know what it is.

    • grace says:

      it’s arguing but not really:
      ME: do you want me to knit you a hat for christmas?
      HIM: erm
      ME: do you want an orange one?
      HIM: black
      ME: that’s boring, do you want one shaped like a banana?
      HIM: no
      ME: just black?
      HIM: or grey
      ME: grey banana hat?!
      HIM: please don’t knit me anything. I don’t want anything
      ME: what’s wrong with my knitting?
      I know, it’s what dreams are made of

  77. lo j says:

    Lilly … when you light that candle for that baby boy, know that many of us are there with you in spirit to hold your hand.

  78. Spinster says:

    “As for Florencing, you’d be better off channeling your energy into you and helping out with shelters and charities than you would be using romantic relationships as a source of healing and self-esteem.”

    This is a great idea. Florencing in relationships hasn’t really been a big issue for me, and hopefully it never will be an issue, but just in case… volunteering is great to remember. :-)

  79. lo j says:

    Cute Grace. Sounds divine. I wanna squabble. Except over a crocheted hat. 😉

  80. lo j says:

    Lilly … you’re welcome.

  81. teachable says:

    Now Lilly. You are gunna make me cry… being fortunate to have had a child after my own unborn baby was murdered in utero many long years ago, I can picture & feel your lost baby as you describe.

    You’ve been through so much. I admire your tenacity, resliance & resolve not to let that MM get the better of you greatly. You deserve a wonderful man Lilly. Honor your little angel by always remembering that.

    And Lilly, even though I had another child, I still miss my unborn baby too. This is natural. We are still, Mothers whether our babies survived or not. Please be gentle with yourself as this difficult time comes up for you. Losing a baby is devestating. Mine would be 28 yrs old now & I STILL feel sad sometimes. And that’s ok. Because losing a baby is profoundly grief ridden experience.

    Huge hugs. T xxxxxx

  82. tlb78 says:

    Your post was just like reading of my own experience word for word. Was not fun. Pfft.

  83. Cori says:

    Thank you for the post and the comments. I just have been through a heartbreaking experience with a man who was not over his ex. He was never a jerk to her and not to me either. He was a good man. He just jumped into a new relationship before he had taken the time to grieve and deal with it. I realized shortly after we started dating. However because he was such a good person and we did develop such a good friendship I decided to keep it open. He said his feelings for her would go done and his feelings for me would go up. My friends and family all met him and agreed that he was a nice man… such a good heart…

    But in the end I could not handle him processing about her…. I changed and became needy and cried at the drop of a hat. In the end he didn’t choose me… lol he said I was not assertive enough for him!!! LOL … Funny… take the compassionate part that some has and then turn it around and say that is the reason you can’t see it working out.

    No matter how nice he is… no matter how much your friends and family like him…. no matter if he is what you have been looking for you whole life…. do not date a rebounder!!!!!

    He tried to keep me in the friend camp… and I agreed… for what seems like a long time…

    Today I finally had the strenght to call it off and say goodbye. I will miss him… but I know it is the right decision… for me… I had lost some self-respect… and in the end he didn’t respect me either!!! No man is worth waiting to see if he will choose you when he is rebounding! Ouch.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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