using feels like being used

One of the issues that many people struggle with is recognising when they’re being used, which is when a person avails themselves of something or someone as a means of accomplishing their chief aim. They exploit what they perceive as a vulnerability in order to gain an advantage.

While there are instances when it’s quite obvious that you’re being used, like when somebody suddenly starts spending a lot of time around you and then asks you for something and then once they’ve got it, they either ask for something else or move onto someone else, being used is something, that like abuse, can creep up on you and catch you unawares. When you recognise it, you may doubt yourself, especially if you tend to like to ‘see the best in people’ or you’re inclined to be a blame absorber.

Using is likely to have an element of ‘targeting’ – recognising that a person can be of use, with it sometimes coming down to exploiting what they perceive as ‘vulnerabilities’, which may just be good traits, such as being giving or trusting. Or, having the perfect ‘flaw’ that’s not a flaw like a ‘suddenly’ unpalatable age gap, race, religion, child etc.

Readers regularly share stories with me about people who came back into their lives after a long time (Returning Childhood ‘Sweetheart’ and boomeranging exes) as well as tales of casual relationships that started out oh-so-fun but resulted in plenty of pain. It’s easy to get caught up in why they thought that an ex who did them over when they were sixteen was going to be their saviour thirty years later, or whether one can truly expect to get into a casual involvement and not get their fingers burnt when what they really want is to be loved inside a relationship, not dialed (or texted) as if ordering a sex pizza with a topping of ego stroking pepperoni, but there’s something very important being missed here:

Of all the people in all the world, why did they get back in touch with you? Why did they choose to tap you up for a casual arrangement?

If for instance, your younger work colleague goes through a breakup and then starts flirting with you and then propositions you for a casual relationship, you might feel flattered, especially if you’re not feeling that confident about your dating prospects. You might think Ah, what the hell and dive right in there for some fun and maybe it is fun for a while until you’re not able to keep your feelings in check. You tell him/her that your feelings have changed and they say… “I really like you but I just don’t think a relationship with our age gap would work” and it becomes clear that this is actually a strong value that they’ve always possessed, not something ‘inspired’ by you.

Now granted, it started out casual and I think we can overestimate our capacity for these involvements, telling ourselves “I can handle it!” because we delay dealing with reality and considering longer-term consequences for instant gratification and the fantasy. If one person no longer wants casual though, it’s no longer casual which means naked time and ‘hanging out’ is over – it’s no longer a mutually fulfilling agreement and it’s very possible, it might never have been. While the age gap reasoning is a tad shady considering that it’s not like the age difference is new information, we can be generous and say that at least this person knows their values.

Here’s the issue though: I’ve had quite a few people share alarmingly similar tales – just swap ‘too old’ for ‘too young’ or being work colleagues, or the ‘wrong’ colour, religion etc – and the truth is, they were chosen for these reasons as it made it easier for the other party to extricate themselves further down the line.

Take the age gap example. It’s a lot easier to avoid dealing with getting over a breakup by starting up something with someone else as a distraction and if you want to avoid putting yourself in the position of starting something with someone who might then think that it was going somewhere, you pitch it as a casual relationship, which in your mind, pitching it as such and dropping in information like just being out of a relationship will cover your backside. When you scan your ‘perimeter’ and ponder who you could get involved with and maybe how you can meet someone without having to do the whole going on a dating site or cruising dating sites or even doing the whole ‘getting to know you’, you might look at your social circle or your colleagues. Then you choose someone whom you’re attracted to, but you know that it can’t go anywhere because you’ve already decided that it can’t anyway, which will give you the perfect get-out should they try to ‘upgrade’. Job done.

If you’re in this situation, ask yourself why you were chosen and I assure you, it’s nothing to do with your ‘worth’ and everything to do with how the situation could work for the other party and yes, it’s very possible that they thought that you’d be ‘flattered’.

It’s the exact same thing when you get these fly-by-night’s getting back in touch to take you on a trip down nostalgia lane, often approaching you on Facebook or with a text or joke email. Why, when they decided to flip through their mental Roladex of people who might be receptive to being approached and some flattery, did they think of you?

Most users when accused of being users, won’t hold their hands up to it simply because it’s not how they want to be perceived or what what they want to think about. They see their actions in a more benevolent light as if to say that they’re doing you some big flippin’ favour, giving you an ‘excursion’ away from your humdrum life or giving you a dose of their magical charm including Future Faking and Fast Forwarding that for some reason they think you should be thrilled to get. They rationalise that you’re getting something out of it, even if what it is, isn’t much, or not what you wanted, or isn’t on mutual terms and has been ‘given’ in a manner that allows them to ‘profit’ from you even though you’ll feel increasingly drained. They overvalue what they think that they’re ‘giving’ you, but it’s not ‘giving’; it’s a hidden agenda. It’s also very patronising.

You’re being taken for a ride, possibly literally…

It’s why you can feel so hurt after recognising that you’ve been used – you may have taken him/her at face value, trusted, given (even if it was a tad misguidedly especially if done in haste, on the internet or via an arrangement pitched as ‘fun’ that really wasn’t that fun), and they were just putting in hot air and as little as possible to get what they wanted.

Users are distinguished from people who maybe did start out with ‘good intentions’ and have screwed up, recognised it and sought to make amends or have at least stopped, by the fact that they’ll veer between seeking to get their needs, wishes and expectations met aggressively (by force), possibly with a smile on their face telling you how you’ll both benefit, or passive aggressively, through obstruction and basically saying one thing, doing another. They will not care about the impact on you because they will continue using until they’ve got what they want or you cut off their supply.

If you feel like you’re being used, you’re very likely being used – friendship or a relationship feels and looks like friendship or a relationship. Using, looks and feels like using.

If you haven’t twigged that you’re being used but you’re subsisting on a crumb diet while they feast on the fringe benefits and then some, yeah, you’re being used.

If they’ve aligned themselves around you at a time when it suited their greater purpose of having a place to stay / money / a job / a reference or just seizing on a vulnerability that would have you giving to a greater degree than you would under ordinary circumstances, you’ve been used, especially if now that you no longer serve a purpose or have figured out what is going on, they’ve suddenly disappeared or have become quite mean towards you.

Once you suspect or know that you’re being taken for a ride, it’s stop, look, listen and step back and adjust your boundaries time.

Your thoughts?

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388 Responses to Am I Being Used? Recognising When You’re Being Taken For a Ride… Possibly Literally…

  1. Tulipa says:

    Ps Lily if it of any comfort to you one of my emails to the ex ac reads Want to meet up for sex from time to time?

  2. teachable says:

    Apologies for going on & on about this but there is one more thing.

    When this woman first befriended me it was under the guise of her asking me to formally mentor her in a support group setting. I was still working but already ill so declined however said I would be happy to be her friend instead.

    The first 3 mths of knowing her consisted of her initiating all contact (after all she was the one seeking my counsel/friendship not the other way around) where she would phone me & in an elevated pitch & extremely rapid fire speech, talk non stop AT ME for half an hour & then having spewed a bunch of stuff out, abruptly hang up before I could even respond! It was so bad that all I had space to say in those calls, was literally ‘hello’ & ‘goodbye’ with her just blabbing away in between. It actually took me a few months to slow down her speech pattern & gently teach her that conversation is in fact a two way thing. Over time the calls became more balanced in terms of us bith contributing more equally, until she went all weirdaroonie (as previously described).

    A while after she’d been playing games with me, during a lul in her shenanigans, I took the liberty of reflecting back to her, what she had been like in those first few months, particularly in relation to these calls. I don’t know why but I felt the need to even the score with her a bit. She was almost like a person having episodes of mania. When I noticed this was interspered with periods of severely depressed mood (not to mention the unaffordable spending she’s later doing), I started suspecting she may have undiagnosed bi polar (I couldn’t make that diagnosis of couse but I do have quite a bit of working w ppl w various mental illnesses & professional training in that area).

    I don’t know if that makes any difference at all but maybe in hindsight, she just wanted someone to dump all her problems on? Could I be right & could it also be that when I expected a proper equal 2 way friendship, that this is why she bailed? It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in similar circumstances (& actually the only other person who ever did that to me, happens to be an aquaintence of hers!)

    Still not sure what to think here..

    • Revolution says:


      I love you babe, but I’m gonna open a can of logic on your ass. About 99% of the attributes/actions you have described with this woman are negative, and some downright nasty and underhandedly manipulative. I’m getting my sealegs with calling bullshit on friends to whom I’ve “benefit-of-the-doubt”ed for years, so I’m on fire right now. Look out!

      Point 1) She blames everything bad in her life on others and feels comfortable as a victim. MASSIVE RED FLAG. These people are like termites. Get rid of them fast. They are BAD JUJU and will only take you down. The best people I’ve known in life have had HORRENDOUS things happen to them, but have manned up where possible and dealt with them head-on, without taking anyone else for a ride. Even when they needed help, they took it with grace and not with smug, self-satisfied entitlement, as if the world owed them a favor. And they certainly didn’t suck anyone dry.

      2) She invades your privacy and steps all over your boundaries by asking personal questions, EVEN AFTER YOU’VE TOLD HER YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THAT. She’s getting a kick out of this power play, out of getting stuff out of you where you feel uncomfortable.

      God, I wish I were just hyperbolizing this type of person, or being overly sensitive, but I’m not. And anyone who’s dealt with them KNOWS what I’m talking about. THESE BEHAVIORS ARE NOT ACCIDENTAL. They are designed to get you in a one-down position, and/or manipulate something out of you through guilt or pity. Your gut already knows it, Teach.

      Another thing: I know what you’re talking about with her being “groupie-like” with you as a musician. For some reason (probably since I’m a writer, and so I have that affinity for right-brained people and endeavors), I have always had musicians in my life. However, it’s never been about the “fame” or “lifestyle” (as a matter of fact, most times it was IN SPITE of that), but rather because I just naturally got along with them, and I always loved collaborating with them on artistic projects. But, having been around them, I’ve seen the types of people you’re talking about: the “hangers-on.” It’s embarrassing and at times downright creepy. I can see why you’d have to be careful with these types of people. As a writer, I’m hardly having “groupies” falling over themselves trying to hang over my shoulder while I type (thank God), but music is so much sexier to the “public.” And it’s a breeding ground for these clingers.

      Okay, I’ve had my say. I don’t know if this woman is completely conscious of her actions or not (a lot of manipulators ARE), but either way, it hardly sounds like a healthy, reciprocal relationship. There’s your reality check, my water level partner. 😉

      • Revolution says:

        Another thing: I am reminded of something I read in a book about manipulators and their “victims.” I think it was from Harriet Braiker’s book “Who’s Pulling Your Strings?” (Not 100% sure about the name of the title and the author, but close enough.) Anyway, in her book, she talked about treating the victims of these manipulators (but oddly never the manipulators themselves….hmmmmmmm…..) and how she would look for what she called “footprints in the snow” in the minds of these people. This was a metaphor for clues in the victim’s thinking, speech, and actions that showed that they were manipulated by someone. It was very interesting. After having been in a horrendously manipulative relationship for several years, and after having read several books on the subject, I sometimes see these “footprints” when I listen to people. A lot of the time, it comes out as the “victim” rationalizing the other person’s behaviors until they are blue in the face. But as Judge Judy says, if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not the truth. Did you ever notice how easy it is to explain something that’s true? Only when lies and deception enter into the picture do we spend our efforts rationalizing the crap out of things until there is no discernable line of logic.

        • Laurie says:

          Very interesting insight. “That doesn’t make sense” was my catch-phrase while I was with my ex-finace. I said it so often, we actually talked about it in counseling. I thought I was just an idiot—I needed to try harder to understand why he did what he did. But I suppose that was all bullshit. When someone says they love you and want to be with you, they ACT like it. It really isn’t complicated, is it?

          • Lethu says:

            It’s actually really that simple. Actions do speak louder than words. A person may say what they want to believe, but act in a way cmpletely different to that.

            • jewells says:

              It’s like that pinterest poster: Actions show who the person is, words tell who they want to be. This helped me alot, the exEU MM Narc said a lot of wonderful things, his actions did a lot of horrible things.

      • Lacy says:

        Oh the previous message was for Emerldeyez but Revolution I know a so called friend like how you have just described.This woman I’ve known for yrs maybe a 2 yrs before before the ac and I dealt with him 12 yrs. This so called friend would invade my privacy ask questions about the ac continuously after I told her I didn’t want to discuss him,also bring back half way info about him none of the stuff I just got slapped with this summer when she knew all along his situation with 2 or 3 other women,so I don’t consider her info as being a friendly warning,I consider that she just wanted to continue to see me make a fool of myself. It was really up to me to protect myself with him so I don’t blame her.It just doesn’t sit well with me that we were suppose to be like Sis but you would watch me invest with a guy you know isn’t for me.Her sis bussed out in oct and asked me “hey you still seeing the Ac? you know he just had another baby on you/and where do you think he goes when you and him aren’t speaking to each other? I was hurt I asked the friend if she knew why she didn’t tell me?and if her and her sis were discussing me? she said no that her sis was just drunk. I was doing no contact at the time so he was free to do whatever it just stung a lil bit in the heart that everyone knew and no one told me not even him because he and I were in are progress of making things right all summer is what kept telling me,til after my bday sept is when I went Nc.So while we were allegedly working on our relationship this woman was already pregnant. But I am responsible for myself.I just stop contact with the friend basically I was embarrased they knew and I didn’t. Just wondering should a friend let you know a guy u been with for 12 yrs has something going on like a a baby on the way?or they see him with someone?Even though looking back the 12 yr thing is meaningless cause it doesn’t guarantee him to settle with me and he didn’t,So I am aware of that but if you see your friend diving with a jerk do you at some point step in? I would depending on the situation point her to baggage reclaim,or something enlighten to lift her spirits that she would see the light herself. I know all I remember is her conversations always shifting to him where is your Boo?is what she would say,or I seen your boo in your car,His sis said this or that about him,Maybe that was her way I don’t know,I felt more of she thought it was entertainment for her and her sis because I told them on several occassions didn’t want to discuss him cause I was doing Nc,I felt if in the begining you were giving half info why now that I’m trying to be over him are you still giving me half info. I could be wrong but my Mom and sis for yrs said that her and her sis were so nosey.they asked questions about every member in my fam,I used to have to ask them sometimes why do u care about what my sis doing work , or with,or who is my brother with or where does he stay,and at that point I dumped the frienship. If I am way off how I think about that situation anyone care to voice your opinion.I am not afraid to admit being a bad judge of character and know I am not perfect.

  3. Lacy says:

    Yaaaa for you!! You are most definitely an inspiration.I want someone to love me whole hearted so I too must love myself the same, but in the mean time no one should think its okay to use me or any other woman thats confused about themselves or know how to communicate there bounderies.
    Also when the person doesn’t know how to show and recieve love, its not a sign, hey let me get some sex from her, borrow money, pretend like I love her, hey even say I love her, fake a future, chase her down when she finally relizes or except that I was lying all along.These things don’t give a male or female the right away to use you.
    I have been through a lot in life, most events I could’ve avoided.I am a firm believer that in most situations u do have control over in life. For 1 the person I had my 2 older kids with was very supportive finacially and still is but not emotionally, he has stepped up a bit more but says its some fathers that don’t do half of what he does.I love my kids so much that was the best thing came outbof that situation with him.2 lost my boyfriend when I was 6 mths pregnant, he used to hit me.I was so in a trans I thought jealousy was love, and growing up, I watched my mon and Dad marriage but never knew how to express love,I didn’t hear them say it to me much, no hugs, I learned about a menstral at school from friends and sex e.d,and learned about sex from friends, my virginity was broken when I was in 8th grade the guy was 18 a friend of my older sis.
    Fwd when my youngest baby father died while I was pregnant I felt like the only person that showed care and concern was gone.
    Then the Ac returned back into my life which was on his terms and I was so closed off I excepted him back.At one point he did want to be closer he expressed but I was definetly closed off and as he says I rejected him.
    Either way everything happens for a reason things bout would’ve still been half way on his part.The truth of the matter finding out now at that time he had a baby on the way all along and just recently had another.
    Anyway he seen the diffuculties I had he could’ve stepped off when he knew he wouldn’t get the relationship he was looking for, but NO he wanted to see what ye could accomplish.All the while my feelings started resurfacing and getting stronger and I expressed I wanted more from him without arguing or baggering him made myself too availble and start doing more relationship stuff and dormat slavery stuff, guess he figured hey its christmas or he the king why stop this fool.So all the while He promised more and more.
    The end result is I’m angry, feel used, lost money and time, but I will pick myself up and keep moving and stay Nc,and congrats too u and have a blessed vacation.

    • Emerlydeyez says:

      I hear you, and we learn from our mistakes. Mine too, got money in the past, dinners, a clothes washer when his broke, and there were other things along the way that he lied about. But I was in this fairytale, I made more then him, I was cut off from family ( they were 1,000) miles away, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone at work what was going on. I too, had a strange growing up, no affection between parents, though they had 7 kids, dad worked two jobs, so I saw the workaholism, alcoholism, and very verbally abusive relationship between my parents. So not the healthiest of role models for a relationship. But I too believe we have choices, and we keep making the same choices until we know better. And that’s ok, that is part of our growth process. So we are all here on this site for a reason, and we are all open to learning, sometimes faster at times, then other times, but we have chosen to take control over our lives and make some changes for a healthier relationship, first with ourselves and then with others. AND thank you, I am having a wonderful time with my two grandchildren.

  4. Tinkerbell says:

    Teach. This so-called friend has really gotten you all twisted up. It’s a DAMN SHAME. You are not going to let this go, it seems. You are giving over all your power to this person. When you are a friendship where you over give of yourself trying to help someone, (no matter who it is) they grow to resent you. They feel that YOU feel that YOU’ve got it all together and they are in the one-down position. You are innocent and not thinking any of the things that person believes you are thinking. This is such a common dynamic. You’ve mentioned that she may have a few loose screws. She’s behaving like she does. Because of this she is not only unhealthy for you to be so deeply involved with – and it Does appear you are DEEPLY involved with this individual or you would not be going on so much about her, but she is dangerous. You consider her a friend you so probably cannot imagine her being actually dangerous. One thing is for sure, she is not one who you can turn your back on and feel safe. And, who is she that you should be so invested in her? You’ve said that you don’t have a close friend near you. So she’s it? Evidentally, she realizes she can wield some power over you because of that fact. She may feel that you once held all the cards, between the two of you, when you were into your music career and now that you are ill, unemployed and financially strapped it’s her turn to shine. This is not a friend. Either she is unwell mentally, evil, or both but she is certainly not friendship material. I hope you see this and will act in your own best interests as soon as possible. I’m sorry if I stuck my two cents in where it was not asked, but after reading so may posts you’ve made concerning her, you are obviously very upset over her lack of decency in consideration for you and her down right meanness. You do not deserve this. You are trying to get yourself well and back on your feet in many ways. She is a serious detriment to your achieving this very important goal.

  5. teachable says:

    DV is abbrev. for domestic violence. The r.ship with the father of the first four kids was a DV r.ship she left 12 yrs ago.

  6. Epiphanygirl says:

    I’ve just recently found out about this website, and I am amazed that I am 35, smart, professional and have just come to realize what I have been doing in relationships. 1) Painful 2) Disturbing… Always so much easier to blame “Them”… My inner struggle remains in the fact that we are taught about love and what love is and means that it almost feels hypocritical to judge Mr Unavailable so harshly, when me (ms.unavailable) is attracted to Exactly THAT. So…. The NC and walking away almost feels like I’D be reinforcing his guarded, passive aggressive behavior.
    Anyone else struggle with this?

    • beth d says:

      I have struggled with this terribly which has caused me many problems with my last relationship. I felt guilty and mean and I second guessed myself because I did truly love him. I even felt sorry, falling for the pity “I never meant to hurt you” act. Prior to being BR educated I used NC as a defense mechanism. Yes it worked in making him come back stronger but the problem is when you are dealing with disordered men the NC has to be permanent especially when you have taken them back more than once. There is a difference between teaching a man what is acceptable behavior and climbing an uphill battle with a Narc/AC/EU. These types you need to get away from because they are not willing or able to give you the relationship you want! There are plenty of nice guys out there that don’t play games and will not exhibit that craziness, and passive aggressive behavior you are talking about. Natalie covers it all on this website and there are many wise posters so keep reading. Re being taught about love…Natalie teaches you love is not pain and truer words were never spoken.

    • Lau_ra says:

      Judge them so harshly? That sounds like you’re saying “yeah, his behaviour is crappy, I don’t get what I want, but it all could be my fault actually”. I suggest you read a post on making everything all about you (sorry, don’t remember the exact title).
      I mean, c’mon, while we all have to own what we do in relationships (typically-we are soooo understanding/helpfull/forgiving in situations when we should not be), those misters have to own their input too.
      Do you really think that being delusional equals leaving pregnant women, deceiving them, manipulating and using them, and etc.? ACs and EUMs aren’t delusional, they know exactly they don’t want a relationship, yet they willfully act in ways that make you thin they do.
      Though its not “whos doing it worse” competition, yet the fact is that the men that we’re talking about in here rarely suffer from the outcome of their behaviour.I’d say, naming their “faults” is kind of a therapy, giving you a better view of the picture that wasn’t so nice after all.

      • Mymble says:

        To judge.
        “To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration”
        If you are unwilling to make a judgement about them and more specifically about how you are being treated by your EU then it will be all the more difficult to remove yourself from a situation which is causing you pain. While both parties may be EU it isn’t them who is feeling anxious, hurt and devalued. They are usually getting what they want, on their terms – fringe benefits without commitment. Until you acknowledge that you are being used, it’s very hard to move on.

        to move on you HAVE to make a judgement about that. I think I returned too often into a bad situation because I made excuses for him and wasn’t really willing to acknowledge and get angry about how I was being treated. Not judging
        JUDGE them!

    • Emerlydeyez says:

      Believe me by the time we get to NC, most of us have tried everything under the sun, to have a rational conversation, to discuss issues, to have a relationship without the power struggles, the emotional abuse, the continued broken promises, the hitting the re-set button, and nothing has been resolved, hoping for an apology and changed behaviors, it goes on and on. We have turned ourselves inside out and into pretzels for validation, approval, love and respect. ONLY to continue to be gaslighted, having them blow hot and cold, losing all trust and respect for ourselves. It’s called hitting bottom. AND yes, for us, that are the caregivers, the enablers, it feels pretty harsh. But what has happened, to you, in the meantime? That’s where it starts. We start to stop taking care of them and start taking care of ourselves first!

      • beth d says:

        Excellent Emerlydeyez Damn girl you described it perfectly. Yes we do hit rock bottom. Then we go searching the internet because we don’t understand wtf happened? One of my searches that led me here was about “being friends with your ex” when post break up my ex was not letting up about “we have to be at least friends” “You know this is a life long thing.” God forbid!!! Then I think I searched taking him back and was taken here again and stayed here. I am so glad my google search pointed me in the right direction :)

    • yoghurt says:

      “The NC and walking away almost feels like I’D be reinforcing his guarded, passive aggressive behavior.”

      This is going to sound blunt, but I think you’re working on the assumption that they could give a toss about you, your feelings, what you think and what you do.

      Change is only worth a bean when it’s the choice of the person making it, and the whole point of these blokes is that they aren’t prepared to make that choice.

      So, really, it makes no difference whether you stick around, thus tacitly informing them that their misery-making behaviour is alright by you, or whether you go off elsewhere to have a happy life without them. Either which way they won’t be changing until they realise that they need to change in and for themselves. Which they may or may not.

      Which is fair enough, really – I wouldn’t want anyone in my life who was able to force/manipulate me into changing my thoughts and behaviours against my will, either.

      But you’re right in that it’s hypocritical to judge an unavailable while you’re remaining unavailable yourself. That’s why the best course of action is to leave them, work to become available and then have the joy of judging those f*ckers seven ways from Tuesday. When you can be bothered to think about them at all. 😀

  7. teachable says:

    Magnolia I just wanted to say thankyou for reminding me what yr prior post was about. Also, I’m sorry to hear it’s taking time to get traction socially in yr new area. Don’t give up. PS That guy at yr work is a dickhead. Glad you saw that so quickly. Who cares what he thinks of you. It’s what you think of him that counts. :)

  8. teachable says:


    You’re wrong on one thing. I’ve suspected for a while now this woman could become dangerous due to her lack of bounderies & invading my privacy so much. That much I’ve felt for a while so I kept trying to be vilgilent about MY boundaries, esp in that area. Even though TWICE now I’ve explicitly told her to please stop invading my privacy she has just done it AGAIN after giving me voucher to buy groceries when I had zero income just over a week ago! Turned out giving me the voucher was just a ruse to create an opportunity for her to yet again repeat her unacceptable behaviour. I was furious & I wanted to march over there throw the grocery voucher in her face & tell her no thanks, I’d rather STARVE. As I was so desperate & also did not want to let her know how much she had gotten to me I didnt. Just prior to all that I actually hadn’t with her for quite a while as I was sick of her shit. I only got caught up in the food voucher thing as she literally bailed me up in the supermarket! She did the invading of my privacy during a subsequent call I made to thank her for the voucher.

    I’ve since only had one other call with her & it was quite unpleasant. I have no probs not initiating any contact with her for a while & actually think this is for the best. Truth be told I’d like to get rid of her completely but it’s not quite that easy as we mix in similar circles. Grr.

  9. teachable says:


    One thing yr right about is I did let this woman get way too involved in my life. I believe that at an earlier stage she was trying to seduce me into a sexual r.ship even though she is straight! (I was a lesbian in younger years but am not now). I think she was ‘curious’ & thought I would be a good distraction from some idiot she’d.gotten involved with o.seas. This was yet ANOTHER thing I had to confront her about ie inappropriately flirting etc.

    Come to think of it in hindsight this woman sure has done a lot of inappropriate stuff! I didn’t let her get away with as I backed off myself a few mths ago but the more I think about her recent BS the more pissed off I feel!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Teach. Ironically, I thought there was some tidbit in all of this that you had not mentioned before. Weird, huh? I’m not psychic, but it was just a feeling, but nothing I could put my finger on. I’m concerned for you and hope that you will remain very vigilant and wary of her actions. She seems like a good one for actions don’t match the words. I could be wrong on this. I just see a continued spiraling downward for you in this dance with the devil. Take good care of your health as best you can and try to assign her much less importance in your life. If possible, don’t accept ANYTHING from her if you can possibly help it.

  10. Nene says:

    Fell off the NC wagon as he came to my place to pick up some of his things. I felt a pool of many mixed emotions but mostly still hurt and upset. He apologized for hurting my feelings last time we spoke. He had a list of compliments about me that felt nice to hear but the nice quickly turned to disgust. Even tho he said he loved me, had feelings for, said he never felt this way about anyone before, am so important to him, and that I’ve touched his heart and life….I couldn’t help but feel used and shafted still. Reason being is that when I asked where things stood between us or if we try to pursue something down the line…..he could not answer with a yes, no, maybe, or go to hell. He still wants me in his life but seriously, how can you say that when you arent even confident enough to fight for us? I don’t have confidence in him anymore. He said he didn’t want to say yes because he didn’t want to disappoint if things in his negative bubble world of a divorce didn’t work out, meaning him actually being able to tell family and friends the true reason for his divorce. True reason being he and her had been unhappy for several while married. Hes stuck in the mode where he is setting himself up for negative feedback that hasn’t even happened yet. Or so he says that’s the reason for the exit from us. So in MY eyes he’s trying to erase my existence so that he doesn’t have to own up to the whole truth (unhappy marriage and our affair). I’m a non believer in his contradictory words and feelings. If he honestly felt that way about me he would not be treating me this way. I find his reasoning selfish. I have never been thru a divorce so I don’t know the emotional affect it has on ones mind and heart. But I do know that he’s so deep in his negative dark hole of self pity and self preservation. I find it to be hurtful and not too mention sickening.
    Back on the NC train I go.

    • yoghurt says:

      Good call, nene

      I’ve been there – the father of my son told me that I was his ‘best friend’, his ‘soul mate’, that I understood him like no-one else, that he’d never loved anyone like he loved me, that our connection was incredibly special to him… yaaadiyadiyadiya. It didn’t even scratch the surface of the fact that he was quite happy to mess with my head whilst I was coping with an unplanned pregnancy (by myself with no support, cos that would’ve been too much of a stretch) and then go off with someone else when the baby was two months old. If that’s love then I can do without it – I’ll just get me some good old-fashioned enemies next time instead.

      You’ll notice though, that it’s inevitably about the pleasant feelings that you inspire in HIM… your feelings don’t really come into it at all and aren’t important. That’s not love, it’s just a pleasant woodly-doodly sensation that someone else gets to have.

      If he really loved YOU (instead of just liking the effect you have on HIM)then he probably wouldn’t have put you in this position in the first place and he most certainly wouldn’t be compounding your pain with a lot of sounds-very-nice-but-is-really-meaningless waffle.

      You can and will do better – you can meet someone who really wants to be in your life and make it better and happier. But you won’t even be in a position to even notice them until you’ve stopped reeling from the sickening ‘thud’ that you feel every time he swoops you high in the air and then discovers that he hasn’t got any way of holding you up.

      Stay strong my lovely xx

      • Lacy says:

        Well said yoghurt!!This dude would only say some amazing stuff and it would feel good but,waiting on the action then it never happened hurt me to the bottom of my soul.How could I be so stupid?He would spend time with me then turns out he didn’t have much of an option cause he had burnt bridges with most of his harrem and he also was broke.
        So being at my house basically after I had told him I didn’t want a relationship due to stuff I heard about him being with 2 other women, crazy of me to still keep him be around,and he moved all of his thibgs in my place anyway so I set myself up for failure.
        He had his mind made up about me the moment I so called rejected him, and my thougts were maybe he would show me some solid evidence he wanted to be with me or step up more, he hadn’t even bought groceries,detergent,or helped with rent and lived with me off and on for yrs.
        It is true if someone loves you you’ll know.

      • runnergirl says:

        Wow Yoghurt, nice response. Nene, yoghurt is spot on. I got tons of “sounds-very-nice-but-is-really-meaningless waffle”. I think Natalie’s analogy of all shirt, no pants applies as well. And I also experienced “the sickening ‘thud’ that you feel every time he swoops you high in the air and then discovers that he hasn’t got any way of holding you up”. What a great visual yoghurt. I remember that ‘thud’…the ‘thud’ of being used. Sending you strength Nene. The NC wagon can be bumpy at first. I had to use a bungy cord and duck tape.

      • Lethu says:

        Wow too true. With my ex I think he enjoyed how I made him feel, how I brought him up and made him a better person. But he couldn’t be bothered to add to my life in any way. It was all about what I did for him emotionally, and how this was good for him, irregardless of my needs and wants.

    • Victorious says:

      Nene, you say he picked up “some of his things.” Is there more left? If so, get rid of it now (storage/bin/post it) so you don’t have to endure another visitation and ruin your NC.
      From what you write, the picture I get is extremely unpleasant. I don’t say this to upset you, but it looks like you were a useful buffer to use whilst he sorted out his marriage. Now that is being resolved, he wants to keep you as some kind of reservist/back up. In the meantime he will be off dating/flirting/whatever enjoying his newfound singledom. If he really loved you the way you deserve then he would be happy to commit. Happy to introduce you to his family over time.
      Please reestablish NC and move on with your life. It does get easier with time, please trust me on that. You can be sure he is moving on with his. And he only sees you as a bit part player in that (if at all) Good Luck.

  11. teachable says:

    I’m glad someone raised the judging issue. I must admit I’ve felt conflicted about that ie felt bad for judging this woman’s behaviour (as opposed to her as a person per se). As if doing this made ME in the wrong somehow. Then I remember what I’ve always believed which is we are bestowed as humans with the power of judgement for a REASON which is to enable us to be discerning. Humph. Feel better remembering that!

  12. Naz says:

    I have to keep returning to these blogs, to the words laid out here to get to grips with with reteaching myself about boundaries or saying NO to am assclown.
    Like a eureka moment, I realised I am keeping the door opened and why?
    If I never contacted the AC he would never bother to keep in touch. If I didn’t clean the breadcrumb carpet for him to return he wouldn’t.
    Why am I finding it so hard to let go of someone who on the first dumping cited fear of aided race child (ironically he posted on his wall how he is against racism lol)
    The second dumping was after I caught him cheating and he never spoke to me then when I called him he shouted at me over checking how home making no mention of the other girl…he said he didn’t see the point of us if I am so insecure and paranoid.
    He moved onto the new girl, a perfect blond…stunning to the point I feel even worse about myself, ugly in fact.

    I am struggling to reteach myself about these type of relationships that suck all the energy from me and leave me ill.

    And yet I am stupid enough to still have contact with him???

    What’s wrong with me???

    • Lethu says:

      Hey Naz. I went through a year of being someone’s doormat while he tried to “find himself”. Telling me he “cared about me but wasn’t ready for a relationship”. Earlier this week when I found myself crying over him because of his tweets about hooking up with other girls, I just deicided to delete him from my life. It’s not easy, but you’ll thank yourself for it. This was a guy who used to be one of my closest friends, we even dated before this drama, so deleting him wasn’t easy to do, because I wanted to at least save the friendship. But I realised that e couldn’t be bothered to even be my friend. You know he’s bad for. You don’t get anything out of being with him. Somehow he’s convinced you that you should be satisfied with the breadcrumbs he gives you. And he’s playing on your insecurities. Because a secure woman would know her worth, and know that she doesn;t stand for rubbish. When I realised this I was angry with myself for being a doormat for someone else. But I’m in the process of forgiving myself and finding my value. Get rid of him. You’ll actually find yourself feeling more upbeat about stuff once again without having to stress on the fool.

  13. teachable says:

    Excellent advice Tinkerbell. I intend to take it. As I no longer trust her to discuss ANY details of my personal situation with ie including my financial sitch as it’s just not her business, I’ve decided to cease initiating ALL contact with her. If I see her in passing at a mutual support group I will just be polite & excuse myself from any conversation she may try to initiate. She might think I’m mean after giving me the grocery voucher but I really have had enough.

  14. teachable says:

    PS. She never did admit she’d been inappropriately flirting with me but I gave her ‘the talk’ as to why her behaviour wasn’t acceptable anyway. She shit herself a bit after that as I think she realised you play with fire you might just get BURNED! (ie Rediculously fantasising to herself I might actually have been interested. Umm, no way! I recognised something NQR with her pretty early on & just took a while to observe what I realised was a PATTERN of behaviour which finally has now enabled me the help of the BR online community to work out what is was! I would add that she’s jelous that I’m 6 yrs younger than her (I pointed this out when she tried to say she was.the ‘same age’ as me ie wtf?) & also that being ill has caused me to shed 20 kilo’s meaning I now weigh what I did at 25 yrs ago! Seriously, the weight loss has been caused by ILLNESS (& I actually look like SHIT) but she’s STILL jelous! I think she needs to get a bloody life! Grrr!

  15. Nene says:

    Thanks Yoghurt

    This site has really opened my eyes and forced me to remove the rose colored glasses. As hard as it is to see the REAL side of him, its refreshing to know that I am actually doing it. After 3 years of all that we have been thru and been there for eachother (both ways), it feels like a huge piano fell offf a huge tower and onto my head. Its amazing how the selfish side of people come out in their most vulnerable moment and how quick theyd throw you under the bus. It just goes to show his true colors and lack of integrity and flawed character. The most difficult part is that we work side by side and theres no escaping. I am cordial and professional but Lord help me, because sometimes I want to reach across and give him a huge slapping of reality of his selfishness.

  16. Tiffany says:

    I’ve got a bit of a problem and I don’t want to download it on anyone but would appreciate what anyone has to offer, if anything…OK this guy pursued me, then went onto saying he doesn’t want a relationship but by then I was really into him to the extent I knew I was falling in love. He wanted sex, wasn’t over his ex so I witheld the physical intimacy hoping he would fall for me too. Anyway, this went on for some time, toing and froing, never quite deciding what he wants, making me more confused than ever. Anyway, every time he disappeared I later learnt he was staying over his exes but I wasn’t constantly a part of his life so really this is his business, not mine. But then when he returned, he told me they weren’t getting together and it’s taken him all this time to get over her and we slept together. The next day he acted like I wasn’t there, his phone kept ringing and I knew it was the ex so I left. A week later he admitted that they had slept together before sleeping with me and I just felt so hurt. He wasn’t techinally cheating but he told he was glad I still around, then used me, then disappeared again. In the end I cut him off and for months we had no contact because we had a fall out. One night we saw each other and he acted like nothing had happened, asking if I’m seeing anyone but diverting my attention when I asked about him. I know he still sees the ex, not sure if that means they still sleep together and I know it’s not my busniness and neither should I care. But I do. I need to get a life, but we used to get on so well and I miss that, I miss the laughs we had but I also know that when I’m around him I’m completely cagey and I’m no longer me because I got let down too many times. But even so, I think did I make the wrong decision? Should I be angry with him or hurt by him when he already made his point that he din’t want a relationship? He was absolutely fine with me, laughing and joking when I last saw him so I ask myself why do I feel like shit and he’s getting along fine? I also feel like a teenager for not being able to pick myself up and move on. Can anyone advise?

    • FX says:

      Tiffany, It sounds like you’ve made yourself a convenience and option for him to string along and use. You need to put this user in your rearview mirror because it isn’t going to get better. Sorry if this is harsh but he now knows he can get away with being an assclown to you and you’ll come back for more. All you’ll actually get with this guy is more drama and heartache.

  17. Sarah T says:

    Reading your post took me back to when I was stuck on the relationship rollercoaster. It reads as though its written by someone in pain and crisis, not love. All this crap and drama you’re surrounded by right now is of zero value. A mutual, caring, loving relationship does NOT make you feel this way. My advice would be to prepare yourself to ‘lose’ this battle and reap the benefits of winning the war. In other words, cut and run for your own sake! :-) xx

  18. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for the above comments – I knew this was the case but sometimes I doubt myself. I used to have boundaries but it seems they got lost in the process when you fall for someone you care about. I’ve been a bit of an idiot but I’m defo on my way to winning the war – as long as his cheating ex takes him back they’ll be one less user on the planet to care about :-) Thanks guys xx

  19. remarkable says:

    Wow! I have just spent the last few days reading all the comments on this particular post. I have been here at BR for 4 years and I get so much out of it.. Thanks NML! (And MsD, you’re an absolute hoot!)

    So what (read who) led me here 4 years ago, has just spent the last 4-5 months doing the whole returning act, reset buttoning, hooks, you name it. And although I feel slightly irritated, by golly I feel empowered!! I read him like a book but alas, I still had to do the suck and see moment didn’t I!? She who likes to think the best of people, thinking that at his ripe age of 44 he may have found some balls finally distending.. yeah nahhh!!

    Oh was he nervy when he went in for the kiss after an almost perfect evening of talking, laughing and dining. And I’ll admit.. I wanted him to do it. BUT what he didn’t expect was that within 2 minutes of that kiss I said that I was glad he did that because now we have to have an awkward conversation.. the kind that began with “So what happened 4 years ago? I need to hear it in your words..” Bottom line was he said he couldn’t give me what I wanted back then. So my retort was “so what makes you think you can give me what I want now?” “Can’t we just see where it goes from here and spend some time together?” To which I said “No, I don’t think so.. I don’t have time to waste finding out anymore”. I’m 41 btw.

    This very smoothly moved into Pt 2 of the awkward conversation where I dropped the bombshell that I have taken matters into my own hands over the past 2 years and have been undertaking IVF solo. Well!! The body language reaction was priceless AND I called him out on it. I just pointed at his legs and laughed. He said “what?” “You just physically took a step back from me”. “No I didn’t” and went in for more cuddles. His reaction was perfectly fine with me.. I needed to say it to him then and there to gauge whether we were on the same page.. and of course we weren’t! I knew it and so did he! “So I ask you again.. what makes you think you can give me what I want now?”

    Forward to the morning.. after being so hot, he very typically was ice in the cold hard reality of daylight and wine subsiding in the bloodstream. I just stood in my kitchen with a smug expression on my face as he made his meagre excuses as to ‘last night was probably a mistake..’ etc etc.

    I know it would’ve been a shock to hear what I had to say – and I’m not sure what reaction I may have had if someone said it to me tbh.. so I was willing to give him some leeway(??) for that. But as Nat says.. If someone is genuinely interested in YOU, then there would be little to deter them, especially something so obviously important to me – it’s at least something that c/should be discussed at a later more sobering time. (I think I needed the dutch courage to get it out.)

    Well, that was 2 days before Valentine’s Day and I felt so good about it… it weeded him out, I asserted myself albeit a little not following all of Nat’s rules, but I was at peace with it. Personally I don’t think he liked me challenging him (there was more discussion after that initial awkies moment regarding his ambivalence 4 years ago and his hot/cold demeanour.) I truly wasn’t telling him about himself, I was simply saying .. ok maybe I was a little 😉

    Now forward to yesterday. I was at a girls’ night the night before and one of my friends asked how it all went.. so I shared the story. She agreed I was right to say it then and there esp. since there was a past (I wouldn’t be having that kind of disclosure if I’d just met someone!) I added that I recognised that it was big news to hear and that perhaps he was still digesting (ha!). So my curiosity got the better of me (read suck it and see) and I sent a text ‘so, did you want to try that again without so much alcohol and miscommunication..?’ The response made me L.O.L. all over the house…! Apparently he had been helping a friend move that past week, and well, they reignited a spark from a year ago, and, um, I don’t know how to say this but it looks like something serious. In my calculations, that would’ve made it a week after him leaving my house he’s reconnected with another ex and had to tell me about it? A simple no would’ve sufficed :)

    Bottom line, I did what I did and I’m glad I did. He is truly cemented in my head now as an opportunistic, ego stroking, man baby that is obviously starved of affection seeking it wherever he can from whomever he can. He might think that I’m not that special, but dammit I AM! Too damned spesh for his dual grooming 2 exes at once. I’m glad I didn’t fall… I had my spider senses on alert although wavering at times WANTING to believe but knowing in my sweet gut I was right to be distrusting of his actions. Yes, I’ll admit I did a bit of the using too, I wasn’t seeking however.

    Curious to know if I would’ve scraped through on a BR test if there was such a one? Or did I fail? The best part for me is that I am not at all sad about it.. in fact I find it laughable that within a week he’s got someone lined up and gone in for the kill.

    • Jemma says:

      You’re right on sister :-) Man baby he is, a coward too afraid of his own company that he weeds out all the women whose boundaries are down and hurt from previous sour relationships that he isn’t capable of connecting with mature women that have their life together. Well, that’s what I’ve learnt from my ex AC. And you did good to pull him up on it and run, and as long as you feel empowered by the situation and like you’ve ‘finished’ this episode of your life that’s the main thing. Peace of mind is damn hard to find amongst all the cobwebs of lies and bullcrap, it’s like finding a gem amongst the weeds, so please don’t go back there and undo all your hard work even ‘just to suck it and see’. My ex AC was like that, bouncing around the shop seeing whose knickers he could get into and heart he could explode before leaving their place like a crimescene. I have so much to be thankful for; my friends have helped tons but Nat and co have helped no end. So well done you and good luck with the IVF. I think I might try that one in future heehee.

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.