Whatever it is that you're 'chipping in', relationships are 100:100.

Whenever I hear people describing relationships as 50:50, I wonder how one goes about dividing a relationship in half, after all, half of a relationship is pretty subjective and open to interpretation. One person’s ‘50%’ is another persons 10% and some people are over-givers so their 50% is busting a gut territory. Many people operate with this idea that they’re chipping in half to make a relationship and view it in terms of how much they think that they’re doing and expecting the other party to sometimes meet needs like ‘fix’ their self-esteem and validate their worth. In reality, relationships have two individual entities that each show up as a whole so that each can meet their own respective needs as well as being copilots in a mutual relationship.

Relationships are 100:100.

Let’s imagine that you show up with your fifty percent and then you’re just looking for them to chip in their stake – how do you decide which 50% you’re putting in? The likelihood is that you choose what you’re comfortable with and fairly confident about and that you’ll potentially look for the other party to have things that you don’t possess to ‘make up’ the other half.

You’re either already somebody who regards themselves as being 50% of a person or someone who when they get into a relationship, they chop themselves up to make way for the other person and their hopes and expectations being met.

And then it hit me: How on earth would you know that the other person has and is capable of giving the 50% that you’re looking for?

Bearing in mind that some of us become relationship minded pretty much as soon as we start dating someone, or when we sleep with or even admire them, how did you reach this conclusion that this person could give you that 50%? I’ll give you a clue – judging by the number of stories I’ve read and heard about smart, funny and good looking as well as common interests, zsa zsa zu and other such stuff, it’s on the things that we think indicate that someone is ‘our type of person’ which are used as our basis for assuming and believing that they possess other values and characteristics that we desire.

This means you could meet someone and go “Smart, funny, good looking” and on that basis you’ll believe that they ‘should’ be able to step up with the other half of the relationship.

If relationships are 50:50, how are people supposed to divide themselves up so that they can contribute their 'halves'? You know exactly where you stand in a 100:100 relationship - in a mutual partnering being who you really are.

You don’t know that they have what is needed for a relationship, never mind a mutually fulfilling one. You don’t know that they’re capable of filling voids within you and you certainly don’t know if this person can give you self-esteem and validate you. You don’t. Most of these expectations and ideas won’t be communicated to them and the truth is, you may expect this because you’re already doing things to appease them in the hope that it will filter back to you getting what you want.

And here is the perplexing thing: What if they want something different to the 50% that you’ve chipped in? They could be thinking with a 50:50 mentality too and might be expecting you to fill certain voids or meet certain needs by doing X,Y,Z when you’re wanting to be and do A,B and C. Their stake could also be entirely different to what you want that stake to be composed of whether it’s to meet your needs or to make a relationship work.

You would then be at odds. You’d be incompatible.

This concept of trying to meet someone to have a 50:50 relationship with is flawed and it’s reminded me that we make a lot of assumptions and can find ourselves latching on to external solutions for our internal problems. We can have distorted expectations of what a relationship can do for us. With very little experience and information, we believe and feel entitled to someone else being 50% responsible for us and that the person ‘should’ such and such for their stake. When it all goes pear shaped, we feel wronged and struggle to understand why something that was ‘supposed’ to happen didn’t.

Why don’t they know what their fifty percent is? we wonder.

When these relationships proceed anyway, we feel ‘hungry’ and confused as to why we don’t feel happy. We can feel frustrated that even though we haven’t asserted our needs, wishes, and expectations both in how we conduct ourselves and in the relationship, we somehow expect these needs, wishes, and expectations to be known and present in the other person because we’re being and doing certain things.

But it’s important to realise that you’re 100% responsible for you both in and out of a relationship and that if you’re not comfortable being who you are so you’re in essence being someone else, how is a relationship supposed to meet your needs anyway? Isn’t the fifty percent going to be skewed?

It’s also dangerous to be willing to offload half of your ‘character output’ just because you’ve met someone or paired up.

Why can’t you just show up and be you? Why can’t two people come together as individuals who respect their own needs, wishes, and expectations who then continue to do that and to mutually love, care, trust, and respect one another within a copiloted relationship?

50:50 makes you each 50% of your output – where is the rest?

Relationships are 100:100 – when you do all of this ‘half’ malarkey it becomes very subjective and you both leave a lot out of the relationship making each of you and the relationship inauthentic. When you’re being you and not suppressing ‘fifty percent’, you can very quickly see whether you’re in a mutual relationship and if you’re not, then you can still leave as your whole self, as opposed to feeling like you lost half of your identity.

Your thoughts?

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164 Responses to Relationships are 100:100 – It’s Tricky To Divide Up Relationships & People Into Halves

  1. yoghurt says:

    It’s occurred to me over the last few days (with some intensive reading/commenting on here) how much a lot of people really want to be a sort of cardboard-cutout, with only a perfect/seductive/cheerful/laid-back facade, which is about 25% of who they are.

    I was exactly the same, which was why I was perfectly comfortable with men coming round last thing on a weekend night – I always cleaned the house on Friday evening – but never having to see me when *I* needed to talk, or felt stressed, or was running round in small circles when I was getting ready for work.

    It’s jolly difficult to imagine anyone being interested in the 100% me at the minute. I’m working on this, but I’m aware that I’ve a tendency to bury the shiny nice parts atm (if they can get past the Grim-Faced Sleep-Deprived Single Mother side then they might get to see the light-hearted/sexy/fun side. Maybe). But then, this is just another facade, I think, more of a protective one. I’ve got to work on getting MYSELF back to 100%.

    • Gripped says:

      yoghurt- your comment resonates with me. I too am afraid that if I’m not the laid-cheerful gal, then I would just scare men away. Seems like my “natural” personality seems to attract only insecure, wimpy guys…so I try to be someone else, only to be treated like a backup option. Seems like the most desirable men aren’t interested in “the real” me. I’ve been reading Baggage Reclaim for quite some time now and I know I have to keep on believing that I deserve better, but every day it’s still a fight. Natalie is right on about the 100% 100% contribution. Just that the men who are willing to put in 100%, who do see my “true self” are not nearly as confident, charming, goodlooking, etc. as those who are only in it 20%, 10% or whatever… And this is the reason that we settle for 20% of something that seems more desirable to the 100% that bores us. And as I write this, I’m sure that it will be pointed out to me that it’s my self limiting beliefs that is creating this situation.

      • grace says:

        Confident charming and good looking say absolutely nothing about whether he is a good person. Nothing. At. All.
        Be careful that you’re not looking for someone who is impressive. Sometimes when we don’t think much of ourselves, we want someone to make up for the perceived lack.
        Don’t go to the other extreme of thinking that just because a man is boring and not horrid that’s what we should be settling for.
        I don’t think the men you like are as great as you think they are. Ironically I don’t think the men you turn down are as one hundred percent as you think they are either.
        The man for you won’t be another charmer, he wont be the sorry opposite of the charmer. He is in a different country altogether.
        You will find him when you’re ready. Look to what are your values and who you are apart from men. It’s not about feeling good, butterflies or status.

        • Kerry says:

          “Be careful that you’re not looking for someone who is impressive. Sometimes when we don’t think much of ourselves, we want someone to make up for the perceived lack.”
          Grace, when I read this it cut to the bone. That’s what I had been doing, but I’d never put it into words. I thought I was so lucky to have AC, so small was my opinion of myself. Ugh. It’s all becoming painfully clear now. I’m wincing. Wincing! I’m embarrassed for myself. And that’s a good thing.

        • yoghurt says:

          I dunno Grace.

          I mean, I get it, I really do (no-one is more cautious of the effortlessly charming these days). But, to give the flip-side of the coin… whilst I KNOW that I’m a woman of great substance and integrity, I can’t help being aware that there’s little incentive to get to know that about me when I’m generally pretty ungroomed, probably present as a bit slovenly and am very very bad atm at the surface stuff.

          (Example, although I know that he was an arse. Coffee-Arse-Commenter made a comment about how he was interested in me when we went for coffee and d’you know what I said? I said “Nice try sunshine”. Really, where was his incentive to try, poor bloke?)

          It’s not really something that I can help right now – my priorities did run a) Son b) Work c) Elderly Relative and d) Cat, but I ended up giving the cat to my mum so that d) is now Friends.

          But still. The bother is that I’d prefer a man who wasn’t slovenly and wasn’t awkward to speak to, and I think that’s fair enough.

          I know that the answer to this, btw, is to keep plugging on and gradually get all aspects of my life back on track – including my hair, and to practise spending time around nice people until my confidence has returned. But by the same token, I don’t blame anyone who isn’t particularly taken with my grey-faced visage right now and I don’t see why they should be. But then again, I need to at least try to interact with humans, otherwise I won’t get anywhere.

          I starting to think that people are like trifle. A trifle that consisted entirely of the fluffy light charming creamy stuff would be deeply unsatisfying, but a trifle that was made up exclusively of honourable sponge wouldn’t be brilliant either. I’m looking for a whole and well-balanced trifle – so to speak – but I’m not sure that I can be a whole trifle myself right now. And I’m worried that I won’t ever be.

          • yoghurt says:

            Hmmm, not sure how well that fits into the general debate…

            …I do like my trifle analogy, though :)

            • selkie says:

              I read an article recently about a woman who made an effort to flirt for one solid week. She tried all kinds of places, like sporting events, coffee shops, grocery stores, the gym, etc. She had little luck every where, but one day she went in sweat pants, no make up and hair pulled up into a pony tail to feed feral cats. She met a guy, looking slovenly and all. It was what she was doing (being kind to animals) she concluded, that made her shine. He noted how she must be a good person to care about them. She got a date when least expected it. Food for thought. Maybe doing what we love, something that feeds our soul is where we might look our best. We probably look happy, instead of scared and on high alert when we go looking to meet someone.

            • yoghurt says:

              Okay, worked out what I was trying to say:

              Maybe a feature of being ‘ready’ for a relationship (and I think that a lot of it is about timing)is partly about being able to project well – not necessarily being aggressively confident or charming (eep!), but comfortable in your skin and showing it.

              I keep finding that I’m not. But it’s only the sort of thing that you’re aware of when you’re out and about and actually talking to people. Practicing in my kitchen apparently doesn’t count!

              So, gripped, while I think that your point perhaps DOES raise a question about whether you’re looking for the right qualities/ recognising the right qualities as a Good Thing (and it’s worth thinking about – I found that having a baby boosted my expectations of a man from ‘Cool at Parties’ to ‘Will Hold Hair Back While I’m Sick And Get Up At 3am)’, I also think that it’s a question of really being ready and meeting a bloke who’s ready. Where you are and you do, as Grace says, it’ll be a whole different planet of an experience.

              • cc says:

                bingo – its about confidence that we know who we are, we love ourselves abundantly and completely, and we are comfortable in our own skin.

                as for where YOU are – how old is Son? i think your availability, given what you’ve been through, to allow a man into your list of priorities, even only intermittently, to the point at which you can spiff up is directly correlated to your Son’s growth. as he gets older and is less of a ‘kid’, you’ll be able to shift your focus a bit. and yes, you’re ready when you’re ready – don’t judge that.

                (hugs yoghurt)

              • selkie says:


                “Maybe a feature of being ‘ready’ for a relationship (and I think that a lot of it is about timing)is partly about being able to project well – not necessarily being aggressively confident or charming (eep!), but comfortable in your skin and showing it.”

                Yes. This is it. I recently went and had coffee with two fellas (one I have a tiny crush on) from yoga class. I was nervous the whole time and talked like Alvin the Chipmunk. Not charming for sure, but also not comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t project ‘Me’ very well. I was trying to hard. The day I show up and be me, without feeling like I’m at an interview is what I’m working at. But, we tend to be hard on ourselves. I may have come across just fine. Who knows? But, I don’t have huge expectations, its just enjoyable to go interact, so no huge disappointments looming. It feels kind of freeing actually, just being in the moment. I’ve been checking out Meet Up lately to give me opportunities to get out and learn how to interact better…..in my own skin. It’s like an experiment in being myself. I understand now that I was affected by the abusive ex, my father, etc….I think sometimes I am unlikable. I know this is thought coming from a place of fear. Being myself is an act of faith…in myself and yep, it’s scary.

                • yoghurt says:

                  Thanks selkie, cc and al :)

                  Selkie – alvin the chipmunk, YES that was me. I think that the high point was saying “Sorry, I’m rambling. Actually, no, I’m not sorry because even if I’m rambling and I’m not – well, maybe I am – then I’m afraid that you’re here and you’ve got to listen to it”.

                  *dies of shame*

                  (bet you came across as lovely though!)

                  It is tough, and it reminds me very very much of my first week (/term/year) of secondary school but the thing is, there’s no way around it, the only way out is THROUGH the discomfort and self-evaluation and practising until it’s not a big deal. And we know that we can trust ourselves to treat ourselves kindly no matter what.

                  cc – Son’s two in a month! (can you believe it?) I think you’re right, and I definitey think it’ll be easier when he’s bigger. At least then I won’t be tempted to start reciting ‘Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?’ in those gaps in an adult conversation.

                  Al – you’ve made a good point about prioritising myself and my mum made the same one recently but, honestly, my hair’s a lost cause right now. I can live with it, though, I have lots of hats.

                  It’s alright, and at least I’m feeling brave enough these days to risk trying. Actually that’s a MASSIVE step forward in itself. :)

                  • runnergirl says:

                    Yoghurt, happy birthday to your son. 2 is such a darling age. I’m learning that even 23 is a darling age, despite the fact the facts are very different. I’ve lived your comments, including wanting to recite ‘Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?’. I’m still laughing. For me and my daughter, it was “Steady and Slow, Slow and Steady Wins the Race”. After 23 years, that book still pops into my mind during the lulls in adult conversations. It’s really difficult with a 2yro but you really have to get you in the top 3 priorities. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle as well and when I first started therapy and had to list my priorities, I didn’t even rank in the top ten. Your hair comments resonated as well. I resort to a pony tail. Although since my daughter has been home, I make sure there is money for her hair appointments cos I know what bad hair feels like. Last month, it had to be about me. I had to have my hair done. Period. And my eye brows waxed. It is these seemingly insignificant things like hair and eyebrows that can have a huge impact. I guess that’s why I always make sure my daughter has the opportunity, even if I don’t. On the upside, be glad you had a son, their hair appointments are way cheaper.
                    One thing I learned way too late, make sure you fasten the air bag on you first, otherwise you can’t help others.

                    • yoghurt says:

                      Thanks rg :)

                      Two is a gorgeous age, but so was one and so was x months, he is lovely. And, whilst his Dad was perhaps not the best choice of partner, his paternal grandmother is a hairdresser and does his hair for free. Win! Such are the benefits of his dynasty!

                      Disappointed to hear that the reciting doesn’t wear off, though. Oh dear.

                      I know that you’re right, and I also know that I still have a touch of “Show The World That I’m A Good Person By Outwardly Being A Scruff!”. But really the best way of showing that I’m a good person is showing that I believe I deserve to be treated as well as I’d treat anyone else – I booked an eyebrow appt today.

                      Love to you xx

                  • cc says:

                    he’s only 2? awww… but you have to give yourself a break! it might have been a long 2 years, but you can’t necessarily expect yourself to be ready to date when you have a toddler. i mean, you could be, but its no shame if you’re not!!
                    more hugs!!

          • Al says:


            Get yourself a hair appointment, woman! Take photos of a new hairstyle youre thinking about even if its completely different to what you think you would normally do, etc. I cut my fringe myself a few weeks ago before work one day because I knew id wimp out if I waited until after my shift…and since I got my hair highlighted and properly cut. Its new and exciting, looks great, feels fantastic, and when i feel down and I look in the mirror, it reminds me that I am different to the person I was, and all the things I am working on for me. Its also required me to come up with a few new ways of styling it, and as I am a 5-min is a long time to spend on your hair kind of girl, this was also refreshing. I think its worth reordering your list to a)son, b) me,and so on. YOU were not even on your top priority list! From all the things Ive read and all the things I see now, making you a top priority always will make you a happier person and feel more confident in being yourself and knowing you were right to assert x,y,z boundary even though they got mad, etc. Im trying this and its not always easy but over the past couple months I have seen the huge impact it has had on me for the better. I think spending those 5 extra minutes each morning on you will make you have a much more confident outlook throughout the day too! Focus on finding your love for you, and then the perfect trifle will magically appear. (or at least that is how my thinking is going).Its not shallow and it doesnt make you a lesser person or narcissistic to put care into yourself and prioritise and love yourself first.

      • Mymble says:

        Well I’ll say something about it. I have had that thought too, but I do also believe that when you are a EUW (which I am) the very unassailableness of the EUM is what sets you off. Long before I found BR I said to the exMM “I wouldn’t know what to do with you if you turned up on my doorstep”. He was handsome, tall, impressive blah blah(add any random adjective). But my relationship behaviour has always been to sidle out the door when someone steps up and shows themselves willing and able to commit and in all probability I’d eventually have done the same with him. Chasing crumbs, living in fantasy, trying to win someone over was (in some ways) easier, more exciting, for me than living in reality, and building a committed mutual relationship.

        • Mymble says:

          Oops “unavailability” not unassailableness.

        • Demke says:

          Yea… why is that? why do we do that? let’s just say if these “EUM’s” were to actually step up? my ex did that and it scared me… he would say to me ‘why do you keep sabotaging it when it’s going good?’. And he was right. I guess I just didn’t ‘trust’ that there could be something ‘good’ with HIM. And even if it could’ve been good… opening up and being vulnerable with that particular person, was too stressful for me. I guess it really comes down to being with someone who doesn’t show shady unavailable behavior to begin with.

    • Tanzanite says:

      I realised I was repressed most of my life because of the relationship I had with my mother and it took along time to admit I was really angry and dissapointed with my mother for not being the mother I wanted.I think I became a very loving person because I had a fantastic father and I now have a great relationship with all my children because of the relationship I had with my father.

      This brings me to the issue of self esteem.When I had the non- relationship my self esteem was ok. I was so confident with who I was I thought I could have a relationship with someone who was a lot younger.
      I was swept off my feet by the attention but I did assert my needs,wishes and expectations.I was authentic.I showed up as me.( but he didn’t.) This was the first time in my life I have allowed myself to really love someone but it was a man that didn’t really exist.After a period of time I found myself lowering the bar in an attempt to get him to be the person he was when I first met him ( A person he never was ) I became unauthentic and that is when my self esteem took a battering as I allowed him to treat me without respect.I had zero self esteem in the end.It doesn’t matter if you show up with 100% if the other person is only pretending he’s going to give 100%. It can take a while to figure it out and by then you can be so attached and without self esteem you are totally lost.

      I lost a lot but I was never in doubt that I could build myself back up financially but not quite so sure if I would love again.

      A lot of the people on here didn’t receive unconditional love from one or both of their parents.It’s easy to say change your thinking but it is something deeper than thinking.We form our view of relationships long before we can understand and reason.

      It all makes sense now but it has taken me this long(47yrs),a lot of reading and this site to figure it all out.
      I am authentic now and I’m certain no one will ever have me questioning who I am again.

      • Kerry says:

        Tanzanite, I could have written your comment. Same situation on everything, mother, father, age, younger ex, battered self-esteem, all of it. I don’t have kids though. The neglect and abuse I received from my mother lead me on a journey in search of love from another unhealthy and dysfunctional person. Weirdly enough, the more dramatic and shallow the relationship (passionate, good looking, blah blah), the more addicted I became. I’m still trying to re-wire my thinking so that I attach to less dramatic, healthy and sincere men (friends too). This last year is the longest I’ve ever been single, but I’m determined to work my sh– out before I fall for another loser. I just have to fight negative self-talk that says you wasted so much time, it’s too late, blah blah. If only I knew a decade ago what I know now.

        • Tanzanite says:

          Hi Kerry

          I Don’t know about you Kerry but when you grow up emotionally abused by your mother it makes you feel like there is something about you that’s unlovable,like you are fundamentally flawed.The truth is it’s your mother that’s flawed.You grow up thinking that if your own mother doesn’t like you, you can’t expect anyone else to.When other people treat you badly it proves your mother is right,and there is something wrong with you.You are too young to work it all out.

          I see my mother clearly now and I can forgive because I know she had an awful upbringing. I don’t feel much of a connect with her.I will always look after her, she has her good points,I like her but I can’t say I love her and I fear one day she will die and I wont cry a single tear.

          Love is the ultimate prize for people like us.I don’t think we purposely pick bad men it’s just the promise of love is so appealing to us.If we think we are loved we will tolerate bad behaviour for fear of losing it,but if you are being treated badly it’s not love.

          I’m interested why you fell for a younger man.People asked me if it was because I wanted to feel younger but I’m certain it wasn’t that.I was intoxicated by the love on offer,he was lovely and he made me feel like I deserved to be loved and that is all most people want.

          Bad parenting has a lot to answer for and I made sure my kids didn’t suffer the same.I gave up some of my needs and aspirations but I don’t regret it ,not for one second because my life isn’t over yet.

          My dad says I’m a survivor but I don’t want to survive I want to live in peace.

          • Kerry says:

            I totally agree that when your own mother doesn’t love you, or know how to love you, it does serious damage at a cellular level that is really hard to undo. I didn’t even understand the extent of the damage until the last disastrous relationship with an AC/narcissist. My mother was cruel, abusive, alcoholic. She bitterly resented me and wanted me to feel as terrible about myself as she did. Shortly before her death, she outright told me she hated me. Of course, the alcoholism had caused brain damage, so there is that… but still, having one’s mother declare their hatred of you cuts to the bone. You are right, though. She was the flawed one. I am learning to absorb the truth of that, to surround myself with healthy people who have my back, and to love myself, flaws and all. I am slowly getting there – I even notice that when someone is rude or disrespectful, I don’t immediately assume I deserved it. Now, I look at their character first instead.
            As for the ex AC, he was only 6 years younger, but he rubbed that difference in my face as much as he could. In typical narcissistic fashion, he could sense an insecurity there and homed in on it. It was absurd. He even pretended he didn’t understand my pop culture references, because there was such a distance between our ages. As if! But he was a psycho.
            So, for me, dating a younger guy was not flattering for the ego by any stretch. And frankly, I don’t know why people still make a fuss about the older woman/younger man thing. My sister and several of my female friends are married to men who are younger by a good decade, and it works. I think the media, which is largely controlled by men, has given the erroneous impression that it works the other way around.
            I don’t want to be a survivor, either. I just want to be a strong, confident person with the boundaries and tools to keep the assclowns, negative nellies, users and toxic jerks away from me.

            • Learner says:


              Aww, I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s proclamation before she died. That must have hurt *badly* despite realizing about the brain damage. It made me sad for you to read that, and I send you virtual hugs (((((((((((((Kerry))))))))))

              • Kerry says:

                Thank you Learner! I’m in therapy, so it’s a work in progress. Virtual hugs back at you (((((((Learner))))))))

            • Tanzanite says:

              @ Kerry

              I no longer think the love of a good man is the answer all though it would be nice, but acceptance and unconditional love for oneself is the way forward.My dear mother has had a loving husband for 50 years who had never left her side, a great father, encourages her,praises her,shuts his ears to her insults,defends her accepts who she is totally but she is still the little girl sat on her doorstep in the dark waiting for her mother to return from the pub intoxicated.The damage runs too deep for her to change and no amount of love can make her feel secure.

              What jumped out at me was your mum wanting you to take the blame for the fact she hated herself,her last parting shot-I sincerely hope you don’t take the blame for that.

              I too got the wake up call when I had the non -relationship with the person I now call the young offender-not so young offender( 32 years old ) I made the link with him,my mother and my behaviour pattern and it all fell into place.

              I now agree with you about younger men and older women but for a long time I would refer to the age gap as the reason it failed and not his appalling behaviour. It still was the best I have ever felt about myself in my whole life,it was short lived though ( I would hate him to know that ) Your man sounded like he wanted an older woman and to slyly keep reminding you of your age.

              My mum’s mum had a drink problem and my mum dislikes anyone who drinks. My mum could be violent,foul mouthed and spiteful with her nasty words and I dislike people like that.I wonder what my kids will say about me-probably she was far too soft for her own good.

              It’s nice when someone understands exactly how you feel.I read 4 books that helped me a great deal by Dr John Townsend and Dr Henry cloud( I love their work )”Safe people”,”The mom factor”,”Hiding from love” and “changes that heal”.They are from a religious/psychological angle but they really managed to reach me and baggagereclaim.com saved my life.

              Good luck to you x

              • Kerry says:

                I agree with your assessment — my ex AC enjoyed the age difference so that he could use it as ammo to bring me down. He was whittling away at my self-esteem the whole time. If the girl he’s with today has sticky outy ears, or something, I’m sure that’s become ammo against her. He was a pathetic, insecure loser of a man.
                But I don’t think the age difference between us, or you and your guy, was the culprit. I think it was the person we attached to, their lack of values, good character, maturity, empathy – all the things that make a worthwhile human being. When they put you on that pedestal and make you feel so good, it’s like crack, and once they take it away, it’s nothing short of withdrawal.
                But remember, it isn’t real. It’s just our childhood lack acting out… trying to get love out of mommy again, the one person who couldn’t give it. To heal, my therapist says I have to accept that my mother could not love me, and that’s alright. I had my father’s love. I have love for myself. We need to stop the search for mommy’s love, and then we will be healed and stop with the dysfunctional men.
                I will read those books you suggested. I love self-help books. An old one that really helped me is Compassion and Self Hatred, by Dr. Theodore Rubin. It changed my life. And BR is a daily re-wiring of my old thinking, too.
                Good luck to you, T.

    • Spinster says:

      “It’s jolly difficult to imagine anyone being interested in the 100% me at the minute.”

      Me too, yoghurt, but for different reasons. Still pushing through it, though, and so can you.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Yoghurt, totally relate. I used to be the cheery gf too except that I never was laid back at all. I don’t think that my expectations are unreasonable, but so many guys nowadays get the “laid back” chicks from everywhere that I might seem that way to some.

      But, like many here it seems, I have always had a hard time asserting myself in any “bitchy” way to men; I am afraid that they will get cold back and that freaks me out. So when I am mad I just kind of get shut down and probably seem uncaring.

      But lately it is like I just can’t feel anything for anyone; I get a little crush then find out something bad, I get a tiny bit interested and then I look at them with my BR xray vision and I start reading all kinds of horrible things into what might just be a small mistake. I am hoping to meet someone kind and relaxed…but I am not the latter at all so it hard to hope for what you can’t be…

    • JR says:

      Yoghurt — from one sleep deprived single mom hiding the shiny parts to another, thanks for the chuckle

  2. Maria says:

    Wow, Natalie. What a fantastic article. I always say relationships are 50/50. I have NEVER EVER thought of it this way and it is soooo true. I loved the article it was great food for thought as is your whole website. I hunger to read your next blog post every week and I have bought all 3 of your books. As a matter of fact I was the fallback girl/dreamer and Mr Unavailable was in my life for 18 years on what I thought was a fantastic friendship. But something always didn’t seem just right. And I could never put my finger on it. Well when I started reading your books, which have become my new bibles for relationships and understanding people and myself, I put Mr Unavailable through the exercises to see how he stood up. He became everyone of those people you talked about in your book, blowing hot and cold, a huge future faker,such a charming speciman was he, and he had me confused and thinking there was something wrong with me all these years. Well now your bible has shown me the truth and I have finally and painfully, cut him out of my life. Although I am still failing on the no contact rule. But because I have now shown him that I am aware of ugly personality traits, he has fallen off the face of the earth. Which is a great thing. But I am sad that I wasted sooooo much time, thinking he and I had a great friendship.

    Thanks Natalie for sharing your experiences.

    It has changed my life.

    Kind regards

  3. grace says:

    Thanks Nat
    After a heart to heart with the boyfriend I said I would put my doubts and fears to one side and commit fully to our relationship. I was thinking of your one hundred percent. We are at that stage where neither of us could walk away unscathed. It would hurt us both a lot. We’ve shared so much and opened our hearts to each other. It’s daunting but there is no other way than to put in one hundred percent.
    Of course there does need to be some wisdom. Don’t just go clinging to someone after a few dates and a snog because he’s charming (barf) and tall (or whatever your hook is).
    We are at the three month mark and it took two months to kiss. I knew him for over six months before that. Slow is okay. It’s not the same as no progression. It’s taking time to discover, talk, be together, be apart, discuss with friends and family, reflect.
    It’s fun but it’s also a serious matter to be responsible for yourself and for how you treat another human being who’s sharing their heart. It doesn’t work to muck about in the blame game, fantasy or doom mongering. I’m learning what real commitment is in practice rather than theory. And it IS work. It’s not happy ever after. It is a risk. But worth it and more fulfilling than lala land and the thinking that keeps us stuck there.
    Thank you all so much for getting me this far!

    • cc says:

      my gracie-
      massive hugs, brave, strong girl. i’m so happy you’re happy!

    • Learner says:

      Oh Grace, it sounds like the talk with your boyfriend went well. I am so happy for you, that you’ve found someone to put his whole self in. And that you feel safe to do the same. Wonderful!

    • runnergirl says:

      Good for you Grace. I really like Nat’s 100:100 advice. It’s the in or out thingy rather than the hokey pokey. When folks say a relationship is 50:50, it makes me wonder where the other 50% of him is and where the other 50% of me is (actually I can tell you…!) It must be a very vulnerable situation to be 100% in and good for you. Your comments with the bf trigger my fear of the vulnerability of 100% in. It is a risk. Then I think I’ve risked a lot more for a lot less than even 50%. Slow is okay. I’m happy for you that there is progression. Where did we ever get the idea that two halves make a whole?

      • Lilia says:

        Thanks for posting this Grace, I´m so happy things are going the right way for you!

      • Fearless says:

        Me too, Grace :)

        Runner, it’s hokey-cokey! (not pokey) but thanks for the laugh! :) x

        Nat, great article. Most people do use the platitude that relationships are 50-50. You’re right, it’s flawed thinking – if we are each putting in only 50% of ourselves there’s 100& of something missing. Where the hell is it? And yes, it is very subjective, some folk think they’re putting in a good percentage of contribution when they’re actually putting in eff all! (My ex EUM! He used to whine that he could never do anything right, which used to bamboozle me. Now, with my BR head on, I’d be telling him he could try blinkin’ well showing up for the relationship and getting himself in it – 100% Like what I was doing! ha.)

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey Fearless,
          Over here, it’s the hokey pokey. You know the right foot in the right foot out. For the longest time, I didn’t make the connection between pokey and cokey until you explained it a while back. I like hokey cokey better.
          BTW, I did know where the other 100% was. The other 50% of him was vested in his marriage and unavailable. The other 50% of me was simply unavailable which is why I got involved with a MM in the first place. Thus, we added up to 100% unavailable. I like when Natalie spins platitudes on their head too. Your exEUM couldn’t do anything right because he couldn’t! He was right.

    • Little Star says:

      Grace. I am so pleased for you. You deserve happiness and love:-) Good luck!!!

    • JR says:

      oh Grace I loved “..a serious matter to be responsible for yourself and for how you treat another human being who’s sharing their heart. It doesn’t work to muck about in the blame game, fantasy or doom mongering. I’m learning what real commitment is in practice rather than theory.” I want to tape this to my morning mirror which has little reminders to me when I start my day of boundaries, emotional electric fence, etc. I can’t tell you how much you and countless others and of course Natalie have helped me. I’m surviving and getting a better, more peaceful version of myself with every day that passes.

  4. SM says:

    Natalie I’ve had an epiphany in the last weeks. I have a male sales partner at work whom I have to split my commission with. He puts about 40% into the relationship and I put 110%, this is a fact and everyone knows it. Well when the money is split down the middle, it doesnt come out to be 75% (half the work) its more like I end up getting 40% of what I put in. That sucks and it is in actual $. So the same goes with relationships, when a guy is not fully committed you can never pick up his slack, you get brought down to his level. My partner has some talents that I dont have and I feel if he would do his share, we could be superstars together. I’m giving it til January to turn around if not, I’m bailing out.

    • PhoenixRises says:

      Good for you for keeping your eyes open and knowing what you stand for. I love how you brought up an example that is about the other relationships in our lives, which is just as important as the romantic ones!

      • SM says:

        Pheonix I was discussing with a friend about this revelation. Talk about screwed up, she then starts telling me how I need to praise him more, men need praise etc.. I looked at her like she had two heads, I mean we are colleagues. We were hired to do the same job with the same skills, I am not there to stroke him, he’s not my lover. Its difficult to praise someone when they are sitting on their butt while you are busting yours. His stroke will come in the form of a paycheck.

        • PhoenixRises says:

          Ha! I laughed so hard when I read that. Best of luck to you in finding a new job where you can work with equals.

        • PhoenixRises says:

          Ha! I laughed so hard when I read the part from your un-informed friend. Best of luck to you in finding a new job where you can work with equals :)

    • dancingqueen says:

      SM, That sucks, did sales, have been there…make sure if you leave because of this that you let someone know in administration…they need to know why you are leaving and get some feedback on that lazy guy!:)

      • SM says:

        Dancing the bad thing is that I am new to this company and have to prove myself which is the reason I’m putting in 110%, he doesnt. The manager put this partnership together and she has her eyes wide open to whats going on so that part is good. But she is leaving it up to me to get out of it. The fact of the matter is that I am getting more BR lessons from this relationship than any of my previous romantic ones. Or maybe it’s that now MY eyes are wide open. What a lesson whew..

  5. Demke says:

    Great article, Natalie.

    It really comes down to being compatible. If two people are on the same page, and they are respectful of one another, the 100/100 will just come naturally with being interested in one another’s happiness.

    I am experiencing a good example of this now. I am weaning/distancing myself from my soon to be ex AC, which has been on/off for several years. Just imagine a fallback girl situation, that’s basically been my relationship with him. However, he’s always professed to being with me, and wanting a relationship with me and only wanting to date me. But I’ve always been scared sh!tless to make that commitment because there was so much negative initiated by him, and me reacting like a crazy person, lol. So glad those days are over. But still. Even though I do see that he has matured, and changed to some extent, in a positive way. I still can’t fully trust him. I want to. But whenever I’m around him, my gut is like… wtf… this just does NOT feel right!!?? love him, want to believe him, it just doesn’t feel ‘right’.

    What makes me feel bad, is that he wants to spend time with me. Wants me to be his ‘girlfriend’. But I’d pretty much be the giver.. he’d be the taker. That’s how it’s always been. I don’t want to give anymore. I am a single mom. I am exhausted to entertain him anymore. I know what I want/need in a man. And I get what these ladies above are saying. The nice/good guy isn’t as charming, good-looking, or charismatic as the AC/EUM. However, my looks are going in the toilet being around a EUM, lol.. I’m tired alot, stresed a lot cause he could say one thing one minute (I want you to be my girlfriend, I love you), and be shacking up w/ someone else the next.

    I have dated a good guy for the past few weeks. I know him through a mutual friend, everyone likes him because he really is a genuinely nice guy. Funny. Smart. Not Don Juan, but.. he’s cute.

    The way this man has been treating me in the past few weeks… has been everything I had hoped that a man would treat me. And even though I still talk to the AC, I would trust this other man a hell of a lot more than the ex AC of 7 years.

    I am willing to continue dating this guy, because so far, he has made the real me feel so accepted and appreciated in the past month, than AC had ever made me feel in 7 years.

    I guess it all depends on what you find attractive and sexy in a man. I’m beginning to find him more attractive because he’s just so damn nice and considerate. But not like an eww, doormat, creepy nice. He’s keeping it cool.

    So, this post came at a great time for me, because I can already see such a difference with compatibility, and how it effects respecting one another and making eachother happy vs. being in a ‘relationship’ with one of these AC’s/EUM’s. Because all those men care about is themselves. They don’t seem to be generous givers, or want to make any small sacrifice for their woman. So selfish.

    So, confident.. generous, considerate, protective… trustworthy behavior is starting to outweigh the sexy, disloyal, charming, manipulative, hot/cold… AC. And a few years ago, I would’ve given the nice one a date, and that would’ve been it. I guess when you deal with ‘shady’ for so long… and you get so sick of it, other qualities (the right qualities) become more attractive than sexiness and charm.

    That’s just my experience :)

    • recoveringloveaddict says:

      Thank you, Dempke, for validating what I have, over the course of 20+ years, come to believe about love and attraction. For me it all boiled down to redefining what real love was and retraining myself so I could be attracted to a nice guy. I had a difficult time in the early dating period with my now husband of 20+ years because I felt so smothered and so as a result, distanced myself emotionally. But I have never in my life felt more accepted for who I am than I do with him. I have never felt insecure about myself in any way around him or judged by him. Having said all that, it hasn’t been easy. I continue to deal with my fear of intimacy and commitment which in recent months led me into an emotional affair with an EUM/AC that I worked with. This website of Natalie’s and the honest, wise words of the women who comment prevented it, I believe, from becoming more. I am so grateful for that!

  6. selkie says:

    I’m so happy for you Grace. Many of us here are still healing, are fresh out of a break up, or off men completely for a while as we figure ourselves out. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve BEEN the fresh break up story, the ‘is this a red flag?’ story, I’m having a bad day story, just ran into my jerk ass ex story, I never want to date again story and finally, the beginning to question if I’m ready to date again story. It is so very refreshing and hopeful to hear your, ‘I’m dating a good man and it’s working out in a healthy way’ story. Thank you for sharing with us and giving us inspiration and hope that we too will have a good story to share someday. (no pressure!!!) Enjoy!

    • runnergirl says:

      Keep up the good work Selkie. I’ve gone through all those phases/stories too. As you can tell from my comments, it was a big step transitioning from I’m on men-o-pause to am I ready to date, particularly because I’ve never really dated. I just got married. I finally felt ready when I felt ready to trust myself and when I started to internalize the fact that I’m 100% responsible for myself. So if I start my dreamer thingy and imagining what I’ll be wearing on my fourth wedding on the first/second date or worse, if I start that dreamer thingy based on online communication, only to discover that the guy is a total sweaty slob with extremely bad manners (last week’s date) or stands me up on a second date because I didn’t call him to wish him a happy birthday (a few weeks ago) or expects me to hang and wait for a phone call regarding a hiking date (last night), my dreaming is my problem. His problems are his problems. At the moment, I’m just showing up and being me. The guys are showing up and being them. I’m not choosing them, even though they may choose me. That’s another wacky subconscious belief I was carrying around. Just cos a guy was interested in me, I had to somehow be interested in him? I didn’t realize I got to decide 100% of the time. Somehow, I just turned that decision over to him, a true passenger. Although online dating is hugely challenging and tremendously tricky for recovering former FBG’s and I’m NOT recommending it, when I meet a guy for the first time, it is clear the decision as to whether I want to meet a second time is clearly 100% up to me. Just because he wants to doesn’t mean I want to. When you are ready, pack your boundaries, self-esteem, and values. On my first few dates, I was so busy reviewing BR, I forgot my lipstick and hair brush. Turns out the lipstick and hair brush didn’t matter! The boundaries, self-esteem, and values did.

  7. Learner says:


    Yet again you are helping me to see more clearly what the heck was wrong with my relationshit, besides the fact that I was involved with a MM. It always felt like I was “chipping in” at least three times as much as he was, and now that we do the maths, it makes sense!

    My theory, based on your post: the exMM gave about 50% to his marriage. Which could have left (a still unsatisfying) 50% for me. Enter secret OOW. That 50% was divided 2 ways, which left on average 25% each for me and the OOW. I probably gave 75% at best, being EU and a dreamer (so I never fully opened my heart to him), so yeah, 75%:25% is a 3 to one ratio. No wonder it felt uneven.

    Receiving 25% (or less) of his effort was like eating 25% of the nutrients I needed each day. No wonder I felt not only hungry, but starving! The weight I lost from this malnutrition was not in pounds, but self-esteem and self-respect.

    I know now that he wanted me to fill a void in his life – which he claimed was a lack of passion, a lack of “sharing”. (Fearless made the astute observation that HE was the void in his life – it was a huge, life-sucking void). Goodness knows what I was hoping for him to contribute. Love and acceptance, I suppose, which he was unable to give. We WERE incompatible, it is so clear now!

    It really does feel like I am starting to forget what I felt I needed him so desperately for. I went for a huge chunk of time this afternoon without thinking of him – the progress feels so good!

    It did feel like I lost a big part of myself when we ended things, but I am feeling like I am getting more of myself back. You are so right, we must be 100% responsible for ourselves both in and out of relationships. And yes, when we are IN a relationship, each person should give 100&. Thanks for this perspective – very insightful as always!

    • Fearless says:

      “The weight I lost from this malnutrition was not in pounds, but self-esteem and self-respect.”

      Well said. I second that. We don’t always realise this, or take it very seriously, at the time but when we get some distance and start to ‘feed’ ourselves again it becomes clear that we were being starved of our self-esteem and self-respect. I’m starting to feel like a whole 100% Fearless again and I’m going to hold on to my whole self now, in a relationship or out of one.

    • runnergirl says:

      Hang in there Learner. When you do the math, it doesn’t add up. I’m learning a ton. Dreamy 4th date guy just got kicked to the curb. He texted tonight (Thursday) and I responded that I would call him after the VP debates, which I did. All of a sudden, he couldn’t commit to a hike this weekend but he would let me know. Nope, I’m not hanging, waiting around for some random dreamy dude who can’t commit to a hike. He was aghast that wasn’t going to wait around until he texted me regarding his availability this weekend. I told him if you can’t make plans on Thursday evening for a Saturday hike, you are too busy for me. We parted ways immediately. I gotta say boundaries are the best thing since sliced bread. He was caught totally off guard when I asserted my boundaries. I’m not left hanging as to whether he has time for me. I don’t have time for him and I’m not going to be left hanging….gotta thank the exMM for that lesson. So dreamy fourth date guy is kicked to the curb. He was so astonished that I wasn’t going to wait for his crumb. I was so astonished at how I automatically flushed. It was a wonderful moment. He was like WTF and I was like you are flushed. Yeah me. It was automatic and there was NO negotiation. It was a hike for god sake.

      • grace says:

        Well done. What struck me as different about the bf is that he has time for me. If he doesn’t have time he makes it. I never feel that I’m persuading him to see me.
        For a while I was waiting for him to get twitchy on me but he has been entirely consistent.

      • SM says:

        Runner, thank you for the example that as long as we are dating we will have to keep our boundaries front and center. And not be afraid to use them even after a 4th date.

      • cc says:

        YEAH, runner!!
        *FLUSH* swirl that, hike dude! dream on!

        woo hoo!!!!

      • simple pleasures says:

        runnergirl, I’ve thought about you all week. I was concerned with Dreamy’s amber alert comment about finding you very sexy. Now reading
        your post, I thought, this woman has her head on her shoulders!

        • Tulipa says:

          Hi Runner,

          I was wondering how he was going to react when you told him you are not having sex until you know someone. His words oh yes I agree with you and his actions errr I’m unsure I have time to hike with you are telling.
          Good on you for flushing.

          • runnergirl says:

            Hi Ladies,
            I didn’t draw the connection between my sex boundary and his “sudden” desire to “be spontaneous”(as he put it)until this morning. I had a good laugh. It’s obvious he wasn’t even going to put in 50% if sex wasn’t in the cards. Other than his one declaration of being sexually attracted, there was no sex talk and only a short little kiss and the end of the evenings. It’s also obvious he was showing up thinking x,y,z and I was just showing up to see how things went. No assumptions just cos he was smart and handsome and no investment (thanks Nat and ladies). Both Mr. Dreamy and Mr.Birthday Boy, stressed that there was a connection when I said nope. What neither realized is, I’m not going to put up with shody, disrespectful behavior based on a connection and I’m not even going to explain it. He was sure shocked when I said nope, nothing doing. His response…wait for it…”that’s just how I roll”. I managed to not burst out laughing and simply responded “that’s not how I roll” and said good night. He responded with “I’m shocked” and I responded with “I’m not”. Said good night, wished him luck, and hung up the phone. I’m grateful I didn’t spend anytime dreaming about Mr. Dreamy (thanks Nat and ladies). That is the KEY for me. No dreaming. And now I’m glad he flashed his amber flag early on. Natalie, your brilliant insights and advice works brilliantly. I’ve been so happy about enforcing my boundaries, I forgot to be disappointed!
            Simple Pleasures, I only recently got my head on my shoulders and I gotta watch it closely cos it could slip off…
            Yes, SM it is boundaries on every date and every day with every body.
            And Grace, my whole body started twitching when he started with the well lets just see how the weekend plays out and I’ll give you a call. It was the same twitch when the exMM said that. Good for you that the bf has been consistent and for the reminder that it is possible for somebody to be 100% in.
            CC, swirl that hike dude.
            You ladies are lovely. Hugs.
            There sure are a lot of frogs out there. Most importantly, the fact that they are a frog, isn’t about me. I get it, she screams!

            • selkie says:

              YAY! Runnergirl, you are inspiring the hell out of me! You are one kick ass chic. I read BR everyday, and it always makes perfect sense, but hearing how you put things into practice makes it sink in even more. You weren’t willing to wait squirming on the hook for him? And he was surprised? How outrageous. I am so proud of you for showing (and not just telling) him you are worth way more than that. Bet he’s still scratching his tiny little head!

            • Learner says:

              Aww Runner,

              I had hoped Mr Dreamy would turn out to be a “good guy”. I wasn’t too concerned that he found you sexy (as you are, no doubt!), and was hopeful he was sincere when he agreed to waiting till you knew someone to have sex with them. The waffling about the weekend hike is definitely amber flag-waving though – perhaps he was waiting to see if he could line up a date with someone who *also* wants his x y z agenda? Adding my flush-congrats to those of the others – you go, runnergirl!

            • A says:


              Your stories have me laughing out loud! Whoever it was who suggested that you could write a book of these dating adventures was on to something!

              Sorry that you’re running into so many lacklustre men, but good for you for handling these situations with such aplomb :)

            • Sunshine says:

              Ohhh…the guy that drove me so insane I found BR was like that.
              I only realized much, much later that “being spontaneous” meant, “I want to keep my options open in case I get a better offer with one of the 4 other women I’m dating.”

      • dancingqueen says:


        Because he could not take a hike…he is now taking a hike;)

  8. great guy says:

    Quite the perspective Nat (as always)! Always thought I wanted an equal… but an equal half is still not 100:100.

    Discovered this site a few months ago as I realized the relationship I was in (if you can call it that) was exactly the same as my ex. It’s ended (except she keeps calling randomly). Yep! We men have to deal with it too! Sad part is, I was completely content with my life. And then let another one in (for the second time)! She showed the side of herself (again) that was perfection. Like most people though, she couldn’t maintain it. Its a shame actually because the person she “shows” initially is pretty great! In the end, same ole female AC.

    Reading another post from Nat made me realize there were people I have over-looked in the past for really stupid reasons. That we tend to be “attracted” to the wrong things in people when we need to look a bit deeper into who they are and what their values are (and do these values match ours). I found that I didn’t give people a chance for all the wrong reasons. I am working on changing that and being open to people I wouldn’t have for one reason or another or for reasons that shouldn’t matter.

    Gripped, you’re not doing anything we haven’t all done (or still do). It is hard to change that, however, realizing it is the first step to a cure (as they say). If you can find the post I mentioned above (if you haven’t already) it could help. I am curious as to what traits you find insecure or wimpy? Some may consider a person insecure if they seek validation, while another may feel if someone presents themselves as anything but their true self is insecure. I’m sure if we use dating as a discovery phase, it is possible to find a person with everything we’re looking for.

    • Allison says:

      Great Guy,

      Perhaps, you overlooked some because you were not ready for something legitimate: safe. I know I did.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Great Guy

      1) your female AC comment made me laugh. It just is funny to hear, although as a woman I can fully say that I know we can be *huge* ACs.

      2) This really resonated though
      “That we tend to be “attracted” to the wrong things in people when we need to look a bit deeper into who they are and what their values are (and do these values match ours). I found that I didn’t give people a chance for all the wrong reasons. I am working on changing that and being open to people I wouldn’t have for one reason or another or for reasons that shouldn’t matter. ”

      I used to be really attracted to guys that scared me, made me a little nervous and sick to my stomach. I would force myself to deal with that, telling myself that that was normal, but now, after having read this blog for 2 years, I know that it is not.

      I was always so stressed, dating someone I “loved” when I was always so waiting for the butterflies to calm or the other foot to fall. I used wine way too much as a crutch to quell that feeling. It is worth being alone now, to not feel like I have to force myself to live in fear, just to be in a “successful” relationship. This was often of course not good, or, if the fear ended, I would just lose interest…pathetically.

      It was like I needed that fear to motivate me to reach out. I don’t know why, but I could only be motivated by fear, to get closer to someone. It was so perverse. I am not saying that I dated obvious jerks, no one ever beat me or seemed “scary” but I dated guys who had lack of empathy for others, and, when they picked me, I liked being the exception. I wanted to be that special girl who could soften them. Yeah that worked great…

      I am not attracted to that anymore, but I don’t seem to be able to find a lot of people attractive right now…I just think I am waiting for the right person but not meeting them. I hope that I don’t keep needing that fear frission. It is a no end street.

      • Lilia says:

        Dancingqueen, I can relate to the fear factor. I don´t know what it´s about, but as long as I can remember men have had an element of fear for me. At least, the men I see as potential romantic interests.

        Maybe it´s because deep down I know I am choosing ACs? The one single time I didn´t feel this way was with the only healthy boyfriend I´ve had, when I was in my 20s. Things were so easy with him, I felt I could be myself all the time and we were both 100:100 in the relationship. Too bad we were too young for it to last.

        I sometimes wonder if I became EU after we broke up, it was just too hard. It is much easier when things go sour with scary guys, at least you have this feeling of relief when they´re not around.

    • Freya says:

      Great Guy I have a great example of insecure: Man yells at me to look at him, does he look like the kinda guy that can’t get a date? He then demanded I pay for my share of drinks and dinner and I better beware that I was false advertising who I was.
      All this because I did not want to have another drink.

  9. Gina says:

    Once again Nat you have outdone yourself. I,too, used to think that relationships were 50/50. However, after reading this post, I see things differently. I don’t know what the future holds, and if I’ll ever meet the right guy for me…but at least if I do, reading your blog is helping me to become a better person who–acting out of self-love and high self-esteem–makes better relationship choices.

  10. Tired says:

    Ive always been me , i think thats the problem. To eager to please . It a pattern you pick up i guess from earlier telationships . My first fella very moody and half interested i vhased and chased . He ended it new yr eve in pub(nice) . Then bloke from work ladted two weeks then fwb and i watched him purse all the new girls in factory madee feel crap at only 18 ! Then bang met hubby moved in 4 wks later snd a control , fsther figure always eager to please . Id second guess myself all time id give and give and he just trested me worse , robbed me of my confidence . Then affair with band man 6 months intensity then 4 and half years fall back girl . I gave and gave and gave whilst theses men contributed nothing 100 from me a big fat zero from them . Being me doesnt work it seems if you stand up for yourself and be a bitch that works . I do then ripp myself apart afterwards , panicing worrying bout fall out . All ways back tracking , i mean i sit here now thinking oh the ex mm even tho he treated me appallingly and was messing with someone new. I sit here thinking oh hes not my pal anymore , not my friend was i wrong to block him ? Text him , mmail him ask why atent we friendd ? Oh my god what a pathetic little doormat all i done and she still begging for crumbs . So yes it so hard to be yourself in a new rlship because when youve messed up many times how do you know how to be with the nxt one ?

    • I get it! says:

      This may sound harsh, OK, this IS harsh, but here it is anyway…

      Re-read what you have written here. You start off by saying you are “always being yourself”, but everything you have written about your relationship history shows that you are very young and have no idea who you are (yet), and you seem to want to mold yourself into whatever someone wants, if only they will give you some attention that you can interpret as love.

      I don’t know who you really “are” either, but good luck having a successful fulfilling relationship if you truly believe that you are a doormat, and nothing more.

      Relationships require respect, and you won’t get it from anyone else until you have it for yourself. I recommend you search for any of NML’s posts on boundaries and self-respect, as a starting point, especially “I’m not that woman”.

      Best wishes – it’s a long, but important journey…

  11. Sarah T says:

    This is exactly why I despise and never use the term ‘other half’ when referring to my boyfriend! The implications are hideous!

  12. Victorious says:

    This has given me a lot to think about Natalie,along with the comments from Yoghurt and gripped which really resonated with me. I presented a false image of myself (easy going, laid back, not remotely jealous) in a pathetic attempt to get him to love me as much as I loved him. Even if it had worked (it didn’t) it wouldn’t have been me he was loving would it? It would have been my shady representative, and eventually the cat would have been let out of the bag or I would have died inside from self loathing. I put in about 80%. I see that now. Not in the first three months of course when we were both putting in 100%. Actually, he was putting in more than me. As soon as there was a void in the effort ratio though I raced to fill it. And he called yesterday after a month NC. And I answered and spoke to him for a long time. No real harm done I hope. He got what he wanted from me (ego stroke/attention/intelligent conversation/support) and it left me wondering what I really think I am going to get from him now. Like Nat says, we go into relationships with unsaid ideas about what we want from it. I wanted romance, attention and sex. He wanted what I am still giving him. He will give me what I am giving him but that isn’t what I want. It is taking me a long time but I think I am finally getting perspective. If I had been more honest about my own needs and not felt like they were less important than his I wouldn’t have gone through this hell.

  13. Magnolia says:

    I think I get it. I reread this post a couple times. I thought, yes, both people have to be in a hundred percent, but doesn’t that mean each whole comes to a relationship and their 100% is half of what makes a good relationship? As in, not two half-people make a relationship, but each whole person makes half a relationship.

    I’ve wanted an “equal” relationship; a “fair” relationship. I always hated seeing my mother do as much or more (sometimes much more) paid work as my father, then do all the housework too, and do all the paying attention to the kids. I wanted to find someone who would do everything my mom did, too, like I would, so both people would be doing what seemed like 100%. But I think my mom is in “busting a gut” territory, so maybe what plays as 100% to me is actually far more than that: perhaps I’m looking for someone who loves me as much (as over-much?) as a codependent? God, I hope not.

    On the flip side, I think my father gave *his* version of 100%. Which wasn’t much emotionally at all, even was a vampire emotionally, so what does that make what he saw as his best (or most realistic) effort? Rather than be furious at him for only giving 30%, I’ve come to see that his emotionally-absent way of being IS his 100%.

    But the problem comes in assuming that each person has 50% of the responsibility, or hell, even of just the chores, in the relationship. What if someone is genuinely ill? What if one person wants to do something that requires compromise on the other person’s part? If a relationship is only a list of responsibilities, of x number of backrubs and y number of meaningful conversations and z number of blowjobs (or rides to the airport), then what are you going to do when someone dips below 50%? Fire them?

    Only if you know that whoever someone is at the time IS their 100%, and that the shape of it can shift, but that overall that 100% can be counted on to be a good presence, does it make sense to hang with them.

    I’m going to wrap my head around this a bit more, because in recent years I’ve been looking at myself to see whether or not I could contribute half of a certain kind of lifestyle: i.e. do I bring enough time, money, education, interests, etc to a relationship that my “half” would be balanced by the kind of “half” that I’m looking for?

    But I watched this video on the pain behind addictions recently and I really saw myself in the doctor speaking about his own need to at least be needed if he couldn’t be loved. I’ve tried to become useful and hoped to find someone who also had become so, with values similar to mine around in what ways people need to support one another, and we could be useful to each other. That’s been my model.

    I’ve felt like I could only ask for in a relationship what I could bring to it myself, whether that be patience, or kindness, or something like money or access to certain things. I think I’m working on a 50/50 model … will chew on this some more.

  14. Spinster says:

    This reminds me of when people say about their relationship partners “You complete me”. What are you, a puzzle waiting to be put together? A broken glass waiting for its pieces to be glued back together? 😐

    No 50:50 for me. Either all or nothing.

    • Fearless says:

      Spinster, yes this phrase annoys me too. I had a ‘match’ on a dating site whose profile read that he was looking for someone ‘to complete him’. I “deleted” him straight away, thinking to myself ‘well, that’s not going to be my job – that’s your job! I don’t want half a person, thanks, I’m looking for someone who is a whole person already!'(funny thing is I imagine that this guy thought that what he wrote would be appealing to the ladies. Not this one. Instant red flag for me.)

  15. Lau_ra says:

    @great guy,
    my eye caught your line on how your ex-AC “showed the side of herself (again) that was perfection. Like most people though, she couldn’t maintain it”. I wonder if this wasn’t the case that you perceived her as a flawless diva and couldn’t take that shes just a normal woman, so she became an AC, because she is trying to contact you and find out what happened? Kind of reminds me of my recent Mr.Unavailable, who would always notice if I would mention an F-word and tested if I’m listening to him by picking on words, re-questioning me on the same thing and etc.Of course, he vanished without saying goodbye and I’m pretty sure I’ve “failed” at one of his tests (probably mentioned smth he didn’t like at a time he didn’t want to hear it or smth)and “lost my perfect image”.

  16. Jennifer says:

    It is so foreign to read a message like this. As many girls in the U.S. or western culture in general or any girl who’s been exposed to Disney movies, I was culturally sent the message, “You will be saved, happy and healthy when a man loves you. You’re very worth is lacking if by a certain age you do not have kids or a husband.” Ughhh, pleaaase. This is so limiting. Girls deserve the truth about relationships. It doesn’t even make sense to need someone to complete us a woman. I mean how in the heck would you know what values to look for in a partner if you didn’t know and love yourself irrespective of them.

    In my family all the woman are addicted to and blinded by their men. These limited, crap men are put on a pedestal for doing just about nothing other than being their crap selves, and these women give their lives and the everything to wait on them hand and foot while the men continue to be lazy, gross, imature, lacking and limiting control freaks. Maybe it’s not culture so much, perhaps my family is just really effed up.

    • Kerry says:

      Jennifer, your family isn’t effed up. I see crap men put on pedestals all the time. Women are just so generally low on self-esteem that they’ve bought into the illusion that they’re nothing without a man – any man. They’re usually the same women who see single hood as akin to death. They look upon single women with pity, smugness, or a horror that it should never happen to them. I know so many women who are miserable with their boring, self-centred husbands, and I wouldn’t trade places with them for the world.

  17. Tired says:

    I have really struggled today , feel like firing off a email telling him ehat a low life he is , or plotting revenge but what would it acheive , i just dont know anymore , i think ill be to scared to ever have a relationship again because i give off hint of doormat , i would question myself worrying that im giving to much , to easy going x

    • Victorious says:

      Plotting revenge is Ok but don’t actually do anything! It is just a bad day Tired. Try to weather the storm. Imagine him sending on your email to all his mates ( male and female) and them all laughing at what you wrote.

      • Lilia says:

        Tired, you know what they say about revenge (besides that it´s the pleasure of the Gods): just sit on your doorstep and wait until life takes revenge for you.

        It won´t have anything to do with you, but long after you´ve moved on, this moron will suffer as you did-

    • Fearless says:

      try practicing acceptance. It is what it is. Let it be. Nothing bad will happen. Work on you – on being a whole you. He can’t do that for you – neither can revenge, or emails or text messages. These things will only take more away from you, they won’t give you anything or add anything to you; they’ll only put you further into negative equity, so to speak.

      • runnergirl says:

        Tired,I’d suggest signing off of everything, except BR. I’m loving Natalie’s Self-esteem e-course. There is hope girl. But you gotta have faith in you first. Nat’s self-esteem e-course has prompted me to go even deeper into what motivates me. It is really scary and I’ve been dodging my e-course homework cos it’s too scary.

  18. Lilia says:

    This post is very timely, just yesterday I had a 2-month checkup with the doctor who gave me anti-depressants when I was at my lowest low over the EUM/AC. The pills helped me to start climbing out of the hole and find BR but yesterday the chat with him just left me feeling empty. His theory was “well if you´re still having dreams about EUM and not completely healed you should just date others instead”.

    I told him at the moment I´m not interested in dating anyone, that I´m perfectly fine being by myself until someone worthwhile shows up, and his reply was “yes but it could take a long time before you meet someone like that, and what are you going to do in the meantime? have a bad time, all alone? get in a convent?”.

    Somehow I ended up feeling like I´m unhealthy because I don´t want to date/sleep around randomly. I felt silly because a convent sounds so lovely and peaceful at this moment. This chat gave a headache and made my self esteem wobble.

    Until I realised this doctor was speaking to me from a male point of view, for a man it would be perfectly positive to have flings just for fun. It would probably even boost his self-esteem. But for me, it would be hell. I need a 100-100 relationship, or nothing.

    It took me a time to get to this conclusion, though. If it had been my dad who had given me this advice I would´ve discarded it right away, saying “oh he´s talking his nonsense again”, but because it was a Doctor I believed him and ended up questioning myself.
    What do you ladies think? I still feel insecure about all this, perhaps I had put Dr. on a pedestal.

    • Allie says:

      Doctors are people too and I am sure there are a bunch of EUM on their lines.

    • Lizzy says:

      I think your doctor should not be giving out relationship advice. It sounds to me as if you are taking time to heal, which can only be a good thing. And if it’s only two months since you split from the AC that’s hardly anything. Ignore him and keep looking after you, Lilia!

    • sofie says:

      Oh Lilia,
      reading your comment made me sad.
      You go to see a professional because for many people, and maybe also for you, you’re at your last wits.
      You come out of your depression slowly and then this ‘qualified’ person says you shouldn’t stay alone for the heck of it?
      Say what?
      Warmth can come from your friends, family, collegues, a pet maybe, ànd from yourself!
      You DON’T NEED to be with a guy to feel better or not lonely!!
      This is very shallow advice from your doctor.
      Again, it makes me feel sad because there are good therapists out there, and it means a world of difference if you encounter a good or a bad one and it’s so hard to tell when you’re so down even a littel help and support feels like a warm shower in a cold cave.
      I don’t feel this is a good doctor frankly, I’m sorry…

    • yoghurt says:

      “yes but it could take a long time before you meet someone like that, and what are you going to do in the meantime? have a bad time, all alone? get in a convent?”.

      “No, actually I was considering using someone else, desensitizing myself to all emotional experiences or, with a bit of luck, find someone else to treat me appallingly and sap my sense of wellbeing even further”.

      What a nump.

    • Allison says:


      I think your doctor is an idiot!!!!

      He is seeing this from his prospective, as not all men heal in this manner.

      You’re right to stay single and deal with your issues, as another relationship/fling would not only be unfair to you, but also another partner.

      I am so sick of people believing that we are made happy and fulfilled when we are with another, as it is untrue and unhealthy.

      Stick to your guns!!!!!!

    • dancingqueen says:


      I am sorry for your lame Dr., he, in my opinion, should not be giving you that kind of advice. What kind of therapist tells someone who is healing and being self-protective to not want to live in a convent? grrr . sexist.

      On the flip side; I agree, a conventt sounds lovely. I think I am in a “conventt” phase myself and I am enjoying it:) I think CC, you had a convent going at one point ( where are you?) but it was bottle-shaped lol.

    • calonlan says:


      I had something very similar happen to me recently. Not from a doctor, but from my male support worker who has been looking after me since I was raped 2 months ago.

      About 2 weeks after the rape my regular and very nice gas engineer came round to service the boiler and I just burst into tears when he suggested he talks to the landlord and gets my shower fixed straight away (just happened to mention that the shower wasn’t working properly, didn’t expect him to do anything about it). It was just too much for me at that point. I burst into tears and asked him not to do anything about it.I said I was going to call the landlord myself. He gave me a hug, calmed me down and said that’s ok. He did stay around for a cup of coffee after he was finished and volunteered to help me with something related to my work that I had difficulty with and which happens to relate to his greatest hobby. He is just brillant at explaining things and he really helped me with a nightmare job that day.

      He made me laugh, but obviously I still wasn’t ok after the rape. He is very muscular and that just made me painfully aware of how easy it would be for him to overpower me and how vulnerable I am on my own with him, what a powerless wimp I am. I also felt ashamed. Ashamed that he’d witnessed me in such a vulnerable state and ashamed because I felt like damaged goods and thought it must be so obvious, as if I have a sign on my forehead.Also, I couldn’t believe that he was being so nice and it felt almost like I didn’t deserve it. Moreover I was extremely jumpy, getting startled by every noise and he could tell that I was worried about my safety (the person who had raped me and another person had been trying to intimidate me to stop me from going to the police and I hadn’t slept much for something like 4 nights). He thought it had been a relationship breakup and I didn’t tell him otherwise. It just isn’t the kind of thing you tell the guy who fixes your boiler.

      Anyway, he said if I need help again (I told him that I work on this kind of assignment about once a month), I should just give him a call and he’d be happy to come around.

      Mentioned the whole thing to my support worker (had to because the gas engineer could have, because of his work, been associating with the rapist, was a false alarm though as he keeps completely different company… what a relief!). Anyway, the support worker immediately said the gas engineer is very obviously interested in me and I’d messed things up by not letting him fix the shower! Frankly, the gas engineer’s interest in me was the least of my concerns at that point, and I hadn’t even noticed it. Also, the support worker thought I was a bit naive for not noticing when someone is interested… and then started acting interested himself and almost jealous of the gas engineer. Very creepy, especially since this is someone who deals with rape victims on a regular basis. I was tempted to cancel the next appointment or to ask for a female support worker instead, but I’ve mentioned to turn the situation with him around and now we’re back to a professional relationship with no personal comments (I got a bit pissy.)

      I must say, however, it did make me realise that the gas engineer does seem to be rather a nice person (met him on 3 occasions before over the past year) and is someone that simply wouldn’t have shown up on my radar previously.Just too subtle for me and also not my normal type (short and balding).

      Anyway, he’s been here twice since to help me with work-related stuff and to fit a security chain to my door. I wanted to pay him for fitting the chain – actually I told him so when I asked him – but he just won’t take any money and I’m beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable because this is getting to be so one-sided :-( Also, had a bit of a funny turn on Monday when he fitted the chain as the fact that I feel the need for a chain just brought all the feelings of the assault back in one giant wave. He noticed that something was amiss and said it seems I don’t feel comfortable in his presence. The only thing I could tell him is that I’d been assaulted (no details) and that I’m still dealing with post-traumatic stress. After all it’s nothing he knowingly did and most certainly not his fault. Also it feels like such a huge setback :-( I had been making such great progress. I’m tempted to send a text message reassuring him that it really has nothing to do with him and that I have to work on feeling safe again and redeveloping trust in myself and in the world :-( Maybe suggest to meet in a public place some time? I do feel safer with other people around, especially since the assault happened in a private flat with a person I had known for 2 years and who I thought I could trust. Just don’t know what to do.

      • Lilia says:

        Calonlan, that is just terrible, rape…! ((hugs))

        I think for the time you should just take care of yourself. I can´t understand why this therapist would insist on pointing out that the gas engineer is interested in you? This isn´t the time to focus on your flirting skills, you need to feel safe again.
        Jeeez, how insensitive can you get?
        Also, do these guys get turned on by vulnerability? (I´m thinking of the therapist, not the gas engineer.)

        As for the gas engineer, don´t feel you owe him because he is nice to you. I imagine you need quite some time to heal from this terrible experience, don´t worry too much about his feelings but focus on yours instead, hard as it is.
        Take care!

      • cc says:

        i don’t know if you’ll come back to this post and see this, but…

        first, i’m so terribly sorry for what happened to you.

        second, please, i beg you, do not berate yourself for your reaction. it is absolutely normal, natural and to be expected. i know its embarrassing to feel so vulnerable, but how else are you supposed to feel? honey, its only been 2 months – that’s nothing.

        please, take it from someone who has PTSD – any circumstances that remind you of your trauma will retraumatize you and you will react. the trick is to try to just roll with this and learn to NOT be afraid of yourself. that’s the thing with PTSD, you become as afraid of your own reaction to a trigger as you are to the trigger itself. you must just go slllllooooowwwwllllyyyy and be 100%, absolutely 100% compassionate with yourself about whatever you feel, whatever reaction you have.

        you are not weak. you received a noxious stimulus and are having an anaphylactic reaction. perfectly understandable. what if you were allergic to nuts? would you criticize yourself for having to carry an epi-pen? no. so do not criticize yourself now.

        think of how you’d treat your best friend if she’d gone through this instead of you. please, be endlessly patient with yourself, NO judgment, or you will slow your recovery.

        i’m very glad the gas engineer was so kind. its actually nice that you can have that reminder that while some men are monsters, others are angels.

        but feel no pressure to move forward at all with him. you are still injured (NOT damaged) and you must heal. and maybe you should get a more empathetic and skilled support worker – what the….

        please, take very, very, very good care of you. and again, i’m so sorry.

        i have a massive hug on hold for you when you want it.

    • cc says:

      jeeeeez, lilia-
      first – is this a medical doctor or a psychiatrist? if its an MD, then maybe just ignore what he said, he’s a dolt. but if he’s a psychiatrist – he should know better than to handle things like that and you absolutely must tell him that how he spoke to you and what he said impacted you negatively. if he is any bit a good physician/therapist, he will receive this feedback seriously and adjust himself. if he does not, then dump him and switch doctors.

      second – my therapist, the mom that i pay, has said similar things to me when i’ve moaned about quitting dating, but not in the same way. she was more speaking about how, if i stayed in the thick of things, i would encounter issued and problems that i would then have to face and solve. she didn’t want me to crawl into a hole or be “safe”, she wanted my healing to continue. unfortunately, that means that i had to stay in the tide and get buffeted and sometimes overwhelmed by the waves, but that’s life.

      maybe, just maybe, that’s what this ham-handed doofus meant. perhaps, just perhaps, he wasn’t suggesting you go out and behave like the whore of babylon, maybe he didn’t mean “convent” literally.

      anyway, everyone’s advice here is right – you do what you need to do for you. you give yourself that blissful, serene, quiet place to which you can return. but maybe consider staying in the tide, or at least venturing into it now and then – because the mom that i pay was right, and if i had opted out of that, i wouldn’t have made the strides i have.

  19. Keish says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article as it is a different perspective and I am always open to those.

    I always thought that the 50/50 thing pertains to the relationship itself being a whole 100% and each person brings themselves which is still 100% of themselves but 50% of the whole (relationship) to the table.

    But as I stated above, I like your perspective too. Let’s not cut anything up even in theory. Great article :)

  20. Gina says:


    I had a male friend tell me basically the same thing after I broke up with my ex-EUM. Girl, don’t listen to him! Do what’s best for you! So what if it takes a while before you meet the right person for you!? Furthermore, he doesn’t have a crystal ball anyway. So how does he really know how long it will take before you meet someone!? Take care of you and follow your own path. DO NOT be swayed by what others think, feel, or say about YOUR life. Now with that said…what might be helpful to boosting your overall self-esteem is to get out there (if you are not doing so already) and participate in fun activities with men and women alike. If you are in the U.S., join Meetup.com and/or other social groups, as well as get involved in some type of community service. That way you are having fun and leaving the door open to the possibility of meeting a great guy that starts off as a friendship–without any presssure– and if the timing is right, and you are both ready, it could turn into something more. If not, so what? You still have a great buddy to pal around with. Hope this helps! HUGS!!!!!

    • Lilia says:

      Allie, Lizzy, Sofie, Yoghurt: thanks for your input! At least I can find some common sense over here. The thing I can´t get over is that he actually said I would “have a bad time” by myself. When I´m trying to process the terrible times I had because of the EUM.
      I wonder, is that what men think of women? That we have a “bad time” on our own? It would explain a lot of their attitudes.

      @Gina: I´ve had many male friends tell me the same thing, that I should just go out and have an adventure with anyone. When I tell them that there´s no connection with anyone at the moment they always tell me “wah? but you just CREATE a connection”. One friend asked me if I´m with someone? and why not? every single time I saw him until his wife told him “she doesn´t want to be in a relationship now, only when she meets someone she likes will she want that”.
      Thanks for the advice, I am trying to meet new people doing new things and all, there´s not much of meetup over here (I´m not in the US) but I´m discovering other activities that seem interesting.

      • Lilia says:

        Thank you also Fearless, Allison and Dancingqueen – hadn´t seen your comments.

        My mother told me she had a similar experience with a psychiatrist. She went to see him after my grandmother had passed away, for obvious reasons, and he gave her a terrible bore asking why she hadn´t remarried after she divorced my father (after a 30 year, tumultuous marriage, mind you). She told him basically she didn´t feel like that for anyone and he said “but just to have someone to go to restaurants with?”.
        He was quite concerned that she didn´t have a restaurant-partner, more so than that she was in mourning for her mother.
        Really, I´m gradually losing my respect for therapists.

    • Freya says:

      I agree with you Gina. Have any of you ever read the men’s discussion boards regarding breaking up? You should because then you might understand why it is often easier for them to move on from a bad or unworkable relationship. They encourage each other to keep living life and having fun. To not focus on the past. To get right back on that horse – or bicycle or what have you and try again.

      They don’t focus on what is wrong them or wrong with their past partner that made it not work. And that’s not really important anyway. The fact is it didn’t work. That does not mean you are broken or that anything is deeply wrong with anyone.

      Its the sign of a healthy person when they make an effort to enjoy life no matter what life deals them. And it makes you feel really strong too. Its really empowering to see these things as challenges to be overcome instead of obstacles that will break you.

  21. courtney says:

    I feel deeply impatient. I know I have posted here before regarding taking a break from EUM’s and AC’s and whatever mutation’s out there but I found myself on an online dating site again only to cancel my profile the day after. While I am glad I followed my gut this time not to proceed, I am also realizing that I am feeling that pang/void/no EUM growing pains and I need to manage that better.

    My intuition/gut was telling me that while my one-month break from any new AC has been relatively heavenly, a great breather, it’s a breather that needs to be prolonged until I feel completely “ready” to give my 100% and have it be a healthy 100% so that I also realize the person I give it to also has to put a healthy 100% in. Not 50%, not 10%, not future faking 90%. 100% of healthy (albeit imperfect) effort and goodness.

    So yes, going on the dating site did make me feel a little bit of the excitement I had been supposedly missing out on. I innocently searched through profiles, didn’t really message anyone but did browse through some guys who “looked good on paper” (glad I can distinguish between paper vs. reality—haven’t experienced their reality yet).

    Even though I felt like I was coming from a healthier, stronger place, I still had this nagging feeling that I just wasn’t ready to be screwed over again by another AC. This should be a good thing, and it is to some extent it is.

    But like Natalie wrote in her post about how to “fill the void” of chasing after unavailable, the loneliness and the lack of excitement is all too real. Related to the previous Facebook post, I’ve cut down on FB and it’s done me a WORLD of good not to be constantly comparing my life with other people in exciting relationships (relationships where both people are attractive, seem to be dating for years, leading to questions of why not me? Etc. etc.)

    I consider myself attractive, smart, successful, charming (not the fake charm of narcissistic EUM’s – actual charisma!), witty, great dancer blah, blah, etc. It may sound arrogant but I consider myself a pretty good catch. So I always wonder why I am not being “asked out” on dates like my friends; why I am always settling for looking around clubs/bars; why I can’t meet people at functions who properly ask me out; What is it about *me* that’s lacking for a *DATE* Not even a relationship but just being asked OUT? Is it ME? Is it something else?

    I am slowly building my self-love with positive thinking, meditation, time to myself, counseling, etc. And it’s been time that I really needed and I am so grateful for it. At the same time, I kind of wonder why I don’t get asked out on dates. Does anyone have a similar experience?

    Is it because I live in New York, where, as Nat mentioned, everyone thinks they can do better? But then how do you explain all these stories I hear from friends and peers and acquaintances about how they met guys that asked them out?

    I have had experiences where I totally connected to the guy, he seemed to like me, expressed interest but then….crickets chirping. No formal proposal to date, not even asking me out for coffee. Not ALL of these guys were unavailable, were they? Or maybe they were.

    My ex is dating someone new (cut off all contact with him of course, but I did find that out before NC) and while I am about 70% over him (it takes time! But it has been 5 months or so), I do think about whether or not he’s happier. I haven’t forgotten Natalie’s post about how unavailable EUM’s/AC’s/just partners in general who can’t fulfill our needs don’t change in their new relationship and I shouldn’t expect that he’s had some sort of personality surgery—BUT, I still feel a sense of jealousy that he’s moved on, and he’s PROPERLY dating, whereas me…

    The summer after the breakup, I spent a lot of time sowing my wild oats and making up for lost time (I am a sheltered girl who never really got the full partying experience of college) with all sorts of innocent but casual encounters—and one recently (not so innocent) that left me battered and bruised emotionally. I still haven’t fully gotten over it even though it’s been a month.

    Any thoughts/insights about being asked out or not being asked out? Yes, I am not quite ready to put my heart out there again. But I’d really like to hear from BR readers about their experiences. It feels lonely being one of the few that’s NOT being asked out even though I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with me.

    • Gina says:

      “I am slowly building my self-love with positive thinking, meditation, time to myself, counseling, etc. And it’s been time that I really needed and I am so grateful for it. At the same time, I kind of wonder why I don’t get asked out on dates. Does anyone have a similar experience?”


      Yes, I am having the same experience as you are. I am told that I am attractive, have a bubbly and outgoing personality, but no one asks me out. Don’t really know why. The only thing that I can think of is that perhaps I am not 100% ready and that I still need to work on fufilling my own emotional needs rather than looking for a man to come along and fill that void. So when I feel down in the dumps over not being asked out, I spoil, pamper and validate myself by: treating myself to a massage, dressing up and going out to interesting, beautiful, and exciting places, spending fun times with friends or on my own, buying myself something special and/or nice, etc. Whatever I am expecting to get from a man relationship wise, I try my best to give it to myself. Coming from a postion of being emotionally needy in my previous relationships, my utimate goal is to get to a point where (although I would love to have someone to grow old with) I feel that my life would be perfectly happy and content if I never found that special person to share it with. Once I achieve that goal, I think that I will be in a healthier place, emotionally, to attract a quality man in my life. Otherwise, I’ll just keep attracting and entering into dead end relationships with EUMs.

      • courtney says:

        Hi Gina,

        Thanks for sharing. It’s good to know I am not the only one! I try not to take it personally but at the same time I do feel disappointed/hurt/confused when I hear stories of people being asked out in real life (vs. being asked out on online dating websites, which I consider a little different). Yes you’re definitely right about coming from a better place, treating yourself to all the things you would want a potential boyfriend to treat you to. I do the same—I even got a massage recently and that’s something I’ve never splurged on before. One of the good things about being single: you get to spend your hard-earned money on yourself (as you should once in a while!).

        I go out with my friends, have an active social life, enjoy my job, take care of my health, connect more to my family members…these are all the positive aspects of life that have been enhanced by my choices to take care of myself better and to proceed with NC with EUM’s/ACs/exes. :) I too feel that sense of contentment being single…but I do have periods where I wonder whether the grass is greener on the other side. I think that’s my main problem.

        It’s interesting that you say you feel that maybe it’s because you’re not 100% emotionally ready. I wonder if people do sense that, just like we sense it ourselves. I remember meeting a guy at a club who was super amazing/interested in me/was so sweet, but because I was still stuck on the narcissistic, abusive EUM (who was also incidentally at the club—thus my conundrum) I felt he sensed it too. The energy we give off is crucial. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

    • Freya says:

      I got asked out when i did the online dating thing. But getting asked out, say, by someone i did not originally meet online…it’s happened twice in 2.5 years. Recently, I had a similar experience as Courtney. The guy expressed interest in me – and I actually genuinely wanted him to be interested – and then crickets. Nothing. Changed his mind I guess. Ever since I developed standards and boundaries seems a little harder to get things moving.

      • courtney says:

        Hi Freya,

        Yeah I know what you mean. I had no problem getting asked out via online dating, but at the same time online dating has many cons especially in my age group (I’ve heard from friends who’ve had more success with it but they’re 10 years older than me). I feel online dating does attract a lot of people that are not emotionally ready for relationships. Which is why I prevented myself yesterday from going down the same road (I met most of my ex’s through online dating) because I know the potential consequences of attracting someone who’s unavailable and able to disguise it better with an appealing profile. Whereas in real life, gestures, tones, eye contact/lack thereof (very important as one of my ex’s had Aspergers and that’s something you can pick up right away when you see them in person) and general behavior really does tell you a LOT about a person immediately and gives you the choice on what to do with the information. Online dating when you’re not 100% ready or available yourself goes more like: looks good on paper? Check. Meet? Check. Red flags? Check. But then dismiss red flags because of the previous looks-good-on-paper and crumb communication online? Check.

        I am sure many people have success stories (feel free to share) with OD, but that’s just my experience..

        I believe the only times I got asked out in real life were for an ambiguous coffee date (couldn’t tell if the guy wanted to be just friends) or a potential booty call (guy and I met in bar, exchanged numbers, he texts late at night same night to meet but I couldn’t, a few texts from me to invite him hanging out in daylight but no go).

        Pretty sad. But oh well. Maybe I’ll have more luck getting asked out once I am healthier, less clingy and more happy with myself. I also forgot to mention that I am a bit shy when it comes to approaching people so that could also be a factor.

    • stella says:

      i feel the same way. all of my friends are coupled or dating. i am not – i go places, meet people, they seem to be interested, then…nothing. i am nice nice, smart, funny, attractive(i have been told) – nothing. all i know – i would rather be alone then go back to the EUM situations i have caught myself in. anyway, i know how you feel. i guess just keep doing what you are doing and good luck. such is life. but, it does make me wonder sometimes if i am doing something very wrong – smiling as i type this.

      • courtney says:

        Thanks for sharing Stella. The more I get feedback from people in the same boat the more I know I am not alone. I think of the main points of BR is that everything is not about us and not to take things personally, but that can be so difficult when the people in the world around you seem to be moving along just fine (even your unavailable EUM’s/AC exes!) Jeez. What’s a girl got to do to be even more appealing than she already is? Haha :) I guess the only thing we can continue do is knowing and behaving like we are the gems that we are. Maybe it’s a timing issue rather than anything else. Or maybe those people just have more luck. I have no clue. But yes, I agree, I’d rather be alone than to be with someone who puts me down or makes me feel badly about myself. That’s definitely progress.

        • Lilia says:

          Ladies, do not worry about the greener grass. A lot of those seemingly happy couples are just holding up a facade, showing an image that has nothing to do with their intimacy.

          Also, there are tons of women out there who will put up with anything just to have a man in their life, and that is not what we are aiming for here at BR, I think. We want a worthwhile relationship, not just a cutout of a man to show to the rest of the world. So, if you want better quality, you don´t accept the mediocre options and better quality probably takes more time and work.

    • JR says:

      Courtney – More than likely, it’s just because you haven’t met the right one. A lot of “stumbling” upon the right one has to do with good timing. I say stumble because I think a lot of coupling happens by chance, by accident, being in the right place at the right time, happening to have a friend overhear that you are single and they happen to have a single man friend who is LOOKING who they could set you up with. I really believe it’s not you. And have you ever heard the saying “it happens when you least expect it”? My girlfriend was looking for years. She was fine looking, had a good job, independent, etc. No dates. Then she stopped really looking. She just got married for the first time in her life at 44. It was never that she wasn’t good enough. It just wasn’t good timing with the men she met before or they weren’t the right one.

  22. Tired says:

    Im so full of anger , i know its part of the grief . He was getting involved with ow at begining of yr un be known to me . But why use me when it came out why pursue me again why not bin me and chase her , maybe he was , maybe she was giving him run around . But thats what i cant get my head rpund he knew how much i loved him and he knew he hurt me and yet he still used me how evil is that x i will always now be ever wary of blokes , i wont be giving 100 percent till im sure

    • Fearless says:

      we often make the mistake of thinking (fantasising) that they give a shit, and that they want the same things as we do, and often purely on the grounds that we think they *should*. There’s no reason why he *should* do or be x, y or z just because you think he should or because you want him to. He is not you. He is a different person with a different agenda. It’s not the same as yours. That, I think, is the answer to your question(s).

    • Learner says:


      I can relate to your concerns more than you may realize:

      “Im so full of anger , i know its part of the grief” Yes, that anger can help us to get closer to the point of acceptance, to fully realize the extent of the pain we have suffered and to get on with our lives without the object of our addiction. We can be angry with the exMM’s for using us, or with ourselves for allowing it, but either way we need to feel the anger and let it assist with moving through the other stages of grieving.

      “He was getting involved with ow at begining of yr un be known to me” Yes, I feel you. “My” exMM had the OOW the whole time he was involved with me, unbeknownst to me at the time. I still can’t quite believe it, but I have to face the truth. I was one of 3 or more women he had going on at the same time. It is difficult not to feel like a piece of dirt knowing all this – how could they be so disrespectful as to have THREE women in their lives? It is who they are. But WE allowed it. We have to be responsible and accountable re: our part in it.

      “But why use me when it came out why pursue me again why not bin me and chase her , maybe he was , maybe she was giving him run around . But thats what i cant get my head rpund he knew how much i loved him and he knew he hurt me and yet he still used me how evil is that” YES. Great questions! I can’t believe “my” exMM went ahead and lied and did things he knew would hurt me, while I was telling/showing him how much I (thought I) loved him. It is difficult to believe because it is not how WE would treat people. But really, we KNEW we were getting involved with men who didn’t belong to us. We were just as guilty of disrespecting the rights and feelings of their wives and families, whether they knew of our existence or not. As Grace once made clear to me, we had absolutely no rights to their exclusive attention, no relationship rights at all. We set ourselves up as FBG’s from the start – had ourselves pigeonholed as women who would accept crumbs from a MM. Maybe they are evil, like you said. Maybe they are opportunists who would not turn down some fun with a woman who allows herself to be treated as an option. Men of integrity would have opted out from the start. These MM’s, though, couldn’t resist the experience of having another woman at their beck and call for so little effort on their part. We gave them a good deal at our own expense!

      And as an aside, although looks and superficial qualities are not great indicators of relationship criteria, it seems we weren’t picking men we were fully attracted to anyway. I prefer health-conscious men, with a sense of humour, preferably a bit younger than me. The exMM ate horribly fatty and salty foods, had a protruding belly, had a darkly sarcastic sense of humour, and is several years older than me. Your description of the exMM doesn’t sound like much of a “catch” either.

      Bottom line: We were involved with men who we KNEW were cheating and lying. In being with them, we became cheaters and liars ourselves. We were not victims. We knew we could not get 100% from these men yet we proceeded anyway. That was then, this is now, we are no longer “that woman”.
      “i will always now be ever wary of blokes , i wont be giving 100 percent till im sure” Good! We need to be wary of men with shady characters, and we need to be wary of OURSELVES when we behave in self-defeating ways. Let’s focus on our “selves” and becoming emotionally available while getting our values clarified and our boundaries built. Let’s work on getting that 100% responsibility for our needs being met and our feelings being reciprocated by men who are all the way in. Plotting revenge, and remaining in disbelief are understandable, but won’t get us anywhere. Time for us to move on to a new chapter. To adapt a famous quote, Let’s be the change we want to see in ourselves and in our relationships. Hugs xo

  23. Lady Lisa says:

    Great blog! As I get older, I see that the 100:100 rule applies to ALL important relationships.

  24. Tinkerbell says:

    Tired. Like Victorious said you have to weather the bad days. No one ever promised that it would be easy. Here’s a passage from a book I’m reading:”When you don’t know your name (inotherwords, who you are)you will no longer consider yourself deserted. That’s because you will understand that those who didn’t care to remain in your life missed out on the opportunity to live in the delightful presence of your love”. He did not, does not now, nor will he ever deserve your love. Remember that and stop allowing him space in your beautiful mind.

  25. Tinkerbell says:

    I think it was a missprint. I think it’s “when you KNOW YOUR NAME”. Makes more sense, I think.

  26. Tired says:

    Thannku lilia , yes i will let life and his deeds catch up with him
    Thankyou tinks that was beautiful and calmed the anger . Ill keep it on a post it note because that ac doesnt derserve any love at all .

  27. PhoenixRises says:

    Having a not-so-good day. I want so badly to find a healthy and genuine 100:100 relationship, but everywhere I turn the men I’ve been meeting lately fall short. The guy I told you guys about (on the other side of the country) has been positive/responsive to my contact, but doesn’t initiate as much as me. Haven’t done it yet, but I’m afraid of falling into a insecure chasing mode that was the norm in my former toxic relationship. I get the sense maybe he isn’t looking for a serious relationship–or at least, not a long distance one–so I am trying really hard to let it go. I have no evidence for making that claim, other than that I am more enthusiastic in reaching out to him. But I don’t know how to handle it.

    Then there’s a guy who works in the same place as me that I know through mutual friends (who allegedly likes me, keeps asking about me, etc) but has yet to ask me out…despite us grabbing lunch at work, me giving him my number, and being very friendly and open to him. I don’t get his deal and I am not going to wait around for it. Another guy in the area I met at a charity race seemed interested, and I took the initiative to ask him out and he has yet to respond (I asked him via text yesterday evening.)

    I just don’t understand. I know my value and I know I’m worthy of a relationship–and won’t settle for less. How can I keep striking out so much? And what is with all the inconsistencies in their behavior??! I have been contemplating whether you let any of these people know when you’re going to flush them/let them go/whatever. In one case, I’m just baffled that the guy wouldn’t ask me out. In another, I don’t know why he would respond to my contact if he’s not that into me (perhaps attention? perhaps to be polite? or maybe he does like me, but doesn’t want to exert the same 100 in effort?) I would love to say how I am disappointed, or that I did/do like him and wish he had stepped it up, etc, but I don’t know if this a good or bad idea. I could see how it’s asserting my values/boundaries, but I also wonder if the other person could take it the wrong way. I had a long day and won’t say anything tonight, but could saying something also be beneficial? As in it could be a kick in the pants to an otherwise oblivious guy? Thanks all for your advice. I love BR and the wonderful community here :)

    • Allison says:


      Please ask yourself how you can have a relationship with someone who lives cross country, this sounds very EU. How can you get to know someone long distance?

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking to people long distance. I know some people have qualms about it, but I think it comes down to preference (just like online dating, which some people find great success and others find a preponderance of EUs who exploit it!)

        We weren’t dating, and I have been keeping open with getting to know other guys. Just bummed out in general about these folks is all.

    • Getting it! says:


      Dating *is* a numbers game. I can approach 10 guys, get 3 positive replies and from that get one of those guys through to a coffee date. Me: attractive, intelligent, slim, independent, sense of humour. Frankly, I’m a catch!

      You can’t let the guys that don’t bite bother you too much. I had to learn this (I didn’t always have this view) and the way I have learned it is through online dating. I get knocked back for no good reason (and with no explanation) ALL of the time!

      You aren’t alone in this. It happens to us all! But, at the end of the day, you’ve got to be in it to win it – whether that’s by online dating, going out and chatting with new people (always fun!) or finding things that you like to do and spending time with people that like the same things. It *will* happen – you are worthy of love and all manner of good things. You just have to keep telling yourself that.

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Thanks girl! You’ve got a great positive attitude about it. I am very outgoing and always doing things, so hopefully that will help. I never thought about it, but maybe the cliche is true. There’s a lot of frogs out there…although I don’t want to kiss any of them anytime soon! 😉

    • cc says:

      phoenix rising-
      look…i feel like i’m spewing a lot of philosophy at you below, but i believe it all to be the truth. please consider it.

      it takes TIME to find a good relationship, to find someone who matches us.

      during that time, our job is to feed ourselves a RICH emotional diet of love, compassion, fun, self-investment, and to keep evolving. you never know when you’ll meet your mate, so be your OWN mate in the meantime. i really mean this, its what i’m doing, and i can tell you i’m actually the happiest i’ve ever been. honest. am i still a bit lonely, do i want my man to show up NOW? of course. but i know i need me far more than i need him.

      you are drawing the conclusion that these guys’ lack of action has anything to do with you. you are basing your own value on whether or not they respond – you MUST stop this. you must relish, enjoy, celebrate your own value and not try to verify it with these guys who, for whatever reason, are being unavailable. you must see that you’re doing you and they are doing them and if the two do not connect, it is for a very good reason.

      please, stop chasing. honey, try to see that chasing in this manner is seeking to fill an empty hole – you must fill up that hole yourself.

      this hole-filling is entirely separate from the healthy wish to find a partner. try to see the difference – yes, you want a partner. but what you really want is someone to complement your wonderfulness, not to complete you.

      right now, i fear you are looking for someone to complete you. YOU need to complete you. then, look for someone to accept that whole person that you are. the you that knows full well how to love herself, and therefore how to love someone else.

      you do this by accepting yourself first. accept your whole self, all of you, include ALL of you. love ALL of you. and if someone doesn’t step up for that all of you, then just move on, they’re not worth it. TRULY, THEY are not worth it.

      i know there is a little disappointment, grief associated with this, that’s part of it. but this chasing is the clue – you’re chasing unavailable because you’re unavailable to YOU. please, work on this. i ASSURE you, the pay off is limitless. LIMITLESS.

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Thank you for this reminder, cc. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I have to admit you are right about me drawing the conclusion that these guys’ lack of action (or confusing action/inaction!) has something to do with me. It doesn’t, it’s just my overactive mind keeps trying to solve the problem and make sense of why something great has not happened for me yet.

        I feel like I am running at 80 percent, and haven’t yet fully finished building up my self-esteem, boundaries, etc., but because I have made progress I am very impatient and wanting to be ready to go and get out there. Perhaps I need to do some more reflection about why I feel so frustrated or I am trying to force a certain ending to each of these scenarios.

        I do have to ask–in each of the three cases I mentioned, is it appropriate to say something to the person? In the first one (the long distance guy), should I just stop contacting him, or is it worth letting him know a part of why we won’t be in touch? I.e., that I was hoping he would have been interested in the same thing as me?

        And in the second case (the guy who has not asked me out yet), can I ask him why, when he seems to be interested? I was proud of myself to take initiative with the 3rd guy, because usually I do not ask guys out, but since he has not responded–can I just tell him to forget the plans and then drop contact? I don’t know how you determine whether the individual should know when you are letting something go, or if you should try to talk to the person and understand why things unfolded how they did.

        • A says:


          I wouldn’t contact any of these guys about the issue. I think enforcing boundaries is more about taking action than talking about it. What do you hope to gain by talking to them about it? Are you hoping that by telling them where you stand/what you want that they will suddenly step up?

          You asked one of these guys out and he hasn’t responded. There are no plans, so why would you need to contact him to tell him to forget about it?

          As for the one who never asked you out, why bother? You gave him your number, he, for whatever reason, hasn’t called.

          I’m not sure if I remember the correct story about the long distance guy–is he the one who wanted to ‘see what happens’? If you’re looking for a relationship and this isn’t it, then I would just stop contacting him. If he gets in touch you could tell him what the deal is, but I don’t think you need to contact him to offer him an explanation when you’re not dating.

          I think where some of us get in trouble is in staying focused on wanting people/things to be something other than what they are rather than just accepting what is and responding accordingly. These guys do not sound like they are interested in a relationship. You’re better off moving on than wasting energy trying to figure out why that is or pursuing something with someone who may well be unavailable in some way. Free up some time and energy for things and people who deserve it!

          • PhoenixRises says:

            Thanks for the insight, A. I really loved what you said here: “I think where some of us get in trouble is in staying focused on wanting people/things to be something other than what they are rather than just accepting what is and responding accordingly.”

            I think that also applies to a lot of other things in life, too! I have a tendency to try and control stuff and want to make it a certain way, so I need to learn how to distinguish from my hopes/wants and reality.

        • cc says:

          pr, ok-
          i’m gonna give it to you quick and dirty.
          guy 1, the long distance: long distance = unavailable. flush. say nothing.

          guy 2, the non-asker: i say pick A: muse aloud to the mutual friend that you’d have thought he might ask you out but he hasn’t yet and see what response you get; probably the friend will repeat it to him, or B: drop an obvious hankie, but do not actually make a move, find something he can legitimately do to help you and when he does it, say the following exact words: “i want you to know i really appreciate you.”, then STOP TALKING and make no further effort. if after A or B or A and B, he does nothing? flush. say nothing further.

          guy 3, the non-responder: DO NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. if he does not respond, flush. say nothing. good for you for taking the initiative, but NO, you do not ask why. in fact, i forbid it. he was given his chance, his ONE chance, and that’s it. he doesn’t accept? flush. you expend NO FURTHER effort on his part. you do not lower yourself to ask why.

          most of all, i want you to keep rolling along. it is frustrating, very frustrating, but the other responders are right, its a numbers game and you should not expend above minimal effort on any one guy until he starts to pay off. no pay off? keep rolling. and love you. accept you. fully.

          • cc says:

            phoenix rising, more –
            see, i guess this is what i’m saying about holding, knowing, your own value.

            asking a guy why, when he is PERFECTLY capable of making an effort, is lowering yourself, its like asking “don’t you find me to be good enough?”. which implies you might change. but you’re not going to change for him, you’re fine the way you are. and when you really value you, you won’t have the urge to ask that at all.

            a guy, whatever guy, should NOT be regarded by you as a judge of you. we do all judge each other, but you do not submit yourself for his judgment. if your gifts are not obvious to him (guy 3)? if he shows interest and you give a little encouragement, pave a way for him, and he still can’t pick up on that and make a move (guy 2)? if he doesn’t share your goals (guy 1)? then he is not the right guy for YOU – NOT the other way around. do you see?

            i know dating is frustrating. but you need to keep going and to build your confidence. keep working on accepting yourself, taking very good care of yourself, of all your emotional needs, do not be self-critical, turn around all your negative internal talk. in some sense, you are undermining yourself, and i don’t want you to do that. i don’t want you to even have the urge to ask a guy ‘why’.

            never try to convince someone of your worth. if you have to do that, its already too late, because YOU do not fully appreciate your own worth.

            and when its the right guy, he’ll be convincing you. …at least, that’s what i’m told. i’m still waiting for that part myself.

            • PhoenixRises says:

              Ahhh love your your answers! You guys are all great, I feel like I should suddenly burst into an Aretha Franklin song or something (ha!)

              I agree about Guy 2 and 3, there’s no reason to reach out to them at this point. I’ve been clear that I was interested, I was receptive, and if they dropped the ball or couldn’t figure it out that’s their loss.

              The first guy (long distance) to me is not as clear cut of a case. Neither of us have ever stated intentions, and although we both found each other attractive and interesting we did not pursue anything physical when we met (since we didn’t know each other yet), and he has never said anything disrespectful or negative either. Isn’t it possible to just keep up a friendly communication open with him? I have friends all over the place and just because I’m looking for a relationship (or hoping to be in one) doesn’t mean I need to dismiss a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. (Also for the record, I am open to meeting guys in my own area, so it’s not like I’m holding out for something to happen with him, or harboring ulterior motives, yadda yadda…you get the point!)

        • Allison says:


          Please do not contact any of these men, as you will look desperate.
          You do not know these men; therefore, you do not need to explain why you are not engaging.

          I agree with an earlier poster: you must stop the chasing. You do not sound like you’re in a good place yet, and may need some more time before you put yourself out in the dating field.

          Remember, if a man is really interested, he will make the effort. Sit back and relax.

          • Allison says:

            Also, I would bet that they can smell your eagerness to date, they’re not going to attracted to this.

            Please give yourself another six months.

            • Getting it! says:

              There’s nothing wrong with being eager to date.

              Herewith follows a sweeping generalization: guys don’t get our hints. Here follows something we all need to remember: So, why, on the other hand, do we think that, somehow, they can ‘smell’ eagerness or desperation? Come on now.

              If the man is available and interested and emotionally healthy, the fact that you approach him or he approaches you or whether you are eager to date (within reason – I’m not advocating parking outside of his house at night time!) or not will make no difference at all.

              Allison – your post is, to me, exactly the type of thinking that keeps us tied in knots rather than just letting us be; to be in the moment, making friends, being ourselves and not over-thinking things.

              • PhoenixRises says:

                I agree–nothing wrong with being eager to date, provided we are in the right place. I think I’m getting there, slowly but surely :) Thanks again and good luck to you too, Getting It! :)

              • Allison says:

                Getting it,

                C’mon, you’ve never met a guy that came across a little too eager or too needy to date? We all have, and it has scared us off (men and women).
                After reading the post, it didn’t sound like she was ready to move on to another relationship, there sounded like there was still some self-esteem issues carried over from the previous relationship.
                When we do over think things we make mistakes in choosing our dating partners.

                • Allison says:

                  Lastly, the eagerness is not about about asking someone out, it was about the other bits in the post. You didn’t understand my response.

                  • Getting it! says:

                    Allison – perhaps if you were looking to make a more nuanced reply on ‘eagerness’ you should have used different words?

                    I think I understand perfectly exactly what you wrote – although, perhaps your words did not accurately reflect what you were trying to express.

              • yoghurt says:

                Reading this debate has reminded me that a story that a friend told me the other day, about meeting her husband – I’m sure that she wouldn’t mind me sharing it.

                She was interested in him from the off, but he couldn’t believe that someone like her could be interested in someone like him. They were good friends for a long time, whilst she made her interest clearer and clearer.

                One night she threw everything except the kitchen sink at him and still nothing. Disappointed, she sent him a text after he’d gone home – “Where’s my snog?”

                He was so sure that she couldn’t really be interested in him that he decided it must be a typo, and turned up next time with a SONG that he’d burned onto CD.

                They have one of the happiest marriages that I know :)

                Thing is, though, that while he didn’t believe he had a chance of a relationship with her he was still available enough to turn up, be a proper friend and make an effort. In the meantime, she KNEW that he was a good honourable bloke. I think that that’s where the difference lies in a situation like that and one with an AC-shaded twerp.

                Also worth pointing out that there’s desperation and there’s desperation. Being eager and keen to meet someone is one thing, being eager and keen on a single person – even if they’re clearly not ready/available/interested is another, being eager and keen to fill up the aching void in your own soul through unhealthy interaction is another.

                Just to complicate the issue 😉

    • Lau_ra says:

      I’d advice not to say anything about how ur dissapointed and etc. The ones who care usually let you know their intentns, even if yo won’t like them, those who don’t will only consider you a crazy stalker after you say things about how their behaviour makes you feel… I’m struggling with the same issue also, so I thought about the possible outcome a bit:) in my case I had a fling with a foreigner who seemed as a man of my dreams, but dissapeared eventually, after series of excuses why he wasn’t able to contact me. We have common friends, so there is a chance we might meet someday and I thought of writing him an email after he ignored my last message in order to make things civil. But then I thought “what? he is the one who vanished without even trying to be civil so why would I make effort that he’s not tensed if we happen to ever meet again and fix it all for him?”

  28. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Courtney. IMHO, I think you need to take time just to work on you. Apparently, you are in an environment where there is an abundance of men available to ask you out. Lucky you. And, yes, I would wonder too if something is wrong with me when it’s happening for everyone else. But throw out that notion. You don’t know the true essence of these men, and you don’t know what the true values of your friends are as it relates to these men that they seem to be attracting. These other women may be willing to “settle” whereas you are not, and this may be unconsciously conveyed by you to those men. You may be very attractive, intelligent, etc. but what kind of image are you projecting? Actually, Courtney maybe you are being PROTECTED from a bunch of AC/EUM’s but you would not know this because you don’t know who they really are until you are involved. If you know you are not really ready, then fight the loneliness and boredom and be thankful not to have some douchebag plucking your nerves and aggravating you day after day, or being lovesick over someone who does not want you. It could be so much worse. I was extremely lonely and in love with air (lol!). I had very little opportunity to meet a man, much less a decent one, so I did the online dating thing for a good while. I actually met two of the men, who turned out to be bad news. Eventually, after realizing that this method was not for me I quit it, never to return. Now I know. It just may be that this is not the time for you and your higher power is telling you that. In the meantime, learn to make your own happiness and fulfillment. Believe me, I understand. But decide that you are going to be as beautiful and irresistable, and possess the good things that you would like to not only have, but REQUIRE in a mate. Of course, there are no guarantees, but your chances will be so much better that he will find you when you are not searching, and pursuing, but just being YOU, doing your own thing. Hugs, Tink.

    • stella says:

      well, i should have read your reply before i wrote mine! very well said!!!

    • courtney says:

      I almost missed seeing this response but I am so glad I didn’t. Thank you Tinkerbell for your wonderful and compassionate response. I really appreciate it!

      “It could be so much worse. I was extremely lonely and in love with air (lol!). I had very little opportunity to meet a man, much less a decent one, so I did the online dating thing for a good while. I actually met two of the men, who turned out to be bad news. Eventually, after realizing that this method was not for me I quit it, never to return.”

      I am sorry to hear you did not have many opportunities to meet men. You are definitely right in saying it could be worse! Not sure where you live or what the situation is but it sounds like a tough situation. Even though I live in a crowded city I can see where you’re coming from. I didn’t come out of my shell until I was in college, and even then, I didn’t dorm—I commuted, and lived with overprotective, strict, religious family, so I didn’t have many chances to explore until I turned 21 recently. Never went to clubs or parties or did as many social outings before that. It’s true in the city there are many people to meet, but even in the crowd it’s hard to find someone of quality who also wants the same thing – or wants you in particular.

      I am glad however that you took a chance on online dating and stuck to your guns when you realized it wasn’t for you. It took me many tries before I finally stopped pursuing OD, and even now, there’s always temptation lurking in the corner. Good for you!

      “And, yes, I would wonder too if something is wrong with me when it’s happening for everyone else. But throw out that notion. You don’t know the true essence of these men, and you don’t know what the true values of your friends are as it relates to these men that they seem to be attracting. These other women may be willing to “settle” whereas you are not, and this may be unconsciously conveyed by you to those men. You may be very attractive, intelligent, etc. but what kind of image are you projecting?”

      That’s definitely a good way to look at it which I haven’t really considered. I am not entirely sure what image I project to men. With EUM’s, I can be emotionally needy just because they’re so emotionally disruptive/withholding (much like my father—which is probably why I insisted on trying to change the pattern/change EUM’s in the past). But with regular men who are not necessarily unavailable, I don’t know how I come across. I know with one guy I was interested in, and he expressed interest in me too/got my number—I probably did seem very confident in what I wanted/having certain standards/expectations (maybe a little on the high maintenance side). At the time, I thought he would like that because I’ve been told men appreciate what they work hard to earn. But he probably just wanted a booty call and just disappeared off the face of the earth when I basically kind of *asked him out* during daylight hours…gasp. 😉

      But then there was another guy who I became friends with who I really hit it off with, but he’s the type of nice guy that basically builds a nice guy harem (yes they do exist!) with girls who are interested, and commits to none of them while flirting with all of them. Which is probably why he didn’t ask me out…and well, you’re right…good riddance! He got annoying after a while. I realized I don’t really want a flirt who comes back for an ego stroke whenever it suits him – I want a man who *shows up* as an authentic person and is willing to give something more than what he’s giving everyone else.

      “If you know you are not really ready, then fight the loneliness and boredom and be thankful not to have some douchebag plucking your nerves and aggravating you day after day, or being lovesick over someone who does not want you.”

      I really needed to hear that…you are so right when you say that I was being protected from these EUMs/AC’s. Too bad I didn’t protect myself better with my last experiences…I was the type of fallback girl who recognized/had gut feelings about all the red flags, could analyze the EUM to death, beat a dead horse, and STILL feel indecisive about leaving. It’s relatively recent (thank you Natalie for BR!!!!) that I recognized how much sooner I could have gotten myself out of these situations had I cultivated that self-love, built that healthy self-esteem and taken time/space to work on myself properly.

      Now I am doing all of the above and it really does feel good not to chase after the unworthy frogs. And if we continue with the fairytale metaphor, it does make you feel like more of a princess should be feeling!

      I just need to figure out how to better cope with the loneliness of it. These are huge steps I am making and of course some of it will hurt but the pain of growing is well worth it. The pain of chasing after an AC, however, is not.

      Thanks so much for your insight and thoughts! Hugs :-)

  29. great guy says:

    @ Lau_ra,
    Sorry you were tested that way. In my case her “perfection” was her deception. Its kind of a long story but she knew (from the first time) what I would not tolerate. She said she had been to counselling, apologized… you name it. Within a short period of time, the truth (and her true self) came out (again), one spoonful at a time. Blowing hot and cold. Consistently, inconsistent. Talking about the future and then “forgetting” it. She was what I call a 10 percenter (Nat calls it giving you crumbs). Also the type that liked to have what is known as a man-herum. Guy “friends” that are not really allowed to meet but she slips up and talks about them. A self-proclaimed party girl with a bit of an alcohol issue…. the list goes on.

    The two tiimes she called since SHE disapeared (not me) was to ask me to pick up her child because she was “stuck”. This was after not returning my call fromm days earlier. Then called about a week or so later to ask how I was doing only to go on and on about her life. Never acted like it had been over three weeks since we spoke. When I mentioned it seemed like a lot had happened in three weeks she said “has it been that long?” And on she went… I was amazed at how she had pushed the reset button… again.

    Believe it or not, I’m over it. I realized I was perpetuating my circumstance by letting her take the place of my ex of many years (just a different package). Like my ex, she wants desperately to change but can’t get out of her uncomfortable comfort zone. She has never been alone and jumps from one man to another (usually has a few options just in case). In the end it really isn’t fair for me or her. For me, I deserve better (care, respect, trust and love) For her, she deserves to live her life without trying to be someone she isn’t (you know: pretending to care, respect, trust and love).

    • Allison says:

      Great Guy,

      This woman sounds completely self-absorbed, and is a big user!!!

      Please stay NC!!!!!!

  30. great guy says:

    @ Allison,
    That’s very much a possibility and something to explore.

  31. tired says:

    Learner , Fearless and Tinks
    thankyou for your input , it helps it really does . Learner i admit it was my fault when i first met him he wasnt married and in reality now as i look back i thought more of him then he did of me. i was just in love and not looking clearly , refused to really. he lost interest when the intial affair was over really , he just used me as a fall back when he pissed off at home or looking for a ego stroke. i believe him when he said that there was no one after me , i just dont think any other women bothered with him , hes not all that . but ob in time someone has come along who thinks hes the best thing ever and has given up her marriage for him , he on the other hand remains at home where he knows hes on to a good thing . i dont hate ow feel sorry because i know hell start in a couple of months time shell get same treatment when novelty wears off . clicked hed lied to her any way as he seeing me and not told her a evil lying mess of a man . yes i own my part and im paying price so yes what goes round comes round . but this is where i change ive learned the lesson im not afraid of change or being true to myself unlike cheaters . big hugs and thankyous to you all i just like to say you girls have really helped me keep it REAL and not wishy washy crap . thanku x

  32. Gina says:

    @Freya. Good point! I read Evan Marc Katz’s blog, and he provides the male perspective on relationships. When I broke up with my ex-EUM #1, it hurt like hell…there was a deep and profound void that I felt and the only way that I could fulfill it was to create a social life that helped me to regain my self-esteem (I had moved across the country to be with him and did not have many friends). So I joined an online social group and, rather than sit at home feeling sorry for myself, I organized a get together for Valentines Day called, “Be Your Own Dang Valentine!” which I posted on the online discussion board. The premise was that if you did not have someone special to celebrate that dreaded day with, love comes in many forms, and the greatest love of all is self-love. So come out and celebrate the love that you have for yourself. Guess what!? To my own surprise, I turned that dark, dreary, rainy day into the best VD day ever! Including myself, five people showed up: one other woman and three guys. We met for happy hour cocktails then went and had dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant. In spite of having a broken heart and crying off and on all day, I found myself laughing and having fun. I met some new people to hang out with in the future…one of whom was a gorgeous, 35 year-old French man with stunning blue eyes :-) Although he was too young for me (I was 49 at the time), he and I became platonic friends and we’d pal around together. “How could I let a beautiful woman go out alone?” he would say in his beautiful French accent :-) As a result I had a wonderful male companion to do things with while I grieved the loss of my FF/EUM. Lord knows that it wasn’t easy! I would be sitting across the table from my friend at a nice French restaurant, start thinking about my ex and burst out crying. My friend would look at me, and with that beautiful accent say: “Why are you crying? Let’s look at the facts: (1) He is still in love with his ex, (2) He said that he did not see a future with you, but had been leading you on anyway, so that makes him an ass, (3) You are a wonderful and beautiful woman. Now enjoy your dinner and stop crying”
    Feeling better after he put it so bluntly, I continued eating and enjoyed the rest of the even as best I could. Life is too dang short to be miserable! Being happy is a choice.

  33. G-Money says:

    I don’t know how many times I would say “things have to be 50:50 it needs to be fair” I missed that point entirely, never questioning where each of our other 50% goes to and what is actually made up of the 50 we were getting or giving.

    I’m learing to self soothe myself all over again, I used to need other peoples opinions and advice before I could make up my mind. I completely lost trust in myself. I’ve realised that a lot of my “relationship beliefs” came from my mother. I tackled those daddy issues years ago, accepting he is who he is and it’s no reflection or definition of me. Little did I realise when I discovered BR – there’s mammy issues too.

    I’ve brought them to the surface and I’m establishing new bounderies (that she doesn’t like but so be it) that will be in the best interest of my happiness. I was very inexperienced in relationships so I would listen to her guidance (oops) I remember her saying to me once with my first boyfriend “isn’t that nice that he wants to be with you even though you’re overweight” ugh, my other sister had this too and now as I’m beginning to learn more about myself I will not entertain any negative comments about me or anyone, I won’t be sucked in anymore.

    I believed from my lack of experience and lack of a good role model, that you have to stick things out, you take the good with the bad, you basically just put up with it. Thanks to B.R I’ve realised that this is so backwards, no wonder I became an over-giver, over-empathiser and a flogger.

    After over 6 weeks no contact (2nd time round) the ex got in touch that the house we used to live in together was broken into, it was lazy communication (text) and I even said that to myself but like Victorious said I thought “no harm done I hope” But no it bit me in the ass. We talked for about and hour and half about what happened with the house, how his kids are doing and then boom the tears came, not mine – I could barely understand him he was crying so hard, by the end of the phonecall I think I was in shock, I got a bit teary just from the emotion of talking to him.
    He said something about being friends and I said not yet, I’m not ready but didn’t enforce it properly.
    Ah maybe it will be okay, he’ll get the hint. NO he didn’t I was flooded with texts of how much he missed me, loved me, all these terms of endearment of how wonderful I am. It’s like everything that happened that caused us to break up, both his and my contribution which was very undignified on both parts just fell out of his head.

    All these lovely things that he used say to me when we were in the relationship just made me feel really and truly uncomfortable.
    He then proceeded to tell me how much he can’t bare to lose me from his life, I bring his life so much happiness, he’s never going to get over me I’m too important and so on… BUT not once did he ask me what I wanted, did I want to be friends? did I want him in my life? it was all about him, business as usual.

    The pain/dissapointment/hurt is still there, yes I do still have feelings for him but not like I used to and it woke me up that I’m really not in that place anymore.
    These last few days where I’ve been detracted from myeslf (I was doing quite well actually) and instead been in the thick of it again has made me very uneasy and now I know why.
    Everything I was giving to him, I started giving to myself and this little wobble has confirmed that I need to continue on being my best friend and looking out for me.

    I didn’t notice just how much my way of thinking has changed and for the better I might add (Thanks to Natalie and all the B.R peeps) and I’m not about to let it slide. He admitted to all his baggage and issues but thats as far as he got, no plan of action.

    I told him that IF there is any chance of friendship in the future then it will happen when we can be indifferent to one another and all baggage and issues are sorted for both of us, until then I need to heal and look after myself which means no contact whatsoever and I’ll get in contact with you when that time comes – if I’m honest I don’ t believe it will

    NC starting fresh again. :)

    • Victorious says:

      It is so hard isn’t it G-Money? I had also told ex eum that it was too hard for me to be friends and that i would contact him when I was immune to him, but just ten days after getting my email he called. He still doesn’t know what he wants from me so of course we cannot be friends. It is too dangerous for me but there is a part of me that rejoiced in the contact. I loved hearing his voice, catching up with all his news, being a part of his life again. This is exactly WHY it is so dangerous for me. If he calls again ( I will not call him) I will have to be stronger and enforce my boundaries properly. I had absolutely zero boundaries during the relationship so I can see why he has just ignored my email. I have taught him not to respect me by disrespecting myself. I will try to be as strong as you and keep getting support and insight from all the lovely ladies on BR. Thanks again. You are lifesavers.

  34. tired says:

    That is very true we need time to heal and if a friendship is meant to be in the future it will be , im friends with a ex but it was a good 8 odd years when he came into my life again and during my breakup hes been a tower of strength and vice versa. he wanted to bust the ex mm on the nose after hearing me cry on phone and hes a friend becoz he geniuinly cares.my ex told me im his best mate , now no where to be seen all fake words from a liar.

    however us girls to put are all into a relationship its the female nuturing side as women are different to men . the danger is that we start to twist and shape ourselves into what we think will keep them , im guilty off it and now after breakup im not sure who i am . do i like guitar and music or is because he in band? no i was singing on a tennis racket when 7 and had a electric guitar when 14 long before i met him . love music so much and i wont let the fact he likes it ruin it for me. im begining to enjoy guitar all over again and can listen to the beatles without getting sad , there are some songs i avoid but not for long. i gave all in my relation ships playing the good girl and i lost my respect , and they lost theirs for me and walked all over me. im just finding out who i am . i see the new ow with my ex mm has already start to twist into somthing she isnt.he twists into nothing he has to give nothing. he doesnt even give a 100 per cent to wife band gets it all . im starting my first days in healing and just being me and im gonna be okay and ill handle what ever comes my way x

    • G-Money says:

      Victorious – OH YES, so very hard. Thank you so much for thinking I’m being strong about this, I felt that I wasn’t because I caved and rang him back when he texted. Like you, just hearing the sound of his voice again, feeling apart of him again was comfortable but only very temporary and not real. I’m glad the rational part of me kicked in and made me feel uncomfortable, phew my gut is there after all.
      I too let him disrespect me by not respecting myself among many other things that I cringe when I think about it, but try to remember I didn’t know then what I know now as I thought “that’s what we do in relationships, you put up with it”.
      I completely relate to you and just how dangerous it is, it’s so easy to let yourself go with a feeling (normally the wrong one) and think we can handle it. Im so greatful I have you guys, when I feel shakey or having a truly awful day, I’m glued to posts and comments to freshen me up.
      We’ll be strong together, again like yourself, though I told him not to call/text, I know he’ll chance his arm again so we can ignore them together :)

      Tired – thats really wonderful after 8 years that you were able to establish that good a friendship. In my mind that would be ideal, eventually, if only he’d leave me be and let it happen naturally, if it’s meant to be. That’s where I need to strenghten my bounderies and not give into temptation of breaking NC (again)
      I know what you mean about music, it’s a part of me and I shared so much of with him, so much so, a lot of my collection is hard to listen to, but I won’t avoid them for too long.
      I’m so happy you seen him for what he is and that the OW is bending and flexing to suit him and that it’s not what you want and you’re certainly not missing out. Here’s to you on your first days of healing, we are all here with you.

      • Victorious says:

        I am with you G-Money.I have decided that if he calls again I will either just ignore it completely or answr and tell him forcefully that he is not to call again and that if he does I will ignore it and that he has to adhere to the terms of my email. i.e that i will contact him if/when I am ready for friendship. To be honest my feelings for him were spectacularly differnt to anyone else I have loved in my 47 years, and there is every chance he will never hear from me, but that is his loss. Same for your ex. Clearly you had a lot to give and he is the loser. I try to imagine I have a rod of steel in my guts that keeps me strong ( Thanks to the fabulous Marian Keyes for this idea) Maybe that will work for you? Or, this has worked for me sometimes, I have a really gutsy ballsy mate who would NEVER accept this kind of shite, and I imagine I am her. If you have a mate like that perhaps that would help? Or imagine you are Natalie!!!!! Aah I think we have cracked it!!!

        • G-Money says:

          Indeed Victorious, it’s exactly what I’ve been saying over and over to myself in the hope it will shoot to the front of my brain if I see his name pop up on my phone – “I will not answer and I will not text back”.
          Yes it’s definitely both their losses and yet still a hard reality to face some days. I feel as though we are very much on the same page with this. I was going to marry this man, his kids really loved me and I loved them so much and I have never felt this way in my life about anyone, it feels like I lost a family too, but I don’t believe a friendship can ever come out of this.

          Yes you may have just cracked it – anything at all arises with any sort of relationships, work,family,romance – “what would Natalie do” and we go from there. I like it :)

  35. Tinkerbell says:

    Lilia, I realize we’re sort of veering off the subject of the post but your comments about the gas engineer resonated very much with me. When I had my house (now moved to an apartment), I used to “fall in love” with men who were handy. My husband had been one of those men and we never had to worry about a thing being fixed around the house. Never had to call in anyone because he was so multi-talented. It was such a blessing. As a matter of fact the MM was a general contractor, and certainly did not appeal to me physically, but I was attracted to his handiness. After giving him the boot, I retained another handyman and developed a crush on him also. Much of my feelings were actually gratitude for the help that I had no idea how to do for myself. Over time I realized that I was making the huge mistake of mixing business with pleasure. They should be kept separate as it is very easy to misinterpret the happiness you feel when someone has done you a big favor that you could never have done for yourself. You told him not to fix your shower in an attempt to keep it professional and not owe him anything, and you were uncomfortable when he did not want to accept money. Sometimes people are genuine in wanting to help but in my experience it’s been someone that I’ve known for years and they’ve never tried anything and made it clear it was all business. You’ve shared that you were “assaulted”. Don’t say anymore about it, and do not text him. He is a not your friend (yet). Just continue to be pleasant but only call on him if it’s something more than a landlord normally would do. But observe and listen to him very carefully, pay him and send him on his way. The handyman, with whom I’d had the crush on, ran into my very close friend the other day and asked her for my phone number. She, instead took his number and promised she would give it to me. He had known I liked him, but I always had paid him fairly for his work. The last time I wanted a job done, he stood me up 2 times. I was finished with him after that. Currently he wanted my phone number. For what? I have not called him. I’ve moved on. Fortunately now I don’t have nearly as much use for a handyman and have been learning to do more small jobs for myself. All this is to say Lilia, go SLOWLY, with this gas engineer. He knows you live alone, and that automatically makes you a target for some men with questionable intentions. Don’t be one.

    I am so sorry for your rape experience. That kind of trauma is a devastation. Don’t carry self-blame like most rape victims do. Forgive yourself. But if you cannot forget it, which you won’t, turn it around and use it for good. It will take time but have faith in yourself.

  36. great guy says:

    You nailed it! Big time user! NC as much as I can. No choice but to see her on occasion but I’ve had enough of that situation. Thanks!

  37. Angel says:

    The last time out of “habit” the only way I knew how to “react” I let him think I was an “option” but that one time in lifew, ( That is not where my heart was at all.)

    I had to flush, But think it could have turned out diffenlty had I known from the start to not allow anyone to even begin to start seeing me as an “option” or a “maybe” just in case iun dont work out with someone else for later on sort of person.

    Never allowing that to happen ever again, but i had to get THAT hurt and loose the one that maybe could have been tha one had I known how to react and behave differently.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.


Start any of my courses within the next 48 hours and take advantage of the low prices in my summer sale. Current courses include Build Your Self Esteem, The Pattern Breaker and The People Pleasing Diet.