Don’t forget that I’m on a ‘break’ until September so I will mostly be featuring some of yours and my favourite posts from the archives.

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After I wrote about whether you’re ready to date again, there was a flurry of discussion in the comments about people who rely on making last minute plans under the guise of being ‘spontaneous’, and who when you try to make plans or you call them on their lack of commitment, they get all shirty with you.

This is what spontaneous looks like: You’re dating or in a relationship for a while, you see each other regularly, make plans in advance and then one day they phone up and say “I just found out that X is doing a gig tonight – do you fancy it?” or “Surprise! We’re off to Paris/having a weekend away/eating out tonight” or giving a gift just because.

This isn’t what spontaneous looks like: You’re dating or in a relationship for a while and you only find out what you’re doing on a Friday evening or on the day that it’s happening. Plans are rarely if ever made in advance and when you try to, they’re difficult to pin down, so in the end, the decision for them to agree to your suggestion is so last minute that they’ve pulled their usual stroke on you again – passive aggression.

Spontaneous also doesn’t look like: You haven’t heard from them for several days, a week, a few weeks, or even months and then a text comes through “Hey…hope you’re well. Fancy going out tonight?” And then after you spend time together, you don’t hear from them again for another several days/weeks/months until the next textvite comes through. That’s mind f*ckery. You can be damn sure that it also doesn’t sound like a call after dark asking whether they can ‘come over’ – that’s a booty call.

Spontaneous: “performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.” (Oxford Dictionary)

I’m all for seizing the moment but if the only time I hear from you is when you’ve seized the itch in your pants, or your ego needs some pumping, or when you’ve finally decided to get around to thinking of me and considering me in your plans at the last moment, I’d rather take a rain check. Sometimes it’s nice to fly by the seat of your pants, but the type of person who relies on keeping you on ‘standby’ as an option to avail of and actually expects that should they choose to only spring their plans on you five minutes before, that you’ll drop everything, is someone who is like the seat of someone’s pants…after a bad day – shady.

It’s like you’re on standby for a flight or a backup generator!

Do you want to be someone’s ‘sudden impulse’ or do you want to be considered?

Would you be happy with someone not thinking ahead, planning, and committing to something as basic as short-term plans?

Just like the whole ‘busy’ issue, it’s a question of valuing other people’s time.You can be damn sure that the person who doesn’t make plans with you assumes that you’re on their ‘waiting list’ without something better to do. Often, it’s not a question of what you’ll be doing together; it’s a question of whether you’ll be seeing each other at all.

Much like people who keep emphasising how ‘honest’ or ‘nice’ they are, suffer with Those Who Doth Protest Too Much, when someone goes to the trouble of telling you that they’re spontaneous, you’re dealing with a Future Avoider that has basic commitment issues. If you can’t get them to commit to making short-term plans, may the force be with you for anything bigger.

These people expect you to go with their flow – this will gnaw at your insides, having you anxious about whether you’ll be ‘picked’ each week. Feck that!

One of my ex’s wasn’t keen on ‘making plans’, often using the phrase “flying by the seat of my pants.” Most weekends I’d be ‘summoned’ after he’d decided what he wanted to do, or be subjected to having to listen to him whining about finding something to do that ticked his ‘spontaneous’ boxes. Invariably, 99.9% of the time, it was boring. So I did the smart thing – I went ahead and made my own plans. If I was around and I wanted to go, I’d meet him, but if not, hey ho – you snooze, you lose.

Sadly I didn’t heed that lesson as he wasn’t my last Mr Unavailable and after being summoned here, there, and everywhere by text, phone, and email, I recognised how devaluing this was – it’s like floating around on the coat tails of other people’s lives – you have a life of your own!

This shouldn’t be so hard for us to recognise as worthwhile, valuable individuals: We are people worth thinking ahead about and making plans with.

You will know you’re dealing with someone who really isn’t all that spontaneous and who in fact has commitment issues, when the things that they’re being spontaneous about aren’t really all that exciting.

It’s also important to consider the bigger picture: If someone rarely plans ahead, them leaving things till the last minute isn’t spontaneous – it’s routine. This is a bit like the person who is so inconsistent that they become consistent at being inconsistent.

Everything is contextual. If you have a healthy, mutual partnering and they surprise you periodically or you both decide to do things on the spur of the moment, that’s spontaneity. Them doing things on their terms and you being shoehorned into their ‘plans’ is passive aggression.

Your whole relationship can’t be one big ‘ole impulse. Part of being available and committed is being able to commit to doing basic things that if you’re not too busy trying to micromanage your intimacy and responsibility levels, you’d take for granted as being part of your relationship and enjoy it.

You are not a ‘standby ticket’. You’re not.

You are better than sitting around waiting to be called up for duty. You’re also better than being a standby option after they’ve made sure they haven’t got better plans.

You’re someone to be made plans with. You’re also someone that can be surprised and seize the moment but within the context of already having the freedom of a relationship where you can talk about making plans without being shut down.

And that’s the test: Spontaneity cuts both ways. You can be damn sure that you’re with someone who has commitment issues when it’s all on their terms and you can’t be spontaneous and get together on impulse.

Don’t be a passenger. If you’re not comfortable with being dial-a-date, then don’t. Instead of giving a big explanation or even a small one, just say that you’ve made other plans, which you should do anyway as leaving yourself as an option makes you a passenger giving people the option of choosing you, while you’ve already chosen them. They’ll either meet you in the middle and make plans, or beat it. Or…they’ll pretend to meet you in the middle and gradually eek it back to last minute, at which point you bounce them and walk.

Start as you mean to go on because really, you don’t have time to be teaching a grownup to value and prioritise you. Remember – when you don’t allow yourself to be on standby, they can’t treat you like an option.

Your thoughts?

Holiday Update

• I woke up knackered this morning after an oddly hectic day of trying to coax the house into being tidy and then various family suddenly descending on the house… just as I was planning to get the kids to bed early and get some important stuff out of the way. In the end, I had to tell them I had to head off upstairs. This morning I went for a massage and it literally feels like I’ve taken a load off. I’m now trying to practice good posture.
• I wept laughing as my mother shared the story of how she freaked out over my little brother (23) not coming home after his Saturday night out, and all on the basis that some guy she’d been out with in her new town told her that he hoped my brother wasn’t going to dangerous areas. Unfortunately my brother still has the voicemail of her wailing down the phone for four minutes. We didn’t even make it past 30 seconds we were laughing so hard. I also pointed out that I stayed out and she never gave a shite! I even said I could have been gone for a week and she wouldn’t have melted down! There was a time when this would have bothered me but now I just think it’s bloody funny and ridiculous. Oh and I also informed her that it looks a bit strange beyond a certain age when a man is calling home to let his mother know that he’s staying out!
• We have a pretty busy weekend ahead including a dinner party and staying at Shoreditch House tomorrow night, a kids party and then a barbecue on Sunday so bearing in mind that Em seems to have made the most of his first week of his mother being here by being out three nights, I plan to have lots of chill time. I’ve got some magazines to read and I may finally get cracking on a sewing project.
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### 249 Responses to Revisited: Are you on standby? Why you’re not Mister / Miss Last Minute Option

1. Robin says:

Right, spontaneity is a two-way street. It isn’t summoning one person to your area every. Single. Time. I had an ex who expected that I’d spend the majority of our relationship driving the full hour to meet him where he lived until I just stopped doing that. Only he ended up pretending to compromise, when he really wanted something else in return.

2. Barbara says:

Booty o’clock. Awesome!

3. stacey allam says:

don’t you ust love these guys who make like there sacrificing and compromising so much for you reminds me of the jon ham part in bridesmaids there all so saintly. Do not put yourself on the shelf for anyone or have anyone put you there. Your know ones girl to go to when they have nothing better to do and make you think like there doing you a favor

4. Revolution says:

So wait…..7:54 is “Booty O’clock”?

Yeah, I’ve had these texts/”spontaneous” last minute phone calls. Like I was being summoned by the King himself, and how DARE I make other plans? God forbid I’m not eagerly waiting around for him.

If these mens’ brains were the size of their egos, we would have the national debt all squared away by now. Well….at least by Booty O’clock, no doubt.

• beth d says:

Booty o clock? LOL Rev you are hysterical!

• Revolution says:

Beth,

LOL, though I’d love to take the credit, that was ALL NAT!!!

BTW, Nat: I just used the expression “tart’s wash” to a friend of mine tonight via text. (We are going to a fitness convention in L.A. tomorrow, doing a ballet fitness demo, and I told her I’d bring makeup wipes for us to do a “tart’s wash.” She laughed her good ol’ American ass off, not having heard that expression previously, but getting the “gist” of it (within the context of our convo).

• Tinkerbell says:

Yes, I remember Natalie invented “Booty O’Clock”. I swear you British ladies have “got it goin on!” If you know what that means. LOL! – American expression.

• runnergirl says:

I got to use “steam off my piss” yesterday and it got a huge reaction. And I think “booty-o-clock” can happen at any hour. Yesterday was the the perfect standby,booty-o-clock situ. ExMM#1 moved back and made plans to meet for lunch with best gf who lives an hour away. The three of us used to be inseparable. He’s been trying to reconnect with everybody. ExMM#1 was notorious for making plans and canceling at the last second. I get a phone call from best gf. He canceled within 5 minutes of when they were supposed to meet. After a short trip down memory lane as to how we’ve both been stuck after he canceled plans, I realized now she was stuck for a couple of hours with nothing to do. I contemplated playing miss last minute option and inviting her to drop by BUT I refrained. The online dating scene gave me practice in enforcing my “no last minute plans” boundary. I could have used a break, she was only 10 minutes away, and only had a few hours BUT I stood firm with myself. I did struggle though. Interestingly, she didn’t ask. A few weeks ago, she showed up in town, called to meet, and guess what…I was busy…fertilizing my garden! To end the convo, I got to use the line: “That guy isn’t getting the steam off my piss”. She howled.

Sticking to and enforcing boundaries has been the best thing that happened to me. “Remember – when you don’t allow yourself to be on standby, they can’t treat you like an option.” Yup!

Oh Nat, the story about your 23yro brother and mother really hit a note. I’ve been doing better lately. I’ve been in your mother’s shoes, including calling all her friends while intermittenly wailing on her voicemail. I’ve internalized your “feeding the worry fish” when it comes to my young adult daughter who is actually quite capbable of managing her own life and is an adult. Whenever I start down that path, I see the goldfish bowl. I can hardly wait until she moves 3,000 miles away at the end of the month. I worried LESS when she was on the East coast. You are a saint!

• runnergirl says:

I think the other thing I’ve learned about being on standby is that even plans to fertilze my garden, clean, or some DYI project means I have plans. I used to drop everything to be the last minute option. I used to think cleaning my house wasn’t a plan or whatever I was doing wasn’t a plan. My relationships with everybody used to be “one big ole impluse”, mostly theirs. Now I realize I plan my day and even fertilizing is my plan.

• jewells says:

Runner, another term I like is ‘wouldn’t pee on them if they were on fire…’

5. Sue says:

Thanks for the re-post Natalie and hope you are enjoying the vaca. One of the things that got through to me in the last EUM sitch was when I realized that I wasn’t DOIMG anything anymore. I was sitting around waiting to see what he wanted to do, if he would call, etc. There in the middle he tried to make plans ahead, and ask me which day I preferred that he went off fishing with his buddy (or whatever he was aactually doing), but then he slipped back into last-minute no plan guy. So, I started going to yoga and another class and stuff. He retaliated by going to an event without me that he had been talking about to me for a year. I texted, “I feel angry that you went to the Monks without me.” Oh that got a phone call and angry, affronted tone. The “I don’t appreciate blah blah blah,” making himself the victim. Wow. First time I spoke up and that was the response? Wow, never saw that side of him before. I stopped and really took a look at what my life had become. Nothing, but waiting around for him to maybe call and he was calling less and less. After that confrontation there were I think two weekends in a row nothing – no text – blank. Hmm. I guess a new girl got those weekends. Lucky her. I broke NC today only to this extent, I asked my friend who knows him how he’s doing and she said he is angry all the time. Ha ha. I have a date Saturday night. I’m happy.

6. Lacy says:

This was my relationshit for yrs with the x.After not seeing him for a few days,he called me up in the am not say where we were going but asked me to meet him we went to the spa which initially he had an ap but sense I drove him he called and added me to get mani and pedi.When we were done he told me he was buying a car in full cash and he wanted me to sign my name on it because he didn’t have license.

I told him I can but we aren’t even close and barley see each other.He said u know what forget it you are so negative and never want to live in the moment.

Wow what a jerk a..

• gyserboy says:

Lacy, great you cottoned on (spa treatment was a convenient coy) to what his real intention was…your signature. Your perspective at the time he asked, was very clear because that is exactly what was happening (not close/barely seeing each other) so airy fairy you were not. It is unfortunate the residual effects and shameful memories of themselves/these types of men do leave behind.

7. Pauline says:

The ex AC used to pull this number on me quite often, some of the time I would be going out with friends or had something else to do and said no, sorry but I’m busy. Then he had a major temper tantrum. Poor guy, what a shame … NOT! I know that now.
The rest of the time I would go with the flow. Yep, booty calls and all.
How humiliating it all was.
I can see now after understanding many of Nat’s posts that I was only ever a passing time option, there was no relationship with this man and there never had been, most of it was in my imagination (I thought he was the love of my life) and some adroit passive/aggressive manipulation and lies to me on his part most of the time.
I ignored all the red flags and let him jump my boundaries because I was in “LOVE”. The sex was great and that’s where I made my BIG mistake. Yep, you guessed it, I got sex and love mixed up when he was in no doubt that it was just sex on his part. You know he even warned me not to fall in love with him and I brushed that aside. Yep, I was going to be the exception to the rule and he was going to love me. Instead of a clean break when he knew he didn’t feel the same about me he moved into major assclown territory and just used and abused me until I had had enough.
Lesson learned.

• Tinkerbell says:

Pauline- Sorry, I can’t resist this. He jumped your boundaries, jumped your bones, and shattered your heart. Along with AC, EUM, etc., was he married too? Hope not. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because you learned the lesson and you won’t be back for more. Good for you.

• Pauline says:

Tinkerbell, you know, I had this feeling that he was either married or had a long term girlfriend and when I questioned him about this he avoided answering and would change the subject or got offended that I didn’t trust him, blah blah blah …
I received a text from him one day that obviously wasn’t for me. Final confirmation and he couldn’t wriggle out of that major faux pas although he tried. I finally had to face up to the fact that he was a cheat, a liar and an all round rat bastard.
Lesson learned.

• Tinkerbell says:

Pauline,

Oh yeah, typical behavior I witnessed with the MM. So glad I only allowed 6 months, went NC and never looked back. The idiot thought he could worm back in after 2 years? No sir, not ever. Good that you learned the lesson.

8. Mis(t)er-able says:

Day 6 of NC going to try for 60

Sue,
I can completely relate to your experience of speaking up and having the ex turn it into something you did wrong and they were the victim.

The scary thing is she believes she was the victim of a dangerous narcissist (her ex husband) and was reading all about what a narcissist is and how to deal with them. Hmmm ?

I’m feeling better about my decision to end the nonsense. I check myself, how I feel, a few times a day, and if I think I see her car, it’s not as bad as it was last week. I am at a point where I would feel sorry for her and whatever new guy comes along, since part of her way is she’s fine/ self-aware and doesn’t need to change so you know that’ll never work out.

Yea, it’s kind of like wanting revenge I guess. But it’s not my problem anymore. She’s not my problem.

• Tinkerbell says:

Hey Mister,

Pardon me for shortening your clever moniker. It’s a BR thing. I totally agree that it is best to set your sights small when you want to conquer most challenges, like weight loss, etc. Imo, going NC is not one in which you give yourself limits. You’ve said “60 days?” How about 60 years. It is difficult, and may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. It was for me. But it is sooo worth it when you’ve succeeded, especially without falling off the wagon. Try very hard. Good luck. Just my two cents worth butting in.

9. Mis(t)er-able says:

Oh, Sue, the other thing I meant to mention was the “never saw that side of [the ex] before.”

Nailed it!

It was bizarre the few times I experienced that switch into some other personality. It was like she was instantly seething yet completely cold and heartless. And I didn’t say “who are you and where did my girlfriend go?” Though that would’ve been good, and funny. I just said eff this.

• Sue S. says:

Yes, Exactly!

10. Lucky_Charms says:

Textvite! Booty o’clock! If only I had seen this a long time ago. This was the EUM to a T. It was always last minute, plus I was either working or home with my kids. So convenient and so lazy. The “hang out” with me doing all the work, entertaining, food etc. Just makes my blood boil! He was a future faking, future avoider, obviously with commitment issues. With each of these revisited posts I KNOW I did the right thing, cutting contact. It is 9 months to the day. He has broken contact and even come to my house. But I will never listen to his lies again. Once they can be all “lets make this permanent” to er, “don’t know what I want.” The trust is gone. I still have days where I want to kick my own self in the arse because I have an impulse to text him. I just hope I get to the point where he isn’t a thought in my head. The worst is dealing with my kids. The assclown actually had a talk with them and told them we were going to be together,now they hate him. What a poor choice I made but I try to make it a lesson about how people don’t always have the best intentions. Sigh. Can’t wait until it’s a year.

• Tinkerbell says:

Lucky. If you’re really through with him, and your kids hate him, call the police the next time. Even if you don’t really do that for your kids sake (sparing them the drama) put on the most no-nonsense face you can muster go to the phone and dial. That’ll get rid of him in a hurry. LOL!

• Tinkerbell says:

Hmmm. I must be feeling better already, making jokes.

Grace, see my post at the end of “Co-Piloting. I’m in your corner, Babe.

• Allison says:

Tinker,

So sorry to hear of the split, but you did the best thing for both parties. Really brave and selfless.

Hugs

• Tinkerbell says:

Allison,

Thank you for saying that. It helps more than you know. xx

11. Peanut says:

Art. Art. Art.

I’m on summer break from art program (during the semester my brain gets stuffed full to the brim all things art, so a break is welcomed and, as much as I love it, I haven’t sought out too much) but I so very, very much ENJOY your art Nat.

I swear I can identify art from emotionally intelligent creators versus EU sources now. It’s eerie.

LOVE ME SOME EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE ART.

12. Warriorgrrl says:

Thank you for this! Today was huge for me in this area. Today was EUM’s birthday. He did all of the crap above and I kept going back for more – five years later and I was still eating crumbs and stuck. 8 weeks NC and today I did NOT cave to the urge to contact him with a stupid Happy Birthday text. Secretly I hope it is irritating him, but know my freedom is more meaningful than that sad hope. Thanks for reminding me how cruel he was and how he enjoyed playing with my feelings. Thank you again.

• bikergrl says:

Great job staying strong!! Keep it up!! Besides, the rest of the harem can wish him happy birthday…you have better stuff to do like live your life!

• Jule says:

Warriorgirl — congrats on not contacting him and it’s ok to be kinda hoping it irritates him. Why the hell not? He was cruel to you.

• micheyl says:

That’s great warriorgirl! Inspirational, truly!!

13. Better Late than Never says:

Wow, how timely! This just happened to me last night. Plans made 3 days beforehand (by him) to meet at 7 pm. When I asked where to meet, he said he would ‘get back to me.’ Should have known right then to make other plans. Sure enough, Friday evening rolls around and the clock is ticking away. 6 pm – nothing. 6:30 pm – nothing. 7 pm – still nothing. At almost 7:30 I get a Facebook chat (?!?!) from him, with ‘hey.’ When no answer was forthcoming from me, he followed up at 9:15 with a phone call consisting of one ring (!?!?).

Are you KIDDING ME? For some unknown reason, he phoned at 10:45 pm to try to ‘explain’ what happened – phone ran out of credit, late getting out of work, head stuck up ass, etc. I told him it doesn’t take 3 days to decide where to meet someone. My guess is, he got a better offer from someone he HADN’T slept with yet, and was keeping me as backup if nothing else panned out.

I am still angry at myself for wasting 20 minutes of my life that I can never get back, attempting to explain to a 40-year old man why this sort of behavior is unacceptable. This is not the first time this has happened with him, but it will be the last. A loud and resounding ‘FLUSH’

• lizzp says:

My God Betterlate…! Reading that triggers the anger I used to feel as I, it seemed, repeatedly flushed adolescent and infantile men in their 40s and early 50s from online ‘dating’ whom I actually met in real life or was trying to organise to meet. I ended up following a fairly strict strategy around meeting for the first time to try and avoid all that wishy washy crap but still got annoyed as hell when with increasing frequency I was called upon to flusheroo! ( no longer anywhere near an online dating site now).

Arrgghh, the guy you talk about, arrrghhh , just plain pathetic, would have been glad to help you yank that chain.

• Tinkerbell says:

40 yrs old?!!! Good Lord am I glad I’m passed that age group if this is what you can expect from ONLY ONE of them! What a turd. BetterLate, you must have an awfully sweet persona for him to even THINK he could even try to pull something like that on you. But, I’m not blaming you. These types are just unreal.

• lizzp says:

Hey Tinkerbell, you wouldn’t believe the number of turds there are out there in this age group. If they are frequenters of online dating sites as well then this just adds to their sense of entitlement, for many I’ve come to conclude that they wouldn’t even consider such behaviour as irresponsible. It’s even an insult to adolescents (possibly even toddlers) to label them as such! I read about your man. I think you’ve done right. How brave and honest you are. xo

• Tinkerbell says:

Lizzp. I went the online route right after my esperience with the MM. I quickly became frustrated an incensed at the nerve of some of them. Because the means of connection is online, they seem to feel that they not only don’t owe you anything in terms of reliability, they don’t feel they owe you a modicum of RESPECT AND DECENCY. This just advertizes the fact that they don’t respect themselves. I would NEVER do it again. And, I’m a person who believes in the slogan “never say never.”

Glad you read my post explaining my final decision. I feel comfortable with it, and so much better than 2-3 days ago. Time heals, and can begin pretty quickly quickly when you’ve developed that inner strength and know your worth.

• sushi says:

Tink,

so glad you are feeling better, read how you handled the situation and am so impressed !

• Tinkerbell says:

Hi Sushi!

I’m trying so hard. I’ve been playing R&B music in my cd player since 10AM, started out with Seal’s oldies, the R. Kelly, singing the heartbreaker song “When a Woman Loves”. Why am I doing this to myself? And, other up-tempo beats and dancing to the music. But, this is def an overall improvement bcuz a yr ago I would remain in bed all day with my head under the covers not able to face being alive. Now, that was sad. Thanks for your continued concern and support. (((Hugs))).

• DiggingDeeper says:

I’m sorry Tinkerbell; I just read some of your updates.

You know you had a tough decision to make, and you made it. I know it wasn’t easy for you, and I’m really proud of YOU.

You know Tink, I think you’ve been quite supportive of him and your relationship, and you’ve been honest about your wants, needs, and limits.

I think taking a break right now is a smart thing to do because it gives you both what ‘sounds like’ some much needed space with an opportunity to step back and take care of yourselves, which to me is a great way to support one another.

Hey, I’ve got the tissues–yes, they come with lotion, and they smell, simply, marvelous.

Take care of yourself. Tinkerbell, xxx

• Tinkerbell says:

Thanks, Digging! In my emotional turmoil I forgot the fact that he has told me several times. “We’re friends for life”. That let’s me know it’ll work out, to whatever degree, in time. XXX.

• sushi says:

Oh Tink,

at times like these even music has to be chosen wisely. Just had some ice cream in your honour xxx

• Tinkerbell says:

Thanks Sushi. You’re so right about the music. Happy words are what
I need to hear and DANCING!

• Andee says:

I often find myself wondering if Gen X dudes are kind of hopeless…not all, of course, but the vast majority. It’s almost like the confusion of being raised in a post-feminist revolution messed with their heads! As my therapist is fond of pointing out, the women’s movement didn’t really happen to men!

• jewells says:

Oh, that’s so poignant – the women’s movement didn’t really happen to men!
So, what that means is we have to stick to our guns and bring them up to speed. And by this I don’t mean parenting them, just not engaging in the bs, and letting them figure it out like we are…

• Andee says:

I thought so too, Jewells! We assume that since men were around and living through it as well that it happened to them. But it didn’t. And as a result, I’m trying to date members of the last generation brought up with antiquated gender roles being the norm. In other words, their mother’s may or may not have been down, but their father’s almost certainly weren’t.

• Maeve says:

it’s not just gen x. I personally think the last frontier of true female independence is COLLECTIVELY refusing to accept all the second class treatment from EUMs. It’s apparently epidemic.

All the femininist progress is worth crap if we can’t have respectable personal relationships.

• Allison says:

Andee,

The ex stated that he strongly supported feminism. Funny, as his behavior to all women – stories from his own mouth – was the most disrespectful I have ever encountered.

• Andee says:

I think some of these guys THINK they are pro-women…after all, they certainly believe in not coddling women. But there is a strong misogynist bent in the men I’ve been involved with deep down. I often hear language reflecting deep seeded mistrust and disgust with womenkind. Language I mistakenly believed I was exempt from…after all, I’M not one of THOSE women. But in the end, you can’t find their attitudes about women, they will find a way to place you in that mold.

• micheyl says:

OMG Andee, spot on. EUM claimed to respect women (that’s why all the harem and the friends with ex’es) but his deep dislike and distrust came out when talking about mom and ex-wife. I couldn’t blame him, mom is an alcoholic and ex-wife took him to the cleaners; but I just KNEW he would never feel that way about me. After all, I am not like that. hmph. Maybe he does feel that about all women…

• MaryW says:

Andee I agree. I heard the ex use the C word too many times, and then he called his mum a B. These are just words but together with his history, actions, and other tit-bits on info, the ex was a misogynist.

• Better Late than Never says:

Hi again, all. Thanks so much for your supportive comments. Thought I would post an update to the story of the Facebook-messaging, non-date-keeping, phone-out-of-credit MEGA LOSER: shortly after telling him to forget about ever meeting again, I found out the reason he could never manage to keep plans he made: he had gotten back with his ex, and somehow conveniently forgotten to mention that to me. All the while, he continued to make bogus plans with me.

Not sure how long he had been cooking that up, but needless to say, I feel like a total fool. At least I know now that my gut was right, and that something was seriously “off.” Doesn’t really help right now though…

• MaryW says:

Ouch!
How did you find out? No doubt not from him….
Better Late, yes your gut was right but you weren’t a fool. x

• LaPinturaBella says:

You ARE NOT a fool!!!! He on the other had IS.

Look at this this way, your gut was speaking to you. You knew this guy was iffy…becuase YOU have the power to see these things. This is NOT a criticism…we are all in the same boat…you just need to fine-tune you gut listening skills.

BTW, feel relieved that you were spared this idiot. His EX needs to really worry and get her way to BR asap!

• Marilyn says:

Lizzp – I am so done with online dating. I’m actually writing a book on what is out there. FOr every good man, there must be 1000 EUMs, ACs and Married Liars. Never again for this “should be old enough to know better” girl.

• lizzp says:

Hi Marilyn,I’ve taken myself ‘off the market’ (in terms of any dating) until the new year (at least) but when the time comes for me to be ready and willing to meet men again I have a feeling I’ll come to that decision too. I doubt I’ll be able to truly be ‘neutral’/indifferent about it and I need to avoid negative energy, especially the self generated variety. I’d be interested to hear about your book sometime- I wonder if there would be an argument for online having become a kind of toxic dating culture. I’d also be interested in how the good (read non game playing, not self entitled) and genuine men find the women in general. I’d guess there’s probably a good percentage of female EUs and ACs and other damaged women – narcissistic etc also.

• Emerldeyez says:

Good for you! I just started to date a man who after going out last weekend contacted me the next day to make ask me out for the following weekend! Holy Crap!! decent guys do exist. Yes, I was reduced down to a booty call by my ex, who would argue with me, walk out and several hours later, after probably screwing his newest, want to come back and sleep with me, I was the love of his life, blah, blah, blah, until the next episode, of rage.

It has taken me, a year, to get over him, I am just starting to date. And I am so trusting my intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, FLUSH

• Tinkerbell says:

Em,

I sincerely wish you all the best. To you and to anyone just betting back into the dating field.

• gyserboy says:

Better Late Than Never….I commend your resolve, stick to it! This is all a game to men of such sunken ilk! Glad you have now activated your get out of jail card, there is so much wonderful pursuits on the horizon awaiting you. Be of this mindset because it is true. I have been through the wringer myself and I can safely assure you, there is way better after experiencing dodgy and incomprehensible treatment.

• MaryW says:

Better Late, don’t feel bad for wasting 20 minutes of your time. I’m personally glad you did; it might make teach him a lesson (though not one you’ll benefit from). Good on you for flushing, though I can imagine, from his cheeky behaviour, that he might be a bit of a floater. Might require another flush.

I dated quite a few men in their early forties in the past year or so. They are often like toddlers, but without the excuse of actually being one, and they are less cute.

From the experiences I’ve had, and those of a few friends who do on-line dating, I have found most of them falling in to two broad categories:
1) never-grown-up: have no responsibilities; no evidence of a significant long term relationship in the past; still living in flat shares (!); hanging out with people much younger (20′s and early 30′s); may actually ask for a FWB thing even though that’s not what you want and is clearly stated on your profile.
2) freshly out of a marriage/ LTR: pretend (to themselves and/or you) that they are ready to date in earnest when they are not; messy lives, with dates/ relationships fitting in around custody arrangements; expecting you to be their therapist when they want to moan about their ex.

Both categories tend to pull back after 4-5 dates, when it has the merest hint of developing into something consistent, manifesting as cancelling dates etc.

The “spontaneity” that some of these men exhibit in either requesting last-minute dates or cancelling last minute is actually in many cases their way of controlling the situation because they are not in control of their own lives.

Admittedly I am really rather jaded at the moment, but this behaviour from a 40 year old just doesn’t surprise me.

It’s very frustrating.

• Lucky_Charms says:

Mary W, that “floater” remark, I actually Lol’d for real! My Ex EUM is a floater. Keeps coming back. Guess I’m just gonna have to flush harder. God, thanks for that.

• lizzp says:

Mary W. I laughed too! A bit crude but to keep this theme going, I’m still dealing with blockage from the back log of 5 months of online dating earlier in the year. time to call the plumber…

p.s I’ve just had a chance to read a couple of replies you made to me in the previous post. Thank you, I really appreciate your comments – I get a lot of insight for them. I’d like to reply to one of them, it’s a matter of time and energy right now. Oh but quickly re Mr Scrabbs…he never confirmed our game so I’ve neither spoken to or seen him. I may see him at a school assembly on Friday and will address his rudeness if appropriate (ie if he approaches for a chat) otherwise I’ll be ignoring him. I think he needs to be referred to as Mr Scabs from this point in.

• jewells says:

oooooo, like that one too – if our ‘flush’ mechanism is stuck…’time to call the plumber’…

• Allison says:

Lizz,

His behavior was very rude, but please don’t say anything, as he won’t care, and you will look like you are emotionally involved- don’t give him the satisfaction.

Accept this dude for the flake he is, and don’t make anymore plans.

• LaPinturaBella says:

“At almost 7:30 I get a Facebook chat (?!?!) from him, with ‘hey.’ When no answer was forthcoming from me, he followed up at 9:15 with a phone call consisting of one ring (!?!?).”

“For some unknown reason, he phoned at 10:45 pm to try to ‘explain’ what happened – phone ran out of credit…”

Right there is the lie. He had enough “credit” to phone at 9:15 and then again at 10:45. What a douche! Do they not understand we have brains in our heads and can actually see this crap they pull?

I’m sorry, I’m just really beside myself with anger at the foolish, blatant lies these idiots tell and the manipulation they engage in…all the while thinking they really are THAT special and THAT smart.

Hate to say it, but this crap is not just limited to 40 somethings. The AC I just flushed is 63 and pulls this same kind of BS. 63 effing-years old! Father of two grown sons. God, I shudder to think what those “kids” are like in relationships with the AC as a role model.

I know there are good guys out there… the question is WHERE??? I feel so limited in my potential prospects. I live in a place that is “seasonal,” basically one giant resort where the population swells with snowbirds in the winter. Lots of retirees and marrieds. I have been here for 5 years and haven’t met anyone in my age range who is single AND emotionally available, let alone who I find attractive regarding shared interests, values, etc. Hence the AC…he was the first one that was even a possibility and he turned out to be my worst nightmare.

Feeling a bit hopeless today.

• emerlydeyez says:

LaP Bella,
I can relate to the hopelessness, and where are the good guys. Funny thing is I was on a flight recently, and this drunk sat next to be and he said he told his girls three things about a man when they meet him, If he has to tell you he is a good guy….RUN!! I don’t remember the other two, but I moved out west for my EUM.so I know I hung on out of my own desperation and loneliness, wanting to make something work that could never in a million years work, with me or any other woman.

• Jule says:

Hang in there LaPinterabella. He is out there and it will happen as long as you’re not wasting time with an assclown. I totally get “I know they are out there but WHERE?” Can you possibly relocate to some place more suitable for you or is that out of the question?

• Tinkerbell says:

Oh, LaPintura. I’m so sorry to learn about this AC and his treating you poorly. You’ve been such a support for me. Fight thru it, honey. You’ve been here before, right? You know what to do. We all REALLY KNOW. We just allow our emotions to over-rule our good judgement. But, FINALLY our brains show up and we flush. AC’s. Not “my guy”. Not sure if that’s bad or good. (Smile).

• LaPinturaBella says:

Em, Jule & Tink:

Thanks for the support. Today, I’m feeling better. Yes, I’ve been here before, got dumb and put my hand back in the fire with this idiot. Have been totally NC now for 6 weeks and it’s loads better this time around. Don’t regret flushing him at all.

Re: where I live, I’m a self-employed decorative artist and there are lots of huge homes with very wealthy people out here. Sticking it out for a while longer until I can get really flush and move to someplace I really want to be. And, I’m saving so I can retire in Italy!

I really appreciate you guys. I think I was really leaning into my anger this weekend and felt like my head wanted to explode. LOL

• micheyl says:

Yes LaP Bella,

I can understand. It seems to be pervasive in guys I meet of any age. I don’t want to do the internet thing. No luck for me ever and depressing. I have no idea where they are hiding. I used to think of that old cliche “all the good ones are taken” thinking they are all available to their mates in marriages and all the Mr. U’s are still floating around single. But that really can’t be true!!! Hang in there. I do have hope that with healing we can all find our match and get the respect we really do deserve.

14. noquay says:

My problem was that I was considered a disposable option for two years and didn’t know it. Really working on sensing red flags, listening to my gut. After the AC, my only dating options are guys that live far away (100 miles); one never knows whether you are a side dish or that they are truly into you. Kinda forced to trust until proven otherwise.

• Learner says:

Noquay, I feel for you being unaware you were not a priority because someone else was in the top spot despite him insisting otherwise. I have a feeling you are much improved at spotting red flags these days. You have a lot to offer a relationship, and all the best finding what you are looking for, despite limiting conditions

• lizzp says:

Learner and Noquay, Thinking back I can relate to the anger after discovering that you were not the priority after being told otherwise. I don’t include this as a relationship as it was only a few dates and a few kisses early last year, but the man in question was newly divorced (a few months I think)but had been ‘formally separated’ for longer. I didn’t ask for this info, he volunteered it, and strongly implied when providing it that he was emotionally available\over his ex. He actually gave far too many details for my comfort level (which I ignored)about his ex, but the impression he gave was a ‘mature’ one – that he had analysed the situation – there were certainly no obvious red flags, no slagging off ex wife, putting all fault on her. He was nice/reliable in all ways. A few dates down the track I sensed a pulling back and addressed it; he said he would like to continue, was attracted and saw a possible future BUT volunteered difficult circumstances at work; it;’s best we don’t continue ‘for now’. I said well circumstances or no circumstances, are you sure there isn’t something else you think you should tell me? (I was not upset etc but quite calm, I just do not like being patronised/lied to because some guy has decided he knows best and that my feelings need to be ‘saved’- as Nat says ‘start from where you want to go’ -even though clearly there was no where to go with this particular man it was still vital for me to not kid myself and watch myself buy into the BS my spidey sense had detected). He was insistent, said work was just going to take up too much time, it was best so ‘bye for now’…whilst I believed that he did have difficult circumstances re work, I knew this wasn’t the vital truth. Anyway we said goodbye, I was disappointed but fine as I hadn’t invested much at that point. However,’euea de BS’ seemed to be permeating the air.

The point? 18 months down the track via a ’6 degrees of separation’ coincidence, I am enlightened by the following information: this man was divorced but was in no way ‘over’ his ex-wife. He had been suffering about it since the separation, had dated to try and get over it,but congratulated himself on ending each dating encounter by realising his own limitaions and being ‘honest with himself’, had been depressed about it and was now getting back with said ex. I listened and did not reveal my experience with him so I could get as full a picture as possible for future reference. So there you go…you can ask for the truth, you won’t always get it…

• Tinkerbell says:

Wow, Lizz. That’s some heavy stuff. I’m especially glad that you had the dating experience and wisdom to honor your ‘spidey senses’ and be very direct with him, without revealing to him your own sense of self protection. That’s a skill that I need to learn as I def tend to follow my heart clumsily more than my head, then feeling later that I should have handled it a bit differently.

I’m glad that you ended up being right about him. Our gut always lets us know, right? We need to pay attention.

15. Maeve says:

I guess I have healthy boundaries on this because I’ll distance anyone, boyfriend or not, who keeps changing plans on me or assuming I’m just sitting around waiting for them. It’s the height of rudeness.

This peripheral EUM I’ve referred to in other posts has learned he can’t pull this garbage with me. We don’t date or anything. He’s tried to work his way into my pants through a shared interest and tried to pull the last minute thing a few times and I just wasn’t around to pick up the phone. Because I’m not easy pickings, he’s lost interest in the hot pursuit. I also ignore his hints at wanting sex and he stopped that crap too. Playing deaf is effective, but if he ever says something again, I’m going to tell him not to talk to me that way. Verbalizing it is new for me.

Bottom line is you have to teach these ACs how to treat you at every level of dealing.

What’s weird is I feel like I’m in some unspoken power struggle with him where we’re each waiting for the other side to break. Fact is, I can take him or leave him because of his red flag behavior, and I’m sure he thinks the same of me for not going along with his agenda.

• Tinkerbell says:

But, Maeve, you like him right? Are you just playing hard to get? I ask because you’re still conversing with him. I’m not being rude, just wonder what you want with him.

• Maeve says:

Tinkerbell–I think I’m weaning off him on the slow realization of what’s going on. I kinda had my suspicions anyway, but coming to this site cemented it.

As for talking to him, we’ve been meeting on a weekly basis before dance class to practice. I think he did it as a ruse to start something sexual, and my initial interest was for the practice. He does happen to be a good dancer, so I’m open to continuing the dance thing as long as he lays off the sexually inappropriate shite. (i.e. suggesting he’d like to share candy with me by passing it from his mouth into my mouth)

At one point, he did have a chance with me and I encouraged it, but he’s done a handful of things (including the above) to turn me off. The fact that he stopped the heavy pursuit when I made it clear I wasn’t getting sexual early on, told me everything I needed to know.

So I’m not sure what my investment is at this point. Some ego thing on my part? Curiosity to see where this goes and study the situation for future reference? He can’t hurt me and I don’t feel uncomfortable around him. In fact we get along nicely at the platonic level. But I have to confess, due to this wake up, I do have a seething anger, some score to settle that might not be about him directly. I’m not sure…

• Tinkerbell says:

Well, honey, if he’s a good dancer I can see the attraction. I figured it must have been some situation where you see him regularly not by choice, but more by circumstances, i.e some class or conference together, which it is. At least you’re not hopelessly attracted to him – you like dancing. As do I. I have no doubt you’ll handle him with aplomb, keeping your own best interests first and foremost. Have fun DANCING!!!

• Maeve says:

Thanks! Definitely not hopelessly attracted to him, though a part of me secretly hopes I’m wrong about him. The evidence is overwhelming though.

Hope you’re doing well today.

• Tinkerbell says:

I feel ya, girl. Yes, but like Maeve still holding out hope even though I vowed I would not to that to myself. I’m much better. Thanks.

• Jule says:

Tinkerbell and Maeve, you touched on not being too attracted and able to walk away. But How do we deal with the feelings when we know they are cockroach assclowns but we are SO attracted to them? I haven’t met anyone since who I am as attracted to. I know he’s a horrible guy and he treated me badly and has a deep seated problem with women and he won’t change. I am maintaining NC but it’s driving me crazy because he is so damn sexy to me. grrr. When will these obsessive thoughts stop???

• Tinkerbell says:

Jule,

Haven’t you heard? Some women love/prefer Bad Boys. They’re unable to work up any passion let alone have a snippet of interest in the ones who clearly don’t fit the type. You may well be one them. Aside from looking up some of Natalie’s older posts which apply to your situation, and avidly reading on BR, there are many self-help books, lastly, you can find yourself a therapist, If you get a good one they can help you work on this unhealthy. Examine your childhood, your parents treatment from infancy on up, and influences other significant persons in you past may have had to cause you to be attracted to men to whom you should not be giving the time of day. I think, most of us women have a “type” that we repeatedly, unconsciously look for and hook up with. It falls into the category of repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. Things will not change until YOU DO. But, you don’t always have to hit bottom Jule. You have BR which many of wish we’d had much sooner in our lives. Focus on fulfilling your needs, and being happy and comfortable in your own skin. As you become more stable emotionally with increased self esteem your psyche won’t allow you to waste time on Bad Boys. You’ll no longer find them a challenge or a fascination because you’ve risen above that.

Keep posting and asking questions. Good luck.

• Maeve says:

Jule–for me, I think some long ago teenage experience of rejection and humilation was so profound that it ruined that particular attraction for me. Since then, the minute I sense someone doesn’t value me the way I hoped they would, the sexual attraction dies. But! I still have initial attraction for these EUM types and I know it connects back to my dyamic with my father.

Ditto what Tinkerbell said, read everything you can in BR. I’ve just started myself. I think Natalie helps you gain a better perspective of what’s REALLY going on in the EU dynamic (including your role) and shows you how to stop the pattern.

Think about it, til now, probably no one’s ever given you the tools to do things differently, so you’ve been doing what you know…

• Allison says:

Maeve,

I don’t understand why you are interacting with this fool? Sounds like a complete waste of time!

• Maeve says:

I may end up cutting him off if he does anything disrespectful or offending. So far he’s towing the line. The reason I’m even bothering with him is because it’s hard to find guys who dance well. So for me, it’s strictly business…

• Allison says:

I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you were kinda seeing this guy.

Have fun dancing!!!!

• Maeve says:

Allison–lol! No…I ALMOST got sucked in. The red flags were blatent though. Barely disguised…

16. lolainchesaway says:

The perfect article to start your weekend is right. I read this earlier in the day and wouldn’t you know I get a “spontaneous” call from a Google # at 2 a.m.! I couldn’t find my phone to answer it because I was sleeping. Look at my phone bill and realized it was him since I had already blocked his regular cell #. Just blocked this one too. Adios!

• emerlydeyez says:

Lolain, good for you! They can be so creative! Keep it up

17. Peanut says:

My ex liked to plan to “hang out” in advance, but it was never anything too thought out. And when I’d try and take my time to choose an activity, movie or show that would be interesting, though mostly patient, sometimes he would get annoyed.

Though often his idea of hanging out meant not having sex, (hey, I was sexually unavailable too), drinking and or going to a bar. He turned out to be an alcoholic. Surprise! I met him at a bar, too. Ha.

When we met I was like serial-killer-wife passive. I am much better now. I had to learn assertiveness skills. Now, I find myself going overboard and sometimes getting into mega-bitch-scary territory.

I’m okay with this. For now. It’s changing. Settling in the middle to something more balanced. I wouldn’t go back to the previous any day. I’d rather be dead; I basically was.

• emerlydeyez says:

Peanut, I understand the Mega-bitch! Sometimes I laugh at myself for some of the things I now say that before I would just think them. At least the guy knows where I stand, and he can respect it, or go. At one time I would say take it or leave it. But what I really meant is this is who I am and if it works, great, respect me. If not great too, move on. There is a great feeling of self respect, increase of self esteem, when I can do this The decent guy will stick around and talk honest too. The AC, will have a choice name for me, and walk away.
FLUSH!

I too was a booty call, and didn’t know it, I’m the love of his life, right!!!! The texts at 10p when I go to bed, and two hours later he still isn’t over, man oh man. I put up with this why????

18. Paula says:

This words shall accompany for the rest of my life: “Start as you mean to go on because really, you don’t have time to be teaching a grownup to value and prioritise you. ”
Thank you Nat!

• Bellaninha says:

Amen Natalie! I need to keep reminding myself of ‘Start as you mean to go on’ and LOVE the additional ‘because really you don’t have time to be teaching a grown up to value and prioritise you’..I need to mke a new start as a guy I met at work a few months ago, well just didn’t start that great, and certainly did not get any better. I’ve left that job and started something new last week, which already feels great! can highly recommend to all the ladies feeling stuck working with an EUM you are still hanging on standby for – look for other work! Something better is out there and I am loving not having the drama in my life anymore. Saying that, we did text this week, so I’m not perfect! But I know it will get easier. He’s not a bad person, he just can’t give me what I deserve. I’m finding Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge a great positive goal to work on and keep me focused on myself, not another person.

• Tanzanite says:

Bellaninah

There are some ladies on here who see their AC’s at work and I have nothing but admiration for them .

However,I agree with you.If there is someone at work who makes you feel very uncomfortable I would consider leaving.That is exactly what I did.

I had two jobs and I had disposable income.I now only have one, with less disposable income but I am so much happier.

I know that know one is that special you should leave your job but it was the right choice for me.

I am an emotional eater and as soon as I removed the stress I lost a stone in weight.

I know it sounds strange but sometimes you have to move sideways or backwards to move forward.

• Tinkerbell says:

Hi Tanzanite. At work relationships are so risky and foolish. Nobody is that desperate that you have to get intimately involved with a work associate. It’s so short sighted, too. When the relationship goes south you’ve set yourself up for maximum rejection because you HAVE to see them everyday. That’s just self-torture. You did the right thing and quit that particular job. You were fortunate to be able to do that because most people do not have that luxury. All the more reason why it is dumb to engage in the first place.

• Tanzanite says:

Hi Tinkerbell

I didn’t leave work because I was involved with someone at work.I left because it was a reminder of the worst time of my life. It was the AC days and nothing in my life was right after that experience. It effected my relationships with other people at work because I was so stressed.

The best thing for me was a new start.It was like starting all over again and as if a ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Lots of people meet their partners at work and have great relationships or marriages.It is risky but I wouldn’t say it’s dumb.It’s only dumb if it doesn’t work out.

You could also say the same about meeting someone on your street,church,night class,cycle group,walking group support group,social group.If it doesn’t work out you still have to see them.( Not as often though,and if you stop going to these groups it doesn’t affect you mortgage. )I don’t do Facebook or dating sites so i’m wondering where I will meet someone if I rule out all those things.

I do miss the money but what price can you put on your health.

• Tinkerbell says:

Okay. Now I have a better understanding of why you left. Still, you recognized what you needed to do and took care of yourself. I still think getting into bed with someone you see at work every day is very risky, and not the same as your examples, because in those you still have a CHOICE to attend, or not. At work, you HAVE TO be there, call out sick or resign. None of those options are palatable at all.

• Sanntay says:

Ouch, Tink, harsh adjectives, but getting involved in a lot of the situations from which we’re all trying to recover could possibly be described the same way. I’ll take risky, short-sighted and maybe even a bit desperate/lonely for myself, but foolish AND dumb, well, OK, it was a mistake and we all make them, and hopefully learn from them. I was fortunate that I had the support I needed and I had to dig deep within myself to deal, because quitting simply was not an option. I did not miss a day of work during this ordeal (‘cuz I just would have been home crying all day), and I’m proud of that. I’m also fortunate that I work with different teams every year or so, and this individual doesn’t work for the same company, so once this project is done, ‘Adios Muchacho’. Lesson Learned.

P.S. Hope you’re faring well regarding your relationship decision. Big hugs to you.

• Tinkerbell says:

Hi Sanntay,

I know I DO tend to use harsh adjectives. I don’t like to use profanity so it’s my substitute, I guess. Sanntay, I am so sorry, I would never throw stones at you. I can honestly say you were not on my mind when I said what I said. YOU are still currently dealing with the fallout. Ugh! I’ll never learn tact.

I’m better but it’s not consistent, yet. I’m working on it. Thanks. Love 2 U, Tink.

• Sanntay says:

No worries, Tink. I know it was coming from a good place.

Take care of yourself.

• Tinkerbell says:

Thanks, Sanntay. You take care also.

• Marilyn says:

Bellaninha, I’m doing Deepak’s 21-day as well. Loving it!

19. Mr. Able fka Mis(t)er-able says:

Tink, shortened it myself and a new moniker at that. I feel much better now that I’ve go now a full week and even though its Saturday night and I’m staying in, I’m liking my own time. I haven’t had his in a long time,
The 60 days is a goal since I will probably see her at a community event shortly thereafter . I want to be in a good place by then, able to handle seeing her with some other dude or flirts with others or flirts with me, even. And not give in.

20. Rosie says:

I confess that I recently had sex with the guy who brought me here. Yes, after a year of not hearing from him, we went on a date and I gave into temptation. What made it so easy was that I know he doesn’t want a relationship, was honest about it and I’m in no position to be in one anyway. Because I knew the outcome of the situation with guy when I don’t know the outcome of where I’ll be living, how I’m going to get food, pay bills, etc, it was easy to violate my own moral convictions. So as he was using me for sex, I was using him as an escape from the fear I’m experiencing in my life right now. Of course, I am ridiculously attracted to the guy but I was able to resist him last year but last year I wasn’t almost homeless. Right now I am.

What was weird is that I was fine afterward, emotionally (spiritually is a different matter, had a long talk with my pastor). I’ve heard and read about the shame and awkwardness of one-night stands but I didn’t experience that. Since I don’t have one-night stands as I’m sexually abstinent (usually), I don’t know the protocol so invited him to stay the night if he wanted as he seemed quite sleepy. He declined and after talking and cuddling for a little bit he left. He’s the one who seemed to feel upset and awkward. I don’t know why. I didn’t have sex with him to try to get a relationship out of him.

Here’s where this post relates to the topic: He called me a couple days later asking if he could come over for a minute. Since it was around 8:00 pm (everything I’ve read has booty call time at 10 pm or later and, since I’ve been abstinent for so long, am really out of the loop), I agreed, unsure of why he wanted to see me. The moment he walked in the door, it was on. I responded at first but then realized that we weren’t in a relationship and I didn’t want to be his fwb or his booty call so I put on the brakes before my clothes came off. I told him that one weak moment is just that–ONE weak moment, didn’t want to continue because God is important to me. He wouldn’t take no for an answer at first, kept trying to persuade me to say yes, but I eventually (I was sooo tempted!) showed him the door.

God is important to me and, though that is the main reason I said no, the rewards of my following my own convictions (this time) are an increase in self-esteem. Also, I didn’t want to build a bond with someone who wouldn’t build back and that would inevitably happen. I stood up for myself, stood up for God, and I feel so incredibly beautiful!

Yet, the whole experience was bizarre or maybe it’s normal in Hook-up Land, I don’t know. It just seemed so natural to have this guy who I barely know lying naked on my futon ( he took off his clothes in hopes of seducing me). That’s the oxytocin, I guess. It creates an illusion of overfamiliarity and knowing somebody who I don’t know. I’m beginning to understand better what a friend of mine calls casual sex–”lying to somebody with the body”. Wow! It’s true!!!

What’s creepy is how easy it was for me to switch off the EA and become EU in order to have casual sex. I don’t like it. Even though I can’t be in relationship right now as I have to focus on getting gainful employment, I want to be able to be capable of sustaining a committed relationship should the time and opportunity arise. Since casual sex is based on selfishness and EU, the long-term effects of continual promiscuity must have a detrimental effect on one’s ability to be in relationship and sustain it…Yes, one casual night is more than enough for me. Ok, back to the beginning…

• Learner says:

Rosie,
It’s great that you are not beating yourself up for this one slip-up. You gave in to temptation. Once. And decided it wasn’t worth it. You have reaffirmed your values and the importance of God in your life. You did not succumb to the influence of oxytocin OR to the call of fantasyland. Not sure if you became EU temporarily, or just kept yourself grounded in reality? You know your priorities for your life right now (becoming employed so you can support yourself with shelter and food) and following your beliefs. Good for you! And…all the best finding a new job. That’s gotta be a tough place to be in. Hugs xo

• Rosie says:

Thanks, Learner–I appreciate the support and positive perspective! Yeah, I don’t know if I became totally EU or, as you say, was just being realistic. I’ll have to think about that…

• LaPinturaBella says:

“Lying to somebody with the body.” WOW!!!

That just hit me square between the eyes. Yes, the booty call, the FWB, it IS lying to somebody with the body.

The thing that makes me so damn mad about these guys and their desire for nothing but meaningless hook ups (in addition to all the damage it does to our self-esteem and self-respect) is you end up feeling like any old body would do. That it’s not even me he particularly wants…my body is just there, available and free. It feels so damn interchangable.

The AC who brought me here was one of the manipulative, only want you for sex while lying to me about wanting a relationship. This is a very sore point for me right now.

I love your friend’s definition and I’m going to remember it. Because I definitely confuse sex with caring.

• Rosie says:

LaPinturaBella–

“The thing that makes me so damn mad about these guys and their desire for nothing but meaningless hook ups (in addition to all the damage it does to our self-esteem and self-respect) is you end up feeling like any old body would do. That it’s not even me he particularly wants…my body is just there, available and free. It feels so damn interchangable.”

Yes! This is it exactly!!!

I’m sorry your experience was one of manipulation. That’s the worst kind. If he was honest, you could make an educated decision about what you wanted but when they manipulate you, your left completely alone and naked (literally and figuratively) with him running away with your clothes (figuratively, maybe sometimes literally).

I wrote down what my friend said as well. “Casual sex is lying to somebody with the body.” I now have the experience to back that up.

• micheyl says:

That is huge.

“Casual sex is lying to somebody with the body.”

I have to write that down too

• LaPinturaBella says:

Rosie…

Thanks for your support. You are right. Manipulation is the WORST!

It robs you of YOUR choices, it silences you. It’s really so damaging as it negates even the basics that all human beings have the right to expect in our dealings with others. Basically, it’s emotional slavery. And where these people get off thinking THEY have the right to do that to someone else if mind-boggling to me!

I think this also really bothers me because this crap (manipulation) has been going on since birth and I’m just now FINALLY angry enough to stop it. Of course, for the first 40 or so years of my life, I thought it was completely normal (being manipulated) so I’m a bit behind the curve.

• Lara says:

LaPinturaBella,

My ex did this all along as well. He kept coming up with different excuses for not staying in touch and disappearing for days at a time, claiming he wanted down time so he had hooked off the internet (he was away so our primary means of communication was the internet), or that he was too busy working (but not watching stupid youtube videos all the damn time!) to call me, etc. Always excuses and never the truth: that he just wanted me for sex. And then, he kept dropping hints, that I completely ignored/thought was a mistake. Either that, or it was a slip of the tongue when he described himself as “single” when he referred to stuff that his buddies had told him, etc. That should’ve been the biggest red flag ever, screaming for me to get out, but nope, I ignored it for some reason. I thought, maybe he hasn’t been in a relationship for a long time and so hasn’t referred to himself as “taken” or “in a relationship” for a long time, and that’s why he referred to himself as single — by mistake or habit. Yeah, no. It wasn’t that at all. It was him considering himself single all along. But, if I brought it up, he blew hot for a few days, denying that he only wanted sex, acting all hurt and all, that I had even thought that. Other times, he’d mention that he couldn’t do a “serious relationship” because he was “too busy” for that. Apparently not too busy to fck prostitutes or to spend his time telling me about the prostitutes in prostitute-bars in TUrkey next to the Hilton hotel where he used to say, and how they had put their hands on his thighs, etc. Only when it came to his commitments/responsibilities/lack of attention to me, did he suddenly become busier than the President of the United States.

• Maeve says:

I admire you! It’s very hard to put the stops on when someone you’re attracted to comes on like that. The big story here isn’t the slip-up (done, over) but the fact that you got your bearings back and prevented it from repeating. Good for you!

• Rosie says:

Thanks, Maeve!

Sometimes we don’t know our own progress until we fall down. Our progress is noted when we see ourselves get back up quicker each time.

• Tinkerbell says:

Mr. Able,

Oh, okay. Now, I understand the 60 days. You seem to be in a good place and on the right track. And whatever you do, DON’T go back to her. It won’t work and you’ll be kicking yourself for having to start NC all over again. Don’t forget about Natalie’s books for added reinforcements you may be able to use.

Love the new name. It’s easier for us and more morale-boosting for you. Good luck, Tink.

• Punkylove5 says:

WOW! You are beautiful and strong! I don’t think I would have had the strength to resist in the second situation, but you did it even though it was really hard. I too am a Christian, and so God’s opinion is very important to me too, but I am so easily swayed by lust. I’m finally understanding that the bonding that takes place during sex with women is not usually true for the man – it’s just sex. I used to be okay with that in my younger promiscuous years because I was totally EU and so I was doing the same thing they were, and it didn’t bother me. Recently, a Christian man used me for sex, intermittently telling me that he loved me, I was beautiful, I was sexy, I was a wonderful woman and at the same time that he just didn’t have romantic feelings for me? How’s that for letting yourself off the hook, and I let him off the hook too which I regret and won’t be repeating in the future.

Don’t beat yourself up for one little slip – it doesn’t sound like you are – this is obviously not a pattern.

You are in a very vulnerable situation and I can fully understand wanting that escape – that has been a real problem for me as well.

Praying for a breakthrough and solution to your living situation. ((Hugs))

• Rosie says:

Punkylove5–Thank you so very much!!! I appreciate the support! I feel foolish now not knowing his phone call (the second time) was a booty call but when you’re not sexually active (usually), “booty call” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind because it’s not something you’ve had to worry about.

I’m sorry the “Christian” guy turned out to be a liar and a user. That’s sooo much harder to recover from because it’s a betrayal of trust, a betrayal of your heart. What you said to me holds true for you. You are strong and beautiful! There are a lot of people who are so condescending toward Christians not knowing how hard it is to be one, what we go through in “putting on the new man”. Oh, how I wish God would knock these guys off their horses on their own roads to Damascus! God got our attention so what’s the hold up with these guys? Oh, yes…free will…

• Punkylove5 says:

Rosie, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be dating in this culture and trying to hold onto your values! I have realized recently that I was a willing Booty Call for my now husband in the beginning. It had to do with my total lack of self-esteem and emotional unavailability, and his emotional unavailability dove-tailed right in there. We are both Christians (certainly not showing in our behavior back then) and I don’t really think he was just using me, like many men do, but none-the-less, I’m sure it’s caused many of the problems in our marriage. The truth is that if I knew then what I know now, I would have run like hell, instead of pursuing him. The good news is that by getting myself in order, and not looking for someone else to make me feel better (for a minute)- for the first time in three years, I think there might be hope for our marriage. But, how I wish I would have addressed these issues way back then (or even been aware of them.) I hope you will press in for yourself and resolve these issues now. Also hoping some of your living situation issues are being resolved – nothing like fear to prompt desperate behavior. I’m here anytime you need someone to talk to or you need encouragement. Are you in the Facebook Group?

• Rosie says:

Oh, thank you, Punkylove5!- There’s a FB group? I’m not on FB. How do I join without having to use my real name or photo? I didn’t know you were married but it brings joy to my heart to know that there’s hope for your marriage. I know that sounds odd to say when we don’t know each other, but it’s healing for singles when married couples overcome difficulties. It brings hope and light to cynicism and discouragement.

Prayers for the continued growth and healing of your marriage!

Thank you, Punkylove5, for reaching out and sharing your heart and story. xxx

21. backat-it says:

so this is my first post, I’ve been reading for years, but felt like I really could use some advice!
I recently started dating again (just got out of a 2 year relationship that was completely wrong for me!)
I met a man online that appears to be everything I have been looking for in a partner.
Our first date lasted over 3 hrs at dinner, it was great, but once I left, I immediately got anxious!
all those negative thoughts about ‘is he going to call?’ or ‘what happens next?’ flooded my mind.
The week after this date, is was almost as if my feelings reflected in his behavior: he sent sporadic texts just asking ‘how i was’, etc, and if i replied he’d take hours to respond… we agreed to meet again, yet he never confirmed a plan, until that thursday for friday evening…and even then, he didn’t tell me where or when to meet until friday afternoon!
I felt irritated (since it was only our 2nd date), but went anyway and had another wonderful night(argh) It boggles my mind…he mostly contacts by text, which are daily, but vapid…and if i respond, it usually takes him an hour to reply back.
we have seen eachother 3 times now, over 3 weeks, and i can’t decide if i’m being treated like an option,he’s not really interested, or if it’s ME rushing/fastforwarding the relationship because i’m hoping he’s a good guy…
Rationally, I know its probably too soon to be jumping to all these conclusions, but its so hard to do when you feel a great connection to someone, or when you’re hopeful for a good thing.
help! any advice will be worth gold right now…i’m driving myself nuts!

• sushi says:

back-at-it,

Since you met him online he may be exploring other options from the online source, in other words multi-dating. I was going to meet a man from a dating site some years ago who took his photos down just before we met, and when I questioned why he admitted he had met with someone several times and was at the “lets take our profiles down” stage but still wanted to meet me because he thought I was special. I thought, what a pig! and poor woman, if she only new and of course told him to get lost. Just in case grass is greener type of guy, I think that is very common on dating sites. Its up to you if that is acceptable to you at this stage. I think you are reacting to the gut feeling that tells you his interest is not sufficient for you to invest yourself ( too fast!! watch how he is unfolding). If it was sufficient, slow and steady you would not feel anxious. I think you are jumping to the right conclusions as far as his behaviour so far, he is making last minute arrangements and is a (even) reluctant texter, I would say even for the forst three weeks its crumbs. I would flush.

• LaPinturaBella says:

Back-At-It…Take a deep breath.

First, my gut feeling after reading your post is yes, he’s showing red flags.

Waiting a week, after a really good date mind you, to contact you with sporadic texts is not a good sign of interest. In fact, it IS a sign of “hmmm, not that into her, but she seemed to like me. Maybe I can play this out and get sex from her.” If he were really intersted, you would have heard from him within days of the first date and it would have been via an actual phone call. He also would have asked you out AND had specific plans and times for the second date.

I refuse to text with any man now…
unless it’s to say “I’m stuck in traffic and will be there in 10 minutes.”

Natalie is right. Texting IS LAZY. Not only that, but it’s sooo easy to ignore. AND, I have come to the belief that guys who use this as their main means of communicating are doing so because they are simultaneously texting at least one other person to see what offer looks best. Which right there says OPTION.

Same goes for the vapid little missives, as well as taking hours to respond. It really does sound like he’s playing games. If it were me in this situation, I’d flush and move on.

If it’s starting out this way, I can guarantee you it won’t ever get any better than it is right now. Been there done that. In fact, it can get a hell of a lot worse. Which is why I am here at BR. Save yourself the pain.

• Tinkerbell says:

Hi, Back-At-It. Looks like you should have been participating on here earlier. Take advantage not only of the opportunity to learn by reading other’s experiences, but also to get what you may consider much needed advise from a worldwide pool of women and men who have been where you are. Welcome.

Do yourself a favor. Flush him, now. Don’t give it another thought. Men that you meet online for the most past are EUM’s and texting is their favorite means of communication. They do not want to spend any TIME, on you for the length of an acceptable conversation, and I also believe that taking a very long time to answer a text may simply be his method of keeping you expectations low. This is want they want – commitment, expectations, low to zero. These traits are red flags pure and simple. You deserve more.

• emerlydeyez says:

back at it: So am I and next week will be our third date, no expectations, Im just starting to get to know him. One difference, I can see, he asks me out for the next week, and we have a time we are meeting. I too, get the weird anxiety stuff, but I know right now, that is me, because I am used to the future forwarding, I love you, you are the love of my life crap. So this guy is acting normal, I’m the one not used to normalcy. I have some healing to do. This is the discovery stage of dating that Nat talks about. So I am taking it slow, keeping my life full, and looking forward to my next date. He also texts and calls throughout the week. To me it’s ok. It’s sweet. So we shall see

22. Nigella says:

This is such an insightful post on commitment-phobic behaviour. I read it for the first time. Thanks, Natalie. Thanks for writing about the passive aggressive moves of future avoiders. Occasionally, I don’t mind seizing the moment and making spontaneous plans. But I can’t accommodate someone who leaves things till the last minute, cannot think ahead, plan, and commit to plans with me. If someone doesn’t value spending time with me, I need not include, let alone prioritize him in my life. The examples in this post brought back feelings of sadness, confusion, anxiety, and disappointment I experienced not too long ago. In the initial 2.5 months of dating Mr Liar, he and I made plans in advance and saw each other regularly. He never cancelled a meeting nor failed to show up on time. Then, all of a sudden, right after meeting my parents, he did a remarkable volte-face: far from thanking my parents for treating him nicely and allowing him & I to stay at their place so that he could run his errands in town, he disappeared for two days, started to blow hot and cold, disappeared for 10 days, and then e-dumped me.

Unlike some of the other commentators, I did not endure months or years of last-minute plans and bail outs. It saddened me to learn how some of you were treated – it is awful the extent to which future avoiders can take advantage of the patience, trust, and niceness of a person. During the brief run-up to the break-up, he made it seem so cumbersome for him to stick to any of our short-term plans. In fact, twice he changed them at the last minute to see his friends instead. I remember feeling confused, shocked, and humiliated by the shift in his behaviour. Stupidly, I did not realize that the shift in his behaviour marked the beginning of the end of our relationship. Fortunately, if nothing else, I made it clear to him that “I understand you want to meet your friends. But I am not okay with you cancelling or changing your plans with me. If you cannot stick to our plans, please do not make them”. He acted contrite at first, pretending that he “feels awful about upsetting” me. He claimed: “Sorry. I’m not good at scheduling things. Must watch out for that. My friends are a big part of my life. I tend to spread myself thin. I like to stay super busy. Please tell me what you want”. Of course, telling him that bail outs or last-minute plans are not acceptable to me made him resort to passive aggressive means of letting me down. To punish me for refusing to go with his flow and to manage down my expectations, he dramatically cut down on his phone calls and emails to me.

Though I never begged for his attention, I regret that I continued to treat him warmly and generously despite witnessing the change in his behaviour. If only I had realized that he has had his fill, and had no intention of treating me as a priority anymore or committing to me. I feel dumb for pushing down my anxious feelings, buying his lame excuses, and hoping for things to return to normal. If only I had realized that what is “normal” for him is doing things on his terms, and expecting or manipulating unsuspecting people to go with his flow. Mea culpa. Next time someone pretends to meet me in the middle but eventually changes plans at the last minute, I’ll remember to forget him once and for all. Next time someone acts “super busy,” seems half-hearted about being with me, or shows that he is “not good at scheduling things,” I’ll show him that I’m good at flushing him.

• sushi says:

Yes, Nigella, its always a bad idea to push down and ignore our feelings,which is what I did in all of my relationships. Much better to give ourselves the benefit of doubt. Being an option is not an option for anyone. Accepting their crap just gives them the licence to dish out more. Lessons learnt.

• Rosie says:

Sushi–

“Being an option is not an option for anyone. Accepting their crap just gives them the licence to dish out more. Lessons learnt.”

Yes, exactly!!!

• MaryW says:

Nigella,

I think you should stop beating yourself up. You are certainly not “dumb”, nor “stupid”. You weren’t to know how he’d react to meeting your parents (like a total prick). I know all about feelings of regret, but be gentle with yourself.

I need people to remind to be gentle with myself because I hate making mistakes but it was ultimately Mr Liar’s mistake, not yours. His loss.

But yes, lessons can and should be learned from our unlucky dealings with these unreliable and manipulative people.

• Nigella says:

Mary,

Thank you for this gentle reminder. Given how terrible I feel about making mistakes, it is so helpful for me. Each time I read your thoughtful note, I feel better.

I need to accept that there is no justice in such matters. There is nothing I can do to punish the Liar – nothing I can do to stop him from misleading and manipulating others.

I realized that my self-flagellation is in part misdirected aggression: I cannot punish him. But instead of punishing myself for not knowing any better, I need to focus on recovering and growing as a person. I am reminding myself that as long as I learn from my mistakes – avoid repeating them – I am not a loser or a failure.

Because of the lessons I am pushing myself to learn, I trust I will not be an easy target for anyone in the future. I am not afraid of being rejected or abandoned. If someone does not want me, I do not want them. Simple.

I am not sure what to make of my fear of being used and deceived in the dating context. There are some self-limiting beliefs underlying my fears: (1) I could be used because I am not good at controlling how soon and how much I give to someone & not good at assessing whether what I am getting in return is fair, and (2) I could be deceived because I am not a good judge of character & not good at detecting lies.

I am not sure what to do about these beliefs. I feel more confident about managing (1) than about (2). Things will get better.

I hope you are feeling better.

• Andee says:

I can sympathize with that, Nigella. The desire to punish and/or impart some consequences for the douchebaggery is strong. In a way it’s the hardest part to let go of. Last text I got from my ex started with “I know you hate me, but…” I didn’t answer, but what I find myself thinking is “I don’t hate you, you’re not even interesting enough to hate. I hate myself for spending so much time thinking there was any more to you than just a garden variety douchebag.” But that’s my problem, not his and in the end, I can’t control what happens to him, although I have a pretty good idea.

He’ll future fake someone else and someone else after that and spend his life chasing a feeling he’s not even capable of feeling. He’s not capable of a relationship like I want. Maybe he’ll be happy, maybe he’ll be sad. Either way, I can’t be more interested in his life and outcome than I am my own.

I used to have to fight the belief that when these things ended, the “camera” in the movie of my life following them, the one that left. Like I somehow wasn’t even on screen anymore. Even in the movie of MY LIFE. These days, I realize the camera stays on me. Always. So I try to be interesting enough to myself, my friends, my family to merit the limelight.

Best.

• Nigella says:

Andee,

Thanks for your comment. I admire you for not responding to the douchebag who, as your other post says, wanted to be “alone to work on himself” by sleeping with someone new right after you moved out. OMG. The sheer ease with which these cowards lie is mind-boggling.

Despite what they tell themselves and others, they do *not* care about the people they have future faked and used as a passtime. You are right: they are not capable of being in a committed and caring relationship. Even if they end up in one, it should have no bearing on our lives.

Having said so much, right now I am seething and feeling upset about not having the power to make the Liar suffer. Perhaps installing a punching bag in the basement might help me get rid of some of my anger. Puerile as it might sound, I take comfort in knowing that I earn a lot more than the Liar. I am passionate about the work I do, and I am going to make sure that I continue to achieve more and more success.

My focus should not be on feeling bitter about the fact that I cannot make him pay for his misconduct, but on ensuring that I continue to succeed in the goals I set for myself.

I am rooting for you.

• Andee says:

I’m rooting for you too. I want to go the Taylor Swift/ Adele route and eviscerate him with art. Not music, sadly…I want to write a play. I figure I will care a lot less if he’s suffering if I do something with all my feelings that’s worthwhile to me and possibly others. That’s how I’m going to channel it. Make it pay off for ME and screw how it might make him feel should he ever be exposed to it!

• Maeve says:

“I am not sure what to make of my fear of being used and deceived in the dating context.”

Nigella–I wouldn’t say I’ve got the healthiest boundaries because I keep running into these same ACs albeit peripherally. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

I’ve started to allow my fear of being used and deceived to guide me. It’s a healthy fear. I don’t see it as resigning yourself to that treatment but rather understanding that there are a lot of men out there like that and for whatever reason, you currently have a pattern for letting them in.

In my experience, the minute you accept a certain reality at 100% you can then begin to change it. So yeah, chances are the next man you meet is going to be like that. What is your game plan for dealing with it?

• Maeve says:

I want to stress that I keep an open mind in each situation and don’t treat guys like suspicious low down dogs. I’m always hopeful that there might be a a chance at something healthy. But the hope is tempered by awareness of how many dysfunctional guys there are out there. Think of it as giving them clearance once you establish that they’re not shady etc.

• Tinkerbell says:

Maeve,

Innocent until proven guilty. Then the swift axe if they’re the latter. That’s fair to both of you.

• Maeve says:

Tinkerbell–well okay, but more like potentially innocent. (Though, indeed, I end up feeling very safe with someone willing to move things along at a slow, steady pace…)

• Nigella says:

Maeve,

I am in no rush to start dating again. In fact I feel comfortable taking at least six months to a year off dating. Unlike the Liar, I choose not to coast ahead from one “relationship” to the next, using people as distractions from things that need fixing in me.

I want to work on myself. To avoid getting used, I am going to be extra *conscious and self-controlled* about how soon, how often, and how much I invest in a relationship. Throughout the relationship, I will continue to investigate and invest accordingly, decreasing, increasing, or discontinuing my input in a relationship. This includes things such as gifts, compliments, rides, helpful contacts & resources, suggestions, emotional & professional support, time, money, number of YESes or nods, shags, massages, meals, outings, sweet notes, emails, phone calls, attempts made to make them laugh, relax, feel better. I refuse to deplete myself anymore for others.

Yip. I care not if I am sounding overly cautious & calculating. I refuse to wear an invisible sign that says: “Use me. Kick me. Fool me. Dump me”. People are going to think what they want to think: still I want to do whatever I can to ensure that my care and generosity are not exploited and interpreted as signs of desperation.

It is upsetting to think that I made the mistake of *rewarding* the Liar when he disappeared for two days after meeting my parents. Far from questioning him or showing him that there will be consequences to such inconsiderate behaviour, I continued to offer him my support and care. However small, I actually gifted him things. Gross.

I will be raising my expectations for what I want and deserve in a relationship. For the most part, I find it difficult to take things from people because (1) I am used to taking care of myself and (2) I do not want to be dependent on anyone for anything. Of course, this thinking is good only up to a certain extent. If I continue to give to others but do not take things from them, then I am setting myself up for lopsided relationships where they get more for less.

It is strange that sometimes I feel that other than for sex I do not need a man. I can attend to other aspects of my life on my own. Perhaps I need to work on controlling this intense need for sex and at the same time learn to articulate my needs and expectations in a romantic relationship. Yes, I am afraid to ask for things from others in the dating context (probably because I do not want to come across as dependent on them). Perhaps this fear of appearing or becoming dependent needs to be addressed.

To avoid being deceived, I need to look and listen critically instead of habitually accepting what men might tell me. This is not to say that I plan on putting them through endless inquisitions. In a calm and relaxed manner, I could ask questions and seek clarification whenever I am perplexed by something *they* may or may not say or do. I could pay attention to contradictions and ambiguities in their stories. Most importantly, I must focus on their nonverbal communication and actions. If there is a gap between their words and actions, I need to slow down and DO something to protect my own interests. Plus, as so many ladies here have advised me, I need to listen to my gut feelings. If there is increasing confusion and dissatisfaction – coupled with lack of communication – in a relationship, I need to stay true to my needs and feelings, and opt out. I will say “NO” to their excuses and manipulative tactics – including passive aggressive movies – and “YES” to my boundaries.

If nothing else, I certainly will not reward men in the future for using, disrespecting, neglecting, disappointing, and deceiving me.

This is all easy to outline. Only time will tell the ease, confidence, and consistency with which I will enact positive relationship habits in the future.

• Waltzing Matilda says:

Nigella,
I have followed your comments because your intelligent reflection and analysis is so clear and good to read. Something bothers me about this one though. I think it is the sense of extreme caution, I get that as I feel in the same place. But I really think that all the listing of signs to look out for can give a false sense of protection and safety. Determined users know how to fake that shit, and take pride in the deception. And then we confuse ourselves because we are still not operating from our internal compass, but from what we see as external ‘evidence’. Nothing changed for me, despite THINKING all the stuff you listed, until through an unrelated life experience I had occasion to watch, and learn (as an adult) what true self respect is. Without that all the caution and calculations are flimsy protection. I see it as pretty simple now in that I find my instincts and intuition, which I am learning to trust and not second guess and subdue, will always signal that something is not ok. I try not to overthink it and am happy with that basic system, ok or not ok. Of course, when I get the not ok sensation, I do think about it and tease out the information my inner self respect is giving me.
Anyway, just saying I thought I had to be protected by my intellect too, and disabled and burdened myself with that. Self respect is both impenetrable and as light as air. I don’t want to be on sentry duty all the time, feel that I have been and that just sends out the information that I can be invaded because I don’t trust myself as healthy and secure people do.
Well, you gave me a lot to think about. If you see this, hope it makes sense. Best.

• Nigella says:

Matilda,

Thanks for taking the time to offer your helpful input on my comment. Before you Lizzp gave me similar feedback. I appreciate what both of you are telling me. I must say I am not exactly sure what I can do to get in touch with my intuition.

Generally whenever I am faced with an obstacle or setback, I tend to focus on solutions or lessons. Right now, thinking about where I failed to listen to my intuition is helping me cope with my thoughts and messy feelings. I am in fact not in the habit of sensing or talking about my *negative* feelings. BR has been a significant outlet for me in this regard. To some extent, I find it puzzling and off-putting to dwell on such feelings.

Right now, I am slightly suspicious of my feelings, because I think they failed me in the past. I allowed myself to feel deep affection, tenderness, and care for the Liar – these rose-tinted feelings prevented me from seeing the truth about him. One thing I am realizing is that although I am in touch with my “positive” or pollyannaish feelings, I am largely out of touch with my unpleasant feelings and sensations – those that function as alarm bells and slow-down signals, indicating that something is not ok.

I am not sure what I can do to activate my low-functioning instincts. But I am now at least aware of the fact that – for whatever reasons – I have not been tapping into my unpleasant feelings and, as a result, I am missing out on insights that are embedded in such feelings.

You are right: determined users and cowards could deceive me regardless of the efforts I make to protect myself. This is making me realize that instead of fussing about unraveling lies or the *real* intentions of a person, I need to focus on becoming more resilient and less susceptible to feeling hurt. I want to be able to register poor behaviour and distance myself from those mistreating or misleading me, but not let them affect me so much.

It is surprising that him dumping me has actually bruised my ego. How could I feel so much – give him so much importance. I do not miss him – only upset about misjudging him.

• Waltzing Matilda says:

Nigella, when I read your comments they are word for word like my thoughts. Spooky, but the reason BR is so helpful to us I guess.
Yeah, intuition. I used to think it was some mystical thing that some people had ‘more of’. Nat calls it listening to yourself, there is a great post about it. And guess what, my intuition had been steadily talking to me all the time. For example, Mr Creepy TOLD me that he had dated someone and then just laid low and ignored her when she tried to get in touch. He even called it ‘playing possum’, with a childish snigger.
This was after a significant time together, so yes I was invested blah blah blah. So I just ran my normal reaction which was ‘no decent person does that’ through my arsehole to English dictionary and came up with ‘he must have been too nervous/uncomfortable to do the right thing (yes I know, WHAT??). Oh, and also decided she may have just come on too strong and overwhelmed poor creepy. So there you have it, there are many examples this deliberate ignoring of my morals, instincts and common sense. Why I did this when I didn’t even LIKE let alone love him is what BR has shown me. As you say, I gave him so much importance, but I didn’t really feel so much for him. Mostly I felt numb, I had to in order to avoid dealing with the obvious contradictions.
All about family of origin issues, and I am so much better for the knowledge and understanding I have now. I do not miss anything, it was like getting rid of an incubus – in the sense of a nightmarish or oppressive burden – but my collusion still upsets and astounds me.

• Maeve says:

I hear ya, Nigella. Well, the silver lining in all these crummy, painful learning experiences is that you never, ever go back to being clueless about someone’s intentions. You’ve likely had a paradigm shift. Stay strong!

• MaryW says:

Hi Nigella

I’m really glad the words helped you a little.

I wrote them at a time when I was beating myself up mercilessly about Mr. Messiah, so I also wrote it as a reminder for me.

Yes it’s so frustrating that these men don’t get any comeback. But they accumulate something negative, which I’m sure comes back and bites them on the bum at some point in their life.

In my case I’m quite certain that Mr. Messiah is going to be an unhappy man for some time – I know, that’s not a nice thing to say. I don’t wish for his unhappiness. But I’m now able to see him for what he truly is, and that helps me feel some compassion for him rather than just anger.

You are better than Mr. Liar. You are not a loser or a failure (he’s the one who’s lost out!). You put yourself out there and fell in love – that’s normal. You didn’t have a crystal ball. From what you say, he wasn’t even displaying code amber or red behaviour until the very end.

Your fear of being used and deceived will diminish. It’s clear that you’re putting a lot of thought into what went on, and it’s also clear that you’re an intelligent and disciplined person. You want to learn, and you will.

Things will definitely get better. I am feeling better now that the fog has cleared for me. I realise that I made some (very) poor choices, but I’m definitley learning from the whole ordeal. And sticking with BR!

• Nigella says:

Mary,

I hope you are doing well. You are in my thoughts. It is incredible that you can feel compassion for the self-appointed, often-sozzled Messiah. Your comment reminded me of this Buddhist saying: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. For me, the main term here is “Holding”.

I plan not to poison myself with anger. But for the time being, thinking about the Liar is causing me to feel (50%) anger, (20%) contempt, (15%) embarrassment, (10%) pity, (2.5%) shame, and (2.5%) sadness.

Ritually, each night and each morning, I also feel (100%) lust for him. Of course, given that the Liar does not care about me, I do not actually want to sleep with him. Yet I am amazed at the extent to which I became addicted to sleeping with him.

In retrospect, a part of me thinks that maybe I did not really need him for anything other than sex. Unnecessarily, I inflated his worth in my mind. Unnecessarily, I offered him more than he deserved or needed. In any case, I am glad I am no longer feeling grief.

• MaryW says:

Nigella,

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt plenty of anger towards him (scary levels) but I’m a ‘Florence’, compassionate to a fault, and I can’t help but feel sorry for this man who has totally fucked up his life, lost his wife and children to his own weaknesses and lack of self control.

I have to tell you what happened today. After 4.5 weeks of NC (and I finished it with him), he sent a text apologising for not being in contact and saying he hopes I’m OK. I mean, really, WTF? First impression: control freak, turning it around so that he’s now the one who broke up and instigated NC, and I’m the one who was dumped and waiting for word from him. Second impression: this is the text he was expecting to get from me, but didn’t.

I deleted and didn’t respond, but had a big cry and withdrew and was basically a weirdo around my colleagues all afternoon. Can I ask you, what do make of his message?

I feel all the feelings you do, though primarily embarrassed. I sometimes get the lust thing but after some messy dealings with him brought on by mutual lack of self control, I am really turned off by the thought of him in that way (emergency coil fitting [more painful than when I fractured my wrist] then STD checks – thankfully all clear). I even suspect he shagged someone else while I was seeing him, which is the most repellant thing possible to me, and what made me finally flush.

We both inflated Mr Liar and Mr Messiah’s worthiness in our minds esp. since they were short relationships. I know I gave Mr Messiah far, far more than he gave me.

I still think you weren’t to know about Mr Liar; he unfolded after meeting your parents but I’m not sure how much you feel you gave him in that short space of time before it ended. Remember, you didn’t have a crystal ball. I do feel you’re overly harsh with yourself about that. It wasn’t predictable.

I think the big difference is that Mr Messiah is one in a long chain of idiots that I’ve become entangled with, so I have to take my own responsibility for that and not place it all on him. Hence, I can’t place all thr anger and blame on him, because I’d be letting myself off the hook and failing to address my issues. I think you are different. I get the feeling that Mr Liar was a one-off, that he really was chiefly to blame, and that’s why I’ve urged you not to blame yourself too much. You have more right to be angry with him than I have to be with Mr Messiah; but less reason to be angry with yourself.

Nigella, I’m so glad that you no longer feel grief. Really glad. I feel grief over wasted years with the wrong men, and much more grief over total the lack of emotional connection with my parents. But Mr Messiah – the grief has almost gone.

Who knows what emotions will crop up tomorrow …

• Nigella says:

Mary,

I can fully empathize with your Florencean tendencies. More on them in a separate comment. For my own good and growth, I need to shed such tendencies so that I stop investing my energy and empathy in unnecessary places.

Regarding the message you received from Messiah, I must say I am happy to hear that you pressed delete and decided not to reply. I am sorry to hear that you cried later on. Gradually as your resolve to stay committed to your emotional *wellness* grows, you will not only wipe off your tears but also find the strenghth to wipe away habits, thoughts, and folks that have not been serving you well. You deserve to be happy, Mary. It will take time to purge all that pain and disappointment you are feeling right now. But as long as you stay committed to your boundaries, no one can mess with you – no one can worm his way back into your life.

Messiah – as far as I can tell -threw you a crumb at his whim. He is testing the waters to see if you will respond to him. Of course, far from acting like a mindless, gutless fish, you did not take the bait. My own experience has taught me that when one is starving for affection it is difficult to see (1) a crumb as a crumb OR (2) a crumb as a bait. One makes the mistake of thinking that *something is better than nothing* – out of habit I made this mistake in my dealings with the Liar. You are not making this mistake, Mary.
Congratulations! Messiah the Shark cannot prey on you without your permission.

I think that his apology is phony and pointless. In fact it confirms my belief that for unscrupulous folk like him, apologies are cheap. I recently read somewhere: “Honesty is an expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.” Here, one could replace “Honesty” with words such as “Remorse” or “Care” or “Respect”.

By feigning amnesia about what happened between the two of you, Messiah is disrespecting you. His action say: “I refuse to recognize or remember what actions you took to protect yourself. I will make an attempt to overwrite your self-protective decision through this text because a part of me thinks that you might be dumb, delicate, and desperate enough to take my bait. If you reply, perhaps I could pass time with you again. If you do not reply, I lose nothing.”

Messiah has no right to dilly-dally with you. His message confirms that you dodged a bullet. Given the number of psuedo-apologies Mr. Liar inserted in his break-up email to me, I put zero trust in the *word* sorry. For my own sanity and clarity of mind, I have decided to focus on the bigger picture and the (mis)deeds of the person. From what I can tell, you are doing the same.

Messiah is not capable of feeling or showing respect to the people he dates. Because of his self-destructive habits, he is using alcohol and sex as easy escapes from his problems. People like him – despite their professional success – are a waste of time.

Here is a quote I am using as a mantra for future relationships: “I will not be any man’s half-time, down-time, spare-time, or sometimes. So don’t waste my time.”

Mary, if I were you, I would see his message as some chap trying to tempt you to betray yourself. You did not. You passed this test with flying colours. Cheers to you!

• LaPinturaBella says:

AMEN!!!

I fell into this trap as well…being “understanding.” My tangled mess with the AC was about 7 months in all, over the course of a year and a half. He’d treat me like garbage with the texting; the vague plans that would then be cancelled (once so he could watch a basketball game on TV with his former brother-in-law. Didn’t that make me feel really special. WTF???); then it got managed down to the booty call. I called him out on it and he pulled the passive- aggressive punishment by disappearing after throwing a text message temper tantrum that would have done a 2 year old proud. I’ve been NC since then.

The good thing, I now know I have to stop being SO “understanding.” I have to listen to myself. I have to flush any clown –assclown or garden variety clown — the minute I see RED flags. No questions asked, not excuses, no second chances…or third as the case may be.

As one of my good friends recently said to me, “IT’S TIME TO PUT ON A BIGGER TIARA!” That does not mean to become an egotistical, self-important little twit like the AC, but to really realize MY value. I am NOT anyone’s option!

• LaPinturaBella says:

This being treated like an option crap has got me so riled up. I actually had a visual 3 days ago that I want to remember. I plan to run this snippet through my head the next time ANYONE tries to mess me about in this fashion.

I will be the Queen of Hearts jumping up and down and screaming “Off with his head!”

I think it will help me take care of me instead of allowing myself to go with his flow.

• Tinkerbell says:

Nigella. Not that it matters at this point but do you think he became uncomfortable after meeting your parents and their subsequent generosity of allowing you and he to stay at their place? Do you think he was afraid you wanted marriage? And you continued to treat him warmly after he started acting a little shady. Just wondering. I know I’m finding it hard not to feel that somehow as close and emotionally intimate my friend and I had become, he got “scared off”. He’s way too old for that kind of immaturity, but maybe I somehow doused his interest in me. Could that have been part of it for you and this guy? The challenge was gone? What do you think?

• Nigella says:

Tinkerbell,

That is a good question – one that crossed my mind as well. Based on what Mr Liar told me, he had “a fantastic time” meeting my parents. To show his “appreciation for their hospitality”, he said he wanted to “send them atleast a bouquet of lilies,” provided I do not see that as an overstep on his part. Living in la la land, I felt reassured and melted a bit more when he said so much. But time revealed that he was full of hot air: no flowers got delivered to my parents. Instead of buying his flowery words, I should have focused on the fact that he disappeared for two days right after meeting them. Lesson learned.

Since we began dating, I made it clear to Mr Liar that I am in no rush to get married. However, I feel prepared emotionally, socially, and financially to be in a committed and caring relationship at this point in my life. He professed to feel the same way.

I had not asked him to meet my parents. Rather, since he expressed a keen interest in getting to meet them during his work-related trip to the city in which they live, I introduced him to them. I might be wrong but this may have been his partially conscious way of railroading me to meet more of his friends. Unlike him, I did not want to fast-forward things and I am glad I did not.

It does not matter to me whether or not he got “scared off”. If he did, I am glad to be rid of such an emotional weakling. I have no interest in catering to easily scared and spineless men for whom the chase or the challenge matters more than the catch. I am interested in connecting and growing with someone, rather than having them chase me.

Basically, what I regret is introducing someone as unstable and immature as him to my parents – he did not deserve their time and attention. Recently, when I admitted to them that I am feeling upset about misjudging Mr. Liar, my father made my day with this reply: “Stop thinking that he ‘dumped’ you. He is himself a dumpster. He is full of rubbish. Be glad that you are rid of him.”

I agree. I can do better than Mr. Dumpster. Just need a bit more time to dissolve my anger.

• Tinkerbell says:

Nigella. I understand and I certainly would feel the same as you having wasted yours and your parents time on him. Foetunately you’ve moved on physically and the mental aspect (anger) will recede. Good luck, Nigella.

• emerlydeyez says:

LOL

• sushi says:

LaPinturaBella,

double amen to that!

talking to people who display red flags is a waste of time and an opportunity for them to come up with BS, as is trying play Sherlock or psychologist to work out what the hell it is they are trying to do, mean and why they do what they do. Pointless. Flush and keep walking forward. Ha ha, must go tiara shopping, love that!

• Tinkerbell says:

Sushi and LaPintura,

You’re so right. I’m still confusing my situation with other people’s. AC’s DO NOT deserve us using our precious brain power trying to figure our their behavior when they haven’t figured it out themselves. Not our job.

• sushi says:

Tink,

if you are in a mutual relationship and problems crop up the way to go is talk, support each other, find solutions- but together, steering the ship inmutual direction.
Sadly, I always went for EUMs and actually mostly ACs. Problems cropped up, they were not moving dust while I was doing a phd in their particular issue, hoping to cure alcoholism and narcissism among other stuff. Youd think I was after a Nobel prize, but no, I just wanted to make them love me. Im thinking poor, little me, what a misguided waste of an effort. These days I sigh and flush.

• Tinkerbell says:

Sushi,

Thanks for the ongoing support. I tried soooo hard. We talked and I made is very clear that I understood how he felt as much as I possible could. But the two situations are unusual, the ED and the suicide. Definitely not your common every day problems. Maybe I gave up too soon, but I just didn’t have the tools to be able to handle it all and he’s struggled emotionally and tried to be so strong, I was afraid of causing him more pain than actually supporting him. I DID make my feeling clear about needing affection, but he’d just shut down. Hopefully, this separation will help him deal more effectively. I really do think he’ll be back if for not other reason than missing me terribly. We’ve had such a wonderful time because we match so well. Anyway, let me stop now. Don’t want to take up so much blog space like I already have. XXXX & Hugs.

• sushi says:

Tink,

you did all you could under the circumstances and gave him the space while keeping your self respect and sanity. Its not exactly what you wanted but you feel happier and calmer, sure sign it was a good decision. I do hope for a happy outcome for you both. Hated to see you so cut up. Hugs back xxx

• lizzp says:

Tinkerbell, from what you have said here in various comments I think you have acted with your own best interests in mind and courageously against other forces within that would impel you to do otherwise. You know what you are doing, you are only struggling with trusting yourself.

One of the themes or conceptual ideas running through many of Natalie’s articles has to do with addressing ‘facts’. Obviously when we love someone and are emotionally involved this can be rather difficult. However we can look at the ‘facts’ from the standpoint of our emotional well-being, safety, security and self respect. In doing so, how we feel informs these ‘facts’ and in a way, I guess, creates them?

With the issues he is dealing with/or not dealing with…from the POV of the circumstances and life events that confront him – namely a growing realisation of what ED means for his sense of his own significance (just speculating on this one but I’d suspect he is reaching a point where his usual way of dealing with feelings, or possibly fears, – dismissing them and/or holding them in and finding a place for them – is being sorely tested. He is using more energy to try and do what he normally does – the energy that he would usually be giving to you/the world -to do what has been sufficient in the past. It’s possibly not gonna work for too long this time, so something new may happen to him internally); and his brother’s suicide (again, his way of dealing in the end means a withdrawal of energy from the outside towards keeping himself in check), some new ‘facts’ came to light/were manifested.

The problem for you was that in these circumstances you recognised on the emotional level this ‘fact’: at least two of your most basic needs for a healthy mutual relationship were no longer being met…most likely care and love. Because of the way he deals with these life events, if you like, he behaves in a way that makes you feel uncared for and unloved – and sure you can say a few ‘shouldas’ here (I should be more supportive and understanding, I should need less reassurance) but I think you realised these were false ‘shoulds’ – they were not necessary previously. Your basic needs for care and love matched with what he provided (and I assume vice versa). The anxiety, the emergence of the shouldas told you there was now an imbalance. As for respect and trust you’ve acted in a way that will save and protect what has been built between the two of you. When we don’t receive the basic care and love we need in a relationship the trust and respect get slowly whittled away. This is because we can’t compromise on these basics without moving away from a core of self worth towards an uneven giving of ourselves and its counterpart of self neglect…resentment (often not conscious) builds, trust evaporates (we no longer can trust ourselves as we have let her down so we can’t trust him)and respect (first for ourselves then for him) dies.

I don’t know how well I’ve been able to write down what I’m trying to get at/mean here but I think the bottom line is that on the basis of all your posts, my feeling is that you have acted with integrity and in the short and long term interests of both yourself and him. Another person put it as you having acted lovingly and I also agree with that. Stay as strong as you can with what you agreed to with him in your recent conversations. Trust him…he has to do this himself and you have to live with the unknown, at least for a while.

• Lara says:

Mine didn’t like making plans. He’d expect me to be available whenever he was in the mood to, but to blow me off whenever he didn’t feel like hanging out (wasn’t horny or wanted to go out on his own and maybe get laid with another woman). If I wanted to see him on days that he blew me off and claimed he wasn’t in the mood, he’d accuse me of being too clingy and that I should have my own life, which I did before meeting him, and would’ve gone and done my own thing had he not put me on reserve in case he felt like hanging out. Of course, if I went ahead and made plans and told him I couldn’t see him on this or that day, he’d get mad at me, and accuse me of being passive aggressive, moody, ignoring him/giving him the cold shoulder. God. It was like there was no winning with him. He’d ask me where I wanted to eat out, and I’d say, I’m flexible, what do you want to do? I wanted to discuss and agree together, but that wasn’t in his vocabulary. Then he’d tell me I should have a spine and tell him what I wanted to do and where I wanted to eat. So I started doing that. I’d be more decisive and tell him, if he asked me, that I wanted to eat out at this or that restaurant. And EVERY SINGLE TIME I did that? He’d say no and decide on another place. It’s like he wanted me to say where I wanted to go, only to get the satisfaction of shooting me down and get his own way. Anyway, he once told me we’d go out to dinner after he got home from work. I used to go meet him up at his place and we’d walk to the restaurant together (he never came to pick me up, even though he had a car, and plus he lived a 10 minute walk away from me and could’ve easily walked to my place, and we could’ve gone from there, my place being closer to the restaurants than his place; he also never offered to give me a ride home in the mornings and I had to walk home while he went to work — talk about keeping my expectations low by not even offering to give me a ride home). Anyway, since I didn’t want to ruin my appetite by eating something around 2-3pm, I decided to stay on an empty stomach in the afternoon and wait for dinner with him. I went by his place, and he tells me, “I already ate before leaving work, I don’t feel like going out for dinner.” Not even a text telling me to grab a bite if I hadn’t eaten, because he already had eaten and didn’t feel like going out. Then he just wanted to lay on the sofa and watch some stupid TV show (it wasn’t even something he regularly watched), while I sat there starving. I was so stupid and scared of upsetting him (walking on eggshells galore) that I didn’t even say I was hungry, or that I’d be going out to grab a bite or order in… I remained hungry until the next morning… never said a word about it, and even excused his behavior in my head.

• Nigella says:

LaPinturaBella and Sushi,

Thanks for your comments. I’m glad, LaPinturaBella, that you’re no longer allowing the passive-aggressive assclown to toy with your feelings by taking advantage of your “understanding” nature. I wish there was some sort of Dating Tribunal, where miscreants like him & Mr. Liar could be put on trial and punished for their misdemeanours. For now, their misdeeds – their lies – go unchecked in a culture of impunity. Dammit. Oh well, there is no point resenting the fact that when it comes to punishing or controlling such folk, one is abysmally powerless. I can only control and empower myself through the lessons I am learning. The BR community is amazing.

Keeping your comments in mind, I’ll make sure I don’t play detective or psychologist OR fall into the trap of saying or thinking “I understand” in response to shady behaviour. Besides reflecting on my experience with the Liar, I reviewed three posts by Natalie that helped me gain a much better understanding of shady behaviour. The posts on (1) understanding code red and amber behaviour, (2) spotting an emotionally unavailable man, and (3) determining if one is involved with an assclown.

I’m not daunted by flat out code red situations – I’ll opt out immediately. But somewhere down the road, if I face an amber situation, unlike my past, I’ll ask questions, seek clarification, assert my boundaries, listen to my feelings, and opt out quickly if I’m not satisfied with their answers and actions. I won’t succumb to words, excuses, and passive aggressive moves. I won’t wait for them to shed their narcissistic tendencies. I won’t give them my time, care, and attention. I won’t let anyone devalue me. Having my ego bruised this time is more than enough.

Sending best wishes to both of you.

• LaPinturaBella says:

Nigella: Thanks for the thank you. Yes, he is flushed. And like you, I fall down on the code amber behaviors. The flat out, in your face code reds ARE hard to ignore.

Unfortunately, MY biggest problem is that shady behavior aimed at me is absolutely 100% “normal” for me. Because my father IS a controlling, manipulative, full-blown narcissist. I was born into and raised with this BS type of behavior. I frankly, never really knew there was something wrong with our family dynamic until I was 40 years old.

I ended a serious relationship when my then boyfriend decided he was too much of a coward to break up with me and made sure I “discovered” the evidence (used condom on his bedroom floor) of his cheating. I ended it then and there. But the thing that really clicked that I am waayyyy too understanding of bad, manipulative and controlling behavior is my father’s reaction when told I had ended that relationship.

He actually said in a very accusatory tone of voice, and I quote,” What did you do? Were you pressuring him to marry you?” WTF???????

Wish I had a father like yours, Nigella. One who values, loves and supports his daughter. Perhaps my “romantic” history would have been a completely different and better story.

Anyway, long story short, I got into therapy, have figured out a ton of stuff about me, my FOO and what needed changing. Problem was, until BR, I didn’t really have the actual “tools” and “how-to” on how to change it.

This site and you wonderful ladies (and gents) have literally been a lifesaver for me.

• Nigella says:

LaPinturaBella,

I am sorry to hear about the cheating coward who failed to appreciate you. I am glad you are taking steps to understand why you might be putting up with poor behaviour.

Had someone dared to blame me or put the *sole” responsibility on me for the collapse of a relationship, I would be furious with them. It is easier said than done, but I hope you did NOT absorb the blame your father tried placing on your shoulders for the actions of the cheating coward.

If I am getting you right, what you are saying is that bad behaviour had been normalized to such an extent for you – because of your upbringing – that for the longest time you did not even identify bad behaviour as bad. It seemed normal to you – something you automatically, habitually tried to accept or tolerate. It did not occur to you that there are much better ways of interacting with others. If this is the case, I can empathize. It is only in the past four years that my relationship with my formerly EU parents started to change for the better. Each of us has come a long way.

Because of severe financial difficulties, my parents argued viciously and daily during my childhood and teenage years. They were so busy fighting with one another and struggling to make ends meet that they did not have much time to connect with us or to attend to our needs and aspirations. I do not think they deliberately set out to neglect or hurt me and my siblings. From a young age, my siblings and I had to learn to minimize our needs, silence our feelings, and work hard to support ourselves and our parents. Now, my siblings and I, due to decades of hard work have managed to attain a certain amount of financial secuirty. Over time, our relationship with our parents has also improved.

I cannot speak for my siblings, but I have realized that I am still struggling to manage the amount of pleasing-giving-parenting I do in a relationsip in the hope of receiving some affection and support in return. Because feeling scared, tormented, and neglected became normalized for me as a child and teenager, I did not feel uncomfortable enough when some of the people I dated started to ignore my needs, mistreat me, devalue my efforts, and resent my joy and success.

In fact, my dating experience is quite limited. Taking care of myself and my parents, and building my career have been my priorities. I do not expect others to change for me, but I do expect myself to take better care of my needs and rights. To do so, I am taking time off dating and absorbing lessons from BR. Until I feel more confident and clear about my ability to look out for my best interests in a romantic relationship, I refuse to date.

Things will get better. But I simply cannot squander my time, effort, and money on ingrate, immature, and irresponsible people like the Liar.

I want the best for you too.

• LaPinturaBella says:

“If I am getting you right, what you are saying is that bad behavior had been normalized to such an extent for you – because of your upbringing – that for the longest time you did not even identify bad behavior as bad. It seemed normal to you – something you automatically, habitually tried to accept or tolerate. It did not occur to you that there are much better ways of interacting with others.”

You nailed it Nigella. You are one smart woman. I didn’t realize it was bad for a very long time because he’s a gaslighter, a chopper and it’s been going on since I was born. I did begin to think that things were not right in my interpersonal relationships, but I’d been told for decades that I’m always wrong, I’m to blame and I’m not good enough that I DID absorb that. Until the cheating comment. Then I realized that things were very. very wrong.

I still have some problems being a people-pleaser BUT that is changing. Because of therapy and BR. For the first time in my life I can honestly say I really like me, I’m a good person, I have value, I deserve the life I want, and my so-called father is the one with the problem. He is toxic to both myself and my brother.

I AM creating MY life…from scratch. And this last AC is and was THE LAST one. I now have constructive tools that work and I’ve found a community of very generous, incredible people who “get” what I’ve been dealing with and are so supportive.

Thank you all soooo much. xoxox

• suzy says:

I think you sound very wise.

23. Leviigirl says:

I had a really hard experience regarding this last month. The crush, Helicopter man, had contacted me 3 weeks out from his next visit from overseas. He suggested we meet for coffee, and I ran with it, he sat back as I suggested time & place and what do you know… he was a no show. I rang and rang and he… well, he took work calls. Sigh. Even said that he did it because he didn’t want me to get hurt, and it wasn’t really for coffee, because he intended on sleeping with me – um, so it was for my own good ??!
At least this site has helped me identify the blatant disrespect this man has for me, and, to be quite honest, the respect I (didn’t) have for myself.
No Contact is always ongoing.

• LaPinturaBella says:

Leviigirl…Sounds like Helicopter Man ended up crashing and burning!

Glad you recognized his childish little tactics and threw a wrench into his blades. NC is the best way with these types. Who needs the aggravation?

24. Peanut says:

Rosie,

WOwza. You are one strong lady. If my ex were lying here naked in a futon, so help me Lord…

• pinkpanther says:

I just had a horrid realization. If I had all of my ex’s laying naked on the sofa, I’d prolly pick the very worst A/C first, and work my way back to the least A/C for last.

Scary!

• Maeve says:

If any of the EUMs in my life found the occasion to lie naked on my sofa, I’d toss their clothes out the window. lol!

• Lilia says:

I just had this very ridiculous image of all my exes lying together naked on my sofa.

• sushi says:

hahahahahahaha Lilia, of course I had to have a go at imagining mine hahahahahaha this is just too funny!!!

• Tinkerbell says:

You girls are so naughty. Hahahaha! But, fun!

• jewells says:

lololololololololol

• Rosie says:

Lilia–

Thank you so much for the laugh!!! I needed that!

• Rosie says:

Maeve–I didn’t think about that. I was in a state of shock in the midst of fighting temptation. When he continued to try to get passed my no, I began to cry at the disrespect and sexual frustration and that’s when I handed him his clothes and told him to put them on.

• Rosie says:

pinkpanther–

I know what you mean. I just have to be in the same room with this guy and my brain disappears into my vagina. I don’t know what my brain thinks is going to happen in there. Does it think the guy’s penis is going to discover its magical, mystical, divine properties, become hopelessly enthralled and never want to leave??

• micheyl says:

OMG that is a funny image!! haha. sorry, not yours, but mine! If I left them naked on the couch while I dealt with them one by one… I can only imagine what the others are saying awkwardly to each other! haha

• Rosie says:

micheyl–Oh my goodness! To be a fly on the wall during that conversation…LOL!!!!

• Rosie says:

Peanut–I WAS praying “so help me, Lord…” the whole time. I like his body and he knows it. I like him and he knows that too. It’s like what you mentioned on the other post about leaning into the missing him (I do love the way you worded that). I knew saying no meant increased loneliness for a while but I leaned into that, leaned into courage to live authentically and I feel so ridiculously beautiful!

In fact, I was walking down the street yesterday and some guy stopped me and said, “You’re beautiful!” I told him thank you and kept walking, just smiled a little bigger.

All of us here who are growing into ourselves are so very, very beautiful!!! I don’t know how to word it but it’s like we’re rare, priceless jewels hidden deep in an ocean cave and all the sharks, sea serpents, and other monsters surround us but, somehow, we learn to maneuver ourselves out of the cave, battle a few sea monsters (we’re jewels with sharp edges, don’t mess with us!) but then we find ourselves on shore in all our splendidness, colors the world has never seen before, especially when the light of the sun hits us a certain way…We are soooo very beautiful!!!!

• LaPinturaBella says:

Rosie…I like your description of us. Reminds me of Venus rising from the sea!

• Punkylove5 says:

Rosie – love your description – yes, we are all rare, priceless jewels!

25. Peanut says:

It’s funny to think how I used to approach dating not so much longer than a year ago.

At the time I met my ex, I was contemplating going out to dinner with a man that repulsed me, as I thought it attention, a free meal, and beggars can’t be choosers right? (What a fuck all saying.)

I was also talking to a man from a dating site. (I didn’t have a profile. It was one my cousin didn’t want) whose Facebook was littered with his ex (so I thought) wife. (I saw them together at the mall the other day holding hands with their kid). He’s gross. She looks like me. What a freak that lonely man was. Actually, he was a total unavailable bore. I wasn’t much better.

Anyway, I was sort of communicating with this man via text and loving the attention and how uninterested I was. I felt powerful.

Then I spotted the ex at a bar and became a hyena on the prowl and totally forgot about the other guys. He was sweet, smart, handsome, beautiful and very drunk. Then I later discovered he had a perfect penis. Though we never had sex, that’s been such a sticking point for me.

As he unfolded, I also learned he had big problems with impulse control, telling the truth, and staying out of trouble with the law. He was a hopeless tragedy.

I really just wanted to get cuddles, kisses, and sex from this man for a while, then leave. I did leave, though I couldn’t go through with the sex.

I thought “Why have with someone who’s such a mess only to leave things messier in both our lives?”

Sex is powerful stuff, or maybe it’s not, and I’m just making to big of deal out of it?

26. Peanut says:

*I did not meet his penis the night we met or when he was drunk. Just wanted to clarify that and give myself some credit. It wasn’t until a few weeks later I think. That shits hard to wait for.

27. backat-it says:

sushi,
thanks for your thoughts! i know he’s probably seeing other people (and i’m trying my best to do the same), but whats weird is that with the others i see on and off i feel no anxiety, mainly because i haven’t started to crush on them or anything as of yet. i can’t decide if what he’s giving me is crumbs…or if its just inital stages of getting to know someone and if i should just let the situation unfold on its own? i know he has an incredibly demanding career, so maybe that’s something to do with it?
i basically don’t know much about him, but enjoy his company and then tear myself apart during the week wondering if he’ll be in touch or be proactive.
i hate feeling this way and wish i could just meet someone who was straightforward and clear about his feelings from the start.

• LaPinturaBella says:

Back-At-It…Please see the comment I made just under Sushi’s.

• MaryW says:

Backat-it,

The “highly demanding career” is now a code amber or even red for me. As Natalie said in a previous post, this guy is not running the country. His job can’t be THAT demanding, unless he’s a workaholic hiding from life (which was the case with the guy I recently dated).

Do you want to get heavily involved with a man who is going to have little time for you because of his work? Yes it’s good to date a guy with a good job and good work ethic, but it can also be very lonely when they cancel dates because they’re stuck at work til midnight, say they don’t have time to phone etc.

The signs of anxiety – they are anxiety, not nice “butterflies in the tummy” you get when you meet someone special. I realised I ignored the anxiety signals with the last 2 guys I dated, mistaking it for normal (for me) dating nerves. It wasn’t. It was my body, my gut instinct telling me something was wrong. And I ignored it at my peril.

I’m not a relationship expert, just sharing my experiences. Disclaimer: I am recently burned so I may be a bit cynical.

Wishing you well x

• Leviigirl says:

Back-atit,
The Helicopter Man I crush on has a very busy job too apparently. Travels a lot… works late… all that. He was super available the first two months, then did the slow fade out, so I think its true that if they don’t make it happen, they just aren’t that into you and probably keeping their options open. If you really liked someone, would your super busy job matter ?

• A says:

back at it,

If he isn’t treating you well in the beginning, things will only get progressively worse. Even a busy person can pick up a phone to make plans.

I’ve tried the “wait and see” thing as well, and in hindsight I really wish I had heeded the red flags in the beginning. A good rule of thumb: walk when you start to see signs of someone being a flake (unreliable), inconsiderate, or disrespectful. If you see any signs of bs at this stage, it will only get worse.

• sushi says:

backat-it,

if Ive ever seen crumbs…those are crumbs.Barak Obama, as many people said on here before has time for a relationship.
I think his behaviour is unavailability wrapped in drama and its appealing to you, perhaps its unconsiously familiar to you? You are recognising how you feel about this situation- you hate it, wish to meet someone straightforward, its driving you crazy- then you doubt yourself. I have been there, please pay attention to how unhappy he is making you feel. You know, if he does not choose you you will live, sky will not fall through, you will feel rejected for a little bit – that`s it. Miles better than going on and on as someones option. Then you will be free to meet someone who will really care for you.Take care.

28. Tanzanite says:

Hi Natalie/everyone

I really like some of these inspirational quotes on the home page.

I was drawn to the Will Smith one because I just recently read a quote from him which I thought was perfect.I liked it so much I printed it off and stuck it on the back of my sons bedroom door.( He was being messed about by a girl )

The quote was-

” Don’t chase people.Be yourself,do your own thing,and work hard.The right people….the ones who really belong in your life,will come to you.And stay.”

• LaPinturaBella says:

I like that quote.

• Tinkerbell says:

Tanzanite. I will hold that quote in my heart and use it to sustain me through this hard time. Thanks.

• Rosie says:

Tinkerbell–Please know that I said a little prayer for you and for him.

• Tinkerbell says:

Oh, Rosie! How sweet. Thank you so much! I’m surprised because for some crazy reason I think is a poster doesn’t say, anything it’s because they didn’t read it. It could be because they have no prior experience and don’t know what to say. I’m sure that was the case for you. You’re a gem! XXX.

• Rosie says:

Tinkerbell–

“It could be because they have no prior experience and don’t know what to say. I’m sure that was the case for you.”

Yes. XXX

• Tinkerbell says:

Rosie.

Gotcha.

• Emerlydeyez says:

Tanzanite,
I like that quote. Another thought I have is that I am becoming the person I want to attract in my life. That way I don’t give my power away to someone who I think has what I don’t have.
Just starting to date, after over a year, and reading the red flags and amber signs, and trusting my gut. And believe I am worth it today, Trust, respect and love, as Nat says. I need it too even though I am dating I have two court dates that will finally end all contact with the AC, EUM of my past.

• Tanzanite says:

Emerlydeyez

” I am becoming the person I want to attract in my life ”

I like that.

” That way I don’t give my power away to someone I think has what I don’t have ”

That is also very true.The more you learn to love yourself the less you need to find it from another source.My circumstances haven’t changed much but my attitude has changed a great deal.That endless quest for love which started in childhood is now satisfied by myself.I think we also get so focused on something like (AC’S) we completely overlook the great things we have had/have got, and have yet to come.

Good luck with the court dates and you will feel much better when that’s done with.I’m not familiar with your story but the fact you needed legal intervention suggests it was bad.

Good luck with the new relationship.

Onward and upward.

29. Learner says:

“You are not a ‘standby ticket’. You’re not.”
One year ago this weekend, I was dreading seeing the exMM at the conference we had to help facilitate together. I was so nervous I had to take anti-anxiety meds. It was the same nervousness I had experienced during the whole relationshit, as I never knew when he would answer the next text, or whether he would phone when he said he would. We made plans, sure, but they were always according to his schedule, depending when he could get away. The whole thing was a standby ticket – waiting for him to “decide” whether or not he really was going to end his marriage, while “we” were in what he openly called a “holding pattern.”
Thank Goodness I no longer have that anxiety. Yes, I miss certain aspects of him every now and then, but getting out of fantasy land and getting back to my real life has been a huge relief. After a five-year separation, I am back with my (ex)husband. He never has me on standby, and after the relationshit with exMM, I can really appreciate my husband’s reliable qualities. He has been to therapy, his passive aggressive behaviours are almost non-existent now, and I am feeling more secure than ever. We are still having long talks about honesty, trust, and hopes for our future. He is even patient when I vent about the whole exMM mess, and how I allowed myself to act against my values while disrespecting other people PLUS me. He has been staying over several nights and we are making plans to move in together permanently next month.
I have another conference this week, and the exMM will not be there (big sigh of relief), but even if he was, I would not want him back. It will be amaxing to simply enjoy the conference, focusing on the attendees and not being distracted by some user who wants me as an option.
BR has played a huge part in all this improvement in my life. Thank you Natalie, and all the posters here who have given invaluable feedback and input, and who have shared their stories. There really is strength in community. I wish for everyone here the same feeling of contentment and connectedness with someone who does not keep you in their back pocket as an option (whether it’s a relationship with a partner or your relationship with yourself). We are all worth it!

• Lilly says:

Learner,

I remember you posting about that conference and I cannot believe that it’s been one whole year! You’ve come such a long way from those awful dark days. Your journey has been amazing and I admire your strength and resolve to get through it. It’s taken me longer to see sense,but slowly and surely I’m getting over it! How do I know that? Well, a few days back the AC sent me some info about a conference next November. Nothing else, just the information. I happily and easily deleted it, but it did get me thinking. Not quite sure if he was hinting at me to go with him, but whether he was or not I KNOW that I would not go. I want happiness and security in my life, not lies, anxiety, coldness, cruelty, and ambiguity. For the first time in a long, long time I feel some hope for the future. I have a lot to rebuild, but I want to try and I really think that I can do this.

I’m so happy for you and your hubby and wish you both the very best. You deserve all the happiness that is coming your way. BR has played a huge part in my journey out of MM hell too (just the research to finish and I will exit forever!) and I’m also grateful for Natalie and the community here. There were times I was so down I didn’t want to live anymore so thank you Natalie and posters for keeping me afloat. Once upon a time I was a ‘standby ticket’. Not anymore. Hugs forever NC sis, xxxx.

• Learner says:

Lilly and Runner,
Thank you so much for your replies. I am swamped at the conference and reading your comments lifted my spirits. There is still a sadness and sense of loss being at the conference without him, which disappoints me. Lilly, you are doing amazingly well deleting emails about conferences. Runner you are always so supportive and your words ring so true. Things are not going perfectly as exMm has found reasons to send me conference related materials and he is throwing in the I miss toys again. It does affect me and brings unwelcome reminiscing. I am hoping the end of the conference will bring a return to strict NC so I can get back to not caring. Tis is such a journey, isn’t it. I will keep the message of this standby post in mind if I slip back to any exMm thoughts. It has been difficult to keep up with all the BR posts so sorry if I am not up to date but I always have the BR community in mind. Thanks all, Learner xo

• Learner says:

“I miss yous” NOT “I miss toys! Sorry for typo

• runnergirl says:

Good for you Learner. This is wonderful. Isn’t it amazing to NOT be on standby being squeezed in at the last minute and used like a blow-up doll? I remember your anxiety last year…has it only been a year? Moving in together sounds like a big move and it sounds like things have unfolded nicely for you and your husband. Congratulations. When you have time, you’ll still be on BR, right? Good job picking you!

• Tinkerbell says:

And, like Lilly, I’m amazed that it’s been a whole year. You’re doing much better, Learner. Time goes by so FAST. A year can seem like only 6 months. I’m always conscious of wasting it, which is reflected in my thoughts, words and actions. What I’m actually trying to say is that I wish you a blissful future with your husband. I, on the contrary, am currently having a hard time, so my advice was jaded. Sorry.

• Tinkerbell says:

Learner.

This comment belongs upthread with the other well-wishers. Good luck, again. You’re a strong lady.

• Learner says:

Tinkerbell, thank you so much for your well wishes. I am sorry you are having some difficulties with your relationship. ED can be a tough issue to deal with. All the best to you as you work things through. Xo

30. Sm says:

I had an ex who made plans but then it was a mystery as to what time the plans would begin. I’d wait at my house for at least an hour or two before he showed up and he would even talk to me on the phone or text that he was running late….ridiculous. I’m sure he’s pulling the same crap on all his dates. I’m glad I am so far past that, that I don’t even remember what it feels like anymore.

• Tinkerbell says:

SM,

You made me burst out laughing from your first sentence thru to the end. I needed that. What a lame brain. And, he thought you were too. That’s not funny (sniff, sniff). No, it’s hilarious!

• Sandy says:

My ex was like that, sometimes up to 5 hours late or he would say he would be there and then I would find out at the last minute that no he wasn’t going to be there, he used to do this so that I couldn’t make plans to do anything else because I would think he would be turning up…one time we had been arguing and I had taken half a days leave from work just to do my own thing, he talked me into changing my plans to include him and bugga me he decided to drop in at a mates and he didn’t turn up until early evening! The amount of times I have waited and waited for him god I just get so bloody angry at myself and know that never ever will I do that again for anybody, I mean what is wrong with a little bit of consideration, I always let people know if I am running late, it’s like he thought his time was so much more important then mine, the funny thing is he used to let his mates know just not me

• MaryW says:

Sandy, I went through the same sort of thing.

One night in particular stands out. I had just one evening to spend with him after he’d been away for ten days, and then that night I was going away for 5 days (holidays we’d booked before we met each other).

So it was meant to be a special night, meeting right after work, having a nice dinner etc and a decent catch up, then me going off to the airport.

Well, he turned up 2 hours late. Some intermittent texts saying he had to stay to have drinks with the VPs at work and couldn’t get away. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was trying to secure a permanent contract in the city where I live. I reckoned that OK, he had to socialise with the VPs a bit.

I sat there stewing. After the first hour I should I walked. He wasn’t responding to texts, wasn’t giving me any idea when he’d turn up.

When he turned up, he was sozzled. So drunk he hardly made any sense. I was shocked and heart broken really. It was the first taste of the problems to come (he unfolded in to a workaholic, alcoholic inconsiderate, out of control, control freak who wasn’t even divorced).

I regret that I didn’t walk that evening, just get the train to the airport and then flush. It was such a messed up evening, I never got over it for the rest of the time I dated him (and there were many more evenings of “I’m running late” and cancellations).

I am also angry at myself for putting up with such utter disrespectful crap, but I’ve learned from it.

• Peanut says:

Sm,

My ex tried to pull the not-informing-when running-late. I wouldn’t leave with him.

Sadly, I gave him another several chances before calling it quits.

His response to being 40 minutes late: “No one I ever dated before cared.”

31. backat-it says:

the whole thing has me in knots…everyone’s advice is so telling of my problem. as of the past few days, i left it completely up to him to contact me, etc. he did. via text…
he mentions that he’s at the stage in his life that he wants to settle down, and he claims that he stays busy right now because there’s no one to come home to…and in the future when there is, he will.
he’s an only child and has a rocky relationship with his mother (father passed when he was 5). i really do like certain parts of him. i think a lot of my anxiety comes up whenever i actually start liking a man…my last relationship was me settling for someone who was ‘safe’, had no career, placed me on the pedestal and i knew would never cheat…2 yrs later, i was sick of supporting him mentally, emotionally and financially, and finally called it quits.
i want a partner who is my equal, my counterpart.
the problem is when i meet someone who may fit that role, i get so nervous and all my feelings of ‘not good enough’ or abandonment come flooding in.
is it THAT which sabotages the whole thing? or am i really not seeing through the fog?
ughhhhhhhhh…i’ve been reading this blog for years, have always noted posts and sorted through solid advice. just wish there was a concrete way to find out for sure if its me causing the issues here, or the guys i’m chosing.

• MaryW says:

Backat-it,

I completely understand your question of whether it’s you causing issues, or the guys you are choosing. I have often felt the same way, and I have probably sabotaged some relationships because I’ve got so nervous about abandonment that I scared them off or ran away.

But overall I’ve concluded that I was guilty of choosing people who would then bring out all of my issues, my insecurities, my anxiety about abandonment etc. I was choosing men who proved to be unavailable in one way or another (or in a multitude of ways!).

With this guy you’re dating, my opinion is that he should sort out his work-life balance BEFORE he meets someone special. He is an avoidant workaholic; that makes him unavailable on one level.

Then, he has issues with his mother, and his father passed at such an early age. Those facts don’t mean you shouldn’t date him, but be hypervigilant to what sort of adult that has made him.

I think if I were you, I’d question whether or not this guy really is ready to settle down. I’ve dated guys like this a few times, invested my time and emotions, only to be told by them “I realise I’m not ready for a relationship” or I realise it myself and walk away.

Whether I am dumped or the dumpee, it hurts each time. You’ll understand what I’m talking about if you also have issues with fear of abandonment.

Oh, I also went through a two-year “safe” relationship – how I wish I could have that time back!

I don’t really know how to conclude this, except to warn you not to get too invested or emotionally involved with this guy at such an early stage. Already, your interest level far exceeds his and you are “in knots” – that’s not good.

Wishing us both luck. It’s tricky business.

• jewells says:

Back, sounds like you have serious self-esteem issues in relation to relationships. You don’t feel ‘good enough’ for those men who are your equals, so you choose the ‘broken’ with the misguided notion that they don’t have much to offer, then they won’t be leaving you for someone else… It is you (rather your faulty belief system), you then choose inappropriate men who actually confirm your beliefs. I can only say this because I’ve had this in spades myself. It was tied to abandonment issues around my father leaving (and his low self esteem directed at his family about us not being good enough) I’ve made a lot of changes in my life and subsequently my beliefs, and I have no draw to the inappropriate any more. My attitude now is: does he show any flags? yes, then I’d rather be alone than fall into that again…I feel stronger and better for myself everytime I see a flag and keep moving. Think of dating as an obstacle course/game with the ‘prize’ at the finish line. We must complete some tasks and answer riddles successfully to get there. Those tasks are represented by getting out there and living our lives and dealing with situations as they come, making healthy choices increases our self esteem, the riddles are when we are faced with EUM BS and see it for what it is and choose to not engage, again self esteem increase. It’s all a journey, don’t get bogged down in the sand traps!
Always take the situation (I know it’s hard when you’re in it, but that’s why it’s good to be here and write it out and get feedback), and break it down to the elements – is he treating you appropriately? are there flags? If yes, it doesn’t matter what his childhood consisted of or how busy his job is, that’s just the excuse. Bottom line is everything.
I’ve been negotiating a dating situation myself lately, everytime he calls last minute, I say I’ve got other plans or ‘raincheck’. End of, no drama, no bs. I’ve told him directly that I don’t do ‘surprize, wanna do something?’. To me, he’s ‘amber’, so, I will not invest in him until he goes ‘green’. That’s how I’m going to relate from now on – no investment until his behavior shows his investment. If amber comes up, I will state it, so he knows it’s inappropriate (so he has an opportunity to correct if he is self aware), but not tie any drama or expectation to it. My life is so peacefully boring now, but I’m feeling good, and getting a lot more done for myself that makes me feel even better.

• backat-it says:

jewells,
thank you so much for those words and sharing your insight.
it helped me take a deep breathe for a moment.
i’ve felt so frazzled lately, to the point of taking antianxiety meds last night waiting on his call.
its ridiculous, we can be great,strong,successful women and the second a certain kind of man is introduced into the picture, all rationale goes to crap.
i’m trying to remind myself that he is yet technically a stranger for all intents…and if i let someone i’ve met for a few hours over a few weeks impact me in such an unhealthy way (whether or not he’s aware he’s effecting me like this), then i need to take a seriously look at my own self esteem issues and get it together.
in terms of doing healthy things for myself, i’ve started being more proactive with friends,family,and signing up for new classes to take where i live…honestly the more things to occupy my time, the better.
i also decided to get back online and try meeting other men, so as to give myself some variety and not leave myself so available for him.
i hope these things help.
i think my biggest problem (aside from my low self esteem) is placing certain kinds of men on pedestals…ultimately, they never live up to the story in my mind i’ve created of them…and i’m left feeling disappointed, hurt, and alone.

• jewells says:

Yeah Back, I think you’ve got it. You put tooooo much weight on these guys. He’s just a guy, as fallable as we, probably more so. Perhaps look into how much meaning you put into these guys (they seem to represent soooooo much). Baby steps, one day at a time, stay grounded in reality – fantasy = drop to earth and pain…
I’m rooting for you, I feel you, you know what’s going on, next step is to internalize it and live it You WILL get there. Keep us posted

• LaPinturaBella says:

Back-at-it…I think your healthy for you plans are a GREAT idea. I took some classes after a major heartbreak and started a whole new career!

A word of caution though…if your self esteem in relation to men isn’t doing so well right now, I’d swear off dating altogether for awhile. It’s like putting your hand back in the fire and looking for someone to validate you. Instead, focus on you, do the “me” work and when you’re feeling that self love, THEN start dating again. Just a thought.

• Emerlydeyez says:

back at it,
No guy belongs on a pedestal, they all fall. Look at all the athletes, politicians, that fall off their pedestals. No one is perfect, everyone has their faults, and skeletons in the closet, and things that they are ashamed of. That’s what makes us human. Some are more damaged then others. Stay busy, so that when someone asks you out, you can make the choice, out of whether you would like to be with this person, not out of loneliness, or desperation. You have a lot of insight, so get busy make your life yours!

• Tinkerbell says:

Hi Back-At-It,

I understand you’re looking to fill up your life with other activity in order to have more outlets instead of focusing too much on this. Imo, online dating is not the answer. There are so many more constructive activities. If you are a person who can just have fun with it and not invest your feelings in these online guys then have fun. But, you sound like someone who gets deeply attached and forms big expectations fairly quickly. Not sure if I’m reading you right. With on-line-dating, you need to go in with NO expectations. Do it for your own ulterior motive, not for what you want in return.

When I did OLD, I was still EU after ending a devastating affair with a MM. Even though I was the one to end it, I was still licking severe wounds and used OLD to help me heal and curtail my obsessively thinking about him. But, at the same time I was spending more time with my girlfriends and going out with them. After several months I quit the OLD. It was not only a waste of my time, but there were too many let-downs. I realized i had better things to do. If you’re curious and want to try it go ahead. Just go in with ZERO expectations. Once in a while it turns out well, but that’s not very often. Good luck.

• Tinkerbell says:

Back,

Natalie has a post on On-Line-Dating, and many of us have shared our experiences of the same.

• MaryW says:

This is excellent advise, Tinkerbell, for Back and for so many of us (e.g. me – I quit OLD after my last experience). You are so right. Unless you have zero expectations, you’re setting yourself up for repeated let downs – not good for self esteem.
Tinkerbell, off topic, but I hope you are doing OK.

• Tinkerbell says:

Thank you, Mary for you expression of caring. I continually fluctuate back and forth between fighting thru it all, accepting reality, then giving in and crying. Have really puffy eyes this morning from the crying jags. But I know I will ultimately be okay, as (previously mentioned) I’ve had to “get over” much worse. At least I have the comfort of knowing he is genuinely a good person. So am I and that has much to do with why we’ve been deeply drawn to each other. We’ve enhanced each other’s lives and I’m deriving satisfaction from that. I believe there will be a reunion in the not too distant future, but, of course, I’m not hold my breath. I’m thankful he’s not a EUM or AC. No, it’s his own issues which have been out of his control. As Digging said, my act of suggesting a break and leaving him alone for awhile, has actually, inadvertently and lovingly shown him support.

• Tinkerbell says:

Thank you, Mary for you expression of caring. I continually fluctuate back and forth between fighting thru it all, accepting reality, then giving in and crying. Have really puffy eyes this morning from the crying jags. But I know I will ultimately be okay, as (previously mentioned) I’ve had to “get over” much worse. At least I have the comfort of knowing he is genuinely a good person. So am I and that has much to do with why we’ve been deeply drawn to each other. We’ve enhanced each other’s lives and I’m deriving satisfaction from that. I believe there will be a reunion in the not too distant future, but, of course, I’m not hold my breath. I’m thankful he’s not a EUM or AC. No, it’s his own issues which have been out of his control. As Digging said, my act of suggesting a break and leaving him alone for awhile, has actually, inadvertently and lovingly shown him support.

• A says:

“he mentions that he’s at the stage in his life that he wants to settle down, and he claims that he stays busy right now because there’s no one to come home to…and in the future when there is, he will.”

The bs alarm bell went off when I read this. How does this guy think he’ll get to the stage of having someone to “come home to”? The first step leading to that would obviously be…..to start by making time for someone in the present.

I think these guys make a lot of “in the future” type of comments. It reminds me: when I said something to the AC about making me some kind of priority in his life, his answer went something like, “You’re not my wife. If you were then I would have to make you a priority”.

Again…how would he get someone to marry him if he is unwilling to treat a woman as a priority in his life? Did he actually believe (and expect me to believe) that maybe if I put up with his crap for long enough things would go from casual to marriage and, with the flip of a switch, he would change from being an inconsiderate, selfish asshole to an attentive husband?

I don’t think these men understand that a relationship involves progression. This guy probably thinks that one day he’ll just wake up and feel like getting married and then *bam* everything will be different.

• jewells says:

He’s working on the ‘magic wand theory’. My mother used to point that out when I went on flights of fancy as a child…

• MaryW says:

Completely agree with Jewells and A.

Another red/ amber flag is that he says he has no one to come home to and that’s why he’s so career focused. That’s dodgy. I don’t have anyone to come home to either, but I go to the gym, swimming, yoga classes, see friends, read books, watch crap on TV etc etc. I do have a good job and a good career, but frankly my job gets in the way of my life, not vice versa.

What does he have in his life apart from work and Internet dating Doesn’t he have friends, hobbies?

Back, take him off that pedestal. He doesn’t sound that well rounded or magnificent a person to be getting so het up about. As Natalie says, “he’s just not THAT special”.

Good for you for taking up new classes etc, and taking the focus away from him and back to you! X

• Emerlydeyez says:

Yeah, that is BS. I have a really stressful career, but I hike, walk my dogs, read, go out to movies, and dinner, garden, work out and have started dating. I somehow find time for all of it. That’s a good one for me to remember, if I hear it. I used to hear, when he was texting all the time, spending time on the internet, that I wasn’t able to see because it’s his business, I’m interfering with his making a living. WOW, oh, WOW . All the while it was other women.
He hated when I would visit with my family, because would come back so disappointed with the state of my relationship, because I had been around normal.

There is a song, that someone recommended on this blog, a while, back and when ever I get a twinge, I listen to it. It’s called Jar of Hearts, by Christina Perri. AND I get jolted back to reality

• backat-it says:

ladies,
thanks so much for your words…
today wasn’t easy, as i’m trying my best to stay busy and not keep staring at the phone waiting for him to text/call/whatever.
last night, he did end up calling, we spoke briefly about nothing really, and he made NO plans or even suggested trying to see me…WTF.
i’ve been in a crappy mood all day, feeling badly about myself, unworthy, pissy, feeling lonely, the usual awful emotions that come flooding in.
it really sucks, i’ve only been single a few months, and i honestly never grieved my last relationship (actually, i celebrated, since i was saving so much time and \$ on a total loser, LOL!)
but now, months later, when i start to date again, one of the first men i meet has me up in a frantic tailspin.
maybe i should cut off all contact with him…its making me feel awful…i’m making myself feel awful in regards to him.
i just feel totally alone.
no matter how many proactive things i try to set into place for myself, when days are bad, they’re BAD…i end up on the couch, and numb or depressed.
i’ve been trying to make plans with friends for the coming weekend, but (as much as i HATE to admit it) a part of me wants to keep a day available for ‘if/when’ he tries to see me…
sounds desperate, doesn’t it?

• Andee says:

“Back, take him off that pedestal. He doesn’t sound that well rounded or magnificent a person to be getting so het up about. As Natalie says, “he’s just not THAT special”.”

Spot on for most of these dudes!

• Tinkerbell says:

Rachel

I may have missed your post on this. DID HE RETURN YOUR BELONGINGS, YET?
That was the reason for your continuing to interact with this dude who gave you a “kiss off”.

• backat-it says:

so an update…
i decided to stop all contact with him, and see if he would make any effort.
we had been ‘talking’ via text/phone everyday for 3 weeks, and the second i stopped, ALL contact from him stopped.
its been 3 days, he hasn’t even bothered to send a simple text, nor make any plans with me.
i admit, i let it bring me down and to an awful place, i let a stranger lower my sense of self worth…ridiculous…
i have decided i’m likely not ready to date yet, and also, def not ready for OLD…it’s a mess out there.

• MaryW says:

Back, I hope you are feeling better now …. I totally relate what you say about being brought down to an awful place… I hope the anxiety has lifted now.

You probably aren’t ready for dating just now, and that’s OK. It’s an important thing to realise. I realised the same. I took myself off the dating site after the last horrible experience. OLD is messy – somewhere I read Nat saying that you have to have the hide of a rhinoceros, and I don’t.

Best wishes, take some time out and look after yourself. x

32. Jule says:

This is probably one of the most powerful posts I have read on here. It is absolutely and positively a very truthful post and a great lesson. “These people expect you to go with their flow – this will gnaw at your insides, having you anxious about whether you’ll be ‘picked’ each week.” And oh boy Natalie and everyone, did it ever!!! I was that girl. UGH! I had been just an option to him before I knew I was. By the time I figured out his “schtick” I was feeling a lot for him and I felt I had found someone I could be totally crazy about and head over heels with. I was devastated when I figured out I was merely one on a list of many. I told him I wasn’t interested in being on his text-a-lay list. He thought that was funny but he didn’t dispute it. I want to stop NOW – I want to stop floating around on his coat tails and others’ as well. Damn it, I have my own life and I have a lot to offer and I’m WORTH the time it takes for long and basic plans. He never showed me I was worth anything that involved any type of planning that looked like girlfriend stuff and he would NOT do anything that I had planned. He would cancel or not show. He is a cockroach and will always be. I am getting better…every single day without contact with that cockroach, I’m getting stronger!

33. Found myself a backbone says:

Had hard week, even though I have been no contact for 8 months! The same old blame feelings, if I had been this, been that, what if he was my last chance? Then I log on here and read this and think to myself WTF!!! Why am I blaming myself for not wanting to be fallback girl any more and last chance? he was never a option or chance to begin with….crumbs thats all they will ever give you and we all deserve much better then that.

• Andee says:

YES TO THIS. I am about two months out, still have days where I cry in the car back and forth to work, still have intrusive thoughts about him and the situation, still have to fight to not indulge in either fantasy reconciliation OR revenge. It’s weird. I find that I am better able to distract myself with more valuable, self-respecting uses of my time when I feel the urge to indulge, but I am determined to feel ALL of my feelings and not check out with mindless distraction.

It will take as long as it takes, but I’m not going to cheat myself of this time to experience what they call “Post Traumatic Growth” (opposite of Post Traumatic Stress but it DOES EXIST.)

• jewells says:

Yes! how empowering – post traumatic GROWTH! That’s what we’re all here for. To grow from the experience and not let it define us! I am stronger and wiser than pre-EUM, life is so much brighter, I don’t care what a guy does, I only care what I do. I know that once I’m ready, someone who is worthy will show up. All I can do now is work on myself and get myself up to speed. I’m a happy work in progress

• Jule says:

Good point Andee. We need to actually feel the stuff to truly get through it, recover and heal. I have only been about a month NC and I am fighting my way through the intrusive thoughts, tears, dreams, etc. I do think it’s good to keep busy so I don’t wallow too much but I do try to give myself the time (like in the car) when I can feel sad and angry and all of those feelings.

• jewells says:

Found, breathe honey, breathe…now, look up the posts here about the last chance saloon, one day you will look back and realize you dodged a bullet and thankfully he wasn’t your last chance…cause he sucks…tell him to not let the door hit him on the way out, you’ve got better things to do than put up with his crap…

• micheyl says:

backbone, very right on. I fall in between blaming myself and seeing the crumbs for what they are…

34. marie83 says:

You could never make plans with my ex – half of the time I was waiting around for him to get his ass out of bed/stop playing video games! He never valued the time spent with me! When we broke up the first time I was shattered and got into an casual relationship with him as I was too scared to let go and thought (stupidly) that he would realise his mistake – I used to sit at home and cry why he went out ‘on the pull’ – I found out much later that he said to a mutual friend who asked him what the deal with us was that he was free to ‘shag’ whoever he wanted when asked how he would feel if I did the same – he said that if he ever found out i’d been with another guy he would cut me out completely. It amazes me that I got involved with aomeone who has such little respect for women

35. Messed Up Girl says:

Hi Ladies,

I too have been having a particularly hard week, since finding out that my ex had been moved to the same floor as me at work and I would have to see him every day it has been torture. I have ran into him a couple of times including today and it was a nightmare. He seemed so devastated as was I, I could have wept there and then.

Saw my therapist tonight and he thinks I should contact him to see if we can salvage anything from our friendship. I know there will never be anything more between us again because of our circumstances and I don’t want that, I just want my friend back, and judging from the way he looked today I think he quite possible wants that too.

So advice please ladies, should I break nc to see if he wants to try to salvage our friendship, or am I just opening myself up to more heartache?

• Magnolia says:

This is one of those moments when I think of how much therapy I had that didn’t help me as much as BR. Now I can’t understand why a therapist would say that.

I broke up with someone who I worked with and seeing him was hell for quite a long while. But really, when you’re at work, you can go for days without saying more than hi to someone who works two doors down from you. And I used to live two doors down from a psychologically cruel exAC, also hard. In neither of these cases did pursuing the guy to “salvage a friendship” make sense.

In both cases eventually things found their natural distance: it became ok with the guy at work who had not been an asshole, I never hung out with him but we’d say hi, and eventually he asked for some professional input and I felt ok about it so now we have a very occasional working relationship. With the ac, I never enjoy talking to him even though we run across each other now and then; but there’s no drama any more.

My two cents is that if seeing him is “torture,” that’s indication enough that you need to keep your distance. He might be cool with “friendship,” but you’re not, so don’t put yourself through that. Just be civil and that’s it.

• Tinkerbell says:

Mags,

Ironic you should say that about BR as opposed to therapy. I’ve thinking for awhile, same as you that BR actually helps me more. It’s quite empowering to relate to women all over the world who have and are facing a multitude of problems with men, their spouse, BF or ex BF, their job, employer, parenting, and on ad infinitum. BR is such a comprehensive and encompassing experience. There are friends of mine I’ve recommended to try it and they’re closed off to the idea. Too bad because they’d gain something. Their loss. Take care of YOU, Tink.

• Punkylove5 says:

Same experience with therapy – I have moved ahead ‘light years’ in a matter of months with BR, opposed to years (and I do mean YEARS)of therapy with a therapist who has degrees out the ‘ying-yang’ but has never really been able to understand and therefore help me! It also boosts my confidence in an area I have felt deficient in for much of my adult life. I do not have a degree (nothing wrong with that for those of you who do) but I always felt less-than; totally ignoring my knowledge, talent, skills, experience, intelligence. Natalie is such a inspiration in that she is really using all of her talents and abilities to help others and it comes from her ‘PhD’ in the ‘School of Hard Knocks.’

• Emerlydeyez says:

Messed up,
I don’t know what the circumstances are but it’s hard to have a love relationship go to friend relationship, don’t believe it can happen, and I have seen the forlorn puppy dog look, and it only lasts till they get you back, and then they go back to their old tricks. Why did you go NC? Has anything changed? Is he married? Hard having a relationship with someone at work. Somebody usually ends up leaving the job? Is he worth that?

36. micheyl says:

So, this post inspired me to send the EUM’s an email this morning. He sent me a text wishing me a nice first day back at work. I didn’t get it because I don’t get reception in my new building but when I went outside to call my daughter I saw he sent it. I had been sad that he didn’t send one, then happy that he sent it, then sad again because I saw it for the crumb it was. I feel so pathetic that I ride so high on so little.

So I sent him an email saying

“I don’t want to be your secret. Or your last minute booty call because you and miss next in line don’t have plans. I want to be your #1. I want you to make plans with me and I want to make plans with you. And I want a relationship where you respect me and cherish me and cherish the way I feel about you.

So I just want to stop loving you. Because you don’t love me enough to want a relationship with me and I can’t live as a late night booty call.”

I hope I can stick with it and mean it. I do mean it, I do.

37. FLGirl says:

My last two EUM bfs would make plans in the beginning and in advance but as time went on they would get so mad that weekends were planned or plans were made. They both freaked out with remarks like “do we always have to have plans” or “can’t we just figure it out as we go”. Red flags because who doesn’t make plans in advance , if you don’t everyone else gets busy!

38. FLGirl says:

Another thing, everything was fine and dandy with my ex EUM until I spoke up about being included on a night out with his friends after 5 months with NO invite then I saw an abrasive, and nasty side I never saw before. All because I wanted my single friends to meet his single friends he hung up on me. Of course we never fought before that, I was his doormat.

39. Messed Up Girl says:

Hi Ladies,

Thank you for your responses and advice, I know it would be insanity to contact him again and would only cause me more heartache and confusion, he is a MM and I myself am in a relationship which has not been going well for a long time. I think my therapist was looking at the ‘tough love’ scenario whereby if I contacted him and he either rejected or ignored me I would be forced to face this issue head on and see that this guy is not the nice person and good guy that I thought he was and thereby I would be forced to see things for what they really are as opposed to this fantasy I have built up around him.

I saw him today at work and realised that this guy doesn’t want anything to do with me, it was so obvious from his body language, what is wrong with me?? Where is my pride, my self respect, he’s a jackass of the highest order. That has to be it, I need to move on, been listening to all kinds of music, found so many songs that fit this situation perfectly but none more so than Faith Hill’s Cry, the words are so fitting, just to see some emotion and know that it has affected him in some way would make it just a little bit better.

I have resolved to try one last time to fix the problems in my own relationship, namely intimacy issues, my partner at least deserves that and if I can’t then I need to walk away and give myself a chance of happiness with someone I can have true happiness with. I’m not proud of anything I’ve done in this situation, I never saw myself as the kind of person who would have an affair, maybe it’s best we can’t see into the future sometimes (or out own selves for that matter). This has to change, I have to get stronger, get my self respect and strength back, no more of this pining for an AC like him.

40. Rosie says:

Jule–Doing this by phone. This is in response to your post on qhat to do about hopeless attractions to ACs. You acknowledge that you’re attracted and live your life as if you’re not.

I don’t know if you read what I posted above but I just threw away (momentarily) a lot of hard work on abstinence for a roll in the hay with a guy I barely know. I don’t know what it is but I get anywhere near him and I just want to have sex with him. He came over for booty call & I “won” through the realization that I’m not a boory call, that I need to stick up for myself so I did.

Yet, I’m sure I would still want to have sex with him should I see him again but so what? By fighting your feelings you’re feeding the feeling. Juat axknowledge you’re horny for the guy and move along in your day. Really, there is no shortcut, no magic word rhat will make it all go away. Feelings are just one part of the whole picture. Feelings are real but so is the mistreatment, selfishness, etc.

I hope tbis helps a little..

41. Heather says:

thanks for re-running this! I really needed the reminder today, I’ve got a guy trying to put me on standby and that’s what I want so….see ya dude. Next!

42. Lara says:

One guy I went on a date with 2 months ago (not originally from here, so it would’ve been long distance for the most part, if things had worked out between us), never made advance plans. I attributed that to him being here on a short trip, so probably wanting to see me most days. He’d send me a text during the day and ask me what my plans were. I didn’t get back to him until early afternoon, by which time he had already made other plans I suppose — and told me he was going out for dinner with people from work, and that he’d call me afterwards and we might be able to do something later on. Of course, 7 became 8pm, then 9, then 10, then 11pm. he texted me twice during that time, saying that he was still “stuck” there. Something made me wonder, though, whether he was texting while out on a date with another woman, because I very much doubt that a regular dinner thing with (mostly married) co-workers would last 6 hours.. His modus operandum was to have dinner, then suggest going some other place together, so maybe this is what he was doing (with another woman), and hoping that he’d get to have sex with her at the end of the night, but when that didn’t pan out… he sent me another text at 11:30pm. I could be wrong, though. One of those things I will never find out. Anyway, he texts me again at 11:30pm, asking me if I am still up. At that point, I had gotten into pjs, etc., and was so mad that he even had the guts to text me that late. Anyway, I didn’t reply that night, and texted him in the morning saying that I was spending a quiet night in, having some wine and watching a movie (which I had in fact done). He acts all offended, I guess, and says, cool, I am going home for the weekend, enjoy the weekend. I texted him again a day later (at that point I was upset about his obvious disrespect for me and the fact that he had also bootycalled me before that day), saying that I would be more than happy to show him around town if he needed anyone to show him around, when he got back. No reply, for two months. I had forgotten about him, had deleted his number about a week after that text since I didn’t receive a reply. Then, 2 months on, today, he texts me. For a moment I wondered who it was, but then I realized that it was him. His text stated the following: “Hey there, sorry I’ve been such a stranger, haven’t been in [your city] in over a month. Hope all is well.” So the fact that he’s been out of my city for a month somehow determines his ability to text me? (and I very much doubt he was out of the city for as long as he claims; he was still looking for women in my city on online dating sites, a few weeks after I sent him that last text — I accidentally stumbled on his dating profile).. What most likely happened is that he got frustrated with my unwillingness to be bootycalled, devalued me for a while, kept my number in case he decided to yo-yo back into my life, thought he was such a charming man that he’d be able to win over other women and “bed” them, but maybe other women have stronger boundaries than I do, and none of them gave him much attention let alone sex, so he is now testing the waters, trying his luck with me, but knows that since he didn’t contact me for 2 months, the chances that I might rip him “a new one” are high, so he is just testing the waters for now, not making it obvious that he’s coming back to my city or that he wants to see me. Just that he cares about me so much that he “hopes all is well.” After a 2 month silence. Yeah. LOL. The things people think they will get away with.

## My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

## My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!