person responding to a text from the wolf asking if they can come round.

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.

Inspired by a post I read – “Dear Friend: Sorry. My heart says yes, but my schedule says no” – which reinforces the importance of saying NO, setting limits and managing people’s expectations, my original post was for every person who like me, has struggled with people pleasing.  Just like with relationships, while you may fear disappointing others by saying NO, you end up setting yourself up for pain and frustration as well as taking yourself off the market for better opportunities. This is an open letter to every person who has benefited from those of us who have been willing to bust our boundaries. But not anymore!

************

Dear So & So,

Thanks for expressing an interest, giving me X amount of time for a relationship, or even putting out the feelers about getting back together/hooking up for old times sake.

The thing is, I’m sure that you think that what you’re proposing is ‘great’ and that maybe even based on past dealings with me you think this is totally up my street, but actually, my self-esteem is on the rise and this just doesn’t fit in with me.

I’ve been guilty of not only being a YES person but having little or no boundaries in the past. I haven’t realised the importance of not only loving myself and treating me with care, trust, and respect, but also how certain types of relationship and certain types of behaviour make it a no-go for a mutually fulfilling relationship.

I’ve been passionate about finding love, being ‘good enough’, being the exception to the rule, getting laid, convincing people to choose me, waiting around, finding The One, avoiding myself and my mistakes, righting the wrongs of the past, the relationship insanity of doing the same thing and expecting a different result, and basically trying to take a shortcut where I’ve tried to get others to create feelings within me and meet needs that I can’t do for myself.

It truly is much easier to say YES instead of NO. That’s not just because of the short-term gain and not having to deal with the guilt, but also because I’ve believed that by saying YES, it would override concerns, get me what I needed from others, and minimise conflict.

Unfortunately (for you) I’ve finally learned the lesson that every time I say YES to an unhealthy situation or continue to participate in it once it becomes apparent that it is not what I thought it was or could be, and is in fact unhealthy, I’m saying NO to a healthy relationship and essentially making myself unavailable.

And NO, even though I’m declining what you’re proposing, that doesn’t mean that you can hang around in my life as a pseudo friendship and tap me up for a shag/ego stroke/shoulder to lean on ‘until’ I find someone else – you’d be blocking the entrance for something better to come along and I’d be letting you do it.

You might feel like you’re not asking me for ‘that much’ or that it feels good and works for you, so it’ll feel good and work for me, but your standards and mine may be two very different things and ultimately it’s up to me to decide what works for me, not you.

Although my vagina/penis/libido says yes, I recognise that they’re not very good judges of character and that I’ll feel good now, crap later. Sex is not an automatic precursor to the relationship I want, nor is the fact that I’m horny or we have a great sexual connection indicative of the strength of our ‘relationship’. As a result, I’m going to have to say no.

Although my ego is saying yes, to be honest with you, my ego’s gotten me in a lot of trouble. I’m learning to self-validate instead of looking for people who often don’t value me to tell me how valuable I am, which is a bit like asking a random off the street to value your home or being at the mercy of Other People’s Bullshit Mentality. So thanks, but no thanks.

Although my imagination is saying yes, I need reality and the fact is that I’ve had more relationships with my imagination than I’ve had hot dinners and actual relationships and invariably, the fantasy is better than the truth. So thanks, but no thanks because I’m on The Bullshit Diet and I don’t Bet On Potential.

And yes, my heart may be saying yes, but maybe it isn’t. The truth is I could never know what my heart really and truly wanted until I learned to love myself and saw me as a valuable person that’s worthwhile – that’s worth the effort, worth the boundaries, worth not selling myself short for.

The lesson learned from all of my saying YES whether it has been via my actions or words, is that when I’m being truly emotionally honest and authentic, the heart, my choices, what I want and what results are more aligned.

If you want to get a quick barometer of how someone truly feels about themselves, take a look at the person they’re involved with, who they profess to be interested in/can’t get over, the situations they get involved in or how they think, feel, and talk about themselves.

By saying NO to you, I’m saying YES to myself. It’s about fricking time.

Now it may not be today, it may not be tomorrow and it may not even be that soon, but I’m going to trust that there’s better out there for me because I’m learning to trust myself and have become au fait with what doesn’t work for me. I have enough experience that demonstrates what results when I continue doing the same thing and expecting different results.

I’ve tried to be the exception to the rule for way too long – I want to experience happiness out of the rule instead of banging my head against a brick wall and trying to get love from unlikely and outright reluctant sources.

I’m going to occupy my life literally and figuratively and whatever I say yes to relationship-wise in the future, it’s going to come from a positive place and reflect a me that loves me.

So, er, yeah, thanks, but no thanks. No more broken windows here – you’ve got the wrong house.

From me x

If loving someone and taking part in a relationship means that you can’t love you, always choose you.

Your thoughts?

Holiday update:

I’ve managed to do some crochet – yay!

We spent the weekend in Cornwall for a wedding. Long drive, plenty of sleeping my head off.

I’ve got cracking on the decluttering.

I fell asleep on the sofa earlier. I think the sun and a big lunch wore me out!

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119 Responses to Revisited – Dear So & So: Sorry, my heart/libido/ego/imagination says yes, but my self-esteem says no

  1. Spinster says:

    Good post to refresh the memory. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Anna says:

    this is awesome. this is what i would have wanted to send to the last ex who booty-called me (after we were broken up). i did say no (though I considered yes), even though i didn’t know if i would find love with someone else anytime soon. a few weeks later i met someone wonderful :)

    • stacey allam says:

      this is what one should say to every yahoo ex that finds you on facebook and wants to be friends especially if they themselves are married ewww

  3. T says:

    This could not have been what I needed to hear more today. I fell off the NC wagon, and into every boobytrap mentioned. I am back on the wagon and this is something I am going to read everyday as a personal mantra.

    I also wanted to mention that having read your book I felt comfort to know I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing/feeling. Allowing ones self to be in a situation that requires NC feels very alone and shameful, but your words gave me hope, a place to start, a “holy crap, someone is saying exactly what I’m feeling” moment. So thank you.

  4. Outergirl says:

    The MM ex- a**clown always makes a big thing of “texting” me on my birthday. I have no idea why he does this, but it no longer bothers me. This year, for some reason he decided it was time to chance things and stated [not asked] “I’d prefer we get together”. Well if it wasn’t THE best birthday gift EVER to reply “You’re still married, so no, we won’t be meeting”. Followed by his usual p/a radio silence. I later found out, he had some crisis and as I was always his Fallback, cheerleader, therapist he turned to good ol’ Outergirl. But not this time, I’m not that woman anymore. Till next year I suppose?

    • stacey allam says:

      texting on your birthday is definitely not a big deal even in my early twenties I would’ve been been upset by this and argued with the guy keeping up the relationship as bad as it may be now I just wouldn’t ignore him not talk to him t

      and depending on how much time I had invested in the relationship probably not argue with him about him talk to him about my feelings that’s just keeps you locked into this kind of thing longer than you need to be

    • Izzybell says:

      ugh, Outergirl, my stupid ex also finds a way to contact me every year on my birthday! this past year, he wrote just to say he had loved me and to bring “closure” to our relationship. and to tell me he had met someone and they were expecting a child together.

      I wish I could say it no longer bothers me too, but at least I haven’t responded to his fishing around “Please contact me if you feel like talking”. I also blocked him this time,so his dumb ass communiques won’t be wrecking any future birthdays!

      • Betty says:

        Izzybell, what a jerk move for him to contact you on your birthday to say that he’d knocked up a new partner. You did the right thing by blocking him.

        • Izzybell says:

          thanks for the reinforcement, Betty!

          I finally realized that he wasn’t going to change, circumstances weren’t the problem, and the best way I could protect myself from further hurt was to shut him down. He didn’t know his ass from his elbow when we were together and it’s no surprise that he continues to act in ways I can’t respect.

          anyway, as painful as it was to receive it and although it wasn’t his intention I consider that last birthday email to have been a true gift.

        • stacey allam says:

          block him and don’t take the bait for any contact he may give you

    • Allison says:

      Outer,

      Are you saying you would go back to him if he were divorced- that’s the message I got?

      Why don’t you change your number or block, you keep it going by engaging.

      • Outergirl says:

        @ Allison,
        I think you are reading more into it.I replied to him simply as someone being approached by a MM. To simplify; if an UN-married friend asked to meet me, than depending on who it was, I’d consider it.

        • Allison says:

          Outer,

          You have a history with this guy, and I’m certain it was not respectful.

          By replying, we show them that we are still interested, and is a huge ego boost to them.

          Please block.

      • stacey allam says:

        don’t ever go back to him he’s a cheater he probably did or will do the same thing to you you’re not that special he’s shown you his character or lack there of . You’ll know what you’ll be getting with him so where’s the surprise and wonder of a new relationship ?

    • lizzp says:

      “I have no idea why he does this, but it no longer bothers me…I’m not that woman anymore”

      I like your response to him Outer, it’s turning it back on him and from what I read it seems you were able to do this from a place of authenticity, not pain.

      • Outergirl says:

        Thank you Izzy and so sorry about the thoughtless contact your ex made. I think do this because they want desperately for us to think/believe, that our decisions to end it did not set them rocking back on their heels.

  5. butterfly says:

    Oh my goodness, it’s as though you have a crystal ball and can see me messing up and post just the right thing!
    Thank you so much for this – it’s just exactly what I needed tonight.
    I’m feeling really low right now, did the self esteem course, still not got it all sorted, broke NC, let myself be dragged back down to the dark place again. Now I’m trying not to beat myself up whilst at the same time trying to learn the frigging lessons for the last time and stop making these mistakes.
    I’m just going to keep reading this post, every day, until I can say NO every time the EUM tries to reel me back in.
    Thanks

    • Sandy says:

      These things happen and it really isn’t worth beating yourself up about, it’s their problem no yours, you just have to remember that, the last time it happened to me, I cried (again) but I finally said NO by changing my number, don’t let them dip in and out of your life, make something positive out of all the crap they keep on putting you through. Changing my number was the best thing I ever, ever did after six months of trying to go no contact and having him text every two weeks just when you start to think ok I won’t hear from him anymore. I haven’t looked back since then, I have starting dating, he seems nice, but I am taking it slow and saying no to things I originally have said yes to (I am an original people pleaser) but due to this site I have learned so much, and I am putting it into practise!!

    • MaryW says:

      Butterfly, please don’t feel low. I also ‘flunked’ the self esteem course (on many levels; laziness and fear of facing facts contributed), went on to make a *big* mistake and got hurt. We’re still learning. It doesn’t happen overnight.

      I realised that, as much as online learning and support helps, I needed to be able to sit down with someone and talk (not just type and think). I started one to one therapy. Ok it’s not cheap and I am fortunate that I can afford it – but it’s an investment in my future.

      I also learned to really confide and trust in my friends (carefully chosen ones). And in opening up, they opened up. And I am learning that we are all flawed and vulnerable, even those in happy successful relationships.

      I’m also going to read the post everyday. We are vulnerable but we are not dumb or unteachable.

  6. MaryW says:

    Natalie,

    I echo every word that T wrote. This article was perfect timing for me. On day 3 of No Contact, I started to feel sorry for him because his life is a mess, and had to hand my phone over to a colleague for safe keeping so as to stay on the wagon (and off the people pleasing wagon). So to come home and read this is such a blessing.

    Natalie, thanks to you and the people on here who’ve shared their stories and given me words of advise and encouragement, I believe in me and my strength.

    I bought myself some flowers on the way home. I bought some new plants for the garden and watered the neglected ones. I gave myself a big hug and I smiled. I am joining the gym. I have made 2 new friends recently, seeing them both this week, and I arranged to join in with a Meet Up walk at the weekend. With Total Strangers. All is not lost …..

    Yesterday a handsome, intelligent man proposed (in a roundabout way) a FWB arrangement with me. In a weaker state I might have seen this as a way forward, a way out of the sad feelings, some validation. But I said “no” with absolutely no hesitation. I gave him a few minutes of my time explaining why the whole concept is flawed for the great majority of women (pointless really, but I enjoyed it)… and walked.

    I will read this article again and again. Thank you.

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your break and you’ve already ticked some if your to-do things. And caught up on some sleep! Continue enjoying your break. Wish I had the patience and dexterity to crotchet ;)

    • Lara says:

      Oh lord. I know where you’re coming from. I am SUCH a people-pleaser that even when suffering SO MUCH from the pain of being dumped, I was still thinking about him and feeling sorry for him and wondering how bad he must’ve been feeling and wishing I could make him feel better. God. No. Stop. Just stop. I have stopped doing that this time around (multiple break-ups initiated by the same narc AC ex), and boy does it feel great. I feel so relieved. I need to look out for myself. He wanted this, and I doubt he feels an iota of regret or feels bad about the way he treated me and dumped me. If anything, if he does feel bad, it’s well-deserved. But I doubt he would feel bad anyway. I have even stopped thinking about him. I remember him every now and then, but he is a very distant memory in my life right now. A bad memory that I don’t like to remember and have been trying to flush out of my mind or confine to the “life experiences that we must go through” section of my brain/heart. So far, I’ve been successful at it. I don’t even make much of an effort not to think about him. When I do, I feel angry and wish him the worst. That’s all. Life is good and I am enjoying being single and not having to walk on eggshells. Never again. I have stopped pleasing people too, including friends. If people do not treat me with respect, I flush. I don’t care how “good” a friend they used to be, or that I considered them to be. I did not have boundaries, so of course, anyone who even smiled at me, I may have considered a “friend.” Nope. Not anymore. You treat me with respect or you’re out of my life.

      • MaryW says:

        Lara,

        It’s almost impossible to move on when you’re a people pleaser. Especially to a man in such desperate need of it as the assclown who entered my life. He sucked out all the love and compassion and left me with no reserves for me.

        And people pleasing/ providing compassion is part of my profession, it’s a positive, a very positive side of me, something to be proud of, but it gets VERY misplaced in the context of relationships.

        This recent chap isn’t a narcissist (though I have had experienced with that sort – extremely damaging). Walking on egg shells is an understatement.

        I’m glad you flushed. I am flushing too, but there are some remnants in the bowl… (Yuck).

    • lizzp says:

      Hello Mary W, How are things on day 6(?)now? I’d imagine hard, difficult, maybe some good moments and future glimpses. I hope you’re ok. Still thinking of you and hoping all the best for you.

      Good on you for giving a talk to FWB man. I may have had a similar thing happen late last year with a ‘boyishly’ attractive, divorced, single father acquaintance of mine who, in so many words, proposed a one night stand/casual sexual relationship right off the bat during a mutual friend’s going away party. We have known each other very casually and intermittently for around 4 years because our kids attended the same kindy and now primary school and I’ve noticed that there has always been a mutual physical attraction (just to note, this doesn’t bother me, as I know he is immature and irresponsible on every level relationship wise so I’ve never spent any badly invested emotional energy on him). He is glaringly EU, almost text book really. I hadn’t actually discovered BR when this occurred, but in a matter-of- fact but friendly way (we have always got on well re kids and school matters and socially -ie end of term social events- in a polite, relaxed though superficial manner and I don’t feel any anger towards him personally), asked him a few pointed questions about his last girlfriend (who had apparently disappeared a few months prior)and then proceeded to outline to him why he would never appreciate anything he hadn’t earned and from what I could see he wasn’t in a space where he really wanted to be bothered putting in the time and effort needed for a mutually respectful relationship. I added of course, that “I don’t do casual sex”. He appeared quite shocked and surprised and said something like “…don’t you know I care about you, we’re friends…”. If what he defines as ‘friendship’ (we are acquaintances, not friends)is anything to go by, I can’t imagine the horror of being FWB! I just smiled and sort of shook my head a bit, and after a while it was back to friendly banter as usual. It just didn’t bother me if he felt offended (he didn’t show it if he did). Though I kinda doubt that it dawned on him that offering casual sex might just be offensive to me,, rather than flattering! Poor Doofus…

      All this was last November or thereabouts, we usually seem to catch up through school events about once every couple of months, never see him before/after school cos of work and the rest. I got a happy Xmas text a couple of years ago for some reason. So EU huh?

      I’ve told that story now because the man in question asked me for a game of scrabble yesterday. The last time I saw him I think was at a parent/kid coffee at park meet up, maybe in early May where I now recall we discussed a mutual interest in scrabble- I think he mentioned he plays it online (yes that would be right now wouldn’t it). . With BR behind me, it crossed my mind immediately that he must be having some mini-crisis or other, but that’s it – no energy to put into wondering, I just take him, as with any EU person, at face value and pit them against my standards. He sent a text (of course)with no day/eve suggested but ‘this week’. I declined and suggested on Wednesday next week, and if that suited to confirm with me a couple of days in advance. He responded “Wednesday should be fine”. I just half snorted when I read that, put down my phone, and got on with my day. I will think about him briefly come next Monday morning…but only in terms of making my other plans for next Wed because if he hasn’t confirmed by then there will be no scrabble. I also won’t be responding to a ‘late’ confirmation text after Monday. If he confirms before Sunday I will eat my hat and yours Mary W!

      • MaryW says:

        Oh Lizzp, why even play a game of scrabble with this man? I am not sure what you’re going to get from it. I know you know he is not good boyfriend material, but he doesn’t even sound like good friend material if he’s already unable to commit to a non-date date (and I’m sure he expects more than a game of Scrabble! – no matter how clearly you expressed yourself previously). And if there’s a mutual attraction, it might be a bit dangerous?

        Thank you for asking and thinking of me…I am doing OK…. On Friday I went NC, on Saturday he sent a text saying “Hi, How are you?”. I didn’t read it until yesterday (I had deleted the app), and didn’t respond. But almost did, which was hard. I haven’t heard anything from him since Saturday… I feel up and down but generally happier.

        I feel disappointed in myself that this all happened, because I’d read BR, I should have seen the red flags… he was textbook EU, like Mr Scrabble but even worse once he’d unfolded. I do feel slightly bad that I just went NC without a final “goodbye”, but I wasn’t strong enough. I can’t manage goodbyes (today a colleague-friend told me she’s leaving and I almost cried!).

        Let me know about Mr Scrabble….

        • lizzp says:

          Hey Mary P, Haha, don’t worry about ‘Mr Scrabble'(I like it, good one!), I thought he provided a nice example of standing up for oneself/speaking in the moment, I hadn’t given a thought about that incident until I decided to compare it with how I imagined you may have dressed down the doofus who recently offered you FWB (in a post up thread here I think?). I’ll play scrabble with him if he confirms by Sunday because I like playing scrabble, would enjoy myself, I don’t find his company repulsive and he can’t harm me in any way. I get it, and I appreciate your concern truly, but (the but)playing scrabble with him is not a dangerous situation for me…yes I find him attractive (on the level of fantasy) but I won’t act on that and will have no problem dealing with him if he suggests anything to me/makes a move as I’m just not interested in him as he actually is and have no interest in putting myself in harms way. I do enjoy a game of scrabble though. Yes, he’s not a friend, he is an acquaintance who I am on intermittent, socially friendly terms with owing to us being part of the same parent social group. There’s no reason for me to run away from him or act any different than I have been over the past 4 years. And this is academic cos I’ll eat my hat and yours if he confirms scrabble by Sunday!

          In a lot of ways, I have been trying to make sure I have good boundaries for myself with all the people in my life, friends, acquaintances family, not just dates/ potential long term bf. My good friends are another entirely, I trust them, consciously don’t try to bust boundaries etc. Mr Scrabbs is none of that, but at the same time he’s no problem…I guess I’d call him an acquaintance who I may play scrabble with next week.

          Keep strong with the NC, because it’s not a straight line in my experience, I have up and down times still and it’s been 6 months for me. I cried just today even – but in a way that was good I think for me at least, finally starting to let in the loss ( a little bit at a time). And Scrabbs has unfolded over the past four years and I’ve never even been close to an emotional involvement with him, which is why there’s really no comparison between our potential scrabble game and your situation. Mary W, please try to go easy on yourself a little with the shouldas and couldas, and I’ll do the same too. I’m realising how much that thinking just poisons my self regard and also, at least maybe in my ex’s case, poisons my acceptance of who he was when I knew him. I still think of him, still feel like I miss him…but it’s better and more real and it’s not consuming and overwhelming my life as it once did.xo

          • MaryW says:

            Hi Lizzp, I’m glad about Mr Scrabble. I was a bit worried but at the same time couldn’t quite believe that sensible Lizzp would put herself in a dangerous situation. It was the bit about mutual attraction that set off alarm bells, but it sounds like you have your boundaries firmly in place. I have a large collection of woolly hats, so I sort of hope he does contact you by Sunday ;)

            It’s good you dressed him down, and I felt good about dressing down the doofus who propositioned me the other day. Yes I spent a bit of time doing it, but I likened it to my grandmother who would let in the Jehovah’s Witnesses and talk to them, safe in the knowledge that she wasn’t going to be converted and by taking up their time, she was ‘saving’ any one more vulnerable from being converted. (No offence intended to Jehovah’s Witnesses). It’s not quite the right comparison because I only spent a short amount of time talking with him, and gave no illusion of being open to conversion – quite the opposite.

            Anyway, yes I am keeping up NC. Still handing my phone to another ‘responsible adult’ at times. It’s funny that you mentioned crying and loss. I haven’t had a good cry yet. I am aware I need to (I’m re-reading The Little Prince to try to cry – it always makes me cry – to try to release those tears).

            I talked about it in therapy today and realised that it’s because the loss isn’t full – I still feel a connection to him. Not hope or fantasies anymore (mostly), but a connection. I have to let time pass I suppose, be patient.

            I appreciate your words about letting in the loss, and that it’s gradual. It makes total sense. And that I should be more compassionate with myself about the shoulda woulda’s – as well as damn proud that I had the strength to walk away. And I finished it but I wasn’t an assclown – I explained myself fully to him, my own vulnerable state etc.

            Well Lizzp, thank you once more. You make me smile as well as giving me kind, gentle words of advise, and it means a lot. X

            • lizzp says:

              Mary W., Wow, we are on the same page re The Little Prince. It sits next to me on my coffee table as it has for the past few years! It’s the part about the fox that gets me every time. It’s a very special book huh.

              • MaryW says:

                Lizzp, yes it’s a very special book. I only got as far as the bit about the flower and her 4 thorns last night before the sadness arrived and got too much.
                I am scared to truly let in the loss, but it’s happening regardless. Not a good day.

                • lizzp says:

                  the flower is so fragile and vulnerable, I often identify with her.

                  • MaryW says:

                    Yes same here.

                    “Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve. They reassure themselves as best they can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons …”.

                    *sigh*

  7. Lara says:

    “If loving someone and taking part in a relationship means that you can’t love you, always choose you.”

    OK, I am not so sure about this last one.
    I mean, my ex used the very same line to justify his numerous break-ups with me, on the grounds that he was compromising himself and his desires by being in the “relationship” with me. I think far too many people abuse this mentality, when in fact they just don’t want the commitment in the first place. I think it’s more appropriate to say: “If loving someone and taking part in a relationship means that you can’t BE you (i.e. you have to walk on eggshells, you have to sacrifice/compromise your basic needs and feelings, etc.), always choose you.” I don’t “love” myself, nor do I want to. I like myself and that’s good enough. Loving oneself is too self-centred. The last thing I want to be is a narcissistic self-centred person like my ex. All I want is to be respected in a relationship and for my basic needs and boundaries be respected. That is all. I do not need to do the same things I used to do when I was single (flirting with men, having one night stands, etc.), while in a relationship with someone, on the grounds that I don’t want to stop loving myself. When you get into a relationship, you let go of certain freedoms and things you may have done as part of your “self-love” routine (or whatever). I really think there are too many people (especially men) out there who want to have their cake and eat it too (have a relationship while acting like they’re single) and when they can’t, they want to bail on it, because they can’t give themselves the “love” they think they deserve. They don’t realize that relationships are based on certain compromises and sacrifices. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too. I really think that that last line is not the correct logic to use in talking to people who have themselves justified busting your boundaries — or bailing on the relationship once they realize they can’t — on the grounds that they wanted to do things for themselves that made them feel loved.

    I think there is a healthy level/dose of giving up part of your routine or some of your “needs”/habits, without busting your boundaries.

    • yoghurt says:

      I disagree with you Lara, because I disagree with your definition of love.

      Imo, love isn’t a feeling that you have, although that’s what most songs/films/books would have you believe. It’s the act of behaving in someone’s best interests. It’s putting the work in so that they can make the best progress physically, emotionally and spiritually that they can. Sometimes it involves doing things that are difficult, that you don’t feel like or that they don’t particularly like.

      Having a baby brought this home to me. When he was small I had extended periods (usually at 2am) of not feeling at all loving towards him and wanting to throw him out of the window. I didn’t – I looked after him. I love my son. How I felt with the hormones raging and on about two hours of sleep is neither here nor there.

      Ergo, self-love isn’t the belief that you’re the greatest all the time or the act of gratifying your every impulse or desire. It’s about acting in your own best interests and sometimes it involves discipline and short-term unpleasantness for long-term gain. If you can’t act in your own best interests and the best interests of someone else then the best thing you can do (for you and, actually, for them, because imo it’s bad for other people to let them ride roughshod over you) is to leave it.

      People who do what the hell they want at the expense of everyone else aren’t self-loving either, in my opinion. They’re like parents who let their child do whatever the hell they want without giving a stuff about who that child’ll grow up to be.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        Yogurt, You nailed it. I too disagree with Lara about her concept of self love.

        Actually, a person who is truly narcissistic doesn’t actually love themselves at all. They are filled with self loathing and hatred. They “project” a facade that they love themselves, think they are as great as or greater than God, etc. That is arrogance and a complete and utter illusion. What is going on inside of them is self hatred to the degree that they can’t look at it, feel it or deal with it so they again “project” those feelings onto the people they are supposedly close to (although in actuality they really aren’t close to anyone.) That’s why we, who are (knowingly or unknowingly)involved with these people get so hurt, damaged and in same cases destroyed. They take their self hatred out on others – because to take it out on themselves (or even look at it in the cold hard light of day) would literally shatter their incredibly shallow and low sense of self and psyche.

        What Lara seems to be defining as self love is more along the lines of total conceit, self aggrandizing and self involvement mixed in with a lot of entitlement for no good reason.

        • Lilia says:

          LaPinturaBella, that is so true re what you say about narcissists. During my horrible involvement with a narc EUM I sometimes caught glimpses of his self-hatred. He would make these strange comments about himself when he was off-guard, like how he was actually a light-toned dark skinned guy (what the what??), or how he was quite ugly. I don´t think he realised how weird it sounded to me.
          These comments were only a very tiny tip of the iceberg, though. The bulk of his communication was about being a complete and utter a**hole to me, and saying the exact thing to make me feel bad about myself. Or just picking fights. It was like he put all his efforts into being rejected.

      • Lara says:

        The bottom line of my post was that selfishness is not a good thing, and it seemed that this was what was being advocated. I can understand a certain degree of selfishness, but absolute selfishness does not go well in a relationship. If we pick our desires and interests over our partner’s all the time while in a relationship, no matter what, to me, that does not signal love. It signals that you are in a relationship for your own selfish reasons, not because you truly care about that person. So, once it no longer serves you, you will just bail on it, because you’d rather keep on being selfish than maintain the relationship.

        • Tanya Z says:

          I think that people can sometimes confuse self-love with selfishness. I know I did. I think that selfishness is getting what you want, and not caring if you hurt or exploit someone else to get it. Self-love, I think, is looking after your own interests, without taking advantage of others. For example, not allowing a selfish person to use you. Many of us have been up against selfish people who twist things around and try to make us feel that we are hurting them, when in fact, we are only trying to keep ourselves from being used and taken advantage of.

          • Lara says:

            Sure, there is a difference between self-love and selfishness, but I really think that self-love can really get into selfish territory, when you always put yourself ahead of your partner in the relationship, or choose to bail on the relationship because you can no longer put yourself ahead of him or the relationship all the time. Which is why I said there is a healthy dose of self-love and selfishness, and an unhealthy level. It seemed that sentence I quoted was advocating absolute self-love/selfishness, no matter what. If you are in a relationship and feel the need to quit it because you need to put yourself first ALL the time, then you probably were never in the relationship because you cared about that person.. That’s not to say that you must not have any boundaries or not quit a relationship that is abusive or is not meeting your basic needs, but there is a difference between expecting to have basic needs and ALL needs met.

        • Mymble says:

          Lara, I think sometimes it is clearer in actual situations what is selfishness and what is self love. When you are giving where it is truly needed and when you are being a doormat for someone else’s convenience. Actually, when you’re off busy doing the doormat stuff, you make yourself unavailable to the people who truly need you and love you. Eg many women on here who have made themselves doormats to an AC who have children who are losing out directly ( in terms of their mum being unable to meet their current needs) and more subtly in terms of having a bad model for what a relationship looks and feels like it. Self love is knowing what you have to give, and where it is appropriately given, because our resources are finite.

        • Lara, I responded the same way you did to that sentence, and I suspect for the same reasons. Like most of the intended audience for this article, I struggle with feeling guilty/bad for having needs and wants at all. But, also like many of you, I am now struggling with the fallout of having trusted the wrong someone enough to ask for what I wanted and needed. I did this knowing that I been supportive for him, and thinking we had reciprocity in our friendship, only to be told that I was needy and emotionally manipulative and a drama queen when I asked him to be there. So, from my perspective, I wasn’t asking for that much. From his perspective, everything I asked for was too much, and an impingement upon his happiness (i.e. doing whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted). He cited his need to take care of himself, and provide his own happiness, and there are new hobbies to attend to, and on and on. His supporters told him I was a nutter for making “all these demands” on him. (Come play scrabble with me once every week or two. Actually call when you take credit publicly for calling. Alternatively, don’t encourage people to falsely believe that I am taken care of to make yourself look good when in reality I am alone and scared and hurting.)

          He actually had the nerve to mark me down in the fun column for the times I did help him, and use those things as reasons why he was justified in ditching me in my hour of need. I mean, after all, our friendship was based on crushing monotony, and he had a chance at fun. (Crushing monotony = spending several evenings a week helping him work on resume and look for a more lucrative job. Helping him do his work for his current job. Talking to him about his needs, concerns, and anxieties. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS letting him choose what we do, because my interests in theater, music, literature, and other fun and free activities (DC)– unlike sitting in dive bars drinking beer all the time — were not fun.

          I mean, he actually quoted some feel-good stuff about taking care of you first at me, and how that isn’t selfish, but necessary and any attempt on my part to say “Hang on, your actions and deliberate inactions affect others too.” was emotional abuse.

          So, yeah, that “You have to choose to love yourself” thing lands in what another blogger would call my obstreporal lobe pretty hard.

          • Lara says:

            DiscardedFriend, EXACTLY. That is exactly what I am talking about. My ex did this too, which is why I brought this up. It seems that too many people nowadays try to get away with this in relationships or end relationships because of an unrealistic understanding of a relationship (that really crosses into friends with benefits territory). I am convinced that oftentimes, this “I need to be selfish and look out for myself” sentence is just a way for people to get away with putting in little effort in a relationship they aren’t interested in much anyway. And when they realize they can’t get it all without giving anything in return, they want to get out, because, well, the benefits of staying no longer outweigh the costs.I think those who haven’t experienced this sort of behaviour like you and I have with our ex’es, will only look at it from the perspective of someone leaving the relationship because their basic needs aren’t being met. But there is more to it than that.

            ” From his perspective, everything I asked for was too much, and an impingement upon his happiness (i.e. doing whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted). He cited his need to take care of himself, and provide his own happiness, and there are new hobbies to attend to, and on and on.”

            This baffles me. It’s almost like we were dating the same person. It’s like they’ve picked up this line from some Assclown guidebook, which might be titled “A Guide for how to Treat Women aka Golddiggers” (which is what my ex called women).

            • yoghurt says:

              But folks, none of that IS SELF-LOVE! If you had a child, would you want them to grow up to ride roughshod over everyone? Bully and manipulate people in a weaker position than them? Lie a lot so that nobody ever knew the real them and therefore didn’t really love them for who they were? Of course you wouldn’t!

              Even if it works well enough for them to feel powerful and bi-winning for the rest of their days, they wouldn’t grow as people, establish meaningful relationships or particularly view the world as the good and lovely place that it is.

              Yeah, it might feel a bit naff when you turn down the chance to screw with someone else’s mind to get your own way, but decisions like that’ll grow you into a better person. THAT’S self-love and, mysteriously, it ties in nicely with loving other people.

        • grace says:

          Lara
          I’m all for a dose of selfishness, for both parties. Nothing wrong with it.

      • Eloise says:

        Brilliant, Yoghurt. Your comment reminded me of Alanis Morissette’s interview with Piers Morgan where she said love is a verb. And your comment helped me have a greater understanding of what that means. Thanks.

        • LaPinturaBella says:

          Lara:

          I get what you’re saying. And what you’ve clarified is totally selfish, me, me, me thinking. It’s a cop out. Self-love is taking care of you so you have things to give. Selfishness as you’ve just described is ONLY about that person. They don’t give at all…ever.

        • yoghurt says:

          hey ho – glad it helped :)

          Love as a verb is my all-time mantra these days. Love as a feeling is a depressing concept – if he eats too many pickled onions the man of your dreams might run off with the babysitter? Ugh.

  8. Jacque says:

    This post sums up Me. I have been loving an EUM for over 10 years. I have known for years that it was pointless to deal but I cared about him alot. We were suppose to be “friends” yet we would have sex. I knew this was not a healthy relationship and just friends shouldn’t be sleeping together. He only texted me late at night booty call hours and ignored me sometimes in public. I decided I couldn’t ignore the Truth any more and that I needed to love and respect myself more. He text me late I ignored and when he saw me wanted to know why? I text him that I could not ignore the truth anymore and he has never responded at all to me. I know now definitely u meant nothing. I’m going to continue to stay strong for ME I deserve someone who will appreciate me as a Whole Woman and not just an emergency orgasm . Thanks for the post and book I’m glad I’m not alone.

  9. andrea says:

    I love this post its truely speaks to me in so many ways. Thank you.

  10. Anoosh says:

    brilliant. great to read during my own de-stressing summer break. 3 years, long time with no romantic involvement, but even so — I find BR to be the best self-love reading I know of. helps keep my head on track, as these last few years have been pretty tough and I have a tendency to not give enough to myself. in fact, sometimes that feels very unnatural. still. crazy, huh?

  11. Rosie says:

    Thank you, Natalie- And I’m so happy that you’re enjoying your break and completing some items on your to-do list! :)

    “or even putting out the feelers about getting back together/hooking up for old times sake.

    The thing is, I’m sure that you think that what you’re proposing is ‘great’ and that maybe even based on past dealings with me you think this is totally up my street, but actually, my self-esteem is on the rise and this just doesn’t fit in with me.”

    Funny, but this happened to me recently. About a week ago I got an E-mail from (playing ominous music) the guy who brought me here! Yes, I’m serious. The guy who tried to use me for sex E-mailed me to ask me out again. After a year. I did reply to his E-mail (it’s been a year so who knows?) to let him know that we want different things and that I’ve upgraded my character, not sure if he has but did let him know what I appreciated about him. He replied stating that he might have improved his character too that I won’t know unless I see him so ok. I called his bluff and gave him my number again. He did call a few days later but I missed the call and called him back (left message) a day or so later (I was busy) and that’s been it. No return call from him so same ol’ same ol’.

    The thing is, I didn’t experience any butterflies this time because I didn’t have any expectations so no underlying insecurities. This has me wondering about the whole butterflies discussion a few posts ago. I don’t know if feeling “butterflies” is always a signal of danger lurking.

    The thing is I was ok seeing him again as there are things about him that I really like. As he knows where I stand now, I’m not dripfeeding him the truth about anything so my conscious is clear, no mixed messages from my end from actions and words not matching. I’m also ok not seeing him again as I suspect nothing’s changed and, so far, his behavior indicates I’m right.

    My self-esteem’s presently in the toilet for reasons unrelated to men but I’m excited to know that my character changes are real–I’m not using men emotionally anymore, not blaming myself (totally) for someone else’s nonsense, risking rejection by telling the truth about who I am and what I’m looking for.

    So…my meeting the guy last year was a blessing in disguise as it lead to character upgrade and his (briefly) getting back in touch this year was a character checkpoint so…should he contact me next year…I’ll have to let it go to voicemail because I’ll be in the middle of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. :)

  12. Tulipa says:

    Things are all finished with the ex A at last.
    It was sad to see when flicking through old posts I found something I had written in 2008 about the AC and I could write exactly the same thing in 2013.
    Not one thing about him changed over those years it is just sad I took so long learning the same lesson and participating in relationship insanity.

    The test will come though because what is so typical of AC’s he told me he was at some point in the future going to call me with the bonus of him calling a second time if I ignore him the first time. He actually thinks our friendship can get back on track. In part I don’t blame him for thinking this after all it has in the past so why not in the future?
    Only this time I only felt deep disappointment at his words unlike other times where it fuelled
    the fantasy.
    Anyway a good reminder to make sure my doors, windows etc. are locked to keep him the wolf out.

  13. Sophia says:

    Oh my Goodness. This is the first time I am reading this post – a life-saver and thought-transformer indeed.

    This post sums up all the things one must remember on their road to recovery from an unhealthy, unfulfilling relationship.

    Three months after my break-up, I keep telling myself: (1) Never beg for affection. Never settle for crumbs. (2) Do not depend on anyone else for your happiness or success. (3) Focus on actions rather than words. (4) Life is too short. Move on. Some people are confused and careless. So you must take better care of yourself. (3) The right person will show you consistent love, care, trust, and respect. Let go of the past. Learn your lessons.

    I am going to re-read this post until its insights become second nature to me.

    Thank you, Natalie.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Sophia, I like your laundry list of do’s and don’ts post break up.

      • Sophia says:

        Chrysalis, glad you like the list.

        I am applying it as a mantra – a talisman – to protect my heart. Given the sort of anguish I experienced because of my last relationship, I cannot afford to go through that sort of emotional suffering again. There is so much to achieve in life. It makes no sense to squander my time and energy on confused and careless people – no matter how charming and ingratiating they may have been at the outset of the relationship.

        Finally, for my own sake, thanks to this website, I have understood the importance of not tolerating emotional malarkey from anyone – regardless of how much I may have intially liked them.

        I do not play hide-and-seek games or toy with the feelings of other people. Just need to ensure that no one – even for a short while – treats me as a plaything, a fallback option, or an experiment.

        I am 30 and a femme. I had my heart broken by another smart and successful femme. So while I have been spared the pain of dealing with emotionally unavailable men, I can empathize with the feelings of women on this forum that have invested their time and energy into reluctant sources of care and companionship.

        I learn each day from their feelings of grief, confusion, anger, and hurt.

        Bottom line for me: I want to be loved, not treated as a doormat. OED figurative definition of doormat: “an uncomplaining person whom others treat inconsiderately” OR “a submissive person who allows others to dominate them”. In other words, a weakling.

        Yuck.

        Temporarily, I was besotted with her. I was blinded by my desire for a caring, commited relationship. Because of the reality-checking techniques Natalie has shared with all of us, I feel more confident about taking care of myself. My heart will not govern my head.

        Take care of your heart!

    • Allison says:

      Sophia,

      Perfect!

  14. Imagine says:

    Natalie,
    Enjoy the time off! This post couldn’t come at a better time! It’s been 3 months of NC with the ex MM. It’s been so hard to come to terms with reality, but I’m now able to listen to myself and spot the EUM much quicker. I now realize I don’t have the stomach for on-line dating. Twice in two weeks someone contacted me they were interested and the red-flags started flying. A few texts later and Flush! Funny (not) I watched myself feel hurt, not worth while, worried about them – not me. These lessons are painful but I am grateful to be more aware.

    I’m having trouble how to think about the past two years. I want to focus on myself and my future but when the thoughts of where I’ve been come to mind – I don’t hate him, I can’t help feeling sad for him (Florence Nightingale, lol).

    Movin on!

  15. noquay says:

    This must be “problem children” month. I too got a weird text from someone whom I’d decided I had no future with about a year ago. One of the collection of on line dudes that lied about his appearance and health. Just a photo, no text. If he had wanted to contact me, he could’ve actually called and spoken like a regular human being. I dread the coming of the school year and having to deal with the at work AC but a part of me would relish telling him to @#$% off. He is on a committee that I chair and hopefully, he will fall into his usual habit of evaporation when there is actual work to be done. Yep, I may be alone for good as there are probably too many strikes against me: race, where I live, my allergy to typical middle class life and pop culture, my own high standards. However, settling for someone you have no attraction for, whim you cannot even talk to, who does not respect you, is a sure trip to hell.

  16. Sue says:

    Thank goodness I have found this site! I also got the book and am devouring it. This will be my first (and only!)breakup with my Mr. Unavailable, but here’s the thing, he has disappeared and so I am not getting my big breakup moment. All I really wanted to say was its not fun anymore and its over, because I know better than to call him on any behavior. he always makes it into he is the victim anyway, so it would fall on deaf ears. I feel like I need to say its over because we had agreed to only see each other and I want that to be officially over. I don’t have anybody in mind to date or anything, but I want to be officially free and officially over. Should I call him to say its over? I kind of thought it was worth a face to face since we have known each other 15 years (dated 18 months). I gave him forewarning by telling him the other night that I am going to leave if he doesn’t change (that was before I read the book). Although he said he wuld try harder, he then disappeared. I guess disappearing is his answer. Should I go ahead and consider myself free?

    • Mymble says:

      You forewarned him, and therefore he is dodging his dumping, because 1. He doesn’t want to be given his character, or told off 2) it saves face leaving ambiguous about who dumped who and 3) because it is left ambiguous, there is potentially leeway for him to pop up at some point in the future & press the reset button.
      Just let him be, he has voted with his feet, and block him.

      • Sue says:

        Thanks so much! I will begin my no contact now. You guys pray for me and I will for all of you!!!

    • theseamstress says:

      Consider yourself free Sue. Go NC from this moment and take your life back. Wishing you well…

    • Lara says:

      Why do you need to let him know anything? Consider that you are done with him, and that’s it. He didn’t give you the decency of an ending/closure, why should you give him that attention? Don’t contact him or bring up the breakup, lest he accuse you of being a “drama queen” (done by my ex). If he tries to contact you, delete before reading. Hand the phone over to a friend and let her delete the message for you, so that you don’t even get a sneak peak. Better yet, set up his number into your phone so that messages get sent immediately to the spam folder.

    • Sophia says:

      Sue,

      You seem to have a good grasp on what just happened with you and your EUM. Of course, you are free to do as you please: if I were you, I would focus on whatever is going to help me move ahead on my own. Ultimately, your actions – more than your words – should relay the message that it is over for you, that you are no longer hung up on even making a point to the dunce.

      If you have ended the relationship in your mind, it will not matter whether you end it officially with him or not. He has disappeared. Bluntly put, he has already walked out of the relationship. Do not wait for him. Do not let in the wolf. I am guessing you want someone who will walk their talk – who is reliable. Forget those who make empty promises.

      Charge forward. Embrace your freedom and dignity. Treat yourself for not selling yourself short.

      Three months ago, I broke up with someone I treated nothing less than gold. Like your EUM, she had the same tendency of blowing hot and cold, making empty promises, and just disappearing. Unlike you, I had known her for only two years, and dated for a few months. The shady behaviour still hurt me. I hope you do not prolong your recovery by giving the EUM anymore of your precious time or attention.

      Give that time and attention to yourself!

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Sue, the way I read what you’re saying is that you know there’s no point in banging on at him about his problems etc, but you would like to say to his face, *for you, not for him* some variant of ‘this relationship is not good for me/is not meeting my needs,goodbye’. Is that right? If it’s that then I can see how this is a form of expressly standing up for yourself, it also has the added benefit or side effect that even if he has been disrespectful to you, in your decision to walk away you are exercising a minimal respect and decency (again for *you* and your own self respect because you try to be a decent person)by telling him – it doesn’t really matter if he gives a damn whether you say anything or not if you are doing it for you. He could laugh in your face (just by way of e.g) and that’s ok (in theory) because you are speaking up for you and your standards.

      I guess that’s the ideal maybe, but as he is a coward and has disappeared (I agree with the reasons Mymble gives for why he’s probably done this)you get to stand up for yourself in your head. If he were to reappear and try to contact you for a rekindle – you could do it then either by phone/text/email or even if it suited you in person,then walk. With the in person option, you make it clear that you can only meet (in a public place) for a short time, about half an hour – you won’t need even that of course- and just ignore anything he says about wanting more time – he may think that you will end up staying longer, leave him with his thoughts, you will surprise him. What you say might depend on how much time has elapsed so something like “the reason I agreed/wanted to meet you today to tell you I’m not interested in anything again\being friends\staying in touch, the relationship didn’t meet my needs before and I know it won’t again, goodbye” and walk. Of course you need to be sure you mean it, it will work for you and you can follow through, even if you’re not quite over him emotionally. If you’re unsteady in that area I wouldn’t risk it in person. (personally speaking).

      • Sue says:

        Thanks for all of your feedback. I decided I didn’t want to put myself through doing it in person, so I sent him an email saying its officially over, outlining some boundaries as far as I won’t be asking our mutual friends for details, stating I would like “custody” of the AA meeting we attended together, at least for a few months and stating I won’t go to our spiritualism classes we went to together when he is scheduled to teach, at least for a few months. (Of course he doesn’t attend when he’s not teaching because, well, narcissistic tendencies). I wished him the best. I don’t expect a reply. I changed his name on my phone to Mr. Unavailable Do not reply. I have what I needed for closure. I thought it might make him have a bad day but then I thought “how many bad days have I had because of his neglect and implicit rejection?” So its done. Thanks for all your support.

  17. This is my first time reading this and I read it at the right time. I’ve just decided to say no to a situation and then I felt guilty about it. This post has gotten me back on track, I need to read this one over and over for awhile. Excellent post!!!

  18. Espresso says:

    I would appreciate some feedback on something my counsellor said to me today. It made me feel really uncomfortable and a switcheroo in terms of where I felt we were going in our work together.

    I have been working to really understand how I have been the over functioning person in my past marriage, and the ways that I didn’t see that I too was people pleasing in order to avoid the onslaught of attacking, blaming and poor me-ing that my ex would use. I always felt I spent a lot more time appreciating and buoying him up than he EVER showed appreciation or even empathy towards me. I now understand that I did this in hopes he would give me the appreciation, empathy etc that I deserved anyway.

    We are still in contact as we separate and run the business. I have focused on NO emotional involvement- simply getting the tasks done. I am not mean but I have been trying to be detached and professional. I have dialed totally back the appreciative comments which I made CONSTANTLY and the “support” role I have played. Every so often he throws me a curve ball and I fall back into indecision and confusion and don’t make the best decisions.
    As context this is a man who has told nobody of his marital situation – not people he knows or works with and nobody else. I expect even his therapist has not been told the full story. So while I have told everybody I know except for some work associates (not their business) he has kept this a secret.

    A situation came up where my ex wanted us to entertain a family who are distant friends of another family. Of course this is CRAZY so I said no and so my ex suggested to them that we would meet them for dinner. We have never MET these people and they are not even close friends of these other friends. So basically I let this invitation happen because it went past me so quickly (I was leaving on a trip) and I now have to clarify that I won’t be going to this dinner. We are separated – this is inappropriate. I was trouble shooting my response with my counsellor and she said that one thing I COULD say to my ex is something like, “You are a very very generous person, this is one of your best qualities and you really like to go all out for people while I (that is me) am much more cautious…..etc”
    She said “my heart would have to be in it.” to do this. This suggestion really appalled me. It diminishes me and my qualities – I am a very generous person, extremely so with friends and family and even on the larger societal scale in terms of the work I do with individuals. It is important to me to show care and concern to my friends in concrete and emotionally supportive ways, to remember what is going on in their lives, to be there when there are troubles etc. I wouldn’t even characterize my ex AS generous in really engaged and giving ways. It seemed like this was a very self diminishing thing she suggested and it took me aback and makes me question whether fundamentally she is on the same page as me. I told her I couldn’t say anything like that and she backed off but it isn’t a good suggestion for me when I am trying to detach and respect my own decisions and value my OWN worth. This is what I thought she was doing with me. So it seems like this is a red flag in my relationship with her…any thoughts?

    • Sophia says:

      Espresso,

      You are not obligated to entertain anyone against your will. This does not make you selfish or small-hearted. It is great that you are questioning the suggestion of your therapist. Even if her intention is to help you, the suggestion she offers is misrepresenting you and putting your ex on a pedestal.

      To me, this seems to be an issue of limits or boundaries. Even generous and altruistic people need to place limits on what they can give to others. Be authentic about what you want to give.

      You are not stopping your ex from meeting those people. Since you are no longer paired with him, you are not obligated to tag along. Here, it is a matter of asserting your independence from him, rather than letting him coax you into roles you do not want to play.

      Hope this helps.

    • Mymble says:

      I agree, you are entitled to say no without putting yourself down and puffing him up. The way I see it, the words your therapist suggests aren’t true either; the main reason you do not want to go is that it would mean an evening in your ex’s company, dishonestly pretending to be a happy couple. Furthermore there isn’t even any good reason for it AT ALL as these people are complete strangers.
      It isn’t anything to do with his personality, compared to your personality. Why on earth make such a comparison?
      But sometimes therapists get it wrong, you’re entitled to take what’s helpful and disregard stuff that isn’t.

      • Mymble says:

        I meant to say that this issue crops up a lot between me and my ex; we also are still under the same roof but we do nothing socially together. Some people know & some don’t, although the separate holidays this year must be giving the game away.

        • Mymble says:

          More thoughts;
          My ex very much sees himself, and presents himself to the world as Mr Nice, sociable, sunny, kind bloke. To some extent he is like that although of course it isn’t the whole picture at all, he can also be insensitive and controlling. Anyway he tended to do quite a lot of the “public” stuff, loved to be seen out and about with our kids, etc, suggesting subtly and not so subtly that I was antisocial. This is not true. Anyway I would never ever have the kind of conversation your therapist suggested with him, bc he would be only too delighted to have his view of himself as Mr Kind and Sociable and me as Ms Inadequate and Socially Inept reinforced – and fact is it is simply not true, I am perfectly able to mix socially & make friends.
          Comparisons are always odious.

          • Sophia says:

            Good Lord!

            Even reading this description of your ex is making me nauseous.

            Falling for a two-faced person is scary. I wonder what one can do to see through the public persona – their nice, kind, gracious, caring persona that in fact masks their negative qualities.

            Before getting serious about the person, what can one do to identify Mr. Hyde lurking within Dr. Jekyll?

            I am terrified of opening the door to my heart to anyone again, because a few months ago I made the mistake of falling for a confused and two-faced person as well.

            So glad I dodged that bullet before it got me.

    • grace says:

      Espresso
      this is why I chose a male counsellor. I know it’s sexist, and I get that Nat is a woman who entertains no BS, but I found my female counsellors to be overly accommodating and “understanding” of male ambivalence or downright misbehaviour.
      My male counsellor said to me re my ex “the guy is up against it, no question. However, is he sufficiently motivated to do take action?”
      Anyway, that’s me taking a detour. Back to you. All you need to say is “Sorry, I can’t make it.”

    • Wiser says:

      Espresso, your therapist is wrong on this one, but without knowing all the ins and outs of your situation it’s hard to say if it’s a red flag or not in terms of whether she’s the right therapist for you.

      Of course you are not going to participate in this dinner, it’s ridiculous, and it’s very frustrating that your ex is still keeping your separation a secret from his associates. That’s his issue to deal with. I’m not sure why your therapist thinks that praising him for his “generosity” is a good idea instead of just encouraging you say to him kindly, but firmly, something like “You need to start being honest with the people you know about our situation. I apologize if I gave you the impression that I had agreed to this dinner, but I will not, under any circumstances, be joining you in any social activities. It’s totally inappropriate, etc.”

      Perhaps she thought that if you were free to say what she suggested to your ex it would be empowering in some way. As in, you could be choosing to act in your own generous way, regardless of what he does or doesn’t do. What most people do is simply react to a situation. “She was mean to me, I’ll be mean to her” or “She was mean to me so naturally, I’m hurt and upset.” That’s reacting, like a puppet. There’s no freedom there. One of the goals of therapy is to move us closer to: “She was mean to me… but why should she have the power to decide how I am going to feel and act?”

      I’m just guessing at this of course. Is your ex likely to be upset that you had originally agreed to this invitation and are now backing out? Maybe your therapist thinks mollifying him will keep him from getting angry, which might make your situation more difficult? In any case, I encourage you to just ask her, why did you suggest this? It’s been upsetting me. Be really honest about it. This isn’t easy to do with therapists, who are almost like Gods because we place ourselves in their hands when we are feeling so raw and vulnerable. We hang on every word that drips from their mouths, and that can become problematic. I’ve been in therapy for three years now and it’s only recently where I’ve felt comfortable enough to tell my therapist that I don’t like what she’s saying, that I disagree with her, etc. She thinks this is great, and a good therapist will totally encourage this.

  19. Moving On says:

    Falling asleep on the sofa sounds delicious….

  20. dancingqueen says:

    You know I just kind of put a halt on a budding friendship because it was already becoming s bit of drama, so this post really resonated with me. This person did some nice things for me but as soon as I realized that they had alternative plans -they wanted to get involved-and I was not interested and said so respectfully…let the passive aggressive insults begi n lol. It kind of sucks because he runs a language group that I was part of but after a couple meetups of snarky putdowns about my car and haircut and neighborhood ( interesting how when you wanted to date me my haircut was adorable…) I just bsiled. I do plan to address it in a short email though just for me because I am really getting sick of these emotional vampires who try to get away with shit in public that they would not have the balls to ssy in private. No more. The email won’t chsnge him but it will make me feel better to call him out. Me first:-)

  21. dancingqueen says:

    @lizzp…sweetie are you sure you want to play scrabble with him. He insulted you by proposing a hookup. He has nothing to offer. There are other people to play scrabble with. Interacting him will blow his ego up and leave you worse for it.

    • lizzp says:

      hi dancingqueen, Yes, I’m sure. What he does or doesn’t do about his ego simply doesn’t concern me and I just don’t feel it’s any of my business. As for me I don’t feel bad or angry,he doesn’t really occupy my thought space in any meaningful way when we’re not interacting. If he confirms our game before Mon I’ll play because I like playing scrabble, would enjoy myself, I enjoy his company in short bursts, and he can’t harm me in any way.

  22. Jamie says:

    Intervention needed!! 18 months of smiling and being pleasing AND allowing my personal boundaries/morals to be shattered. I’ve been NC since July 5. Blocked him on FB & my cell phone. E-mails are still getting through tho….almost daily. I’ve deleted them without reading. It’s been three days since the last e-mail from him and although I’ve been deleting them, I found myself in a funk. Is it because he may have given up? What the heck is wrong with me? So dumbass me went back and read all the deleted e-mails…..UGH!! He wants to know how I am, misses me, wants to see me…..blah, blah, blah. Why does such a large part of me want to meet up with him and say to his face “you are a douchesicle and have treated me horribly so why in the world would I ever get back with you?”

    I haven’t contacted him back as of this moment…..and know I shouldn’t. I’m feeling weak and hurt and want to lash out. Help!!

    Jamie

    • Jamie,

      There’s something perversely validating about the fact that they are still trying, isn’t there? In my case, it feels like maybe giving him a taste of his own medicine. You hurt me, and now look who’s hurting! In my case, because I lack a certain level of maturity, there is very nearly an internal nyah-nyah there. But it also says “Maybe he did really care, but just couldn’t show it. I was not just a dupe.”

      Ass someone who has had that conversation approximately 743 times now, I can tell you it’s not as cathartic as you think.

      I’ll bet you that somewhere in your mind, the scenario goes like this: you tell him all about what he did, and how he treated you ridiculously, and how you deserved better then and will tolerate no less than you deserve now. Maybe he cries a little, and apologizes truly, so you can almost feel his sorrow at having hurt you. He tells you of the epiphanies he has had since he’s been without you. You either refuse to accept his apology tearfully, because too much damage has been done and stand and walk gracefully and purposefully away (It would really help if you had this conversation at a sidewalk cafe in Rome for this scene), OR you tearfully yourself manage to pull together the heroic dignity of a born lady and gracefully forgive him because love triumphs over all. (Cafe should be in Paris, in this scene)

      Both of these are control fantasies. You feel out of control, and hurt and scared and abandoned and a number of other things. If you confront him and it goes like this, you win back control.

      It won’t go like this. He knows he hurt you, probably a lot. He knows you deserve better, probably a lot. He may even really care about you, but not enough to behave lovingly and in a healthy way that you can use. So he’ll apologize, tell you he loves you, promise to do better, and revert to his own personality and character as soon as you give signs of trusting him again.

      The control you can exert is knowing that you cannot make people behave, but you can control how many opportunities they have to behave badly in your presence.

      • Lara says:

        Nope, I doubt he’d doing it because he cares, sorry to say. I, too, wanted to believe that, and did, and it turned out to be wrong. He tried because he 1) was lonely; 2) couldn’t believe I had not contacted him and begged; that really got to his head and shattered his ego; 3) wanted to get the ego stroke by baiting me into responding. In my case, when I took the bait and responded, he did reply back , and wanted to get back together. He wanted to prove to himself that he was worthy enough to get me back, because he had a weird/creepy ego / self-esteem issue whereby he’d dump anyone who got too close to him but if they stopped chasing, he’d chase after them — like a perpetual yo-yo. In some cases, I have heard that men have had their egos stroked by the mere fact that the woman did reply, and they just let go of it then and there, didn’t reply, etc. They just wanted to know that they had you where you ‘belonged’ — yearning for their presence. Of course, they don’t care if they do give you what you yearned for. It’s just that they want to know that they’re wanted. I wish my ex was one of those people, rather than a yo-yo “break-up get-together again” type person.

        • Brenda says:

          LOL totally all the reasons my Exs ever called me. LOVE IT!! I think #2 is the BIGGEST reason they contact me, They just cannot believe after all the sh*t I put up with that there is some ENDING to the amount of crap I can even tolerate, I am the SUPER HUMAN sh*t taker in their heads!!!!

          He tried because he

          1) was lonely.

          2) couldn’t believe I had not contacted him and begged; that really got to his head and shattered his ego.

          3) wanted to get the ego stroke by baiting me into responding.

      • Lara says:

        Discarded, I agree with everything else you said, BTW. Such words of wisdom.

        ” He knows he hurt you, probably a lot. He knows you deserve better, probably a lot. He may even really care about you, but not enough to behave lovingly and in a healthy way that you can use. So he’ll apologize, tell you he loves you, promise to do better, and revert to his own personality and character as soon as you give signs of trusting him again.”

        YES. THIS. This happened to me so many times. And I’ve lost count of the number of times he dumped me, would reappear a few weeks later (after a fuck with his prostitute gf in Thailand, or someone else he met in one of the many cities he probably has mistresses in), act as if nothing had happened, would even deny we were broken up, would claim it was just a “break”.. And the number of times I took him back. Insane. This latest episode had me realize that I cannot change him. EVER. And I am not going to waste my time trying to, even if I knew I could change him. Forget it. I am not going to babysit a 40 year old, especially one who sees nothing wrong with his behaviour, is a narcissist who won’t even apologize, and definitely doesn’t want to change.

      • Sue says:

        Awesome response, Discarded!!

      • Jamie says:

        Discarded,
        Wow…..you crawled inside my head!! Clearly you know all this by experience…..sorry that you too have gone through this.

        I ended up getting an email from him today…..I deleted it. Haven’t contacted him back. Still NC. You are sooooo right in that it’s just a control fantasy and the only thing I can control is how many times I allow this AC to treat me badly.

        Thank you, thank you. Your response was incredible!!

        Jamie

  23. Wendy says:

    I SOOOOOOO needed to read this right now, today, this very moment! What a Godsend! THANK YOU! :)

  24. Espresso says:

    Thank you so much everyone for their comments on my situation! I really appreciate all your thoughts. Sophia, you are so right and as soon as it happened I realized that I had busted my OWN boundaries. Mymble I didn’t realize your ex is so like mine. It would be a total falsehood for me to say this to my ex and a lie. You are so RIGHT that my ex would love to see himself this way when I actually don’t. And I was SO offended that the therapist wanted me to suggest that “perhaps I was not so generous.” Which is bs – why would I ever degrade myself in this way??? Plus I have been overly overly appreciative, supportive, cheerleading in this relationship. I don’t do this anymore so why restart this unhealthy pattern? It actually made me sick to think of saying this to him.

    Grace – the comment of my therapist raised this exact question in my mind – I actually switched TO a female therapist because I thought I would have more understanding, but perhaps not.
    Wiser, yes, I really like the way you have worded this in terms of the therapist. I have been thinking of how I need to approach her with this. It was a definite change in tune for her.
    One of the things my ex does is throw these things on me when I am flustered or as in this case leaving on a trip. I can see this pattern more clearly now so I have to take the time for thinking things through. I am changing long standing patterns/rsponses and sometimes I get tied up in old ways of thinking or responding. I I expect he WILL be angry and blame me – that’s okay though – have to deal with it. “Good” for me to practice my non people pleasing skills..ha ha.

  25. Sunflower says:

    Hello All…I’m in this mode right now of putting another letter like this together — not to send of course. I haven’t heard from him for the last few days (I’m sure he’s busy with other women or getting very drunk or both) but I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of him. I’m very close to blocking his phone number from coming in as texts/calls (which I did last summer). He befriended me again over the winter and then did the whole scenario over again this summer (apologies, lots of attention, physical intensity, future faking and then ran away). I have had the dialog with myself on the benefits of doing the NC/blocking of his calls/texts and I’m close to doing it again but there is that one little voice in my head still that I must quiet…it’s the irrational voice that says “but I want to know if he cared enough to contact me again and if he will apologize” — I know, he probably won’t apologize and he doesn’t give a shite about me. I KNOW THIS! That is a tough pill to swallow when things seemed so damn great. Many of you know how tough it is to go NC with someone we want, so please be gentle with me. I’m not looking for anyone else to yell at me on here or make me feel like an idiot. I just need the gentle nudging and some other strategies to help get me to the other side.

    • Rosie says:

      Sunflower- Have you read Natalie’s latest re-posting on trying to be friends with exes? Going only by your post, it might be helpful for you.

      Being tempted is normal, just keep resisting the temptation and your self-respect will grow stronger with each resistance.

    • SearchingForSatori says:

      Oh he’ll contact you and apologize… then the cycle will start again… lather, rinse, repeat…

  26. dancingqueen says:

    @Expresso…a bit late but I validate your reading of the potential dinner and he is in no way generous. I had that once with s therapst: my ex screamed st me in public and bragged drunkenly about sexploits from the past when he took me out to dinner with his hs buddy. These acts were while he was engaged with someone othet than his fiance. My shrink suggested that we have couples counseling to clear the air and end on better terms. That was my last session with her. Totally not reasonable. Trust your gut.

  27. Saber-Toothed Tiga says:

    A year or so ago I was unaware that red flags even existed. I thought if you felt strongly about wanting to be around someone and wanted to have sex with them, then that is what you gauge your involvement on.

    I knew nothing of the meaning of values in myself or others. I just thought you put an order out to the universe like at McDonalds and BAM you got your man.

    My order went as such: I’d like a tall, lean man with a homemade tattoo of Miles Davis, a cat named Carl, impressive facial and chest hair, thrift store clothes with a side of women’s accesories, super sized lips with a jumbo sized penis. Thank you. That’ll be all.

    Okay, so maybe not that detailed. But I got it! And I was miserable. This man was a mess to be with and not because of any of the superficial qualities I mentioned, but because he had a penchant for drink and drive and his ex, and for just being an inconsiderate twat at times. Actually more like often times.

    This man was a headache in roller skates and jean shorts (okay that never happen except just now in my mind). But really, he had nutty (not in a good way) friends, couldn’t get his shit together, and compared me to his ex one too many times and drank enough to kill a grizzly bear.

    I’m glad I can look back and make light of it now, but at the time it was excruciating to watch and hear about how he drank himself sick. I cared about this man. A lot. Which is why I cut contact a bit over a year ago. I had my own issues, too. Different, but just as much needing in attention. So, here I am single and figuring out how to live by my own values.

    And I’ll say, based on who I am becoming, the next man who gets to date me is one lucky mothufucka.

    • Sandy says:

      Excellent, I so enjoyed reading that! I do believe now that you should be careful what you wish for because you just might bloody get it!
      My ex also drank like a fish, and it got to the stage where I would count because by 8 I knew it was time to walk around on egg shells, god I can laugh now but it’s taken a long six months after 5 years of hell to do so.
      I also ignored red flags thinking that wanting to be around him and enjoying the sex was enough, but hey you live and learn, well I certainly have lol so I just started dating again, thought the guy was lovely, but since being on here I am more aware of what to watch out for and hey ho when I told him after 3 dates that I thought he was nice but I am not ready for a full on relationship like he obviously is and that I would like to just enjoy the dating world for a while….well apparently I am that sort of woman and he should have known!! Known what, that I am honest, upfront and not ready to leap head first into a relationship with the first available man who crosses my path??!! Good grief :-)

      • Sandy says:

        I am enjoying being single, enjoying not having any stress in my life, enjoying the possibility of dating and seeing what is out there, and by damn I am going to take my time about it…I won’t be pushed or fast forwarded into something I am not ready for, so watch out world :-)

      • Saber-Toothed Tiga says:

        Sandy,

        Right?! It is creepy how much my ex was like what I’d conjure up in my mind all alone in bed at night. Scary shit I’d say.

        I admire you taking your time and not acting as if it’s the dawn of the apocalypse and all women who find themselves unmarried will turn into zombies in one fortnight!

        I’m still not ready to reenter the dating world, but when I do watch out because mama’s got a brand new bag (of BR tools). HA!

    • Sunflower says:

      Awesome! I like your comment about the next one being lucky. Yes he is!

    • MaryW says:

      Saber, your post made me smile and wince. My most recent EUM (there have been a few I’m afraid) also drank like a fish. It was the final straw. Seeing him crack open 2 cans of Stella for breakfast, before even a slice of toast passed his lips. Oh and before that, him turning up 2 hours late to a date as pissed as a fart. Horribly, unattractively drunk.

      I had pretty much the same standards as you; feeling comfortable around him and enjoying the sex and easy flow of conversation. But then the drinking …. It reminded me of my late uncle, who was an alcoholic. It destroyed his marriage, his mental and physical health and he died alone in his mid 50’s. I also cared about my ex a lot, an awful lot, and couldn’t stay around to watch him destroy himself. There were other issues, mind you, plenty.

      I didn’t understand about red flags until I found BR (and still fell for this man, but hey, at least I walked). I thought he was a prize just because he didn’t try to get in knickers the first night, send me sexts, photos of his penis and all the other nonsense I’ve endured in my doormat past. That’s bloody sad.

      • Sandy says:

        Mary W

        It’s not sad at all, it’s not sad to be trusting or to love and hope.
        They are the sad ones, most will end up alone and unhappy wondering where their lives have gone, I feel sad for my ex EUM he will never be happy, there will always be something wrong with the woman in his life but I refuse to carry that burden anymore meh it’s his problem now.

        • MaryW says:

          Sandy I feel sad for my ex EUM too and therein lies the problem – I almost feel more sad for him than I do for me.
          At least I learned a big lesson from this recent disaster, but it’s that I have a huge amount of work to do on my self. Which is what makes me really sad.

      • lizzp says:

        Good Morning Mary W., yes it is sad, and perhaps like you I feel sad for my past self at times and what I put up with, and many times chose to perpetuate, in my efforts to be loved and validated. I used to want to dismiss those sad feelings when they arose – for me I now realise the reason was because if I felt sad for myself about having morphed into a love seeking doormat, it could lead to me actually feeling some empathy and compassion for myself. NO, no no! I can’t have that! I was a doormat and that’s not sad, it’s bad…I shoulda, coulda, woulda and so forth and so on, etc, eteffingcetera ad infinitum…I try to stay with my feelings (you wouldn’t believe how hard this is for me, I REALLY have to make a conscious effort after years of dismissal/ignoring often supported by well meaning friends)now using self talk/think. I try to feel and remind myself that feelings won’t/can’t hurt me, they can’t kill me, they belong to ME…and sometimes I then get the chance to trace the feeling back or something and if I’m lucky make a connect that might show me I’ve disconnected from myself and have forgotten I am a worthy and good person. As far as sad goes, for me it’s getting easier to link that with a need to comfort myself about a grief from the past.

        • MaryW says:

          Morning Lizzp,

          I appreciate you writing that. I too am sad and regretful for my past self.

          Even very recently, in the past year, I’ve put up with some real crap in order to feel validated, attractive or whatever – worse than the stuff I’ve written about here recently.

          Actually I am in the frame of mind today that I can see the mistakes I recently made but also feel ‘free’ and proud of myself for having the strength to walk away and protect myself.. no idea how I’ll feel tomorrow though ;)

          I feel angry that 16 years ago, healthcare professionals could see a young, unhappy woman and rather than try to address those issues, give a prescription for antidepressants. Which I was on most of my adult life, and which effectively blunt your feelings. So now I am (almost) off antidepressants (that’s a long story in itself, the weaning process and withdrawal is awful) and facing the feelings. I feel sad for all those wasted, lost, years.

          So yes, I am also getting used to feeling feelings, and accepting them. I’m no where as far along as you, though. I just recently started therapy to help me explore those feelings. And I know and expect that it is going to bring a lot of sadness and some anger. I had tried CBT before but really, that didn’t help. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe my issues are too deep for CBT.

          There are lots of sources of grief from my past. I am looking towards a more positive future, though. I look forward to a time when I can truly comfort and soothe myself. That’s my aim.

          • MaryW says:

            Hmmm, maybe I am using the antidepressants as a bit of an excuse, but they didn’t help.

            As Sunday draws nearer, Lizzp, I am growing more aware of the huge number of woolly hats you might have to eat should you hear from Mr. Scrabble ;)

  28. teachable says:

    Apologies in advance. Not strictly on topic I know. Just want to say how nlown away I am by the gutsy honesty & growth expressed by the BR community. Nat has a special gift, as we all know. I enjoy knowing others grapple with similar quandries. The human condition is so unique to each person & paradoxically, so universal. love to all. teach xx

    • MaryW says:

      Teachable, completley agree. It is a huge relief to be able to come here, share what’s going on and receive non-judgemenetal words of support and wisdom. It is also a relief to know that others struggle with the same issues and that it’s not just freaky old me ;)
      I appreciate each new post as it arrives, and appreciate the past ones just as much.

  29. teachable says:

    yoghurt is right on self love. :)

  30. Cindy says:

    I have been visiting this site for the past couple of weeks, seeking the answers to why the current man in my life is not behaving how I would want or expect him to. And I have to say that Natalie’s post about self esteem really hit the nail on the head for me. I really thought I had pretty high self-esteem but now I realise I had been just kidding myself. I had my life in order after finally ditching my ex-husband after 25 years of emotional abuse after he had just one too many affairs. I finally got the courage up to leave and start my life over again 600kms away from him. But after 5 years on my own I got lonely, so my daughter suggested I try internet dating…big mistake. After meeting a couple of really awful men, I finally met a guy I thought I could have a relationship with four months ago. We seemed to hit it off straight away and their was a powerful physical attraction as well. And lets face it I missed sex a lot. So I ended up sleeping with him on the first date. I thought to myself “no big deal I can handle this, just keep it casual so no-one gets hurt”. Well of course that didn’t work. I ended up starting to have feelings for him, however I knew there would be problems, as he told me a couple of times that he had a fear of commitment. But I thought it would be different with me, he will see what a good person I am, and would abandon all his fears and commit to me forever. You know the whole “Florence Nightingale” shit where I will be the person to heal him. There were quite a few red flags that I should have run quite early on.
    So I sat at home waiting for him to contact me,a bundle of nerves and so anxious for him to threw me a bone and of course I would run over to his place everytime he asked. Always on his terms.
    Now I know that it is my self esteem that is the problem. I didn’t realise it before but I am a people pleaser, and I end up letting people walk all over me. As I sit here typing this I am looking back over my life and recognising that all my relationships are like this, personally and professionally. What’s wrong with me to accept being treated like shit all the time by people who I really shouldn’t care what they think about me. And what disappoints me the most is that both my daughters think that I am this strong, amazing woman (they have both told me this) when I am actually a fraud.
    I have read the posts on here about EUM and how I should have NC, and I say to myself “Do It – No Contact” but then I go to water. I am just so lonely and I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.

    • Allison says:

      Cindy,

      Being with these types will only make you feel more lonely and soul-depleted.

      If there is a feeling of loneliness, fill it with you, as it can never come from others, and is a huge burden to your partner.

      When you can be happy with you, you will find someone mutually respectful and compatible. Time to go NC!

      • Cindy says:

        Thanks Allison,
        I know in my heart it’s time to go NC. I needed to write in words how I was feeling – I suppose in a way to validate my feelings to myself. Weird isn’t it!
        I will keep reading these posts on BR and I’m sure that will help me be a stronger person, knowing that others have gone through what I have and have become better, stronger women.

        • Brenda says:

          Many of us are already pretty strong, God knows I put up with crap from people that could never take even a 1/3 of what they were doing to me, We just need to use our tools better and wiser I think.

    • Brenda says:

      You know the whole “Florence Nightingale” shit where I will be the person to heal him.

      Yeah and sometimes they PLAY on that to the MAX until we get depleted and have nothing left to give for all the underlying bitterness at the B.S. and games.

      They don’t need our healing, I figured out the truth.. “They can’t deal with our strengths”, So we become the healers to these abuses and users, turning ourselves inside out to please them.

      Your not weak there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be alone forever and ever.. Your just afraid if you express anything more than nursing you will face rejection, and you might.. But from the wrong ones anyhow.

  31. Brenda says:

    Perfectly written Nat, Oh I do not want them sniffing around, So help me I need better memories, and the hardest thing in the world was and has been letting go of the one’s I had, “Baggage reclaim OR Baggage release?” LOL!

    Dear Lord, set me free from both the anger at those that f*cked my head up in my past.. and set me f*ree to NOT repeat any of those stupid self sabotaging behaviors.. I am better than that and deserve more.

    • Brenda says:

      Oops free is not a bad word unless your in the internet marketing industry and send out emails, LOL!

      I did that outta habit sorry.

  32. Charlie says:

    This was so powerful!

  33. McKenzieM says:

    I love this post. It took me SO LONG to get to this point. There was a period where I thought I would never get over the EUAC because he did more damage to me, my heart, and my self-esteem than any other guy I’ve ever been involved with, but eventually I got there. I got to the point where I legitimate had no interest in speaking to him again ever, when before I used to wonder if I made the wrong choice by blowing him off and going NC when he tried to come around again. Now, I know without a doubt that I did the wrong thing. And, I am proud to have reached the point where if I weren’t still completely NC, I might consider sending him a copy of this letter! Instead, I’ll just send it via thought, haha.

  34. Elgie R. says:

    The thoughts I just posted on another thread should have been posted here! This post is just what I was saying….sorry AC, what you offer..it’s not what I want it to be.

    But on to other thoughts this post brings up…

    What is happening that men offer no-strings sex within 15 minutes of the first conversation?

    At a happy hour, at a very respectable 6:30 PM, I got into a conversation with a male patron, about music and bands, and out of nowhere he asks “What do you do about sex?”. What? “You married,,,?,,,seein someone…?” Then he launches into his backstory of sharing a house but livin in a sexless marriage and she wouldn’t care what he does because they are there for the kids that’s all. And I’m thinking what was your name again?

    I mean I hardly knew the man. Correction. I did not know the man. And from what I read above, familiar strangers are asking us for a sex-only romp.

    There’s really a sad desperation to it. I gotta score. I gotta score with anyone who’ll take my game. Tonight I score with you. Tomorrow I’ll score with Sally. It’s no thing, really.

    Yep. It’s “no thing” alright. Nothing. I’ll pass.

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!
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