two people copiloting their relationship

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.


After much observation and plenty of experience, I believe that healthy relationships have joint agendas and co-pilots and unhealthy ones have drivers and passengers with solo and hidden agendas.

When you recognise the importance of being a co-pilot sans a hidden agenda, not only will it be far harder to be swept along by an unavailable or assclown tide, but you’ll no longer be ‘helpless’ in your relationships and will have the ability to work out where you’re at.

We can become very focused on the ‘hallmarks’ – these are what we consider to be the ‘markings’ of a relationship such as sleeping together over an extended period of time, having things in common, great sex, a ‘connection’, ‘chemistry’, future talk, being introduced to people, etc as well as big ticket commitment items like moving in, babies, marriage. These are nice, great even, to have, but without the landmarks, your relationship is all shirt, no trousers.

Many people chase stuff like passion, chemistry and common interests and then wonder why it’s not working. They assume that if these elements are present that the landmarks will automatically follow.

The landmarks of healthy relationships are intimacy, consistency, balance, progression, and commitment as well as shared values and what should come as standard in any relationship – love, care, trust, and respect.

If you have the hallmarks without the landmarks, your relationship is either casual and/or unhealthy. Before you go doing any big ticket commitment items, I suggest you make sure that the landmarks are present first.

As individuals, we each have our own agenda which caters to taking care of our self-esteem with boundaries and healthy beliefs, as well as our values that tell us what we believe are the most important things for us to live authentically and happily.

We use dating as a discovery phase to discover the facts about one another and ultimately whether we can have a shared agenda that respects each party healthily as individuals while creating a common journey for the relationship.

Healthy relationships have co-pilots steering them along with open discussion about the joint agenda as well as all of the landmarks – no hidden agendas. You will steer and plot your journey together and even if at times, one has to man the steering, they continue with the joint agenda. These are mutually fulfilling relationships.


passenger asking the driver in the relationship if they can ride up front

Unhealthy relationships/casual relationships have a driver and a passenger.

The driver steers the relationship on their terms, agenda, and ‘route’. They may have a solo agenda that they’re open about and/or may have a hidden agenda. They’re sometimes egotistical enough to assume that their agenda is the joint agenda because it’s what they want.

You will know you’re involved with a driver if you attempt to co-pilot and meet restrictions and conflict – they take a parachute and jump, or pull up on the route to say that they need to go to the ‘toilet’ and then disappear. Or maybe they’ll steer the relationship so crazily that you panic and agree to let them be in control. You get the gist.

Drivers are about getting their needs met. They often need a passenger for their ego etc, but they don’t want to step up and put the needed effort into a co-piloted relationship – they’re controlled and often controlling.

Passengers basically take a backseat in the relationship. They tend to get swept up in other people’s agendas because they’re not as street smart (read: relationship smart) as they should be. They may actually be on this journey because through a lack of boundaries and latching onto the hallmarks of a relationship, they were not paying attention to code red and amber behaviour.

They will tack on to the drivers agenda assuming that this is what ‘love’ is about, so they end up not living congruently with their boundaries and values.

Many passengers however, actually know the driver’s agenda and hope to change it. They think if they love enough, get the driver to change, cry, beg, plead, wait, give them their money, that the driver will become a co-pilot and they’ll have a joint agenda.

Passengers with very low self-esteem look to others to create their agenda for them and give them validation. When the relationship ends, they feel lost.

Passengers tend to have hidden agendas even though they won’t always admit it. Sometimes the agenda is about changing the relationship (could be a mix of playing Florence Nightingale and trying to be the exception to the rule or I Can Change Them), but it’s also often about catering to the self-fulfilling prophecy of negative and unrealistic beliefs.

Sometimes passengers try to be drivers or backseat drivers and get shot down. When they end the relationship or they get back together after the driver has promised that things will be different ‘this time’, they may actually feel like the driver.

In some instances, it can seem like it’s passenger:passenger – ie you’re both really messed up together but you will find that under those layers, someone is actually the driver.

Most drivers and passengers are trying to be drivers – they have ‘ideas’ about how they want the relationship to be and try to steer it that way. There are some passengers who actually want to take a backseat role and may be inclined to be victims or helpless.

Passengers and drivers have unhealthy relationship habits and are invariably emotionally unavailable so until they address their issues, being a co-pilot in a mutually fulfilling healthy relationship is unlikely because they are not prepared to be honest and vulnerable enough to risk a joint agenda.

They forget that in a healthy relationship, each party is sharing the risk of being vulnerable to healthily emotionally engage and be authentic in the best interests of their own sense of self and the relationship.

I’ve written before about why relationships don’t always work out – because you’re two potentially compatible people who may be doing stuff that’s counterproductive that eventually ends up making you both incompatible or because you’re actually incompatible, whether it’s because you’re two great people with different agendas due to your values etc or because it’s an unhealthy relationship.

It’s important to recognise that addressing issues in relationships needs to be co-piloted too – you can’t work at something where another person has their foot out the door, has already moved on, or is in denial.

When you leave a relationship that isn’t working for you, it’s because you recognise that your agendas cannot be a joint one.

If you want to establish a relationship on a good footing or quickly determine if you have a ‘driver’ on your hands, do not accept the default role of passenger and take an active role in shaping your relationship with partners. If you discover you’re involved with a driver, don’t burn up your life fuel trying to sort out what you think are their problems – address the issues that make you a passenger first.

In some instances, when you change, the driver may adapt as well, but you’re also likely to find that the relationship is no longer attractive because your mentality has changed.

Basically always seek to be a co-pilot with a co-pilot.

That is relationships in a nutshell.

Your thoughts?

 Holiday Update

  • I saw in the comments about turning Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl into a movie – I won’t say much but… there is a movie script being written all the way over in LA by a couple of screenwriters who love BR. But don’t get too excited yet as we all know that this movie malarkey is a precarious business!
  • I skipped out of the house today and had most of the day to myself. I popped to Brockley (it’s South East London) for the first time to collect some yellow Sun-San sandals for myself and as I walked out, I heard “Hello Baggage Reclaim lady” and I got to meet BR reader Simone Lia, who also gave me a copy of her graphic novel (as in comic not x-rated), Please God, find me a husband! I started reading it on the tube and was dirty laughing within minutes! I’ve just heard from Saria (6), ‘Mummy, why are you reading a book called Please God, find me a husband?’
  • I also met up with our best man today for lunch in Shoreditch and left with a dodgy tummy. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it home!
  • I’ve been so busy yapping with my mother-in-law each day and hanging with the girls that time has been flying this week! I have lots of ideas cooking but… I’m just writing them down at the moment!
  • Saria had a talk at school about private parts a few weeks ago. I heard the girls ‘educating’ their grandma yesterday about ‘gino’s’ and ‘pennies’ and wept laughing in the bedroom.
FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

274 Responses to Revisited: Relationships in a Nutshell – Co-pilots & the importance of a joint agenda

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for the post, Nat and glad you are having fun holidays. I would love to go to London!!!!

    For the fellow posters, can people give me examples of what these landmarks are? I know what commitment is, but what are some examples of these other landmarks? If I ever knew I have no clue anymore. My thinking is so muddled by years of unhealthy encounters (I wouldn’t even characterize as relationships.). Thanks for any input.

    intimacy, consistency, balance, progression, and commitment

    • Marilyn says:

      Sue, I’m right there with you. Clueless and scared to death I’ll screw up again.

      Natalie – laughed out loud at the ‘gino’s and pennies. Priceless!

  2. Gina says:

    landmarks is I guess if someone treats you well, if there is no code red behaviour, if you are actually yourself in the relationship and enjoying it. Basically if someone is compatible to your personal values! (Those can be different kind of things like for example being punctual, being honest, having the same sexual values as you have or showing respect in other aspects…)but basically it all comes down to : care, trust and respect from that person (and from you of course). If this is authentic communication (you and them being honest to yourself and each other).
    If you are seing that person in reality (how is that person behaving towards me and others?Do I bet on potential here and he/she doesn’t treat me so great at all actually or I am completely in reality?) Do their actions speak louder than words in a good way or are they mindtricking me into something and do not follow through on their words? That would be integrety. What does my gut say with that person? Can I be myself (evolve in a positive way because I!! want to) and trust myself or does this person try to destroy any self-trust I have? Hope I helped you a bit with that one.

  3. Dharma says:

    Boy Oh boy have I been a deer in the headlight passenger riding on hopes of love fueled by the crumbs he fed me… The “relationship” has lacked all of that… I love this post and especially this excerpt, “The landmarks of healthy relationships are intimacy, consistency, balance, progression, and commitment as well as shared values and what should come as standard in any relationship – love, care, trust, and respect..” He gave me none of these and I stayed.. He lied and I stayed… He CHEATED!!!! And I stayed… Now I am in a mental and financial bind and look to God to save me… Boy oh boy… Have I been a fool.

    • runnergirl says:

      Dharma, stick to the facts. If there isn’t a relationship, ditch the MF. You are NOT a fool. Stick with BR, it will save you. Counter all your negative feelings with the reality. He cheated. He is an asshole. Not you. I’ve walked on the other side. He still lied, I stayed, and then I didn’t!

  4. micheyl says:

    Sue, not sure I can help you with examples…

    I am in therapy now (after this breakup instead of my divorce… hmmmm!) and am really addressing some of my inner stuff. Well, maybe not addressing it yet, but at least becoming aware of it! So I fit this article to a T. I feel like in my significant relationships I do become the “Florence Nightengale” – I used to refer to it as the “Cheerleader” but I like FN better, it fits more of the nurturing aspect, not just encouraging. I usually start out thinking I am a co-pilot, especially since their attraction to me seems so much stronger than mine to them. Then the pattern I have discovered is that they have a really fucked up family of origin (like mine) and after I have fallen for them I go into FN mode. My first ex (Married twice-1st was HS sweetheart) had a mother from Hell. She was on her third husband who was a drug dealer and verbally and physically abusive to my ex. Then my second ex husband (father of my 2 children), I thought was maybe better because he loved his mother. But his father left them when he was 12 and mom became a hoarder and they were always struggling for money. He had to forge a birth certificate so he could get a job before he was legally supposed to. She died of cancer at age 50. Then my EUM epiphany – his mother is an alcoholic and parents are hoarders, plus he was neglected (as were all these men). Well maybe I want to help “rescue” them from their woes of childhood, because I haven’t really dealt with mine. I was neglected and also witnessed my father physically abuse my mother on a regular basis – even experienced some abuse myself as I got older.

    Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Just a process trying to understand my own actions in allowing myself to be the passenger which ultimately leads to the end of the road (relationship) and me feeling rejected.

    “Passengers with very low self-esteem look to others to create their agenda for them and give them validation. When the relationship ends, they feel lost.”

    I think that’s me. I guess even as I feel I am nurturing or helping rescue this man, I really just want them to “rescue” me. But learning I have to rescue myself.

  5. Beth says:

    One very important landmark for me is intimacy but not just sexual intimacy. If we can’t have an open conversation about whats important to us and if we don’t share values (monogamy, honesty,etc) then I make the decision to leave. Its hard but it does save heartache. I am willing to hear their beliefs etc but if they are very different than mine and we can’t work through them together it’s time to end it. No sense in selling myself short or making him fit into my mold of what I’m looking for. I don’t think by having boundaries and saying no is being a controlling driver

  6. Peanut says:

    A moooooovie. Hmmmmm. Yesssss.

    This was painful for me to read as I remember when it was originally written. I wanted to die then it hurt so badly. I had just seen the ex scootin about town in his car with the ex he so frequently compared me to in the front passenger seat where I used to be.

    What a prick.

    I felt my entails had been ripped apart and put on a skewer for everyone to see. I was humiliated. I was in love with this man. Yes, it was by choice, I see that now. I always had the ability to choose who I loved and still do; I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know much.

    It stings to recall how gullible I was. I just wanted someone to love me and someone to love back.

    It didn’t quite work out like that or at all.

    I’m still hurting. It’s exhausting. I won’t give up, though. I WILL become COMPLETELY neutral to this man who hurt me so much.

    We were together for 2.5 months. And I say ‘together’ loosely.

    I cried everyday for the first year after the breakup. It’s been a year and three months since the breakup. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of or miss him.

    Then I realized what I have to do.

    I have to lean into the missing him, acknowledge the good, and admit that it’s gone from this source, forever, unless I want to pay the price with my self-esteem.

    I DON”T.

    What hooks us is that no matter how horrible we deem a person that broke our heart or mistreated us, there was sufficient pleasure in the overall experience to keep us going.

    Often it is the child in us that wants to be loved,
    healed, and cared for that seeks pleasure from unfit sources.

    But that certainly does not make it any less painful.

    And when we realize this, the pain compounds. But, if we sit with the pain of past hurts, even leaning into it, there will be rewards.

    Do the rewards of choosing self-esteem (choosing what is overall good for us) feel better than being with someone who brings us great pleasure and whom we fancy, but just isn’t healthy for us?

    I’ll let you know.

    • micheyl says:

      Oh Peanut! I wish I could hug you girl!! I completely get it.

      “Often it is the child in us that wants to be loved, healed, and cared for that seeks pleasure from unfit sources.”

      I think that is me too. I am for the first time really grieving. Is that what you mean by leaning into the pain. I never grieved my two divorces and find myself sitting with the pain and missing of him with this break up. My therapist asked me yesterday if I’ve ever grieved not having the relationship I wanted with my mother. Such an a-ha moment!! That is why this grieving is so hard – I haven’t grieved that “loss” (nor have I grieved not having the relationship I wanted with my father). Really eye-opening how these relationship processes tie into each other.

      Hang in there. I know the feeling of choosing what is good for us over what brings even momentary pleasure is hard. I am dealing with that too. I haven’t gotten to the point – but am getting there. EUM invited me to “walk and talk” but I turned it down. Knowing ultimately it would lead to sex. He is still seeing the next in line woman (after me) and I just can’t keep doing that to myself, even though tempting.

      We will feel the rewards of choosing self-esteem!! I just know it :)

      • Marie83 says:

        I find it interesting to read other posters comments about their past and recognising patterns established early on in their families or in the men they have dated/married etc – I found it difficult to apply this to my situation as the EUM was the first man I ever really loved and I have never been married – I come from a fairly functional family (although my Father is bit EUM) However I think the pattern is very much a pattern of thinking – I have from a very young age thought myself to be incapable of having a relationship – that no-one would commit to me/see the potential in me – so I think my problem is not so much a pattern of behaviour as a pattern of self destructive thoughts

        • Maeve says:

          Marie–I agree with you. And I think these patterns of behavior originate in those self-destructive thoughts. I feel like I’ve been fighting that battle forever. I haven’t figured out a sure-fire consistent way of not going there. Maybe it’s just difficulty in committing to thinking differently because the reflex is so strong.

          • Marie83 says:

            I think that by choosing to engage in behaviour contrary to the self destructive thought patterns is the only way – fake it to you make it! It is very difficult though and sometimes I feel like it is a losing battle and the little voice of self doubt in the back of my head telling me I am unlovable makes me feel like I will always be on the outside looking in

        • yoghurt says:

          I dunno, marie. I came to BR thinking that all of my other relationships had been okay and that my family were normal and fine and that I was the fruitloop. It was really difficult for me to trace the origins of my EUness for ages and ages, and even when I did I went about it via the scenic route.

          A lot of it was that I was quite an intelligent and sensitive child (nice way to put it, innit? I could apply other less complimentary adjectives as well, but I won’t) so I think I misinterpreted a lot of things early on and ran with them, which is nobodies fault.

          Having said that – and I love my family fiercely – I’ve also seen more and more evidence that my parents made mistakes and that there were a lot of undercurrents and hidden difficulties in my upbringing (some of them nobodies fault again, like illness, depression and bad luck). The other day I told my dad off because, whilst he’s happy to pay you a measured, thought-through compliment directly, he will NOT let you read anything positive about yourself into any of his actions (“Oh, thanks for looking after son for me, Dad” “I wasn’t looking after YOUR son, I was looking after MY grandson” etc). It’s not a big deal now that I’m in my thirties, just a bit controlly; it probably was when I was three.

          At any rate, once I’d sorted myself out it became clear. When you treat yourself well and you’re as nice to yourself as you are to other people, it gets more and more obvious where other people haven’t and aren’t doing the same.

          If I’d waited to figure it out before I took action I’d’ve been waiting forever. Not that I’m saying that’s what you’re doing! it’s just that I wouldn’t worry about it.

          • marie83 says:

            Hey Yoghurt,
            Thanks for the reply – yeah i’m not saying that my upbringing was perfect and there are definitely a few things (bullied very badly at school for one) and recently I have got a new job – my current one was causing lots of stress as my boss is very very toxic – I was really happy and excited and told my Dad – his response ‘well if you don’t get on very well in the new one you can always go back’ – so I guess comments like that don’t exactly foster self believe but when I read some peoples harrowing childhoods I feel a bit self indulgent and a bit like I should have known better than to find refuge in a bad relationship

            • jewells says:

              Marie, your childhood didn’t need to be harrowing to have internalized poor self beliefs. There are many ways that not just our families, but society and our cultures do this overtly and covertly. Give yourself some slack, we all learn in our given time, we all are here because these are relationship lessons that have fallen in the cracks until the fissure opens wide enough for us to fall into and go whaaaa the hell just happened… We are here to not only do better for ourselves, but all those who are touched by us. When we do better so can our family, friends, community etc… we are an integral member of the world we live in and can influence how the future unfolds just by how we learn to conduct ourselves. Yes, we are not perfect, nor those around us, but we strive to do better and in doing so, we make the world just a little bit better for it. When we stand tall and make a positive difference in our own lives it will stretch out and influence others. Be the change, don’t use your ‘lack of perceived reasons for the existence of your problems’ be another reason to step on your own self esteem, we have enough of that in existence in many forms around us already. Be strong and be bold :)

          • micheyl says:

            I think regardless of what caused us to get to the point where we act from a place without self-love, that lack of love is what brings us here – to where we have engaged in partners who are EU and we are in the process of learning how to love ourselves (one important tool is BR). One lesson I am learning and trying to embrace is to be gentle with myself. At least in my own personal history, I have had some others be so critical of me and judgmental. I have been hyper- judgmental and critical of myself; never giving myself a break for anything when I allowed others so many chances and allowances. I make choices and sometimes they feel good momentarily and then feel bad in the long term – but I am trying not to judge myself and look deeper into my self-reflection for learning not for shaming. Sometimes the choices feel bad in the moment and then later in my self-reflection I realize that was a good choice at the time and I am able to see how it was a healthy choice.

            • jewells says:

              Yes, yes, I spent years still agonizing over decisions I made in the past that I am finally recognizing as having been the best decision for me at the time. I had regrets, but they were based on being critical and judgemental of myself, another reason to justify how I felt about myself…
              Now, I have more insight into those decisions, and guess what – regret is gone and thankfulness has entered.

      • Peanut says:



        Yes, I think grieving is exactly what I mean when I say lean into it. When you think of the ex or your mother, all that was lost and all that never was, don’t do any activity to avoid it, get to a safe place alone if you can, sit with the feeling for about five minutes to start out with. (I feel a lot of hurt in my gut) so mentally I focus there and let whatever thoughts come, come.

        For instance with the ex, there were these really sweet moments when I’d curl up in his lap (hmmm, very childlike, I know. Oh, how romantic relationships mimic our childlike comforts) and he’d affectionately caress my lower back. It was near automatic. Sometimes this would happen for hours while we watched movies and such together.

        I felt whole in these moments.

        I think it goes back to my infant years. I was left with a severely mentally ill mother and, because she’d get really sick sometimes, she’d leave me in the closet to the point of near death, and just sort of be wrapped up in her own intense torment, and she’d forget there was a baby in there, her baby. She didn’t have a clue what a baby needed, what I needed, bless her heart, she was so ill she couldn’t maintain her own self preservation.

        My mother was incapable of physical affection. My ex was incredibly affectionate. He was also mentally ill. You can see where this is going.

        I got more from my ex than I did my mother, or any caregiver on fronts that were very important to me. But he wasn’t safe. He was sick. He needed to take care of himself, not make me whole. He needed to make himself whole, and I myself.

        And those moments where I felt whole when he was touching me, those began to fade once I saw how really sick he was and how quickly his life was spiraling downhill.

        Know this. Your pain is your own. Own it. And know that you DESERVE to have the rewards of processed pain. It is yours after all.

        That pain, if you feel it, can transform your world to a richer, livelier experience.

        You can be the phoenix that rises if you choose you accept the truth of the past and feel the pain that comes with it.

        Best wishes to you on your journey. xx

        • micheyl says:

          Peanut, ((((hugs))))
          My heart breaks for your infant you with a mother that didn’t form that necessary bond with you. Do you mind if I ask if you are in therapy? I mean that is deep, deep trauma that I don’t know how you can resolve through without professional help. I do think with the right kind of healthy love – from yourself and from healthy others, you can resolve through it though. <3

          My situation was not quite so extreme. I am not sure about my history as an infant, but I do feel my mother neglected me (us – my brothers too) throughout my childhood. She was a battered wife in a time when no one would go near that subject with a 10 foot pole. I think too, she was just trying to survive the day to day and nurturing her children was not part of the survival process. She too was not affectionate physically. Maybe too broken physically to act out that way.

          My EUM was affectionate too and loved that I was affectionate towards him. This sounds really weird(!!!) but as I read your post I had a kind of uncomfortable a-ha moment. I love having my back rubbed and scratched etc. (who doesn't? haha) but I am also one who is always touchy-feely – playing with my children's hair, rubbing/scratching their backs, etc. Well EUM loved head rubs and I loved giving him head rubs and playing with his hair. I had a memory while reading your post that really the only form of physical affecting that I shared with my dad was that I would comb his hair when I was a little girl. Then I would scratch his back and walk on his back (to crack it? IDK). Hmmm, weird. Maybe a connection. Ugh. Delving deep is uncomfortable and it sucks, but like you said:

          "You can be the phoenix that rises if you choose you accept the truth of the past and feel the pain that comes with it."

          Thanks love, best wishes to you too! xoxoxo

          • Tulipa says:

            Yes, that will be one thing I truly miss is the affection from the ex AC even though I know it was all sex related it too made me feel whole and I craved it the more we went along. I don’t know what I will do when these cravings come along again. I am not naturally affectionate and had no affection growing up and the ex AC was probably the first person I trusted to be affectionate. Meh all this unlayering is hard work.

            Peanut, your story is so sad I cried reading it and I wish you all the best on your continued journey x

          • Peanut says:


            Therapy has certainly played an important role in my journey.

            As far as physical affection, we are hardwired that way :) It’s a basic need that can hurt like hell if unfulfilled. As children and babies we need to be cuddled and held.

            I’ve heard that professional massage is good for meeting that need as a single adult, though right now I’m such an untrusting raw nerve, I’m not yet ready for that even! I will get there simply because I won’t give up!

            Take Care xoxox

        • MaryW says:

          Peanut, thanks for sharing that and explaining to Micheyl (but also to me, who was wondering).

          It’s very sad to think of you as that infant.

          My mother was (is) also incapable of physical affection (or emotional affection come to that), and the most recent guy I was with was very tactile – not in a creepy way, just tactile – and it was so soothing. I miss it. I don’t miss him.

          My therapist sort of told me that I need to fix myself (and that I bypass/ avoid this by fixing others – also what my mother does). The idea of sitting with the feelings of loss rather than hiding them makes sense. I am going to try to do that, as you say gently lean in to them. Avoiding them hasn’t helped!

          • Peanut says:


            “the most recent guy I was with was very tactile – not in a creepy way, just tactile – and it was so soothing. I miss it. I don’t miss him.”

            Oh, how elegant and beautifully put this is! I didn’t know what the word tactile meant, yet after reading your comment I couldn’t get it out of my head. I looked it up, smiled warmly, and realized I resonated with what you had said about your ex.

            As a whole, no I did not like my ex. Tactile, I do like tactile.

            As for leaning in, I did this just today. I was driving and got this vivid memory of my ex showing up at my door wearing this soft, cream shirt that his mother had made him dotted with an antique key pattern and him standing there with this large, sweet smile. Unfortunately, that was the same night I sat and watched as he drank himself into oblivion and then got in the car with him, feeling like a terrified child, before he carelessly drove me home.

            But what gets me about it all so much is that this man had a mother. A mother who knew his measurements, knew what he liked, made him quirky patterned shirts, was a nurse and took care of him.

            I was just as in awe and envious of the relationship he had with his mother as I was with him. Mine disappeared when I was young, then died in my adolescent years.

            While remembering all of this, instead of stuffing it down, I pulled into a nearby grocery store parking lot and cried. I didn’t care who saw me or what they thought, I just cried. Weeped really. And though I’m pretty much an Atheist, I prayed that God just take the missing this man away.

            Then I gathered my wits, went home and made a yummy sandwich and came here to BR and realized if I had a choice if I could go back and never meet the ex (meaning that I’d never make it here to BR) or accept things the way they unfolded, I’d pick the latter. xoxoxo

    • Sandy says:


      I hope you don’t mind me saying this, please don’t be offended, but aren’t you wasting alot of time and energy on someone that you were with for only 2 1/2 months, I understand that obviously the impact was huge on you but maybe you should look at the fact that he is still controlling your life and emotions a year down the line.

      It’s your life and you need to go out and live it.

      • Peanut says:


        You are right. Your comment stings like hell. It’s true. Thank you. I keep rereading it with deep breaths.

    • Tulipa says:


      “Do the rewards of choosing self-esteem (choosing what is overall good for us) feel better than being with someone who brings us great pleasure and whom we fancy, but just isn’t healthy for us?”

      I sincerely hope so, Peanut.

      I too have asked myself this question more than once.
      I have chosen the unhealthy relationship a few times over my self esteem and have crashed and burned each time. I have only just woken up to how each time I returned he changed nothing significant about himself nor the status of our relationship (FWB).
      I really wish my self esteem had grown enough to stay away from him.
      It is also difficult when you have had no healthy relationship to compare it with, and your childhood conspires against you that sometimes going back looks good.
      You have managed to stay away from him Peanut and seem to be growing in your self esteem I just hope you find a way to let him go and never go and suck it and see cos it really does suck.

      • Peanut says:


        The more I resolve to never go back to him or the likes, I grow exponentially.

        “your childhood conspires against you that sometimes going back looks good.”

        Yes. Brilliant. When we are unconscious our childhoods (even subtle, seemingly innocuous events can leave lasting marks) play a too large role in who we date.

        I thank God in moments like these when I read the such inspiring words of BR readers. You women here (and sometimes men) keep me going. Thank you.

        • jewells says:

          Peanut, I don’t totally agree with Sandy’s comment. I see these epiphany relationships as an openning into our whole histories with EUness, it’s not just the brief encounters that impacted us, it’s that whole lifetime of EU has been brought to the forefront to be reconned with and dealt with. The attachment/distraction of ‘him’ can keep you from seeing past him and the rest of the story. But from what I’m reading here, you are seeing beyond him to the source, so maybe now you see that it’s not remotely about him, but your (as all of us) history. That’s what takes so long, it’s not the (usually) brief relationshit that got us here that we need to get over…it’s the decades of stuff happening that brought us to it/him that we are taking so long to process…we are unwrapping and resolving alot more than what the problem is (him) than meets the eye…going through our own personal histories to pin point and confront and resolve what brought us to him and then here is gonna take time…

          • jewells says:

            I don’t know if that ending sounded quite right… I meant more that what’s going on is more than the apparent problem (with him and the short lived relationshit) and is actually about going through our own personal history to deal with us and unlearning our poor beliefs and learning new ones…. hopefully that makes more sense… :)

            • sushi says:


              I absolutely agree with jewells. The stuff that happens to us in childhood may contain so much that we don`t remember/are unaware of but has a huge impact, it`s just there like a second nature and it takes hard ,conscious effort to weed out of our psyche or really to learn to live well with it regardless. It`s not like we one day snap out of it and on realising our epiphany proceed all perfectly different and “cured”. For example, I watched my mother being sidelined in her marriage and I was treated in the same way too. I have such a strong impulse automatic reaction to put other people`s needs first, ahead of mine…how pefect for a Florence doormat role to put any old AC on a pedestal. It doesn`t help much that I am growing and asserting my boundaries while my family is still not satisfied, still critical, still expresses all that in a passive aggressive way so we can`t have an open conversation about our differences on the subject, so I`m still silenced. I sometimes have an impression that when I get protective of me they read it as me being selfish. I wonder if thats true or am I oversensitive, but then again I know now I wasn`t with the AC`s in my life and I shouldn`t doubt how I feel. It`s so hard to face this source of our intitial pain from childhood, the original abandonment and accept it as a fact and then carry on as a valuable person. You are doing great, one step at the time and you`ll get there.

            • MaryW says:

              I agree, Jewells. You explain it very well. The epiphany relationship might have been very brief, but it’s the understanding of all that’s gone on beforehand that makes it so significant.

              • Peanut says:


                “it’s the understanding of all that’s gone on beforehand that makes it so significant.”

                Yes! It’s the understanding, accepting reality, and change in perception that is so sobering and painful.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              I agree with you Jewells. It’s been suggested to me by my therapist that my extreme (crying several times/day is not solely about him and the loss of what I so much wanted the rl to be, but a sum total of many of my past disappointing experiences with man and people in general. I set the bar so high that I end up being disappointed and disillusioned. Hell, I’m not perfect, either. But I damn sure try to be. That may be part of my problem. He and I will remain friends because he is a good person, but I wanted the mad love affair. Not to be. But, I’ve decided to remind myself,just tonight, that no person is worth crying over every day. At least not in a dating situation.

            • Peanut says:


              Yes, my painful past was exorcised this time around!

              That man represented every hurt, hope, let down and pleasure I ever experienced or lost up to the point I met him.

              Life is weird like that.

              • jewells says:

                Peanut, I think you are on to something…if we look at it that way – they managed to bring to the forefront all our past angst that has not been dealt with, and now we are (have to in a way through the exposure of the pain that we can no longer deny) and have the opportunity to heal like never before and therefore ultimately the end result may be to be able to honour that love we felt for them in having compassion and forgiveness for both ourselves and them. A thankfulness that they did come into our lives to ‘awaken’ us to our authentic selves…just a thought…

    • Andee says:

      I made the decision after my breakup to focus on the relationship I have with one man in my life. The one that shaped all the rest of these. My dad. Until I can find a way to have that relationship and feel like a whole, valued, grown up person in my own right, I’m not getting involved with men romantically. He’s a good man, my father, but tough to grow up with as a girl. I have three brothers and my pervasive feeling as an adult and as a child was that, because I was female, not much was expected of me.

      I feel like this has caused me to not see myself as very capable or “whole” and that I routinely cast myself in a supporting role to men that ultimately don’t appreciate that very much. Or at least not enough to make being second-best even to myself worth it to me.

      Time to bust out and be all of me, including with my father who I have always attempted to lock it up around. Until this relationship seems legit and comfortable, I feel like I’ll just stay in ruts and patterns with the rest of the male population.

      • lizzp says:

        It’s good to read about others looking at their relationships with parents. I spent years (after my son was born)working on my relationship with my mother and my sister. It was my son’s birth that made further avoidance impossible. In so many ways that is now truly done and dusted. I have experienced profound changes in myself that have put me in a place where I can sooth my mother’s daughter and accept my mother as is. Earlier this year I took my son to visit her and explained that when she wanted to see him that was fine, we can organise visits but she won’t be seeing much of me this year. There is no guilt in me anymore, no desire to hurt or change her and no malice in what I said to her, no fear that my lack of contact with her will hurt her. I feel entirely at one with myself when I relate to her and entirely confident that I am doing what’s best for me. All the strong emotions are resolved, the little mother’s daughter has left the nest and is travelling safe with me. I am amazed at how I feel and the relief and gratitude…I worked hard, suffered through guilt inducing periods of NC with her at various of times. At least part of the significant change has come from realising she was non-yielding investment from the get go. I was born with the share port folio and as with any child an expectation for at least moderate returns. It took me years to truly integrate emotionally that there will never be a return for the fact of my birth and what I tried to put in over the years, to have her love me as I needed to be loved. I don’t fully understand how I got here (I was in therapy though) but I don’t need to ‘understand’ – I’m sure that linearity isn’t the path that our minds take. There is so much mystery to our minds and hearts. I am just so grateful I am here.

        Ahh but ‘daddy’s little girl’ is another matter…that is where I’m at now. I’ve had a major shift the last 2 months…and there is a massive connection between my relationship with my depressed, alcoholic (beginning I suspect in my teens – as a small child, up until my dad left when I was 9 years old I had a relatively happy time of it – my parents never drank, although there were tensions in their maRRIAGE), extremely introverted father and my feelings of self worth, especially in my relations with men of romantic/sexual interest. And yeah, it was my now 10 months post bust up last relationship where I let my heart go to him that’s brought me here…I think I’ve been feeling the pain of my dad’s little girl in my grieving…in many ways it’s far more intense and has felt far more terrifying than the pain I went through ala mother. My father WAS the one who loved me when I was little, it was him and my brother. I needed him and he did provide, but that’s why it is, in the end, so close to the bone…there was something to lose, and I lost something…enter abandonment, self esteem, worthiness, approval seeking, envy, jealousy, the black hole of nothingness when I lose my core…agghhh pain and pain.

        He’s been dead now for 15 years, and that’s fate for you. We WERE developing an honest communication and there WAS potential for me to heal with his help (not that I believe any of this was ever explicit), when he suddenly dropped dead in his mid sixties (I was thirty and just out of my big toxic EU relationship). Cest la vie. I was haywire with grief for the next two years, and my development was stalled. I DID love my father very much and unlike mum, it wasn’t one sided, I stood to lose and him croaking meant to me that I had….big time, too big time for me to handle back then. And yeah, the ultimate abandonment too, I now realise, is what I felt and had to run from.

        Most of the time now I’m hopeful that all will be well and I will be able to sustain and get to the other side of my ‘daddy complex’ (haha), and I do think I’ll work through it a tad quicker than my ex mummy complex! Seriously, I HAVE grown and can handle more than ever before when it comes down to it. It’s just hard as it involves keeping connected to my self and my feelings and my value- my habits of sabotage, automatic ‘your not good enough’ thought patterns are strong. Yet everyday now, they’re weakening.

        To those wonderful BR ladies (and gents) who actually read this, thank you so much for listening.

        • MaryW says:

          Dear Lizzp

          Thanks for sharing this. I agree, it is very important for us to review our upbringings, what boundaries were set in place at crucial points, what was or is still missing.

          I have not confronted my mother with the obvious issues we have, and often wonder what would have happened when/ if I had a child, how I would handle it. That looks unlikely to happen now, so I am trying to work out a way to become the grown up woman I should be without her, because I see no point confronting her. I have to accept who she is and learn how to soothe myself, but it won’t come through working with her. There is no child/grandchild to act as a precipitant.

          Unlike you, I also feel unloved by my father, who was always at work during the week and then playing sports at the weekend. He was naughty, leaving it all to my mother. I think he does now want relationships with his grown up children, but I am withholding.

          I’m sorry for the loss of your father, especially when it was so untimely and avoidable (I’m assuming it was linked to his drinking).

          I always thought that if I had a child, I would keep my mother at arms length, though she is a famously wonderful grandmother to my nieces and nephews (and doesn’t that just piss me off when people say how great she is with children :(

          I do love both my parents, and they do love me (I’m told by others, most notably my mother’s mother), but I get nothing back from them (they hand out cheques for small sums in place of offering love – I now refuse the token gestures) and it hurts and makes me angry with them/ myself – I should have learned to get by without them by now. How many times can they disappoint me without it hurting? And then … how can I keep investing in EU men with no return without that hurting? Clearly I can’t – that’s a small breakthrough.

          You write: “abandonment, self esteem, worthiness, approval seeking, envy, jealousy, the black hole of nothingness when I lose my core” – yes that’s exactly what is triggered with me when a relationship ends. It takes a long time for me to rebuild that core.

          I told Mr Messiah, during post mortem phase, that I felt like a lost little girl most of the time :(. That scared him away 😉
          – he hasn’t broken NC.

          I’m glad you are getting stronger Lizzp. For you, but also because it gives the rest of us some hope :)

          • lizzp says:

            Hi Mary W., How’s it all be going for you? The thing with this getting strong feeling is it’s not a damn straight line either. It wavers from day to day, week to week, just like NC in some ways. Perhaps we can only really see/feel the progress over longer periods of time and in retrospect?. At least I think that this was how it was for me with my mother.

            You’ve mentioned here and there re your hard/difficult relationships with your mum and dad. I relate to what you write about the pain in disappointment and unmet needs. For me with my mother it boiled down to exactly what you mention. My mum longer disappoints me, maybe I reached a point of acceptance about who she is. If that’s it then it was a long process, I was in therapy and that’s not a straight line or compartmentalised either. Not easy to reconstruct at all. I know that I was stuck for a long time on wanting to ‘get’ things from her (recognition for who I am/what I interpreted as a genuine interest; I never felt that I was ever seen or heard by her) and when I finally gave up on that somehow, I must have reached a point where I also truly accepted her (the her she is to me anyway)…all the negative blame, frustration slipped away then. It’s not that simple though as I was also growing emotionally in other areas and had a much better hold on boundaries and my limits. I limit my contact with her now, one the main differences from the past is that I am ok about doing this; simply letting her know- no debilitating guilt.

            I think having my son did propel me into many emotional changes… but his birth changed my life in almost every way. I suppose for the first time I speculated a about what my parents may have felt as parents. This was positive and negative. The tenderness and sometimes painful love I felt for my son, especially in his first year, the full realisation of this little baby’s vulnerability and need,hi total dependence on me …it’s hard to describe the opening of the emotional flood gates. It made me on the one hand want to know more about my mother’s child hood and my own early infancy and on the other hand I could not stand being near her, whereas before I had got by with suppressing my anger and pain around her. The first of several periods of NC began for me from when my son was about 6 months old. But that was only the beginning, and too long to post here. I found out about my mother’s own child hood (too much for here but extremely sad and traumatic) and a little about my, my sister’s and bros earliest years (my dad, before he died, had told me quite a lot about his own upbringing and some of my mums and he revisited a lot of memories about me as baby and toddler and young child – willingly and at my request; I had to push my mum for info, particularly a 10 month period when my dad was away securing work in another city (to which we then relocated)and my mum was left with three children under 4, in a new country, with only my grandma to help. She also had scarlet fever during this period of time).

            A quick description of my take on my mum: She lives in fantasy, it is almost like a novel – brady bunch style. She tells the ongoing story of our family in chapters (in words, emails, texts )like a narration – had lunch with…xyz…so and so is doing this, and that, he/she is this or that. She needs to believe she has her finger on the pulse so she is constantly composing and telling these chapters involving me, my siblings, step siblings, nieces, nephews, my son, her friends and acquaintances, my step father etc. They are webs of fantasy and have no depth. But as long as she speaks it and/or writes it, it is real for her and gives her a place in her world. The telling becomes the validation regardless of the validity of the source and the listener’s response (in my case it used to be suppressed annoyance/impatience or none, now I avoid hearing it by either saying you don’t need to update me on that mum, or leaving/saying bye if on the phone – no guilt!). No doubt all that still continues…I no longer participate by listening passively but with boiling anger…and really I like her much better now I’ve stopped wanting her to be someone she isn’t. I am not pained by false relating. She is a good ‘granny’ to my son much better than she was as mother.

            Mary W, I don’t know, but I hope that you will go gentle on your self with the issues around your mum and dad. In the end I think we are all just looking and hoping to reach a more peaceful place. And a more peaceful place for the sweet and trusting little girls we carry inside. I’m sure you’ll find some peace. You have a lovely insightful warmth to you (in your posts) and I really think you’ll get where you want and need to go whether or not you end up having a child.

            p.s. I made a comment re Mr Scrabbs in the next post – appropriately enough where the posts turned to illuminating the turdy qualities of EUS and how to get them flushed to our satisfaction.

    • Tee tee says:

      Whooooo wind knocked off my sails – brilliant! Have read something like this before, about a person having a child and parent and actual self in them.

      Often it is the child in us that wants to be loved,
      healed, and cared for that seeks pleasure from unfit sources.

      So true – time for that child to grow up and let go of these unfit sources. Hmmm

      Thank you peanut – sending you a hge hug from rainy ole london town


      • lizzp says:

        Tee Tee, the child inside the adult seems to be very personal. I find it comforting/making sense to feel myself like this at times when I experience great and overwhelming fear that I am not good enough and that because of this I will be left by men so they can find a woman who is good enough. Then I feel like hope is lost and there is blackness and despair. I have been through a period of this recently…it is very old in me…I never wept or wailed as a child but I do now (so far I am still unable to weep and wail in front of a compassionate witness (therapist) so strong is my detached/adult/perceived perception of my dead father’s negative judgement of my little girl’s completely understandable feelings. This a major block for me and I resist repeatedly out of fear of rejection. Intellectually, I understand that I am rejecting myself and that when I have thoughts about my ‘little girl’ – thoughts that it’s time she grew up etc – that’s just more rejection of myself. She’s not going to feel safe with me until I let myself nurture her..I have to let her express her pain and fear…I have to get a hold of the place where I trust in myself and even more trust in another (therapist)to help me validate her. I’d imagine after that I’ll be able to accept my daddy did the best he could.

        Dear Mary W.

        I hope you’ll read this. It’s doubling as an answer to your question about the wound in NC Revisited Post..It was exacerbated in my relations with ex depressed (though not alcoholic)man, but the laceration is old and firmly attached to my relationship with my Dad and competition with my sister for his love. Thank you for thinking of me. I so appreciate it, it helps.

        • MaryW says:

          Got it Lizzp, thanks.
          I also find it hard to have a good cry in front of my therapist (I well up, sniffle, but that’s all) but I’ve only been seeing her for a relatively short time. Before that I had CBT that was strictly limited to 20 sessions, and guess what, I spent the last 3 sessions wailing, sobbing about the end of therapy.. being abandoned by the therapist! Ironic. So I suppose it might take me a bit longer to trust my current therapist..

      • lizzp says:

        p.s. off to therapy now!

        • Tee tee says:

          Thank you for the response Lizzp.
          By ‘growing up’ i didn’t mean to sound flippant as if it’s a case of weaning. I suppose it is nurturing her gently to growth as you write.

          I’m not saying what i mean clearly. Apologies.
          I was typing fast just as i left work.
          At times, for me, i get impatient with myself though, with the not so great parts. Then i keep thinking, if this was my friend, would i treat them that way! No i wouldn’t, not in a serious healing matter. I am working on the self compassion. It’s difficult, as i’m new to practising it.

          Hmmm food for thought, thank you

  7. Lilia says:

    Wow Natalie, you´re becoming a real celebrity! I hope it´s the first step towards the Nobel prize.
    The graphic novel seems promising, any chance to order it?
    Isn´t it funny when kids start to learn about their “private parts”, my own children always use the expressions in english though we´re in a spanish speaking country. One of the things of sending them to a bilingual school…

    • Peanut says:


      YES! I was just thinking NAT is worthy of the Nobel and I read your comment. She is a revolutionary.

  8. Maeve says:

    Serious food for thought here. I’ve never thought of myself as a passenger in a relationship, but I think that’s my biggest problem, EUM or no EUM. I’m just in passenger mode. Think I was this way in my marriage too. I wasn’t married to an s.o.b., we got along great most of the time, but I think we both had unhealthy elements and didn’t know how to negotiate our needs.

    We had intimacy and caring and trust, but I think may have been short in balance. I was definitely 50% to blame.

    I want to use this concept to hold myself more accountable in the future. Makes me realize how I wasn’t taught a thing about life skills/relationship skills and have had a hard time finding good role models. Yeesh!

    Also enjoy your personal updates, Natalie. That whole ginos and pennies thing from your daughters was just too adorable. lol!

  9. pinkpanther says:

    Since someone said BR should be a movie, I will make a suggestion too. If you don’t already, I think you should write fiction. You know how characters develop, what they say, what they do…

    Just saying…

  10. Tinkerbell says:

    Gee! How did I miss such an important post the first time around? Natalie, this one is better than excellent. Encompassing, with clarity and succinctness. You’ve covered a lot of ground and put it in a nutshell. Go girl! Thanks!

  11. Tinkerbell says:

    Sue as you can see landmarks are very personal and individual. Each of us have our own.

    Our landmarks (my boyfriend and I), the ones that Gina mentioned, were all intact. And STILL I feel we need to downgrade a bit. He’s not aware yet of the depth of my disappointment, but he does know that I feel some because we’ve both agreed to a warm, loving, sexless friendship. I love him as a person and vice versa. But, it’s no longer practical for me to remain “in love” with him. MY EXPECTATIONS were too great. He is genuinely a loner and I am the opposite. He is highly social with me, we laugh and have a joking good time, talking about any and everything. But he DOES NOT extend himself to others. He has only 1 or 2 friends and his family, who live long distance, he does not talk to much. Fortunately, since he and I have been together it seems I’ve been the catalyst for him to be much more outgoing, but he will never be gregarious. It’s just not his nature. This is the main reason why we could never move in together. I would feel stifled. And since there is a limitation on how far we can progress together, I feel it is emotionally safer for me to back off.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent about my situation, but I’m just sharing my experience with you and everyone as a reminder of how hard it is to find “that special someone that you want forever.” It’s a tall order. So when we complain about a decent man, we need to remember that they’re pretty rare. This post is so apropo for me right now. Am I the passenger or the driver? We seemed to have had a co-piloted relationship, but I guess not quite. Anyway, I’ll be fine because i don’t feel the need to “settle”. I don’t have to kick him to the curb because he’s always treated me with ultimate consideration, respect, trust, love and care. I’m thankful for that.

  12. Sandy says:

    Ha I was definitely the passenger in the relationship god forbid I actually try to do some driving!! :-0

  13. Rosie says:

    Peanut- Doing this by phone, I apologize for location of this tesponse, typos, etc. This is in response fo your post about leaning into the missing him. I love the way you phrased this. I think that was the turning point for me for when I went from EU to EA. I learned to lean into my emotional pain. By staying with it I learned to respect it.

    I hope you do discover the worthiness of choosing self-esteem over the pleasure you receive from unheslrhy source. I recently had the opportunity to do just that and I’m sad because I like him but I felt so very beautiful, more beautiful than I’ve wver felt in my life (!) after being mistreated. Why feel beautiful after being misyreated (treayed like bootu call) ypu ask? I felt beautiful because O showed him how strong, vulnetable, and loving I am as I showed him the door. He knew I liked him, knew I was tempted, yet I still said no.

    I pray with all my heart, Peanut, that you experience that same feeling of being so damb beautiful even in the midst of tossing out an AC because this feeling would be coming from inside you.

    • Peanut says:


      The more I feel my pain the more beautiful I do feel all over!!!

      • Lilia says:

        Rosie & Peanut,
        I do too! When I stopped the BS with the EUM and told him how I really felt I suddenly saw myself as this beautiful lovely woman, something I´d never ever experienced before. And all by accepting that yes, I was hurting and frustrated and unhappy. Before, I´d thought that those feelings would make me ugly but it´s the opposite.

  14. Sushi says:

    I’m reading the old posts as if I have never read them before. They are getting through to me clearer. I get them now like a confirmation of what my thinking is on the matter instead of a foreign theory that belongs in a mind of someone strong and healthy like I could never be. I think it’s progress !
    I do hope the movie works out, matter of fact it could successfully fuel a series like ‘sex and the city’ only waaaaaay better, and I hope they do see it’s potential and bet on it. I vote for a Nobel prize too !

  15. Sushi says:

    I think what I am working on ( still) at the moment is giving myself love, care, trust and respect. It’s hard work as giving other people’s needs priority over mine is soo deeply ingrained into me. You have to be a pilot of your own life first a d when you are able to do that all the unhealthy driver stuff slowly but surely loses the power and hold. It’s easier to say nahhh, and move along without relating other people’s shit to yourself all the time. I had a ‘ life is passing me by’ day yesterday triggered by a tv program that used to watch with the ex but powered through the pain as Peanut said, didn’t kill me, tried to think of what I do have instead of what I don’t and live that day. Today is a nice shiny new one.

    • micheyl says:

      Good for you Sushi, yes – appreciating what we have and not desiring what we don’t have that is the ultimate goal isn’t it. But sometimes in the reality of it all, it doesn’t happen. Maybe it’s not a natural state of mind. After all, we wouldn’t have survived as a species or advanced if everyone just accepted and were happy with what they have…
      But it is what I work on. Maybe hand in hand. Being a grateful human being but also recognizing that I may desire something else too and instead of envying others who have it, work on myself so that I can invite that into my life in a form that fits me and is right for me.

      One day, one moment at a time right? I have a quote by the Dalai Lama in my wallet:

      There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.
      — Dalai Lama

      Love yourself, sweet Sushi, believe in yourself, do for yourself and live for yourself. <3

      • sushi says:


        thank you, and you are right. concentrating on today and now makes us focus on us. i feel I spent such a long time now looking into my past, so easy to get stuck there.Onwards and upwards, mindfully :)

  16. Sushi says:

    I think the most important landmark of a relationship is that someone is willing to give you love, care, trust and respect without you feeling that you have to work for it, coax it out of them, put your boundaries on a bonfire to get it. And you do the same. You value and accept each other and don’t feel that you need to change them or yourself to feel happy and secure. And that you feel free to ask for what you need. It of course helps to be clear on what you actually want.

  17. noquay says:

    It does really suck when we have to see/hear about them with someone else doesn’t it?Saw AC for the first time in months. Really pleasant to me as though I was his best buddy on the planet. I kept telling myself; “it’s all a lie” and concentrated not on his still gorgeous face but his expanding belly.
    Many posters are focussing on landmarks of a healthy relationship; here’s some of mine:
    You both respect one another’s values and lifestyle
    A complete absence of lying, cheating, dishonesty of any sort
    You add to rather than detract from one another
    You go the extra mile for one another

    • Peanut says:


      YES, healthy relationships are an addition and grow exponentially (my new fave word) versus depleting.

  18. MaryW says:

    Yup I was the passenger and the driver was drunk at the wheel. Literally. When I did try to co-pilot, he accused me of pressurising him and he withdrew.

    For me it does stem from looking for some parental figure, some guidance, love, someone to look after me. I’m addressing this and it’s going to take a long time before I can healthily parent myself. For now, I’m not looking for a relationship or even dating.

    I was hooked after only about 2 weeks of dating, despite red flags. Those flags had to be shoved right in my face (at least he was honest, altough in a drip-feed sort of way, over the last 4 weeks) before my anxiety levels reached such a high level that I had to press the eject button.

    And confession time: I was one of those cowards who ended it by text. Because I felt he was about to drive me off a cliff, emotionally. I can’t explain the head-fuckery, but in future I hope I’ll never find myself in such a terrible “relationship” that I have to resort to such cowardice.

    • Peanut says:




      • MaryW says:

        Peanut, his ex has already called the cops on him re his drinking…. probably regarding him driving his children around drunk whilst he has custody.

        I was never in the position to sit next to him in a car, and wouldn’t have done so if he’d been drinking.

        I meant he was drunk while being the driver of the “relationship”. I hadn’t realised the extent of his drinking problem until the very last day I saw him …

        Yeah I do deserve better. I thought that today while waiting to have a sexual health screen. :(

        • Nigella says:


          No need to feel guilty about dumping a drunken lout through text. Drunkard = Trash. Period. Just as you won’t feel bad about getting rid of trash from your house, so too you needn’t feel bad about text-dumping an emotionally manipulative drunkard from your life.

          I’m not sorry to report that in the past I too made the sound decision to dump mean, controlling, and boundary-busting people through email and text.

          However, I never have and never will resort to text-email-phone as the *first* means of ending a relationship with a caring and respectful man. To bid farewell to men who showed me consistent care and respect, I chose to disclose my firm decision to them in person. This has happened twice in my life: each time I had to move out of the city to pursue my professional goals – to be the driver of my life. I chose not to give up my dreams for those men and did not want them to join me as a passenger by giving up their dreams for me.

          There is no point in travelling with a reluctant passenger. Sooner or later resentment – I suppose – is bound to build up if they start to feel that they are shortchanging themselves by sidelining their dreams or priorities to follow you.

          To take care of myself, I always picked my career over my need for a relationship. In my relationships, I have been either the co-pilot or the driver. However, sooner or later, I realized that EITHER (1) the co-pilot is trying to relegate me to the position of a mute passenger OR (2) the passenger is half-hearted about stepping up to co-pilot the relationship with me or the passenger is less interested in me and more interested in *my* car (the emotional, social, sexual, and financial comforts I could provide for him). Gross.

          Gradually, I am learning not to slip into the driver-caretaker-mentor-giver-parent roles that come easily to me. Unless someone can meet me on a equal footing, I prefer my own company.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Okay Nigella. So what do you do when you are no longer working. Doesn’t your career take a back seat then?We don’t stay young forever. Seems you’ll be revising your thoughts and intentions then. Or will you just put off concerning yourself until that time? Just curious.

        • MaryW says:

          I’ve been feeling horrible since the trip to the sexual health clinic. Can’t believe I let his skanky pennies anywhere near my gino’s. :(

          I have made that same mistake time and time again (with different men) and to be honest don’t fully trust myself not to do it again in the future.

          • Nigella says:


            Give yourself time to recover from all the messy feelings. I understand how you feel. I am ashamed to admit that – despite my intense anger – I think of the heart-throbbing sex I had with Mr Liar each night and each morning.

            I have a raging libido: but I am able to sublimate my sexual energy through working insane hours, exercising, and staying busy.

            I am unable to toy with people for sex. I need to figure out how to stop future fakers from toying with me.

            I hope you will feel better soon. Somewhere I once read, “Horniness is Loneliness”. So it does help to fix the deep-seated feelings of loneliness.

            Recently, a close friend helped me distinguish between (1) fear of abandonment and (2) fear of loneliness. Regarding 1, people like me can avoid getting into relationships because they do not want to be used, disrespected, abandoned. Plus, if they do get into a relationship, they try too hard to fix and make things work, because of which they end up feeling depleted and frustrated. Regardless of their efforts not to fail or disappoint anyone else, the over-givers and fixers end up getting used and dumped anyways. Regarding 2, people can go for any relationship – even a destructive one – as long as they can avoid dealing with their own problems.

            I fit 1, but not 2. I do not want to fit 1.

            Okay. Back to the Grindstone!

            • MaryW says:

              Thanks Nigella,

              I also have a high libido, but really it’s no excuse for some of the things I’ve done, who I’ve done them with.

              I know I am supposed to be showing myself compassion but right now I am bloody furious with myself.

              I sat in that clinic yesterday and told myself it’s the last time I’m putting myself through it. But I have little confidence in that thought; I know how easy it is for me to get totally carried away. Make the wrong choice for some instant gratification that then leads to self loathing, remorse, shame, etc.

              I’m with you on fear of abandonment. I also realise that I avoid relationships (because I get so hurt) but then I get to the point that that’s what I *really* want .. To be in a relationship, not hurt (!)…. So after an extended period of feeling lonely, I think “right it’s about time to try again” and then get sucked in by the first semi-decent option. I was totally depleted and frustrated by Mr Messiah, I was totally empty and bereft. And that was BEFORE I walked.

              Now I’m empty, bereft and furious. With him, but mostly with me. I am furious about all those times I didn’t look after myself. I’m furious for feeling furious. I can show compassion to others a lot more than to myself, but to be honest if I had a friend who kept coming to me with same problems time and time again, who wasn’t taking responsibility, my compassion for them would be waning.

              At which point I should give myself a break – I am committed to changing, I am committed to therapy, and I am being more self-aware while also trying to be less self absorbed.

              I suppose it’s a long journey and I’ve realised how far I have to go and find it all rather overwhelming. Apologies for the ramble but it was therapeutic.

              Nigella, don’t work too hard! I’m quite career driven too, but take it easy :)

          • lizzp says:

            Hey Mary Dubb; I know what you mean.

            I’ve incorporated sex into my whole value of myself. So as with all else I try to remember to value in myself, i won’t be having sex with him until he shows consistent care, interest and respect of me through his actions. In the interim, it is possible to develop intimacy and trust over time without sex, despite the wanting to. For the man who pos because I won’t ‘give it up, he was never meant for me in the first place.

            • MaryW says:

              Hi Lizzp :)

              How are you?

              I read one of your posts a few days ago about dating without sex in the early stages, and I truly admire you. I wanted to ask how you manage it, but it seemed a bit personal.

              Logically I know it’s the most sensible course of action for me, especially since sex leads to instant attachment, but I can’t put it into practise.

              I know that a man who walks because I won’t have sex is not a man worthy of me, but the thing is that I actively want to have sex (they don’t have to coerce me). I don’t know how to change that mindset. I told last chap “we won’t be having sex for a while, hope you’re OK with that”, he said he’d wait as long as it took and then lo and behold, I invited him to stay over at mine one night.

              I have experienced the pain so many times, and I’m far from stupid in other parts of my brain, so why can’t I get it?

              Grrr, hopefully this most recent experience will prove to be the real epiphany …. it does feel different, I do feel sort of ready if somewhat (totally) overwhelmed at the thought of changing my mindset about relationships, and values about myself.

              Sigh. Typing in to a computer on a Friday night is not what I had in mind, but better to be at home and doing work on myself than out and about avoiding myself.

              • micheyl says:

                MaryW and lizzp, I hear you. I also know what I should do, what I want to do regarding sex. But I always have sex asap and I am never coerced either. I haven’t touched on that yet with my therapist.

                I really want to value myself like you are doing lizzp but I don’t know if it comes down to – I just don’t. Or I am still in what is a very long process of learning. I guess I’ve built up all this unworthiness over 42 years, I guess I can’t expect it to be resolved in a couple months of therapy.

                I really want to not have sex with clowns and dbags. Haha. Getting there… (cross fingers)

              • lizzp says:

                Mary W, I managed it in my last relationship. I was lucky in that when it became necessary to talk about this (we were enjoying some kissing – and yes, It’s often been me as much as he in the past – totally get that)and I lead the way by saying something along the lines of I need to take things slowly, he helped. He was a very decent man, there’s no doubt about that in my mind. He said with sincerity “I think we should wait, at least a couple of months”. There wasn’t any sense of sexual non-interest on either of our parts. Only for my part I knew that having sex so early (we were a about 3 weeks in)would be too rushed, overwhelm me with feelings for him and I didn’t yet know him much. For his part I think it was part respect for me and part his own understanding/what sex would mean for him. There were two times in that relationship where we wanted to stay together for the night. On both we agreed days before the dates and that we would not get carried away. On the first we were just falling asleep together after some great cuddling when he got a text message from his son (17 years) wanting to ask him something. Hs phone beeped loud and startled us. After that we were awake again and got to kissing, trying to hold each other and sleep and it was just too hard. After an hour or more of this we agreed he should go, there was no problem, no rejection, no abandonment, no detraction from the intimacy I felt we had. On the second occasion, he went and spent some of the wee hours on my couch.

                This relationship ended a couple of months later, and I have learned that even those two ‘over night’ times and the all the other affectionate physical contact we enjoyed when we were together (holding, kisses etc, but no further)were enough to invest me over my head. But if we’d been sleeping together and it had ended when it did, I would have been far worse off. It’s a mute point though as I believe this man was too responsible to allow that to happen.

                Anyway…I guess for going to bed too early Nat’s “MYHEART/LIBIDO/EGO/IMAGINATION SAYS YES, BUT MY SELF-ESTEEM SAYS NO” might be a good start. I fell victim to my own esteem and abandonment issues at the build up to the end, and end of, that last relationship (He played his part but not the point I’m trying to make here)and have been going through some major self awareness changes. I have to concede, as a result of the pain I suffered (and still have though it sits where it should now), I’m going to be better off in the future. If /when I date again, I want to be more sure that I have a good sense of my own value or can at least know how to quickly connect with my sense of self value.

                • MaryW says:

                  Thank you Lizzp for sharing.

                  I can’t imagine being in the position of spending the night with someone I was attracted to (physically and emotionally) and be strong enough not have sex.

                  I can totally see why even doing that was enough for you to invest. I think I even invest at the kissing stage, holding hands stage!

                  It’s going to be some time before I even date anyone, so hopefully by then I will have started to value myself more. Meanwhile, I will read the post you suggest (though I have read it already, it often helps to read things again and again). I am also reading Boundaries, a book two people here recommended. It’s a bit Christian for me, but as a lapsed RC it is probably apt.

                  I am also going to delve in to this in therapy.

                  I wrote above about chosing instant gratification over the healthier option of abstaining… I didn’t just mean a physical gratification. I think I have speeded things up in the past in order to get an instant “soothe” and/ or to try to bind a “relationship”.

                  Thanks again for sharing, you are inspiring.

                  • lizzp says:

                    Hi Mary W, yes, think I know what you mean re instant emotional gratification and the soothe. It’s a good point and something I was guilty of in that last relationship…it fueled my investment…sooo hard to resist…I guess that’s where self esteem and boundaries need to come into play for me and watching myself for fantasy mode (I can enter this so subtly and it’s enough to bury those abandonment alerts when I feel vulnerable).

                    I think I may have said somewhere before that it’s really hard for me to identify and name my feelings, a lot of effort, and for me that’s the only way I can find my true worth/value and take care of me. During my conscious physical abstinence in that relationship I was really just winging it in the emotional area, my feelings were in a rush…a rush away from my core to a (barely conscious) fantasy in my mind…hmmm yep I’ll take 60000 of those fine and beautiful stock options…what you think the risk’s too great?…nah, how about I take a gambit on their potential, just this once. So…

                    The point being…, you’re doing great, I’m doing good, we’re all trying. So many of us struggle in this area, and it’s not going to just disappear (at least for me)…I just have to get up each morning and apply myself and have faith that the times when I am fully connected and ‘in’ my self will become more second nature. It’s better that than a sticky morass of undifferentiated pain.

                    Congratulations Mary W on your first month NC with ex separated man (Mr Messiah right?)!. I think you’ve been having some great insights and I always get a lot from reading your posts.
                    Keep well. :-) xo

                    • MaryW says:

                      Dear Lizzp,

                      Thanks for your post. I’m so glad to be able to discuss these things with other people who get the abandonment problem. Especially while my therapist is on her three week break!!!

                      Identifying and naming feelings … yes me too. Though it’s hard to believe it of you because you are so emotionally articulate and insightful to others on here.

                      Yes it’s my four week ‘anniversary’ of NC. I’ve celebrated by throwing myself a pity party all day. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that (four weeks – I should be feeling better!), and I remember you saying something about letting the loss out or accepting the loss – it’s just taking rather a long time. I feel like a freak that I haven’t got over a 6 week affair by now.

                      I am that sticky mass of undifferentiated pain today, jumbling up Mr Messiah with other Misters, and with my EU mother … the root of the abandonment.

                      Today I decided to stop hating Mr. Messiah and just accept that he’s effed up (don’t get me wrong, I dislike him and hate what happened, but there’s no point hating him), and also fully recognise that I was just as responsible as him in the whole debacle. Maybe the second bit of that sentence is what’s brought on such sadness today.

                      I was thinking of Mr Scrabble today and wondering how he reacted when you had made alternative plans for the Wednesday. I know you don’t have that vulnerability where he’s concerned, I was just thinking of you.

                      Right, back to watching a Pema Chodra video (as suggested by Keetseel) – it’s helping me understand the sadness, and she’s incredibly soothing. I can’t soothe myself, or connect with myself, in the way you are able to just yet. But I’ll get there. We will both get better.

                      Thank you for the kind words my friend :)

                • Tee tee says:

                  I have one on this: Sorry for essay!

                  The vanishing / houdini guy was a learning point and useful in many ways. The first time he stayed at mine, i think after the 5th or the 6th date, i’d cooked, and when it came time to sleep. I was panicked!

                  1. I hadn’t had sex (going all the way)for over a year at that point. Had had almosts i.e. receiving oral from the analyst aka *condomless sex guy urgh* guy some 4/5 months prior.

                  2. I liked him and fancied him, but also wanted to take time in getting to know him.

                  3. He understood, so after we kissed and got all a bit heated. He moved to the other side of my bed. Phew my bed is king size phew! So we were saved twice.

                  We had further dates, but then he couldn’t be gotten hold of over a 2.5 week period. In which time, i realised i had some more abandonement shoveling to do. I wrote him a ‘telling off’ email before i read nat’s not on what to do if you feel like telling someone off (hold fire btw). And thereby made an ass of myself. Yep. I felt dumb, i should have just left it. It’d only been three months then.

                  Of course, i don’t know if he houdini’d because we’d only been dating for 2-3months and getting closer minus the sex. Or the no sex so far caused it.

                  Though i did find out from the friend who set us up (it was a blind date last sept 12) said he’d acted like this before in the past when things got too much etc. Still.

                  I also lost a friend too, around when it happened, put so much in perspective. It was like a snap! To focus on those who wanted to be around. And were alive and able to.

                  I’ve learned this year that i do need to take it easy, and be true to myself. Listen to me.
                  If someone gets antsy on account of your wanting to go slow / let things unfold then they are not entirely worth it imo.

                  This quote keeps coming to me, and i am trying to be mindful each day. Really hard not to fuck it up. But, i am trying.

                  ‘When we don’t know what we mean or why we are doing what we do, we are only able to bring chaos and pain to ourselves and others’ Ntozake Shange

                  I did the online dating thing most of this year. mmm na, it is not for me i don’t reckon.

    • Revolution says:

      Nah, Mary. I wouldn’t count you as one of the cowards. There’s a difference between “going dark” because someone is mistreating/abusing/using you (and it would probably end anyway, by their hands) and what ACs do, which is wake up one morning, scratch their belly, check their texts from their harem members and then decide who gets the axe and who gets to move up in the “chain of command.”

      • MaryW says:

        Thanks, Rev. I know, I had to “go dark” for my own sanity (I started NC without announcing it to him, too), but sometimes I feel bad about it. Usually when reading about someone who was dumped by email/ text/ the person simply disappeared.

      • Lara says:

        Yeah I agree with Revolution. There is a big difference between the two, although when I did it a few times, I felt so guilty about it, I had to discontinue it and get back in touch. In the end, he had no trouble doing what Revolution just mentioned: “wake up one morning, scratch their belly, check their texts from their harem members and then decide who gets the axe and who gets to move up in the “chain of command.”

    • micheyl says:

      I agree with the others. Doing what is right for you and keeps you safe is not cowardice! It is bravery!! Don’t let outside definitions rule your behavior. Do what you know is right for you.

    • Sandy says:

      I had to end mine by text as well so please don’t feel bad about it, each time I tried to do it face to face he would worm his way back into my life again, so for me the best way was by text…I don’t believe it was cowardice for me it was self preservation and that is how you should also think of it :-)

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        I agree with the other ladies who say you aren’t a coward. OK, being dumped, rejected, whatever by text is cowardly. However, there seems to me to be a fine line between you guys (Mary W., Sandy, and anyone else here)ending it AFTER the emotional suffering and abuse you’ve experienced at these guys’ hands and an AC just doing it because he’s done toying with you.

        The AC truly is a coward. They don’t like being accountable and/or responsible for ANYTHING they do. Hence using the phone, texting or emails to offload the current victim. You guys took control to stop the suffering and, frankly, probably had no other choice than texting. These guys DON’T answer the phone, they DON’T return calls, they DO disappear as if they’ve been abducted by aliens for a personal tour of a galaxy far, far away and ARE unreachable.

        How else are you supposed to reach them? Don’t beat yourselves up ladies. We already have things we’ve all done that make us cringe. You don’t need to INVENT new things to add on.

        • MaryW says:

          Thanks for all the comments. I suppose I feel I have been a bit of an assclown with some men in the past (due to my own issues), but agree that finishing it by text in the most recent “relationship” wasn’t really cowardly. It was taking action, being brave, and yes Sandy it was also self preservation.

          LaPinturaBella, yes I certainly did enough things to make myself cringe without inventing more :(. The flashbacks of those cringeworthy moments are making NC oh so easy, when I thought it would be near impossible.

  19. Peanut says:

    On the BR movie:

    It gives me chills to think of BR readers and Nat behind a movie.

    Most rom com actresses, despite our saucy Meg Ryan via the 90’s (or was it 80’s), are often portrayed as groveling, silly, horny teenagers that have nothing more important to do than buy clothes, lipstick, and talk about why Brad didn’t call while at “work.”

    Really, America, we contribute to so much that makes the world go round. In fact, we populate it.

  20. Sheela says:

    Nat, you got me doubling up with your holiday update 😀 :D- gino’s and pennies-LOL.Love the little ones<3

    Wishing you the very best for that movie.Wish I could lay my hands on your book sometime on amazon.Gotta save for that…

    Dunno about them relationships but I thank my lucky stars I found you online:) You are so REAL!

    Big hugs,Sis!

  21. me says:

    I think I am finally getting something after all this time. My last encounter with an unavailable man may have just ended after a month in which I ignored the signs. But only a month, go me!

    – On second date, he said he wasn’t a handholder. I thought oh, I will be the “cool” girl who won’t pressure him. This was stage one of him disengaging.

    – Him wanting to be intimate saying “come on, it’ll be fun” – whenever a guy says sex with you will be fun, that’s code for “I’m not that into you but just sex would be great.”

    – I am ashamed to say he pressured me and said his “needs” weren’t being met so I slept with him before I felt ready, and then he fully pulled away just like everything here said. (Foolish girl was I!)

    – His texting became sporadic. Sometimes a lot, sometimes none. Wouldn’t always respond either. Texts were short and mine were long. He didn’t even take the time to spell out “you” or show me in other ways I was worth his time.

    – After the first date which was really great, the first clue was that he didn’t reach out until 10 days later so no, he wasn’t that into me. He said he was “busy” but men who like you make time for you.

    – He asked me out for last minute dates, like texting at 7pm to see if I wanted to eat dinner then.

    – He indicated resentment at paying for dates and that’s when I realized he was not invested in me.

    – When we were intimate, he wasn’t that into touching me. That’s such a red flag, you guys. One of my male friends told me recently that if he likes a girl, he can’t get enough, but if not, he does the bare minimum of contact. Yikes.

    Well, I ended it and the guy seemed hurt. I heard about his difficult background, etc. and part of me thought I should be understanding and consistent and available since he never had that before, but thanks to Natalie’s advice, I realized that was self-defeating. He wasn’t meeting *my* needs for closeness, validation and intimacy. He was driving.

    With him gone, there is now space for a better fit. And guess what? A new person on the horizon. This guy sends completely opposite signals. He can barely wait to contact me despite his busy schedule and has already invested a lot of time and emotional effort in me. He shows me I’m special. Know how I know? I *feel* special around him. Around the other guy (and a few additional unavailable men before him) I never felt that pretty or appreciated. In fact, I felt annoying and apologetic all the time. Huge warning sign that it’s a bad fit. Your man should make you feel wanted and cherished.

    It’s embarrassing sharing here how stupid I have been in the past but I wish I had paid more attention to markers. Thank you, Natalie, for opening my eyes with articles like these.

    ps. a movie, I will go several times with every girlfriend I know!

    • micheyl says:


      please don’t feel embarrassed or stupid. Thank you for sharing your experience. We are all learning and the fact that you are/were able to reflect on his behaviors and recognize that they did not sit right with you is HUGE! And then that you did something about it – you ended it! (Some people in 20+ year relationships can’t even do that!!) I am so happy for you that you also can recognize your feelings that are right with this new guy. Recognize, label and appreciate them. This is so awesome!

      I have dated a couple guys since my epiphany EUM and you are right about the red flags. I was casually dating one guy and he was nice and fun but I know I am ending it. He didn’t rush to call me. He called at first, but now texts only. We slept together too soon (my call, and yes I am working on that…) But this last date was the kicker. We were having dinner out and I was a bit tipsy and he says – Well I have a friend who is coming into town (female) who is working here for 3 weeks and staying at my home. So I won’t be calling you during that time. I didn’t want you to think I was blowing you off so I wanted to tell you about it. – HMMM, so instead of blowing me off permanently, you are blowing me off temporarily? That is SO much better!! then he goes to tell me that he would be with her but she is 39 and wants a baby and he doesn’t want to go down that road again (he has 2 kids my children’s ages) and he’d like to set her up with his good friend….

      All the while in my drunken haze I’m like, what the what??? I know we are not in a relationship, that we are free to do what we want, that we are just casual, but I am finally at a point in my life where I can say, I know all that, but uh nnnaaahhhhhh, I don’t think so. This is not okay with me. Flush!! (Haha, I finally can type that!) So I didn’t say anything at the time, just good bye when we parted. But if and when he calls me after his “friend” leaves town, I am going to tell him I don’t want to continue whatever it is we have going.

      Any suggestions on how I can word it???

      And it feels good in a way that I am not devastated by this. That I feel good and strong about this decision. Maybe I wasn’t that emotionally invested (still EU myself…) but at least I didn’t fall for him just because he was being “nice” or kissed well or we had sex.

      I really think if there is a movie, we all need to have a special VIP party for ourselves at the premiere (Very Important Posters!)

      • LaPinturaBella says:


        You could say something along the lines of “It has been very enjoyable for me to get to know you and I do appreciate the time we’ve spent together. However, I want to be upfront with you when I say that I don’t think what we have together is something that is going to progress and I am focused on finding a long term partner. I wish you the best in life and finding the right woman that is perfect for you.”

        Just a thought.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          OMG! That should certainly burst his bubble/deflate his ego in a “nice” way. Hahahaha!

          • LaPinturaBella says:

            Maybe I should become a diplomat…iron fist in a velvet glove kinda thing??? Hee hee.

      • Lilia says:

        I wouldn´t fret about it. If he contacts you again just tell him “Who is this? Mike??? (or Brad or Glenn or whatever) Oooh, right, yes, now I remember you. Well, thanks for calling but I´m terribly busy at the moment, I´ll get back at you when I have the time.”
        If he texts, just ignore.
        No need to waste more thoughts on him.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          You ladies are some kinda toughies. I thought I was tough, sensible and so much had it together until now. Hurt by a man. SHIT! And I set myself up for it.

      • Allison says:


        Personally, I wouldn’t respond. As you said, you are casual, but I think the whole thing was disrespectful.


      • Maeve says:

        micheyl–ewww! Men have gotten so coarse about sex. WTH? Maybe I’m not coming from a good or kind place and have no problem sticking it to creeps, but how about just stating that the arrangement you had with him has run its course, and is no longer appealing. I dunno—these guys seem to treat women as a commodity and I think it’s time they get a taste of their own medicine. Am I too mean?

        • micheyl says:

          AHA! You ladies are awesome. I guess I will say something related to I guess I don’t see it working yada yada. If only I could flush the EUM… Why oh why can’t I just do it??

        • Tinkerbell says:


          Mean? Hardly. You couldn’t dream up being as mean as some of the turds out there.

    • Maeve says:

      thanks for sharing your experience. Good luck with the new guy!

    • Allison says:


      I’ve found that if a man does not respond after within a few days (first date), he’s not interested.

  22. Sue says:

    Thanks for the responses. You know what else I noticed from reading this site? That I also have a womn friend who is EU. She called me the other day and I thought how she always leaves me feeling baffled, rejected and frustrated (over 24 years!). And she has no clue how she is. I have kept my distance for a long time and will leave it at casual infrequent contact. Yay, I am learning!!!

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Woo Hoo! Yay!!! Isn’t is great how this stuff just finally sinks in and starts working in every facet of our lives! Congrats.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Not long ago I was exuberant because I had realized that a lot of stuff that I needed to learn was sinking in. Does it mean that you won’t still make mistakes? Does it mean that I’ve regressed and have to begin from the beginning again? Currently, I’m suffering from unrequited love. I think one loses self-confidence in the process. Suddenly, I don’t feel very smart or “together” anymore. It takes soooo long to get ALL your ducks in a row. I’m about ready to just give up — on men, at least.

        • LaPinturaBella says:


          I don’t think it puts us back at square one when it sinks in and we still make a mistake. I think it’s actually a reminder that while it did sink in, the heart maybe still has some catching up to do. Life in a huge, convoluted meandering path, not a straight line (although my controlling, perfectionistic side REALLY wishes it were straight. Grrr)

          I feel ya on the wanting to give up part. But I won’t and you won’t either. This last relationship was/is a HUGE step forward for you. You risked it. You were vulnerable and present. And YOU were/are loved in return. This is NOT a wash, rinse, repeat situation. This WAS real, not the AC/EUM fantasy-land e-ticket ride to hell.

          Not every relationship IS THE ONE. This one came damn close (which is why you are mourning.) But in my view, this was a damn good practice run for you. You will be friends with him after the grieving is over. AND this has prepared you for the guy who is perfect in EVERY way for you. You got a wonderful gift from this last man and from the universe. Because you now know YOU are capable of being EA, attracting someone who is EA and being both feet in!

          • Tinkerbell says:

            LaPintura. Just saw this. So easy to miss some of these posts that are important for our own personal consumption. Thank you. I believe every word you’ve said.

    • Maeve says:

      Sue–interesting you should say that. I’d say some of my worst EU experiences have been with women friends-probably because I let my guard down more. I’ve ended it with a few, without drama or fanfare or a blowup—just because I got sick of what felt like a one-sided endeavor on my part. And you know what? Each one was shocked that I cut things off. I’ve become a lot more vigilant about cold fish friends so it doesn’t happen anymore.

  23. Tabitha says:

    A BR Movie?!!! OMG I am sooo excited! Won’t it be funny though when we are in the audience and the EUM is future faking/fast forwarding away and the rest of the audience are lapping it up, and we are all laughing our heads off?

  24. expresso says:

    When I started looking at my core values a few months ago I put collaboration/teamwork and congruency among my top ones. I feel/felt a lot of grief that I didn’t really have a partner or a co-pilot in terms of my marriage, family or our business. I “think” I was the driver and my ex was in the back, often asleep, waking up from time to time to ask where we were. I wanted somebody sitting up front with me and often asked or encouraged him but often felt completely alone when there was a crisis or something difficult to discuss and resolve because I actually feel he wasn’t in the car during those times. I craved that kind of collaboration which I also see as deeply compassionate and empathic too.
    But maybe HE was the driver…because by his refusal to share in decision making he pretty much determined how the car was going to go.

    I can see now that there was no capacity in our marriage to have this kind of co-pilot relationship. My ex hates making decisions, particularly ones that involve him taking a stand or speaking up, he has no boundaries and is a people pleaser and he doesn’t KNOW what he wants most of the time. Even the smallest decisions he will turn around to me. I actually don’t know what his core values are and I am not sure he does. He doesn’t like “planning ahead”, is often impractical and he doesn’t think much about the future and the consequences of his actions. So not good co-pilot material, at least for me. His father was a “functional alcoholic” who was kept afloat by the money coming in through his wife. he was also a womanizer and someone who was entitled and pretty lazy actually. A family friend once said that “he was a man that couldn’t handle real life” and I often wonder now about my ex in this regard. The complaints I am getting about preparing the house for sale (regular maintenance done by everybody) are unbelievable to me. I don’t like Sarah Palin one bit but I find myself thinking “man up” quite a bit these days.

    I think about my role in taking the driver’s seat and somehow enabling his passenger role. If I look into my heart I know that I didn’t want it that way and that was why I tried the therapy route. I resented how he could doze off in the back and then I would take the “blame” for making the decisions when he wouldn’t step up to the plate. He has a big martyr complex. It is actually quite passive aggressive.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Wow! Two tings. First, I think your ex WAS the covert driver. As in letting you think you had the wheel but grabbing it changing course when he “woke up” long enough to determine that wasn’t the course he had charted for you too.

      Second, a lot of people who grow up in alcoholic families actually learn the alcoholic behaviors. They may not have a problem with alcohol themselves, but they ACT just like the alcoholic family member. They learn the dysfunctional behaviors. That’s one of the reasons that Al-Anon is so necessary…for support and for the other family members to learn healthy dynamics.

  25. espresso says:

    PS To have a co-pilot relationship there also has to be a lot of trust and respect. when my ex sat in the front from time to time and did made suggestions about the direction to take more and more I found I didn’t actually respect his opinions because I knew he didn’t plan/think ahead, wouldn’t actually remember what he had said and was afraid to make decisions especially if it meant he had to talk directly to somebody else or seek advice or speak up. Driving off the road was not an option for me.

  26. Mis(t)er-able says:

    I read Natalie’s piece and was confused. How do I know what I think is a landmark truly is one. I was confused by the ex, too, so figures.

    Another thing I get from the comments is about family of origin. The ex and I both had to be self-reliant and take care of our own needs early. But I also had to deal with narcissistic parents with anger issues.

    I should thank the ex, except I’m on nc, to say I’ve figured out my people pleasing taking care of ways stem from very old stuff to keep positive feelings and avoid the wrath. At the expense of having my needs met. She pushed the right button on our last argument, one of three we had over the course of an entire year -telling, that I was being mean and controlling.

    My therapist* reviewed the texting argument and said it was not at all line the ex claimed. I didn’t get it at first, but then therapist said, look at what you’re saying. And look at how she’s not acknowledging Your feelings. Look at how she turned it around to make her feelings all that matters. I’m paraphrasing. But that was huge, since I thought ex and I were able to have good open discussions. Ha! It’s because I’d give in and let her have her way.
    * I’m in therapy for stress and depression and this relationship or whatever it was provided lots of material.

    • LaPinturaBella says:


      I too have a narcissistic, controlling and angry parent…father for me. Funny, every single man I’ve been in a relationship has been shades of dad.

      We learned at a very young age that narcissistic behavior, our needs being ignored and thus people pleasing to avoid the anger and becoming the target is all “normal.” That’s what you’ve known.

      Therapy is going to be a HUGE help to you. At this point, I view the AC merely as the messenger sent from the universe to move me along my path to healthy and whole.

      It will be worth it in the end!

  27. 2Fearce says:


    I tend to be the blunt type so brace yourself. He’s driving….while asleep at the wheel. You’re going along for the ride (passenger). You might grab the wheel every once in a while when you think you have to but he gets to decide what he will or won’t do…and u stay in the car regardless. You’ve said…he won’t x so I’m stuck for at least a year. He’s never had to pay attention to the road, that’s what you are for. Please do pay attention to the road…just make Su

    Are u getting an advanced degree in ur possibly-soon-to-be ex husband? U seem to know all the things that contributed to him being who he is… Y are u still in the car? Moreover, y is everything about what he refuses to do. You are refusing as well aren’t you… Refusing to get out the car!

  28. 2Fearce says:

    Just make sure you’re not on the same road with him!

  29. dancingqueen says:

    Oh Peanut big hugs…the idea to lean in is a very good one. Sometimes I think that humans choose their own pain: we fear being alone and thus run from it but when we know we are alone that is really a gift…that is the first opportunity to explore ourselves so that we can see and love both our light and darkness.

    Just hang in there. Yes self esteem is more meaningful than blowing up the ego of someone dysfunctional…that is what you are calling love sweetie and that is not love.

    • Keetseel says:

      Pema Chodron writes a lot about the idea of leaning into your pain (I can’t remember her turn of phrase–maybe she says you “embrace it” or “sit in the discomfort” or something like that). I have learned a lot about grieving by reading her books and listening to her lectures. She saved me from endless nights with a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes for me, when I found out I didn’t have to punish myself for being sad by making by body suffer too.

      • MaryW says:

        Keetseel, thank you so much for this suggestion. I just watched a few minutes of one of her lectures on Youtube and I feel I’ve struck oil. She is so soothing and compassionate, in a way that has brought (much needed) tears to my eyes x

    • Peanut says:


      I am certainly learning how to redefine love. It was not AT ALL what I thought it was really.

    • Tee tee says:

      On pain and grieving and letting go. I read sisters of the yam last year. And will be re-reading it again. It is written with black women in mind, self recovery and healing. But, i personally feel all women can benefit from it. I even lent it to my while male colleague and he found it had things he had never thought of, about the experiences of women esp black women in this case.

      There’s a quote i’m paraphrasing here by alice walker that says we shouldn’t try to avoid the pain by blocking it. Rather it is by passing through and feeling our feelings we can potentially grow. Will see if i have it once home. I think i saved it on my wall

  30. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    Vulnerable moments feel like positive episodes, following triggers–someone says something to me, or I am presented with a situation, and I check out for a moment, and another me appears: She feels different to me; she just appears, and I can’t stop her. She doesn’t ‘do’ me harm; she’s just emotionally available, and I’m not–not yet, but I feel her coming–this is different than enforcing boundaries; this is different than feeling feelings–this is expressing who I am; this is allowing others to see into me, and every time she appears, I know she is filling me.

    It feels like I can’t sustain it, but I know what’s happening to me will be.

    I’ve missed out on some pretty special moments due to a lack of vulnerability.

    Yes, I remember…I’m taking those moments back, I want to taste all of them, as sweet emotionally available me. :)

    ~~~~~~~~On Leaving Sugarland

    • Bhutan says:

      Great stuff Sugarland! I’ve been following your story–congratulations! I know how hard you have been working. :)

      • DiggingDeeper says:

        I’m just luv, luv, luvin’ your story right now Sugarland! You sound so much better.

        Keep working. I have a GREAT feeling about YOU. I understand you so well.

        Keep moving forward! :)

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Sugarland what you’ve said is beautiful. Deep. I’m not sure I fully get it but it sounds like something I need to read over again and think about while I deal with my current emotional pain/disappointment/disillusionment. On the contrary, I, unlike you need to be far less vulnerable. I envy you.

          • On Leaving Sugarland says:

            Bhutan, DiggingDeeper, and Tinkerbell,

            I thank you for your support and encouragement. You are most kind.

            Tinkerbell, I am sorry you are troubled and in pain, but I believe in your faith, you will know peace and joy–as I know, you walk with God, and know when to call His name.

            Sending you love and light,
            Yours in the struggle,
            On Leaving Sugarland, Xxx~~~

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Aww, thanks Sugarland. It occurred to me a little while ago. I’m so much a better person. In a year or two ago, since finding BR starting therapy,and strenthening my spiritual belief in The Holy Trinity I’ve discovered something new and wonderful about myself. I have always diregarded others wants and needs. I would impose my will on others to give me what I want. Fortunately, I’m able to back off, allow people to be their own person and stop forcing outcomes. I’m in pain, still, but at the same time I feel a sense of relief for myself and more loving kindness toward him. ED is a terrible thing for a man to experience, plus losing his bro to suicide just a few weeks ago. It’s been too much. I feel proud of myself that I can let go even though it is not what I want. We may speak again or we may not. I’m leaving it up to him to steer the ship. He knows I am very sexual for my age and prepared to give much in return. This has contributed to his feelings of deeper inadequacy than if I was ambivalent. I’d forgotten he said that a few days ago. Actually, he would do well in therapy to deal with either of these issues. But, I will not be the one to suggest that. I’ve done enough.

  31. Lara says:

    Interesting post and comments so far. I was definitely the passenger in the relationship but I think through very little fault of my own. I was manipulated into that situation, after he realized I had gotten attached to him because I had lost my virginity to him, etc., and started blackmailing me — threatening to break up if I didn’t do things he wanted me to do, or have the “relationship” on his terms, i.e. not have a relationship at all… but pretend to,when he was horny enough to disregard his lack of attraction to me, and want to have sex with me… I am surprised I took on such a passive, passenger role. I have always been very aggressive in my life, and very strong and opinionated. But this was my first relationship ever, and maybe some people can be very different in relationships compared to outside relationships..? I am not sure. But I noticed that the longer I stayed in my ‘relationship’, the less opinionated and assertive I became in all other aspects of my life, and became more conforming. I think it was his mind games about how women are more attractive when they are “submissive” and “conforming” and I wanted to do anything to get him to love me. Stupid of me. I am slowly regaining my self-confidence and going back to my old self. Hopefully I won’t repeat the same mistake again. I definitely didn’t with the next AC who came my way and tried to booty call me after date 1.

    • LaPinturaBella says:


      I think it is possible to be different in a romantic relationship than how you normally are when you have trauma in your background. I think taking the “passenger” roll is tied to healing that trauma. We pick ACs because they are somehow familiar and it’s much more important to please them than friends, co-workers, random store clerks, whoever. The outcome with the romantic partner (and I do use that term loosely) has a lot more riding on it as it relates to being good enough.

      At least I’ve found that to be the case for me.

  32. dancingqueen says:

    So question: last relationship I never fell in love though I tried, that ended pretty much civily, relationship before that I was the passenger for the eu narc who brought me here and I learned a lot painfully…now it is three years later and I just had my fourth date with a fantastic guy who is really smart and kind and decent but I am just not feeling any really hardly any. It is so hard to meet men in my 40s and I don’t rely on chemistry but I have to have some at least…I just don’t see this feeling right. The last relationship was the same. I am not eu snd attracted to assholes either but I just cannot forcd myself to kiss someone who I don’t care about kissing and he is super ardent and really putting in an effort : what do I do here? I really like him as a person and we have had somelovely long talks and he has opened up a lot. I feel awful:-(

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Everyone,-

      Why is it, with a man we like very much, it has to be an intense love affair, or nothing? I’m not saying we’re all like that but it seems like most of us are, as per our posting. Why can’t we just be friends, go out enjoy ourselves, not even have him spending a lot of money or go “dutch”, and leave it at that? Is it us, or is it the men that invariably push for more? I’m currently experiencing sadness because it seems I AM THE ONE who needed more. My recently downgraded “boyfriend” is such a kind, loving, dynamically interesting person. We had/have EVERYTHING in our relationship for it to be considered healthy.a relationship in which we both experienced a good time but more importantly we introduced each to new things. We learned and grew together. We’ve had the utmost respect and caring for each other, and now he is ever so slowly pulling away. Now he’s saying he misses me( after both of us reducing interaction) but he is the one who is the loner. He is the one who doesn’t need anyone to add fulfillment, embellishment or excitement to his life. I’ve never known anyone who could be so alone and yet perfectly content, even happy in his own skin. So when he says he misses me I don’t believe it. I think he misses the conversation and my presence in short intervals. When we went on vacation together (the first time in the 10 months of our r/l that we were with each other every day) I gave sooo much of my heart to him. I really fell in love. But, by the 2nd week I could feel him needing more time alone, and acting as if I were invisible. I’m really having a hard time dealing with this. I guess I thought I could love enough for the both of us. But, I knew that was not possible. Yet I wanted to try. I’m trying hard to accept just a friendship but it’s sooo difficult for me. I wish I could overhaul my intense emotions, but I am who I am. The thing is, I know that, being the way he is we can’t have a live-in situation, ever. I don’t want anyone else ever again. He was the closest to my “perfect” partner. I hope that as the weeks go by I will stop feeling so sad. The trouble is, I’m toying with whether I should go NC. He hasn’t done anything wrong. It would be for my emotional stability. He thinks I’m the best woman he’s ever met. Yeah, I know. Sounds like BS, right? But, from what he’s told me, (having been married 3 times), I believe it. When we first started seeing each other, I thought the 3 unsuccessful marriages was a red flag. But, I ignored it. Guess I made the same mistake so many of us do, thinking we’re going to be the exception. God, it’s so painful when you KNOW BETTER, still don’t listen to your gut, and it all turns out to be far less than what you wanted. I just don’t know what I am going to do. I still want him for a friend because he’s a good person and we really enjoy each other. He can’t help the way he is. Maybe I should tell him I need a break, don’t call me or email or try to see me. Maybe he should just leave me alone until I’ve had time to regroup and try to re-adapt back to the way my life was before he came into it. I feel so sad. I don’t understand why I can advise (others seemingly in control), and yet I can’t run my own effin life satisfactorily for any extended period of time. There is no damn reason why with all my years of life experience and intelligence, I should be nursing a broken heart over a man. Has anyone ever experienced anything like thus? How did you handle it? Please. Feedback, please?

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Can a man like this still be EUM? I hate the thought of thinking of him in those terms when he HAS given much, just not as much as I need.

        • yoghurt says:

          Heya Tink

          I remember your last post about this because I nearly replied to it then, but I can’t find it now – am I right in thinking that you’ve downgraded him because you didn’t feel he was social enough?

          The point that I nearly made then (and decided against, because I wasn’t sure I was right) was that I’d consider socialising to be an interest that is/isn’t shared, rather than a value. I think that a relationship can work if two people with differing social needs are prepared to compromise.

          That’s my 2ps-worth on it, except to say that I’ve always thought he sounded nice. Hope you’re okay (((hugs)))

          (ps STOP beating yourself up. It’s not like life comes with a handbook!)

          • yoghurt says:

            whoops, also meant to add…

            as someone who needs a fair bit of time alone to recharge (typical introvert), I can attest to the fact that somebody can need some time away from you and yet still feel pretty strongly. I’ve been mad about people in the past and yet still need to go off by myself for a few hours.

            • MaryW says:

              Yoghurt I agree. I am an introvert. Tinkerbell, his personality, to need alone time, is not necessarily a reflection of how he feels about you, or a measure of the depth of his love.

              It’s a strange one to explain, but as an introvert one needs alone time to recharge the batteries … being with ANYONE (including someone I adore) can be depleting.

              Just trying to give an introverts point of view … which doesn’t mean that I think you should settle if you’re not happy.

              I know a couple who are strong, happy but who live separately. They holiday together, spend several nights a week together but just don’t want to live together. I suppose they are very fortunate that are both happy with that.

              All the best, and thanks for the advise you give to others here. It’s appreciated x

        • Maeve says:

          Another introvert here. I’ve tended to be with introverts because I’m not going to ever be a party animal and need a certain amount of solitude. I’ve been around introvert/extrovert pairings, and there’s ALWAYS the struggle of the exie wanting more social stimulation and the innie dreading a party/too many houseguests etc. The successful couplings take the time to study introversion and extroversion (actually pretty interesting) and learning where the other is coming from. And then negotiate.

          One thing to understand is when an innie has had enough social time. they’ve really had enough. Physically and emotionally enough. Anyway, a healthy innie/exie pairing can really complement each other and get each other out of their comfort zone. The key thing though, is understanding and respecting the others’ needs. No one is going to change, it’s genetic.

        • DiggingDeeper says:

          Hold up Tinkerbell, slooowwwwwwwwww

          I would take a deep breath here.

          From everything you’ve written about this guy, at the very least, I would have a conversation with him and tell him exactly how I feel. I don’t know; have you told him you love him? Have you expressed how you felt like he was pulling away?

          Now, for me, and this is just ME, I don’t have a problem with a guy needing space and time alone because I need that kind of space too; I like being alone sometimes for days–just me, so I understand that, but just because I need time alone doesn’t mean I don’t love and cherish the people in my life. As others have said, I just need and want time to regroup and reflect…do my thing-thangs that make me happy …blah,….

          I think this is one kind of risk that Natalie is talking about–you have to risk being vulnerable enough to talk to this dude.

          Ok, I’m rambling, but if I were you, and if all of the good things about this guy are true, and I was in love with him, oh hell yeah, I could so see myself talking this one out…”Baby, I love you, and I felt like you were pulling away from me, and I need….”

          And love is love Tinkerbell; falling in love can happen at any age, and thus, so can heart break (there is no panacea for heart break)…and, out-sight is always flawed because sure you can tell someone else what to do because you aren’t considering all of the ‘issues’ the other person is really dealing with because you can’t because you aren’t the other person.

          So, remember I’m not you, so you have to do this your way with your own insight.

          Falling in love, wow, it can scare us at any age, but you are going to be alright Tinkerbell whatever happens. :)

          Oh, and whatever happens, REMEMBER it is NOT a reflection of your self-worth. So, please stop beating precious Tinkerbell up–she needs you right now because she sounds a little scared, which is normal, and…you know….

          Good luck to you!

      • lizzp says:

        Talk honestly with him if he is as you say then what’s the problem you have with trusting him? Does he love you? Is he devoted to you? Same questions for you. Do you want marriage? Is he unwilling (his fourth huh?) What’s your real fear about living with him? Fess up.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Thank you so much Yogurt, Mary, Maeve and Lizzp. Well, Lizz you said “fess up” the problem is INTENSELY PERSONAL, but I want to know what you guys would do. Also, it’s the first problem of its kind to be introduced on BR (I’m pretty sure) and Natalie, sorry it’s off topic. As you all know I am older and he is older. But the problem not only affects older men- any out with it Tink. He has ED. I’ve reassured over and over again that penetration is not critical for me, but i must have LOTS of hugging, and kissing, etc. He has, over time, become so despondent over his loss of manhood-(he’s said repeatedly, “I’m only half a man”) that he in unable to give me the affection I require. And, I feel like gee whiz, I’m already making a big sacrifice here telling you I can do without complete sex, the least you could do is give me what I need. It is sooo sad. I wish so much that he were an SOB. It would be a lot easier for me. so I could have intense anger instead of intense sadness.
          Mary you said that his desire for alone time is not necessarily a “measure of the depth of his love”.
          I even told him this morning that when we were together day after day he “acted as if I was invisible”. I didn’t understand his retreating from my presence and I took it personally.
          Maeve, we are truly “exie” and “inie”. This situation is new for us together to be dealing with. We love each other very much, moreso than a torrid “in love” situation. Because he has given much of himself to me, I am willing to work on “us” diligently. But, I am also a very passionate, intense person and perhaps this drains him quickly? I don’t know. But I can’t change who I am and he can’t change who he is. Should we just talk more and try to come to a deeper understanding? I love him dearly. And it’s not feeling sorry for him, although I easily could. But, he is really handling his inadequacy quite well, and I respect him for that. I am just so sad and don’t know how to handle this at all. The only reason I even told you guys is because we talk about EVERYTHING, my sources for discussing something so personal are limited, and it’s something new on BR that I’ve not seen anyone deal with, even though this isn’t the place for it. Please help.

          • sushi says:


            there is a lot of help for ED ( family doctor) has he tried that?
            I don`t know, seems to me that the responsibility for the progress of this relationship is mostly on your shoulders at the moment while he is busy pulling away. The relationship is at a turning point. You need to talk to him and express your needs, do not keep putting your needs aside because he`s shown you an x amount of `good`. ED builds tension in a relationship and you can`t difuse that tension by yourself.Do you know also why his marriages broke down? I have had one experience similar to yours but there were flags to start I was ignoring because the guy seemed so refreshingly and for a change into me and soulmatey stuff was all over the place and I kind of felt like you and then, while I was twisting myself into a pretzel florencing him and his ED _ really ugly stuff came out, which was the actual reason for his ED. Soulmatey feelings were actually a subconscious recognition of the disfunction from the past. I`m not at all saying your situation might be the same, hope this is not sounding like that, it`s just that I remember feeling like you and what I needed then was a reality check. What have you got left if you take away the ED, the pulling away,the feeling of loss you are experiencing? Tink, you can`t be in a relationship, intovert or not and be left craving warmth and loving. If you decide to be friends with him you will feel you want more. You need to look after Tink first.I would say f++k him feeling depleted, you are feeling depleted big time. Hugs, hugs, hugs, I do hope I`m talking rubbish.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Thanks Digging for your response. Last night I called him and we had a long talk. I was reassured and feel better. He does love me. It is def mutual. He was cheerfully sharing events of his day and asking me mine, talking about cooking his dinner and thinking “this is the way Tink taught me to do it”. But there is another underlying problem which I’ve elaborated about on the previous post or later in this one? Look for it. Some HEAVY stuff, I promise you. If you’re inclined I welcome what you have to say and thank you so much for taking the time.

              • Tinkerbell says:


                You are right, though. I have to be fulfilled, too. And, yes I’ve been feeling that if we remain just friends I will always want more. But, after a long talk I’m reassured that (as much as he is able) he feels as deeply about me as I do about him. I am comforted, but still mindful of how things are going between us, and coping with MY issues around this whole thing, also.

            • Tinkerbell says:


              Thank you for answering my request for help. The thing you said that stands out most for me is: “You can’t be in a relationship introvert or not, craving warmth and loving. If you decide to be friends with him you will feel you want more. Sushi, you’ve said it in a nutshell. I know that, and that is why I’ve so worried and upset, not knowing what to do. i know it has to be stay and work things out, or go NC. It can’t be just “friends because I’ll be more frustrated than ever. We had a long convo last night and I feel much better today. Also, because he’s mourning the loss of his brother who committed suicide 5’6 weeks ago, this is not the time for me to be jumping up and down about MY NEEDS. It can wait. I’m strong enough to support him in all of it, because he has done and given me so much. The ED is not his fault. Of course, he’s despondent over it. His brother killing himself is not his fault either. This is not the time for me to check out on the relationship. We both owe to ourselves to slow down and work on this together.

              • sushi says:


                sounds like he`s got a platefull of difficult stuff to deal with. Time is what you both need and things will unfold. Keeping fingers crossed x

          • Maeve says:

            Tinkerbell–it sounds like his despondency over ED is what might’ve been driving some of the need for space. And yeah, that’s a whole other issue unto itself.

            I haven’t encountered the issue of ED as of yet, but it’s on my radar as I’m dealing with that age group. So I don’t know what to say. From a more general view, like any baggage, it’s his baggage and you can be supportive, but ultimately it’s his issue to research and find a solution. Men fancy themselves as problem solvers, so let him solve the problem.

            • lizzp says:

              Maeve, Yes. Tinkerbell, I agree with Maeve, and I think what she says could be very important for the ongoing success of your relationship with him. I get from your comments that you two love each other. Longer reply is down thread.xo

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Thanks a lot Maeve,

              I’ve just realized I’m a Florence. Don’t know why it never occured to me before being a retired RN. But anyway, I need to be less intense (there I go with that word, again), and just TALK to him more about us. We spend a great deal of time talking about current event, sports, everything except OUR relationship, deepest feelings. Although, that’s not true either. He has been quite open about his feelings for me. He admires my qualities without deifying me, which I love. We share our opinions pertaining to each openly. I guess since he seems to require progressively more alone time I’ve been in a subtle panic-if there is such a thing as panicking subtly.
              But, to respond to something you said – I do think his despondency over his ED has caused his need for more alone time. Then, on top of that, his brother committed suicide 5-6 weeks ago. So this man has been dealing with serious issues. I’ve been going through it all with him in support. Some else said that this is not the time to decide OUR FUTURE. I feel better since we talked last night. I’ll try to stop being needy. Thank you, Maeve.

          • lizzp says:

            Hey Tinkerbell, I left a reply down thread under your comment about Michaeyl’s (sp) situation.

  33. gyserboy says:

    Hi All,

    The link below I think gives an extended understanding of driver/narcissist mentality and behaviour (heads up in that it is lengthy but worth the read).

    It is a true story/testimonial and it has been very insightful for myself especially the ‘unconditional love the perpetrator expects yet fails/refuses even to put in return effort’ perspective. Who would have thought selfish behaviour is a condition of unconditional love, mmm perplexing take but not so at the same time.

    There is a part two and will post that through in due course.

    Unbelievable how some human beings are shit at being human beings, and the tragic thing is, the majority of them well know it!!

    • Tulipa says:

      Thank you for the link led to some very interesting reading.
      Cannot decide if he is narcissistic or not because there was no hot phase, but I still need help getting over him so other posts were very helpful.

    • Maeve says:

      Thanks for posting this. Supposedly people with narcissistic personality disorder are rare among us. But I think there are a heck of a lot of wounded souls with naricissist tendencies–those who exhibit traits but aren’t all out mentally ill. I have a feeling that’s whom a lot of us here are dealing with. I have managed to cross paths with a couple of full blowns but avoided getting sucked in. Truthfully, they were both scary. For all intents and purposes though, narcissist traits and behaviors are something to keep an eye out for. When you can step back objectively and observe someone’s game, they lose their hold on you. At this point, I consider myself a student of human behavior. It’s fascinating what you see when you keep your own emotions out of it.

      • MaryW says:

        I agree, Maeve, there are lots of people with narcissitic tendencies without having the full disorder.

        The article was interesting (and a bit *ouch*). I’ve never encountered anyone as bad as the man described in the article, who seemed very aware of what he was doing, but I’ve had brushes with men who have exhibited very similar behaviour!

        I like this line in the article “love does not USE people, love does not ABUSE people, love does not DEVALUE people and love does not DISCARD or ABANDON people and toss them to the side like rubbish.”

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hey Maeve,

        A short while back I wrote about the careless overuse of the term “Narc” on BR and how we’re not all psychiatrists so we should not be throwing it around without any forethought. What I should have underlined at that time is, “Yes, individuals that display “narcissistic tendencies” is a phenomenon that we BR posters have seen far too frequently. Thanks.

        • Maeve says:

          Tinkerbell, yeah–I have to watch it myself because I see a freakin’ Narc under every bed. lol!

          I think anyone who grew up in an alcoholic home will be exposed to narcissist traits (here in the States, I think more than 50% of the population has someone in their family lineage who was an alkie).

          Last year, when I started to read medical descriptions of what a full blown NPD was, I had to stop and consider whether my father had been one. The possibility blew my mind because I know he was capable of deep compassion and caring even though his wires were all messed up. A narcissist fakes it, never feels it deep. I concluded he was on the spectrum of narcissist tendencies, definitely not NPD. Bad enough. Bad enough.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            My dad was an alkie, too. I’ve never thought that my way of interacting with other men could have been affected by that fact. But, of course, it has had to have an effect. And, not that it would have affected me, but ironically, the drinking rendered him impotent, and my mother took another lover because of it. Wow! Maybe that could be a reason I’m so understanding of my friend’s situation. Unconsciously, I’m trying to be a better woman than my mom was? Hmmm. I HAVE always tried to come on top where she was concerned.

            • Maeve says:

              oh, that’s interesting. I wonder if using your mother as a barometer for your own behavior is a way of not having your own boundaries–kind of like bringing your mother along into every relationship. Don’t know the answer to that. Have a feeling I might do this too. yikes!

              Oh and yeah, your relationship with your father factors in big time with lovers. It’s scary as hell.

              I had an interesting dynamic with my father where, as the oldest, I stood up to him. I was also a softie and very sensitive, but when I didn’t take his crap, it was like he respected me and relied on someone being that way. Then he’d come back and start the crap again. I always joked he’d be a great person if someone was there to kick his arse everyday.

              I’ve avoided that dynamic in relationships because I know it would make me the bitch, but man, the inclination is there…

  34. runnergirl says:

    Hi Natalie and everybody,

    Holy Crow, I have been implementing every BR principle in my life and it has been incredible. I’m finally piloting my life. At the moment, I don’t need or want a co-pilot. I have been facing every negative belief I’ve internalized only to find out it isn’t true. I’ve been watching my thoughts: I’m not photogenic enough. The pics prove otherwise. I’m not going to be taken seriously. I’m being taken enormously seriously. I don’t have enough design sense in designing a website. Actually, I do. In fact, I have some tremendous skill. Thanks to you all, I have been conscious of my “I can’t do that thoughts”. I’ve been waking up every morning with I can’t do that. By the end of the day, I’ve done it. My agenda now is an oddly political agenda which requires some joint work with folks. I’ve met some wonderful people. My BR principles remain intact and stronger than ever. I’m having so much fun. I’m in my element. Politics just happens to be my passion. Once I unloaded the wanna-be co-pilots who were sinking the plane…I’m flying solo! The exMM is being helpful but he is not allowed in my house, my space and my life. He can be as helpful as he wants. He isn’t, however, getting laid. And I’m not going back to being an effing OW. So, let him help. He isn’t my vision of a co-pilot anymore. He has a wife, that is his co-pilot. So, this is totally fun, exhilarating, exhausting, and thrilling.

    I’m doing what I love. I found me. Maybe there will be a co-pilot down the road, maybe not. Meanwhile, I found me. Thank you Natalie and the BR community.

    For all the struggling OW’s, you can get out. Stick with BR. I’m incredibly grateful Natalie for everything you have created. I was so lost until I found you and BR.

    Oh and while I’m starting up a major campaign, my daughter is packing to go back to school, to live by herself, with no guy. Yeah for both of us!

    • Andee says:

      I could not like this comment more! I’m not exactly there yet, but I do feel content to be on my own and exploring my own boundaries without outside interference for now. I am hoping I’ll get where you are, comfortable with my own self, own agenda and own aspirations that lead me down unexpected paths of self-discovery and fulfillment outside of a romantic relationship.

    • Revolution says:


      What an uplifting comment to read. I so admire you, and again have to say that I’m glad that there are women like you whom I can look up to.

      I especially like the fact that you are doing the things every day that you think you can’t do. I can so relate, and often wonder how intelligent women like us can arrest logic when it comes to ourselves, and not see our own accomplishments and talents as clearly as we see our foibles and outright imperfections.

      I’m proud to be in your camp, Runner. Thanks for all you contribute here on BR.

    • A says:

      Runnergirl–An inspirational post. So happy for you and proud of you :)

    • Maeve says:

      Ditto….such an uplifting post. I look forward to implementing what I learn here in other areas of my life and other relationships because romance is just one little area of dysfunction. I have to heal all over.

    • Bhutan says:

      Well done! I really believe finding our true selves is the key. I really believe we have to both create our own lives and live our own bliss. :)

    • Learner says:

      Congratulations on not only flying happily solo, but *soaring* to new heights. Congrats to your daughter, too. I hope all goes well with her move. Xo

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you ladies. It is truly amazing what you can accomplish flying solo. I’m at a very wierd moment where I realize everything I’ve accomplished was really flying solo. I always had these shady relationships playing like an app in the background sucking up my batteries. I mistakenly thought I needed them. They were not co-pilots and I didn’t “need” them. In fact, they were an obstacle.

        So yeah, it has been totally fun putting all my BR knowledge to work in every aspect of my life. I have to admit, I’ve been digging deep as I confront my deepest fears regarding I’m not good enough which is why I think I engaged with males who I imagined were better than me. That’s been my inner most turmoil and struggle. Everyday I wake up worrying if I’m going to be good enough to pull X off. Every night I go to bed going WOW…I’m not just good enough, I’m a front runner. It’s been an interesting process with my BR lenses on, staying in tune with my inner dialogue (which can suck), and moving forward despite my sucky inner dialogue…there hasn’t been a single case where what I’m thinking is backed up by reality. I don’t even have as many wrinkles as I imagined. WTF. This has been an incredible opportunity to get focused on me. Sometimes it takes a wacky way to focus. Everyday you all are with me as I struggle to get a grip. There is no way in hell there could be a guy right now. I’m still struggling with ME!

  35. noquay says:

    Let him go. If you don’t feel it by now, not gonna happen. This guy deserves someone who desires him. As much as there is soooo much stuff out there saying we womyn should not be so fixated on looks, etc, what does it say about a womans self esteem and boundaries when she is going along with all things physical even when it feels repulsive. We need love, caring, respect, AND have to feel some attraction.

  36. Keetseel says:

    My bf and I, because of our previous problems, just started working on some exercises out of a Couples’ book. The very first one asked us to create a “relationship vision” together. Each person writes down his and her own list of what they want in the relationship (including what they already have that they like) and then the lists are combined and winnowed down into the most important things. It was a good experience for us because I wrote that I wanted us to eventually share a household. It wasn’t originally on his list but he added it when he saw how important it was to me and, not only that, included my college-age daughter into the equation. It felt good to know a) that he is willing to co-pilot and not be the sole proprietor of the rel, and b)that he is willing to take a value he knows I have but don’t consider a shared value–i.e., an ongoing relationship with my adult daughter–and make it a shared value.

    I realize it’s only one small step, but I think it’s a good sign for us.

  37. Sue says:

    Happy to report that I am starting the online matching thing and my gut reaction thing is working!! Yay. I got into an email back and forth with a guy and I just got the sense of controlling, demanding, total driver’s seat kind of guy. So I said our personalities don’t mesh, Thanks and no thanks. Yay. Its working!!

  38. Peanut says:


    Ah, got it. My ex had a drinking problem as well as my father.

    I’ve certainly been with men who merited my getting a sexual screening as part of dealing with the aftermath.

    I thought all men were permiscuos by nature. Nope. Just the ones with no self control.

    • MaryW says:

      Funny you say that, Peanut. I’ve been (perhaps unwisely) taking advise about men and their sexual behaviour from my best friend, who is male and gay and has been very promiscuous (but he’s not an alcoholic).

      The recent chap, he was honest about his “speed dating” in the time after his marriage broke down. This was a red flag and I sought advise. My male friend told me this is normal, not to judge him on that (after an 18 year marriage). So I went with my friends advise, because I was so hopeful of something with this man and the connection I thought we had (before we had sex). And then we had sex – shame on me for doing that before he went for a sexual health screen – and then he unfolded. Majorly.

      I asked the chap, did your drinking and did infidelity lead to the breakdown of your marriage? He said that yes, they contributed. So yes, he is an alcoholic with no self control. No thank you.

      This was after I’d told him I was moving on, and was in post-mortem phase but still harbouring some little seeds of hope.

      I’ve written above that I also have problems with self control when it comes to sex, but I’ve never harmed a man in that way (at least I hope not); the harm has always been to myself.

      Ok, so lessons from this: don’t be afraid to ask why the marriage(s) broke down; don’t be afraid to ask him to have an STD check without being made to feel like a control freak; assert myself/ stop being an effing doormat; stop being a Florence; ask the pertinent questions – and listen – without fear of being “abandoned” as a result; do not get carried away by flattery and pretty words; DON’T HAVE SEX UNTIL APPROPRIATE! (Sorry for shouting … and rambling).

      • MaryW says:

        And Peanut, thank you so much for your advise of “leaning” in to the pain. I get that. I was always trying to avoid it, but that makes for a very active volcano.

        • Peanut says:


          I most certainly will be asking the next man I sleep with about sexual health.

          It’s horrible to get an std from someone careless who really doesn’t care at all. (This happened to me about ten years ago in high school. I discovered this after I had had an abortion and went to the follow up appointment.)

          Thank goodness I was treated early on and was/am fine. That said, it was emotionally jolting.

          I was so young, naive, and clueless about sexual health or any of that.

          I guess I just assumed that it took a whole whole lot of unprotected sex to get preggers or contract an std. I know, I know. *shakes head in warm compassion*

          And, no I haven’t made the best choices since, but I have been abstinent for some years now (most of my twenties) and it’s one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

          Yes, it’s really, really hard, but it’s worth it. And, there is absolutely no religious backing behind it. I did it 100% for me.

        • Peanut says:

          Also MaryW,

          The worst advice I have ever received in regard to dating was from well meaning friends 😉

        • Peanut says:


          “very active volcano”

          I just love this! That explains the weepy scene in the parking lot I had to day I guess!

          • MaryW says:


            Yes I got some terrible advice from people who were excusing his behaviour, but then again I don’t think I was giving them the full details or didn’t have the full
            details myself at the time.

            I had a big weepy jag yesterday as well, on my way home. It started out as irritation at other people on the train, then irritation at myself, then I allowed myself to lean in and just cry.

  39. micheyl says:

    Okay, I feel like a complete hypocrite! Here I am feeling good about “flushing” the casual date guy. Here I am telling lovely ladies on here to pick self-esteem first, that I am not going to judge myself on my choices — and then I fell completely off the wagon last night all by own doing!

    EUM and I had not seen each other in over a month. Right before he took his new girlfriend to England to meet his parents. I told him that was the last “Fuck you” to me that I could take. Well apparently
    not. We didn’t “talk” for weeks then I texted him (after drinking of course) then we texted each other back a forth a bit. He told me he was in therapy. I said good. He “invited” me to see him a couple times but I turned him down, saying that like a drug, I am ok alone but when near him I completely lose myself.

    Then yesterday he sends me a groupon type ad for a hotel we stayed in last summer together. I was taking my daughters on a road trip and he met up with us for 2 days. We had a really good time. Of course, we were in an actual relationship at that point. Anyway, I guess he saw that ad and thought of it and wrote “good times” and that was it. So I, trying to be more hard core, was thinking, and so what do you want me to do? Thanks for the reminder that the good times are over… Anyway I replied (yes I know, I know going NC is what I should do, but yet here I am not doing it…) just – yes I have fond memories of that trip. So the day goes on and he asks if I started back work, then asked if I went on any trips this summer. So I write – No. I am not the world traveler you are… (referring to his trip to England with new girlfriend).

    UGH! Then stupid stupid me sends him a video of my daughter jump roping. Why? I don’t know – because he was the only man I ever got to the point of sharing anything about my daughters with. He came to their softball games and plays and we went on trips together and maybe I just really really miss that. They don’t have that through their own father! I could only fit the video file on Skype, which was an invitation to skype me. So I saw him on the skype and we talked and he told me how he missed me.

    Cut to later that night when both my daughters are at sleep overs and he texts if I want to skype again? Then I text – I’d rather see you in person. IDIOT!!!! So he invites me over. And I swear, I was so tired and full (of food) and thinking I really don’t want to go over. Then I change into sweats thinking this will be a deterrence somehow.

    I go over and think the whole while I am driving – I shouldn’t be doing this. This is not what I want. Having flash-backs to me saying the previous time was the last fuck-you… But going through with it, never turning around. Of course we slept together. I spent the night. We talked. We both said loving words. And it’s all just bull shit. I mean I read Nat’s post on the “I miss you but I’m still not going to do anything about it” scenario which is exactly what we have.

    WHY do I not care enough about myself to put an end to this fucking stupid bull shit. I mean we’ve been broken up nearly as long as we were together. I think I am learning so much about myself and delving deep into my therapy and yet I go and put it all to the side and ignore everything my rational mind tells me. Sorry for the rambling but I just feel so god damn defeated and numb right now. Not really even from him. He’s doing the same old. But from ME. I mean I know better and yet I am doing the same old too.

    • SearchingForSatori says:

      Micheyl, I had to keep putting my hand back in the fire and burn it to a nub before I’d had enough. But when I’d had enough, NC became so much easier than when I’d tried previously. I thought about him contacting me, and honestly I couldn’t think of anything I’d want to say to him. Or him to say to me. 9 weeks come Monday, praying it stays this way. Highly recommend Nat’s No Contact book.

      • MaryW says:

        Micheyl, I also recommend going No Contact.
        Same as SearchingforSatori, it was much easier than I thought it would be. It puts things in to perspective. You get a distance from them and can think clearly, see him for what he really is.
        I am 4 weeks NC now (to the day) and I have nothing I want to say to him. Well, actually I have few choice names I’d like to call him, but I’m not breaking NC to do it. Because I am NC, I am actually addressing my own issues (and struggling, but doing it).
        Go NC and let your rational mind take control. Good luck, and I hope for you that it’s the last time you go back to him.

        • runnergirl says:

          Micheyl, what happened to you happened to me several times, okay many times. It’s the same senario, only I can’t skype and he was coming here while I was thinking WFT am I doing. Nat’s post on “I Miss You…” is the best. It’s like she is in bed with us. Yeah, it feels defeating. You are human and humans make mistakes. Treat yourself and your kids to a special day. Your situation reminds me so much of me. I knew better and I went ahead anyway. It gets better with every single day of NC. Dust yourself off and get back up on the NC wagon girl. A slip up doesn’t commit you to a life sentence with this dude. Thank god there isn’t a 3 strikes law with regards to NC. I’d be doing life without parole.

          • micheyl says:

            thanks runnergirl, your comment makes me feel better – it’s true I would be in there doing life with you! Did you have a last “straw” or did you just find yourself able to keep NC without thinking about it? I don’t think I will have a last “straw” because I thought the last time was the that. I guess unless he ran me over with a car, that might be a bit worse. haha. I just have to do it. Maybe give myself a treat at the end of each week I have NC (a massage would be nice…)

      • micheyl says:

        searching, I hope I can get to that point before I get burned too many times. I have the NC book. I just haven’t been able to go more than about 3 weeks at most.

    • A says:


      You’re not the first person to break NC. Maybe you can use this experience to motivate yourself not to do the same in the future.

      I remember when I was phasing someone out it was difficult but I knew that I had no other choice. What’s going to change if you keep on engaging with him? Has anything been improving or is it just getting worse and worse the longer you stick around?

      He’s involved with someone else and stringing you along. The longer you stick around the more it will have a negative impact on your self-esteem, and if you’re like me, the more you will beat yourself up over not walking sooner.

      • micheyl says:

        you are absolutely right. Nothing is getting better or progressing. Yes I beat myself up because of it. It is not the relationship I want.

    • MaryW says:

      Micheyl, can you think what triggered this relapse? Do you think it was linked in with the crap from the casual guy?

      Because if it was me, even if I was only seeing someone casually, that kind of disrespectful rebuff might be misinterpret as rejection, and it might tip me over the edge into seeking validation from elsewhere.

      • micheyl says:

        MaryW maybe you’re right. Just being in a casual circumstance – I thought I was okay with it. But really I am not. I try to think I don’t have to look for “the one” every time I see someone. But dammit I want to care deeply for someone and have them care deeply for me. I miss that so much. And even though we only see each other in these snipets and it is sexual, I guess for that short amount of time it is like I am reliving what we had. We are affectionate and say I love you and I can talk to him about the girls and I feel like myself and comfortable with him. I feel so miserable that it is just bull shit because we are NOT in a relationship and it is only in these brief moments of time that I feel good with him. Then afterwards I face the reality of the situation and try to go NC again. It’s like the times we have now are little escapes from reality. It is so dumb I know. That is why I can’t be around him. I look at these two guys that I have dated since EUM (both ended up being casual) and realize that the “spark” or whatever I had with EUM is not easy to find. That’s what it is. It is easy with EUM. I feel so good and in love with him. I want it to work, I wish it had worked. I am getting over it. But it is still in my system. Not as much as before. I will let go. I have to. It is just taking a long time.

        • MaryW says:

          Micheyl, the “spark” is very difficult to find, I agree, but sometimes the spark is there for an unhealthy reason. Sometimes damaged people (speaking personally) only get that spark from a bad boy. I know I’ve been guilty of turning away perfectly nice guys because of no spark, and wonder how much of that is because I haven’t seen them as a “challenge”, or as a person I can try to “fix”, or negotiate in to loving me.

          He will always be in your system while you continue to see him, and even while you continue to text/ skype him. I totally understand what you mean about only feeling good in those brief moments. It’s sad.

          I can’t cope with casual relationships either. I have made the mistake of expecting to find “the one” when I am dating, though, and that’s something I need to seriously curb.

          I don’t know what will make you get to the point of cutting contact, but I hope you get there soon and without too much (more) damage to your self in the process.

          Take care x

        • SearchingForSatori says:

          it is only in these brief moments of time that I feel good with him. Then afterwards I face the reality of the situation and try to go NC again. It’s like the times we have now are little escapes from reality

          I understand… I felt the same… he is your DRUG! That is why it took me a year to go fully NC. We have to face reality. The lost time will make you feel even worse.

          • micheyl says:

            Thanks Searching and MaryW,

            I am so grateful for this forum to find others that can relate to me, and read and learn from others experiences. I feel like I am the only one of my old friends who has this pattern of attraction to EUMs. They all seem to be deep in their marriages and living stable lives. They cannot relate to the concept that it is so hard to let go and move on.

            Thank you, thank you for your understanding and caring <3

    • Tee tee says:

      As i read this, i was still and screaming #turn around, turn around, turn around. Then read the rest and my stomach twisted. I hope you get the strength and respect for you to pull out and RUN and never stop pass, collect or go. Just run!

      For your own sake, take care of you eh

  40. 2Fearce says:


    I’m about as outgoing as u can get n I still need time by myself. Don’t u?

    If not, maybe that’s the issue u need to address…are u comfortable in ur own skin?! Do u have to be in a crowd all the time. Perhaps he’s done the work to get there n u haven’t. I actually prefer it these days.

    The woman I was dating tried to tell me I spent too much time alone, turns out she rarely spends time alone. Now I do need to find a balance in this…perhaps u do as well.

    If it doesn’t feel right, ok by all means walk. Don’t walk if ur just mad that he likes his own company. Ps– that’s a good thing! It usually means he’s not a clinger n would want u to maintain ur special individual personality traits as well.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi 2Fearce,

      Thanks for your response. You’ve brought up views I haven’t thought of. No, I’m NOT real comfortable in my own skin. I think the comfort of having others around takes my mind off me and my tendency to worry and fear the boogeyman is coming after me. I need an inordinate amount of reassurance of people’s feelings. Insecurity. I’ve been working on it with my therapist, and also on his ED issue (mentioned elsewhere) and how I cope. He is, on the other hand very secure about who he is, but of course despondent over his inadequacy. Normally, I already spend a great deal of time alone. So when we’re together, I may be clingy or needy in attitude, not realizing it because I curb my impulse to “be all over him”. Right now, in his mental state he can’t handle all of that. He hasn’t said so but wanting to be alone indicates to me “don’t push”. Well, anyway, I feel better after our long heart to heart convo last night and I will resolve to lighten up a bit with keen vigilance on how things are progressing, or not.

      • sushi says:

        Tink and 2Fearce,
        it is possible to be so insecure and in need of constant reassurance that you can smother another person into pulling back. Equally,ambivalence in a relationship can transform a person into an insecure heap of desperate jelly. You need a step back and a reality check. You need to let the chips fall and a courage to look where they`ve landed, not panic and try to change their course. Tink, you will be OK whatever happens, hugs.

  41. dancingqueen says:

    @Noquay: thank you! I just had my fifth date with him and at the end I told him that I liked him a lot and really wanted things yo click but it just was not clicking. He said that he felt the same way and that he felt that he did not know how to get closer. We talked things out and he said that he was glad that I nrought it up and “took the bull by the horns”. It was honestly your post that helped me. I was sitting in the movie theater telling myself” Its true we all deserve trust love respect and physical attraction” and even though I feel a bit sad now because I think he felt a little rejected I feel so much better! Thank you! We need to help each other stay accountable.:-) thanks for steering me in the right direction you rock!!!

  42. dancingqueen says:

    Hey Tinkerbell just hang in there. I am going to advise here: no contact! You need a break he is not meeting your needs. You cant just be friends with him at leadt not now. There are loads of lovely people out there…take 6 months to a year off and if you still want to be friends than fine. My take;-)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      He, Dancing.

      Thanks for your response. Actually I’ve posted more info, and it’s not that clear cut as shown in my responses to everyone else. I’m not going to make any changes at this time. No ultimatums. We DO love each other, in spite of some ongoing serious issues. I’m not going to abandon ship, yet. He’s worth my staying at least right now. But, I do appreciate what you’ve said and I was the one to mention NC, in frustration.

  43. Tinkerbell says:

    Micheyl. You’re human. That’s why your here, because of those very issues you have. I do the same thing. I feel good because I think I’ve learned and grown and become so knowledgeable and sophisticated, and then I go and do something stupid that clearly belies that I’ve learned a thing.

    I was trying to take a hard attitude about my friend, but tonight I gave in and called him on the phone. He said he was just about to call me. My attitude was, “Yeah, right” and I told him. But he reassured me that he really was and he’s not a liar. So anyway, we had a good convo and I feel much, much better. I feel like even though his physical problem is not going to be cured, it’s okay. I’ve had LOADS of sex in my long lifetime and as long as he promises to try harder to please me, I’m giving him a chance. He really is worth it. I need to try harder to see things through his lens. That’s extremely challenging because I am not a man. But, we’ll see.

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Tinkerbell, ahhhh I feel your relief I think. That sounds much better. I read you post above, very courageous of you to ‘fess up’, it certainly isn’t the be all and end all but yes it must be a very important issue for a man and his sense of himself as a man, virility, masculinity, manhood. As a woman I can only respect that this must be so. Tinkerbell, he sounds like a good man and a very brave man too (it is wonderful that he has been able to speak with you about the issue). I’d really strongly suggest you never push him to talk about this area but listen with respect during the times he opens up about it. It sounds like you love each other and he sounds like a man who has moved beyond adolescence (emotionally speaking).

      Sex: if you both feel it as an enhancement of the growing intimacy between you then the two of you can work it out as you go. By that I mean, work it out at the time, during… so to speak. I know it’s hard but I would avoid *unsolicited* *verbal* reassurances about his manhood, he may have fears around his significance in the world and to you and that won’t help. Watch out for being ‘mummy’ (not saying you are but it’s easy to fall into this when we think we are being ‘understanding’ – fact is, he’s a man and we can’t understand only respect).

      For you- look deep, separate what is *his* from what is *yours*- then start making decisions/acting. I don’t mean move in type concrete decisions necessarily, but more decisions centred around the two of you as couple; can you continue to copilot this relationship knowing that you accept and respect him for who he is and that this being who he is does not mean you are compromised re the basics (the trust, care, respect,emotional/sexual intimacy and love you require).

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Would that I were to have your wisdom, clarity of purpose and calmness. You’ve given me much food for thought. In saving time I won’t reiterate as you said a lot. But please know that I value your thoughts and will be reading what you have said repeatedly. His ED, I’m sure has contributed much to his desire for alone time over and above the fact that he is a loner, anyway. And then his brother committed suicide about 5-6 weeks ago. So he has some heavy stuff to deal with. I need to curb my need for all this blasted reassurance of his love. He Has given it to me as much as he is able, right now. This is not the time for me to be setting ultimatums on our relationship. Thank you so much, Lizz.

        • lizzp says:

          Tinker bell, Thank you for your kind words. Have to point out though, that just like you and so many others, I can tap in and give of myself to other’s dilemmas far more easily than I can with myself! It’s made me think of a scene from Silence of the Lambs (not a great theme, I know, but isn’t Jodie Foster wonderful?)where Clarice is speaking with Dr Lecter and he’s just given her the low down on herself. She says to him something like; You see a lot, but the challenge for you is can you turn that high powered perception on your self? Please, I’m not saying I identify with Lecter (1)…rather the Clarice character makes a good point. When in fantasy mode it would be Clarice I want to be, or even better the great Jody herself. Stay strong Tinkerbell, stay with your self, I’m endeavoring to do the same every day.

          • lizzp says:

            p.s. Having said that Tinker Bell, I’m glad you’ve been able to use some of my words to help. You are most welcome.xo

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Hi Tink. I’m not sure that this is a total deal-breaker and you may be putting a bit of pressure on yourself. It’s been, what, 10 months and in every other way he’s perfect for you? I suggest you don’t make a definitive decision just yet. relationships are a negotiation and perhaps you two can find a happy balance. Talk to him about it. Also, maybe you’re looking for reasons why it won’t work because now things are getting more serious. I really think you should talk and think and the answer will come.

      Because we’ve all been through hell (which is why we’re here) it’s perfectly understandable that we start looking for what’s wrong. Which is fear that it’s too good to be true and the monster is going to reappear. Take a deep breath. Like i said, this doesn’t need to be decided right now.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        LaPintura. Thank you. We do need to talk more about US instead of everything else under the sun. But, so far we have been finding a happy balance. I just have this fear that he is going to pull away permanently, although he would let me know if that is what he wanted. And, I guess I feel like I’m dealing with a lot too because of his ED issue. But, I think we are together strong enough to work out a mutually satisfy union. You are absolutely right, there is “fear that this is too good to be true and the monster is going to reappear”. Ten months is not all that long and I think we can work out the kinks together, if I (we) give it TIME.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        OK…Just saw the posts above about the REAL root of the problem here.

        He does need to see his doctor. And that will most likely change everything. However, you can’t nag him into it. He needs to do it himself. This issue has got to be the single worst thing that can happen to a man because so much of their self esteem gets tied up with this area.

        Anyway, I still think it’s something that does not need to be decided today…whether you downgrade, leave altogether or not. And I do think a lot of it is you are BOTH a bit scared because the relationship IS at a stage where you decide if it gets serious or not.

        I also don’t get the sense that this guy is EU (you asked that in one of the posts above.) My spidey senses are not going off at all based on what you’ve written about him. I’m an introvert and have always dated extroverts. And it seriously is not that big of a deal. You find a balance of going out together, staying in together and you going out and him staying in.

        Both of the issues you’ve raised here ARE workable. Neither of them are mis-matched values. Nothing here is manipulation or deceit or any of the things that brought us all here.

        YOU ARE outside your Comfort Zone right now because this one is completely different. Hope this ramble makes sense. 😀

  44. lawrence says:

    Very insightful, Natalie. It doesn’t get much more basic than the necessity of sharing a common agenda. You can have it all (seemingly) and still end up nowhere without that. It’s pretty much impossible, I think, to achieve harmony when you’re at cross-purposes. It’s what I’d call an “adversarial relationship.” Both of you might be good people and relate well in many ways – passion, chemistry, common interests, etc., as you say – but if you have some basically opposed interests, that will all be for naught. I know whereof I speak. 😉

    Hope you’re enjoying your well-deserved vacation, Natalie. I’ve often wondered how you manage to avoid writer’s burnout. 😉


  45. 2Fearce says:


    U say he doesn’t lie to u. Have u tried taking him at his word…the first time..without the reassurance?? What if u believed him that he feels what he does? What if u believed that u r just that awesome? What if u spent some of ur time alone learning n appreciating u instead of planning the next time u will be out w others (and ignore u)? Doing this will calm some of ur fears…n give him the space he needs.

    On another note, his brother committed suicide! Woman 2 doors down from me did n it jacked me up n I’d only really said hi n smiled in our stairway. Didn’t know a thing about her save her face. And when an acquaintance did it messed me up even more. He’s prob going over their convos wondering what he missed, what he could have done, what he didn’t see….I know I did. It’s his brother. Whether they were close or not that smarts something awful. Mt even be linked to his ED if they happened around the same time or may be prolonging the issue.

  46. Tinkerbell says:

    LaPintura, 2Fearce, Espresso, Lizzp, Maeve, Sanntay, Lilly, and anyone I may have left out (I’m sorry and your words didn’t mean any less), I’ve decided, finally. I called him this afternoon. It was a surprise for him, especially since I called him last night and we talked for a long time. He was getting his lunch and when I said I called to let him know that I miss him (the previous closeness which has seemed to dwindle of late,) and that I had a couple questions about sports personalities, Alex Rodriquez and Gino Smith. He had a slightly impatient tone which he tried not to reveal, but being so sensitive he couldn’t hide it. I told him to go ahead and have his lunch and call me back afterward. I felt I had been a bother and he wasn’t so keen on being interrupted. It was very bad timing, unfortunately. Of course, I reflected back on how aloof he was when we were on vacation together for 16 days recently. When I answered his call back, I told him in a very gentle way that I think we need to take a break from trying to conduct this relationship right now. I told him that I have to accept his feelings about the ED, he has been to the MD to no avail, and simultaneously the loss of his brother has been too much for him to participate in this a love affair. I reassured him that MY sexual need was not that critical, but, nevertheless I have to allow him to have his opinion and exercise his decision without pressure from me. He has shut down the affection because he knows he cannot culminate it so he feels why should he get something started, disappoint me and feel even further inadequate than he already does. He sounded relieved and grateful that I had enough insight and consideration for him to leave him be for awhile. I told him that I am there for him if he needs me and I will do the same. But not unless it is an emergency will we be talking. This breaks my heart but it is better for us both right, now. I have to think of what’s best for me, also. I told him that I cannot manage a love relationship alone, I don’t have to and I won’t. I asked him if there was anything about ME that caused him to pull back. He assured me that it’s all about him and that I am a loving, wonderful woman. He also indicated that this is not a final good bye and ” YOU’ll hear from me”, were his words. I told him that I would like that and that I hope it is before 2014. So that’s it. I can’t allow myself to hold out hope, just as I can’t be his “friend” right now. It’s way too painful. I’ve cried and cried over this more than anything in a long time. But even in the midst of my grief I feel less pressure now, just as he does. So I think I’ve done the right thing. Thanks, everyone. You all have helped me more than you can ever know. Thank God for BR ladies. Hugs & xxxxx, Tinkerbell.

    • Maeve says:

      (((((Tinkerbell))))) I think you handled that extremely well. With much grace and honesty. Who knows what will happen, but I do think giving a man his space and not pressuring him allows him to decide on what he really wants.

      I hope he realizes that you’re not going to sit around waiting forever and someone else might come along and swoop you up…

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Tinkerbell, I’m so sorry to hear what has transpired. It sounds like things were off to such a good start, a co-piloted relationship with landmarks. Then, things unfolded as Nat always says. I hope you know how inspirational you are. If you think you’ve done the right thing, you have. I’m very sorry.

  47. LaPinturaBella says:

    Awww Tink!!! <>

    God this has gotta hurt like a bitch. While it sucks right now, this entire relationship has been good for you. Look at how well things went, how you held onto and stayed true to yourself throughout. And who knows what will happen in the future.

    WE are here for you. Cry your eyes out…it’s good to release everything.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      I keep doing this. Arrgghhh. what should have been right after “Awwwww Tink!” was

      ((hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs))

  48. DiggingDeeper says:


    I’m glad you had a chance to talk to him last night, and you are feeling better. :)

    Considering the death of his brother and his ED, I’d want to support him right now, and give my partner the same love, trust, care, and respect he gives me.

    Sure, these are his problems, and NO, I don’t think you should take his problems on as your own –no ‘Florence-ing’– but why would you not support someone you love?

    In time, I’d have more open, honest discussions about his ED and how it affects the relationship. I’d want to know how he feels, what he needs, and how he intends to resolve the problem.

    I’d tell him how I feel about it and what I need. And, I’d want us to work on resolving any relationship issues together.

    And no, I don’t have a problem with initiating this sensitive conversation because I think it’s important to talk openly about sex, affection, etc in a committed relationship (I’d google support groups and forums on the subject, and see how other couples have dealt with this issue, as to ease my approach).

    However, before I talk to him, I’d check in with myself, and clarify, honestly, my wants, needs, limits, etc, and then I’d as Natalie said, engage and be authentic in the best interests of my own sense of self and the relationship.

    …and then I’d keep checking in with myself…

    I’d want to see us making progress, but I would enjoy the relationship in the NOW.

    Take care of yourself Tinkerbell.

    Good luck to you!

  49. 2Fearce says:

    Ok, I’ve got ice cream, silly movies, candy n wine. Who’s got the chocolate?! And the good tissues…u know “with lotion ” (ones that don’t strip the skin off ur nose.)

    • Lilly says:

      I’ve got the chocolate! Tink I think you’ve done the right thing and I admire your courage. We’re all here for you if you need us, much love and hugs to you, xxx.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Yeah, 2Fearce. THAT’S what I need. And, as if it was a premonition I bought 2 quarts of ice cream and have it on hand. One is vanilla which you can add almost anything and the other is strawberry. I seldom by ice cream. Weird.

  50. noquay says:

    You DID do the right thing. Hope you can get outside, do something for you today.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Thanks Noquay! I guess you were smart, read all the gazillion posts (I hope) and finally decided to make a comment after I finally decided what I was going to do. I don’t think you would give me a word of encouragement if you didn’t know my story, Thanks again. Right now, I’m wondering if I made a mistake is bailing out. But it has hurt me so much, also and I felt that in order for me to get a grip I needed an extended break. It may be temporary and then it may become permanent. I can’t worry about it either way.

      I DID have a lovely day.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        Go get some root beer for that vanilla ice cream and have a float. It will settle down one way or the other shortly. You’re understandably raw right now. Don
        t fight it. But you can drown it in Root Beer Floats!

  51. Tinkerbell says:

    Thanks Ladies,

    Every one of you has offered concrete food for thought and advise is a diplomatic manner. I will be okay, but is very fresh and so I remain in much emotional pain at present. I was realizing that in my lifetime I as most of you have done some HUGE “getting over” relationships, and other stuff, in general. In comparison this is not as devastating as losing, my house to foreclosure, bankruptcy, death of a good husband, near loss of my life due to intractable MRSA with possibility of leg amputation, the MM experience, all within 7 years. I’m been able to prevail and remain strong. Most of all, more than anything my self esteem has FINALLY risen to a point where I am actually happy and proud of myself. This is new for me and I am enjoying it immensely. This last experience is painful, but in comparison, less so. Somehow, and I could be wrong, I think after he’s had his time and space to take care of himself without trying to please me, I believe we will reunite in some form. But, just as he needs time, I need to reconcile in my heart whether or not I can continue a sharply diminished sexual relationship. He’s a very good man, actually the BEST ever, even moreso than my two husbands. THIS IS WHY, it’s so painful for me, and also why I don’t truly believe this is THE END. I don’t know if I’m allowing myself to believe this because I’ve wanted this so much. But he did say, “You’ll hear from me”. One of the things I’ve yet to cultivate is patience. So this is surely an exercise in that.

    Thank you all, ladies. I love you. I’m sooo thankful that I have BR to come to. Hugs, hugs, hugs, and farewell as I go off to church this beautiful Sunday morning.

    • micheyl says:

      I’ve read through your posts Tinkerbell and just have to say you are very brave and you should feel proud of yourself. Your self-esteem seems like it is riding high. I wish you well during this time and hope that you do reconnect with him. You are taking care of you and that is huge.

  52. 2Fearce says:

    Must have had the same premonition as I have NCd 2 ppl this weekend n contemplating a third. One of which I had hopes would turn into something. What I’ve learned is u can’t turn a toad into an EA being n people who are stingy and/or passive aggressive have NO place in my life.

    My choices… Cookies n cream n choc hazelnut mascarpone.

  53. noquay says:

    Put down tobacco for you this morning; that’s our way of praying. I still say you need to do what is necessary to have your needs met; no one else is gonna do it for you. You’ve inspired me to get my own s@#$ together this week which has been an absolute disaster. My car blew it’s turbo a few weeks ago and although it’s fixable, there’s no guarantee that it will be reliable. Lil Noquay decided she was tired of feeling trapped in town and promptly bought the very best car on the lot along with 5, count em, 5 different warranties. A few months ago met a runner visiting town that I was really attracted toand who at least seemed attracted to me. He needed a place to stay for our upcoming 100 miler so I was gonna let him stay on my second floor. Yesterday was one of the races in the series and I had hurt my back but said I’d meet him there. Here he comes running for the finish…with his girlfriend who surprised him by driving up that morning. Whoops. He didn’t seem all that uncomfortable and wanted me to join them. I said I am heading home and left fast. The guy that I have been sporadically seeing is sort of like your dude but with no desire to show any affection. Am seriously considering breaking it off. Although the past few years here have pretty much killed my sex drive, I deserve affection too and my needs are being complely ignored. He’s a kind and yep, tall, good looking man, but maybe he hates my body. Since I cannot run before the 100 this week, Noquay is gonna slip into a new dress, get in her new, fancy pants car and hang out in the big city. The runners leave, the door slams shut soon as the school year begins in a week. Might as well enjoy the last of my freedom. Tink, rather than ice cream, I would suggest exercise. MRSA is nothing to mess around with and your immune system is probably pretty stressed right now.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Thanks, I only just now saw this while I was looking to reread another post. THANK YOU. After 10 days, “NC”( I didn’t count them) we’re talking again. We shall see where it goes. I left a post for you on “Values”. Look for it.

  54. lo j says:

    Tinkerbell … so sorry for your breakup. Its so difficult when its someone who has been the best experience you’ve had. However, I predict that hindsight will give you clarity and the ability to see things as they are and you’ll be grateful that it ended. And when he returns, you’ll decide you deserve better. (Because you do.) Just my opinion.
    Keep us posted.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Loj. Thanks for your words of encouragement. Hindsight has been giving me clarity since I was hysterical with grief. I’m much better now and confident it will work out for the best. He’s a good person. Not EU, either.

  55. Heathcliff_201 says:

    Hello everyone, I found this website and I’m really happy I did. Sure glad to go through some withdrawal knowing some people are going through it too. Is that wrong? Anyway, reading the characteristics of a passenger had me thinking that I might be one in this “relationship’, if you could call that, I am currently in. There was this person who I met only oncebefore they committed a crime and were sent to jail. I kept thinking about them and after about a year I sent them a letter. Knowing that they committed a crime for money, I also sent money with the letter. Fast foward a few months and we are talking on the phone and exchanging emails. We started talking affectionately after awhile. Well, this is going to get released to a halfway house and I was really excited to see this person. I offered to pick the person up and drive them to the halfway house as it was a 6 hour drive. This person told me that it was best if they took the bus and we see each other after they get settled. I thought it strange as I would be exicted to see someone I cared for if I were in a similar circumstance, but people have their reasons so I just went along with it. Anyway, I get a call some days after they arrive at the halfway house and this person asks me if I could help them out with some clothes. Apparently the clothes they had do not fit them anymore. I went and dropped money off. it wasn’t alot, just what I had in my wallet. I figured I would take this person shopping some time in the future. Well a few days later we get together and go shopping. The affection that was there via emails and phone calls when they were in jail did not carry over to when we were together. I figured that they needed time to trust. Well when I go to drop this person off at the halfway house, this person sees someone they met in the halfway house (oppostie sex) and walks over to them. They both come over to my car and get the bags and I get a really weird hug and a thank you and they go into the halfway house.I want to keep helping this person while they are in the halfway house, but do not want to get anymore emotionally involved. I half-heartedly alreadly told them it seems we are not on the same wavelengths so I’m going to step back. They insisted that we are on same wavelengths but I am not convinced. I just know I am going to feel bad voicemailing their phone calls. Honestly, I don’t even know why I fell for this person, but I am already feeling the stomach queeziness when breaking up with someone. Am I overreacting?

    • Rosie says:

      Heathcliff_201–This person is clearly a user and you are in fantasyland. I’m sorry for my insensitivity but YOU DON’T KNOW THIS PERSON. You met him/her only once before this person went to jail, only exchanged a few calls and E-mails when the person was in jail but you haven’t known this person for any length of time, don’t know if this person is really deserving of your money, don’t know if the affectionate words are real or only part of his/her game of getting you to do favors for him/her. Listen to your instincts about this person and the opposite sex person in the halfway house. Also, if this person is in a halfway house, this person has a long road to walk before s/he can even begin to enter into an authentic adult relationship (I used to work in one, so I know what goes on).

      Please, please walk away and don’t look back. It isn’t because the person doesn’t deserve compassion but because this person isn’t ready to be in a real relationship and, frankly…neither are you. Fantasyland is a symptom of EU.

      Please, please do yourself a favor and find out why you’re attracted to men/women who need saving and why you’re so ready to hand over your heart and pocketbook to somebody who hasn’t earned it, somebody you don’t even know.

      I’m sorry to sound harsh but I want it to be a fire truck siren heading your way because you’re in danger!

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Boy oh Boy! Do you need this website, or what?!!! Rosie said it all, everything I would have told you. DROP THIS PERSON, NOW. He’s a USER. NEVER, never, never, give money to strangers! That sets you up to be taken advantage of big time. Since this individual can’t come and see you, don’t go to him, for Christ’s Sake. Consider yourself lucky to be able to escape his clutches. My goodness, don’t you know if he has the means he can plot and threaten to get money for your family because you’re posing as “Mr.(naive) Rich Guy.” BE CAREFUL!!!

      • Tee tee says:

        What rosie said – completely. Listen to your gut. You know it’s not wrong on this.

    • Tee tee says:

      I feel like all i keep typing on here is the same thing, but this person sounds like a leech. And you need to heal yourself.

      And before you even get to the healing point you need to do this RUN RUN RUN!

      It will hurt, but you need to get away before the life (and more money) is drained out of you.

  56. Loris says:

    Have been reading the site for quite a while and it makes me feeling that i am really sorry that I found it so late, when it’s all over and he dumped me in the worse that I ever couldn’t even imagine. Anyway its so warm and soulful to read about relatioship that I can’t help but want to share my story, therefore i am still puzzled and stuck in misunderstanding what was wrong and was unavailable.

    So, its the story about Mr. Nice Guy, as i figured out lately. We met on a dating site when I was looking for travel friends in my trip to Europe with my son. This guy was so polite and modest, so quiet and nice, and he was the only one who agreed to join us to help with all that travelling stuff and be a guide in the city, that i’ve never been before. He was happy to help and kept asking what else he could do to me. Though he mentioned that i am a beatiful and very nice person, and he believes that beauty comes from inside, gave no any romantic intention. We decided just to meet and see what happens. So it was, we spent a lovely day, he was very nice and good looking (not like me, because my hair failed me in the last hour), we walked, talked about everything, and i felt very comfortable with him. In the evening we went to his place, he cooked dinner, i helped with washdishing, candles, music, watching his favorite cartoon of his childhood, joking and teasing. He was extremely careful and pleasing, and enjoyed our company. He recently divorced and i felt that he is missing family life style with children, women around and warm and funny atmospheir. I had a couple glasses of wine, and then it started. I was so happy to be by his side, he was so nice and kind i felt like a princess, so when at the moment i couldn’t resist and touched his hand gently. He responded, and there it started. He invited me then to have a walk (not actually invited but asked if I want to, again embarassed), was very shying, put his jacket on my shoulder and finally asked, very embarassed, if he could kiss me. ,, Then it happen, so, that we spent night together (again he pushed me to make the decision to stay or not). Though we didn’t have 100% sex, because he had no condoms. But it was wonderful, we enjoy each other in very romantic way , noone ever treat me before as he did. Next morning I said that i want him more and asked not forget “c”. He was happy about it. (Btw, he was my first dating experience, either was me for him, at least what he said). I enjoyed very much that day and couldn’t believe it really happening to me. And I was right. Soon that day he he was texting about a 30 minutes and that said, if I could change my back tickets for one day later because he had to go to, his sone in a hospital and feel very bad, he needs him. And he will pay back when he returns. Said he was sorry and asked if i was disappointed. Yes, I was and he saw it. So we agreed that i will rebook and will wait for him. The next three days we texted like want u-miss u, hope ur son feel better, etc. also i wrote that it will be easier for him to rebook my tickets himself and gave all the details, it was one phone call issue. He said “ok”. But the next day he wrote that he can not come as sheduled and its better that i go back home as I planned before. He will definately come to visit my city as he want to know me better (he was going to do it yet in our online stage). So I did, frustrated in one part of me, and happy in the other that I came to know that such nice guys exists on earth. When i was going out from his city on the ship along the sea watching the lights going further and further from me, i felt so sad, that I wrote him how i feel and all i want is to be near him now. Anyway I was happy realising that love is filling my heard and i am not feeling empty and non-gender creature anymore. I love to love.
    That’s not the end, i will continue later. And meanwhile, if you have any commetns, please, share. I will only appreciate it if someone already see red flags or codes or bell ringing “alarm”.

  57. Loris says:

    Telling the truth, I felt a gut instincts, or was it my belief, or low self-esteem, that he didn’t like me. And just escape from spending more days with us. But when thinking logically, it was all right: he said that beauty comes from inside, and I look terrific; besides, i thought, if he didn’t want to see us anymore, he wouldn’t ask to rebook my tickets. The excuse of his son illnes was quite ok not to be a “bad guy”. Plus I received approvals of his interest from his texts, but these are words. Who trust them? Anyway I believed that he is into me.

    • Maeve says:


      It’s hard to say whether there are red flags or not. The reason you’re feeling angsty though is because the two of you have rushed into something intimate before knowing each other. That’s usually how these things fall apart. You’re gambling on a loving relationship without even knowing if the two of you are even on the same page in terms of values and life goals etc.

      At this point, it’s probably very difficult for you to pull back emotionally because you’re harboring all sorts of romantic expectations. But in reality, pulling back and taking it slowly is probably the smartest thing you could do.

    • Rosie says:

      Loris–There are a few red flags, three of which I see as yours. It seems you have boundary problems (going only by your post) and have a tendency to get fantasy and reality mixed up (I used to do the same). You said that you were looking on a dating site to find a traveling guide for you and your son? How old is your son? Why do you trust a stranger from the Internet to show you and your son around a different country? This is dangerous! Where was your son (if young) when you were off dating Mr. Nice Guy? Why was it ok with you to leave him alone in a different country? Another red flag is your losing yourself emotionally to somebody you don’t know. I understand that romance is intoxicating when you’re by yourself for a long time, more so if you’re a single mother (I imagine). But it seems you’re handing your heart over to a stranger. You’re also trusting a mere stranger with your and your son’s plane tickets. I wouldn’t trust anybody, ANYBODY who I barely met with my plane tickets. Who knows what he could have done with them and you and your son would have been left stranded in another country. You put you and your son in some real danger here.

      Ok, Mr. Nice Guy’s red flags: He’s newly divorced; he may not be ready to get into a serious relationship at this point. He too may have been intoxicated with the idea of a new romance and then maybe reality hit him and he started blowing hot and cold, usually a sign of disinterest or half-hearted interest. Maybe he was dating someone else in addition to you, maybe he was in contact with the ex-wife as their son was in the hospital. He was (is!) a mere acquaintance. You don’t know him.

      I wouldn’t contact him again, appreciate it as a romantic fling. My opinion only and I’m a stranger too. :)

      • Tee tee says:

        Phew someone else said it – my head was blaring off with the red flags. The two main ones being WHAT?! You gave him account access to change your flight?! Where was your son when you were away or was the meetings in the same spaces (still red flag)

  58. Loris says:

    Maeve, thank you for your reply. Yes, now I understand that it was too early, but it happened so natural and romantic I couldn’t get over the flow. It was my first “situation” after 5 years of nothing at all((. And no, I wanted to make relationship out of it!

    Of course i felt very unstable.

    I want to analyze now were is MY problem and why it all happened, to discover my unhealthy pattern.

    So, i will continue. As i said, I sent him a drama message. Here it came. I kept convincing myself to be light and happy in any of the outcome, but failed. Though he replied that he is really sorry, it didn’t meant to be. He is feeling asshole and asking giving him a chance to make it up to me. I responded, that he could thing something, that I could stay a cuople days longer if he had asked, but he told me to go. Also encouraged him not to feel asshole, he did like a man and it was not his fault. Children is priority for me either. I told him that i think positive: at least its better than nothing and we didn’t got tired of each other. He didn’t reply. That was the first alarm ring and I began feeling insecure. Three days – no reply. I almost gone crazy, infatuated and out of mind. So i said hi. At the same second he replied and said he thought i was angry , again sorry and he miss me very much, the day and night we spent together were wonderful, etc. He is coming to my city in september, but suggested if I could come to visit him before alone (without a child), he will be happy to pay my tickets. I said that I missed him too and not angry, and may be I will come next month. – “Ok”. The next day silence. I waited till the late night (before we me met we chat every day, so it was strange to me why he is not writing now), i initiate again, he replied. One day he asked me what feelings I have about him. I told everything that I felt and he asked I could imagine to stay in his country, he is really thinking about it. I was so happy! Then he called, we were nervous and spoke about how we see it can be. It was scheduled in a month. I realised that we were infatuated, and it wasn’t easy to me to switch on my brain back again, because soon after we came acrooss the lack of communication. He didn’t text. I didnt know what to do, as he made the intention to be a couple, I thought it meant something serious, and I texted every 3-4 days with casual questions. he replied or called back. But after another 4 day I began feeling very insecure. He didn’t ask anymore when I come, though the date were closer and closer. Once he didn’t return my miss cal, didn’t answer a text. Then I heard that damn “busy, stress, etc”. I began asking about his intention for the second meeting, but he seemed didn’t notice. Instead we had once a phone sex, that was very nice, and with all respect. Anyway I was already in fear that he doesnt want me to come again. So eventually, when I asked very directly about the meeting, he escaped the conversation, he promised to call and didnt. My inscecurity reached its peak and here I think I made a big mistake. I texted that i understand that he is not interested for me to come. Anyway it was nice to know you and i wish all the best. He replied “you too i am sorry to let you down, it’s not your fault”. The next days werr in agony. I kept blaming myself first for writing to much, then for not writing much. For not loving enough and again for loving much. He blocked my number. I even sent a beging letter, and a phone call, feeling very needy, insecure and insgnificant. I blamed myself for not coming earlier, as all friends were telling me “while he is hot”, but i couldn’t. So he didn’t bother to explain. Now i am very angry to him. Of course I am very sorry that it happened that bullshit, it was a good chance to change my life as i was dreaming for. Getting back to old routine was really painful. Now what I am thinking about if it was really a chance to make relationship, and who was responsible? yes, he didn’t give a lot of communication, i was afraid of being needy, didn’t know where I am, at which point. If he didn’t say about future intention of staying together, I wouldn’t bother of getting in contact, but since he did, I percieved it as a signal of relationship. So , i failed, no matter how hard it is to acknowledge. I missed the chance. For happy marriage, for close relationship. Who was ready, who was not? Who was available and what I can get out of it for the future, lessons and mistake that I made, i don’t know! Is he an asshole? definately he is. Mr. Nice Guy. And who am I?

  59. Loris says:

    Rosie, I trusted him. He is a decent. I have a six’s sense for decent guys.

    The child (13) was all the time with us. He slept on the second floor.

    It’s been a week that i was dumped. Feel really despearated. Sent him two letters, including a begging one. Ashamed. Made a call – my number is blocked. Never was as ruined as now. i hate myself. I know that I have to move on, there are a lot of guys, I am attractive, but the mere idea of dating make me sickentired. He was the one. And I did everything to lose him, its my responsibility and i crashed. Anyway I don’t understand what I did wrong. Some friend told me to visit him again in a two weeks time, not waiting a whole month. I think that is a mistake, he came to reality without knowing me well enough, without feeling ME in his reality.
    Or was I too fast to make a romantic move in the first day? We could stay friends then, he was going to my city soon anyway, and who knows.. But i am impatient, that’s my problem. Shouldn’t I ever contact him first? But I thought he is considering me as a partner, and I should be in touch. Or he just arranged a second date assuming no contacts in between? If I didn’t would we meet eventually or not? Should people stay in contact between dates? I don’t know the rules.

    • Mymble says:

      You don’t know him. No one has special powers that can divine who a person is without allowing time to let them unfold. Who knows why he acted the way he did; but this is someone you spent one day with; it was a one night stand. And I hesitate to say this, but I don’t think it’s right to be doing this with your son in tow. I actually feel more sorry for him. Emotionally this is devastating for a child and you put his safety at risk too. I took a foreign holiday with my sons recently and there is no way I’d be going on dates, picking up men, meeting up with Internet guys, or staying in their houses while I was with them; I got a guidebook out of the library to find out about where I was going.
      Forget this guy, he is a stranger in another country. This was a “fantasy relationship”, in so far as you (and perhaps him too) were building castles in the air.

    • Tee tee says:

      No no no no

      He was NOT the one anything. And thank your stars. It stings to be rejected. But, you need to look at why you are so distraught when you only spent a few days or weeks together? You’d just met him and don’t know him. Slow your roll. He’s NOT that special and you need to take care of yourself and child too.

      Cry, scream, write here, on paper. But, do not make contact with him, it sounds like it was a fling from his end?

      Take care of you, it sounds like this was the undoing of other issues?

      I know it hurts, but you need to go within the child in you, and figure out what’s happening. She needs a good talking to and a huge hug. **this is also for me – i reacted in the worse way from a houdini after a mere 3 months dating**

  60. Loris says:


    Yes, it sounds terrible from aside, and I can see how emotinally insecure I am now, that let those things happen in my life and take them as a prize and a piece of happiness. The trick is that I realized just today, that its my pattern, my love habbit. To fight for love. I meet the nice guy, he is usually very decent, out the average league, like he is coming from heaven or a single diamond in the heap of crap (you can imagine the average guy form dating site, but this one was really an exception, as all other guys that I dealed with) and i am fighting for his love, trying to be as good and nice and loving or challenging and teasing, whatever, to win the prize, to deserve him, to be number one, of course there a lot of women near them. And I am trying so hard, giving so much love, that they have nothing to invest into me. “Don’t miss me, I will do it for two of us”. The sad truth is that once I won my hausband in very hard and long struggle, and when I got him, I lost interest.
    During these last issue everybody told me to low down to let him show his interest and make his part, but I wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t listen. This pattern goes from my childhood, emotionally unavailable both parents, who loved and favored my juniour sibil. I have no connection with either of them for many years since, truly I never had any connection with them, except of feeling that something is wrong with me. They didn’t love me. I have no close relationship and intimacy with anyone actually till now. May be that’s why I am looking for love and approval from distant people, because they don’t know real me, and if they do – they will reject me, will stop love me, take another woman, and i will be number two again as it was when i was a little girl.. that’s a lot to think over about, what game my unconciousness is playing with me.

    • Maeve says:


      I’ve found listening to other people’s dating advice (like family and friends) is a huge mistake. Whenever I’ve done that I end up with my head spinning because I didn’t listen to or trust my own perception on things.

      The fact he blocked you means it’s 100% over with him. Learn the important lesson from this,feel the pain, and make sure it never repeats. If you don’t learn from this, you will repeat this pattern over and over again.

      Don’t beat yourself up. You likely never received good life skills for finding good men and getting into a healthy relationship. Society is no help, I can assure you of that. You’re going to have to fix the problem on your own, by learning from people who have figured this out, and get into therapy for any deep-seated issues you have.

      I’m reading Natalie’s book, Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, on the advice of another poster here. It’s a great eye opener to what’s going on beneath the surface with both Mr. Unavailable and, more importantly, with myself.

      The only way to make changes is to see what we’re doing, understand why we’re doing it, and then stopping it.

    • Mymble says:

      Most of us who post here (me as much as anyone ) do so because of situations we got into due to poor choices, lack of boundaries, fantasising rather than noticing what was really happening. Also I think believing that the only route to happiness lies in romantic relationships.
      And many of us had crappy childhoods. I was an unwilling witness of my mothers unhealthy behaviour (strange naked men wandering round the house at night, he emotional rollercoaster and anguish) after
      my alcoholic, bipolar father abandoned us. Those kind of things might be addressed in therapy,and,for me antidepressants. But the things I’ve learned from BR and other things are
      1. Romantic relationships aren’t the be-all and end all and I can be happy and fulfilled without one.
      2. My children are the most important thing, and I will not do to them what was done to me.
      3. My childhood is my issue to deal with, but I am accountable for my actions.
      But I am a long time out of my epiphany non-relationship, and feeling much stronger and clearer. Youll get over that idiotic flipflapper bloke, he was Not That Special. Really.

  61. Loris says:

    I wish this guy were Mr. Unavailable or assclown, but he seems isn’t. He just lost interest in me, because I am crazy, needy and full of drama.

    But yes, this site is eyes opening. I am so sorry that I didn’t find it a week before!

    • Mymble says:

      I got involved with a married man and then tortured myself wondering why I wasn’t good enough for him to leave his wife for me. This missed the point entirely; he was never looking for a relationship, or to get a new wife, he only ever wanted something on the side.
      You don’t know this man or what his issues are and it may be that he simply doesn’t want a relationship. Or he may already be in one. He may have only ever wanted a hookup. (if he had wanted a real relationship then why was he contacting someone from another country? That is a very EU thing to do)
      The problem isn’t that he doesn’t want a relationship with you, it is that you have got so attached to a virtual stranger. (like me, in a way; my attachment was inappropriate and wrong)
      You’re not crazy, (what I did was much crazier, if it comes to that).
      You need to focus on yourself and on making a better life for yourself and your son. Maybe make friends with other mums so that you can holiday with them next time?
      It doesn’t matter what that guy thinks of you.

  62. Loris says:

    He wasn’t in search for woman or relationship, but he didn’t reject the possibility to be engaged. He didn’t want “sex without feelings” or “dates”. That what he said. And he didn’t actually pursued me on any closer interactions, and when I pushed it, seemed happy and enthusiastic. Of course, I damn myself for taking it that fast, may be needed more time to know each other better, but I also know that if I didn’t do it at that moment, I would have regreted it either, or even more. And later, when he said all that good things about me, his feelings and the future, I didn’t believe it. Too good to be true. Either I saw external signs (like he went to his son for a few days, or he just escaped from seeing me again?), or was it my beliefe, that i am not good enough, i am not sure.

    Mymble ,

    I was with a married man either, I know how it feels, but believe me, when I he eventually married me, I realised that I don’t love him, chemistry had gone away. It could had happened to you too, I think because it’s the only pattern that we could feel attracted to unavailable people to win their love. “Happiness is a light on the water, and the water is deep, dark and cold”(c). That’s exactly what i feel about my life, and really don’t know how it can be retransformed without external circumstances.

  63. MaryW says:

    Dear Loris,

    This man isn’t the issue. He is not “the one”, as you described him somewhere above. That is just a fantasy. He is just another human being. You (or any of us here) don’t know him well enough to judge his character, whether he is a nice guy, an assclown or EU. His ‘rejection’ of you may be a result of your behaviour, or it may be for any other number of reasons, and you will never know. All you can do is avoid getting hurt in a similar way again.

    I know how horrible it feels when something like this happens, I’ve had similar feelings of anguish after a one night stand (it wasn’t meant to be a one night stand, but he didn’t want to meet up again), asking what I could have done differently, etc. It takes a while to process and let go, and I understand that.

    Loris, you turned up in a strange city and stayed the night at a strangers house. You aren’t addressing the several comments here that this was NOT a safe or sensible situation to put you and your son in. Your only remark about your son is that he was asleep on the second floor. Do you really believe a 13 year old adolescent didn’t pick up on any of what was going on? Think of what effect this whole episode might have had on him – what on earth he made of it? I don’t mean to sound harsh, I really don’t, but I feel you’re ignoring that very important point somewhat.

    I also want to transform my life (many here do), but I realise that I have to do the hard work myself (with therapy, with the advise Natalie gives us, etc), and not expect a man to come along and transform it for me (if that’s what you mean by “external circumstances”).

    I hope you stay here, keep reading all the posts (old and new) to get a better understanding of why these sort of things have happened to you (us), and how to stop that pattern of thinking and behaving.

    All the best to you.

    • Tee tee says:

      >> I know how horrible it feels when something like this happens, I’ve had similar feelings of anguish after a one night stand (it wasn’t meant to be a one night stand, but he didn’t want to meet up again), asking what I could have done differently, etc. It takes a while to process and let go, and I understand that.<<

      I had one of those after I broke up with my last actual boyfriend 2 years ago. I didn't realise that shouldn't be like pulling teeth to see someone. b. the effort needs to be mutual c.what he said and subsequently did were two different things, and the action is all that matters.

      I'm still learning, even through he mishap of going on weird dates with oil guy and analyst guy and lastly houdini at separate times last year which led me in to a googling weirdo. I learnt many of what i knew in my gut (but hadn't listened to) till now.

      Thank you to all the commenters, as especially natalie. I'm implementing boundaries a tiny bit better in my other life. I feel better, and better able. Not sure what it will be like if i enter a relationship. But, we'll see i suppose?

      Hang on Loris, don't get carried away so quickly. slow down. There is no flood, so go slow for next time. For now, let your heart heal and please do the work within eh xoxo

  64. lizzp says:

    “Happiness is a light on the water, and the water is deep, dark and cold”(c)

    Hello Loris, What that says to me is that you feel very,very alone. If you can just take that first step of telling this to somebody in the real world who will simply listen and acknowledge it, you will notice a huge lifting and a relief. Try a (good)therapist – it’s worth the money.

  65. Loris says:

    I do tell people in real life about my problems, but they are tired of me, I don’t won’t to disturb them, besides it doesn’t make me feel any better, only they are getting more and more distant and misunderstanding.

    Back to the topic of joint agenda. I was estimating MY part in that last relationship , and I found it very poor, if looking from the guy side. Nataly writes that people should communicate every day, and we didn’t. He was so sincere with me, shying and nervous, and I didn’t bother to talk to him, was afraid to ask questions, say hello or how are you. I didn’t believe it will work! I was so insecure, that couldn’t get an idea what should we talk about. On the other side, he didn’t contact me every day either. Please, help me to understand what was wrong? Girls are telling me that he is asshole if he didn’t write me every day, and male friends tell me that I should had made contacts myself, coz it women’ work.

    • lizzp says:

      Loris, Yes, the real people in your life realise they can’t help, that’s why I suggested (good)therapist…who won’t judge you and will listen to your fears and over time help you help yourself.

      • Rosie says:

        Loris–You mentioned a joint agenda, thinking that you’re over-communicating is what ruined the “joint agenda”. It’s clear that your agenda was different from his. You can’t know his agenda by just knowing him one day. Your agenda wasn’t to find a life partner, but a savior. His agenda, based only on your posts, wasn’t to be a savior. There was no joint agenda. Whether or not he really is open to finding a life partner or not, it is clear that he isn’t open to playing savior. You may think you want a life partner but you don’t. You want a savior.

        You purposely put the guy in the driver’s seat while you sat in the back seat, only to discover that the car that you (and your son as your actions involve him whether you acknowledge it or not) were riding in was a different car from what you thought. You then tried to put yourself in the driver’s seat and knocked the guy into the backseat but he simply got out of the car, said he was using the restroom and would be back except he got into a different car and took off.

        Loris, the point here is that there was no joint agenda. Ever.

        Oh my goodness! Your poor son! I do feel sorry for him. Please follow everybody’s advice and get a good therapist.

  66. Rosie says:

    Loris–I re-read your last post and no, you didn’t say that you over-communicated. Yet, I stand by the rest of my post. There was no joint agenda.

  67. Loris says:

    Saviour? Hm.. For me, actually, he was. That’s true, he wasn’t just a plus-minus one guy, he could change my life, if it worked. I only don’t understand, how might he feel and understand, that I percieve him as Saviour?

    Rosie@, no, I blame myself for lack of communication, not for over-communication. And I wasn’t a driver either, i am 100% passenger, who sometimes got out of the car waking up the driver to go further. And he didn’t want to drive either, but he showed me direction, when he said about future intentions (second date/move to his country). At least I assumed it this way and it made me feel a huge responsibility! And I had to drive, he helped me in the beginning, but then he spent some days with his farther, and evrything went different. He seems to put him down to earth. “Hey, I won”(c)Reality.

    • MaryW says:

      Dear Loris

      I’ve also been in the position of wanting someone to be my saviour so you’re not alone on that one. If only it were that easy. We have to do the hard work ourselves.

      It puts too much pressure on the other person, and it also puts you in danger of being too dependent on that person for your own happiness. Which is both unrealistic and perilous. If you find someone willing to be your saviour, I can bet it’ll come with some seriously barbed strings attached (controlling, undermining, possibly abusive, etc).

      How did he perceive your need for a saviour? He may have realised this based on you on your actions, which as several people here have already stated were not sensible or level-headed. People can smell desperation, neediness. He may also have simply got carried away with it all, then taken a deep breath, taken a step backwards and recognised that something unhealthy or unrealistic was developing. Perhaps his father said something to jolt him back to reality, or perhaps he realised it himself.

      People say things (future fake) when carried away with intense emotions (or if they are an assclown)… They say things that they don’t truly mean in the cold light of day. I’ve done it, I’ve had it done to me.

      Loris, when you realise you have to make changes to your life yourself (with support – a therapist for example), it is scary. It is very daunting. in fact it’s overwhelming. But it’s also a breakthrough.

      I’m pretty sure I can’t say anything more that can help you just now, but I really do hope you’ll read Natalie’s many posts and seek support.

      Wishing you and your son all the very best.

    • Poly says:

      Loris, you have already received a lot of good advice here.

      But everyone here has also said that you really need to think of your son in all this, and you keep ignoring this to focus on the actions/thoughts of a complete stranger with whom you had a one night stand. Please do try to focus on your relationship with your son. And yourself, of course.

    • Rosie says:

      Loris–First, I owe you an apology for the tone of my last post. I think I might have come across as condescending but I didn’t mean to. I am sorry if I’ve insulted you. My intentions are to try, within my capabilities, to help you see what you may not be seeing.

      ” how might he feel and understand, that I percieve him as Saviour?”

      You are right. None of us can know how he understood the situation and what he thought were your intentions. But let’s look at the facts:

      You were going to visit another country with your son and, instead of doing what Mymble did and get a guidebook from the library, you went to a dating site to find somebody to guide you. Do you see? Right from the get-go you were asking for a driver so you and your son could be passengers. This says to me that you were looking for a savior, a man to “save” you from getting lost in a new country. This was potentially dangerous for you and your son and, yes, this is a fact.

      A man from another country offered and he is newly divorced. He said he’s not looking for a woman or serious relationship but he’s on a dating site?? Then he says he’s open for a serious relationship and mentions you’re moving to his country even though you barely (barely!) met. Then he doesn’t communicate much with you after you left, although he talked about your moving to his country and wanting a serious relationship with you.

      You said that you think you should have communicated with him more but you did communicate with him through sending him letters and calling (texting?) him and he blocked your number.

      You cannot know his true intentions. You cannot because you are not a mind reader nor do you know him. You think he’s this wonderful, decent man and the problem is all you but look at the facts.

      This post is already quite long so I won’t go into detail but I, too, was compared with my sibling and came up short in my parents’ eyes. I also have a good number of bruises on my shins through all my stumblings through (and eventually out of) Fantasyland. All of us here have our stories to tell. 😉 It took a lot of therapy for me to find the exit out of Fantasyland but all the hard work and money are so worth it!

      What do you mean by “He seems to put him down to earth. ‘Hey, I won’ (c)Reality”?

      • lizzp says:

        Rosie, hi. just want to say your comment here is timely for me. Hear hear for the abolition of fantasy land. Need to hear about others’ who have struggled with it. Fantasy about men, to me, equals pain. If I read you right, then like you, the insidious man loves me fantasies that have caused me pain on top of any ‘normal’ (for me non-fantasised grief in loss etc) pain, originated and are given weight/charged by how I experienced my relationship with my parents (it is the daddy dynamic I’m trying to acknowledge and reach at the moment). I dunno Rosie but thanks for the comment, I relate and it’s inadvertently made something bit clearer to me. Perhaps I feel less alone or maybe it’s a light beam of hope after a, to be frank, shit of black few days.xo

        Hi Loris, From the way you write it sounds as if you *might* be living in this unreal mode without having an outside or observing part of yourself on the job. That observer in you does exist. I still think going to therapy with a compassionate outsider who has no investment or involvement in your life (unlike friends/family) would be the way to start for you Loris…hard to believe I know but there is another way to live and feel about yourself where a lot of this constant pain, confusion, uncertainty will go away and when it does visit you you’ll have more of an idea about what’s happening. It’s a far lovelier way to live and has many compensating satisfactions that are far better than the fantasy.

    • Maeve says:

      I’m another one who secretly wants a savior. Comically, I think I have my head screwed on right about men and relationships except for that one little eensy thing…except it isn’t eensy.

      Wanting a savior and developing behavior patterns around wanting a savior is enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.

      Loris, I strongly recommend reading the book here and gaining some perspective and then going for therapy.

      It’s not about whether you under communicated or overcommunicated. That’s just you over analyzing and twisting yourself into pretzels by focusing on the wrong thing.

      Stop beating yourself up. Just get some good support/therapy and start working on yourself. There’s no shame in that. We’re all in the same boat. It’s more pervasive then you think, but ultimately you do have to change your thinking and actions.

      • Somebody's Kid says:

        All my life, I’ve been looking for a soft spot to fall. I’ve been looking for someone to take care of me because I feel so tired because I’ve had to take care of myself all of my life.

        So, I’m fighting against me growing up because a part of me wants someone else to do ‘it’.

        Dear Child Self,

        I’m going to take care of us now; I’m taking care of us now. It’s ok. You are safe with me. I can do ‘this’.

        Love you always,

  68. lizzp says:

    p.s. “What do you mean by “He seems to put him down to earth. ‘Hey, I won’ (c)Reality”?”

    Loris, I was wondering about what you mean by this too. Do you mean that you are imagining that this man’s father made him see that his ideals about a relationship with you were…’fantastic’…and that now he is being more realistic…ie he realises he only knew you for a short time, not realistic to make a future on that basis? And then from that you imagine this man is thinking to himself ‘..ok…I won…I am in reality (she is not)?’. Or maybe you are saying that the effect of you imagining him as ‘coming back to earth’ is that you have been placed in ‘reality’ and therefore you have ‘won’?. But Loris, if you mean either of those things it’s still all about you imagining him and not who he is. As others point out, it is totally impossible for you to know who he is on such short acquaintance…and already clouded on your part through feeling bonded to him by sex – to you = intimacy; to him = something else, could be intimacy but equally could not be(that last bit is my view of what sex does, perhaps moreso to fantasy prone women such as myself and, I’m assuming from your posts, you). Sorry for rambling.

  69. Loris says:

    Thank you, girls. Really appreciate all the advices that you are giving me here, it lessens the pain and I feel more confident. I read carefully and understand, I am not alone on earth with the same issues.

    I don’t want to discuss my relationship with my son here, that’s why it seems I don’t “hear”. I keep it mind, thanks anyway.

    p.s. “What do you mean by “He seems to put him down to earth. ‘Hey, I won’ (c)Reality”?”

    No, I don’t mean that HE won. It’s just a saying that I remember reading lately. It means that reality knocked at the door and said that it won. To both of us.
    He might realised that it head nowhere, not real , will not come truth. May be by his father (he himself rather childish as real Nice Guy), and father has influence on him. As far as I learned from what he was telling me. Or may be it was just money issue. Or he wasn’t that into me and didn’t want to fuck my brain and use for sex as a decent guy. I wish he were an assclown, I wouldn’t blame myself then.
    Sent him a message couple of days ago on the dating site, offering stay in touch and be friends.

    • Selkie says:

      If someone blocks your phone number and asks you to leave them alone….. it’s best if you leave them alone. I would’t send any more messages via dating site to ask about being friends. Let it go Loris. You may not like his choice, but he made it and you need to accept it. I got dumped my last try at a relationship with very little explanation and not any space for me to to talk or understand it. He was not interested in my understanding or for me to learn from the experience….and I couldn’t force it. It took a while to let it go in my own mind but eventually I had to trust my own interpretation of what happened and move on. Now I think of it very little and don’t dwell. It’s his life. What I did learn was to focus on myself instead of what HE wanted or said. This guy is a blip in time Loris. Big picture…..he is a guy you barely know. He wasn’t the last train to happiness, but just a short roller coaster ride to disappointment. Get off the ride. It’ll pass.

  70. Loris says:

    @@You said that you think you should have communicated with him more but you did communicate with him through sending him letters and calling (texting?) him and he blocked your number. @@@

    Yes, he did it after I started asking why-guestions, he didn’t want to explain anything and asked to leave him alone. I think I should had talked to him as soon as realised that something is going wrong , may be he had fears, but I automatically assumed that if he doesn’t want me to come – he doesn’t like me anymore and want finish. Though a week before I was sure he did. So I closed the door very roughly and forever. I shouldn’t make this decision for him, should had waited.

    @He said he’s not looking for a woman or serious relationship but he’s on a dating site?? @@

    Well, I wasn’t in search for relationships on that site either, just for fun to meet people from other culture. same as him. We had common values about that ;).

    @@ Then he says he’s open for a serious relationship and mentions you’re moving to his country even though you barely (barely!) met. Then he doesn’t communicate much with you after you left, although he talked about your moving to his country and wanting a serious relationship with you. @@

    It only says that he doesn’t have much experience with women. I think I was one of the first whom he met after divorce. He doesn’t know how to live a single life, he enjoyed our company, the way we communicatedd with my son, he likes children (actually, It seemed to me that he liked him more that he did me). He enjoyed that family atmosphere. He told and looked like a bit of lost, you know when after 15 years of marrige to find himself alone, without purpose, without being needed to anyone, to care for.

    Yes, it was fast, but I experienced faster examples and with less communication.

    • Rosie says:

      Loris–Bottom line: If he really wanted/was capable of serious relationship with you, he would have communicated, wouldn’t have left you guessing.

      Talking about your moving to his country says nothing about his experience/inexperience with women. There are plenty of non-dating sites to meet people from other cultures. Was it clear in his profile that he was “friendship only”? Was it clear in yours?

      Anyway, none of it matters now. What matters is that you learn how to strengthen your emotional boundaries and find the exit out of Fantasyland. By continuing to analyze the situation, it’s staying alive in your mind and, since he’s blocked you, it’s a time waster and is contributing to the fantasy. For your own self-respect and out of respect for his decision, please don’t contact him any more. It can be interpreted as stalking.

      Thank you for explaining what you meant by “‘Hey, I won'(c)Reality.” Reality always wins. 😉

      • lizzp says:

        Hi Loris, Nat has a saying here she calls it the “rinse and repeat”. I’m doing that with my comment above:

        Hi Loris, From the way you write it sounds as if you *might* be living in this unreal mode without having an outside or observing part of yourself on the job. That observer in you does exist. I still think going to therapy with a compassionate outsider who has no investment or involvement in your life (unlike friends/family) would be the way to start for you Loris…hard to believe I know but there is another way to live and feel about yourself where a lot of this constant pain, confusion, uncertainty will go away and when it does visit you you’ll have more of an idea about what’s happening. It’s a far lovelier way to live and has many compensating satisfactions that are far better than the fantasy.

  71. Loris says:

    Doesn’t matter, but I want to discuss this point since to the initial Nataly post, I went trough almost all the topics and I didn’t find any about the beginning of the relationships. When assuming, that BOTH two can be insecure and BOTH estimate each other on a dating stage. It is acknowledged, that IF the man is interested, he WILL push the relationship, make contacts, calls and all this staff. Ok, I agree with it and think the same. On the other hand, the new woman the fell into is also a stranger, and he IS watching and estimating what is going on. He doesn’t want to give all of him into a person that isn’t ready or not share his intentions. Unless he is too young or desperately crazy. I heard from male friends quiet the same issue – if woman is interested, she WILL let the man know, and she will push contacts for man to be sure that he is not wasting his time. For whatever reason my nice guy suggested the idea of the future and openly told me that he is thinking about it, could make him feel vulnerable, assuming he is an embarassed and quiet person as he is. I had a few fast proposals in my life that I wasn’t ready to hear and accept and all they came from wrong guys I wasn’t into, and ALL of them never pushed me in after, though I didn’t say yes or now exactly. They never called back, or when I made some more dates with them, never returned to the point, though they were crazy about me. Same at this case, I didn’t say yes or no, just agreed to visit him again and see what happen. I even didn’t delete my profile on dating site and visited it every day, not looking for other dates, just to chat with new friends. From his side, I could really look like a booty call for casual relationship. Never discussed with him where we are and what does it all means. I was only watching what happens and didn’t participate, and he didn’t either.

    • Rosie says:

      Loris–This will be my last post here as I don’t think there’s anything else I can say that I haven’t already said. If you’re looking for posts on “How To Communicate with Mr. Shy Guy”, you won’t find them. Natalie’s posts are about helping people turn the focus away from the other person so that we can focus on the key broken relationship–the one we have with ourselves. Even her posts that inform us when we’re being mistreated (such as “30 Signs He’s Uninterested or Only Has a Half-Hearted Interest in You” really show us our own poor boundaries. Yes, you and the guy are strangers to each other. He wasn’t too shy to have sex with you so I doubt he was too shy to communicate with you once you left for your own country. If he’s newly divorced, chances are he’s not ready for a serious relationship anyway.

      Loris, please find a good therapist. As your emotional boundaries are quite weak as is your ability to stay in reality, you may put yourself in real danger in the future (My therapist had to have the same talk with me, by the way).

      Good luck to you, Loris!

    • Mymble says:

      There is in fact a good post about “shy” men called “dealing with asking men out (and no you don’t have to do it because he’s shy)
      It includes the line “as women we have to stop making bullshit excuses for why men do and don’t do stuff”.
      He’s not shy, Loris! You’re bullshitting yourself and inventing spurious reasons why he’s blocked you. He wasn’t too shy to contact you, meet you, spend time with you and sleep with you. For whatever reason he does not want to take it further or have any contact with you. It is disrespectful to him and undignified to continue to do it.

      • SearchingForSatori says:

        Always remember, if he wants to be with you, he will be… we don’t need to make excuses as to why he’s not. That’s delusion. Been there and learned that lesson.

  72. Loris says:

    He finally visited the dating site after three weeks of no contact and read my message offering friendship. Instead of replying he changed his profile name to Idiot, age to sixty and removed all the pictures. I don’t understand why he hates me that much. It was his idea for the second date, not mine. I feel much better now as time pass and not going to translate his stupid behavior . Anyway I am sorry that it ended this way, I am old enough to have another romance in my life. That’s was the last train and I don’t have emotional resources to get into something else again.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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