I’m laid up in bed with food poisoning that I’ve brought home with me from Amsterdam so it’s time for a blast from the past. After reading through lots of recent comments where people are devoted to trying to work out what someone intended, it was time to revisit the truth about intentions and whether you really need to work out what they did or didn’t mean.


Something may not be what we intended but that doesn't change the fact that there are consequences to our actions.

I often hear people talk about ‘intentions’ in respect to their interpersonal relationships:

Of course I intended to do it.

They did intend to do it but something I said or did must have caused them to change their mind.

I don’t think he/she set out with the intention to hurt me.

Intention is all about doing something with conscious purpose.

Many of us do have good intentions generally speaking, but there are some of us who are nothing but intentions which is really a nicer way of saying “I talk a good game but I don’t get up to very much” – too little action.

We also want to see the best in others so we want to believe that no matter what others do, at the heart of it was good intentions and it wasn’t actually their intentions for the consequences that did unfold and the subsequent impact on us to result, which then causes us to invalidate our own feelings.

When we are the type of person that seeks validation from others or internalises other people’s behaviour, we can intrinsically link ourselves with what we perceive someone’s intentions to be and decide that it’s something about us that caused those intentions to change.

This is like having a blinkered belief that everyone is running around intending to ‘do the right thing’ or to be committed or whatever, but if you piss them off or don’t breathe the right way then the plans will change – it’s this blind assumption that people’s intentions never change because of the fact that they’ve changed them for their own reasons that have nothing to do with you or because the purpose never existed in the first place.

Take future faking for example. This is where someone gives the impression of a shared future to get what they want in the present. When they’ve got what they want or the future gets closer or arrives, they bail or create conflict that makes it look like we’ve done something to screw up their grand masterplan. Why do people struggle so much with future faking? Because they believe that the person 100% intended to do it and something in their actions stopped it and they blame themselves.

Some future fakers are intentional because they’re just the type of person that will say whatever it takes and then there are some that don’t necessarily intend to do it, but they overestimate their interest and capacity for a relationship, they don’t connect their thoughts with their actions, and they’re not into following through or being emotionally honest with themselves or you. Let’s call it carelessness or thoughtlessness. A painful ‘whoops’. Unfortunately you will often find that someone who has the need to talk up the future and doesn’t slow their roll has a habit of it, which makes it intentional enough even if they claim not to be conscious of it.

Then there’s people who breeze up in your life with grand promises of getting back together only to shag off all over again and leave you restarting the grieving process. It’s like “Whoooooops! Here we go again! I can’t believe I’ve changed my mind. Oh dear! I really did believe I wanted to get back together. Oh well! At least I know now…till next time”

Or the ‘casual relationship’ with a friend that ended up hurting more than anyone else has.

Yes intention is all about doing something with conscious purpose and it’s easy to get caught up in analysing whether someone has good intentions or not, but it ultimately comes down to whether the outcome/result was intended and whether they have any purpose in the first place!

Let’s take the common example of being hurt after experiencing a breakup with a commitment resistant person – They probably didn’t specifically intend to hurt you and it’s a bit like saying they budgeted for level 5 hurt instead of level 10.

However, they did intend to leave the relationship. It was also their aim to safeguard themselves from being vulnerable, to do what they wanted and to ultimately lessen/break the ‘commitment’.

What we do impacts others.

Something may not be what we intended but that doesn’t change the fact that there are consequences to our actions. Being honest, considering others, seeing ourselves and what we do in relation to others gives way to recognising cause and effect.

To expect to end something or to act selfishlessly or thoughtlessly or without accountability or responsibility and for someone not to get hurt is quite frankly deluded.

That ‘ole chestnut of “I didn’t mean to hurt you” or “I’m sure they didn’t intend to hurt me so much” just doesn’t wash. It’s an excuse and do you know what the job of an excuse is? To provide a reason to justify an action that ultimately lessens the responsibility or even the blame.

While there are many people who have good intentions, what makes intentions become action or at least has you assured of good intentions is that thread of purpose. That person who avoids commitment, emotional intimacy, sticking to arrangements, turning in work assignments on time, pulling their weight on the team or who says and does things that detract from or even cause a great deal of pain to others, doesn’t do any of these things with the purpose or actions required to bring out a positive result.

For example, a commitment resistant person, no matter what intentions they claim, is never consistently acting with matched actions and words to create or honour that purpose. People who truly commit and are emotionally available conduct themselves with committed and emotionally available purpose. Equally, the person who intends to come to work on time but stays up late, keeps pressing the snooze button and takes a leisurely stroll into work is not someone with the ‘purpose’ of being on time.

These same people will swear up and down they have good intentions because aside from not wanting to see themselves in any remotely negative light with some responsibility on them, they actually believe that intentions are enough – they’re not, especially when the consistent habit is to under-deliver and contradict.

Just like it’s tricky to divide people into being ‘good’ or bad’, it’s difficult to spend your time trying to measure up someone’s intentions. The truth is that we only have to really go around playing Columbo about someone’s intentions when we seek to make excuses for them, to deny the reality of them, or to find a way to let them back into our lives with more intentions. We also just don’t want to think that we have been involved with someone who in their heart of heart didn’t have the greatest of intentions – we think it reflects on us.

If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either. Talk is cheap and that’s the danger of being words focused because in missing the action, you miss out on someone’s true intentions.

Your thoughts?

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188 Responses to Revisited: The Truth About Intentions

  1. paolo says:

    ”If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either. Talk is cheap and that’s the danger of being words focused because in missing the action, you miss out on someone’s true intentions”. Can’t really say it clearer than that…Good post Nat…I can’t count the number of times the audio and the video hasn’t matched but chosen to excuse it and ignore it due to my hooks.

  2. yoghurt says:

    Oh no Nat – get well soon!

    Speaking from my experience, it stung more to realise that there had been no intention to hurt me whatsoever – I was just there and it was incidental. I spent a long time thinking “Hang on, how can someone can do THAT to you without even really meaning to? How unimportant and worthless does this make me?” It was pleasanter thinking that I was on his mind AT ALL – even if he hated and was deliberately trying to outsmart me than that he basically considered me an expedient bit of scenery through the whole mess.

    I ended up coming to the conclusion that if I was a car, I’d probably rather be smashed up intentionally in a derby (least then someone would’ve gone to the trouble of putting a roll-cage in me, plus you get your blaze-of-glory moment) than being run into the ground and abandoned by the side of the road because I wasn’t great enough to warrant a service.

    But then that goes to show how fruitless the whole Searching For An Intention is – if I was a car, why go for an owner who was eventually going to leave me on the scrapheap at all? Really I’d want to be looked after properly, washed often and nourished with oil.

    • infinite corridor says:

      My problem with this metaphor/line of thinking is that it puts the value of the person (car) in the hands of the antagonist/assclown (driver), when they are completely separate. (not to mention cars can’t maintain themselves– you can!!!)
      It’s pointless to go back and forth with “whats the better way to get screwed around” scenarios in your head, and believe me I’ve mulled over the same exact thing and tried to pick the one that hurt my ego the least, but it’s missing the point: what someone does to you is external, not caused by you, and dictates little to nothing in regards to your value. (What’s more, scrutinizing peoples’ bad behavior tends to keep you entrenched in negativity rather than freeing you to move on and get happy again.)

      • yoghurt says:

        I think that it was only intended as a loose metaphor (technically I don’t have an engine, either. Or headlights) and, of course, one of the side-effects of being involved in a cruddy situation where you have no control is that you start thinking in metaphors which reflect that. Still, I take your point.

        I also agree that it’s a pointless exercise – as I think I made clear in my post – but it’s an easy one to fall into.

        • infinite corridor says:

          “one of the side-effects of being involved in a cruddy situation where you have no control”

          Well, that was my point exactly, I didn’t mean to pick on your metaphor. You/we DO have control and we have had it all along, we just selectively choose to give it away to awful people, sometimes.

      • Rachael says:

        Hello Infinite corridor and yoghurt – some creative names there!
        “scrutinizing peoples’ bad behavior tends to keep you entrenched in negativity rather than freeing you to move”…I agree, I can get into that endless cycle of analysing his intentions for the one that feels better. However, I think there is some merit in undertaking this process as it could reveal the issue has little to do with me… I can no sooner expect an EU man to start caring than I would a paraplegic, start walking (no offense to those who have disabilities). In this is liberty as it allows me to depersonalise his behaviour.

  3. JenniferA says:

    “If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either. Talk is cheap and that’s the danger of being words focused because in missing the action, you miss out on someone’s true intentions.”

    Oh lord. How painful this is even now..I’m still struggling with how someone could be so cruel. Why oh why would someone just use someone they knew really cared for them and just walk away? Because they can? Are men raised to be sociopaths in sheep’s clothing? I really feel that the majority of men in our society are so disconnected from their feelings that a true meaningful relationship with one could be hopeless. I am allowing a lot of male energy into my life right now for the first time in my life. In the form of work and play (not romantic, still hurting) relationships. I feel a bit like an anthropologist doing research into a alien culture. They seem like real people! I think I have the biggest disconnect with the sex thing. Why do men view being intimate so differently? How can you be inside someone’s body that you know cares deeply for you,look into her eyes and for all “intents” and purposes make love to her and then just walk away. I just can’t wrap my head around that. I have had plenty of sex where we both were just “having sex” so I get that. It’s the deliberate hurtfulness of the act I don’t get.

    • grace says:

      What kind of male energy? I have a no of male friends and I don’t know how they feel about sex. Why is that even a topic of conversation? The men who will readily talk about that with a female friend or colleague are likely to have a lighthearted approach to sex. The more serious minded will be more discrete.
      However, from what I can tell, none of my male friends are having casual sex or want to.

      • JenniferA says:

        I meant I am interacting a lot more with men in my everyday life right now. Professionally and as friends. For a long time I avoided men since I had come to view them all as abusive and emotionally stunted. Not worth having around on any level. Now I am making myself more open and accepting of men since I do want a relationship with one. As I spend time with them I feel like I’m “observing” them because of my prior hesitation and fear. The other part about intimacy was in relation to my recent AC experience and how disconnecting the experience was for me when he made “love” to me and then walked away like it was nothing.

    • Grizelda says:

      It sounds like you crossed with a psychopath, as some of us here on BR have. The cruelty and pain of it is unlike anything else in life, ever.

      When Nat says:
      “However, they did intend to leave the relationship. It was also their aim to safeguard themselves from being vulnerable, to do what they wanted and to ultimately lessen/break the ‘commitment’.” This is painfully true enough when you’re talking about normal emotionally-stunted individuals. But when you’re talking about the personality disordered, it’s this but much worse.

      My ex not only did intend to leave the relationship, but did so from the very start. Because deliberate hurfulness was the whole point of the mission. As a predator, he enjoyed it. That’s what floated his personality-disordered boat, that’s what flicked his psychopathic switch, that’s what turned his mentally-devoid crank.

      But the rest of that line doesn’t run true for psychopaths. They’re devoid of genuine emotion of any sort (any that they display is a weird sort of mimicry act that they sometimes don’t get quite right, and it’s unnerving to witness when that happens). So they never have a need to safeguard themselves from being vulnerable because they aren’t actually capable of any feelings at all. There’s nothing to safeguard, in the way that you don’t hire teams of round-the-clock armed security to guard a totally empty bank vault. And they can’t lessen or break a ‘commitment’ when the so-called ‘commitment’ was only a set of ideas he put into your head so that he could control you. Control is a big thing for them. As is duping. They get a real kick out of duping others. The commitment was all pretend. It never existed. He can’t lessen zero.

      It took me a few months to work through the metric tonne of cognitive dissonance that psychopaths leave in their wake, but once I did — wow — I view the world with so much more confidence and wisdom. I know all the signs, all the pathological behaviours, and how to live my life totally free of those people. I cut them out completely now and forevermore.

      Having said that! Remember one thing. They’re in the minority of men. The majority of men are empaths. They possess an internal emotional landscape. They have human feelings. They dream at night. Ok some of them mess up, they might say or do incredibly stupid things, they might behave in an emotionally retarded manner many times, and all I can say is woe betide them if they do, because those are the ones who are just Big Fails who could do much, much better if they’d only start acting their age not their shoe size.

      • Tabitha says:

        I love reading your posts Grizelda.They always resonate with me. The ex narc that brought me here was also a predator with a real mean streak. The only emotions he felt were anger and fear (of loss of control) I remember on our first date he did exactly what you said, he tried to persuade me he was a real human being, by telling me a sad story and then kind of crying. I actually jumped up from the table because I felt so uncomfortable. Oh if I knew then what I know now!! But I didn’t and I was naive to the ways of the narc.
        However, like you say, the experience has made me stronger and I have finally been able to go NC with my toxic mother which is such a release.
        I am determined to be Queen of my own life from now on, to treat others as I would expect to be treated, with love, care and respect, and to cut out anyone toxic. Life really is too short. Nat, I really hope you feel better soon.

        • NCC says:

          Hi Tabitha,
          I am in the process of going NC with my verbally abusive alcoholic father, and subsequently am seeing it necessary to have to cut contact with my mother because I cannot be happy in my own life if I am around them and she has made the choice to stay with him. I’ve tried to explain to her that as an adult, I do not have to be around a toxic situation anymore. Sadly I sense how much she truly has no intention of changing and doesn’t really “hear” me. She is so hooked on and used to the drama that she seems to be fine with the crap behavior and the Dad/Husband bashing sessions that follow out of his earshot. I’m so tired of it. He blames me for their poor marriage, and she tells me I can’t leave her because I am her anchor. He gets sober and tells me it wasn’t his “intention” to hurt me, and if I don’t allow him to press the Reset Button, I’m the jerk. This was also my life at 9 years old, and I’m 31 now and cannot and will not put myself in that situation anymore. Before BR I never would have thought I had the right to make my own choices outside to what made my parent’s lives easier, or even have recognized toxic relationships can exist.

          • Tabitha says:

            It is hard NCC. But when I think back over all the horrendous things I have endured at the hands of my mother I have to say enough is enough. She will never ever change or even see she has done anything wrong as she has a permanent personality disorder that affects the way she relates to everyone, not just me. It actually isn’t about me. My NC is my refusal to expose myself to the damage any more. I tried going Low contact and this worked for a year or so, but eventually she got so mad at the LC and the fact that it meant she had very limited control over me, that she blew up over nothing in front of all teh family and now she has nowhere to run with it.
            I hope you find peace with your own family set up. Your mother sounds like mine in that she gets off on being The Martyr. It actually sickens me and I cannot tolerate it any longer. Only you can judge whether you need to go NC with them. Sennding you hugs.

      • Marilyn says:

        Grizelda, you are so right. They get off on lying and seeing women break apart. I’m so wounded right now from someone I may never recover. I wish with all my mind I could get him out of my head, but he lingers like last night’s perfume.

    • paolo says:

      JenniferA..I don’t think men view being intimate any different than women..It comes down to values and morals. Not gender..I’ve been ass clowned by women and im sure im not unique in the whole world for that. Men just don’t talk about it like women do..Which is completely messed up i might add..And why i’m glad im bucking that stupid trend.

  4. Free2beC says:

    Natalie, I have been struggling with my thoughts and I’m still not ready to spill my story as I’m still in a fog and in shock. I want to share my story here as I feel safe and as embarrassing as it is I’m hoping for constructive criticism and encoragement. For now I will say that my now on and off ex of 3 years came back into my life over a year ago after I went NC when I came to the realization that she was a classic EU. Nearly two months after NC I was admitted to the hospital for an emergency operation that later revealed I had LYMPHOMA. My sister reached out to her and my EX reached out to me and revealed many feelings she never shared before the breakup. Apologized for all the wrong doings, cried and begged and promised she would do anything to prove how much she loved me and the fear of loosing me thought her that she needed to be more open and available.
    We went on a holiday and talked it out. Did the tears flow and promises that where made. I agreed to try again and told her that she needed to be certain of this as my cancer will require lots of patience and there would be times I could not be there for her as I anticipated many bed and sick days. Unfair on my part to ask her to stay. She said her intentions were to be with me through it all good or bad regardless. I also shared with her that my first stint with Cancer strained my first relationship and she left me. It caused me terrible pain and heartache so again she needed to be certain this was a road she wanted to travel. I still have the emails, letters, and still hear her voice saying there’s no other place I rather be. Well a little over a year I’m doing better and in remission and as soon as I shared the news, she started to become EU like a switch. One day I wake up and she says that she has things to work out on her own regarding her life with a pestering EX and the recent death of her mother, she had lost her job, as well so I agree it was a lot. Not much in explanations or conversation, just that its best for now and she will always love me and I’ll always be a huge part of her life no matter where we end up. WTF?!!! My gut is that she has gone back to her EX. I didn’t fight it or asked for an explanation. As you say. If they reject me once, twice, three times what the hell am I looking for? During this process I helped her immensely all while going through my illness. When she lost her job I helped with rent, food, tuition for daughter, furniture, we started to look at homes. But the more things were headed in the direction of an “us” she sunk more into being EU. I wished her well and said reach out when your ready to chat. I have been NC for nearly a month. My gut says its her EX that came in to the picture, and so be it as they have children together, but it doesn’t lessen the degree of pain, betrayal and anger I feel. I have had relationships in the past but none hurt and betrayed me as this one has for so long. So much for her intentions. NC is the only way but a month later and it still kills me. Free2beC

    • rsj says:

      That’s an awful story Free2beC. Good to hear you are in remission.

      I wouldn’t waste time wondering where she’s gone or why. It sounds like she was trying to ease her own guilt and seek forgiveness/win brownie points (with herself) by ‘being there for you’. As soon as she found out you’re well, she makes excuses and is out of there.

      While it hurts to be treated like that, I hope you see her actions for what they are. She likely never will.

      • Free2bec says:

        Hi Jeniffer. This hit home as you can see from my post on how I went with the “words and promises” in the end people will always do what they feel they need regardless of offered intentions or words. Head the red flags at our own peril. Free2bec

        • NCC says:

          “in the end people will always do what they feel they need regardless of offered intentions or words.”
          I thought this was very interesting…and so true. I saw myself in this statement. In the last round with the AC, his words and hot-phase actions (still just crumbs though) provided short term relief to my pain. I knew in my head NOT to get involved again, NOT to believe a damn word he had to say, I was only allowing for NEW PAIN to add to the monumental heap I was already dealing with. But I future faked myself and him to get that pain relief. I said things to him that made my stomach turn because I was faking him and myself. I KNEW that I would eventually have to cut contact again. What was I doing??!! He was going to be evicted just as I happened to be moving to a new place, and I kept future faking until the day came for my move. He put on the “I’m such a nice person” act and offered to help, to organize a truck rental, to be there for me. This was all complete BS and nothing but sweet syrupy words oozing from a rotten source. He had proven to me over and over who he really is, and this helpful, reliable, trustworthy person WAS NOT IT. I knew I could not bring him around my friends and family and didn’t want my new house to have any memories of him, nor did I respect him or trust him. I knew he was only sticking around because my house would provide him with a place to stay once his eviction was complete. Regardless of what I had said to him up to now, I felt I needed to cut contact again, and I have. I told him that because of his lying and cheating and painful backstabbing, I would NEVER be in this 100%. I feel foolish for faking myself when I knew this day would come yet again. I feel like I was an assclown to the assclown, or maybe I was an assclown to MYSELF. I don’t think he is hurt however, because I knew he hadn’t changed, he didn’t have both feet in this and he never did. This new arrangement we had found ourselves in was working just fine for him, and I was still miserable. He was fine only seeing me once a week and me now living 40 minutes away made it even easier for him to keep up his harem. He told me every day how much he missed me, but had every excuse, every contradicting back and forth excuse as to why he couldn’t see me. But that inner voice in me kept saying, “you aren’t surprised by this. You already know this is who he is. He will protest that you are wrong about him, even with how much evidence you have. RUN AWAY.” I’m just sickened by it all. It was never my intention to EVER be with him again or trust him, I just rode it out for a few short term fixes. MORE….NEW….PAIN. This is exactly what he had done to me. He met me, never had any intention of being honest or faithful so he didn’t have to be vulnerable should it all go south. He rode it out as long as he could for the short term fix of ego strokes, shags, money, babysitter to his kids, housekeeper, a few fun trips, etc. So when I caught him out, he knew exactly what would happen, that there would be not positive results for his actions, so he wasn’t really “hurt” or surprised, which makes it all a bit easier to deal with me being gone, because he never expected either one of us to stay given what he was up to. Me on the other hand was living in a whole other world thinking that if someone was saying they loved me and wanting to move in with me, it was going somewhere, it was progressing, it would BE something. So when I caught him out, I was devastating because my intentions were what you have when you are expecting a positive result, for it to be an actual relationship.

    • grace says:

      Not sure it helps but, if it wasn’t the ex it would be something else, and you can spare yourself the jealousy and what ifs.
      Lack of character is just that, and there is v little chance that they’ll step up when the going gets tough. You had no real reason to think she would be any better than before. On-off, on-off. It’s what they do and in several years of following this blog I haven’t seen a single example where on-off has worked out.

      • Free2bec says:

        Hi Grace, I appreciate you reading my post and replying. I’ve read countless post and often see your replies and you offer great advice. You may be right as the more I reflect on her the more I realize that she had ALWAYS had some dramatic issue occurring in her life. I agree that on and off ultimately don’t work, I however went on the premis of the vacation we took to discuss the relationships. She said things that she never said before, made promises, begged, cried. At that point I believed that her intentions were genuine. I told her from the beginning that I wanted a LTR and based on prior experiences and my illness she needed to be sure. Why the big act and promises all the crying and pleading if in the end your likely going back with a Clinically Narsacistict EX? I’m beating myself up for putting myself out there with so much. Oh did I mention she broke up over text. Again she does have a lot going on. But the kind of love you profess and we agreed on was mutual. As Nat says. Love just is. There are no buts it just progresses. At least I didn’t make it easy on her and gave her the big break up moment. I made it easy on me by keeping my dignity and just wishing her well and going NC. The suddenness and her not contacting me along with not sure what is really going on us killing me. But I reading BR I know NC is the only real healing. Thanks again.

      • NCC says:

        I love reading your comments btw. “if it wasn’t the ex, it would be something else.” Oh so true. I’ve heard all of the “something else’s” and funny how it’s never what the real “something else” is. It was his trouble with his kids, his job, his bank account, his car. I got off work too late, he was tired, he ate too much, he was sick. It’s funny when he would answer “I don’t know” it was because he hadn’t thought up a “something else” and he sure as hell wasn’t going to tell me the truth. What was it really? IT was that he was not over his Ex, he had NO INTENTION of getting over her and moving on. She wasn’t coming back to him which secretly devastes him but he can’t handle those emotions, so he uses women to get what he needs and he never has any INTENTION of changing. What he does, works for him. HE gets what he sees as the positive results from his intentions.

    • Grizelda says:

      Free I’m really sorry to hear your story. But I’m also gladdened to hear of your return to health! What a fantastically strong person you are.

      My fear is that you’re somehow linking your return to health to her leaving and all the consequent emotional pain. Please don’t do that. You did not cause her to leave. Look at what Natalie says:

      Then there’s people who breeze up in your life with grand promises of getting back together only to shag off all over again and leave you restarting the grieving process. It’s like “Whoooooops! Here we go again! I can’t believe I’ve changed my mind. Oh dear! I really did believe I wanted to get back together. Oh well! At least I know now… till next time”… These same people will swear up and down they have good intentions because aside from not wanting to see themselves in any remotely negative light with some responsibility on them, they actually believe that intentions are enough – they’re not, especially when the consistent habit is to under-deliver and contradict.

      Does that sound familiar?

      Your situation was full of potential for someone who was up to no damn good. You had health challenges, which made you vulnerable. You had a lot to give — between your money and your home, and your time and your money, and your money and your emotions… I’m half surprised you weren’t depleted permanently by this woman.

      NC is good for you. It’s hard in the first few weeks, the first couple of months. But believe me, it’s worth every single moment you invest in it. Hold tight! Things will get better I promise.

      • Free2bec says:


        As tears flow at this moment with some of the realization of what you say, I also found humor in your last few words. So imagine me crying and laughing at once. “You had a lot to give — between your money and your home, and your time and your money, and your money and your emotions… I’m half surprised you weren’t depleted permanently by this woman.”

        And YES. It sounds VERY familiar. Actually that is what prompted me to post. But when your in it. You don’t see it. I just refused to see it that way, she would refuse the finacial help, but I felt guilty in not helping her cause she was there for me, and all we takked about was about the future and being together. Only now I discover things that show she really wasn’t. If ultimately she wanted an us, now that I’m better this is where she would be. Again, as Nat says. Real mutual, caring, trusting love progresses. Despite the death of her mom, loss of job, and her EX. Those things are just real world issues that no one can escape from. As you can imagine, my thoughts are all over the place and I apologize for writing it in such a manner. Thank you so very much. Your reply did help me feel better and everytime we can feel a but better it’s one moment closer to healing. Although possible. I have some personal issues to work out such as Why I let her back in after she rejected me once. That was a NO NO.


    • Allison says:


      Wow! You have been through so much! Great you are in remission!!

      She is not capable of the responsibility of a relationship, it’s not in her. You know who she is. Please block this woman – permanently – or you will be setting yourself up for much more pain. You can’t add the stress to your health issues, she’s not worth it.

      • Espoir says:

        Free ! So happy to hear that you are in remission – that is the most important thing!!! I understand you so well since my Ex was the male version of your Ex and after 6 months of NC I can vouch for the fact that they will get out of you system and you will congratulate yourself for such a smart move. Enjoy your New Life and be grateful that she was there for you when you needed someone. Off you go with your new life !!!Enjoy !
        I really like this video – yes, you will cry but it,s a good cry :)


    • Suki says:

      Free2: You have been through a lot. Its possible that your ex is being EU, its possible your ex wanted to be caring and to ‘save’ you and wasnt ready for a real relationship, its possible that your ex’s brain was abducted by aliens. However, all this speculating is not useful. I think speculation is the worst – we are basically asking ‘why did this happen to me, why do I hurt, why did the universe/godspirit/whatever DO this to ME’… And instead of asking ‘what does this mean for my life’ we ask ‘why did he/she do that?’. Instead of asking ‘what would be healthy for me now and how can I do it’, we try to solve the puzzle of living inside someone else’s head.
      Here’s the thing – someone you love/d did something kind of crappy to you. They havent indicated that this is something they want to fix. The odds are high that if they came back, they’d do this to you again. Dont think too much about her intentions, think about your intentions. What do you want, what are your intentions, how would you like to feel, what do you want to do today, who do you want to meet, what do you want to eat etc.

      Work toward being with people that treat you well and that you treat well. If your ex was nice to you during the duration of your last relationship then you can say ‘it was good while it lasted, and then it was over’. Thats the best you can do. You can’t stop things ending, you can’t stop people changing, you can’t stop people being mean/etc., you can however stop being in a situation that doesnt work and then you can always say for anything ‘it was good while it lasted, and when it wasnt I got out’.

  5. Lou says:

    Wow this is what I needed to read. EXACTLY what I needed.

    Natalie, thank you for this post – I think it is one to bookmark and re-read lots of times.
    I am having a time at the moment full of upset and anxiety and hurt and pain over a break-up I didnt really understand, but this post has gone a long way towards helping make sense of it.
    Again, thank you. (and get well soon!)

  6. Barbara says:

    My thoughts are you’re spot on every time. This has been a very touchy issue because it’s a bit of a mind screw. But I am not crazy after all! The last Mr.Wrong aligned with a girlfriend I had “intention” issues with for years. Despite the obvious differences in our relationships they were very much alike in that regard and was finally able to identify this issue with not only a male but a female who I’ve had reoccuring issues with in the past. The light came on, time for changes all around. Love your articles!

  7. Barbara says:

    Feel better!

  8. Healing One says:

    I love this post. We don’t realize it, but there are so many people out there without purpose; just ‘floating’ in the world, looking for something shiny and new to fill them up, then growing bored and moving on. Like ghosts, almost. No substance, no “there” there, even though they give the appearance (usually to “get” something). And because so many of us DO live with purpose and intention, we can’t understand these types and/or we try to rescue them. It’s a losing game.

    • rsj says:

      “there are so many people out there without purpose; just ‘floating’ in the world, looking for something shiny and new to fill them up”

      Agree. And I believe it’s becoming more common partly because there is an ever increasing emphasis on external things filling those voids.

      There are plenty of messages about how to be successful and what defines success; that to live a meaningful life means to do or be X, Y or Z. Few of them are particularly healthy messages, yet they are pervasive and impossible to avoid. Whereas one has to be conscious of and actively seek other ‘messages’ (read: information) that counter them.

      The old saying money can’t buy happiness is well known; however people seldom speak of things such as not seeking validation or self worth from without, and it’s often not what people want to hear or know anyway.

    • NCC says:

      Healing One,
      I’m printing out what you wrote, thank you! You not only described the men I’ve dated, you’ve described me to the point where I seem to believe that SOMETHING or SOMEONE will make me whole, give me purpose. But I know there is more than that in me, I’ve always felt it and used to act on it when I was younger. As my confidence has peeled away I’ve gotten further from that person. :(

  9. Tired says:

    I got that second time around when he was desperate and needing propping up . When the new ow had gone away . I really should have listened to what he was saying loud and clear . I feel crap tonight i have blocked him on fb and i looked at his mum s . Pics of a happy family party at the new womens house him and his kids from first marraige it a lovely flash home . All happy laughing . I blocked time i stopped torturing myself enough you silly bint !

  10. Lucky_Charms says:

    Nat, I am so sorry you are sick. But I can’t believe after being laid low, you helped me raise myself up. Thank you for this. As I was driving home tonight after work, I was replaying the assclown’s “intentions”, and all the future faking I allowed him to torture me with. I have been NC for almost 5 months now.
    “If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either.” Thank you, for answering the puzzling questions I had in my mind. I DID somehow think that I had done something to make the EUM not want to commit. All the excuses, a whole year of them. Then more BS apology of “so sorry, I never meant to lead you on” Which I now know means, “I totally meant to lead you on” Ugh. The relief of knowing he never had any intention of doing anything but mind effery, makes everything I did to get away from him so much easier. His only purpose is assclownery. I just hope I can work through my trust issues now. Concentrating on me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to date again, I am ok with that. Still learning more about myself and I still blame myself for letting a situation with no intention go on for way too long. it wasn’t until I got on this site and found out about future faking, that I got a whole lot wiser. This was an awesome post. It really made so much sense about my situation. Almost 5 months of NC! It’s all thanks to you, Nat and all the other wonderful ladies and gentleman’s comments I read faithfully here every week!

    • Allison says:


      We all made mistakes with the people we chose, but don’t continue this mistake by never allowing anyone else into your life.

      I think if we are honest with ourselves, the red flags were there early on, but we choose to ignore and tolerate shoddy treatment – shame on us. The important bit is understanding what got you to that point and work on you, so that you will be more discerning in the choice of future partners.

      There are a lot of good men out there, you simply have to trust, and allow them into your life.

      • Lucky_Charms says:

        Allison, you’re aim is true, just quoting Elvis Costello. You are so right. Thank you. For your comment, and you are right, the red flags were there. I never knew about future faking. In the end I am so LUCKY! To have found you all!

  11. paolo says:

    I forgot to say aswell Nat…Hope you get well soon. X

  12. Bea says:

    Very interesting article. I think that’s exactly what happened to me. My initial intent to end a potential LDR relationship, was fought hard with words of fate, feelings beyond curiosity, etc. He followed up with a few conversations, numerous texts and pictures before disappearing for a few days (no communication), and then pretended to be so busy. As the promised date got closer, he blamed it on me. I was accused of being delusional. This was for six (6) weeks. It should have lasted two (2) days. Natalie is right on target – dating disappointment is an opportunity to refocus and remind ourselves of our bigger picture. Disappointment is part of life, however, it’s also an opportunity to grow/mature and get back to our core values, which are what defines us.

  13. noquay says:

    Someone once told me “the only thing you really leave behind in this world are your actions” ; how very true. I have always tried to treat folks decently regardless of the situation and always make sure my actions and words and feelings are in 100% alignment. I understand from my experience and the experiences of others that ones actions can have an impact on another, for good or bad, for a very long time. While I doubt that there are a lot of folks that deliberately cause hurt, I think that many cause hurt because they are a. clueless, b. too self centered to think about others, c. simply do not care.

  14. Lilly says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with. A mutual acquaintance recently told me that the exAC/MM’s teenager had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and was treatment resistant. I did the maths and this occurred several months before he started seeing me. I felt so sad for him that something so tragic had happened to his child. I started thinking that may be this was the reason he had been so cruel to me; that the stress and sorrow about his child was behind his cruel, emotionless behaviour when I lost my child and the reason why he left me stranded on the other side of the country recently. He left me stranded when I told him I wasn’t on the pill after telling him I was. I know it was very wrong, but I was drowning in emotion and feeling so powerless that I just said it. There have been times when I wished I hadn’t said it, because may be then he wouldn’t have done that. But, leaving me like that turned out to be the jolt into reality that I needed; I cut contact for good and haven’t spoken to him for 6.5 weeks. Still, this recent news about his poor child has thrown me a bit. Did he intend to hurt me so badly or was this the reason? And as sad as it is does this excuse his behaviour anyway? I have NO intention to use this as an excuse to break my commitment to NC. The pain of losing my child was the worst I’ve ever experienced in my life and his behaviour just compounded it all. I’m not going back for more, but I can’t help thinking that he must have been suffering. Then again so was I and he was cruel, harsh and unkind. I’m trying so hard not to excuse his behaviour, but this news is so sad I can’t help feeling for him. I’ll have to read this post again. Get well soon Natalie.

    • Tabitha says:

      Lily, I feel for you but I am going to have to kick your butt now! Poor Him. Poor Little AC. WHAT ABOUT HIS WIFE!!!!!!???????
      If his daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness, why wasn’t he “doing his job” as a husband and father, looking after his family, rather than running around sniffing after you?
      This does not excuse or explain his behaviour Lily. If anything, impossible though it may have seemed, this puts him in an EVEN WORSE LIGHT THAN BEFORE.
      Sending you hugs though sweetie. Try not to think about it, and please try not to get dragged into conversations with mutual acquaintances about him. It breaks NC, and what do you get? PAIN.

      • Mymble says:

        That’s what I thought too. If his daughter was having a mental breakdown, he should have been there supporting them, not spending his time money and emotional energy on a secret affair.
        Lily he was treating them like crap, is it any surprise that he treated you and your son the same?
        I really can’t understand how this would make you feel more sympathetic to him!

    • natashya says:

      lilly, whatever the reason was for his vile behaviour doesn’t really matter.

      did he do it because he was a sadist and took great pleasure into making you suffer? did he do it because he was dealing with very difficult circumstances regarding his child? did he do it just because he could? IT DOESN’T MATTER.

      it doesn’t change the circumstances one bit. he treated you like an ASSCLOWN. yours is one of the worst stories i’ve ever heard regarding assclownery. his actions and the way he treated you should be enough for you to realise that whatever was going on in his head is luckily no longer of your concern.

      you’ve been doing remarkably well. i’m proud of you. keep it up.

    • grace says:

      No Lilly. My brother’s wife had had a serious mental illness for some years now. He has been nothing but faithful, persevering and patient. I expect nothing less. If I found out he had been cheating I would kick his ass. In a sisterly way of course.
      For all you know his daughter could be mentally ill because of HIM.

      • Sunyata says:

        “For all you know his daughter could be mentally ill because of HIM.”

        Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Grizelda says:

      Lilly, listen to me.

      They ALL have sick children. Yes, they do. They ALL have sick children. It’s a story they ALL tell.

      But it’s not true. It just isn’t. It’s either an outright lie or an unconscionable exaggeration totally beyond reality. But it’s definitely a scam. A PR scam. Because the intended effect is to make people in the vicinity feel oh so sorry for his tortured soul.

      How do I know? From all the details I’ve read about your ex over the last seven months, your ex sounds personality disordered like mine was. Now, brace yourself because mine (heh heh) had a sick child too. He said. Deathly sick, ooh yes deathly deathly sick, and permanently too. And they just never knew when little Jack was going to have another one of his downturns. Oh but oddly enough he wasn’t sick enough to have a home nurse of any sort, ever. He wasn’t sick enough for any hospital stays. He wasn’t sick enough for any special considerations at all. He flew with the rest of the family on holidays, er, skiing. Oh but a deathly sick child, I was told. Now what a coincidence, eh? Imagine that.

      But there’s more. Several of the people who’ve written books and blogs about their relationships with psychopaths have described… brace yourself again… their personality disordered boyfriends/spouses, guess what, had sick children or parents. All of ’em. All the time. Now how’s THAT for a coincidence.

      And here’s the other thing. How your ex is behaving, and how mine behaved, is not how fathers behave when they’re genuinely concerned about the child in their life. How does having a sick child turn a man into some kind of wild humping bonobo crack-monkey assclown, exactly? What’s the connection there? Why do they ask others to make that connection? What is the pattern here? See the pattern?

      Lilly, it’s only a story he tells to suit him. It’s nasty and it’s cruel and it’s stupid. But because he’s devoid of a conscience, he doesn’t see how nasty and cruel and stupid he really is for telling such tales.

      Don’t you dare feel sorry for him. I’m going to put the hard word to you, girl — it’s also none of your damn business.

      • Lucky_Charms says:

        Griz, Holy crap! My assclown did that to me too! I have to settle down and have a cuppa. I am reading this and I can’t believe that this happened to me also. He actually reeled me like that. Ugh. But I thank you so much for this information. God, am I kicking myself. His daughter had whatever! Wow, I am kicking my self for believing more lies.

        • Grizelda says:

          Thanks Lucky_Charms and Truth=Freedom. I wanted to share a little more in case it helps.

          A man who creates this kind of story never ever intends for relationships to continue, to get closer, to advance, or to evolve. They can’t. It’s impossible when he has deliberately planted this time-bomb which would blow up in his face if you were ever to meet the children/parents/whoever and not find an ill or disabled one amongst their ranks. From the moment he utters the lies, he’s already decided to consign you to the trash bin at some convenient point of his choosing in future. See what he’s done there? All part of the game.

          But in the meanwhile the story is a convenient way of reaping sympathy, understanding, pity, and all sorts of emotional energy from normal empathic people. They don’t understand why normal empaths respond this way, but they know it happens and they think it’s marvellous as well as hilarious. They know it garners special attention and consideration by proxy. They know it makes them look like tragic heroes, stoically ‘bearing up’ under what empathic people can only assume to be enormous emotional strain. They know it makes empathic people ‘feel’ for them. It serves as a great in-built excuse for any disgusting behaviour they can then act out. They benefit from it. It costs them nothing. And the risk that someone’s going to call them out on it or flush out their lies are virtually nil.

          • JenniferA says:

            Oh Grizelda! You are spot on! My AC always paraded out the various illnesses his child was going through. He also has a brother who is very ill as well as his father. WTF??? Ah yes, I’m beginning to see a pattern. When he told me he was seeing someone new exclusively and I was falling apart, he asked me not to be hard on him because he had a rough year romantically with all he went through when this other woman he was pining after got married!! Like I never existed. :(

      • truth=freedom says:

        Grizelda, you are spot on with this post, every sentence resonates and hits the bullseye for Lilly and others. Thanks.

      • grace says:

        yes the ex -returning childhood sweetheart/MM had a sick child too. Granted, she genuinely had been sick but what kind of person posts it all over facebook, with pictures for everyone to see and then tells their ex all about it before trying to have sex with said ex?
        I blocked him.

    • Allison says:

      Oh Lilly,

      No excuses!!!!!

      It is terrible what has happened to his child, but it DOES NOT excuse how he has treated you!!!!! This is his character!

      When I was dealing with the loss of my brother, I never hurt or disrespected anyone I cared for.

      Girl, this is who he is!!!!!! Stop excusing and work on you!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lilly. REMEMBER what’s best for you. That DOES NOT include finding excuses for his behavior, feeling sorry for him,asking yourself what his intentions really were. It no longer matters. None of it. IT’S OVER. Thank God you have been able to extricate yourself from possibly the worst situation you have had or ever will have in the future. Try not to give him any more room in your brain, He’s occupied more than he ever deserved. He does not deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of us. He is the devil personified, so please don’t try to think of any good qualities about him which could start when you begin feeling sorry for him. I have to agree with Grizelda. He’s probably putting out a lie, knowing it will get back to you, and then he won’t look so bad. If that’s the case, he’s not doing it for you, Lilly. It’s all for HIM. Be proud of yourself for maintaining NC and NO MATTER WHAT happens to him or to you, never go back.

      Natalie, sorry you got sick. Food poisoning is wicked, but fortunately it’s not a lengthy ailment. Feel better, quick.

    • Lilia says:

      I have to agree with all the others. Someone once told me “when faced with the abyss, you see the tight-rope walker”, meaning that when people are in difficult situations you find out how balanced they really are. Clearly, this man isn´t balanced at all and has no character nor morals.
      He should be responsible and take care of his family, not go out to wreak havoc in someone else´s life – yours! Don´t get confused, he isn´t the victim here, you are, as well as his wife and child. If you´re going to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for you and for his family, not for him!
      Why is it that we shift our sympathy to those who don´t deserve or need it, especially those who have abused us? It seems to be a common phenomenon, maybe it´s worth it to look into it now that it showed up, Lilly. I´m sure part of your healing should be to understand why you tend to feel sorry for the one who abused you.

      • Lilly says:


        I’ve had some sense knocked into me today and a well-deserved kick in the butt – thanks Tabitha :). You ask a very good question “Why is it that we shift our sympathy to those who don’t deserve or need it, especially those who have abused us?” I have no idea yet, but I will bring this up with my therapist. I think it’s something to do with what Grizelda said people like us (as in non-narcissists) naturally respond with empathy to someone’s sad news. I was feeling just what Grizelda described; I was imaging him stoically bearing up under what must have been enormous emotional strain. Perhaps he was and maybe he was using me like some sort of emotional band-aid, but looking back he didn’t seem to be under any strain. I’m going to take the advice here and stop trying to analyse him and his intentions. He’s gone. I’ve picked myself up now and I’ll keep going.

        • Tabitha says:

          It was just a wobble Lilly. We all have them, myself included. It is so wonderful we have our BR community so we can help each other out, buttkicking included! You dust yourself down again and battle on. It will get easier. It really will.

        • Wiser says:

          Lilly, so glad to hear the round of collective butt-kicking worked! :) You said that “looking back he didn’t seem to be under any strain.” This brought to mind when I was first with the ex and he was in the middle stages of his extremely volatile and nasty divorce (his wife was out for blood and now I understand why – two years later it’s still not finished) – he seemed remarkably calm around the office for a man going through one of the biggest traumas of his life, I could even hear him whistling at his desk! Always smiling, always serene. The wife had even had him served at the office with a restraining order! In our small office, and small town, EVERYBODY knew about it, but he never seemed alarmed or embarrassed. (He had explained to me at the time that she had over-reacted to him slamming a door on her “by mistake.” And I bought it – then.) He wasn’t allowed to go back to his house to get his belongings or see his beloved pets or see how well the farm animals were being taken care of for well over a year. I would have been a wreck! At the time I thought, my, how stoic, how composed, how mature, how strong and professional he is not let his problems taint the workplace or negatively impact the coworkers. What character! What integrity!

          All crap. I’ve come to believe this was a sign of him just not giving a damn, and an incapacity to feel the anxiety, pain, regret, shame, embarrassment, remorse for causing harm or other normal emotions a truly sensitive and caring person would have in that situation. Being calm is generally a good, desirable trait to have in times of chaos – being “overly calm”, a.k.a. not responding with normal emotions, can be a BIG red flag.

          • Lilly says:


            The similarities are astonishing. I think it is the lack of empathy that is so hard to understand. At least we will be able to spot this big red flag in the future, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. I’m so happy that you got away from that coldhearted man.

    • simple pleasures says:

      Lilly, sorry, he has no interest in children. You do. So I am going to give you my mantra to use when MMthesisadvisorassclown pops into your mind
      (ok, he hasn’t given your mind any down time yet I can tell). repeat after me, “I used to love you. Love is based on trust and respect. I no longer have a high opinion of you. I no longer trust or respect you. I DO NOT LOVE YOU”. Whatever is going on in his life Lilly, YOU DO NOT LOVE HIM, anymore. Repeat after me.You Do Not love him. You are trying to heal
      from pain, that’s different, and understandable. He was cruel and merciless and YOU DO NOT LOVE him any more.

      • Teddie says:

        Great mantra, SP! I’d add: avoid loving words altogether even with negation. Use hateful words a positive framing, like “I lost all respect for you!” Or better yet: make the mantra not about him but about yourself, Lilly, and use the most loving words!

  15. Di says:

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
    I don’t know who the author of this original quote belongs to but, I live by this rule.

  16. stacey allam says:

    i want you guys to give me an opinion about what lenghs someone wi;ll go to appear to be the good guy. My first love founfd me on facebook after not seeing each other for 33 years we were happily dating for 2 years beore he told me his plans for going away to college he also said we should start dating others he did not even take me to the prom I found out after he left he was having an affair with my best friend whom i forgave and my neighbor i was devestated he left he wrote twice said i could not visit him until he slept with others he wrote me twice i moved on started dating someone else that i was not in love he came back 7 months later and said he was wrong wanted to get back together i said no and left did not here from him until 2 years ago on facebook hes been happily married for 23 years me for 22 he says he just wants to say hello and apologize for his bad behavior and the rest would be p to me the rest of what hes in texas and im in ny he did not want me comming to see him wanted nothing that would hurt his wife he contacted me i was annoyed but accepted his friendship weeks went by he started playing me songs and saying thing to me oh stacey we couldve been so happy toeether i did not respond the n my best friend passed away of cancer i showed her boyfrien pictures of where we grew up the boyfrind says cool piccs …im thinking about planning a trip… but my wife and kid have no interst blocked him thinking he wanted me to say hey lets get together i put my story on facebook cheating 6 months later he responds to that saying this story looks famialiar knowing very well its me but that the only thing that tells him its not about him was that he would never say he was going on a trip without his wife but he did and that if i had not blocked him he could straightened out the misunderstandiing but this stacey person is right th plast should reman the past and she should keep him block whats you opininion what do you think his intentions hwere with me he said on facebook cheating that he was just getting in touch with me to say hello whats your opinion

    • grace says:

      The point of the post is that the consequences matter more than the intentions. For what it’s worth, bearing in mind I don’t know the guy (but neither do you) is that he is careless about you, his family and any consequences. But what were your intentions getting steamed up over a married man with children? It might be worth digging into that instead.
      There was no real harm done here other than drama. You should let it go instead of trying to make out that’s it’s a rerun of Lovestory or that he’s a diabolical genius with an evil plan.
      Get Nat’s dreamer book. Your relationship ended over 30 years ago. That’s longer than a life sentence in the uk. Time to live your life in the here and now.
      There’s a man in the uk recently convicted of burning down his house with five of his children inside. They all died. He didn’t intend to kill them, he was running a scam, but it fit very well into his pattern of behaviour. And the children have still suffered the consequences whatever his intention. He was careless and selfish to say the least. Those people make bad friends, partners, parents. They can’t even play nice on facebook!

    • Allison says:


      Please break up your post with punctuation, it was a very difficult read.

      I don’t understand why you have posted on this so much? You have shown this to your husband, and joked about what a fool this guy is, yet you continue to ask what his intentions are. Why? If you’re happily married, this should be of no consequence. Are you being honest about your feelings for this guy?

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Is your life really so boring that you have nothing better to do than think about the intentions of someone who was a waste of your time 30 years ago? I think not. Come out of the past and deal with here and now.

        • stacey allam says:

          he\ i would want a relationship and expecially not a facebook friendship with him nowaring from him again turned me right back into the seventeen year old girl hurt all those years agoi think that once youve loved someone part of you always loves them but that does not mean but that does not mean i would to have anything to do with him now especially not on facebook its like when you think back to when you first fell in love you worry about what youll wear if hell call you after you give him your number the first time they hold your hand in the movies etc and then I think about how he treated me and there go all the warm feelings out the woindow its also a huge ego boost to think someone supposedly has remembered you afer all this time its what natalie talks about when lost loves come back parts of life are boring my job etc but i do have two special neds young adult children that ar never a dull moment in a good way

          • stacey allam says:

            what i meant to say was that hearing from him turned me into the same 17 yearold school girl i was before and your all right i have played this one for far too long i have built my ego up far more than it couldve been blown up if i had been friends with him for a while ive become a new genre the girl that built her ego up by pretending tpo be the noble wife in a way im being just like him im pretending to be the good girl which ive been and have gotten alot of play at it at his expense now its time to stop it all your right

  17. Sheela Nandini says:

    Get well sooooon Nat!

    Admire your commitment to work despite your condition right now.Thank you for this post.

    Love you Sis and take good care<3


  18. Allison says:

    Feel better!!!!!

  19. McKenzieM says:

    Great post, and well-timed. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to interact with the EUAC for a project, despite being otherwise NC with him. Those brief bits of exposure made me realize why the NC rule is so important. He kept trying to pull me back into the madness and when he realized that I would never EVER allow myself to become part of the narcissistic harem again (for example, he tried to get an ego stroke and use me as an emotional airbag during a required work communication, but I ignored it and kept things professional), I’ve started to get the Narc rage pointed in my direction. I hoped that would never happen to me and, in fact, he had promised it never would (how dumb was I to believe that?). It’s funny how things change.

  20. rsj says:

    “If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either. Talk is cheap and that’s the danger of being words focused because in missing the action, you miss out on someone’s true intentions.”


    “To (expect to end something or to) act selfishly or thoughtlessly or without accountability or responsibility and for someone not to get hurt is quite frankly deluded.

    That ‘ole chestnut of “I didn’t mean to hurt you” or “I’m sure they didn’t intend to hurt me so much” just doesn’t wash. It’s an excuse and do you know what the job of an excuse is? To provide a reason to justify an action that ultimately lessens the responsibility or even the blame.”

    And yes.

  21. Tired says:

    It really is to absolve themselves from blame whilst we are in pain . There not at the beginning going to say hey im not really into you but youll do to make me feel better are they . Because no one would go near . I feel so arghh because i can see it now couldnt then abd thats the hard bit knowing i wasted time . Why couldnt they have been honest . I remember saying i dont care what youre doing im out of here me abd you just friends really angry in his face and him lying his arse off . Me sodetermined to walk and the bit i cant forgive using someone who ge knew loved him instead of letting me walk . I could do that to my ex hubby but i wouldnt dream of leading someone on to use them to make me feel better . I cant understand why i feel so bla today i know he lives with her etc so why should one crappy photo make me feel shit

  22. teachable says:

    Ahem. Ms Lilly. Don’t you dare waver over that news. It’s rather possibly the case that having a narc sociopath for a FATHER contributed to the emmergence of mental health issues in yr ex AC/MM’s child. No doubt ‘treatment resistant’ due to still living under same roof as the father/MM whose dysfunctional behaviour & disordered personality helped to sow the seed of mental illness in the first place! Remember how HORRIBLE & CRUEL this cretin was to YOU? Well just imagine being his CHILD! (ie Poor kid NOT poor him!)

    • Magnolia says:

      Teach, I thought the same thing.

    • Tanya Z. says:

      Maybe this kid isn’t mentally disturbed, but is simply getting old and observant enough to question the insanity in his or her family. Kids in dysfunctional or abusive households can get labelled as crazy when they start to tell the truth about problems that the rest of the family desperately wants to deny.

  23. michele says:

    hope you are feeling better when you read this.. smile…
    i got up a few minutes early before work today.. and sooo glad i did after reading this post.. I CANNOT PUT INTO WORDS HOW THIS HAS IMPACTED ME. THANK YOU !!!!! if i could this would become my screen saver.. smile…. you should of titled it “dear michele”..lol
    after almost 4 years i decided “ONCE AGAIN”… to go NC…. BUT for the first time i blocked his number and got rid of testing .. at least for now…. takes away that option…
    i have to be honest and say i am in love with ..but feel at this point he is an anchor to me to move on… i am 57 years old (good grief ) and i HAVE to take control back in my life. i hope in someway writing this.. will inspire at least one other person to make that change and inspire us to let go… I HAVE created this UNHEALTY PATTERN AND ENABLED HIM TO DO WHAT HE DOES….again thank yo natalie…i wish everyone a healthy love filled day . PLEASE pray for me.. smile.. michele

  24. Confused liz says:

    Hope you feel better soon :) what a great post , I have realised iv been thinking too much about the eum/ac’s intentions and asking myself why this and why that , I’m 10 days NC and I do feel a little better , there are days when I think about him more than others but I try to stop myself thinking of him- is this the right thing to do? I just tell myself it was a fantasy and he wasn’t really the person he made himself out to be for so long. I do hope though that I’m not subconsciously wondering if he’ll come back, it does upset me that he hasn’t tried to contact me but I’m also glad (not that I would respond) thanks for your great posts and all the comments keep um coming :)

    • Free2bec says:

      Confused Liz,

      Stay the course. As Natalie says. Somedays we win and somedays we loose. But ultimately we win if we stay true to NC. I can’t tell you how many times I have typed out an email or text and then deleted it. But I stop and imagine how I’m going to feel when she doesn’t reply. She rejected me/us for whatever her reasons. Why should I give her the power to reject anything more about me? Even if its a text an email or a thought. Think about him but gain strenght that you don’t act in anyway past your thought of him other than to make you stronger. I’m 28 days of NC and somedays I feel like day one and some moments I feel like “what was I thinking” those small victories show me I’m on the right track. Good luck. Free2bec

      • confused liz says:

        free- thanks for your support i have read your story and am so sorry to hear what she put you through, but im so glad you are in remission :) i agree , if we stay nc we will eventually feel better and the more we distance ourselves from ‘them’ the more we can see them for what they are. i know it is hard but it will be worth it and in the end he can not hurt me anymore with his actions because i will be free :) good luck to you x

  25. noquay says:

    This woman is assuaging her guilt and trying to appear to be a much better person than she is. She is not there for you, never was, and never will be. I say this as a cancer survivor myself who was treated in much the same way by a dude back in my Montana days. This woman is a drain.

    • Free2bec says:


      Thank you for reading my post and replying. I’m glad you are better and hopefully we will remain healthy not only physically but emotionally. Thank you.

  26. lo j says:

    Lilly … If anyone starts a story about the ex AC/MM, put your fingers in your ears, close your eyes, and go, “La la la la la la la …” until they’re done talking. Better yet, stop them before they start. And count your blessings that he is not in your life.

  27. lo j says:

    My dad went around telling the town my mom had multiple personalities. (she doesn’t … not sure why he does what he does). One day my grandmother called my mom and said when she answered, “who is this?” My mom said her name and granny asked again. Mother thinking she’d gone mad said her name again and my grandmother said, “No, who Is this?!” They both howled with laughter. Sad thing is the parents are still married and my mom can only laugh at the craziness.

  28. Revolution says:

    Hey Nat,

    Sorry to hear you’re not well. I’m down with a stomache flu today so I feel your pain. No bueno. From one sickie to another, :), maybe take some probiotics for the tummy, put a movie on for the little ones, and sleep. That’s what I plan to do (though I don’t have the little grand dames to think about :))

    Now, as for the post. Sheesh, even in sickness you’re spot on. I’m sure someone has already mentioned that expression “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But if not, then let’s roll out that golden oldie out now. It’s so true. Especially the part about internalizing someone else’s changed intentions so that we make it about our own deficiencies. It’s ye old inverted ego issue, isn’t it? I have done this with friends and boyfriends in the past. I don’t do it anymore. For a little while after I switched this habit, I felt like the Wicked Bitch of the West. But now? Meh. I’m over it.

    The last EU AC that brought me to BR (Phew! How’s that for a slew of acronyms?) pulled the whole “I’m sorry if you feel hurt but I don’t understand how I hurt you.” Now this was after he pulled a pretty underhanded stunt and got his hand caught in the cookie jar. But still, the man had no shame. He didn’t give a flying fig about what he did, and then tried to push the reset button repeatedly afterwards without bothering to right his wrongs. There’s your intention right there.

    As for the rest of my “advice” to y’all, I’m not much use in this weak state, so just remember that if you think he or she is an assclown and that you’re being disrespected, then you are probably right. NC their ass.

    Peace out. I’m going to take some aspirin now….

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Aspirin for stomach flu? NO!!!
      Peppermint or green tea.
      Feel better soon.

      • Revolution says:

        You’re a sweetheart, Tink. Thanks for looking out for me. :) Yeah, I waited until the, um, stomache was settled before I took the aspirin. I had a fever and was getting a little loopy (or should I say, loopier?). :) Thanks for the advice. You must be a kickass mom. 😉

    • Lau_ra says:

      this “I’m sorry if you feel hurt..” line actually brought me back to September when the latest of mine AC texted “I’m sorry that you felt like you needed to write like that” (after I asked what is this with just me making attemps to get in touch lately and no sign of his effort).
      Take notes, ladies – they don’t say “I’m sorry that I’ve/my behaviour has hurt you”, cause that would mean they admit they did something wrong – the emphasis is always on you, turning things as if you’d have no reason to be hurt. If you ever hear such line, be sure that its nothing, but a faux apology – he is not sorry at all (and usually a “but” and some lame explanation of why he misbehaved follows).

  29. Cat5 says:

    I tend to shy away from the good/bad split of characterizing people.

    I think it’s a continium with good to the left and bad to the right, and in the middle is questionable/sketchy…with most people falling in the middle, and fewer people to the left or the right…sort of a bell curve.

    Funny thing is, I think most people characterize themselves as good people, but most of the time their actions don’t show it. It’s more like they will be good people when it suits their purpose, but if it doesn’t…then they won’t. That is why most people fall into the questionable/sketchy category.

  30. Munchkins says:

    Totally agree. It’s really simple, if you want to do something you’ll find a way to do it. If you really have a problem with you being the bad guy, you’ll do things to try not be the bad guy. You won’t just ignore your bad guy antics and say “Oh well, this is how I am”, because that’s you accepting that you’re a bad guy and you’re ok with it, otherwise you’d try to change it.

  31. missmilkie says:

    “Don’t think that I was just using you!” … too bad it took me weeks to realize that this was exactly what had happend! I guess I should have been wary, but I wanted to believe in the best of intentions. I wanted to believe that it wasnt all planned out and then executed with perfection. I didnt want to believe that such a ‘beautiful’ person could have such cruel intentions and just be in it for themselves. I didnt want to believe that I could fall for this type of BS. why..? because if I admitted to myself that this person isnt who they appear to be.. (because I let them in my life) its like admitting that Im also responsible for the pain I was feeling. So I need to stop torturing myself because yes there are people out there with bad intentions. yes all they want is to use you to their advantage. not everyone is decent and mature and recognizes that other ppl have feelings too. not everyone treats others as they would like to be treated. too many are so caught up with themselves that they fail to see how their behavior impacts others. or even worse…they dont even care. thanx for the post & get well soon! :)

    • NCC says:

      “So I need to stop torturing myself because yes there are people out there with bad intentions. yes all they want is to use you to their advantage. ”
      So good. The more i read all of these comments the more this intention stuff all becomes clear. The ACs intention with me? As with all the women, his intention was simply this: to get what he and he alone needed. How? By masking his true intentionw with the right words and a few smoke and mirrors that I fell for. When I provided, he didn’t act grateful, he acted entitled. When I didn’t provide, he turned cold ,went behind my back to find someone else who would fulfill his intentions, again, to get what he needed. Not a mutual partner, but a doormat, an ATM machine, a mother.

  32. espresso says:

    I put a huge amount of belief into the intentions of my ex to work on dealing with his inability to engage and his rejection of my feelings (often in cruel ways). I think I felt that if a person expressed intentions that they were 1) sincere and 2) this would be followed up by action. Since my ex was not a lying, cheating creep I kept believing in his sincerity, not realizing that he either forgot his intentions, didn’t have a clue on how to meet them or couldn’t be bothered to find out what would be required to become more whole himself. It is ALL about actions…full stop. Sure, give somebody the benefit of the doubt a few times…things happen etc. But then don’t stick around because it NEVER means a good thing. And for us who have florence nightingale tendencies it is a trap because we always want to look for the good side of people. It is funny I like people to be consistent with their words and deeds but I never applied that to my long term marriage. I see this SO clearly now even though it is uncomfortable to look at it straight on.

  33. Gillian says:

    I know this post is mostly about becoming aware of what men are telling you versus what they are doing. BUT..

    I’m been thinking about my own actions. What do I think I should do and don’t do? What do I talk about, even in my head and not take action on. I have been NC for three months now and I still get to hear all about what he is doing from his ex-wife who I have become friends with since we broke up so that I could keep in touch with his 8 year old daughter!!

    I just came back from a long drive and I almost wanted to scream at that stupid voice in my head that keeps replaying things about him. This is a man who threw me the “friend” card after three months of wooing me and I stayed around for a year until he got his 20 year younger, cute, richer girlfriend and hid her away so he would not have to face up to telling me. Anyway, I was just a friend, so why would he have to tell me?? That was his line of fire. He’s right. I “agreed” to be the friend.

    Why is my heart tangled up with this no-good man who half the time, I couldn’t stand being around and who I never wanted a long-term relationship with? I’m torn between massive relief of not having him in my life and jealousy of what he has with her. And, if I didn’t know what he was doing with her, I’d feel better.

    He lied to me so many times as I supported him in his battle against his ex-wife. I knew that he was not a man I wanted to be with, he operates like a 16 year old and has so many things about him that would annoy me, if I were in relationship with him. I was lying to myself! I just wanted him because he didn’t want me and I wanted the little family that we had on the weekends he had his daughter. Now I want him OUT of my head and I think that means that I have to get his ex-wife and his sweet daughter who told her mum I was her step-mother (though I never told her that but my actions spoke of that). I love this child and love being with her, I just cannot stand hearing about him and how he spent $600 on dinner and flowers and underwear for Valentine’s Day when last year I cooked him dinner and I got one flower!!!

    OK…there’s an action to be taken here. I really like his ex-wife. Do I have to cut her and her daughter out of my life, or do I ask her to not talk about his relationship with the new girlfriend? Oh shit! I just got out of one mess and now I have created another around him!!

    • Magnolia says:


      I think you know the answer. When I cut off my ex, there were a few friends that I met through him that I had to stop seeing because they were simply too close to my ex socially.

      I’d say ex-wife and the AC’s daughter fall into that category. They may miss you and you may miss them but you’ll all live.

      I have run into some of these people since and I don’t ask at all about my ex. So far no one has brought him up with me. I figure if fate wants me to be friends with any of them then we’ll come together organically through the circumstances of my life, not through trying to maintain or build upon a connection that began through my involvement with a douche.

    • Grizelda says:

      Gillian, you’ve got to cut yourself off from all that.

      $600 of dinner and flowers and underwear for Valentines Day?? I just… what the… how would… christ I don’t know where to start.

      First of all, where are you getting this information? Second of all, whoever told you this information is intent on being hurtful to you. That’s the only possible reason someone would tell you. Thirdly, five’ll get you ten it’s a lie. Sorry but $600 on food, flowers and panties never happened. Not unless they live in Paris or London or Singapore, the only places on Earth where a four-star lunch with a bottle of 1966 Chateau Angelus and a pair of frilly knickers from Myla will run about $600. If they live in the butt-end of nowhere, they only way they could have possibly burned up $600 would be about 7 long hours of fried shrimp platters at Applebys and about 285 pairs of underpants from Target. All of which will come in handy, after 7 long hours of Applebys food.

      Perhaps it’s worth stepping back a moment and considering what other lies have been coming your way about his latest squeeze. The one who is so rich and cute and smart that, given her choice of millions of men who should be gasping to have a date with her, she chooses some kind of crotchety old cheater from a previous generation who uses and discards women after taking all the things they had to offer.

      This whole line of pointless and unreliable information is prolonging your suffering. You’re only torturing yourself, so much that you’re not seeing the wood for the trees. My best advice is to cut off every line of the Assclown Hotline permanently, otherwise you’ll still be parked here five years from now obsessing on a piece of information you received that he spent $47,000 on sex toys for his latest-latest-latest girlfriend who is a 22 year old French porn star living in a 18th century palace in the Loire Valley with her prize winning show dogs and a collection of vintage roadsters.

      • Wiser says:

        Griz, can I just say – I love you! You make me laugh like no one else on this blog. Brilliant!

        • Lucky_Charms says:

          I know Wise! Best laugh of the day! How am I gonna drive by Applebee’s and not think of 285 pairs of target undies? Lmao!

      • JenniferA says:

        You are hilarious!! :)Oh, and so smart!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Gillian. There are enough problems in life that we HAVE TO DEAL WITH without looking for more. You need to cut them all out of your life. You will live and so will they. What do you need with unnecessary complications from people who don’t add up to a bag of beans in your life, pray tell? You ay like the child very much, but believe me you are overestimating your importance in her life. Don’t invest in the fact that she referred to you as “stepmother”. Children that age are fickle in an innocent way. Also they are far more resilient than we adults tend to think. She may ask about you a couple of times and when you’re not around (which should be the case) she’ll get over it. It may bother you more than it does her. Examine why you feel you need these people (the adults)screwing over you. You say you just got out of one mess and now you’re in another. You need to be more selective about who your friends should be. Real friends not phonies.

  34. Anita says:

    It’s exactly my ex’s intentions that I’ve been mulling over the past few days. I wrote on an earlier blog about how I had gone from girlfriend to booty call in 18 months and it had all come to a head when I called him out on cheating on me whilst we were together. He said he was cutting ties as I “obviously wasnt moving on”, made a big deal about coming to get his stuff and then never turned up. Fast forward 3 weeks, another text to ask if he could stop by for his stuff (and a cup of tea!) and here I am again completely mind boggled over why he hasn’t turned up or text. Surely it’s in his best interests to get this over and done with. I just wish I could make sense of his intentions. I feel like I’m in a big fog at the moment.

    • SM says:

      How about you throw his stuff in the garbage and make it your intention to completely put him out of your life. He’s already shown his intentions and that is to keep you as an option.

    • Allison says:


      There’s no meaning here!

      Text him, and tell him you are putting his stuff in front of your door. End of. Do not open door, or for that matter, get out and enjoy the day!

    • A says:


      I posted to you yesterday under the “Phased in Commitment” article. The jist: you’re focusing entirely on what he thinks, what he wants, what he might do next. This situation isn’t whatever he wants it to be, you can decide what happens next. Resolve to be done with this situation and to cut him off. I know that others have suggested just mailing his stuff to him–I’d recommend doing so without a note and ignoring any further calls, texts, emails from him. If mail isn’t an option, maybe have a friend drop it off at his house on your behalf when he isn’t home?

      This situation isn’t getting any better, and waiting around and letting him flitter in and out of your life is only going to hurt you more. Take back some power and *you* decide what happens next.

      • Anita says:

        Thank you all for your responses.
        I’ve known for a long time that there is no other way but to be done once and for all, I guess I’ve just been struggling to accept it for what it is.
        A – I’ve just gone back and read your last comment as well as the one above and it really helped me to see sense. I have been focusing entirely on his thoughts and wants and it has been consuming me. You’re right, it doesn’t really matter what he wants anyway, it’s about me and I don’t want to be unhappy anymore.I’m only 25 and I’m pretty sure there is more out there for me than someone like him. My friends and family have been telling me for a long time to find that inner strength and shut that door and you’ve reiterated that for me. I can’t do this anymore. It won’t get better and the only thing he could ever give me is a headache!

        • A says:


          I did the same thing with the ass who brought me to BR, which is why I wanted to reply–I saw myself in your comments. I was so focused on deciphering what he was thinking and what he would do next that I kind of lost sight of the big picture. Waiting around for someone to make up his mind about you (or change his mind) is just soul destroying. You deserve better. And 25 is young–if we have to go through this much pain to gain some realizations and make changes in our lives, that’s a great age to do so!

          • runnergirl says:

            A…spot on. Hopefully Anita, you will send his stuff into cyberspace. I’m 53 and just learning all these lessons. Don’t wait around until you are in your 50’s to get a grip. I have a 23 yro daughter who is still hanging round for the late night booty call from an ex. It’s pathetic. Move on young lady. ASAP. His intentions are shit and so is his stuff. Oh, and be grateful you didn’t marry him! Promise me you’ll stay on BR until you are 35!

            • Anita says:

              Thank you both. I am definitely glad I’m learning these lessons now so I can hopefully go on to live a happier life. Oh yes, very grateful I didn’t marry him, although he did tell me it would never be on the cards! His poor ex wife had 2 children with him, persuaded him to marry her (he told me he knew at the time he didn’t want to be with her) and then spent the next few years in misery until she eventually gave up and moved to Scotland to get away from him! So yes, it could be a lot worse.
              I’ll be on here for a while for sure, its helped immensely already.

  35. Lilly says:

    Tabitha, Mymble, Teachable, natashya, Grizelda, grace, loj, Tinkerbell,Allison,

    Ladies, thank you so much for helping me to work this one out. I re-read Nat’s post three times and everyone’s comments and it all makes so much sense. As of now I’m going to stop all the “I’m sure he didn’t intend to hurt me so much he was just upset about his ill child” stuff. As Nat says it just isn’t going to wash. It is just an excuse because at the end of the day he didn’t care for anyone but himself, not his child, his wife, my child or me. He hurt me and hurt me so much I could barely get up for over a year and some of it WAS intentional. He knew what he was doing when he sent me an email telling me he didn’t like my child’s name as it reminded him of a bad character in a children’s book and he knew what he was doing when he ……… It goes on and on. Yes, some of it was intentional, he knew it and I know it.

    This post has also helped me come to terms with being stranded. Our last encounter he was busy future faking and setting me up as a FBG again and although it may not have been entirely clear, at some level I knew it that’s why I said what I did. This messed his plans up big time and I clearly pissed him off. I screwed up his master plan and of course his plans changed and he discarded me. Just like that. I don’t want to believe there are people in this world who deliberately like to hurt others, but he is one. I think I must be one as well at least where his wife is concerned. My therapist has told me to take one thing at a time and I’ll face that one soon. I regret the day that I met him so much.

    I was just sad to hear the tragic news about his child and it triggered all these thoughts. I may have been projecting my own feelings and thoughts about his child onto him. All I can do is keep working through it until it doesn’t hurt anymore. It already doesn’t hurt so much and it’s only been 6.5 weeks NC. Thank you all again I feel like I’ve taken a giant step forwards today.

  36. Little Star says:

    Dear Natalie, get well soon, my thoughts are with you xxx

    I do not know how can you read my mind??? My current AC contacted me and invited me to the restaurant and said that we need to talk. I decided to meet him and talk to him, if he offers the same (booty call relationship), I will tell him to disappear and never contact me again, if he wants a proper relationship, I will give him first and last chance. I would never put up with any BS anymore, I am strong and I would never allow any man to use me!!!

    • Magnolia says:

      Little star, I feel like I’ve heard this before from you …

      why are you agreeing to meet up with someone who you call an assclown?

      • Little Star says:

        YES Magnolia , you are SO RIGHT:( I am upset with myself too…but it is different AC (who I have known for 8 months), I would never go back to the ex AC who I spent 5 years with! IT is only ONE meeting, nothing more, I promise:)

        • grace says:

          Little star
          Be careful. Eight months becomes nine months becomes a year and then five.
          I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for eight months and we are talking about when would be a good time to get engaged (I say we should date at least a year), not whether we are even in a relationship.

        • Allison says:


          Why would you waste your time? If you know this guy is no good, why do you set yourself up like this? Lord, there must be some decent men out there, or God forbid, we remain solo for a while.

          • Little Star says:

            Grace and Allison thank you so much for your wise words! I will be careful and I am not going to waste any minute with him if he is not going to offer me a proper loving and caring relationship!

            • Allison says:


              What is your past with him? Why do you call him an AC? Lastly, why would you consider someone who is an AC?

              • Little Star says:

                Allison, my story with him I described in comments to Tinkerbell. I do not know why I call him AC, maybe he is not AC…I am confused:(

            • Tulipa says:

              Little Star

              I am worried for you. These ACs and you called him an AC play a good game when they want to.
              Lets say, he does say he wants to have a proper relationship with you, then what?
              You spend all your time waiting for, looking for AC behaviour to begin and it will begin.
              There is not one story on here that shows ACs make any changes they just adapt to get what they want then when they have it they revert back.

              • Little Star says:

                Tulipa thank you for your comment! The reason I want to give him FIRST and LAST chance because I hope he realized what HE HAD and LOST , he had 4 months of NC “thinking” and if he still offers the same, I am not going to be with him. EVER.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Little Star. Haven’t you learned anything in the time you’ve spent on BR? Jeez! An AC is an AC! It doesn’t matter whether it’s an old one you’ve kicked to the curb (hopefully) or a new one. Why are you waiting for a frog to turn into a prince. If a man doesn’t offer you a “proper”, your word, relationship in the first place, what makes you think it’s coming down the pike? Why are you expecting it? Why are you going to see him so he can give more bs stories? This is relationship insanity: Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Time to wise up. He ain’t that special and you’re not that desperate, or are you? Have you read Natalie’s book, Mr. Unavailable…….?

      • Little Star says:

        Tink, thank you:) When I met current AC 12 months ago, I told him that I was with him because I wanted to forget my ex AC and he helped me. In the beginning I did not wanted to have a relationship and he was not ready after his recent divorce, so we were using each other…BUT later, I realized that it was NOT ENOUGH for and after some BS from him, I dumped him with almost 4 months of NC. He offered to talk regarding future, I learned from BR that ACTIONS speak louder than words, so I will see if it worth it. I read two of Natalie’s books: “Mr Unavailable” and “No contact”, probably I need to re-read it:( I will be not dragged back to insanity as I have enough BR knowledge and support of great people, like you!!!

  37. Francesca says:

    Hi Natalie, Good post! I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and find it suprising how the topics of your posts seem to match what I happens to be circling about in my brain concurrently. Spooky actually. However, this post seems to have articulated a thought I hadn’t actually formed yet. So, I’m in a relationship at the moment which is pretty much perfect. So much so that I am finding myself looking imperfections that may or may not be there. Yes, I know this is the result of past hang ups but I am still anxious. So, my man wants to take things slow, I.e. not moving in together too soon. How do I tell if his intentions are honourable or if he is just future faking as you have termed it? Also, sometimes I wonder if your very catchy yet catch all phrases can sometimes have the negative effect of labelling people and situations without knowing the whole story. Do you see this as potentially problematic at all?

    • paolo says:

      Francesca..If it were me, i would simply see if the actions match the words and let the trust build from that. Only if they match though.

      • natashya says:

        i agree with paolo. actions matching words will reveal a whole lot. you don’t need to go magnum p.i. but keep your eyes and ears open and never ignore any red or amber flags. if there’s none, that’s awesome but if you see one pop up… step back and observe.

        just the other day, a friend of mine reminded me of a wonderful post by grizelda which really resonated with me. i hope it’s okay to quote her.

        “It’s not that guys are all the same — it’s that patterns of bad behaviour are all the same. These bad behaviours are all overlappingly related to each other like some kind of tangled, incestuous, intergenerational freakshow family tree.

        Reality is, you encounter one kind of bad behaviour you discover holy christ this is no orphan — it’s a cousin, a sister, a father AND a stepson of a whole family of unowned impropriety, assclownery, emotional damage, inevitable hurt, and in some cases abuse.

        It’s never just that one skeevy text you saw on his phone from his ex-girlfriend. It’s neverjust that something happened with his kid again yesterday and so he can’t separate from his terrible wife today as he said he would. It’s never just that he says he’s allergic to latex and so can’t use condoms. It’s never just that one time he ‘called from the office’ and claimed to be working late then turned up at yours four hours later whiffing of cannabis and sweat and persuading his way into your bed by saying you’re the sexy centre of his universe. It’s never just that one time he took a swing at you. It’s never just that.

        Provided we’ve all learned here and admitted that there is no ‘fixing’ that behaviour — ever — and that any attempts to ‘fix’ are only coping with, enabling and underwriting the whole flippin carnival — there’s no turning back into doormats for us. We’ve been de-programmed. We’ve given ourselves permission to walk, no, RUN away from that soul-sucking monster the minute it rears its ugly head….”

        • Kit-Kat says:

          Natashya… Loved reading your post. The thing that stuck out the most : “It’s not that guys are all the same — it’s that patterns of bad behaviour are all the same. I try not to be cynical & put all single men around 50ish in the same trashcan but its hard sometimes when you have been scorned. I think just taking the time to be alone & nurturing me is all for the best. I needed to mend my broken heart,figure out how I ended up being so taken advantage of, had no boundaries, and by some miracle found this site & all it has to offer was a true blessing…

  38. Wise ol owl says:

    Grizelda! Been awhile since I’ve responded to your wonderfully written posts. The sick child story could be replaced with an array of others–he may pursue his passions in life and be a struggling/starving artist, or workaholic with little time for anyone/anything else. Bottom line, it IS to get your sympathy in one way or another and to “manage” you so as you don’t get what they perceive as too much of them. They’ll ration their time, energies, love, with one intent in mind, their needs first. Of all the things you say, the one that rings most true for me is that intent was there from the beginning. Aw hell, it takes time, experience, BR, maturity and removing our rose colored glasses to SEE it in the beginning. Best of luck, G. and you are one smart woman!

    • Grizelda says:

      Ah thanks WiseOO.

      Just between you and me, the most awful thing in resolving my cognitive dissonance was forcing myself to come to terms with the most horrific of realisations: that the emotional pain was what he intended all along because this is his pathological behaviour and this is what he does. Swallowing that was like trying to neck a porcupine. It was just too big, too horrible, too nasty overwhelming and painful, and I didn’t know where to start, the nose or the tail. But there’s no way around the pain except through it. Once it went down, once I stopped heaving and crying, once I gave into it, talked myself around, and it settled down… the pain disappeared along with the cognitive dissonance. I get it now. I get it.

      I know you get it too WOO (hark! it’s an owl!) — and I feel like it’s my turn to do all I can to help carry Natalie’s flag and assist others in their awakening and healing.

      • Wise ol owl says:

        Yes Grizelda and you carry the flag well. The porcupine analogy is awesome, yep there’s no way around the pain but through it. The pathological behavior of many middle age men I chalk up to one thing; they do it because they CAN. There is a plethora of middle age women who must be so desperate (and not BR readers)they put up with this crap and when they see the light and get out, it seems there await a new bevy of the unaware for these AC’s to choose from. This just perpetuates these men doing what they do. So, what we do is keep our dignity, hope and humor (you offer that in spades)and move on. Glad you got over that prick. I’ve been right there with you in that moment of total clarity. It can actually be awe-inspiring and I try to look at it as a gift, which it eventually becomes whent he pain subsides. Hope you find a smart man worthy of your intellect…hope we all do. woot woot woot. PS Get well Natalie and thanks for being there.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Those of us who’ve been here a long time or have learned many of life’s bitter lessons, particularly in the love arena, SHOULD try to offer help to those less experienced going through painfully confusing times. You have a gifted way of doing that, Griz, whereas myself, Ms Emotional Tinkerbell, speaks straight from my heart (rather than intellectualizing, which sometimes wants to drop to my feet over some of the stories. Unfortunately, my posts are either very sweet and endearing or excessively blunt. Hopefully, since there are so many different kinds of people in the world some needing tough love, some needing more rational prodding, some needing gentle persuasion, some needing humor, we all help each other somehow. BR is pretty great in this aspect.

        • Tabitha says:

          Yes, BR is amazing! If you guys could have seen me 6 months ago(when I posted under my original name which I had to change!) I was underweight, shaking, neurotic, emotionally neglecting my kids, unable to go to work. I had no boundaries, no self awareness, no self esteem. Griz, Yoghurt, Tink, Ms D, Grace, Runnergirl, Teach, Noquay, Magnolia,Natashya and all of you. Oh, and that one called Natalie!! You have helped me make massive changes to my life. I now have a chance at a second career, which is one I have always wanted but never thought I would be good enough (mothers words ringing in my ears) I have vastly improved my relationship with my children, my friends. I have been able to resist a Returning Childhood Sweetheart and I have stayed NC with the idiot bloke that brought me here.
          I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Because of all of you I am emerging victorious.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Tabitha! That is HUGE! I am soooo happy for you. We are strong when we want to be, and we are RESILIENT as a sponge — squeeze out the dirty muck and absorbed the good clean water. I know that sounds corny, but it was the first analogy that came to mind. You go, Girl!!!

  39. Kit-Kat says:

    “To expect to end something or to act selfishlessly or thoughtlessly or without accountability or responsibility and for someone not to get hurt is quite frankly deluded.”
    That is it in a nutshell intentional or not.
    Thanks Nat for so many wise words that speak to me …

  40. twistinmysobriety says:

    As Oscar Wilde put it: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”

    Indeed. I think these EUs/ACs really are just so wrapped in their heads and operate from such a selfish point of view that they cannot possibly fathom that their actions have consequences. It just doesn’t register when the world revolves around their egos.
    It is sad that what can merely be a source of a minor egoboost for them can cause so much pain to the one who is doing the boosting and egostroking. The intention was of course not to hurt…just that the other person’s emotions or feelings were never a factor. I would almost rather be intentionally hurt.

  41. twistinmysobriety says:

    …and my AC told me that he is so sorry for hurting me, but “sometimes we forget how to play these things tidily”. Forget?! Oops, sorry babe, I forgot to use my brain and think about others.

  42. lo j says:

    Oh Grace!!! Giddy for you!!!

  43. lo j says:

    Lilly … Another soon. I had a month long computer fling and a one time encounter with a MM I had known for years while living in my home town. I later found out he and his wife had lost a very young child to cancer. I didn’t feel at any time manipulated by him (different people, different circumstances) but I did feel sickened by my behavior in the reality that he and his wife had a life together with great tragedies and that I had come between that bond, one that I PERSONALLY believe is sacred, whether he does or not. I will never forget that feeling. I hurt for his wife. I was living against my values (strange huh?) and I finally saw how disgusting selfish I had
    been. He has made attempts at contact but I ignore him. I just feel sad for everyone involved.

    • Lilly says:


      It is such a horrible sad mess all around. What on earth was I ever thinking? I will get through this I just will.

  44. lo j says:

    *another spin*

  45. Paula says:

    Get better Natalie!

  46. Tired says:

    Its just a thought but do you think these men never learn because we always walk away quietly ? We all do the leave , quietly with dignity because to do anything eles we would seem bitter or twisted . So they never suffer any consequences and move on to nxt victim . Maybe just once if on bowing out wevlet em have both guns blazing and a good scarlet gone with wind slap around the chops . They would think twice . Ive been thinking how nice it would ve to walk in pub in front of everyone walk up to him punch him reslly hard in face turn on heel and walk out . Yes i know its wrong .

    • Wiser says:

      Tired, I’ve had that fantasy more than once myself! It’s not wrong, it’s just… pointless. It wouldn’t help. Going out with guns blazing will NOT change them. They will not get any message from it. They will not slap their foreheads and say “Dear God, what was wrong with me? How could I have treated her like that? Now I’ve seen the light. I vow to change myself this instant!” It is not in our power to bring about the necessary consequences to their actions. And you really don’t want to be in that position anyway – doling out judgment and punishment would simply poison and harden yourself. The tragedy here would be that not only has this person hurt you, that you continue to hurt yourself with your actions. Sticking with quiet dignity is all about taking care of YOU and your self-respect and your soul.

      Having said that, I’m also an advocate of having a final say if it’s appropriate to the situation, but only ONE and you don’t do it to influence or change them, but to speak the truth and stick up for yourself. Only one – and then NC for good. Leave punishment and karma up to God.

  47. grace says:

    Punching and drama only tells them that you’re still invested. The only thing that MIGHT send a message is every woman they come across wising up and promptly cutting them off. Sadly, there seems to me no shortage of women who will tolerate or even encourage them. So, what can you do but take care of yourself, ie walk away with dignity.
    And it’s not our job to teach them anything.

    • paolo says:

      Tired..being drama at the end of a relationship just gives the other person justification for what they tell themselves and for their behavior..They get to tell themselves your a crazy (add expletive here) or abusive or whatever else they want to tell themselves about you. At least walking away with dignity and grace means they can’t ‘ADD’ anything about you to their bullshit justifications.

  48. AfroK says:

    Hi everyone. My 1st time to post in BR although I’ve been reading Natalie’s posts and comments for 3 months now, after my dear friend introduced me to it. I find BR inspiring and I hope to stick around here for very long time. In advance, sorry if my English will be a bit off as it is my 4th language. Every time I want to post, I feel overwhelmed by it all (my situation, not the English :)). I’ll post one time, when I get the energy. I don’t want my life story to be “that woman, that once had brain, balls and promosing career and life, then got married for nearly 5 years, and her life got screwed ever after..”. I want my son to grow up seeing a strong that once was and not beaten up woman. I try to stay strong but just feel that my self esteem is beaten up to zero after staying strong for too long fighting the battles that ex put me through. I don’t make sense but reading BR has somehow given me hope and I hope when I share my story it’ll be a little step towards recovery from it all.

    • Allison says:


      Your English is fine! :)

      Please keep posting!

    • Tabitha says:

      Yes Afro, your English is great. Please don’t hesitate to share your story or think that you will get anything other than support here.

  49. Sandra81 says:

    Another issue I came up against. I think it’s a matter of limited attention span on their behalf. These people are very “of the moment”, and don’t really think about the long-term consequences of their action, or about how each person involved is affected. Plus, I think there is another thing: we often tend to evaluate/estimate other people’s feelings as if they were our own. Therefore, if THEIR feelings are superficial, they must believe OURS are the same. And that makes them think we wouldn’t be affected by their behaviour, because, in an identical situation, they wouldn’t be too affected. Don’t you think?

    • FX says:

      Sandra81, This is an excellent point:
      “Therefore, if THEIR feelings are superficial, they must believe OURS are the same. And that makes them think we wouldn’t be affected by their behaviour, because, in an identical situation, they wouldn’t be too affected.”

      This also and especially relates to people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder because they are incapable of feeling normal emotions, empathy or remorse.

      At the end of my relationshit with the AC whom I believe has NPD, I tried to get him to see some very hurtful behavior through my lens. I asked him “How do you think that makes me feel?” His reply said quite genuinely with a surprised look: “I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”

      I’m 10 months NC but it would be almost 2 years if I went NC then as I should have when he said that! There are a number of moments like that I now can recall that make me shudder and help me keep the rose colored lenses off.

  50. noquay says:

    Even if it were our job, which it aint, we cannot teach them a lesson as a lot of these manbabies are incapable of learning as many of them are narcs. That and, at least in the middle aged demographic, there tend to be far more successful, high functioning, healthy single women than men. There will always be fresh victims, no need for an AC to straighten up and fly right. Rather than punch out my AC which would only lead to a sore hand and me looking like a psycho, my revenge, if thats what it is, has been to become far more visible as an environmentalist and as a designer of unique, sustainable buildings and to spearhead our environmental initiative at work. AC always thought of himself as and wants to be thought of as the areas premier enviro, nooo more.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      I agree with the above replies to Tired. If it was possible for them to learn their lessons, they wouldn’t be coming back months, even years later trying to entice you into another fling with them. They didn’t learn a thing, have met others who cater to their bs and when they get bored or run out of women, they want to get back in your face again, as if your life has stood still ever since. It’s pathetic and there’s so many of them walking around. no wonder so many women have given up on dating. The best thing to do when you’ve been burned is immediately disappear and maintain NC. You maintain your dignity and there’s nothing they can HONESTLY say about you behind your back.

  51. FX says:

    noquay, Great comment and good for you and your accomplishments! Sounds like you are getting to give him a figurative punch in the nose. 😉

  52. confused liz says:

    having a really bad day today… i thought i was doing so well its been almost 2 weeks since nc but today im feeling quite low , i know i shouldnt but iv found myself thinking about his actions asking myself why he hasnt tried to contact me etc :( i would usually ring my mum but she passed in november wich is i think part of why im feeling low/having a bad day. to top things off my ex eum’s friend (probably best friend) was messaging me last night, at first it was just general chat but then i noticed definate flirting… wich i think is wrong and also think he is eu too haha. so been feeling guilty about talking to him too although iv no reason not to, if anybody who has read my stories on previous blog(phased in commitment) has any advice it would be greatly appreciated as always, just feel a bit stuck really and i was doing so well after reading on here and recieving some real sound advice :-/ thanks again

    • paolo says:

      confuzed liz. I havn’t been reading your earlier blogs i must admit…But i know 2 weeks is nothing with regard to NC..I would just say to you to go easy on yourself and not use thinking about your exAC as something to beat yourself up about or as something abnormal..There’s no time limit to get over or getting through or moving on or what have you…I’m many months NC and i still think of my exEU each day. Though it’s easier now and im becoming alot more indifferent..It does get easier. Give it time…Be your own best friend and sooth your own soul with kind words to yourself as a very best friend or your own mother would say to you…Be compassionate to you.

    • Tabitha says:

      LIz I do not like this at all. I do not know how much info we have about your ex but EUMs and Narcs in particular tend to stick together. Can you block this guy? To be honest , if you are properly NC then you would have blocked any mutual friends already.
      He hasn’t contacted you because he is getting attention/sex/ego strokes elsewhere. He will contact you when other supplies are low/exhausted. Sound attractive? Can you block him on email and phone? If he does get through somehow you ignore him. Oh yeah. Think how good you will feel then!!
      Best scenario is he never tries to contact you again. I am telling you this Liz, if you get sucked back in, even as a “friend” he will chew you up and spit you out even worse than before.
      Have you read Nats posts on No Contact? Or the ones about being offered the Friend Card? They are so spot on.
      I know you are hurting but please believe me that the ONLY way to get over this is to STAY NC.

      • confused liz says:

        thanks everyone. Tabitha: the friend in question i have only met a few times- hes a mutual friend of another friend (bit confusing) i dont speak to him really, he wasnt discussing my ex or anything – i didnt know i had to delete all mutuals from fb etc ? im new to this eum thing it is my first experience i am 28 years old, the relationship wasnt bad as in arguments we got on well but it was the constant let downs and lack of reliability , the fact after over 2 years i had never been to his home and hes 36 (on saturday not lookin forward to that day) he has never left home, in the beginning when we first met when i think back it was me doing most of the texting/ wanting to meet when he didnt really seem bothered but then a couple of months later he was back in work and suggested meeting up and since then we were together and even had a couple of little holidays together with my son (hes 8) i know the purpose of nc and i have no intentions of breaking it its just in the back of my mind im wondering why he hasnt been in touch for almost 2 weeks (since i ignored his text and deleted him from fb) i know i should not wonder why, and i will not respond anyway im just saying this is how im feeling/ wondering if its normal lol.i know he cant give me what i need he did the houdini on me just a month after my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer then he came back, did it again came back, then the last time was in january (lost my mum in november) now that i have found this site and read nats book i understand that he is probably eu. as much as it hurts i know i have to stay nc and not let him use me , thank you to everybody for the support it means so much and is helping me immensely :)

      • NCC says:

        “He hasn’t contacted you because he is getting attention/sex/ego strokes elsewhere. He will contact you when other supplies are low/exhausted.”
        God that sucks to hear, but it is absolutely true. Many times when I sounded my alarm that I was not going to be able to talk to or see the AC anymore, he would protest, call me, text me, seemingly trying to “keep me.” It felt good but wrong and I knew I wasn’t really backing my own decision so I kept in contact. This time around…the slow fade from him and I cut contact again, blocked his number, but no other attempt from him to get in touch. No email, no calling from other numbers yada yada. It hurts in a sense but I know I’m much much better off, as it just allows me to give into temptation, to hope he is finally the man I want him to be. NOPE. And I know it’s because there is and was someone else he can turn to. There always has been, it’s just that when he was “fighting” for me (NOT!) it’s because I was his best option at the time, for reasons only known to him. Oh and suddenly he wasn’t so hot for me and offered the friend card. I just want to move on and be done.

  53. Free 2 B C says:


    I am equally having a bad day, my advice to you is to keep reading. Flush every ruminating thought about when he’s going to contact you. That defeats the entire purpose of no contact. Why are you doing no contact? So that he can reach out to you?You should be doing no contact because you’re trying to remove yourself from a toxic situation and to try to heal yourself from all of the bad that the relationship or he offered you. It is very difficult, but what you will find is that every day that you survive a very difficult day the next day you get stronger and you push yourself even more. I am not very good with analogies, but the way I look at it is, if you were working out in the gym lifting weights, those first couple of days and even weeks you can’t lift very much in terms of weight, but the more you stick to the weightlifting routine the steonger You get and the more you craved wanting to lift more weight. And you ultimately push and challenge yourself. I/We challenge you to not feed into the thoughts of when he’s going to contact you. Think about the ugliness that was. How empty things felt. Two things that I can says helps me change the feelings are : One. Reject the rejector. Let them wonder what’s going on with you. Why do you want to be Witt someone who rejects you? The more you go NC, the easier that becomes. Two. Read this blog again. It is priceless. Also, Read Nats post about relationship boundaries and You Deserve better. And you did the right thing. Post here. This is a support community. Your situation as mine are not unique… read and you will see. I have many things and hurt to work through but I will be turning to BR for the support not my EX. After my first post I felt so much better. It’s like a weight was lifted. Keep reading and writing. I’m here and so are houndreds of BR subscribers. Free2bec

  54. Nickster says:

    Confused Liz – haven’t commented much before but I just wanted to pop up and reply as I feel for you, having been in the same position myself and I know it’s a truly wretched and confusing state to be in. It’s especially hard when you feel so terrible after having a day or a few days of suddenly getting a bit of clarity and feeling great. But this is how it goes. You are going to have those days, and you can’t beat yourself up for wondering or missing him. But you can remember that, even when you feel this bad, you are just going to ride on through it, looking after yourself and knowing that the only way to get to feeling better and really being over this is to carry on on the road you are on. Going NC is the most caring thing you can do for yourself. You are telling your wounded self that you won’t put yourself through any more pain, fear and uncertainty – so even when you feel like total crap, remind yourself that YOU are caring for YOU in a very awesome way. It’s okay not to feel all bright and shiny and happy. You just got hit by an emotional truck. Let yourself feel a bit miserable, be as nice to yourself as possible, read all of Natalie’s posts,and every time you are tempted to think about, obsess, or put your energy into him, redirect it right back at yourself. Because that’s where our energies should have been going all along. We just got diverted somewhere way back and going NC is a way of getting back on track.Hope that helps.

    • confused liz says:

      thanks nickster , this has really helped me you have described exactly how i am feeling -n few good days then back to feeling terrible but i know it has to get easier thank you all for the support

  55. espresso says:

    Confused Liz
    I honestly can tell you that you will have fewer bad moments and bad days as you go along. At first every moment was bad for me….now I still get triggered into sadness, hurt, anger or fury (and hopelessness too) but I can see the triggers and can tell myself it will pass and it usually passes really quickly. You sound like you are really good at identifying the triggers for your feelings which is good. It is normal to feel the way you feel and have bad days at the stage you are at. So don’t beat yourself up about it. Early on I think we do a lot of overthinking and over questioning of what we did,what he said, what he didn’t do etc. I think this is all part of a process of grieving and learning.

    Try to distract yourself as best you can. Remember that focussing on your life is the best way to handle it so do things however, small they are so that you know you are making progress on that. Going to the gym and having a killer workout was a big help to me during the high pain phase.
    Hang in there!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Liz. You’ve been given very good advice. LISTEN and act accordingly. You should have blocked him already so that you would not be able to ruminate over when and if he is going to call. How ridiculous is that! NC is not only a physical process but a mental one as well. Sometimes your mind will go to him, but it should be less and less as time goes by. Waiting for him to call is a voluntary act that is so self defeating. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Remember: Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That is the absolute truth. I know from my own life experiences. Forge ahead.

  56. PurpleLily says:

    This has been such an interesting topic to read about – thanks Nat and I hope you are better.

    It has been sad and encouraging to read everyone’s stories. I think we all have been there, felt the pain when intentions didnt match words. It is heartbreaking and deceptive.

    I realize now that the moment my head says “Why is he/she doing/saying that/reacting this way..? I would never do this to someone..”..its time to pack my bags and leave. No matter what the intention is, Ive learn the hard way that when someone is doing something that I think is wrong/rude/inhuman, its a major red flag. Learnt it the hard way.

    I send everyone hugs. Please take care of yourselves and I am so happy to be a part of BR world! x

  57. Confused liz says:

    I really do t think he is with anybody else though , given it took him so long to finally get in a ‘relationship’ with me , honestly all he does is sit in his bedroom and waits for his mum to cook his tea! I think it’s sad really at that age, think he’s really messed up from childhood but as you have all said and I know I need to focus on me not him, he still hurt me at the end if the day. Thanks again all :)

  58. AfroK says:

    Allison and Tabitha, thanks for encouragements. Liz and everyone in similar situation, my hugs to you. Will say more after I gather BR wisdom to replace my now wounded self esteem. And just a question guys, if someone knows my email address, can they track my posts here? My ex can really stalk and I just want to share in the BR community and start a peaceful recovery journey without having to worry about him.

  59. Ruth Holt says:

    My dad always had a saying about these people. He said “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”

  60. Peanut says:

    Actions. Actions. Actions. It’s all that really matters in the thick of things and in the end. My ex cared. We spent time together and had some great times. But it wasn’t ebough. Neither of us were in a position to be able to tolerate consistent intimacy. I had so much work to do. I never realized or thought in a million years I’d have needed to do this much work to be a functional, self-sustaining individual. And there is still work to be done! I remember with my ex, he would do something sooooo stupid/disrespectful and I would call him out on it and he’d apologize profusely. And I remember thinking, “I could give two shits about how ‘bad’ and ‘ashamed’ he feels,” just don’t do the dumb action anymore!!!! He never got it. I left him to assclown around with his ex because as much as I loved him, I couldn’t handle the insanity. Love is not enough. Intentions and like words: TOTALLY useless if not followed up with action. End of.

  61. navygirl1974 says:

    I too am having a bad day. Have been NC with my ex-MM for 4.5 months now but just yesterday found myself thinking about him and was beating myself up over what a fool he made of me. To make a long story short he is a 47 y.o. man-boy who persued me at work. I am 57 y.o. He looks older than what he is and I look younger than what I am. Anyways he persued me and I thought based on his looks he was somewhere around my age and he led me to believe he was a single parent. I am a single parent so i thought we had something in common. We proceeded to text and email each other every day constantly but somehow never together during the week cus hey we both have kids we’re devoting time to and I worked a part time job on the weekends and he officiated sports on Sat. Anyhow when I brought up the issue of when would we spend quality time together his answer was probably when the sports season was over since our schedules conflict so much. Funny how he seemed to find time to have sex with me though. Anyways after about 2 months of this and me suffering from extreme stress and anxiety because i couldnt figure out or understand what was going on I do a people seach and discover his real age -47 and that he is married. Now dont i feel like a fool-thinking that a 47 y.o. man-boy would actually want a relationship witha 57 y.o. woman. In all actuallity I can see now that all he wanted was sex. But the fool that i am and because i was so gullible and naeve and had no boundaries i was in fantasy land thinking we were going to have a relationship. And he flat out lied to me when i asked him if he was married -he replied no and told me he had been divorced for 3 years. after i confronted him with the news i had about him he acted all remorseful and swore up and down how sorry he was and that they are separated but still live together and just get along for their son. and that he cant get divorced cus his wife will “bury” him. I know he’s a turd but i can’t help from beating myself up for falling for his words without actions and for being so vain as to think a younger guy would find an older woman attractive as in a “person” not a sex object. Like I said I am in NC but a part of me keeps replaying some of his words over in mind and holding out that maybe a litle part of him did actually care for me. Am i crazy or what? I guess deep down i want validation that he did actually care for me but really what does it matter? What’s done is done. Any comments ladies on how to work through this?

    • Tanzanite says:


      Age has got nothing to do with the fact he’s a liar,he just is.

      You are not vain and although he didn’t treat you very well he did fancy you or he wouldn’t have got together with you.My male friends tell me it visual for them and the first thing they go for is looks.( not all men of course )Why should younger men not be attracted to you ?

      There are successful relationships with age differences, but those are with people who have respect for each other.

      I know exactly where your coming from with this and it does get better.

    • Lilly says:


      I really feel for you and no, you are not crazy. It’s a terrible feeling when you realise that you are being used, it’s dehumanising. I’ve been NC for almost 2 months now, but there are still times when I desperately crave recognition that I am a person, with feelings, a person worth loving and not merely a collection of body parts. I’ve decided to look elsewhere for that type of validation – starting with the realisation that I already have it in the form of my family, a couple of friends and BR. I need to work on validating myself and that will take some time, but I’ve stopped seeking it from someone who doesn’t deserve the time of day. That AC has treated you terribly and I know how much it hurts. What’s working for me is NC, time and study. It’s all about rebuilding your self-worth away from someone who only takes it away. Remember, you are a person worthy of love, care and kindness. You are wonderful. His terrible behaviour is not about you, it’s all about him and his total lack of decency. Do you know what? I think I’m actually getting this! Hugs to you.

      • buffalogirl says:

        Lilly you are so right. Acknowledging the fact that I had been used just for sex is so demoralizing and dehumanizing I am mortified but on the other hand I have to ask myself whose fault is that that it happened? Mine! Because i didn’t raise the red flag, i didn’t call halt. It’s embarrassing to me because what does that say about me as a person that I was OK with him blowing smoke up my butt and taking but not giving anything in return.God when I think of it that way it makes me cringe with embarrassement. and when I think of what he must think of me I am really humiliated and feel like an ass. and to make it worse I have periodic run ins with at work. That makes it hard on me. So far I have been able to ignore him and hopefully get the message across that as far as I am concerned he doesn’t exist on this planet.And I have nothing to say to him or want anything to do with him. When someone treats you bad you run away from them not towards them-DOH!It’s really so simple, Excuse me while I finish lacing up my running shoes.

  62. ashton says:

    Can’t say I agree with this one. Nobody is completely consistent in what they say and do 100% of the time. Sometimes people get hurt unintentionally, because of the meaning they apply to the situation themselves. Not all of the ramifications of an action can be anticipated ahead of time, 100% of the time. To write someone off based solely on your perception is an unbalanced approach to have, IMHO.

    • Tanzanite says:


      I agree with you a little but the people we are talking about are consistently untrustworthy.It’s who they are.

      Most people know if they are knowingly seeing a MM the problems it will cause for everyone involved.Most MM/MW who start things before something is finished know there is risk involved.Most people know if they consistently put someone down it will destroy someones self esteem eventually.Most people know if they consistently mess women/men around they will eventually be sat home alone.

      So,although you can’t always know the extent of the trouble your causing you have a rough idea.

      It’s a bit of a ” get out of jail free” statement.

  63. ashton says:


    I see what you’re saying. “Consistantly” would be the key word for me in your reply. Eventually I would become suspicious of someone who made a habit of doing or not doing things that hurt me. I will not however be completely dismissive of someones intent. Intentions do matter for the reasons I stated previously. Its not a get out of jail free card. It means that the two people need to come together and discuss what went wrong. Maybe it means an adjustment of action, or adjustment of perception, or some combination of both. Its when one party decides NOT to engage in that process that the true RED flag is raised. When I read these articles, much of the time it seems so one sided, and lacking any balance.

    • Selkie says:

      Their are lots of scenarios we could hypothesize to fit our opinions and personal experiences. Like, expanding on your example, we have those that do engage with us, talk a good talk, and then do whatever it is they were doing anyway. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Whether they intended to follow through or not becomes a mute point if nothing changes. I disagree that these articles lack any balance, that is pretty wide sweeping statement and honestly, demonstrating your own point of thinking one sided. The message was not meant to tar everyone who makes a mistake or for miscommunication. To say it has to be 100% is unbalanced, and no one said that. What she did say is that sometimes some of us BELIVE 100% of what someone is saying to us and get caught up in fantasy of what was promised but then not delivered. Shifting the focus to WHAT IS happening, instead of what is assumed, promised or intended, is staying in reality. Like the debit and credit system, and adjusting our trust according to actions delivered, not the ones intended but NOT delivered. Not becoming so rigid we are no longer open, but having trust in our own perceptions. That is my take on the article.

      • ashton says:

        What you said makes sense. I have re-read the article, but it doesn’t communicate to me the same message as what I understand in your statement. I believe the old saying that perception is 9/10’s of reality. I think it’s true to say we all have separate realities and we don’t see things the same. So I don’t rely entirely on perception. Honest communication concerning the what, and WHY (read intent) of an action is important to me. It helps to see the BIG picture, and not just my tiny portion of it. Over time though, to reference your example…. a pattern will emerge. And you will see that their words, intent, and action will not match up. That’s when you leave. That’s my point really… it’s not all ‘action.’ Action can be ‘perceived’ very differently than what was intended. It is a mix of words, intention, and action all mixed together in balance that matters.

        • Selkie says:

          “Honest communication concerning the what, and WHY (read intent) of an action is important to me.”


          “It is a mix of words, intention, and action all mixed together in balance that matters.”

          I think we can all agree with these things you said and this marks a healthy interaction. But faced with unhealthy situations, were talking about having our own back and learning how to trust our perceptions. I think you will find most of the women here trusted TOO much or didn’t trust their own perceptions and got taken for a ride. When the communication isn’t honest (and they won’t advertise this), it’s down to trusting your own judgment about what is reality and what is being fed to you or fabricated. I’ve waited for patterns to emerge, just being fair to the other party and not jumping to conclusions, while tamping down my own discomfort, and the result was an emotional beating in the end. While I am trying to temper my own my trigger finger on the flush handle, and I do see your point, many of us came from a place of being so turned around by someone we forgot what we knew or what was right, or even who we were. I could of prevented those things that happened to me if I had just paid attention to my own perception and not been bamboozled and insecure enough to doubt it.

          Lastly, I agree with Tanzanite, you sharing your take on this is great to hear. It does add balance to the conversation. Might I suggest you read Nat’s article on ‘unfolding’ if you haven’t already. It relates to what you are saying. Over the two years I’ve been reading here, I’ve found that Nat’s articles taught me balance.

    • Tanzanite says:


      I’m not sure if you are a man and it’s none of my business but if you are, keep posting and bring some balance.There will never be complete balance in replies because not enough men post and occasionally the ones that do are only doing it to cause friction with people who are in a lot of pain. (your’s wasn’t by the way ).I wouldn’t be dismissive of intent but the outcome is just the same.I totally agree with you about coming together to discuss what’s wrong if it’s an option.I actually think no contact is quite cruel when there is still stuff to be said but if you are on the receiving end of treatment that is driving you mad it’s them or you. Dishonors even I call it.

      I have said this before-” we’re not all bad ” and great friendships can be formed from clear the air talks.

      So,male or female I take your point and enjoyed your contribution.

  64. Dolores says:

    I can honestly say, having known my ex for years before he decided to “sweep me off my feet”, I had no idea, people like this existed! Waited round like a fool for months, before he did something that left me in no doubt he couldn’t care less.

    No phone call, before during or after I dumped him, just a few lazy texts and emails, none involving an apology or to ask how I feel.

    Can’t avoid having mutual friends and work colleagues, and curious to see what if anything he tells them. Seems he was future faking our “relationship” to them-how weird is that?

  65. Einstien says:

    The first time they don’t intentionally do something, you give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe even the second time…by the 23rd time, you finally get it. They aren’t the least bit interested in any consequences for you.

    Thanks to Nat, intention is another thing I’ve gotten a handle on.

  66. AfroK says:

    I agree Einstien. And by that 23rd time, your self esteem and any little sense of who you are is reduced to nothing, paving a way for more EUMs. Not to mention a looong battle to restore your self esteem:(


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


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