what your trust points?

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


I’ve previously written about when we wonder what happened to that guy (or woman) that we were involved with at the beginning and why can’t they go back to that. This person that pursued you, made you feel like the focal point of their lives, showered you with attention, said you were special, refused to back off if you were initially disinterested, talked about the future and littered conversations with ‘we’ and ‘us’, gave you great sex, called, emailed, text messaged and instant messengered, wondered why you weren’t with them when you were with your friends, got jealous, posessive, talked about having babies and getting married about a hot minute after you’d met…has disappeared, whether that’s literally or figuratively.

If it’s literally, one minute they were in your life, next thing you know they’ve upped and gone.

Where you used to be able to get through to this person or you could expect to be called at a certain time each day, whhhhoooooossssshhhhh, they’re gone. You’ll be suspended in disbelief initially but with every day that passes, it becomes more and more evident that you’re not hearing from them again. You’ll probably replay every damn conversation you had and wonder what you did to scare them off and start giving yourself a really hard time. But really, is there ever a legitimate excuse for someone to disappear without saying a goddamn word? Incidentally, it’s them dying or being in a coma… The booby trap of course with someone who pulls a disappearing act is that if they reappear in your life and they manage to slip back in without too much hassle, the tone gets set for the relationship.

If it’s figuratively, the charming person has left the building and what you’ve been left with is someone who behaves and treats you in a less than attractive way. You’ll wonder if you can take them back to the store and get an exchange! One week they were calling you morning, noon, and night, and now, you’re lucky if you hear from them once a week. You used to talk on the phone about what seemed like anything and everything, now they’re hurrying you off the phone, grunting answers, and being snappy and impatient with you. Those plans they made? Turns out they’re a Future Faker, faking a future with you so you’ll step up in the present. Now, you’re lucky if they’ll talk about the next hour never mind the next month!

Do you know what most people on the receiving end of this downright dubious behaviour struggle with? They started to trust this person.

All that stuff that the person did at the start of the relationship for however long it lasted, was them reeling you in, lowering your defences and getting you to trust them.

For you, as things progressed, there were certain ‘trust points’ in the relationships; things that you used as a basis to trust in them and the relationship.

They’re the things you start trusting in and you’ll likely be able to recall when you look back on the relationship, these things that all added up to the sense that you could trust them – if you had a guard, you let it down. The trust points will also be the things that blinded you to other things that you should have been concerning yourself with.

There can be any number of trust points in the relationship although it is very possible that you can recall that one specific thing that tipped you over into trusting them, even if there were things that you were not crazy about or were even red flags.

Why would we trust someone who we instinctively recognise possesses qualities, characteristics and values that we may not be comfortable with?

Because when someone gives you attention, makes you feel special, keeps telling you how crazy they are about you, how you should trust them, and they can’t believe how fortunate they are to have found you and yada, yada, yada, you start to get sucked in by the fact that they like you so much that it clouds out any concerns you may have.

It’s flattering when someone seems to be crazy about you.

What are our ‘trust points’?

Trust Points are not too dissimilar to hooks, which are the things that convince you that you have a connection with someone and make it difficult for you to let go of them, but here are the most common trust points I come across:

Sex – A lot of women start to trust the sex and what they perceive to be the ‘sexual connection’. You’re very likely to have this as a trust point if you place a high value on sex and tend to believe that what happens between you sexually is indicative of what you feel emotionally. Sex as a trust point will be cemented though if you have other trust points.

Plans – So many women in particular get drawn in by the man that talks about the future. Littering conversations with ‘we’ and ‘us’, talking about holidays, engagements, weddings, meeting parents and friends, moving in, remodelling the home, checking out that bar they’ve been going on about, taking a trip, going to the annual party etc. We’re inclined to believe that when someone talks about plans, which can sound like making plans, that they must be really into us, after all we’re also trained to believe that people who aren’t interested are reluctant to make plans.

Persistence and Consistency of Attention – These two things are a real lure on the trust point front and are very easy to be caught out on.

From the persistence perspective, the best way to capture it is: Have you ever had someone pursue you relentlessly and even though you started out not that interested, you find yourself being worn down and being drawn to them? That is persistence as a trust point at work.

You get flattered by the attention and you start to trust in the level of attention. At first it might seem like a flash in the pan and that they’ll lose interest when you decline but if you’re also the type of person who thinks dating is about the chase, the more they persist is the likelier you are to fall for them.

From the consistency perspective, this is partly about persistence, but it’s more about over a period of time, which often in the grander scheme is still a short period of time, because they’ve been calling every day at the same times, you’ve been going on the same dates, and they still keep saying the same stuff, you start to trust them or trust the level of attention you’re getting. You may also be predisposed to fall for this as a trust point if you’re skeptical about how long somebody will stick around for and this person then stays around longer than you would typically expect.

Money and gifts – If you place a high value on these and like, for example, people who are financially secure or well off, or believe that people who are really into someone buy gifts, you’re likely to trust someone who does this stuff.

Status – This trust trap can actually be about ‘social proof’ which is where you start to trust someone because it appears that they have status or are highly regarded and trusted by others, making you think that you should be able to trust them too.

Connection – This is an overused word in relationships but it’s the whole listening to someone claim that they’re telling you things that they’ve not shared with anyone before, that they’re opening up like never before, sharing in one another’s painful pasts (or just theirs), bonding over shared interests and backgrounds – we trust someone who we think we ‘get’ and ‘connect’ with. We trust ‘familiarity’… even though it’s likely based on a toxic pattern fueled by our need to attempt to right the wrongs of the past.

Manipulation and control – This is the dangerous ground of what can potentially cross into an abusive relationship, but it’s when you can end up interpreting someone’s desire to manipulate and control you as their desire and love for you.

A few days ago, an acquaintance told me how she had been involved with someone who she wasn’t that interested in but his persistence and the way he was so jealous and possessive ended up convincing her to pay more attention to him and trust him, especially when he was insistent that he had been divorced for two years and had three kids. She believed and trusted him because he seemed so anguished at her distrust. It was me who ended up telling her that he’s married, with four kids including a newborn…

Do you know what’s really annoying? People who end up mistreating you tend to push for you to trust them. When you question them on stuff, they’re indignant. When you don’t believe them, they’re petulant and whiney. When you look skeptical, they say crap like ‘Ask such and such if you don’t believe me’ and they can really persist in getting you to trust them. They’ll be careless with declarations of love and care, because they want you to say that you reciprocate.

They push for you to emotionally ‘give up the goods’ which at that point when you’re deciding that you trust them, you ‘commit’ to them.

And then they back off.

In some ways, it’s difficult to escape someone who is hellbent on putting on the performance of a lifetime for an initial period of time. Some it’s just days, others it’s weeks and months, and in some cases it can be a year or more – the quicker you find out, the better. But these people always reveal their true selves and often even have double lives where they may already be playing around with someone else.

One thing I found that was prevalent in all the tales I heard is not enough trusting of gut. The other issue that was often present was half-hearted interest.

That same woman who has just found out her guy is married, isn’t actually that heartbroken – she says she feels like a fool and that’s the difficulty in being around what essentially amounts to confidence tricksters.

Do you know what you need to trust? Yourself and their actions over a consistent period of time.

If you don’t feel that interested or are cautious of them, or don’t believe their claims that they’re divorced or whatever, don’t ignore it! And while it’s important for someone to behave consistently, it’s also important to register inappropriate behaviour because you know what?

Even if for the past six months someone has behaved like The Most Perfect Person Ever (TM), when they stop and they start engaging in behaviour that is disrespectful to you and the relationship, that is a red flag.

People don’t just switch up their integrity levels from one month to the next. Don’t just sit there like a disgruntled customer wondering where the product you originally ‘purchased’ has disappeared to saying ‘Well they were amazing for the first six months’ and waiting for them to ‘magic’ back. They’re not amazing now.

But it’s also important to look at your trust points and ask yourself if the things that are markers for you trusting someone are enough for you to be emotionally investing on?

You can’t decide you trust someone because they screw you right, are well respected at work, have a fat bank account, and are really interested in you even though you’re not that interested in them. If it took a while for you to be interested (some people are slow burners), it’s important to assess why you weren’t.

But most of all, it’s important to remember that dating is a discovery phase, that trust is something that’s earned over time that you should increase with positive stuff and decrease when it’s negative, and the reality is that not every relationship is designed to last. Some relationships and people only reveal themselves a few months in. You can reduce the amount of pain and time by keeping your eyes open, not loving and trusting blindly, and basically minimising your own poor love habits.

Your trust point should be one that is not given away easily and without regard. Remember we have to take care of ourselves, assess the risk and manage that risk. Take care!

Your thoughts?

 Holiday Update

We’re back from a brilliant weekend camping at Camp Bestival. Putting up the tent was a headache until my assistant Kate’s husband took over. Then we discovered that my friend who we borrowed the tent from, had forgotten to put the pegs in. Doh! Thankfully we were able to borrow! Toilet situation – I felt near to heaving within minutes of getting there. I feel like I’ve seen the insides of half of England… Ended up not showering for 48 hours and having what we called a ‘tarts wash’ with baby wipes, water and shower gel in the tent. Overheard Saria (6), telling her dad that she had a ‘torch wash’… Absolutely loved camping and the whole festival thing but by god was I relieved to have hot water and my bed. I’m going to invest in a tent and we may be going camping as a family at the end of this month – yay! Oh and I took down the tent all on my own – the fecking thing was enormous! It had three rooms in it! And I’m in love with my sleeping bag – a Kissing Horses one by Anorak.

I’m knackered. Early night again for me tonight. How can  I be on holiday and still feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Jaysus!

My mother-in-law is here (she was here when we got back yesterday) and we’ve been having lovely deep conversations and putting the world to rights. Today’s convo’s were on people who take advantage and have a sense of entitlement to boot and what to do when you have dodgy people trying to rip you off when they’re doing work on your house.

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239 Responses to Revisited: Understanding what your trust points were in your shady relationship

  1. Claire says:

    Brilliant post …..I needed to be reminded of this!!! I was well and truly suckered in and I use to blame myself BUT now I realise how desperately cruel he was to abuse an individuals love !! To lie and pretend to be someone else in order to boost his ego …very sad

  2. Sue says:

    It was that persistence thing that hooked me. And also I do remember the point when I turned over my trust. Now, I look back and see that things were carefully worded by him to leave things out, half truths, etc. But at the time it sounded right and looking back I can see where I foolishly filled in the blanks. I was busted up from a previous relationship and unwilling to get involved at first. I was cynical and hard-edged at first. Its like he sensed the moment I had a change of heart and that’s when he started to withdraw. I’m in the anger phase of grief right now about that. Agnry at myself for being a fool, Again. Thank goodness I found this site. Natalie you are amazing! No one has ever explained all this to me. I had no idea what was going on for the past few months until I came here and started reading. I am NC a week and a half. It is hard every day. But I know there is nothing to go back TO so there is no going back.

  3. amanda says:

    This is a great post. In the last few months, I have finally gained enough distance from an unhealthy BR-style relationship that I can can read these articles and not get consumed in the blame game. I can ask myself, how can I be sure to avoid this again? Getting through the blame-game is hard. Getting treated like crap, or getting dumped hurts like hell, and its ok to be angry for a chunk of time. But you have to get over it if you want to move on, and if you want to learn. I essentially had an affair for two years, and then a harem-styled friendship for another. Sure, he pulled the wool over my eyes and got me to trust him and avoid his red flags, but why was I so willing to trust him? He made me feel great, loved, sexy, special, different. Oh, man. I have learned that in order to feel these things, sustainably, you have to go through that discovery period that NML talks about. It takes more than a few weeks, or even a few months. Probably closer to a year. If you come out of that with someone and find yourself in a stable relationship, you then have to reconcile that it may not feel as intensely passionate or thrilling as it did with a Future Faker. Ideally, you have to figure out how to trust yourself, and to no longer need Don Juans to tell you how special you are.

    • Marilyn says:

      RIght on, Amanda! Been there, done that myself.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you for your insight! I am having the hardest time getting over my jerk guy and moving on to someone who is nicer all around. The problem is that I DON”T feel the intense passion and thrill of the chase, so in my silly little head I think it’s not working out and I am bored. I love how you say “trust yourself” and that the Don Juans of this world don’t need to tell me how special I am. I am endeavoring to know that…..!!!

      • lizzp says:

        Carolyn, hello. This thought immediately popped into my head. If you’re not over the jerk then it would be fairer to the new guy (who I’m assuming you have assessed as ‘nice’?)if you didn’t try to move on ‘with’ him. Don’t know if I’ve raed you right though.

    • Brenda says:

      Or when the nice guy that seemed to have so different.. turns into a yet another Don Juan.

      • amanda says:

        Oh, Brenda. I am sorry about that! I hope that you have been able to distance yourself from him, now that he has shown his true colors.

  4. Sandra says:

    Excellent post and your points are oh-so true…I cannot believe how textbook relationships can be! I know he is and will always be a repeat offender but I had thought he was a unique user and abuser. Sad to know that others are going through what I am dealing with…but it does help to know it is not me its him.

  5. paolo says:

    A really good post..I needed to read this too.

  6. Selkie says:

    So glad you had fun camping Natalie! You survived! It’s wonderful you’re willing to go out and do it again. The no shower part? Over the years I’ve learned to wash my hair ( it’s long ) and give myself a bath with one pan of stream water I heated over the camp stove and a cup. It makes a big difference for me when no shower or hot water is near and I can car camp comfortably for days on end doing this. Other than that, when I backpack with my girlfriends we agree…..no mirrors or make up. We just accept we look like dish rags and have fun. It’s actually kind of freeing. I agree though, getting back home to your own bed is sweeter after camping. Welcome back.
    Great post to revisit by the way. It was helpful information for me as I gingerly enter the dating world again. All of the things you listed apply to me accept money and manipulation or control. If a guy tries to impress me with his money, I’m turned off and if he tries to control me, I have an uncontrollable urge to RUN! Sex, plans and persistent attention are my weakness. I know now to avoid sex until I know him better, so that is improving, but the plans and attention are like a dangling carrot in front of me. I have to learn to be less hungry so the carrot is mildly interesting but not bait.

    • Selkie says:

      ps. That is a huge tent in your istagram pics! No wonder you needed a mojito after setting it up….or did the mojito come first?

  7. Sandy says:

    I love camping!! Once you have all the little bits and pieces it becomes alot easier :-)

    My ex AC chased me as well, at the time I wasn’t looking for a relationship and had just started enjoying being single. I definitely was not looking for a long distance relationship which is what it was at the start..but boy when I told him to back off he just got more and more persistent, and yes it does make you feel attractive and wanted, but looking back now I realised that it totally went down hill as soon as he sensed I had given in.

    Eyes will be wide open from now on I’m talling you!!

  8. Maeve says:

    I’m having some serious paradigm shifts here reading all these blog posts. I guess I was just ready to hear it…

    I’ve never trusted easily, so my heart has been spared. It takes time for me to open up and unfold. I’m acutely aware of when I feel emotionally safe and when I don’t. However, that doesn’t negate being on the receiving end of the disrespect, trampling of boundaries, the belittling, the ambiguity that come with engaging with an EUM. Those negative things cause their own damage. Toxic relationships always leave their mark.

    Last year, I had a brief flirtation with a man I’m convinced is a covert narcissist. He has a lovely persona, very humble and seemingly caring, but once I started to move closer I could sense a hornets’ nest just under the surface. It was bizarre. After the first hot and cold episode I dropped him, but believe me, there were months and months of creepy red flags that I overlooked.

    After him, I jokingly told my therapist that I’m going to consider any potential love interest guilty until proven innocent for now on. She didn’t think it was such a bad idea. I don’t either. In fact, I think it made me decide this time around a lot faster. Although I would’ve dropped this dude at some point anyway.

    I’d love for someone to explain why there are so many effed up people out there (from my perch it’s disproportionately predatorial screwed up men, but I’m sure it depends on which gender one is dating. lol! )

    Knowledge is power…

    • paolo says:

      Maeve..Every womans rant in BR about how men behave i can directly relate to the behavior of women iv’e met in my life..It would seem that neither being EU or an AC is gender specific.

      • lizzp says:

        Maeve, Sorry to butt in here, I just wanted to respond to Paolo’s comment.

        Paolo, Yes this is true. In my reply to Maeve I mostly talk about men and the male dating pool etc because I am a heterosexual woman who would like to have a mutually loving relationship with a heterosexual man.

        I had serious problems with my own EUness during a very particular period in my life from 23 to around 30 years where I hurt good men because of it. I was also very damaged by a toxic EU man in this same period. Fortunately, before the age of 23 I was generally an open and EA person and it is thanks to that that after much work I was able to set my self straight again.

        On a related note,I have had EU female ‘friends’ and still have some now. I deal with them as I have tried to deal with any EUs I have come across dating, but of course it’s a different dynamic when sexual attraction and physical intimacy is not involved (for me, kissing, holding hands, general closeness – I have not been further than this in about 3 years by my own choice, this is still enough for me to feel invested though when still in ‘discovery’ so I need to be careful with my heart). Not saying it’s easy with other women though…I have had to let go of at least one key friendships in the last 3 years or so.

      • Maeve says:

        Paolo–I don’t doubt it. I’ve seen female users. The ones I’ve seen use sex and vulnerability as a lure and tend to attract caretaker/responsible types. It’s a jungle out there.

      • Allison says:


        Totally agree! It’s the assholes that WE chose. :(

    • lizzp says:

      “I’d love for someone to explain why there are so many effed up people out there (from my perch it’s disproportionately predatorial screwed up men, but I’m sure it depends on which gender one is dating. lol! )

      Knowledge is power…”

      Maeve, I hate this thought that I have on this because it makes me think the odds are against me. I’m not sure which age group you fall into. I am in my mid forties.

      Ok…internet dating is now the norm rather than the dorky exception; on the thousands of dating sites are men who are (a) damaged by their previous marriages\relationships and have not done any work on themselves, and/or (b) damaged by their previous marriages\relationships in which they were removed by their ex’s because they were ASS CLOWNS and serious EUMS and are beyond change; and/or (c) separated or newly divorced and hung up on the ex; or (d)men who have never even been able to hold down a relationship – here we have the mummys’ boys and peter pans who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s…hell even in their 70s for all I know. Of course on top of this you have married guys looking for a bit on the side and single guys looking for casual or fwb.

      There is something else important which is related. Technology manifesting in “online dating” and digital oommunication – especially text messaging, chat on FB and messages and email- allows people to indulge in their fantasies, a lot of the time most SUBTLY and without awareness, and avoid real relating, real ‘getting to know’, and real life. Many people are happy to do this and feel satisfied. I was one of them – I used to think text message conversations added to the intimacy in my relationships (all, not just men I dated).

      As for the ‘dating pool’ I view technology as having created a loophole for many men who may have otherwise put in SOME effort and had some growth at this point in their lives through their interactions with women, other men, bossees, co-workers, parents, siblings etc etc.

      Well that’s a bleak theory I have. I’m not using dating sites to meet men at the moment. At earliest it will not be until next year. When I go back to dating I don’t know yet how I am going to proceed…my ideas are bubbling away in the background because I am occupied with more immediate things for myself right now. The only thing that I have decided (and this is if I go back online at all) is that I will never be on a free dating site ever again, sad but true…you get what you pay for if you enter this jungle.

      Oh, In my general life (forgetting men for now)I have not sent a text message for coming on two weeks now. It is SO good for me. I have replied to messages where it is called for with a quick call, if it’s a buddy asking how I’m doing, I have given her a call when I am free to talk, I have replied to my son’s father in the same manner, if he doesn’t pick up, it’s voice mail. I am starting to notice I am getting less text messages and more phone calls. I didn’t need to make an announcement, just action is doing the trick. It’s wonderful.

      • Maeve says:

        Lizzp –I’m in an older age range too, and didn’t encounter this crap so much in my twenties. It was after my divorce. I already have a checklist of things I won’t do, such as online dating (tried it, not comfortable with it) and dating men who’ve never been married. I made an exception for that twice in the last 5 years and it validated my reasons.

        This latest AC, I suspect, may be newly divorced. Haven’t even had that conversation because I’ve cut things off at the initial interest stage due to a handful of red flags. I still have contact with him though due to a common interest thing, so it would be interesting to know for behavioral science research purposes…lol!

        This guy is pretty transparent though. Either he lacks self awareness or doesn’t care, but his sleazy behavior is evident to anyone who wants to see it. He has women chasing him galore. He chased me and that’s when all of it, including the sleaziness, came to my attention. Before that, he wasn’t on my radar.

        I think in a hopeful way, it’s good to accept the odds are against us. It doesn’t make things impossible, in my opinion, but it keeps us real. We really have to sift through the trash.

        And Lizzp, you make a very interesting point. I think because we’re likely dealing with divorced men and widowers (the latter probably being the better choice), it’s not a bad idea to develop a litmus test to identify the lost causes as early as possible. Currently, I won’t deal with anyone with major anger issues. But I’m sure there are other signals to look for as well. Hadn’t thought of that! Thanks for your thoughts!

        • Maeve says:

          On the issue of trust points, I think a few that Natalie listed are ones I respond to, most predominantly, status/prestige (which I erroneously perceive as accountability and self respect), consistency and attention (I figure narcissists can’t pull this off for too long), and connection. That last one I know intellectually is lame, but I’m so damn picky about whom I connect with in ANY relationship that when I feel connection, I bite the bait.

          • Be careful with those assumptions. Narcissists (I have a documented case in my family)can be consistent and attentive for a few years before they devalue and discard. Years. It doesn’t happen all the time, but if you are useful and compliant and there are no better offers on the table, a narcissist will stick around for a bit.

            • Maeve says:

              That’s a good point. Quite honestly, I wonder if it’s wise to get involved with anyone until you talk to their ex(es) and get a profile on who they REALLY are. I’d be pissed if someone did that to me, but I really just don’t have the stomach for the shenanigans anymore.

              I will say, one of my tools (subconscious) is to play dumb and naive. That’s how I seem to have drawn bad apples out–they get complacent and show their true colors…

              • Lara says:

                Yeah, I second that. I have pissed off my narc AC ex to the point of no return, by playing “stupid” when he was being passive aggressive and giving me the silent treatment. I suppose it was a passive aggressive way of responding to his passive aggressiveness, but he went crazy. I just ignored his silent treatment and wouldn’t contact him at all , or much, and if I did, only for a casual “what’s up?” He really hated the lack of attention on my part. He wanted me to chase after him, just as in the old days when I used to do that, every time he gave me the silent treatment. My behaviour devalued me sufficiently in his eyes for him to break up with me for the 5th and final time. Either that, or he was doing the silent treatment to piss me off and get me to go all crazy on him, and give him an excuse to end things, given that he was a coward who wanted to pin the blame on all the breakups HE initiated, on me. When I didn’t give him that chance, he blew up on me, then broke up with me and cut off all contact, only for him to email me when I didn’t go after him.. I’ve been NC for over a month now, and I feel so good and relieved. I even managed to block his email, facebook (he had already removed me, but I didn’t even want him to search for my name and see my new profile pics in the future) and also blocked his multiple mobile numbers (separate phones for different members of his harem, most likely). A month ago I would never have been able to block him, on the grounds that I wanted to see if he’d contact me and maybe hoping that he’d want to get back together… nope. I am done. I am on the road to recovery. I have broken free of his hold over my head and emotions.

          • Lara says:

            “I will never be on a free dating site ever again, sad but true…you get what you pay for if you enter this jungle.”

            Maybe paid websites cut out some of the bad seeds, but trust me on this one, people who want to get laid, or want a FWB, or are looking for a rebound, are mama’s boy, narcs, ACs, etc., they will go to great lengths, including getting paid membership on dating sites. I have tried both free and paid dating sites, and have seen really bad ones on both. I have never been on a date with a guy I met on a free dating site, but I have gone out with one guy (about a month ago) whom I met on a paid dating site. He was a nice person I suppose, but very socially inept, and he allowed me to pay for my own meal, drinks, etc. And he was very boring and only talked about himself and his job. And, when I told him I was not interested in dating anymore, and didn’t want to string him along into a rebound relationship (which was true, and not just my way out of meeting up with him again because we didn’t click), I suggested being friends and maybe having drinks every now and then, because it’s nice to increase our circle of friends. He accepted that. When I emailed him and asked if he’d like to have drinks on a Thursday or a Friday, he told me sure, Thursday would work for me, but not a Friday because I want to keep that slot open in case a woman decides to set up a date with me (BTW, I was the one who asked him if he was ready to go on a date, otherwise he would’ve kept talking on the dating site for another few months, probably). I found that a bit insulting/disrespectful. Just because you are looking for a date doesn’t mean you should disrespect people who want to be your friends. At the very least, you could’ve just told me you were not available on a Friday, but could make it on Thursday. Anyway, I didn’t get back to him about that, and no longer want to be friends with him.

            • Lara says:

              On that same paid website, I accidentally came across the dating profile of a guy I had met (in real life, not through online dating) and had gone on a date with once, only for him to booty call me afterwards (I had sex on the first date, but I don’t believe that’s necessarily a determinant for being booty called — In fact, maybe that allowed me to dodge a bullet and not waste my time with a guy who was only interested in that, because he showed his true colors after we had sex once, and thought he could now get away with booty-calling me as opposed to putting in some more effort and future-faking in the hopes of getting me to have sex with him). His online dating profile stated that he was new to the city and was looking for someone to have a good time with and who would show him around town.Basically, he was looking for an escort. On a paid dating site. At least he was clear about it (well, sort of!). But just to point out that there are all sorts of people on all sorts of dating sites — paid or unpaid. Maybe you can look at it this way: the difference is that those who pay for access to those sites are just more desperate and dedicated to their quest to find someone to fulfill their sexual needs/victims for their assclownery/additional members of their harem. The ability and willingness to pay to access those sites doesn’t mean being more decent. At all.

            • MaryW says:

              Lara, I remember reading some of your previous posts, and you sound like you’ve come a long way. Well done! Good on you for blocking him. I relate to that feeling of wanting to see if he contacts you … I have been guilty of that. Several times.

              I agree about dating sites. Paid or unpaid, they are full of all sorts of messed up people (which to be honest included me). I think I was almost addicted to them, though, enjoying the validation of any old one messaging me. I disabled my account about three weeks ago because I’m healing and therefore totally emotionally available as well as feeling horribly vulnerable. And I don’t want that false validation from strangers. I want to be able to find it myself.

              I think you handled it well with the guy you went on a date with. Yes, you don’t need a friend who puts you on the sideline in case a date pops up. That’s disrespectful. I wouldn’t accept that from any of my friends.

              Don’t know where you live but have you tried MeetUp as a way to broaden your social circle? Or volunteer work? I joined a book club and met some lovely ladies local to my area. I wouldn’t call them friends as yet (and when I’m ready to date, it won’t be with a lady) but one thing leads to another – I’ve been invited to drinks in the local pub. Which could lead to making more friends, etc etc.

              Anyway, really well done, Lara x

              • Lara says:

                Hi Mary! Thanks for the post. x

                Yes, I’ve indeed come a long way: from wondering if or when he’s gonna contact me and hopefully get back with me, to not wanting to hear back from him, to not even wanting to know if he contacted me, to not even thinking about him most days. Currently at that stage where I suddenly realize that I hadn’t thought of him for a day or two… I am so happy with my progress. I do have some setbacks, where I get a bit emotional, but that rarely has to do with him or wanting to be with him or missing him (I don’t even miss the ‘good’ times with him — I realize now, in retrospect, that there were NONE). It’s more about my loneliness/fear of being alone and not being loved. But I am working on that as well. And besides, I think part of that has to do with the fact that I recently changed birth control pills. I am dealing with it quite well, though, and haven’t had a major breakdown or anything like that. Just a sudden crying fit that lasts for a minute or two, every few days or so.

                I thought I handled it well with that guy too. I felt disrespected and for a moment I wondered if I was a bit sensitive (having boundaries is fairly new to me and because my ex busted what little boundaries I had and then gaslighted me and made me feel like I was crazy/too sensitive/needy, I always wonder if I am being too needy or sensitive) but then I reminded myself that no, I wasn’t, and that it was a matter of respect (and self-respect). That if I wasn’t happy with the way he treated me, I should not be ignoring it and acting like nothing happened. Even if I am a bit sensitive and needy, so what, those are my needs, and I should attend to them and if someone doesn’t like my level of “neediness” it’s their problem, not mine. There is a difference between having needs/a spine on the one hand, and being unreasonably demanding. I will not let anyone blackmail me again into ignoring my needs, for fear of being called “needy” (something I did with my ex who constantly accused me of being needy because I expected him to treat me with decency).

                I have never seriously considered online dating (I only met up with that one guy, and even then, I was having seconds thoughts about showing up to the date), in part because I am afraid of being duped into yet another casual ‘relationship’/used, in part because I find online dating to be too business-like. I also feel like it would show me as weak and desperate, because I am actively “looking” for someone to date, which may be an admission of loneliness, desperation, or simply not being strong enough to live on my own / enjoy life on my own / with friends. This is also why I never liked it when my friends tried to set me up with someone. I don’t like admitting that I am “looking” for someone. To me, it just sounds weak and I hate appearing weak (well, that rule went out the window with my ex who treated me like a weakling, but I’ve since gone back to my old self). I have considered going to MeetUp meetings, but again, these are notorious (among anyone who knows about Meetup) for being attended by people who are desperately looking for partners.. I’ve checked up pics of meetup meetings, and it seems like most people do it because they want to meet potential boyfriends/girlfriends, which again activates my alarm bells about appearing weak. Maybe part of it is that I don’t like appearing NEEDY, which may also explain why I chucked out my needs in the relationship with my ex.. I am not sure. I would probably be more comfortable going to activities or meetups that don’t involve any men, because I am extremely fearful of and not yet ready for interactions with men. It just won’t be a relaxed atmosphere for me, since my guard will be up all the time, for fear that anyone might try something with me and that I might get tricked into thinking they are nice, that they like me, etc. I really am not ready for anything of the sort for now, so I want to avoid putting myself in situations like that. I would feel more comfortable in an all-female environment. I was considering taking dance lessons (just because it would be fun and also help me with my body image issues and self-consciousness/self-esteem), but I need to break the barrier of going there on my own and registering.. besides, the fact that there are more chances of meeting men there (group lessons, dance partners will probably be male), made me ditch the idea, for now. It’s a shame, cos I think it would’ve been fun.

                • Maeve says:

                  Lara—your comment about not wanting to make it publically known that you’re looking for a relationship really resonated with me. I’ll let friends and family know, as part of a general discussion pertaining to that, but I’ve never asked anyone to set me up (although I’m not averse and the best guys I’ve met are through mutual friends). I also share your sentiment about not wanting to look desperate/weak/needy by joining singles activities. Part of it is my need for privacy. My romantic life is nobody’s business…lol!

                  BTW–the latest EU is someone I know through dance. I think many men take dance classes to meet women (aka get laid). However, dance is my primary reason for being there. More so than making friends or socializing. If you love dance, you should just go. Ditto for any activity that genuinely interests you. It’s good practice for setting boundaries…

        • lizzp says:

          “I think in a hopeful way, it’s good to accept the odds are against us. It doesn’t make things impossible, in my opinion, but it keeps us real.”.

          Thanks Maeve, that is well put and a good point. Yes, keeping it real, keeping it authentic is the most important thing. Relationship or no relationship we will always have to live with ourselves.

        • Anna says:

          Don’t always discount guys who have not been married. My current (and lovely) husband had been with a girlfriend for a long while, and then was single for a number of years. On the surface you think…nice looking, Cambridge grad, never been married, no kids, what is wrong with him? But turns out he was just quite shy and cautious, and after a little awkwardness in the beginning, we had a lovely courtship and have been married for seven years now. We married when he was 42, and I was 39. We just bought a house together in the countryside, and it looks like things finally came together. It just took longer than I expected.

          I took a long time to find him because I spent far too many years in an on-again, off again relationship with a future faker. Wonderful at the beginning, most powerful feelings of my life. But I realised finally that because of some childhood issues, I was trapped in the “I am not good enough mode,” until some therapy got me out of it. I kept thinking he was rejecting me because I wasn’t good enough, until my therapist finally got me to see that he was withholding approval from me the way my mum did, and that was why all these powerful feelings were coming to the fore.

          Natalie’s article described him to perfection, and I wished I had it a long time ago. I am reading it now because the future faker recently contacted me after all these years complaining that his marriage is in real trouble (yes he managed to marry someone else, and they have two kids). Basically, he was sending out feelers to see my reaction. Oh, and he was also moving abroad, but wanted to get together before he went! Christ, he probably wanted an ego boost and shag. At first, all these horrible and intense feelings came up, but then I shook them off, told him politely that I was sorry to hear about it, hope he worked things out, and to have a good life.

          The surprise was how surprised and angry he got, but then again, I suppose he realised I was not interested anymore. Heh. Well, he is his wife’s problem now, not mine. I blocked his email. :-)

          So, the long and short of it is, don’t reject a bloke because he may have not been married. Sometimes it is a red flag, and sometimes it really isn’t. And don’t let the future fakers try to reel you in, yet again.

          • lizzp says:

            Hey Anna, yes, I agree. I don’t reject men who have not married. I have not been married myself, just in several long relationships since my early 20s. I have a primary school aged son.

            I am wary I suppose of ‘separated men’ and recently divorced men and also very wary of single men without children who have never had a long relationship and of those men – the ones who live with their mothers or in the same street as their mothers.

            Not looking to meet any new men at the moment (don’t want to date – just not ready)but did meet a few for coffee earlier in the year from a couple of dating sites. Something inside me just ‘switched off’ with one of these guys when he talked about never having had a girl friend for more than about a year because every year since he began working (in public service for 25 years)he would take a holiday to ‘explore exciting places’ (this was his ‘offering’ to impress me it seems)for two months and he ‘couldn’t expect someone to drop their lives to come with him’ so ‘there was never the chance’ to get married/have a relationship because of all this ‘exciting’ travel (Eygypt, South America etc – He was dressed in a leather brown jacket and I actually think he thought he was Indiana Jones). As his talk progressed (note – no questions to me about me) it emerged that he was living ‘very close’ to his mother, in the same suburb in fact and visited her daily. I watched his body language at this point rather closely and he scratched his nose. I thought ‘Liar, liar pants on fire. You live with her’. This was a first meet up. He was 48 years old. There was no date 1. I got out of there after an hour which is how long it took for me to learn the above.

            You know, he presented nicely, but as I said something had switched off. I could find no place inside me where I could ignite even a small gas light of something that might grow into respect. In my early 30s before meeting my son’s father that sort of background info wouldn’t have even rated a twinge of unease, as my approach was of the ‘is he a good person’ variety, apparently I could tell this from what he said and how funny he was (not!). I was too extreme in that direction, but yes I don’t want to move too extremely in the opposite direction. However, when I become aware of a background like this man’s I automatically morph into a nun in a convent and no amount of will power seems to be able to prevent me from immediately being rendered asexual. Any ideals I may hold about allowing him to unfold become ridiculous to me. I’ll have to go with these bodily signs and trust they are for my own best interests.

            • Lara says:

              Hey Lizzp,

              My ex was a 40 year old who had never been married (as far as I know!). He had been in several “long-term” relationships, according to him. I am not sure as to how his exes managed to stay with him longer than a year — maybe they have worse issues than I do. I only lasted a year, and he destroyed me emotionally and mentally, and by extension, physically, because of his mindf*ckery and the constant hot/cold, drama, threats, blackmail, etc. He doesn’t live VERY CLOSE to his parents, but he always goes to visit them every week when he’s not traveling for work. He also calls his mom every week. I suppose that’s OK, but I am not sure. I mean, I am not sure if that’s “normal” for a guy to do, especially a guy his age. I have a suspicion that he was sorta “mama’s boy”. Would certainly explain a lot of things. Anyway, my brother in law is a very nice family guy and he doesn’t call his mom every week, so I am guessing that’s a little bit too much for an adult man to do — call up his mom every week. It might indicate some sort of immaturity or attachment problems and that can also indicate problems with women in general. I don’t know.He certainly has a problem letting go of the women in his life, so he has a harem of exes and women he currently f*cks, that he keeps in touch with. It’s weird/funny, that a guy who talks to his mom so often, also spoke of his childhood experience with his parents in a very negative manner, and blamed his parents for not giving him enough attention as a kid, and always paying attention to his sister. He also badmouthed his sister so much in front of me. It was quite awkward — it got to the point where I felt I had to defend his sister from his badmouthing, or wondered if he was trying to “test” me to see if I would join in on defaming his sister. But I suspect he really does dislike her strongly, as he dislikes all the women in his life, even ones he supposedly has or had relationships with. Stay away from men like that. I should’ve known from the very start, since he kept badmouthing women and women’s equality, the first week we had known each other. He kept talking as if I wasn’t a woman and wouldn’t get offended by his generalizations about “women’s bad personality traits”….

              After that experience with my 40 year old ex, I would really stay away from men who have reached 40 and haven’t been married (I also tend to stay away from the drama of previously married and now-divorced men). The only exception I might make is if the guy is doing a PhD and is so busy he never got the chance to meet anyone, etc. But even then, I’d be scared that at that point he’d be very dysfunctional in his relations / social interactions with people and I probably wouldn’t want risk wasting my time and energy and getting attached to someone who might be socially inept, etc.

              • Lara says:

                Also, my ex kept saying: “the love thing is harder for me.” Any clue as to what is meant by that? I still don’t understand it. Is it code word for: I just want to have flings with chicks, and not commit to anyone? Or: I don’t love you? Or what? I never understood it. It baffles me. He usually said that every time he broke up with me. He would then come back and want to get back together (like a yo-yo) and say “I love you” a few times, until he reeled me in and then would go back to the cold treatment. It was just bizarre. This man’s behavior was just creepy, in a fascinating sort of way, though. I almost want to maintain contact with him to sorta do a psychology experiment and understand the sick/effed up mind of narcissists. I found out (when I snooped on his phone), that when he had broken up with me back in December (4th breakup in 6 months), he had contacted the girl he used to have a FWB arrangement with before meeting me (he admitted he also had a FWB when I confronted him about his cheating with a prostitute). He never gets rid of exes’ numbers, contact info, pictures, or anything else (he even sent me pics of his exes including explicit pics, that he had kept over the course of more than 2 decades — I suppose the next woman in his harem will receive explicit pictures of me that he has accumulated over the past year including ones he had taken without my permission/knowledge). Anyway, the woman did not reply, of course, and he sent off another message (very desperate sounding) and asked her why she wasn’t replying and that he knew she was now in a relationship with someone.. Apparently, he keeps these ex-harem girls/prostitutes on his google+ profile, whereas he keeps women he is currently trying to trick into sleeping with him (including an 18 year old), on his facebook. He removed me from facebook so I guess I was relegated to an ex-harem member status. He hasn’t added me to google+ yet, but I suspect he knows I am not spineless and would tear him a new one if he even tried it after the sh*t he pulled on me while we were together and after breaking up with me. He did order me to “stay in touch”, though, by email, 18 days ago. What am I supposed to say, yessir? That guy is such a narc sleazy dictator/manipulator.

            • Lara says:

              “he would take a holiday to ‘explore exciting places’”

              And build up an international harem, is my guess — if his claims about his extensive travels are indeed accurate.

              My ex ironically also bragged about that, and also claimed he hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone for the past 2 years since his ex broke up with him, because he’s been “too busy traveling around the world for work.”

              I should’ve taken that as the biggest red flag that he wasn’t interested in a relationship in the first place.

              • LaPinturaBella says:

                Lara: This guy is sooooo over the top and frankly, scary. Not to mention sleazy.

                “The whole love thing is hard for me…” If he is an actual narc (not just tendencies) it means exactly what he said. They do not know how to love. Period. Not even themselves, despite the arrogance and conceit, etc.

          • Maeve says:

            That’s wonderful to hear about your husband! I think the exception is genuinely shy types. I’d definitely consider that. I’m shy myself so I understand the caution and difficulty of meeting appropriate mates.

            • Maeve says:

              Anna–also someone who’s been in a long term relationship, where it’s basically commonlaw marriage, in my mind counts as a someone who understands commitment.

  9. Jenna Ryan says:

    This just happened to me and I’ve been kicking myself for being so gullible. Mine was attractive and “looked” like the guy of my dreams, sweet as can be. That is one of my trust points.

    My goal now is to love myself more. Build myself up, get to a higher level inside, so that I’m not so easily pulled away from reality by a smooth talking caller…

    A guy who tricks you to give it up is akin to a rapist. It makes you feel so exploited, which you were. It’s sad that people like this are out there.

  10. Monica says:

    For me it was the connection. The commonalities that we shared from our interests that were so similar to the complexities of our personalities…I was so sucked in not once but twice. Now I am suffering the consequences because all this time when he was telling me to “take baby steps”, I just have to believe he must of had this girlfriend at least most of the time….the one who I now live across the street from and knew nothing about. It’s a regular Melrose Place (all three of us in the same apartment complex and she knows nothing about me) and seeing his car in the driveway constantly as he threw me breadcrumbs (that I accepted) while sucking me in has made me feel like such a fool! I consistently put his needs of “I have so much going on” before my needs to get what I wanted in the relationship. I was so patient and kind and he has hurt me in every way shape and form. You can’t even make this stuff up. If I would of discovered you last year, I would of seen the signs and questioned things more directly….I am still so angry and cannot believe how he cold he is. But my heart has not recovered and I just don’t know why….

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Monica. Your heart has not recovered because you see who he really is and what he is doing regularly with your neighbor. What a dog. These types has no conscience or regard for another person’s feelings, (yours). Be glad your out of his clutches, now. I understand how hard it is for you, but keep the faith in yourself. Time will heal the wounds.

      • Jule says:

        Monica – what tinkerbell says is true Man what a dog he is. You are not in his clutches anymore thank god. I know that’s hard though. It will get better. Hang in there.

    • Ann says:

      Because you’re human x
      Your trust is broken and your trust in yourself. We are always taught that if we treat people the way we would like to be treated that good things will happen. That is still the way I live my life but not everyone else lives by that motto. I’m going to check out the Baggage Reclaim posts on Trusting Yourself. Life is always more incredible than fiction :)

  11. S Smith says:

    Can relate to this totally. I trusted someone with my heart and they crumbled it up and put in a drawer some where. Don’t understand – be was a lot older. That was part of the reason I let my guard down ( he was in his late 50,s) I’m in my 40,s. I thought the “games” has stopped. Shame on him! He called recently to apologize. I listened and really wanted to be ok but I realize it wasn’t ok. He was so dishonest and hurtful. I hope I never see or hear from him again. I hope to never run into a man like that again. When I look back – he didn’t mean well. Crazy b/c we are the older “settled” group of adults right? Wow! I still believe in love but right now I just want the peace of not being involved with anyone. Starting to realize how good it feels to not have him in my life (smile). Time heals – its slowly progressing but I see light and it feels a lot better than his dark sided lies and deceit. I try to focus on how grateful I am for other people – my son,family, and a few good friends. Blessings my friends – there is light and it feels good! Stay strong my B R family!

    • Sue S. says:

      Dear S. Smith, mine was 62 when we started “dating” and I was 51. The games, for some, never end. In fact, it was worse because it is getting kind of late in life…. I missed a lot of warning signs, but when you are 51 years old and someone wants to date you, well, its pretty flattering. I spent my 40s raising my child alone. I was with NO ONE for many years at a time. I stayed home and did right by my child. I dated 2 men in 10 years for a short time each. Then I had a fixer upper move in with me, but he left to be a truck driver and never came back. I was just getting over that when the EUM came along. He was somebody I knew professionally for many (15) years. He always seemed like a nice guy. He was finally getting divorced after I watched hi “try” over and over for years. I never was his girlfriend or anything while he was married. I felt like I waited till he was free and had done the right thing, there, too. My point is you can never let down your guard, in fact you had better work on getting it even stronger. A 62 year old player has a LOT of tricks up his sleeve. He never, in words, obligated himself in any way. I am sure if I confronted him, which I won’t, he would safely say he never promised me anything. You girls are lucky to learn this stuff at a much younger age. I am so ashamed of how this all looks I don’t want to talk about it to anyone who knows me (they know him, too).

      • Sue S. says:

        and when I say “try” I mean try to make his marriage work, not try to hit on me!

      • Ann says:

        Hi Sue,
        It is embarrassing isn’t it. I agree that we need to never let our guard down. Red flag- finish it- no second chances. It’s all about respect. I dated a player for 5 years, ignored red flag after red flag, he acted like he wanted a close connected relationship but I think I was just a constant in his life like his Mum and his daughter. He knew I would only tolerate an exclusive sexual relationship but he’d break up with me, then pursue me. I thought he’d been a player, but I see now he was still behaving like one. They are who they are, they’ve got away with it for so long- whatever it is, it’s their life pattern, even if they know it doesn’t really get them what they want. We are both nearly 50. He gave me an ultimatum the last time I saw him to do something I would never do- a threesome – in order to prove I cared about him. I was so angry. Then he tried to act like nothing happened the following day. But after that I saw everything threw a different lense. He clearly doesn’t actually care about me or respect my wishes at all- he’s just trying to manipulate, control and use me to get what he wants. I decided whatever his problem was, I would no longer make it my problem. The trouble is players are expert at what they do, they study people, they’re expert lovers, expert at giving (but they can also withhold) affection, attention, closeness, talk of the future. I’ve since found he’s on a dating site,”looking for my best friend” whilst he was with me, he’s probably been on it the whole time. It’s been over 2 mths, last night he sent me an email- he’s putting out a feeler again. I have this unexpressed anger- I’d like to tell him that I know what he was up to. I hate that he thinks he got away with it- he did. I was so naive, but in spite of everything I am still suseptible to him. Many of the most contended, happiest times in my life have been spent with him, but I can now see through the persona he shows me and realise this is just who he is, and he’ll forever be looking for others girls to boost his ego and ‘play’ with. I wish I could get him completely off my mind and have closure about it. I do have three wonderful teenagers and I’m working and studying to be a teacher, and hanging out with girlfriends. I love Baggage Reclaim!

        • Allison says:


          The process starts by blocking all forms of contact- even if you have to change your number.

          You know who this man is, and you’re right, he will never change!

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        Sue…Like you I am 51 and my ex-AC is 63. I think you’re right, an older player is smoother and more dangerous. They’ve perfected their game. I’ve never been married, but I’ve had relationships and dated a lot of men…in L.A., the shark capital of the world. Never saw it coming with the older player until it was way too late. :-(

    • Allison says:


      What did this guy do?

      • Sue says:

        He’s a lawyer and so am I. He has 27 years in recovery and I have 24. He’s a freaking spiritualist minister. All that, it turns out, makes no difference and should not be the basis for any kind of trust.

        • Tee tee says:

          He could well have been a scientist for all the difference it made.

          Cannot remember the article now, but nat says something along the lines of it doesn’t matter if they help cats and grannies across the street, or volunteer every saturday; if you are not being treated with care, respect and care consistently then there’s an issue. Doesn’t have any effect on the grannies and cute cats etc

          I found BR end last year, and it was a houdini that threw me for a loop to google why do guys vanish and blow hot cold hot cold lol. And i found here and the feminine woman. I prefer the straight talking here.

          Last year i had some almost relationshits. Two were eu in actions – words however they were very quick with. **Aside**i have been working on my own eu issues too – as if i attract these times, maybe i am in some way too?**
          The one who brought me here was the vanishing experience. He was consistent and we did things together, talked a lot etc, then at the 3 months mark he poofed vanished. Part of me thinks it’s because I wanted to go slowly with the sex part? This guy was starting his own business at the time. Not sure how it panned – not my problem.

          One worked in oil and had to handle huge accounts, this was the guy whom I once asked whether or not it felt narcissistic to have sex with different people without building anything, who then quipped ‘narcissism smarcissism’ – yeah charming. Needless to say, didn’t make it past the 3rd date.

          The other Business analyst for some intl bank. The latter, i once asked (i bumped into him on way to gym – luckily I had a gf with me that day) – what his deal was. This was a year after the almost dates. And he said last year at the time, he had issues etc. And get this in one breath, that he had spoken to his mum about me, i wasn’t moved by that. Then he said he was scared of feeling etc and hoped i’d be ‘the one to help him with it.’
          The Tee of last year would have gone in to white knighting / florence let me save you from yourself mode. But, i know a tiny bit better that this shit won’t fly with me anymore.

          So, though i wanted to scream, i didn’t. Looking back, i should suggested he go to therapy. Oh well. Instead i wished him well and thanked him for dropping me home. And left it at that. He’s since tried contact, which he would NOT have done if i didn’t bump in to him. REALLY – what gives? Oh dear, i am laughing for real here.

          In the past I’d have tried to understand and understand and explain away their shitty behaviour. Now I try less, and focus on my own being. Hard process, but I am learning, boundaries are a tough thing to implement faithfully each time. But you must, for your own health and well being.

          I say all this to say, he can be a bomb disposer,preacher, ceo and still behave in crazy ways.

          Also, sorry for the 5 years. That is heck of a long time! I hope that you flush a lot quicker next time. Hugs

  12. Lilly says:

    He singled me out during lectures, gave me lots of attention, and made an unhappy, insecure, and self-doubting woman feel unbelievably special. He constantly told me how beautiful I was, how intelligent, how blah, blah, blah. The most damaging trust point though was when he littered conversations with ‘we’ and ‘us’, along with future plans. It was all over for me then, hook, line and sinker. There was, of course, no future and he never intended for there to be….oh, wait a minute…yes he did. We were going to meet up a few times per year, we were going to have lots of sex, we were going to work on research together because that would be a good cover for him to get away. It’s taking me a long, long time to wake up, but I’m getting there.

    Ginny!” said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain?”

    ? J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    • Tinkerbell says:


      The more we’ve been “damaged” when the AC comes along, the harder we fall and the worse we’re eventually ravaged and heartbroken. Self esteem was lacking at the start and they were able to detect that fact. It sounds awful, but it’s the truth. That’s why we need to ensure a strong sense of self which helps us to scrutinize individuals more closely and determine what their true intentions are towards us. Even then it’s still hard not infallible, as previously pointed out. There are so many different kinds of effed up people out there, looking for just the right prey. And, they succeed too damn often.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        “The more we’ve been “damaged” when the AC comes along, the harder we fall and the worse we’re eventually ravaged and heartbroken. Self esteem was lacking at the start and they were able to detect that fact. It sounds awful, but it’s the truth.”

        So absolutely true. And the longer you go without healing yourself and building your self esteem, you end up attracting the MORE predatory and dangerous ACs. It progresses. I, unfortunately, know that from personal experience.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          LaPintura. I’m living my own words. My self esteem is much stronger and I’ve learned, as Lizzp said “to connect with my self value”. Although, my final decision is to let him go at least for now, I feel better because I’m honoring ME, the person I truly am. I thought I could cope, I thought I could suppress my strong libido for him, but I couldn’t. And, he’d gotten to know me well enough to know better. I have to be ME. Thanks, for your support. XXX, Tink

          • LaPinturaBella says:

            You are very welcome. I’m glad you’re honoring you AND that he is the type of person who accepts that you need to honor yourself. He IS one of the good guys! Like Santa says about the M&M candies in a TV ad…THEY DO EXIST!

  13. Lilia says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I just spent the last few days feeling sorry for myself wondering if I´ll ever be able to trust someone again – meaning if I´ll ever have a worthwhile romantic relationship.

    I guess I fell into this terrible mood after I saw this sad film about a teenager with cancer who has a very sweet boyfriend just before she dies. I thought those teenage romances are so honest, there is no game-playing and they can really trust each other because they haven´t had the experience that makes us skeptical.

    Of course I should´ve felt bad about the girl dying, and I did, but at the same time I remembered what it was like to blindly trust a man and to feel loved and protected. That feeling is now completely gone and I´m afraid I´ve been putting up walls all around me so as not to give anyone a chance to win me over ever again.

    But now that I read this post I was able to understand a few things:
    I trusted the EUM who got me here because of his persistence, even when I wasn´t interested at all in him to begin with. I knew him for ages and he would express his interest in me when I was married with someone else. And then, years later when my marriage went sour, he would insist on being my shoulder to lean on. While expressing his (sexual) interest in me. And that was flattering, in a way. And very timely, as my husband was off with someone else.
    So that is how EUM managed to lure me in. But now I´m thinking it wasn´t a very nice thing to do – perhaps at that momento I was eager for some persistent attention, but how is he respectful if he´s getting all horny with me when I´m married and going through a marital crisis?
    Also, why would he pursue me if he knew I was in knots over my marriage?
    He was just trying to take advantage of my vulnerable state.

    Of course, once I was single again and let my guard down with him I got the hot-cold treatment, just as described in this post.
    I´m so happy I can see the situation more clearly now. It was a hard lesson to learn, but at least I can pinpoint what happened between us and why I fell for all his nonsense.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Yep, Lilia. The exMM came after me knowing that I felt so alone and still grieving the death of my husband. He, too has been a “friend”, and threw me for a loop when he started making moves one me. I was so surprised that at first I thought it was my imagination because he was so smooth and subtle about it. But that persistence drew me in and the sex was mind blowing. Boy, what I learned from that experience. But it was something I needed to experience at the time because I was so naive and trusting. After a long, secure marriage, you’re ill equipped for a relationship as you haven’t been exposed to as the BS the AC’s, etc. put you through. But I learned and learned quite well, I might add. I’m grateful for the bitter lesson.

    • Keetseel says:

      In movies, teen love is pure. But let me tell you I’ve watched my own daughter get taken by surprise by more than one teenaged player. One of them was married!!! (he was nineteen). Last night she cried herself to sleep because someone who had pursued her/said he loved her/was really friendly and sweet to me told her he didn’t want to see her before she left for college because he was “narrowing down his circle of friends.” He’s not even 20 years old! I keep telling her it’s not about her, and she knows it. She has a lot more self respect than I did at eighteen, but still she gets hurt. I think it’s part of being human and wanting human contact. She’s not beyond opening her heart and I hope she never will be. Incidentally, she has repeatedly been hurt by girlfriends, including her best friend. I’m so glad she’s getting out of here. I really hope the people she meets in college will be better.

      • Lilia says:

        I found it helps to imagine myself doing what he did – would I act the “understanding friend” with a guy I fancied and who I knew was insecure or unhappy in his marriage? When I phrase it like that I feel repulsed by him.

        That´s so sad about your daughter, it must be so painful to see her go through all that (my own daughter is only 9 and she has already had some minor dramas with her girlfriends).
        I guess I have this idealized image of teenage love because I tend to only remember the nice parts of my first serious relationship. But then, I had a lot of other not so wonderful experiences as well. In fact, those were the norm.

  14. Peanut says:

    The chase isn’t sustainable. There’s no way. Most of us have the ability to run a marathon from time to time (I near did today around town with my grandmother trying to get all our errands done) but we can’t keep it going; we’d need breaks, stops, and, rests.

    That’s why being involved in an unavailable relationship feels like riding in a car with a teenager who is just learning to use a stick shift.

    It’s maddening, jerking, you never get very far, and always end up right where you started if you move an inch.

    I think I’m not giving newly behind the wheel teenagers enough credit as they are sure to manage a car better than two unavailable people manage to see through ambiguity.

    If you find yourself sticking around with an unavailable partner, you are emotionally unavailable, too.

    You are unavailable to the extent that you stick around and deny. Unavailability is progressive. The sooner you get out, the better.

    Of course I know it’s more complicated if there are kids involved, but they will always benefit from you making a strong decision for yourself.

    From the side of being the pursuer, it feels terrible. Sure there are highs when the object of obsession reacts, but there is none activity more draining than pursuing the disinterested. It is a self-esteem sapping pursuit. A person with a healthy level of self respect will not stick around for disinterest, much less chase it.

    When self-esteem is present, a keen awareness develops for situations that offer promise where one is wanted and situations that are a dead end.
    Dead ends are not chosen, because they simply lead nowhere. There is no ego involved, just a healthy sense of rationale.

    Before I met the ex that brought me here, I hadn’t had a boyfriend in five years. I reasoned I would only get involved with a man who heavily pursued me as I was the one who did the heavy initial pursuit in the previous catastrophic tryst that ended in me wasting near three years with a violent man.

    I thought that if the next guy came along and swept me off my feet, that’d set the tone of the relationship to follow. He did and it did. I lost my footing and fell smack on my ass.

    The man I got involved with after Mr. Violent wasn’t healthy either, and his hot pursuit fizzled rather quickly along with promises for the future.

    Being chased does not feel good (unless you have low self-esteem and have had very little relationally with yourself).

    Think about it: Those dreams where someone is chasing us and we really don’t know who they are, are the worst.

    • tee tee says:

      Thank you! Will always remember this even with friendships too –
      ”If you find yourself sticking around with an unavailable partner, you are emotionally unavailable, too.

      You are unavailable to the extent that you stick around and deny. Unavailability is progressive. The sooner you get out, the better.”

  15. Peanut says:


    That is the lie that keeps us there waiting in No-Man’s-Land: The lie that the man we hope will change is uniquely for us. He won’t; he’s not. Unique love only grows out of tried and true values: Love, Care, Trust, Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Assertiveness, and Balance.

  16. Allison says:

    Oh goodness, this post so reminds me of my stupidity!! Thanks for the enlightenment, Nat!

  17. Cruiseycatz says:

    yep, so many remarking on the fact they needed reminding, myself included.
    My trust point was consistency and persistence, I value that in myself so saw it as a very good marker in someone else, till it all fell apart the moment he realised I was hook line and sinker.
    Chase was over, challenge achieved…next. Did the disappearing act, based on something trivial, after a year.
    Gut was doing talking at 6 months, I reasoned with it, think it was my own insecurities, at some point have to dive right in or back the hell away, I chose the former and am still recovering 18months later.
    An open heart does not necesarily entice open another’s.

  18. Peanut says:

    Also, expectations play a huge roll in trusting via the chase. If you have air balloon expectations (gigantic and full of air) of what romantic relationships can do for you, you’re susceptible to The Chase.

    It pays to really get to know our expectations in relationships and life. Having meager ones is just as bad as having inflated ones; both are on the spectrum of big problems.

    Lofty expectations can hide, too, in our minds.

    Case in point:

    I had taken my car in for a list of repairs and expected it to be finished in no more than a couple of hours. I went back to get it only to be told it would in fact take more time. And money.

    My first inclination was to get mad. But then I thought about what had been said to me about the repairs and the reality of the condition of my car (old, rickety with oodles of miles) and realized they were right; my expectations were unreasonable.

    Looking back to my perception just this morning, I am astounded how unrealistic I was.

    Oh, well! I learned something from the ex EUM (don’t expect available from peeps with substance issues) and my car (don’t expect a lot of shit done and done right in a hot minute, or hour, or even two!)

  19. dramaseeker says:

    I recently discovered this site when I managed to get myself into another shitty relationship which left me feeling confused, upset and drained most of the time. Thanks to Nat, I acquired the good sense to get out of it after a few weeks and I am proud of having made a decision and judgement on that even though it hurt like hell at the time and sometimes it still does. Now I am dating Mr. Nearly Right who is consistent, dependable, attentive, generous, respectful, caring, open and who likes me a lot. You would think I have hit the jackpot. Except. I have tried very hard but I cannot develop any deeper feelings for him, there is something I am missing, and I fear it is the drama, excitement, fun, passion, etc I am so addicted to (and I know it but am working on it). When we are together we do lots of things I enjoy but I feel I am putting in all of the effort of making it fun, keeping up the conversation, making jokes, getting him to lighten up, whilst he is mostly quiet and serious. We have a good sex life, but are not exactly swinging off the light fittings, and I miss that, too. The question I continue to ask myself is do I wait to see if my feelings develop and I start falling in love with him or do I stop screwing the guy around for much longer and accept it just isn’t happening for me? I am 53 and there is some feeling of running out of time, so knowing when to cut and run has become a lot more important to me. To fill in some of the background, I have been married twice and the second time around which lasted 15 years, I lost everything (including all my money, assets, sanity and very nearly my kids) to a textbook Narcissist which took its toll. There are so many great people on this site and I need a reality check because sometimes it is just so hard being objective with your own situation. Do I stay or do I go?

    • Lucky_Charms says:

      Hi Drama, I am 55 years old (Almost!) I understand the whole “time is running out” thing, but it isn’t, really.
      One red flag I am getting is “Mr. Quiet and Serious.” I don’t know if he is emotionally unavailable? Then there is the people pleasing effort of making all of the effort of fun and jokes and sprinkle whatever fairy dust you want. But I think that maybe it would be a good idea to stand back and take stock of the situation. If you were tangled with a Narc before, it can happen again. Read all you can about boundaries. If you are having trouble developing deeper feelings, you could be a little EUM too. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think there are a few red flags here. Do not stay in a relationship cause you think time may be running out, believe me, life can be either too short, or if you’re with the wrong person, way tooo long. Step back and re-evaluate. If this man really cares about you he won’t mind waiting. Good Luck Drama, I am almost 55 and I am still kick ass. Never devalue yourself because of your age. Remember you are first. Always choose you!

    • A says:


      “I feel I am putting in all of the effort of making it fun, keeping up the conversation, making jokes, getting him to lighten up, whilst he is mostly quiet and serious.”

      You won’t necessarily have feelings for someone just because he’s a good man. You need to have trust, care, respect, and integrity, but it makes sense that you won’t fall in love with any man who happens to be a good person.

      It sounds as though you don’t like a large aspect of who he is (quiet and serious). It should not feel like that much effort to spend time with someone, especially in the beginning. And you should not feel like you’re trying to get him to change who he is (that isn’t fair to either of you and it won’t work).

    • Anon says:

      I’d say stay, a)because you are 53 and good guys are hard to find, (although sociopaths and narcissists are legion) b) he sounds much better than your ex, despite his lack of enthusiasm and passion (there are worse things), c) it is better to be dating than looking. Try to enjoy.

      • Magnolia says:

        Anon – You’re basically saying settle because you’re older, and “It is better to be dating than looking” – um, no and again, no. That mentality is exactly what BR helps us to break free of. I stayed in many a disappointing, unfulfilling situation because I thought I’d rather be dating than looking. I’m still “looking” – more like, living my life with my eyes open to possibility – and it’s way better than feeling committed to someone you’re not happy/having fun with.

        • lizzp says:

          “The question I continue to ask myself is do I wait to see if my feelings develop and I start falling in love with him or do I stop screwing the guy around for much longer and accept it just isn’t happening for me? I am 53 and there is some feeling of running out of time, so knowing when to cut and run has become a lot more important to me.”

          Magnolia, arrrrgggg! Pasted above is the question Dramaseeker asked for advice and opinions on. Anon has given her advice and opinion and from what I can see she relates her answer to some of Dramaseeker’s concerns – should she wait and give herself time to see how her feelings develop; Dramaseeker says she is, after all, concerned about her age.

          And I think BR is about helping us to find out who we are, to live our own authentic selves, be aware where we may go wrong in hurting ourselves and others, not, ‘per se’, about discouraging certain mentalities, or perhaps not just/only about that.

        • Anon says:

          Magnolia, true and true- bravo for ‘doing the right thing always’….so long as that waiting can and will lead some where better,…when…if…? I guess it depends on how long you’ve been single (and how long you are open to being alone, in limbo, blogging about it). Some people can do it for months, some for years, can any one do it indefinitely? Others prefer not to. Also, she can look at what her current options are, (realistically) not just theoretically through rose colored glasses. If he is so boring that her eyes are rolling in her head every time they are together, then yes, it is better to be single. But, if he is a nice guy and pleasant enough, she should give him a chance. It could be that she is EU to nice guys and has a bad boy preference (like her ex). Remember, she has already been married twice and is a woman of a certain age- she is in a different place.

        • Allison says:

          I am with Magnolia on this one!

          Spot on!

    • lizzp says:

      Dramaseeker, It’s a hard one. Whatever you decide I guess my advice would be don’t stuff the guy around. I only say this because of where you say “…do I stop screwing the guy around for much longer …”., Do you mean that or is it just an expression? It’s fair enough not to know your feelings in the discovery stage as it takes time to get to know someone and develop feelings if we’re not living in fantasy land. But I guess you need to try and look deep in there and see if you see your relations with him moving forward towards a mutually respecting and caring relationship. If you feel you are stuffing him around and being dishonest with him then I think you should put a stop to that. As we all know from being here, that is unfair and hurtful behaviour. I’m saying IF of course,, not looking to offend – seeking clarity.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Drama. You think you’re getting older and running out of time. I totally get your thinking, but it just isn’t true. There are plenty of couple who united in their 60’s and 70’s. I know that you don’t want that for yourself, but don’t insert the element of desperation into the situation. You are not old and you don’t have to “settle”. I would say, from my own experience ( and I’m older than you) a good barometer is to observe not only how he is with you, if he shows you love, care, trust and respect, but also examine his lifestyle, his home, his long established habits, his goals for his future, his relationship with his family, his friends, etc. Then, ask yourself if you fit into that situation. When we are older we do have as much of an option of hoping things will change or get better. More than when we were younger, what you see is what you get. He may be a wonderful man to enjoy as a friend. Then, he may be a man you could eventually live with or marry. Think about these issues carefully. In light of the fact that you feel you don’t have much time to waste on yet another ill-fated relationship ( and, believe me I understand), look ahead 5-10 years, and be honest with yourself. Can you see yourself still with him and to what degree. Friend, or lover? But, at the same time keep expectations and fantasizing in check. In the meantime getting to know him intimately is essential. THINK. It’s really up to you. What do YOU really want? Keep us posted.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Drama. I failed to mention that it is equally as important that he is able to fit into YOUR lifestyle, also. For example, which one of you would pack up and move in with the other? You may or may not wish to get that far? Good luck, Tinkerbell.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Finally, Drama, you may be asking for too much. He’s his own person. Either you accept him the way he is, or you don’t. There’s little room for change at his age, and for you also.

          I am facing the same thing in my relationship. I’ve always thrived on DRAMA. My “boyfriend”, (I’ve very recently learned while on vacation together) is a very different person. I’ve come to believe that the discovery phase is a lot longer than 3 months. We still have a great relationship which neither of us would ever want to give up, but I have come to the realization that my hopes for a future together with him were not realistic. I would imagine he has come to realize this, also. It’s okay. Since my transformation to a much stronger confident, self satisfied person, I’m not taking it quite as hard as I would have a year ago. It’s sad to lose a dream, but it’s better to realize it and overcome that sadness as soon as possible. We both have embellished each other’s lives a great deal, for which I will forever be grateful. And, fortunately, we will continue to do so but with a different goal in mind. From each intimate experience with another we are supposed to learn and take away the lesson. Otherwise, the same situation in some form will repeat itself until we learn the lesson. I’ve learned that I consistently thrive on drama and turmoil in my life. When everything is going well I feel awkward. I always see things in terms of black or white. That’s a trait that frequently makes one frustrated, dissatisfied and unhappy. But, I thank God that I’m better than I used to be. One of my frequently used mantras is “we are all a work in progress”. Dealing with disappointments are very much part of life. I tend to have very high expectations where others are concerned because I’m that way about myself. I’m way too intense for my own good so that much of my frustrations and disappointments is self induced. We cannot simply create the ideal man/woman to share our futures with forever. If that were the case there would be no Baggage Reclaim. I wish and hope that we all learn as much as we can to lead fulfilling lives. It takes effort. That’s for certain.

          • tee tee says:

            This is brilliant and very true – thank you! I am sorry about the guy. At least you are growing as a result of it. How did you know that it may / may not work. Also, how do you calm the child that seeks to create drama? I’ve been watching myself lately in my interactions with a male friend. In the past he always tried to wind me up and get me annoyed or snappy. And then when i took bait he’d turn it to well tee you are just an angry black woman.

            One day earlier in the year, i told him he either had to stop this childish behaviour or i’d leave being friends with him altogether. He thought i was joking untile he had radio silence.

            Now that we talk again and are getting along ok, he seems to have learned that my boundaries are not for negotiation in that sense. I get that is different to you being in a relationship. I was just curious as to how that pans out in that scenario.

            Sorry! A bit long!

    • Keetseel says:

      Hi Dramaseeker,
      As you suggest in your email, you’re struggling with the issue of his having a different style than those exciting narcs that you’ve been attracted to in the past–and maybe that’s a good thing!
      Natalie says that we can look beyond the “stuff” we have in “common” to common relationship values. Maybe this guy isn’t going to get crazy at the party–but he could be the one that quietly respects you, shows you devotion and consistency in the rel that was missing before.
      That’s why I’d advocate for giving it a little more time, and if you’re missing thrilling conversation, hang out with your most fun girlfriends. It’s true that no romantic partner can give us everything we want and need in our social lives. So maybe his role in your life will be to give you quiet, serious love and respect. You don’t say how long you have been dating him, but maybe it’s worth letting yourself get used to his style, and finding your drama and excitement where it belongs–say, withdownhill mountain bike racing? (that’s my secret fantasy)

      • lizzp says:

        keetseel, thank you for articulating this. It’s a very good general point I think. We can’t expect our man/woman to provide everything. What matters are the deeper shared values – respect for self and others being one of the vital ones.

  20. FinallyOnTheRightPath says:

    I don’t know where I fit in.

    There was no chase, no putting me on a pedestal, no future faking or fast forwarding or telling me I’m beautiful.
    I knew where I stood from the beginning in fact I totally got the impression that he didn’t like me much.
    Yet something kept me hanging around long past the use by date and going back, what kind of person goes back to someone they know doesn’t care for them much?

    I guess I got someone who mirrored my own thoughts about myself.
    I didn’t like myself much.
    I thought something fwb suited me so that is what I got.
    At the final conversation before I went no contact he was contradicted himself so many times he cared he didn’t care. He made it clear he didn’t have any compassion for me in my circumstances even though he contributed to them, but had he been my boyfriend he would have had compassion for me. I saw what a useless waste of time it was trying to make him see the hurt he had caused me.
    Even trying to make him see that I want out he said he was going to call me in the future.
    I feel stupid about all of my circumstances what was I thinking? I will have to re read this article and try and fathom it out.

    • Keetseel says:

      Finally, I get it. This was my first real boyfriend (I was 19, he was 29). He didn’t much like me, kept everything on his terms, was disrespectful, etc. Yet I kept pursuing him for 2 1/2 years, traveling across the Atlantic to see him twice. I know now it was because I was used to receiving this treatment from my dad, and was trying to “correct” that relationship. It had nothing to do with the particular guy. He just was playing a role in my little psychodrama. It sounds like you have recognized that part and have the tools to work through the mystery of why you would be with someone who can’t hold up his end of the deal. Go NC and free yourself up for someone else. You might be pleasantly surprised on your next go-round, when you choose someone who reciprocates your interest. You deserve it.

  21. Annabel says:


    He made a lot of plans with me, way too early, but it caught me off guard. Everything went downhill after that, but since he made plans I went blind.

    He also (like so many men in my life) told me he loved me way too early.

    Next time I am going to make myself slow him/me/us down… relationships take time and apparently I can’t trust my judgement :s

  22. [email protected] says:

    As I continue to read these posts, what is frustrating is that there is never any accountability from these men..they suck you in, crush your heart and then walk away. We are left to pick up the pieces and learn lessons, but they are never accountable for their actions…Any thoughts on this??

    • Nancyw says:

      I agree that it is frustrating, and yes, we are left to pick up the pieces. But it was MY behavior that let him continue HIS behavior. And I’m still trying to set boundaries, albeit it’s not an easy process.

      • [email protected] says:


        Yes, I see that too…I know why I accepted the crumbs and my lesson learned is I needed to love myself and ask questions when my intuition does not feel something’s right …I see it all now but still feel so foolish (not even sure that is the right word) for the things I did not know and accepted. …again though I want accountability…!!But someone who is a narcassist along with being emotionally unavailable probably can’t understand what I am feeling. And I have the pleasure of seeing him at his girlfriends house (the one I did not know about)because she lives across the street from me. URGH!

    • Andee says:

      I never assume they’re happier. I mean, come on. The point of being how they are means that they don’t feel too much. Which might seem attractive when you’re hurting, but I wouldn’t trade places with them. They’re stuck in Groundhog Day…a cycle of rinse and repeat that routinely gets them thrown out of people’s lives. We’re hurt for a bit and then hopefully heal and have something real. Who cares about what they eventually have or don’t have? They’re lacking and by virtual of the work we are all attempting, we’re being made better. That’s enough.

      • Marie83 says:

        Andee, thankyou for writing this

        “I never assume they’re happier. I mean, come on. The point of being how they are means that they don’t feel too much”

        The ex EUM I was with for 3 years who treated me terribly for 2 and eventually replaced me with a woman who is terribly emotionally instable but fuelled his need for drama – she lied about being pregnant with his child for 6 mths – he only found out as she actually ended up becoming pregnant! He has referred to her as sociopathic but is insanely happy about the prospect of having a child which has hurt. However I still kid myself that he is happy

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Love that thought Andee. Never thought about it in quite that way. Thanks for sharing that!

    • Ann says:

      They reap what they sow. Half hearted commitments and never truly feeling love or real connectedness. They get attached to whatever point they allow themselves to get attached- they start to think that girl will always be there for them, then she realises what they are really like and she’s gone. I don’t think they even realise what they are missing out on- they just get a more calloused heart with each round. It’s their loss in the end- they lose the respect of their friends over it too as their friends grow tired of their behaviour.

  23. noquay says:

    For me, it was planning, consistency, and connection juxtaposed with being very alone and disconnected from a community/region where there are very few emotionally or otherwise functional men making the AC look like a prince in comparison. Both damaged, dysfunctional communities and on linedating take away the element of aaccountability to family/friends/lovers/community. Folks act poorly because no one calls them on their behavior, they suffer no negative consequences of bad behavior so they can repeat their cycles of damage. Case in point; yesterday evening a pair of neighbors got into a horrid shouting match at 11pm. Yours truly had her bedroom door open to the deck as it was hot. Called the cops as I was sick of the F bombs plus I was worried about the safety of the woman and Noquay needs her zzz’s. This morning other neighbors are telling me it was wrong to bring in the police and that it was none of my business, it’stheir right to fight if they choose. All I could think of was how that behavior would have been very severely disapproved of in my home community to the point that others would have physically intervened. Yep, we let folks pull bad shore so now we have a lot of folks thinking it is OK to behave very badly.

    • Revolution says:


      The arrogant fucks. Of course it was the right thing to do to call the police. You did a community service, and aside from that, had the right to call the police because of the “noise pollution” affecting you at 11pm. People are so frickin’ self-righteous. Then if the woman (or the man) would’ve been beaten up and you hadn’t called the cops, everyone would be like, “Why didn’t you intervene?!”

      They need to get off their high horses, ’cause the view from so high up is distorted.

  24. AnastasiaGrey says:

    People who end up mistreating you tend to push for you to trust them. When you question them on stuff, they’re indignant. When you don’t believe them, they’re petulant and whiney. When you look skeptical, they say crap like ‘Ask such and such if you don’t believe me’ and they can really persist in getting you to trust them. They’ll be careless with declarations of love and care, because they want you to say that you reciprocate.

    Holy cats, was this good to see again in black and white. I thought I had wildy hallucinated this type of nonsense as it just didn’t make any sense otherwise. It’s like getting hit by a truck and the driver racing out to yell at you for dirtying his fender with your guts.

  25. Peanut says:


    I have seen, experienced, and been just as bad as the many of the men described here. The far reaching damage emotional unavailability can have on the lives of people doesn’t take a gender preference; you are right. And dare I say, * gasp* men and women aren’t that different emotionally if at all (my therapist would be shifting uncomfortably in her seat right now).

  26. Peanut says:


    The “covert narcissist.” Yessssss, it’s a sneaky lil’ bitch of a process to look out for those (men and women). My ex appeared to be a lot if things he was not. Then again the signs were always there; I just only chose to read them when they grew to the size of sky scrapers and were flashing neon: DANGER. A toddler could have better avoided what I did. BUT, I finally chose to perk up, listen and get out. Stay strong!

    • Maeve says:

      Peanut–yeah, once you know the pattern it’s as obvious as the sun in the sky. haha! I’m assuming my latest dodged bullet has narcissist tendencies but isn’t full blown disordered. That would be too weird because the type is supposed to be pretty rare in the population…but nothing would surprise me anymore. In any case, I’m not going to relax until I see evidence of my repelling this guys and letting in normals…

  27. roy says:

    I wish the article, written pertinently, also spoke about what are good trust points to have. And also specified the same for each gender.

  28. Jule says:

    The assclown did both to me several times — disappear first figuratively and then literally. Radio silence then POP back in several weeks later. It’s devastating when you start to really trust and care.

    Ladies – I’m fresh in no contact — I blocked him for just under a week and I’m struggling. I’m fighting with the voice that says “unblock him and see what happens”. :( I will keep reading and keep busy but damn it this is so hard.

    • SearchingForSatori says:

      Jule, I know what the AC who brought me here would do… the same as he’s done several times before… pop back in then pop right back out. “Yup, she’s STILL there loving me. I must be awesome. Now I feel better about me; think i’ll go to happy hour and dazzle the harem.” And the pain of his subsequent radio silence will be compounded by your disappointment in yourself for opening yourself up to the con again. For a long time I hoped for AC to have an epiphany. He did, more than once, in words, but the actions never changed. Not for long. Stay strong. If he has a true ephiphany, he’ll find a way to let you know, whether your phone is blocked or not.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Searching. Great response you gave to Jule.

        Jule, listen. You know better than to give him another chance to screw you around. Use the good sense you possess and remain committed to NC.

    • Andee says:

      Stay strong, Jule. I know it sucks, I’m there too and can say that after about a month solid of no contact (which so far has consisted of me fighting the urge to email and tell him all about his emotional unavailability and future faking, plus ignoring one text message about the guy from Glee dying) has been pretty low maintenance.

      I’ll be honest. I knew the guy I’m here because of for 16 years, dated and lived with him for one before I realized that the closeness we’d shared, the behavior I’d always been privy to as the “best friend” about how he treated girlfriends in the past that I’d always felt so exempt from, actually applied to me too. He asked me to move out but still date, he asked me to consider an open relationship, he said he wanted me in his life at any cost. I said I got that, cause I could see what he got out of having me in his life, but I couldn’t for the life of me see what I had to gain from keeping HIM around. I got labeled as psycho, told I was co-dependent and clingy, even though he was the one who jumped straight away into another relationship with yet another long lost love! Unbelievable.

      You’ll want to engage. Fight through it. Cry, rage around your apartment, start compulsively watching MTV’s “Catfish”. It gets loads better and soon the satisfaction of knowing that whatever his life is or isn’t, YOU are living your truth and establishing your boundaries. And nothing that some emotionally unavailable AC can offer you is going to feel better than that. :)

      • lizzp says:

        Andee, That is brilliant advice on NC, yoohoo to you for how you got through. I hope I am not over-stepping the mark here. I feel like calling the man you lived with ‘bad names’, though from my POV it seems to me that you don’t really need that kind of ‘support’ – you seem so on top of your situation. Suppose I want to name call for my own satisfaction – I think your description may be triggering my anger from AC of three years ago- I hope you don’t mind/take offence; Andee what a horrible, selfish, FLUSHABLE ASS WIPE! WHAT A “STEAMING PILE OF COW SHIT!” (Jamie,BR: 2013), selfish, self absorbed…arrrrgh.

        • Andee says:

          HA! My best friend did me a solid when his best friend wrote HER on facebook to ask why I’d blocked the ex. Even though the real reason was because it was way too painful to think of having contact with him or worse, in a moment of weakness checking up on him, she just wrote “Oh, you know…she’s really kind of embarrassed that she ever dated that guy and doesn’t really want him commenting on her page!” Here’s the best friends. They make NC fun sometimes. :)

    • Ann says:

      Same. I need you guys. Mine emailed me last night after 2 months. Five years it’s been going on. It doesn’t get any better. He dumped me last September then tried for a month, starting at Christmas to get me back. I told him unless he wanted to marry me to leave it alone. He didn’t want to marry me , he just wanted to have me back in his bed- nice comfortable, loving him- while he did whatever he felt like. He tried coercing me into a threesome and finally gave me an ultimatum about it- prove you love me. Now I’ve found he was on a dating site the whole time. I’d love to tell him what I really think of him. But he’d like that- any strong emotion he can arouse will make him think he’s got a chance of using me for sex and an ego rub. It must be great to know there’s someone in the world who always wants you no matter how you’ve treated them. I don’t want to be his mummy. We need to just know we deserve good things in our life- you’re out, you’re out. The best thing we can do is nothing. Maybe I should totally ignore this email from him- the trouble is I’m still dreaming about him, but I know what he’s like and nothing I say or want or do will change him. His agenda is to please himself. I’m glad you have the support of BR. It’s helped me put things in perspective for a while now- but still I had hope he may actually want something good between us. I see it clearly now- I just need time for my heart to catch up to my head. Think strong. By yourself a promise ring to be good to yourself. :)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Andee. I am sooo glad that on this vacation I had my lens open much wider with my friends and found out BEFORE I actually moved in with him that we, or at least I, would not be happy actually dealing with each other EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am VERY GLAD that I had enough maturity, wisdom and experience to finally look at our relationship with it in mind. I’d been more focused on how well we got along, the uncanny number of commonalities between us. That is not enough. But he is a superb person for a friend and I have no regrets.

        How long were you and the ex serious before you move in? I think I would die if I was ever asked to move out.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Andee. Never mind. I see. You lived with him a year and then he asked you to move out. How hard was that to take!!! Glad you’re okay now. Damn shame.

          • Andee says:

            Let me put it this way, I didn’t react well. It’s weird, I had known him for so long, we had talked so much that I really wanted to believe what he told me. And it was reasonable. If I hadn’t had 16 years of him marginalizing me and my feelings, I would kept dating him. He was saying all the right things. He offered to get me an apartment, he wanted to see me everyday. The problem was, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t feel it. And I knew I wasn’t shut down emotionally, and I knew I wanted desperately to believe that he was still in love with me. So why didn’t I? Yeah, because he wasn’t and (as came out later) hadn’t been for quite a few months.

            It took me about a month of not eating, crashing in my best friend’s guest room and working out compulsively with his Y membership that I’m sure he’s forgotten he put me on before I found Nat’s books and this blog. I acted a little crazy, confrontational, upset. I’ve since realized that when men call you “psycho” what that means is that you have the nerve to keep talking to them about how you feel once they’ve stopped wanting to have sex with you. :)
            I said some hurtful, albeit, very truth stuff to him at the end. Stuff that I’d clearly been swallowing for 16 years to stay in his life in any way, so in that regard I’m not sorry I acted out. I’d had enough of being the best friend, the supportive one through all of his relationships and their cookie-cutter endings.

            But I read Nat’s book and realized it was time to stop talking and being more interested in his life and his problems than my own. I’m grateful to have found her and grateful for my cute apartment where I don’t have to worry about something being “too girly” before I buy it! :)

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Andee. Thanks for elaborating on your experience. I did want to know more being that I came so close to doing the same thing. I can fully understand that after knowing him for so many years as a friend, you had more trust in him than you would have if he’d been someone new you were just getting to know. It’s so hard sometimes to make the wiser judgements, decisions and follow up with the actions that will serve us best. We allow feelings to rule over our gut reactions. I think for you this is an experience in which you have learned a great deal. And, along with BR you won’t make that same mistake again. Unfortunately, you may make others. LOL! But, seriously. I realized yesterday that instead of beating myself up for wanting the relationship to progress to moving in together, I should be happy and proud of myself that I waited and opened my lens wider to find out still more about him before taking the leap. We have to look at the positives. That’s healthier than dwelling on regret and obsessing over past behavior we cannot change.

              • Andee says:

                For sure, Tinkerbell! I did spend a minute beating myself up, being disgusted that I had not only ignored red flags, but that I was so willing to create the mythology around our history that made it acceptable for him to marginalize my feelings for him for so long AND claim that I was “the most important person in the world” to him. I swear, if I never hear that phrase again in my lifetime, it will be too soon! :)

                I totally accept responsibility for my own part in it as well. He wouldn’t have been able to pull this 180 on me if I hadn’t been so willing to trust and believe in the first place. And had I been honest with myself, I would have admitted that I knew it was going to end very badly.
                The thing is, he’s good looking enough, has enough money and enough personal charm to live however he wants to live…there will always be a woman to give him exactly what he wants. I can’t be hung up on him “getting his” as it were…he may never have to feel the sting of rejection. And there are moments that really bothers me until I remember “Oh yeah…he has to be him will all his anxiety and massive hangups, and I get to be me.”

                • Tinkerbell says:

                  I know what you mean. Good looks and money? You were probably thinking ” Heck. I already know him well enough. Why not me instead of someone else. I deserve this!” The fact that your basic instincts were telling you no, you were willing to overlook that part thinking you would be the exception. As a matter of fact you said that yourself. An AC is not going to be selective about who he screws over. That’s him 24/7 with every one. I’m just glad it’s over for you.

      • Allison says:


        If you respond, he will know that you still care. Be honest, do you think he would internalize your message and make changes? Hell No! He is who he is!

        It’s time you block him.

      • Andee says:

        What is it with guys and threesomes? It’s like holy grail of sex acts that they never quite get over wanting. Men think they can talk women into threesomes the way women think they can talk men into putting on a collared shirt and going to brunch on Sundays. Over it.

        • Lara says:

          It’s sad when I hear all my gfs tell me that their bfs have asked them for threesomes at some point, and some have in fact kept on pressuring them, despite the fact that they’ve said a clear no.

          After that bad experience with my ex, in which I was pressured on a daily basis for an entire year (I am not even exaggerating it), and him even considering hiring a prostitute for the act, I have come to the conclusion that any man who at any stage in our acquaintance/relationship brings up threesomes, will be kicked out of my life the minute that word leaves his mouth. Sorry, but I gotta look out for myself, and I need to respect myself and demand that people respect me. A man who is not satisfied with one woman, who is not totally crazy about me sexually and wouldn’t dream of being with any other woman (even in my presence), is not one who deserves my time, efforts, energy, love, etc. So, the next time any man brings up threesome, I will walk away without even giving any explanation. I have had just about enough of men and their immaturity and their disrespect for women.

      • Lara says:

        “He tried coercing me into a threesome and finally gave me an ultimatum about it- prove you love me”

        OMG. My ex did the same thing!!! He kept pressuring me for over a year. Not a single day went by without him bringing it up and demanding that I find a girl to do it with… He then said, if you love me, you’d understand that this is just the way I am… and you’d give me what I’ve always wanted to do all my adult life… Talk about mindf*ckery and utter disrespect.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Back away from the “unblock” button, Jule. You want to know what will happen? I’ll tell you.

      He’ll call or text. You’ll answer. You’ll get a bunch of inconsequential BS about him missing you, but NO apology, NO taking responsibility for HIS actions, HIS part in the relation-shit. You’ll give him another chance. And YOU’LL have volunteered to be hijacked back into HELL!!!

      Thing is, this time it will be WORSE. More painful, more damaging because a) HE’LL know that you have no self-respect by the very fact that you took HIM back; b) HE will play you for all you’re worth to get what HE wants and not even disguise it this time; c) and YOU will truly begin to beat the b-jaysus out of yourself because THIS TIME, YOU went into it KNOWING EXACTLY what and who he is.

      Stay NC. It’s the sane thing to do. What you are “toying” with IS INSANITY…and frankly a deliberate attempt to “Dance with the Devil.”

      • Andee says:

        FYI? ‘Volunteer to be hijacked back into hell’ is my new favorite phrase. :)

      • Lara says:

        Yeah, LaPinturaBella is exactly right! I did this, and am now beating myself up over my stupidity. I can’t believe I was so stupid and didn’t have any self-respect whatsoever. I took him back. 4 times. And his behavior became nastier each time I took him back, probably for a good reason: the fact that I had taken him back each time after he had disrespected and abused me so much. Never again. I would rather throw my phone/laptop away than unblock his number, email, facebook, etc. He is OUT of my life. FOR GOOD. Even if he truly changes, comes back crawling and begging, cries his heart out, and apologizes til kingdom come, I will NOT, I repeat, will NOT even consider taking him back. Nope. It took me a while to get to this stage, but now that I have, I feel so liberated and relieved. Do NOT unblock him. You WILL regret it, believe me.

    • Jule says:

      Searching and Andee — yes!!! And Thank you. I appreciate your messages and the supportive words. You get it. And if I can give it a month or more like you have, I will be on my way to something better and I’ll be stronger.

      • SearchingForSatori says:

        There is no hope of something better or growing stronger, either on our own or in a healthy relationship, as long as we are still doing the sick dance with an AC.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Jule. I have every confidence that you WILL DO IT, especially after what Searching and Andee and La Pintura have just told you. You’re not brand new to BR. Use the head for more than a hat.

    • Tee tee says:


      You already know what happens if you should. Don’t do it – please!

  29. Lilia says:

    Isn´t it ironic how The Chase seems to be The Thing nowadays? I´ve seen countless relationship “experts” giving advice on how to make a man chase you. With so many little manipulative tactics that you´d become an AC yourself if you were to implement them. And advocating these dynamics would mean that men are all invasive, raping vikings whose only interest is to stomp all over your boundaries.

    I really related to your posts, I´ve never felt comfortable when men were too insistent, though I did tell myself that my gut reaction was probably some sort of attraction – ah, the lack of self awareness! So I ended up having a couple of relationships with the viking types, and they were completely draining (though also exciting in a way, as a sword fight could be called exciting). But that wasn´t what I really wanted, I realise now.

    I´m reading a pretty silly historical novel at the moment about a woman who is chased by the typical powerful chaser type. It started quite alright, she didn´t like him and was going to marry a very kind, decent guy. But then chaser guy raped her and got her pregnant and scared decent guy off. So the author is trying to convince her readers now that rapist guy is actually a pretty sexy alternative and that her heroine should stop the nonsense and run off with him. Because rapist guy is actually a kind person who takes care of the heroine and her previous beau ended up being a loser… Sigh. I´d love to meet someone like the nice guy, for a change.

    • Andee says:

      I sometimes worry that my Dad was right and historical romance novels warped my brain! :) I have to admit, I’ve been one of those women hell bent on being the exception to some guy’s rule. Like I was so special and SO amazing that even a toxic EU with trust issues and a brooding outlook on life could be transformed by how much I loved him! I’m way too old to thinking this way now, but it didn’t stop me from indulging in this fantasy at 41. But it’s been two months and I’ve sworn off long lost loves and historical romance for the time being.

      Has anyone else noticed that BR and the books absolutely RUIN traditional Hollywood romantic comedies for you? I watched on this weekend and at the end was like “Watch out, girl…he’s totally Future Faking right now.” :)

      • lizzp says:

        Andee, God point and one that occurred to me yesterday, not about romance novels but music. I swear that even in my most recent past relationship – enede 10 month ago- (which was a huge step for me in terms of relative healthiness since my mid twenties and then separation from my son’s father (7 years ago now)), listening to music and love songs in the car or wherever not only in my mind enhanced – falsely -, maybe I mean sort of falsely legitimised(?), my investment but also played a hand at times in me ‘imagining’ things that may have been going on in his mind, which in reality I could have no knowledge of.

        I have been prone to fantasising in the past and have become super aware of how I must stop this and stay in the real. It can be extremely subtle for me. I understand a helluva a lot better now (thanks BR and therapy) and seems I may have even emotionally absorbed why and what it did for me. I have been feeling repulsed at the thought of fantasising the last few months. I’ve gone so far as to implement protective measures (I’ve just this very moment seen this – wow) – I no longer text message. AND IT FEELS SO RIGHT FOR ME. It may sound weird to some people, but it’s doing something damn good for me. And I’ve just sort of stopped, no big announcement to my friends, family etc. But I’m ‘telling’ here :-).

        Trust points; consistency of attention; status/fanatasy of reliability and ‘responsibility’; and most likely plans. They all involve ‘imagining/fantasising to some extent.

        • lizzp says:

          p.s. haha Andy, whilst I am still going to enjoy getting lost in the fiction of good novels (including love stories), Hollywood rom coms are a danger to that part of me ( I’m way too old too – ahead of you by 4 years so take comfort in that! :-)). I’m avoiding them, at least for the time being, and being careful of what music I choose to listen to. But all in all, this stuff is losing it’s appeal rapidly. The time to be vigilant though will be when I meet the next potentially ‘date-able’ man – I don’t plan to even give myself the chance to do that though until the new year, I’m in building me up mode.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Talk about the WRONG message!!! Just like “Luke and Laura” on General Hospital were THE love story of the century in the early 1980s. He raped her too.

      Shaking my head in utter disbelief and disgust.

  30. espresson says:

    People who end up mistreating you tend to push for you to trust them. When you question them on stuff, they’re indignant. When you don’t believe them, they’re petulant and whiney. When you look skeptical, they say crap like ‘Ask such and such if you don’t believe me’ and they can really persist in getting you to trust them.

    This is such a good point. Whenever I identified shady behaviour with my ex I got the petulant whiney…”don’t you trust me?” “Why don’t you trust me.” leading to “you have never trusted me.” and lots of posturing and self pity and blame ( I can never please you because you have never trusted me) which nicely deflected the actual issue which had been raised which got pushed into the background. It then became all about ME rather than his shady behaviour. Suddenly I was defending myself.

    It was intended to deflect responsibility and confuse me. And it did.

    My point of trust was around a mistaken sense of values that I thought we shared. Social justice and responsibility means a lot to me and to my ex as well. It is important but it drew me into a relationship and made me think there were common approaches and values in other areas which was not true. A big trust trap for me.

    • Ann says:

      My ex husband did this to me. ‘Don’t you trust me. If we haven’t got trust we haven’t got anything’.. blah…blah…blah… Later I realised that was his first affair.

      About ten years, three children later he left me. When we subsequently went to a marriage counsellor, my idea, he blamed me for not trusting him in his ‘friendship’ with the next girl from work who he’d grown way too close to. ‘We’re just friends- if you knew what you were doing to our marriage’ blah ,blah, blah- recall that he was the one who unexpectedly left me, and our 3 kids- on our 17th wedding anniversary.

      They’ve now been married for about six years.

      I think if they push the ‘trust me, why don’t you trust me?’ there’s a problem.

      • Wiser says:

        It’s just mindboggling that these guys are capable of looking you in the eye and saying “trust me” when they KNOW they are doing totally untrustworthy things. And when it’s your own husband doing that… wow. I’m really sorry Ann, that must have been very painful.

        My first taste of this happened with the ex, so I suppose I should be grateful I got to my 50s without experiencing a real AC. Of course, that left me quite naive and unprepared. Of all the ridiculous things he said to me, I remember most the day he stood in my kitchen and said “You can trust me, this is true, this is real” about our relationship. He then had the gall to ask “You do trust me, don’t you?” Yes, I said, I do. And I really did. Why? Because he said so, and I always (or used to) take people at their word.

        Two days later he was sleeping with somebody else. Two!

        When I confronted him about it, and asked aren’t you the man who stood in my kitchen and told me I could trust you? Why did you say that if you didn’t mean it? He shrugged and said “I meant it at the time.”

        Lesson learned.

        • lizzp says:

          Wiser, yes it’s horrible to be on the receiving end of such bare faced and quite elaborate lies. It puts one (or me I should say) into a space of suspended disbelief when the lie is discovered. Like when I am watching film and for the duration of it, the part of me that realises it’s fiction is on hold and I am involved in the plot, empathising and believing in the characters.

          I’ve been lied to in a similar way to what you describe once or twice and really the pain and anger but the pain was just…I don’t know, just on another level for me altogether. And yes, lesson learned.

    • tee tee says:


  31. RuthieGix says:

    Natalie, Hollywood should turn your book,”Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl” into a movie. Wonder which actors would be perfect for the roles?

    • jewells says:

      Ruthie, there is a movie that outlines the classic BR, then happy ending with the nice guy. It’s not polished, and it’s a bit crude…but then life can be too. Look up ‘Dirty Love’ it’s BR all the way…

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Ruthie. The movie director would need a lot of good actors to play all those different roles to a tee. Could one person possible do it? Hmm. I wonder.

  32. sunshiney says:

    Thank you Natalie for this very timely reminder. I am a sucker for persistence, planning and connection. Just came out and healing from a Narc + EUM + Assclown. Examining my own patterns of behaviour with a therapist now. Your site has been an amazing healing place that keeps me grounded in massive reality checks.

  33. Jule says:

    one more thing I want to add… what about the fact that there is an element of excitement with these type of men? I’ve been wondering if I’m a thrill seeking addict type. Assclown didn’t promise me things like a lot of you have been promised and pulled into, but he did some future faking with talk about exciting trips we would take together and he also made me feel very free and excited in the moment with his risky behavior and spontaneity. I wonder how to move on from that where I can enjoy a man who is less “thriller”, and more stable and nice. I have offers to go out with nice men who are attractive but they don’t have the excitement factor and don’t hold my interest. Is this something I need to change within myself? how?

    • Andee says:

      The conclusion I’ve come to is this: Make your life thrilling without them! We’re attracted to those elements in men that we feel like we can’t have without them but the secret is we can! And in ways that don’t bust our boundaries or expose us to someone else’s toxic baggage.

      Being no contact doesn’t mean you have to hole up in your house and stop LIVING. It means the opposite. Take chances on things YOU love. Go back to school, write freelance, take a rock climbing class. Do all the things you wanted to do with him, even if you’re by yourself. It will feel empowering. The last boyfriend took me for a week in Paris and a week in Barcelona and we were supposed to go to London in the fall, but not being with him doesn’t mean I can’t do those things still. It just means I have to see if I can do them on my own steam. Which makes me strive to better my circumstances so I can.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Jule. Yes, Babe. That’s a hook for you. You’re a thrill seeker. Excitement, going lots of new places, spontaneity. Don’t ask me how to change because I’d like to know myself.

  34. Magnolia says:

    It was all about social proof for me. My ex-AC was a minor distraction until he took me to a party where we hung late-night with the mayor and his inner circle. It was like he flipped my ‘needy’ switch from ‘off’ to ‘on.’

    I’m not sure what to do about this. I must still have this tendency to want that validation. You know that MM at work holds no attraction for me; but the other day cute art gallery curator guy from just before my very first days at BR (who invited me for bike ride when he heard I was single, we hung out for three hours, and then he finally dropped that he had a GF), and who is now married (to a brown girl!) and just had a baby, was in touch over a work issue, to invite me to contribute work, and to be honest, even though that bike date incident says he’s no good, I still swoon when he shows interest in me. Cute, smart and smack dab in the middle of a social scene; you mean he likes little old me??

    Ah well, I recognize the feeling and act not at all on it (if you can call only indulging a few fantasies not acting; the bible would say I’ve already sinned by committing adultery in my mind). I realize I fantasize about being truly wanted; physically and intellectually wanted; visibly wanted by someone “who matters.” Problem is I fantasize about it with that pang of passion / reaching for what’s out of reach, instead of picturing a stable relationship with a solid, calm dude who still wants me physically and intellectually.

    I need to go do some visualizations.

  35. espresso says:

    Drama – Lucky Charms is right. Maybe the quiet and serious person isn’t on your wave length and maybe some important core values aren’t there. What kinds of things do you really value in a relationship? You are worried you may be seeking drama but perhaps things like more dynamism and energy and engagement are pretty important to you. Yes, and even pleasure or fun (not the most important but still important). I also wonder if he is emotionally available because I would have described my ex in some of these ways (decent man).
    Being with somebody who can’t really keep a conversation going would be a huge emotional burden for me because I love to talk and exchange opinions, ideas and thoughts myself. It is one of my greatest pleasures. AND I LOVE a good joke.

    I would just say don’t think you can “fill in” or ever expect the other things if they are not there even if a guy is kind, decent, generous etc…. what you are seeing is what he has on offer.

    If you have to put SO much effort in to “get the relationship you want” then it isn’t worth it.
    Trust your gut…it is telling you something that your head won’t.

  36. espresso says:

    I have been doing some reading on “drainers” in relationships – because this WAS one of my trust points but I never pinned it down. My ex always asks me to make decisions, he often copycats me, he mucks around with the superflouous – not the main things using up my energy in conflict and revisiting and especially reminding, reminding, reminding. He will often put me in the position of taking the responsibility for making the decisions under the guise of “being generous” and “letting me make the decisons” (even when I said I did NOT want this entire responsibility. He has never had a clue about what shared decision making might be when both parties contribute. He never ever says what he wants leaving me to have to “interpret” for him. He also lives in the now and really doesn’t plan for the future leaving me to forsee potential problems and protect myself and earlier..our whole family.

    He seems to have no idea about how much the reminding sucked my energy out of me. There is some interesting stuff on the net about these energy vampires or what are also called psychic parasitism. I have never considered this issue before but I know he exhausts me even though he says he is trying so hard and that I considered him a parasite…living off the relationships,energy and work that I built.

  37. Wiser says:

    I trusted the ex because of a false sense of familiarity and intimacy based on the fact that we worked for the same organization. Big mistake but understandable. This is a particularly well-known and beloved organization that I have been part of for 30 years and the people who join this organization are for the most part honest, honorable, trustworthy, dedicated and wholesome. Really, really good, kind people. Almost all of my lifelong friends came from this work environment. I met my ex-husband there as well, and for all our problems he was actually honest and trustworthy. Trusting people I worked with became a no-brainer, something I did almost automatically.

    Not only did the ex work there, he was a LEADER and therefore I immediately projected all my positive feelings about the organization onto him. We must be the same kind of person, have the same values, right? Majorly WRONG. It was incomprehensible that he would be a sleaze and a womanizer and incapable of being honest (as well as doing his work very poorly). Never occurred to me that he wasn’t what he presented himself to be or to watch for red flags. It took a long time for the scales to fall from my innocent, deluded eyes and then it was really painful. Not only did he treat me like crap, he tainted my feelings for the wonderful organization I work for, so it’s been a double hurt.

    Bottom line: Trust has to come from consistent ACTIONS, not imagined intimacy, status, prestige, workplace persona, an impressive title, fantasy projections about “shared values” or imagined familiarity. I fell for all of this.

  38. Courage says:

    This is from the beginning of the Great Gatsby.
    “In consequence I’m inclined to reserve all judgments… The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person…” In the story the narrator falls for the “incurably dishonest” Jordan Baker.

    I think that it’s not that we are so gullible and foolish but that we have something that they lack and are attracted to.

    Ohhh boy… persistence and regularity! He would call every day even though we were “just friends.” He called me his “not girlfriend” and then when I became his girlfriend (his words again)it was all over very quickly. I never imagined that someone would spend five months just trying to get into my pants. He also managed to get me to open up a lot of my emotional nooks and crannies. He seemed so kind and nonjudgmental… Ha.

  39. Peanut says:


    I here you and I can honestly say nice, warm, confident, yet assertive guys are my “type” now.

    When I see what I used to fawn over, I think, “you are a headache that will never give me what I want.”

  40. Peanut says:


    I was where you were. The answer: you mature and realize life is not about jerking erratic (I’m such a Texan. I kept trying to type “erratic” as “erradic” and becoming increasingly frustrated when spell check kept underling it in red) highs and lows (what goes up must come down).

    You realize life is about lessons and true joy comes from learning then mastering them. You realize thrill seeking is a dead end, and that the most pleasurable of experiences are often organic and stem from a foundation of humility, hard work, and thought out boundaries.

    I had to grow up (I’m 28) and realize there were universal laws, which if I contested, resulted in misery.

    When you see we are all human, not so different, all have the same basic needs, it can be sobering and sorrowful (none of us can outsmart our needs or get anywhere worthwhile via shortcuts). Then you see from this place of cultivated humbleness, then and only then, are we free to discover our true individual selves.

    Once you get there, you will see how vulnerable it feels and just how much you feel and desire.

    Then it becomes clear the addictive thrill seeking desire was just fear trying not to realize the actual self.

    • Chrysalis says:

      Peanut, very wise and well thought out comment. So true, ya cant take short cuts, you have to do the work. Im old enough to be your Mother and I’m only learning that now!!! Kudos to you for having such smarts at 28!

      • Peanut says:


        Thanks for the encouragement! I have grown through all the wonderful lovely ladies here.

  41. Peanut says:

    TARTS WASH. I HAD to find a way to introduce this into my regular vocabulary (I also got more than enough sufficient use of the word crackerjack a la BR. Thanks Nat 😉

    Unfortunately, I don’t think my grandmother caught on when I said she smelled good like soap, yet I hadn’t heard the shower running this morning, and after she replied, ” I wash up, wash my face, and use soap and stuff” and I replied smiling, “A tarts wash? And she responded with a matter of fact “Yes.”

    A TORCH wash. I diiiiiied laughing. I swear those girls of yours, Nat, are going to rule the world.

    Or at the very least change it for the bette, as you have, or at the very very least be extremely well adjusted and happy. You ought be a proud mama.

  42. dramaseeker says:

    thanks to everyone for their opinions, it helps a lot even if the opinions sometimes differ:) Anyway, I have probably already made up my mind because I do not really want to settle for something that isn’t working that well for me. I just don’t want to actually DO IT (break up). That’s the people pleaser in me that doesn’t want to hurt other people, even if it means that I compromise myself. Sigh. The thought of having to tell him that I don’t see this as going anywhere absolutely terrifies me.
    Another thing I have noticed is that a lot of people on this site have issues with the fact that they are not as attracted to nice people as they are to the bottomfeeders of the dating pool. That’s a very similar thing, and I still struggle to reconcile the idea of falling in love over time as opposed to the instant ‘spark’ that I so enjoy when it does happen. The other day I read a very funny quote on dating; ‘Dating Tip: If there are sparks, it is because you are scraping bottom’. It made me laugh even though I hope it isn’t true!

    • lizzp says:

      Dramaseeker, I don’t think it’s the people pleaserin you is it? People pleasing is looking out for another’s interest as the cost of your own, and really over doing it at that. By not breaking up/delaying with him out of fear for his reaction, possibly his hurt and his feelings about it, aren’t you really pleasing yourself more than him? I know I’ve been very ‘un-pleased’ when some emotionally challenged dude has delayed being up front with me, stringed me along where I’ve sensed a shift etc- all that stuff that has caused many of us on BR pain. I’ve always viewed that sort of thing as him pleasing himself by avoiding ‘discomfort’ rather than from a motive of him trying to ‘please’ with me, in fact I’ve had that excuse of course -‘I didn’t want to disappoint you’ – not brave I thought.

      I made a late comment up there before you posted this. Good luck…because all that said it is really hard when we want to break up with someone and it likely involves them being hurt. Never easy, but we have to walk what we talk.

      • lizzp says:

        Continuing this thought a bit further, I’d think a people pleasing tendency might be in evidence if, for example, you went up to this man and told him honestly and up front that you wanted to end things, he begged or otherwise tried to get you to change your mind (excluding physical violence) and you conceded to ‘please’ and appease him in order to avoid conflict but at the expense of your own needs (to break up with him/not continue with him)and self interest (just speculating for the e.g -you realise you will not be able to sustain a healthy mutual relationship with him so it’s in your interests- and his too- to act early to avoid pain and trouble later).

        • dramaseeker says:

          thanks for the great advice, lizzp (and Allison) it has been a real eye opener. I am still working at being honest with myself and if I continue seeing someone I am only half interested in that makes me an AC/EU and not a people pleaser. Ouch. Since starting to read this site for the last few weeks I have been forced to realise a few not so nice things about myself, but if I expect a real relationship I need to get real myself first and work on the thing that need changing.
          I know it’s generally considered to be a good idea to take a break from dating, but for me dating different people has really helped me define my own issues a lot better by becoming aware of my reactions to the men I date, and finding out what I want in a partner. And I never dated much when I was younger, I got married at 20 to a man I met when I was 18.
          The current ‘date’ is coming up to 3 months, and it’s probably not that unfair to have waited a while to see how it goes. But carrying on much longer will only create more pain later on.
          But the thought of ending it still makes me a little sad. Another relationship that did not make it…..

          • lizzp says:

            Dramaseeker, we’re all learning and no one’s perfect, it’s really really hard to look at your self and try to be consistent about it, like most others I falter and make mistakes every day. It’s no biggie. I try to give myself a ‘well done’ as opposed to the cat-of-nine-tales when I realise where I’ve strayed. If this involves hurting another or misjudging them (for e.g.) I’ll offer an apology and in my mind at least be ready to receive their reaction as warranted. Still working on this and on keeping my sense of self value when I eff up. The thing for me is beginning with the premise that I am a worthy and valuable person. From that foundation/basis and given my understanding/belief/faith/knowledge (?) of what is ‘valuable’ about me – kindness, honesty, integrity etc – when I am solidly connected to it – I can learn and grow from the times when I hurt or let myself and others down and hopefully move beyond repetitious patterns of damaging behaviour and thoughts.

    • Allison says:


      You hurt him more by dragging it out. The kindest thing you can do for this man, is to be honest and end it,

  43. Sue S. says:

    I am happy to report that I have turned the corner. At two weeks since I broke with him (for ignoring me), I suddenly feel much better. Its like the wound has closed enough that it doesn’t hurt like hell anymore. I can experience the memories, acknowledge what happened and my part in it, without the SEVERE feelings I was having at first. Nat is right, it won’t feel bad forever. It got the worst the night before it suddenly got much, much better. I’m going to keep reading and posting here, but wanted to stop and say thanks to everyone for listening to me through my stages of grief. :)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sue. It’s remarkable how we women can be incredibly resilient when we choose be. If only we could use that uncanny ability be for really needing it.

  44. jewells says:

    For me, I think this is one of the most insightful posts. Yes on the persistence and consistent attention, yes on the plans, yes on the manipulation and control. It really clarifies the missing pieces of what my hooks have been. Thank you so much for this, I finally feel like I can trust myself enough to venture into the dating pool again without getting sucked in by these good ole methods. It’s funny, my father being a doctor, having high status in a small town, and knowing what a shmuck he is with women (so many women having been drawn to him on his status alone, he used it to his advantage and to never having to change), made it that status has no draw for me, in fact, if anything, it repulsed me. But I also have to modify that one as it has eliminated potentially good guys for no reason but their accomplishments. Sigh. I can laugh at myself now though, and now I see better, I can do better. Live life and learn…

  45. noquay says:

    I am your age and also deal with the”time is running out” feelings. Still, it seems as though you are doing a disproportionate amount of the work in this situation. He is what he is and that ain’t gonna change. Forcing yourself to stay in a situation where your needs go unmet is a waste of precious time. I too tried to take up with a “Mr. Not Quite Enough” dude months after being horribly hurt by a narcissist. He was courteous, polite, educated, but was much shorter than he stated in his profile and has a potentially crippling back problem that he refused to address which really compromised his health and fitness. I wasn’t physically attracted to him from the get go and tried to force myself to be so; didn’t work. He also couldn’t understand why I choose to farm, invest in community, and stay super active. Better to stay alone and have time run out than stay in a doomed situation.

  46. Lilly says:

    I am so glad that I read and thought about this post. I received an email from AC today. It was mostly work related, but peppered with those good old trust traps. Lots of “we”, “us”, “our” and a bit of “future planning” on top. Once upon a time I would have seized on those words and the fantasy would begin. I would be temporarily happy, hopeful, encouraged. Reading those words now just makes me feel sad.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lilly. Don’t be sad. Get mad. Don’t answer his emails unless they are CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to this project you unfortunately agreed to work on with him.

      • Lilly says:


        Silly mistake I know, but I’m following Nat’s NC when you work with someone to a tee. He’s not contacting me very often and I’ve completely ignored any attempts to draw me in. I can recognise them now, but I can’t help feeling sad. Sad that someone can use another person like that; sad because I didn’t recognise it from the beginning and sad because that’s not the person I want to be.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Those feelings will pass with time. You are supposed to give in and feel them, but remember. You’re not supposed to stay there(dwell on them) either, Lilly. You’ll be okay. Trust yourself and the process.

        • Learner says:

          Aw Lilly, I am sorry to hear you are feeling sad. You are doing well to follow through with the NC with someone you work with plan. in time, the true happiness will come, and will replace much of the sadness you feel now, and will definitely replace the pseudo happiness found with exMM/AC/EP’s. You can find trust points within yourself, where they belong first, and you are already learning how to figure out who NOT to trust. Big hugs to you Lilly xo

  47. Revolution says:

    “It was me who ended up telling her that he’s married, with four kids including a newborn…”

    OUCH. But good for you, Natalie. You got balls. And integrity. That’s a good friend.

    I had a double whammy of establishing trust points (with a female friend and our mutual male friend, who was an AC) only to have my trust smashed by them simultaneously. Looking back, though, I’m kind of glad that it happened that way. Kinda like getting all of your wisdom teeth pulled at the same time. It hurts like a motherfucker, but at least you’re dealing with all of the pain at once and not prolonging it.

    I think you’re right, Natalie, that if after you get shade thrown on you by these folks, and you take them back into your life and act as though nothing has happened, it gets worse. It’s like a “Get out of jail free” card for them.

    Glad you had fun camping, Nat. I can’t believe that people do that shit voluntarily. 😉

  48. Revolution says:

    And can I just add….all the “e-dumping” (whether text, email, IM…) I’m reading about on this site is making me cringe. Talk about cowards. What next? Dumping by Instagram? Shit. These people are mind-blowing (and NOT in a good way).

    • Ciembi says:

      Revolution, I had to laugh at your “What next? Dumping by Instagram?” My attached ex male-best-friend who pursued me like mad and disappeared no sooner he had gotten that one thing he had wanted, tried to “reappear” in my life by liking a couple of photos in my Instagram feed. Out of the blue, after 6 months of acting as if I didn’t exist, he starts “liking” random Instagram photos from my feed. This is so spectacularly lame! I blocked him before he had the chance to upgrade his attention-fishing to a stupid comment or a mention/tag on a photo, etc.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      I SOOOOOOOOOOOOO agree with you Rev! Spineless, disrespectful worms.

    • Lara says:

      HAHAHA Revolution! Good one (re: Instagram)! I just burst out laughing and nearly choked on wine. Mine always did it by email. He even seemed to have a draft breakup email saved in his drafts folder, which he would send out as soon as something in our “relationship” was not to his liking. Most of these turned out to have been blackmail emails, but a few times he was serious enough — until I said OK and stopped contacting him for 3 weeks. He came crawling back and asked to get back within 3 weeks (perhaps after having f*cked the next girl in his ever-expanding harem, guilt-free because he was “single” — of course, not that he had any qualms about having cheated on me or planning to cheat on me, even telling me he was planning another trip to Thailand while we were TOGETHER, thinking I wouldn’t realize he had someone there or that he was having sex with prostitutes there). The last time, he broke up with me via a free messaging app, not even a text (paid) or an email. lol. Classy.

  49. Della says:

    I truly understand the pain everyone is experiencing. I was married for 23 years with 2 girls (22 and 11 years old). During my separation I met a man who was very persistent. Few months later I give in, I get a divorce and to make a long story short. I had problems committing to him completely because of my youngest daughter. He wanted to commit in the beginning, but my little girl was taking the divorce very hard and I explained to him that he needed to be patient. Over our almost 2 year relationship, it got to the point where he no longer wanted to commit because he said that my little girl and I needed each other too much. It upset him a great deal that I paid too much attention to her that at times he would take my phone away or not want me to answer my daughter’s calls or texts. He treated me badly, embarrassed me in front of my friends and our last family weekend, he was furious with me because. I spent most of my time with my little girl and not him ( it was her first time camping). I am hurt that he behaved so harsh with me and even my little girl. He ended our relationship because I was just too much involved with my little girl. He broke my heart and I decided not to contact him anymore. I have been in NC for a total of 31 days. I miss him, he is already dating. :(

    • simple pleasures says:

      My take is that he wanted commitment,
      recognized you were emotionally unavailable, and like we advise so many here when they are seeing someone they want commitment from and that person can’t reciprocate time to flush that person out of their life and move on to find someone who is emotionally available and looking for a committed relationship.

      • lizzp says:

        Della and Simple Pleasures:,

        Simple Pleasures; on the basis of what Della describes I have to agree with you in general. The guy sounds as if he should have handled his reactions better but that’s it.

        Della: it’s easy to say when you’re not involved and in retrospect when enough time has passed, but if you felt the need to be so involved with your 11 year old daughter then you had no quality time to give to this man and were unavailable to him. He wanted a relationship where he could be heard so he has moved on.

        I am not saying you should not give your daughter what she needs after what sounds like a very difficult divorce/separation. I hope you are seeking extra support as well. But if this is the way it is then perhaps you would do best to stay clear of ‘dating’/relationships until you have more time and emotional energy to give to another adult.

        I have a primary aged son. My situation is different and he does not require my constant attention and the majority of my emotional energy or my constant physical presence. I have room to give in a relationship from that perspective (emotionally I have no room at present for dating so I am not – but that is because ATM I need to give what’s left after loving and caring for my little fellow to myself).

        This does not sound like what you are saying but I once had a short dating experience (3 dates) with a man who had a young child in the ‘tweens’ as they say these days. Quite quickly I sensed that he was using his child as an excuse to avoid phone calls. So I got *consistent* text messages saying ‘can’t call now, kid wants this or that…can’t call later kid will need this or that’. I simply stopped responding after he cancelled a date on short notice saying via *loooong* text message that his plans re kid had unexpectedly change, the mother wasn’t to have him that night after all etc etc. From my point of view this man simply was not emotionally available to give anything to a relationship/dating with another adult at this point in his life.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          I’d be turned off not only by him using his child as an excuse to be unavailable but, even moreso, referring to him as “kid” this and that. So emotionally detached and disrespectful of his own son. That speaks volumes more than anything. I feel sorry for the poor little guy.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Della! Who the eff cares if he’s dating? You are so well rid of this guy. Really, he’s THAT insecure that he’s jealous of and competitive with a little girl??? Time for Mama Bear to wake up. NO ONE gets to disrespect your kid! EVER!!!!!!! She’s YOUR flesh and blood, your daughter for LIFE! This guy is a piece of garbage. What the hell is there to miss about him?

    • grace says:

      There’s no need for him to embarrass you in front of your friends.
      We all have ties – pets, family, jobs, children.
      I’d be worried if I was seeing a man who expected me to blow any of that off for him.
      Maybe you were EU, but don’t take responsibility for all of it.
      I know several single mothers with one or more children of various ages who have married. They never put their children on the backburner. Sure, it’s challenging to take on someone else’s children but it’s rewarding too. Every single choice we make has a cost. If I take this job, I can’t take that job, if i have a relationship with a single mother she can’t behave like a carefree twenty yo. if I date a twenty yo she likely won’t have the experience and maturity I value. That’s why it’s called COMMITMENT. You make your choice, you accept that it cuts down your options but, yes, it opens up a world you will never otherwise experience
      I went off on a tangent there! You and your daughter are worth the commitment.

  50. Susie says:

    Thanks for this article. I’ve recently met someone and am in a kind of denial right now – we’re still at the honeymoon phase and it’s all happened so fast. I’m trying to be cautious about it all but have started to fall for the guy. xx

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Susie. Be acutely aware of everything he says and does, OR NOT. Is he sincere? If he seems to be telling untruths, he probably is. “If it looks like a duck, sounds and walks like a duck ……..” Try to be covertly hyper vigilant. And, slow things down. That’s the hard part because we allow feelings to set the pace. TRY NOT to get carried away too quickly. He’s just a guy not Adonis. Keep reading here and remember to apply what you learn. Keep us posted. Good luck.

      • Susie says:

        Thanks Tinkerbell – I need to make sure he follows up on promises – I’m trying to be cautious…I’ll keep you posted. xxx

  51. Sanntay says:

    These past few months have given me clarity in fully examining the shady situation from which I was blessed to be dumped. I trusted him way too much. I put him on a pedestal. His intelligence and charm reeled me in. I figured that because I knew where he worked and saw him on the daily, he wouldn’t try to double-cross me. Because he was so direct and articulate, I trusted that he would always be clear and honest with me, even if the truth was hurtful. I now know he clearly he wasn’t over his ex and he just wanted an ego boost, a warm body to release on, someone to listen to him whine and wax poetic about his experiences and aspirations.
    I can confidently say he never cared for me. He never asked about my family/upbringing, my dreams, my goals, my feelings … only once did he ask what was important to me. I remember he was always very complimentary in the beginning, made me feel beautiful and special (before and after I slept with him) but sometimes he would run hot and cold, would often apologize if he realized he’d said something snarky or was being unusually harsh or snappy. Communication outside of work was generally via text – I think we talked on the phone half a dozen times at the most. The few ‘dates’ we went on, he’d hold my hand and always pull me close (very touchy-feely). Then there were days when he’d be very critical, he’d get on his soapbox and complain, dismissing people who did or said things that did not conform to his elitist attitudes.
    Before he ever asked me out, he casually showed me his online dating profile (he’d often stop by my office to talk about his past and current girlfriend(s)/dates). We’d known each other about 5 months before he asked me out. I had a great time with him (I hadn’t been on a date in about 3 years). Afterwards, I agreed to a “casual relationship” (Ugh-I went against my intuition, knowing that in these situations someone always gets hurt, and that someone is usually me) that lasted 5 months. I’d committed his dating profile screen name to memory, so during the course of our encounters I would check it occasionally under different screen names (way too much effort, I know), to see how it was changing, if at all. From that I learned that he wanted someone who was adept at the use of chopsticks (really?), someone with an informed opinion, someone who enjoyed going to “shit” like the theater, and other cultural events. Another time he described his dream date as involving chemistry and indicated “Sex is Optional”. (Huh? I wondered if that referred to the act or to gender.) Anyhow, the last time I checked, he indicated that he was still searching for Ms. Right, all the while he was sexing me. I finally decided to stop torturing myself and the cyber stalking ended then and there. I understood that he was attracted to a certain pedigree and educational background, a certain ambition, Caucasian skin (in fact on our first date he mentioned he’d just started dating “brown” girls, wtf), and of course a certain hair length/texture since he loved to pull women’s hair (during the act). So I was immediately disqualified…I was never gonna measure up, wasn’t as expressive/outgoing, didn’t articulate the King’s English (in fact, he said I butchered it), didn’t appear to him to be ‘doing anything with my life’, and I’m Black with short hair (he’s mixed race) – didn’t fit the bill.
    This is all my interpretation, mind you, although from my perspective I feel it’s pretty accurate. In a way, I’m grateful for the lesson. I take full responsibility for my part in it, and that is most disappointing, but he could only do what I allowed. At 45, a 36 year old really shook me up. I experienced a lot of “firsts” with him: first time I ever got involved with someone I worked with, first time I had sex on the first date (Yeah, I know, it was doomed from the start and I have no one to blame but myself for getting caught up in the moment); first (and last) time agreeing to a casual relationship; first time I experienced someone wanting to “dominate” me (TMI, I know, but it was quite an experience, and it got me hooked). So now that I’ve reached the other side, I cannot fault him for taking advantage of the situation, hell, I made it easy for him. At the same time, I am human and was deeply hurt by the way he treated me (it’s OK for us to mistreat ourselves but others cannot -?). I wasn’t prepared for it to end so callously. I never expected that the rejection would be so profound. I would have appreciated an easier, kinder detachment, but clearly we learn the lesson better when there’s pain involved. I was the passenger till the very end, and now it appears that he has what he wants, and is continuing to live his life in the driver’s seat without a rear view mirror.
    Thank you, Nat and BR family, for indulging me in this journey and allowing me to get that off my heart. I realize I have expended far too much time, energy, and emotion to this experience, but it has made me stronger and wiser and I am so grateful to all of you for your support and encouragement, and for sharing your experiences, letting me know that I’m not alone. I have learned so much from this site. I am still a work in progress, but I know I deserve so much better than what I’ve settled for in the past, and I’ll be damned if I make the same mistakes again. Onward and upward!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sanntay. It’s so nice to hear from you again. Your story struck a chord with me and has lingered in my mind something profound. I remember back when it was the beginning of the end and you wrote how you left work and you were crying in your car. I think it was only your lunch break? Correct me if that was not you. I thought that was one of the saddest situations I’d read on BR. Your story and, of course, Lilly’s. I know how hard it is to fully accept what has happened and it’s even harder to stop wishing you could go back in time and things would’ve been different. But, that is not possible. We’ve learned on here that obsessing and fantasizing are not at all healthy or productive. And, yet what your mind knows and your heart feels are two different things, entirely. I’m wishing for you better days ahead. Please take good care of yourself and when the grief boils over, come here to BR. Good luck, your buddy, Tink.

      • Sanntay says:

        Hi Tink! Yes, sadly that WAS me. It was like my world stopped spinning. I cried on the way to work, at lunch, on the way home, and just about any place else . I felt so helpless, hopeless, and humiliated. I was the one who was taking the Xanax and Ambien jus t to get through each day and night, which basically turned me into a zombie. I couldn’t sleep or eat, lost 15 lbs., and my hair was falling out. I neglected myself, my household chores, my bills. I took it extremely hard and was a complete mess. What’s worse is that he seemed to sense that and didn’t miss a beat. It was like he took pleasure in tormenting me at work because I probably didn’t hide my pain very well, yet I never said a word to anyone there, didn’t need to.
        Thank God I found BR. It became my new addiction. I am here every day, reading, learning, empathizing. I always looked forward to your feedback, as your responses are always very practical, level headed and based in reality. I so appreciate that. We all need someone to keep us grounded and ‘scratch the record’ to end the pity party. I am taking care of me, and feeling so much better. I’m back to my old self, but better. Smiling more, sleeping through the night, I’ve even gained a few pounds (good or bad? LOL). Now the sound and sight of him is more an annoyance than painful, and whenever I’ve felt that rare urge to engage or to hear about what’s going on in his life, I tell myself “Not My Business”, and keep it moving. Why should I care? In any case, I haven’t given up on love, or lost faith that I’ll find my Mr. Right. But none of that matters right now. I’m more focused on rebuilding myself.

        • Andee says:

          Absolutely inspiring! I spent a few weeks crying on the way back and forth to work, once AT WORK (humiliating, yes) BUT it did force me to open up to my amazing team of co-workers about some of what was going on. Having to find an apartment, worried about getting my stuff out of the house, tortured about his dating someone else already…They actually suggested using our work benefit to see a therapist free for six sessions. I took a week off work, made the call, found a therapist I liked and things started to get better.

          Just admitting I had a problem and needed help to both co-workers and my therapist made me feel better! Like I was capable of making some good decisions to take care of myself. Also lost 15 lbs due to not eating for two months. Trying to keep it off by being obsessed with working out these days.:)
          Best to you. Our struggles sound like they manifested in similar challenges for both of us.

          • Sanntay says:

            Thanks Andee. It was totally out of the question for me to open up to my co-workers, as I feel that my personal life is really none of their business. Don’t think that they didn’t ask though…like, “Did you guys have a fight?, “Why doesn’t he come over and talk to you anymore?”, “What’s going on with you guys, you used to be buddies?” I would keep it brief by saying “No, we didn’t have a fight”, and “I can’t answer questions about his behavior, you’ll have to ask him, because I don’t know.” I’m sure they noticed my red face and swollen eyes after my crying sessions, how withdrawn I was, and how I’d disappear for 20-30 minutes at a time, a few times a day. I have never been one to bring my personal issues to work because I don’t want to get a reputation for being drama filled, and as stated before, I just don’t like people in my business. Maybe things were different for you in that you actually trusted someone at your job. Me, not so much. I did, however, take advantage of the counseling offered through our wellness plan and was able to get 5 sessions for free. It really helped to talk to someone who was objective and non-judgmental. Also, I was so afraid of being depending on meds to get through each day, especially when I wasn’t eating.
            Good job keeping off that 15 lbs. Five lbs. seems to keep finding me right after I lose it.

            • Andee says:

              Well, to be fair, I didn’t tell them everything but yes…they are very supportive women who truly cared about my well-being. I’m very lucky to work with them. They offered to help with my move, gave me as much time off as they could and even put together a really lovely housewarming present for me. :) It helped admitting I needed help managing, both the physical demands of getting out and moved and mentally staying focused on my job. My exact words to both my boss and the therapist that my employee assistance people hooked me up with were “I can’t afford to lose my job because I’m torn up over a guy. Please help this not to happen.” :)

              • Sanntay says:

                Yes, you are fortunate to have that support. I work with a bunch of MEN (and one woman), and I doubt that any of them would have had any genuine sympathy for my situation, even though many of them don’t particularly like this guy. Besides, several of them have come to me at one time or another to gossip/vent about a co-worker, so that old saying comes to mind: “A dog that will bring a bone will carry a bone”, and I don’t need to give them any extra bones to carry about me. I was determined NOT to lose my job over that BS, and in fact, my exact words to this guy before we got involved were “I’m not gonna lose my job over some d*ck”. Sure seemed like he wanted to make it his mission to see that I did. Clearly, I took the licking and kept on ticking…

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Hi Sanntay. Glad you responded and that I had remembered correctly that it was you. I’m so happy for you that you are doing much better. It’s me in the heartbreak mold right, now.
          I have to try harder to lift my mood. Living alone sucks when you’re trying to get over a break-up. But we’re not even broken up, but downgraded. I’ve recently learned that because of his love of solitude, I’d never be happy living with him. We will go on being friends, but I feel so disappointed that I won’t get what I ultimately wanted from this relationship. I’m trying to decide if I should “go dark” for awhile, ( not a real strict NC) because it hurts to be waiting for his calls, etc. I don’t want to continue having any expectations where he is concerned. It was 10 months of pure joy. He was/is everything I could ask for in a partner except for his basic solitary nature. He TOLERATES people with politeness and has little need to extend himself, even to his family. For the life of me I don’t understand a person like this and have never encountered this situation ever. It’s baffling to me. What’s more I don’t even consider myself all that outgoing, but I do enjoy meeting new people, finding out about their interests, etc. He has no need for this. I even thought I could live his way, but at least I’m not that far gone in love to believe that could actually work in the long run. His 3rd and last marriage was only 10 months. I suspect his “I vant to be alone” nature contributed to the break up, and the other two. I asking all my BR buddies to give their take on my dilemna. Thus, I’ve written several posts going back about 7 days ago. But Natalie is posting at lightning speed, imo, so I guess it’s 2-3 posts ago. Help, me Sanntay and anyone else to get a better perspective on this. Thanks so much, Tink.

          • Andee says:

            Tink, I will tell you something that I found out not only about the ex boyfriend I’ve referenced here, but the the ex-husband, whom I have not. These are the two men I have coveted and thought I loved more than anyone else ever. And they share an important characteristic.

            Neither one of them has much use for people in general. They both feel utterly alien and can’t relate to people as a whole. I used to think that was romantic and more importantly, very validating as they seemed to want to spend a great deal of time with me. Until I realized, maybe their anti-social behavior in general made the fact that they tolerated me in their life seem like a much bigger emotional investment to me than what they were actually feeling. Just some food for thought based on some info about your friend.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Sanntay and anyone else,if you want to answer me, please first read my initial about this on Natalie’s “Co-Pilots/Joint Agenda to get a better picture of my situation. Thanks so much for taking the time.

          • bikergrl says:

            I am dealing with the aftermath of an incredibly painful breakup now that was one year in the making. We broke up and got back together so many times, and tried to stay friends in between, but it screwed with my head way too much. He was always the dumper and I the dumpee (in 4 out of 5 breakups at least). I learned that being friends when you still would like to be together (and he knows it) puts you 2 steps down instead of your usual 1 step down. It is excruciating…it was for me, and it blinded me to any other man.

            I am 2+ months NC; I am working damn hard to stay away from his FB page as I can’t stand to see him with another woman now and maybe I will always feel that way.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Hi Bikrgrl,

              Love your moniker. Absolutely. I know that remaining friends would def be the worst for reasons you stated. We’re working things out because there is a very deep love for each other and it’s worth it for both of us. He has an ongoing issue, physically, which is challenging but so far we’ve been dealing with it. This is the first time I’ve become frustrated with him and it probably won’t be the last. But I do know NC is not the answer. The situation calls for far more patience on my part, which is not my forte. But, overall, knowing that there is no perfect relationship in a non-perfect world we will ride the bumps together. Thanks for your response.

              • bikergrl says:

                I appreciate your comment. I hope then you both can come to a good solution. I felt the deep sense of love and connection with my ex too, but in the end the lives we both want are mutually exclusive. Best wishes!

          • grace says:

            A holiday isn’t real life. If you couldn’t get on one-to-one for an extended period of time it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. After thirty years with her husband, my friend’s marriage hit a low point when he retired as they weren’t used to their new lifestyle. Two years later, everything is fine. Until the next “thing” when they will adjust I’m sure.
            You could go on a different kind of holiday or compromise. When I m on holiday with my family, I have times I spend by myself. There are times when I bite the bullet and go to a theme park with them for the day. Ugh.
            If you can have a warm loving friendship, I believe that is as good as it gets and I would caution against “downgrading” from sexual (ie breaking up) without a real discussion and mutual effort if possible to save the relationship. If you do break up, break up and instigate nc at least for a while. You have to experience an actual break!

            I think the year mark or thereabouts brings relationships under scrutinty. I don’t know if couples survive because they are compatible with zero issues or if they just push through it. I do think they must love each other though.
            My siblings have been married now for ten to over twenty years. There have been severe ups and downs (but mo infidelity or assclownery), and events and circumstances that could have ended the relationships. Could they be having better marriages with other people? Possibly .. I don’t think we will ever know.
            I can’t say whether you should break up but I can say that it’s never perfect and if it is, it won’t stay thay way. you decide whether it’s worth it.
            The ex and I are seeing each other again. I can’t say that it’s wise, it probably isn’t, but we are happier for it. I am aware that it may go south again. But I do think it’s worth “sucking and seeing”, and not just to confirm it may be over. He is as good to me as he ever was.
            I am not condoning bad behaviour, cheating, on and off, or ambiguous relationships. I’m not on hyperalert against that but it’s in my mind that those things aren’t worth it. It’s not what I want. You and I are in “ambiguous”. Let’s see how that goes. My counsellor is confident that my ex and I will clear it up either way soon. I wish I shared his confidence but … .we (as in you, I, and baggage reclaimers) have done amazing things!
            Ps A break up in winter would be even harder on me, I could regret this…

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Hi Grace. I appreciate you reaching out to me. I made the decision to take a break for awhile, for both of us. I don’t know if you were up to date enough to know about his ED. Plus, his brother committed suicide just a few weeks ago. It’s so hard for a man to be inadequate sexually since it’s so tied up in his manhood/self esteem. I’ve really tried to be supportive, but actually I think I’ve been helping him to pull away from me. I never said anything before because I had such high hopes so I didn’t want to introduce it into my posting. But, we’ve been dealing with this since Day 1. Before meeting me he hadn’t had sex for awhile. He claims that he discovered this problem for the first time with me. He went to the MD with my encouragement and we tried and tried in bed, but to no avail. Then his brother had to go and kill himself (I don’t really mean it like it sounds). My friend had enough problems already, that’s all. He could benefit from therapy for either situation, but to be dealing with both simultaneously has been too much. So I’ve take the altruistic, and self-preservation route of letting it go for awhile. We’ve had a profound relationship and he has told me that I will here from him again. But, I don’t know when and don’t want to hold out hope. I’ve been thinking about you and your break up. At one point, I think yesterday I was feeling, “Gee, I wish I were as strong as Grace.” But, I am in my own way. And, we’ve all started at different places in our journey for self realization. I am delighted that you and he are back together. It seemed to me the problems surrounding your break up were solvable if he were strong enough to stand up to his family. I wanted to say to you if his family is from Africa, there would be an exceedingly strong bond and he would feel that he must marry who his parents wish. Somehow, I cannot imagine him being an African American, as I am.

              Anyway, BR has helped us both soooo much. I never would have been able to be this magnanimous with my friend a year or two ago. He feels that I am the kindest, sweetest most loving woman he has ever met and after marriage x3 that’s saying a lot. I’m praying for best. We are both devout Baptists which, as you know, helps.

            • simple pleasures says:

              Grace, your posts have been poignant for the rest of us, but correct me if I am wrong, when you went NC you told us you would not break NC unless he came with a marriage proposal. I think this is what you want. I worry you’ll want to be the exception to the rule and fantasize. The major red flag you ignored was about him wanting a family. Please, oh please, tread carefully. You mean so much to the rest of us across the globe.

    • tee tee says:

      Sending huge huge hugs! What a wanker he was. And i am glad you can see lessons that could possibly be gleamed from this experience. Still, the hurt will pass. Take care of yourself :( xx

  52. Nigella says:

    For the first time in my life, I fell hard for someone. I admit that I had great and misguided expectations from the EUM, whom I failed to recognize for what he was. Thanks to BR, I have tried hard for the past two months to look at the role I played in setting myself up for hurt, deceit, and disappointment. I am terrified of dating again. To ensure that I learn my lessons, I worked on the following list of hooks that made me drop my guard and that distracted me from assessing things more accurately.

    I have followed each hook with 1) What I Thought at the time and 2) Reality Check – the way I wish I had processed the same hook. I cannot undo my past mistakes. I can only hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

    What I Thought: I’m impressed but not blinded by his appearance. Good appearance to me signifies someone taking care of himself on a daily basis. It’s not just his looks and choice of clothes but the effort and discipline that goes into staying lean, fit, and elegant through exercise, sports, and grooming that I find attractive.

    Reality Check: Though he looks good, dresses well, exercises, and plays sports, none of these tell me anything about the way he is going to behave towards me. Plus, maybe he uses his looks to pull birds. The time he spends exercising and playing sports could also serve as an excuse to disappear on me or act too busy for a romantic relationship. Take it easy: do not be enamoured by his appearance.

    2) STATUS
    What I Thought: Based on what friends and colleagues tell me, he is brilliant, hard-working, trustworthy, successful, responsible, funny, and likeable. He is the Leader Type. He has built a good reputation for himself in the minds of smart and successful professionals. He is also liked and respected within his ever-growing circle of friends. By dating him, I’ll meet someone on equal footing instead of feeling that he is either more or less career-driven and people-oriented than I am. Most likely, he’ll not distract or discourage me from pursuing my career goals and meeting my friends. Since he’ll be busy working and socializing, he won’t resent me doing the same on my own. Of course, we can socialize together too at times as our trust and interest in one another grows. Being in a relationship with him I won’t have to compromise my independence or career.

    Reality Check: His public persona, standing, and success tell me nothing about his ability to commit to me and care for me in a mutually fulfilling relationship. He is a high-functioning & over-achieving person on professional and social fronts. But he might turn out to be a low-functioning and under-delivering partner. His colleagues and friends cannot serve as reliable sources of information on his character or readiness for a relationship. I must rely on my own judgement to see if he is capable of meeting my needs. I’m not looking for a work colleague but for a life partner – someone interested in spending time with me and treating me as a priority rather than a plaything, pastime, fallback option, bank account, or shoulder to lean on. Maybe he has no interest, capacity, or time for a long-term, loving relationship: his working, socializing, and networking through social media sites could be used as excuses for not spending enough time with me. Even worse, shared education and professional backgrounds could lead to feelings of competition and tension. Both of us might seem to be on equal footing right now, but he might be prone to resenting me if I experience more career satisfaction and success than him.

    3) CONNECTION – Common Interests, Commitment, Sex

    What I Thought: Two months into dating, I’m over the moon. The sex is incredible. In fact it is at times difficult to tear myself away from his arms or focus at work – all I can think of is his beautiful body. He is sensitive, giving, passionate, warm, and patient. I feel great: desired, excited, and fulfilled. No complaints in the sex department. To top it all, there are plenty of common interests between us that make it easier for us to connect and communicate with each other. Our similar education backgrounds is an extra bonus. I feel comfortable around him. I can be myself. He says he is not dating anyone else and is commiting to be with me.

    Reality Check: For three years we’ve been acquaintances, which means I’ve not spent enough time with him to know him well. It has been ONLY two months since we’ve been dating – and while the sex is giving me immense pleasure it is not giving me information about his past relationship habits or *real* intentions about the one with me. Let him unfold: only time will tell if he can deliver on his promises and commitment. Right now, he is ONLY saying that he wants to be in a long-term, committed relationship with me. Sex, common interests, and committment are not the same as having compatible relationship habits, needs, values, goals, and priorities. Be cautious. Beware of over-valuing sex, common interests, and commitment – none of these tell me how he values me OR how he handles conflict or criticism (which cannot be avoided in any relationship). Only time will tell how he’ll respond to things that are not common between us – different opinions, different habits, different work and social priorities. Is he capable of making compromises with me or resolving issues together? Or, does he expect a self-serving relationship that requires minimal or no effort on his part to meet me halfway on issues that may crop up? Do not over-value him – recognize red flags. Do not over-invest – maintain a balance of power and give-and-get ratio in the relationship.

    4) PAIN & PROBLEMS (Sympathy & Control)
    What I Thought: He tells me that he regrets not pursuing me earlier by ending his relationship with his former girlfriend. He is blaming her for manipulating him to stay in the relationship. He says that they broke-up three months ago and he has already had a rebound relationship. He has also been “propositioned” by another woman. But he wants to be with me – something he has wanted for so long but felt scared to approach me. He says he feels “so fortunate” to have found me. In his former relatioships, the women were needy and clingy. They could do little to support his goals. He loves the fact that I lead a busy life and am independent. In fact, he fears that he might be too clingy with me. He feels grateful for the support and guidance I can offer on his work. He “adores” me. I feel special.

    Reality Check: He is sharing his problems with me and thanking me for showing him care and support. But what is he doing for me? How is he supporting me? Flattering me, shagging me, feeding my cats when I am away from home, and sharing common interests is not the same as showing support for my goals and priorities. He ended a 2-year long relationship 3 months ago. It seems that he has leap-frogged from one relationship or fling to the next and that he doesn’t process what went wrong. He said that he didn’t love his girlfriend, but stayed with her because he really wanted things to work out. He is not taking responsibility for dragging out the relationship. Instead, he is blaming her for needing his time and attention. Be careful – all of this suggests that he is confused, careless, and self-centered. Before investing more, I must ask him about what went wrong in his past relationships and whether he is interacting with anyone interested in dating him. For now, he is putting me on a pedestal, and making me feel needed and valued. I should not fall into the fixer-helper-giver-cheerleader roles that come easily to me. Even if he acts like an attention-admiration-sympathy-seeking child at times, I need not over-sympathize – must put limits on the amount of ego-stroking and nurturing I do for him.

    What I Thought: I am flattered, pleased, and thrilled by the interest he is taking in me. Mr. Charming is making an effort to get to know me. Daily, he stays in touch through phone and email. I enjoy going out with him. Both of us decide together where we want to go. He is even taking on some of my interests. Of course, it is nice to see him giving me gifts and paying for dinners – I reciprocate because I do not want there to be an imbalance in our spending on one another. He has expressed an interested in moving in with me and meeting my family members. He wants me to meet his friends. So far, he has followed through on the plans we made together. He seems reliable, consistent, thoughtful, and attentive.

    Reality Check: Slow down – I fear I am mirroring him. Or, he is parroting me. In the first few months, it really does not matter that he is showing me a lot of attention, spending time with me, and making future plans with me. Thought I love the way he speaks and writes, at the end of the day his words, promises, intentions, and plans do not matter: actions and results do. I should stick to my boundaries & goals. Listen to my feelings. Do not let him pressure me into doing anything. Do not fall for the gifts, compliments, and plans. Instead, focus on his habits and actions. Can I be happy with him in the long run? Do we have a balanced relationship? Do I really know him? Does he really know me? Or does he just want to play happy-and-paired to compete with his friends? He does seem highly competitive, though he tries to deny or dial this down. Could it be that he has over-estimated his interest in me or his capacity for a committed, caring relationship? I must not settle for crumbs, and I must take care of my best interests.

    • Maeve says:

      Nigella—that was very interesting to read. Very instructive. Interestingly, it’s the one about Pain and Problems that offered the biggest insight (and predictions) about where he was at. It cements my belief that you have to investigate a romantic partner’s relationship history, and if possible and reasonable, talk to some exes. Any romantic prospect who badmouths his ex is a red flag to me. Or at least an amber alert.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Maeve. I did ask him about his 3 unsuccessful marriages, and he seemed to be truthful and unhesitating with his answers. But, I would ask in little snippets, because I didn’t want to be too pushy and turn him off. Plus, I felt that I didn’t need to know his life history because what did it have to do with OUR relationship. I didn’t want to pre-judge and harbor negative opinions prematurely when he and I were fine. I thought I was the PERFECT ONE for him as he kept saying. I don’t know anything anymore.

      • Nigella says:


        The info I got about his relationship history came out unexpectedly in snippets in three brief conversation. Each time, I made the mistake of sympathizing with Mr. Sensitive-cum-Charming. I realize now that I bought into his “woe is me” style of speaking about his past. I did point out to him that he was “blaming his ex for his own choice to continue an unfulfilling relationship”. He quickly agreed and said: “She was a great girl. But she knew that I did *not* love her”. In other words, he did not hold himself accountable for dragging out a sham relationship.

        Instead of thinking critically about the role he may have played in hurting, using, or misleading his former girlfriends, I mostly sympathized with him and latched onto the fact that – as he claimed emphatically – he had “an intense crush on me for three years”.

        Plus, since I was brimming with satisfaction, joy, and affection for him at that stage of our dating – when he was treating me like the center of his universe – I did not feel the urge to dig further. I chose to focus on our time together instead of letting either of our pasts encroach upon our present.

        In retrospect, I suppose this is where I made the mistake of giving him the benefit of the doubt and taking his words at face value. To make better decisions in the future, I need to get better at detecting code red or amber behaviours, and ensure that I am not misled by the hooks I have now identified.

        • Maeve says:

          Nigella–in my experience (and it could just be my experience) you pick up on the codes red and amber immediately but end up second guessing yourself because a)women are taught to downplay their “negative/hysterical/paranoid” perceptions; b) the EU is trying hard to distract us from the truth.

          You already have the observation skills and knowledge, now you just need to trust yourself. Not easy. I know.

    • lizzp says:

      Nigella, I had some trouble understanding this comment. So many of your other comments about this guy have made really good sense (to me) and been very clear. This seems oddly out of place? I may be misunderstanding, but I wanted to just sound a word of caution about unwittingly over analysing.

      I was in a LT relationship for much of my twenties from which I was left devastated and diminished(followed by a 3 year rebound disaster). At the time I felt as you articulate: “For the first time in my life, I fell hard for someone”. In my attempts to heal myself and understand I became prone (and still am somewhat – but now recognise it as a red flag of my own) to a sort of highly detailed intellectualising and philosophising around my mistakes. I felt driven to leave no hole uncovered/stone unturned. Over time and without realising it, I began to get lost in details in my search for the ‘solution’. First I lost clarity, but thought I was gaining it. From this I began (unknowingly) losing touch with my feelings about what had happened and my fears about what might happen next time so my intuition didn’t evolve all that much. In short, I lost balance whilst believing I had myself covered. In reality I ended up being ill prepared intuitively to ultimately choose better next time despite having finally moved on (but not up and onward emotionally) after several years. Your comment reminds me of that time and my reams of analysis so thought I’d share.

      • Nigella says:


        Thanks for cautioning me about getting lost in details or over-analyzing things. Rest assured, I am no longer in a position to ignore my feelings. I am also facing my fears instead of running away from them. To overcome or manage my negative feelings and fears, I am finding it useful to reflect on the assumptions or mistakes I made in the past.

        Reflecting on specific hooks has helped me gain a better understanding of the things that misled me into over-valuing and over-trusting Mr Liar. To make better decisions in the future, I want to try my best not to repeat the mistakes I made in the past.

        In healing myself and learning some lessons, I will remember also to listen to my gut feelings.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Nigella. Thank you very much. Your post is insightful and instructive. I think I should construct the same for myself. Although, right now, I’m too sad to be able to organize my thoughts well enough to do justice to it and myself. I try to pick myself up but I guess it’s too soon and I have periods of crying. O course, he has no idea what I’m going through. I haven’t had a heart to heart with him because I doubt it would change anything. I feel like he is so happy and content and I’m so full of pain and feeling such loss. It would have been far better for me had he been an AC, or any of the assortment, but no, he’s a good guy, a wonderful person who just doesn’t share the same deep need for love and affection that I have. What do I do? If I write him a heartfelt letter, getting out everything I want to say, I would feel better. But I don’t know if that’s burdensome for him. I’m confused. What do you think?

      • Lilly says:


        He sounds like a really nice person so I don’t feel that writing him a heartfelt letter would be burdensome for him. He is not an AC and he cares for you so I’m sure he wouldn’t want you suffering like this. I would suggest you go ahead and write a letter or better still meet up with him and tell him how you feel. At least then you will know whether or not the relationship is still worth pursuing. The thought of you crying makes me feel sad right alongside you, hugs to you, xxx.

        • Lilly says:


          I’ve just re-read your post of 8 August where you mention that you’ve both agreed to a warm, loving, sexless ‘friendship’. Is that solely because of the sociability differences? Did you discuss with him ways around this or is that a complete deal breaker from both your perspectives? At any rate, clearly, just being a friend with him right now is not what you want. Are you 100% sure that is what he wants? If you have any doubts then I think you should meet up with him to discuss. If it turns out that friendship is what he wants then I would suggest you have a period of NC because you need time to grieve the loss. Take care of you Tinks.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Hi Lilly!

            We are on the same wave length as everything you said I’ve been considering There is more info in the post “Co-piloting”. Quite a lot of back and forth dialogue with other posters. I’ve decided to stay. He’s worth it, and we deserve EACH OTHER. There is so much more I didn’t say here, but I added later. Feel free to give your input, hon. And I so much appreciate your attempt to make me feel better. xxx Tink

      • Nigella says:


        I am sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. From what I gather from your previous posts, you are feeling (1) dissatisfied because the nice man is unable to show you the sort of physical affection and attention you need, and (2) mismatched and stifled because the nice man is not as extroverted or interested in socializing with others as you need to be. Though you cherish him for a number of reasons, you are still dissatisfied in the relationship because *some* of your needs are not being met. Only you can gauge the importance of having these needs met: are they deal-breakers or issues that can be resolved?

        I understand that you do not expect him to change to please you at his expense. But what if he does not feel forced to change? He might be willing to grow, to adapt, to meet you halfway, to try a mutually fulfilling approach.

        It is not possible for anyone to be a carbon copy of us. It is impossible for us to have everything in common. The point is to see whether you are willing to accept one another despite the differences between you – are the differences really deal-breakers?

        I understand that you do not want to ignore your needs. However, unless you reveal your true feelings and needs to him, you cannot know for sure what he is willing or able to do for you. I could be wrong but it seems to me that you are (1) making assumptions about what he needs and thinks of you OR cares to give to you and (2) expecting him to read your mind OR sense your suffering. Regarding 1, your assumptions may or may not be correct. But if I were you, I will not deny the other person the right to speak for himself. If he is unwilling or unable to empathize with you and open up to you, then you can decide whether or not to opt out. Regarding 2, if I were you, I will not wait for the other person to detect my dissatisfaction. Life is too short to spend it in quite desperation. Rather, as I have learned from my past mistakes, I expect myself to be transparent about my needs. If the other person cannot meet them, then both of us can move on instead of prolonging an unfulfilling relationship.

        Perhaps you are avoiding disclosure of your feelings or discussion because you fear outright rejection. Maybe you fear him saying something on the lines of “I am not good enoung for you. I cannot satisfy you. I feel pressured. I do not feel the need to be more intimate or social. I wish you did not ask for these things. Our needs are not compatible. You deserve better. I am sorry for disappointing you. I cannot meet your needs.”

        Is this what you fear? Is this why you are avoiding a heart-to-heart conversation with him? Is this really that awful to hear?

        It is a cliche but I think truth sets us free – talking to others sets us free too from our own assumptions, dissatisfaction, and fears. If you want to work on your relationship OR bid him farewell, initiate a face-to-face dialogue with him. But maybe first you need to take some time and talk to yourself about your actual needs, hesitations, and fears.

        Do what seems best to you. I am no expert on relationships. Sending best wishes your way.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          TO Grace and Nigella.

          Thank you. There has been MUCH posting amongst a lot of us about my situation, all resolved on “Co-Piloting”. Originally, I thought it was off topic and realized at the end, and my final decision made, it was not off topic at all. Just a new problem not ever(?) brought up on BR. Through a very long and labored process, I’ve decided that because if his ED and having experienced the suicide of his brother only a few weeks ago, he’s been in emotional overload. I decided to give us both a break for now, or permanently, I’ve left up to him. I won’t take up another entire blog with this. Everyone has been so responsive and made me feel so much support. But throughout that post I’ve directed to you explains the problems in detail and my final decisions. Thank you ever so much. I’ll be ok, XXXXX Tink.

    • tee tee says:

      Nigella, this is brilliant. Thank you and well done!

  53. noquay says:

    I don’t think getting “out there” is a bad idea. Often cocooning yourself just leads to self rumination and isolation. It was isolation plus being surrounded by true bottom feeders (such as the drunken lout I called the cops on) that lead me to respond to the advances of the at work AC. If you are meeting los of men and have no attraction to any, then there’s a problem. Right now I am shamelessly flirting with all manner of single, older, skinny dudes here for the big races, just having fun till they all leave and the doors slam shut when it’s me and the bottomfeeders till next spring. Working on reading non verbals, seeing/hearing red flags, being able to discuss lefties stuff without having my house torched. Been also seeing someone on occasion who lives 100 miles away who is not very physically expressive (I am very much touchy/feely) and not investing emotionally, just seeing where things go.

  54. Sanntay says:

    Oh, Tink, my heart aches for you. I hate to hear that you’re feeling sad. I was so happy to read that you were in a relationship and getting along well. You sounded really invested and were taking things slow. We always hear that opposites attract, but in this case it’s left you feeling stifled and tolerated, not a good sign. You should be free to be who you are completely, and you deserve to have your affections reciprocated. I think you should have a heart to heart with him, and tell him how you feel. I understand that we need to have our own lives and interests when we are with someone, but if his desire to be alone at times leaves you feeling shut out and unhappy, you have to decide if his being a ‘good guy’ is reason enough for you to settle—I believe you’ve already reached that decision. Assess what you want and need and do what will make Tinkerbell happy. Yes, the fact that he’s been divorced 3 times is a bit concerning, but you connected with him on some level and it’s disappointing that he didn’t meet your expectations. As you’ve said, it’s so difficult waiting for your heart to catch up to your head when we want something so badly. You should write the letter, mostly for your own benefit, to get your feelings out and to be clear and definitive in your discussion with him. But to communicate your feelings to him via letter in lieu of talking it out with him is a bit awkward unless you are planning to never see or talk to him again. Not all relationships have to end in happily ever after, and that’s OK. You both love and respect one another, and ultimately want the other to be happy, even if it isn’t as a couple. Take care of yourself. I know you will do what’s best for you. We’re all here for you no matter what you decide.

  55. espresso says:

    I have been thinking about your relationship dilemma. I think it is possible for a person who needs a lot of solitude to be with somebody who doesn’t need as much as long as there is a close, trusting and appreciative relationship but it almost sounds like when it goes silent he “disconnects” from you emotionally and this seems like some kind of emotionally cutting off or abandonment. It sounds like your gut is giving you an important message which is being obscured by his many other good qualities which are genuine. When you said that he “tolerates” people this set off alarm bells to me. It reminds me of a relationship a friend had with a fellow who didn’t “need” other people and didn’t really want to spend time with them. He had a lot of interests and my friend did admire his self sufficiency and ability to enjoy his own company. And he was very nice to her, enjoyed her company and they did a lot of great things together. But in the end she realized that a big part of her life was being together with him and other friends and family, to socialize, talk, exchange ideas, visit together etc and have him be a part of it and he simply did not want to and didn’t. It was very painful for her but she realized that he would never want to do this, even to make the effort for her…and if he did she would know he wasn’t enjoying it which takes the pleasure away. So she ended the relationship and it was pretty tough because she really did love him in many ways. This may not apply directly to your situation but I hope it helps.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sanntay. Thank you for answering my call for help. I know you can understand. But we’ve had a talk about US for a change instead of everything else under the sun, and I feel much better, even with the added burden of his personal situation which I’ve mentioned in “Co-Pilots”. IT WILL BE OKAY. I will slow down, as Digger suggested, the ultimate fate of our relationship does not have to be decided right now, for reasons revealed later. There will be no NC. I’m still debating about writing a letter, but I’ll take my time and play it by ear for awhile. I’ve always been a person that has to DO SOMETHING, grab the bull by the horns. Sometimes, it better to stop, look, listen to your heart, mind and that ever present gut, absorb what they’re telling you before jumping out there “fixing” things.

  56. Tinkerbell says:

    Espresso. My how wise and insightful you are. You have been and continue to go through such trials and tribulations and my heart has gone out to you many times. But, I’ve always wanted to tell you, “Just get out of it”, and knowing that for your complicated situation it just isn’t so easy.

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of your friend. It helps more than you know to head of someone in a similar situation and how they managed.
    You hit the nail on the head when you spoke about his need for space may also involve disconnecting. That is exactly how I have felt. But, because of the ED (mentioned in the other post) it’s really not so abnormal. We know how men equate their masculinity in sex and he has made a surprisingly poignant confession to me: “I feel like half a man”. It almost cried on the spot. So sad and imagining the courage it took for him to say that to me. He’s a strong and emotionably stable person, for sure. Like you’ve described, he is remarkable self-sufficient, has many interests and is quite happy spending long periods alone without any boredom whatsoever. But, I will be continuing to observe his interactions with others. He certainly doesn’t go out of his way to be approachable, wherein I’m quite the opposite. He’s aware of this and I have to say that I’ve been unconsciously the catalyst for increasing his sociability. But, it’s not something he relishes. And, it does seem he “tolerates” rather than genuinely enjoys others. I’ve come to the conclusion that we will always continue separate homes and come together sharing happy, fulfilling times. I’ve heard of rare instances where couples are content that way. Certainly being older we’ve both establish set patterns of being that are not uncomplicated or desiring of revision.

    I still may write that letter to him, eventually. Not right now. I’ve always been much better at writing exactly what I want to say instead of talking because I fear the other party interrupting and I’ll be thrown off of my point. But, he is an extremely patient listener as well as quite the talker – with ME. LOL!

    Btw, I could see us having the same situation where he doesn’t want to go and social and refuses, or he goes and is visible unhappy which would douse my pleasure, also. I’m hoping this won’t happen in the future. He adores children and younger folks. We’ll see. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    • simple pleasures says:

      Ok Tink, I’ve followed you since the get go. Here’s my humble opinion, for what it’s worth. Erectile disfunction is not the issue. My mother remarried her first husband at age 75. (hadn’t seen each other for 30 plus years)Before they got married he told her he was impotent because of his diabetes. It wasn’t an issue. They laughed, loved and lived together until death he departed at age 84.
      My mathprofessor was impotent (to my shock as we were like freaking rabbits 35 years ago). He tried viagra and cialis and to my good fortune actually, we couldn’t consummate a passionate affair. He told me it wasn’t an issue. But ED not helped by meds , which increases blood flow, is a libido problem, a psychological problem, not physical or aging problem. ED was not the deal breaker for mathprofessor, it was emotional unavailability (among other stuff). So I offer you something to ponder, he sounds like a sweetiepie, but perhaps, really, he’s emotionally…unavailable.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        Wow. I had no idea about the psychological aspect to ED problems. Thanks for sharing that.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Simple Pleasures. I was looking over some of Nat’s older posts and subsequent comments. Here, nearly two months later I’ve come across this comment from you. Thank you for what you’ve said. Actually it means more to me now than it would have if I’d read it then. That’s because I’ve only now realized that his problem has been emotional unavailablity for than anything. I couldn’t understand why my assuring him that the ED was not paramount in our relationship, that he still could not be physically affectionate much more than he was. He presented himself as such a loving person who adored me. But the bottom line is that I spent a whole year being fooled, in fantasy land, constantly anticipating far more than he could ever deliver. I never put much thought into the fact that his history with women, (3 unsuccessful marriages) were at least an amber flag. No, I focused on the fact that he was so good to me. Even his telling me that his marriages failed because they never appreciated him, didn’t ring any alarm bells for me. Anyway, I just want to thank you for expressing the possibility of EU. At that time. when you wrote it I was not ready to accept or believe it was possible. But, now, I’ve seen it when I was supposed to. Oh, the irony! I’m okay, though. Have no more tears left in me. I’ve told him just today that I don’t want to be his friend and that a complete break is best for me. Life goes on. XX Tink

        • simple pleasures says:

          Just say to yourself you two were incompatible. He wasn’t exploitative,always remember he was good to you, just limited emotionally. He wasn’t hurtful, just had his issues.

  57. Seabreeze says:

    I am writing this tonight from a Conway trailer tent in the Midlands and had to laugh at how both your camping theme, my huge problem sat in the awning watching more rubbish tv and your article are most synchronous!

    I’d waited 3 years after my divorce until I faced dating. I repaired myself, fixed my self esteem, lost weight, bought and renovated a house – I was back at the top of my game.

    Having met this man in January I wasn’t that bothered about him after two dates. He smoked too. He persued me with such vigor and I was flattered but I was going to visit my parents for 4 weeks in the States – so I decided I’d get away and maybe see him when I got back. I stupidly gave him my Skype account and I also stupidly got lured in whilst I was away.

    He insisted on icking me up from the airport and this after only 2 dates and I was away for a month… He had the roses, a crazy greeting board and a fluffy toy when I landed, I fell for it.

    After 3 months he begged me to move in with him – I was really unsure as I’d just done up my house and it seemed too much too soon. He started to do stuff at my house and built me a deck – but I realise now he did all this stuff just to get me to move in.

    He promised he’d finish his own house before I moved in – guess what, I moved into a grotty house. 4 weeks later the builders are coming but only because I nagged him and phoned a builder – no iam not paying for it, but I hate myself.

    Also since I moved in 4 weeks ago he treats me like part of the furniture, like a house maid, a servant. He was all lovey dovey and caring before now he’s a class *bustard* I hate him. He doesn’t listen to anything I say, he’s not even interested in me, but oh dear if its something about him or what he likes then we have to talk about that instead. I cried for hours on friday in my car… the full force and recognition of what has happened hit me at full force – I had pulled over as I couldn’t stop crying, I sobbed for an hour.

    Today, in a shop, I was dancing around saying I loved this tent and that and getting excited about other camping gear ‘ I am a camping geek (!) He didn’t acknowledge me and when he found what he wanted he tried to just talk about his things and rubbished mine – this time a gritted my teeth and smiled – said I was going to the toilet and as I walk away I said out loud, out of his ear shot, *you are a pig and I have to leave you before I get fat again and loose my self esteem*

    I rented my house out and I have to work out where I will go from here. But I feel much calmer now I’ve worked out that it’s not me who is wrong it’s him… I did, for a moment, start feeling low self worth & was going to settle, but Friday said everything. .. People who care about you and vice versa do not make you feel like crap… they also don’t make promises and forget. I read the lights… even his kids say he promises things and forgets, which made me feel very sad…

    Thankyou for your amazing post – as always, I am saved by the valuable resources on here and thank goidness my gut instinct is bang on.

    Good luck people & beware of those who appear as one thing then loose interest in you even though they claim to love you… it isn’t love… it’s their inability to be alone & their lack of self awareness.

    • bikergrl says:

      Good for you to “wake up and smell the garbage” as one of my favorite author said. He clearly wanted ‘someone’ around but did not really want to invest emotionally in a relationship. After all you have been thru in the divorce and healing you deserve the BEST and to be cherished by someone who feels fortunate to be with you.

      Good luck with getting out of there fast.

  58. teachable says:

    I beg to differ that ‘assclownery’ is perpetrated in equal measure by both sexes. If that were the case, there’d be a hell of a lot more men, posting on sites such as this one, trying to work out WTF just happened. This is not to say that some women are not AC’s. There are always exceptions to a general trend. It is to say that males are preferanced in patriarchal societies, for a whole range of reasons, which affords them the opportunity, & means for AClownary, far more than women are. Typically they earn more, their nett wealth is greater, their professional lives tend not to be interrupted by primary child rearing duties, they retire richer, they don’t bear children, they can much more easily walk away from parenting a child they have fathered than a female can (literally, before the child is even born), they have the physical strength to overpower women – again literally, they own more property as their higher incomes & uninterrupted employment affords them this, the majority of people suffering narrcissistic personality disorder are male, (females dominate in borderline PD, a much weaker, powerless, dependency personality type), for ALL of these reasons, & no doubt, many more males absolutely & unequivocally hands down take top honors in the AC stakes! Why? Well, it’s really very simple. BECAUSE THEY CAN!

    Thankyou & goodnight! ~takes a bow & exits stage rght~ 😉

  59. doveofpeace says:

    You know what is the most interesting phenomena in those unavailable men? They morph!

    I just broke up with mine 3 weeks ago, have been in NC ever since and still hang up on him. I’d love to call him The A**hole, but that would be an understatement. At least a**hole has purpose in this life, so, let’s just call my ex “The Hemorrhoid”, because he was merely exist, painfully no good for anything and can flare up any moment causing a major discomfort.

    Well, enough with the venting already.
    I met him over 2 years ago in my workplace. In the beginning he was very charming. He was less in everything than me. For instance, I was (and still am) an expat when I met hi and been travelling all over the 5 continents, he was a local hillbilly who has never even seen an airport before. I have a degree in engineering, he only has high school diploma. I was in the middle management, he was with the maintenance department. I was financially stable, he wasn’t. I was attractive (so I’ve been told),high spirited, carefree, outgoing and friendly, He was rather short and plump for a man,always miserable, moody broody, unhappy with his job, had a low self confidence, introvert and simply hated his life all together. And the list go on. I didn’t care about all those differences, I loved him to bits. Everybody was flabbergasted to see us together. Kept telling me that he is out of my league, not sophisticated enough for me, etc. I brushed all the comments off by telling them that they are a bunch of snobs who don’t understand the meaning of true love.

    Now, I have never been in an abusive relationship before. I came from a very loving family and we were thought to always be kind and nice to other people and help those in need. I was lonely in a foreign country and it has been years since the last time I dated a man. He came in my most vulnerable moment. How did I fall head over heels for this hemorrhoid? By telling me all his miserable stories about his life. He was literally crying in my arms so many times, telling me that this life is not worth living for him, and he’d rather end it if only he has the gut to do it. My heart went out to him. I helped, comforted and encouraged him. His private part is below the average size and he knew that. During the first month after we started having intercourse, he kept asking me if I was satisfy with his performance. I always told him that he was awesome, when the truth was, I had to fake the orgasm most of the time. But it didn’t even bother me. I boosted his confidence by telling him that he is a wonderful guy and there is still chance for him to go to college, get a better job and have a good life. It went on for the whole first year of our relationship.

    I guess all those coaching worked to the extreme, because ‘lo and behold…’my sweet sensitive meekly baby morphed into the big bad ugly wolf!

    He started blowing hot and cold, distant, acting so selfish and inconsiderate toward my feeling. He would profess his love one day and then hated me the next day. Missing me today and can’t stand me tomorrow. He blamed it on different things. Pressure at work, family problem, sickness and even world’s catastrophe. And when I complained, he told me that I am being selfish and not understanding. So, I shut my mouth and endure the emotional roller coaster ride. It didn’t stop there, he then started yelling, cursing and spitting profanities at me for the pettiest things. Even when he wasn’t angry, he was always mean, rude and cruel to me. He told me that I was too skinny ( I am size 8) and suggested me to do a natural breast enlargement (not surgery because he didn’t like me to have scars)because he liked his woman to be curvaceous. Then he told me that I should do a corrective eye surgery because my glasses make me look old. After that, he said that he noticed I start to have wrinkles and fine lines. What is wrong with him???!!!I broke up with him, he said sorry and I accepted him back, he’d be prince charming for a week and then morphed again into an ogre, over and over.

    I finally told him that I am done for good with him. He hasn’t contacted me since. Strangely, instead of feeling happy, I am devastated. Meanwhile he was showing me that his life is better off without me. I was unhappy with him and I am still unhappy even without him.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      WHY DID YOU WANT HIM??? Know your worth, girl. That means not settling for someone who is not in your league or even close, and then holding on to him while he doles out abuse. WTF? You need to ask what is wrong with YOU, not him. I hope you’ve sent this pitiful creature packing. NEVER ever compromise your values and your needs. No one is worth your doing that.

  60. clarity says:

    Dear all,

    I broke up with my ex about a month ago. I found this website the week before I ended it for the last time and it has pulled me through the breakup. Thanks Nat and all you amazing people who have taken the time to share your experiences and also to support one another and share your insights have been a constant source of comfort to me, so thanks.

    I feel somewhat selfish in sharing the details of my failed relationship here but will do so because reading yours have been a huge help to me.

    I met my ex late last year on a workshop and he was one of my teachers. He is exceptionally good looking but in a feminine way which is not what I would normally go for. It’s true to say that most girls wanted him but I was busy worrying about my own recent relationship woes but when he approached me to hang out I didn’t say no. We got talking, I asked if he was married and he gave me his sob story of losing his wife to cancer and being left to look after his two kids alone (I was later to find out he only had them part time due to his inability to financially provide for them) and how he was after a wife. Admittedly I was shocked to hear him basically ask me to marry him after only knowing him a couple days but the red flag was replaced with a massive ego stroke. Such a delusion! He even half joked that he would get me pregnant so that I had to go home with him. I should have run a mile but my lack of self-esteem took over and I ashamedly took it as another boost to my ego. He admitted he had asked a few girls the same question over the past couple years and that because he may take another wife in the future the other women had been scared off. Big red flag but I said that I may be interested and ok with it, and that I wanted to see how it went with him before I thought about any future. I basically told him what he wanted to hear without attending to my own needs which are, like most people, to be in a committed one woman/one man relationship.
    So we did the long distance thing for a few months and yes I liked the attention but still sensed his EU and so didn’t emotionally invest myself too much. He became more serious calling a few times a day and insisted I see him when he visited my town. I saw him and fell for him all over again.

    The following month he talked me into visiting him in his city. I was at one of his gigs and his ex came up to me and told me a bunch of (negative) things about him including that she had slept with him the previous week. She said he was a mind reader and that he had a sexual problem. He confronted her and told her off for coming to his place of work. She was defenseless but I could see that he had strung her along and she was hurting.

    Afterwards he was angry with me for allowing her to divulge the details of their relationship and for the rest of the week we spent together we hardly spoke and I wondered the entire time if I was going mad, why he was so difficult to talk to, and why I felt so uncomfortable around him to the extent I needed to manufacture things to say.

    I got high with him ( can’t beat em join em..gosh) and wondered whether he was reading my mind in the silent company we shared. His ex’s words played on my dysfunctional mind.

    When I returned home I reflected on his behavior and realized he was a total narcissist and it scared me away, temporarily. But we continued contact and soon he confided in me saying that he had been molested by his sisters from a very young age. Flaming red flag. But, instead I thought “ah, that explains the EU, the AC, the conservative nature of our conversations, the self-esteem issues. Ok, I got it. And from then I was hooked I guess into what I didn’t know then but know now as believing I was his FN and that I was different to the millions of other women who had been with him and tried desperately to help him before I came along.
    A few months later a few dramas occurred requiring me to find a new place and job so I decided to relent to his persistent requests and move interstate and live with him. I was so afraid but had felt I had nothing to lose after having lost so much.
    We had one good week together and then his observance of his holy month began. He told me it was against his faith to live with a woman who is not your wife. We were married within two weeks of my arrival. I thought it would bring us closer and help with my trust issues (what the?) but instead he wouldn’t even talk to me half the time unless to tell me a story portraying him as some kind of hero . I told him I wasn’t comfortable and felt we didn’t talk openly but he said it was normal to not talk to each other for up to a few days when living together. He was also indignant if I showed distrust but I had major trust issues and worried constantly about what he was doing or was going to do. He told me I needed to trust that he loved me even though he wasn’t displaying it in the way that I was used to (affection). It was so difficult to take his word for it despite feeling instinctually like he didn’t care at all. I felt afraid in his company and questioned whether I had a problem or whether this guy was dangerous to my emotional wellbeing. Thoughts of his ex telling me he had cheated on his wife whilst she died of cancer and the many times he cheated on her fueled my imagination in believing it was just a matter of time. He told me that his ex who had told me all these things about his past had schizophrenia and that she had the voice of his ex wife in her head and used to talk as if she was possessed. That was his excuse for staying in contact with her, that he had sent her overseas to visit his family to get rid of his ex wife’s spirit from her body. I couldn’t believe it. What I think happened is that she smoked so much she began hearing voices and rather than helping her by telling her she needed medical help he reinforced the belief by continuing smoking marijuana with her and telling her she needed to visit his homeland to rid her of the spirit.
    I became his baby mama, taking care of his kids as he worked weekends which were the only two days in a week he had custody of them. I became disillusioned and when I brought up the responsibilities I had with lack of support in return he said I was ungrateful.
    I realize that I went into the relationship during a time of personal difficulty when I was in need of security and support and at a time when he was in need of a baby mama. It was a business agreement, so totally devoid of love.
    I ended up leaving to clear my head and when I was gone he slept with his ex and began smoking again. When I returned he blamed me leaving for him starting smoking again and turning to other women for support.
    I called the ex and she confirmed they had slept together numerous times. He threatened her saying “I will fuck you up”. I left and went back home.

    Then she retracted her allegations saying she was being vindictive and that I shouldn’t listen to her.

    I returned. Again. He began acting aloof again and treated me badly so I made him divorce us and I left for good. This is when I discovered this site and initiated NC.

    He doesn’t understand NC and up until two days ago he called incessantly sometimes leaving abusive voicemails/texts/emails saying I used him and wasted his time blah blah blah.

    I did want a loving relationship but there were so many red flags I refused to pay attention to. I now know that he is a narcissist. After I left the final time he said “I’m just too beautiful and confident, it makes you feel insecure”. He defined his own narcissism. He would often tell me how every woman wanted what I had and when I laughed he insisted it was true. Pathetic that I laughed but continued sitting there beside them.

    This experience has shown me that yes, absolutely, I must pay more attention to the red flags, but more than that, a huge dose of self-love in the way of knowing what I want because I understand, love, care and respect myself enough to take the time to know what exactly that is, ensures that I settle for nothing less than a love that enables and requires those things.

    Thanks for reading

    • Allison says:


      Please block all forms of contact.
      if you can’t block your phone, then change your number.

      This craziness will not go away. This guy has toooooooooooooooooo many issues!

      • Allison says:


        He sounds more like a sociopath, than your run-of-the-mill narcissist!

        • clarity says:

          Hey Allison,

          I think he’s a thorough combination of sociopath/narcissist. The two overlap.

          He hasn’t contacted in two days so hopefully he has gotten the message to leave me alone for good.
          I always end up changing my number at the end of my relationships for the same reason..the guys call non-stop. I guess I always go for the same type. But this time I thought by going NC I would learn strength rather than avoidance. He is overseas for five days so I guess I will know when he comes back and my phone starts ringing on private number again..Does anyone else have advice about whether it’s best to ignore calls in NC or to just change numbers altogether?

          • Allison says:

            Block or change.

            I didn’t get into the details of your post. In the future, if it feels it, it usually is- go with your gut. Also, if someone is proclaiming love in a short period, something is off.

            • Allison says:

              I meant to say that if it feels off.

              Many red flags with this dude, especially with the woman he’s still involved with.

              • clarity says:

                That’s exactly right Allison.
                I thought I was going crazy because he was talking and acting like my ideal guy but instinctually I felt something was terribly wrong.
                When you can’t figure out if you are simply unable to accept a good man when he wants you, or if this “good man” is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.. it eats away at your confidence, even more so the longer you let the doubt continue.
                I have learnt like you said, that my gut instincts are a good indication of when to trust someone’s intentions.

                I will pay more attention next time.. I promise myself that!

                • Allison says:


                  I was in a similar situation, minus the marriage. I knew many things were off, but continued to stay on the roller coaster. The only important thing, is that we learn and stay away from this type of dysfunction.

                  Good luck :)

  61. Tinkerbell says:


    I’d change my number if he makes a nuisance of himself. But, first, I would refuse to answer. If you find yourself weakening and he keeps calling, then change your number. Some people, and I’ve seen it posted on here, feel that changing your number is a “cop out” and they wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking (not knowing, there’s a difference) that he “got to” them or was that important. My philosophy is if you are serious about NC and he won’t honor it, what the heck do you care what he thinks? Take care of yourself. If that means saving yourself the aggravation of constantly having to ignore his calls, by all means do it. It’s YOU that’s important here. Not him. So you have to give out your new number. Big deal. People change phone numbers all the time. It doesn’t have to be that big an inconvenience unless you make it so. Good luck.

    • clarity says:

      Hey Tinkerbell,

      Yeah, actually.. That’s right. Who cares if I change my number!

      He’s overseas until next week but if he returns and starts again with the obsessive phone calls, I’ll change my number.

      Also, does anyone else listen to the voicemails? Ashamedly I do but it’s interesting and quite entertaining, mostly to observe the fluctuations in emotions; one second begging, next voicemail threatening, next one composed and casual.

      Even writing that felt unhealthy. I think I just answered my own question :)

  62. Tinkerbell says:


    Your curiosity will lead you to listen. But, that’s the benefit of blocking him or changing your number. You don’t want to remain “sucked in”. Same reason why I disagree with stubbornly remaining accessible, not doing anything and relying on your (unproven) will power and restraint (not picking up the phone). Why do that to YOU?

    • clarity says:

      Ok the reason I didn’t just block his number in the first place is because I’ve done many times with him and my phone sends his and any blocked numbers directly to voicemail and then I undo all the effort by listening to the stupid messages.

      So, I just installed an app that hangs up on the numbers you want blocked, disabling the person from leaving a voicemail including unknown numbers.

      I’m happy knowing I have taken care of any future calls/voicemails from the ex. The only potential problem with this is that the app gives you the option of wiping the call register after they ring before you view it. I’ll see how I go. I may still need to change numbers if I get interested in viewing the frigging call register and sit there relishing in my blocking power!

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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