mobile phone message with ex saying sorry and the reply asking "Who is this?"

In our significantly more connected world, it’s so much easier to respond to feelings of remorse in an instant with very little consideration about what we’re doing, why, and the potential ramifications of our actions. When I receive emails from people who recognise themselves in my posts or in reader comments and they say something like, “I’ve been reading Baggage Reclaim for a few days and I realise that I’ve been Mr/Miss Unavailable – do you think I should get in touch with my ex?”, my first thought is, What makes you think that this person wants to hear from you after months or even 1/5/10/15/20 or even 50 years?

Sometimes we’ve got to work things out on our own time. It’s too much to assume that when our conscience strikes us, we can just pick up from whatever point suits us and expect that whoever we’ve wronged will put aside time to make us feel better.

When you’re feeling tempted to try and turn back time it’s because in recognising where you’ve erred and feeling bad about it, you may want to attempt to make things right. It’s having a sense of regret and possibly assuming that the way to move past it is to ‘go back’. Of course the problem with this is that while right now your past deeds may be burning a hole in your mental pocket of remorse, it’s presumptuous if not a tad self-involved to assume that what you’re thinking about is the other party’s burning agenda.

Sometimes we don’t conduct ourselves in the best of ways. Sometimes we make choices and are so caught up in how things suit us that at the time we don’t really give enough due consideration and respect to the other person’s needs, wishes and expectations. Sometimes we miss out on an opportunity and essentially look a gifthorse in the mouth and then maybe when we hit one too many bumps in life’s road, we suddenly think that that was the perfect opportunity or our lives would have been so much better if only we’d done X/Y/Z with the person who we now believe we’ve wronged.

Whenever your conscience and a willingness to learn from the insights of your experiences, actions and thinking decides to strike, this is a good, but be careful of trying to distract you from those feelings and thoughts by attempting to take a shortcut.

Are you reaching out to this person as a quick fix to feel better or have you already been through your own thought process and been applying what you’ve learned to your present?

I’ve heard enough painful tales of remorse and reunions gone wrong to know that there’s such a thing as short-term remorse where you see/hear/experience something and it appears that you have an epiphany, and then you feel bad and in order to feel better, your knee-jerk reaction is to call/email/send a Facebook message (yes really)/text (I’m not joking)/turn up on their doorstep (for real). After reaching out and relieving yourself of your uncomfortable feelings, you ‘suddenly’ become aware of reality and possible expectations created by your return / declarations and because you didn’t take the time to truly feel your feelings and come to terms with what happened and learn from the insights you would have gained along the way, you end up doing something that compounds the original misdeed and likely negates your recent expression of remorse.

I remember bumping into an ex in a club and he was straight over asking why I’d been ignoring his calls, how sorry he was about the way he’d treated me, that he’d realised he was in love with me and yada yada yada. As I listened to him, I realised that I’d already worked out what was what and that if he’d really felt that bad, he’d leave well alone instead of thinking he was entitled to another go round. I thanked him for apologising but stressed that if he felt bad, that’s something he needed to sort out on his own time not mine. That was the last time I heard from him.

I’ve had more than enough fantasies about various people showing up and throwing themselves at my feet begging for mercy and another chance and then whisking me off into the sunset to know that reality does not live up to the dream. Closure can be done without having the other party admit ‘everything’ and guess what? Remorse can be done on your own time too.

Before you think about getting in touch consider the following:

  • Why are you doing this? Write down exactly what you’re expecting to happen. Do you have an idea about what you hope they might say or do? Being honest about your hopes and expectations helps you to not only identify where you may be dodging your own responsibilities but it helps to avoid setting you up for a fall with a fantasy. Is this truly about making amends? Can you apologise without expectation?
  • Have you considered the consequences of getting in touch? If all you’ve thought about is how you feel or some fantasy of how you’re going to make their life so much better, think again.
  • Are you being disruptive? If you caused a great deal of pain in the past, you may actually cause more harm than good if you haven’t thought this through properly.
  • What is the benefit to the other person? If you’re only focusing on your benefit or their ‘benefit’ is really about yours, do remorse on your own time.
  • Are you crossing boundaries? If they’ve moved on or have requested that you leave them alone, respect their wishes. I remember one guy writing to me with bewilderment after he apologised to an ex from forty years ago who was now married with a few kids. He expected her to drop everything. Literally. Instead she dropped a restraining order on him.
  • Have you really changed and if so, why are you going back? Do you believe that you’ve gone through enough introspection and personal growth to warrant reaching out?

If there’s more benefit to the other person than there is to you because you help them lay something to rest, then getting in touch can be a good thing but if it’s mostly your ego doing the talking, it’s not. Sometimes feeling bad is like pass the hot potato – you just want to pass the dodgy feelings on to someone else and get back to life as you knew it before this was on your mind.

There are things I’ve done that I could go around calling/texting/emailing/Facebooking people over but I practice what I now know, now and going forward. Sometimes when we feel bad about the way we acted, we apologise and ask for or even demand forgiveness because we want them to hurry up and make us feel better and to possibly extend another chance. We’re human and we make mistakes but I think it’s safe to say that it’s a bit ‘off’ to wrong somebody and then put it on them to make us feel better about it. If you feel that bad about something, learn from it and pay it forward in your future interactions.

Your thoughts?

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156 Responses to Sometimes we’ve got to do remorse on our own time

  1. Spinster says:

    The Snake tried this nonsense with me (via e-mail of course). Complete self-serving diarrhoea of the mouth. Thank goodness for e-mail filters & delete buttons.

    Great post, as usual.

  2. Eve says:

    So true and at one time it was me trying to contact for validation only to have the ole switcheroo on mr.casual who has got in touch approx every 6 months or so to try and say sorry (really REALLY we do that for casual sex partners now? No, normal people don’t). Each time it’s got me angry, I’ve kicked off, what do you want, you’re being selfish, if you feel bad about what you did tough, you knew what you were doing etc etc. Met with, I didn’t mean to upset you – really? No you were just being the same selfish person you were before.

    Flush, delete, block. Don’t look back because (for me) it only stirs up shitty emotions.

    We don’t need validation of what we felt, we don’t need an explanation from them. Be strong there ARE good men out there.

    • stacey allam says:

      who wants to be reminded that the person that they loved didnt love them and it shouldnt even pertain to casual sex partners

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Eve… This sentence you wrote is so true for me : Don’t look back because (for me) it only stirs up shitty emotions.
      I have been feeling really down lately for many different reasons & caught myself looking back at my relationship with the ex-EUM which brought on a flood of tears. I was surprised that I still feel sad after all this time when I think about it.

      • beth d says:

        Kit Same happens to me but I just accept it is part of the healing process which could take years especially since I was with him for many years. I am happy in my new relationship but at times the ex will still pop into my head and the old shitty emotions stir up. The good news is that except for one text which I ignored he actually is not trying to contact me like he always did. This is new for me but I actually respect him more. The pity act and manipulative hoovering really made me feel disgusted that he could still try to tug at my heartstrings and play games after so long together. I must say NC does work well. It gets better and better and I think of him less and less.

        • Kit-Kat says:

          Thanks Beth D. I have been NC for a long time and yes, it does help alot. He has only tried a couple times to contact me and I am thankful for that. He has nothing to offer that I want or need. Like you, I was with my ex for very long time.I just miss having that interaction with someone but dont feel ready to date & honestly no one has sparked my interest at all. I got on a dating site for a very short minute & OMG their pictures looked like they could either be my grandfather or convicts just released from prison :)..I try to think positively but sometimes its hard. One day at a time is my motto for now..

          • beth d says:

            My single 50 something gf was showing me some pics from the pof website and we were laughing our heads off. LOL at released from prison and grandfathers. Keep trying though. My friend has met a few decent potentials after sifting through the muck. I met my guy through an introduction by friends and it still is a good way to meet someone. Another 50’s friend of mine met her new husband at the local restaurant bar when we all went out for dinner. I am glad you realize that your ex has nothing to offer that you want or need. I feel the same and I actually said that to him when he was distraught about me not wanting any kind of friendship with him. The only thing he has to offer me is sabotaging my new relationship and I’m not having it.

  3. Shay says:

    I’ve done it in the past and never again. There’s no need. It’s all ego, in my case, speaking and it’s just best to leave well enough alone.

    I’ve had a few people come back on the WhatsApp and Facebook with the little conversations or the I’m sorry where I just don’t wish to know. The funny thing is that with the last ex who came back with the Facebook message… I said ‘enough of the pleasantries… what do you want?’ with no response which told me that there was no need for them to come back they just didn’t want to be forgotten or thought that they would be the best thing since slice bread. But their crumbs was not a loaf nor a whole slice of bread either. Talk about starving.

    I have thought about going back to some people but it’s just best to leave well enough alone. I’ve learned that some people haven’t learned anything, haven’t changed nor have any remorse for their behavior. If they behaved properly in the first place then there wouldn’t be NC or the months of no talking. I can’t use my values, judgements or principles to fight a battle with the idiotic. Waste of time and waste of my breath.

    • stacey allam says:

      shay you have just expressed more eloquently than I could ever and have tried at least four times in these posts how I feel about these lost loves returning

    • Nancy says:

      Wow…so true, Shay. After the guy I have seen for 2+ years showered me with gifts for my BD, he then proclaimed that he needed his “celibate time” and I didn’t hear from him for weeks. Then one night he showed up at my door (which he nevers does because he swears he is allergic to my cats), walked in with five shirts that he ironed while he was at my house, had a drink, maybe said two or three words, then left. When I text him later asking why he came to my house, he said “because I just needed to see you.” His hovering to make sure I’d still welcome him with open arms. And I’m sure he was hoping I would suggest he stay so we could have sex. So manipulative and very, very weird. I’m not sure what the ironing of his shirts signified…maybe he wanted me to see that he is domestic. Who knows…just one of many, many strange behaviors from this man.

      • Shay says:

        Thank you Stacey. It’s the combo of Nat’s words and my own thinking. :)

        Nancy… that is just effed up!! Seriously! Lock your door, close the curtains and just ignore this man. He’s playing around thinking he’s great. Forget it. You don’t need the games or the time wasting. Life is too short! Good luck xx

  4. Heather says:

    I did go back once. I had a long time (15 year) gf that I was really abusive too regarding the ex eum while we were together. She was trying to make me see the warning signs I was ignoring. It turned ugly and I chose him over her. We didn’t talk for a number of years. I did call and apologize for my undeserved behavior and left it up to her if she wanted to try to rebuild our friendship. She accepted my apology but has never called or have we spoken since. I respect that. It was truly about making amends. I do still miss her but I also respect her boundaries. Learned a hard lesson from that one and lost a really good friend.

  5. Natasha says:

    Great one Nat! I can’t even tell you the extent to which I will have to sit on my hands to resist the temptation to reply to any ex texts (or Facebook messages…I know, right?) with a link to this post. I remember telling my Epiphany Assclown all about how upset I was that I’d been unceremoniously ditched after doling out yet another chance and getting back, “I need/Woe is me/I suffer so with x, y, and z situations entirely of my own making/I’m upset that I don’t like my job (Yes, that was actually spoken by an adult male on the other side of 30. Sigh.). I don’t understand how these people continue to function…I mean, can one even breathe properly with one’s head lodged up one’s own arse?

  6. Einstien says:

    ‘short-term remorse’….excellent! It’s truly the only kind of remorse an eum has….it sure isn’t of the sincere variety.

    It took me a long time to get what ‘they’ were all about, but I did. I can now read Nats’ posts more lightheartedly, with a kind of “ain’t that the damn truth” attitude. With understanding, but detachment. Feels good for a change.

  7. Magnolia says:

    Good timing: it’s my long-ago ex’s birthday today. And he has sent a few get-in-touch emails over the years on my birthday, usually to update me on his life, his work (and the kids he has had since I left him). I haven’t responded.

    It crossed my mind to send him a hello / happy birthday today. But I wouldn’t want much more than that. I don’t want a new relationship. I just wish that I didn’t have sad memories, and it does twinge sometimes that I haven’t had a proper relationship since I left that one a decade ago. Well, I’ll say it here – I hope he is doing well and having a good birthday – and will leave him alone.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Good Mags,

      Leave it alone. I got a little nervous there for a minute as I was reading your post. But you decided best. You know what YOU want but HE could get the wrong idea. Keep it moving.

  8. NK says:

    I immediately thought of a scene from Scott Pilgrim (the film). In the film he is in a band with two guys and a gal. The gal is an ex and she is always miserable and snappy. She is a funny character but as he goes through an adventure in this film he realises that she is still pissed at him. He says sorry, she immediately lightens up and starts smiling. I suppose that is an example of when it can be good (it is fiction of course).

  9. Kaz says:

    Totally spot on. I have an ex like this who is hanging around under the guise of “friendship” a) to keep tabs on me in case I move on, because he really wants me in his back pocket in case things don’t work out with the woman he dumped me for (the contact is becoming more intense at the moment because I am ignoring him and he doesn’t know what I’m up to);
    b) reminding me of how him texting or calling to ask such important questions as “how’s work”, “how’s the cat” and “how about the rain last weekend” is a sign that he really does care about me, so would I hurry up and be forgiving and decent about the fact that despite him dumping me he does truly have feelings for me and he misses me and…
    you get the drift. Guilt-deflecting, “all about him”, BS.
    It makes him feel better about himself to be the “good friend” and keep in touch with me, so how dare I ignore him, or not be where he expects me to be, or reject his friendship by telling him to go away and leave me alone?
    Of course all of this is going on behind his new woman’s back. He never told her that he was seeing someone before her, so she thinks that he was the single, faithful, available man of the century.
    If (/when?) things don’t work out with the new woman, I would bet money on him lobbing back on my doorstep with an Oscar-worthy performance of [faux] remorse.

    • NCC says:

      Hi Kaz,
      Did we date the same guy? I know that gets said a lot on BR but it never ceases to amaze me how similar these stories can be. When I went back for round three with a cheater I didn’t trust, I got so sick of the pointless texts, “how’s work” “how’s the bus ride home” “miss you.” Meanwhile he never came to see me, never acted on supposedly missing me. I still wanted words to mean something so badly, but I know they didn’t. No action behind them. When I was still in lala land and would answer back some detailed response, and then and get, “Cool” or some other one word trite careless response. I would be the one to get upset because all he was doing was making sure I would hit “reply” Other than that, he could care less how my day was or about anything else having to do with me. Ugh. He’s blocked now, and also the returning high school sweetheart who before I blocked him I said, “stop sending me pointless texts. What do you want? My guess is nothing as usual. Leave me alone.”

      • Little Star says:

        WOW NCC, gosh I love the way you answered him: “stop sending me pointless texts. What do you want? My guess is nothing as usual. Leave me alone.” I cant imagine myself sending this message, but I WISH I COULD DO THAT!!! I received text from ex AC (of 5 years), yet again the same “Hi”, he is in junk email section…IT is such a great opportunity to send him “your text” NCC, but somehow I am not that strong:(

        • NCC says:

          Hi Little Star,
          You feel free to use my text ANYTIME! And thank you for your props, it feels good. And you are strong. I know you don’t feel that way but you are here on BR! I don’t feel that I am strong, If these men have access to me,I can’t ignore them, I feel so weak. With that text…it took me 15 years to get to that point with him. Not to discourage anyone that it all takes that long! It has been a lot of growing as a person along with wanting to change my life, that led me to be able to send him that text. It wasn’t even easy after that long. Honestly BR helped do that, and while I was doing that, I was blocking the recent ex-AC who, I can’t say that to. So I just blocked his number, which hurt too. He has no power over me that way, in a sense blocking him is telling him “NO” you don’t access to me, can’t get in touch for a pointless reason, and I won’t know that he’s not getting in touch, which still hurts. Finally, one more issue to deal with during all of this, going NC with my father. None of these things have been easy, it’s come at a huge price for me and a lot of soul searching, and I’m still feeling crushed. But they don’t have access to hurt me anymore. Don’t beat yourself up Little Star, it’s sooooo scary to let go of the short term fix of these men, and deal with the pain of…”now what? now where do I focus my energy?” But I have to believe that the short term pain is better than long term suffering with these men.

          • Little Star says:

            NCC thank you for your words of encouragements! I am sorry about your relationship with your father, I did not see my father for 2 years and do not have any intention of contacting him! I do not know about you NCC, if it is effecting you or not, but I have issues with trust and abandonment, and I just CANNOT rid of these feelings, how hard I try…it all “thanks” to my father:(

            • Melissa says:

              Hi Little Star

              One thing I noticed in your comments is this negative belief system you have. You say you “just CANNOT rid of these feelings, how hard I try…” and ” I cant imagine myself sending this message, but I WISH I COULD DO THAT!!” and “but somehow I am not that strong:(.”

              If you can’t talk to your self in a positive way it is going to be that much harder for you to change. It takes time but you will benefit from changing the way you talk to yourself. If you don’t think that you will ever change your way of thinking then you probably never will.

              Don’t feel bad I am at fault for this too. A friend of mine actually called me out on this recently and it really helped me. I would complain to her, saying I don’t have any friends or I am not a good writer or I can never finish this assignment etc…The truth is I do have friends (not, as many as I use to, I just moved cross-country), I need to focus on the positive and not the negative.

              I think what you believe ends up becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. So, be kind to yourself and believe in yourself. You are stronger than you think!

  10. Nic says:

    Was it Johnny Depp that said to Kate Moss ‘never complain, never explain’ ?
    I have had too many fantasies about what to do when an ex revisits… to be honest, my right here and now has suffered.
    No more complaining, no more explaining.

  11. Selkie says:

    I’ve recently had an ex, who dumped me in a not so nice way a year ago, been showing up around where I hang out and trying to talk to me, or waving with a big smile. My continued response has been less than receptive and actually pretty unfriendly and any fool would get that after a few attempts. I’ve been strict NC for over a year, haven’t even seen him until a couple weeks ago when out of the blue he went past me on his bike and acted like we we’re long lost friends. The only word I could muster was “whoa’ as I backed away from him in surprise. I felt caught off guard and was NOT up to talking with him. I didn’t want to. Apparently he thinks it was no big deal that he dumped me in public and humiliated me. He made a choice to not know me anymore and I respected that and left him alone. He hurt me and blamed me for everything which left me really confused and feeling like a freak. I chose not to know him now and his guilt, if he feels any, is his problem. I don’t know if it’s all coincidental or what, but I don’t like him trying to be friendly all of a sudden. It makes me uncomfortable. Am I just being a baby or making big deal of it? Am I acting immature, and should I just wave back and act like it’s no big deal to me? I feel like I may be boosting his ego by NOT being friendly, like he sees it still bothers me. It’s kind of unsettled me. I like it better when he stays in his little world and leaves mine alone.

    • Wiser says:

      I had the same issue with my ex that I had to work with and see occasionally at social functions in our small town. You are under NO obligation to make nice with this guy and I think you would feel like you let yourself down if you tried it. You can’t worry about what his reactions are or try to manuever them in some direction by your actions. Your actions are about YOU and how you respect yourself. He’ll think whatever he wants to think, and that isn’t your problem. I don’t like or respect my ex and I have no guilt about avoiding people I don’t like or respect. If that strokes his ego in some sick way, that’s his problem.

      • Lau_ra says:

        Completely agree! It is not my job to make those guys, who vanished on me and never apologised for being such jerks, feel better(saw one of them recently, he could not even look me in the eye and its been already 2y! I bet that would be the same with the second one). I am not that people pleaser, who wants everything nice and polished, anymore. If you act like a jerk, you own the consequences as well, be it feeling uncomfortable everytime you see me, feeling guilty everytime you hear some mutual friend mentioning my name or whatever else.
        Far too many times people think that forgiveness is something light and sweet that you get instantly, just as “I’m sorry” leaves your mouth, with a smile and a hug from that “injured party” following. And even more often people think that this”injured party” is somehow obliged to make time and energy to consider the deal with the “wrong-doer” after they’ve healed their wounds. No, people, the deal is off.You may not care about that over time, but there can never be that genuine warm feeling of forgiveness when poking all of that old mess.
        Not because you are a bad unforgiving person, but because everything has to be done in its own timing. As that song says “too late apologise”…
        I won’t want to speak to certain people or treat them friendly (that doesn’t mean I’m being rude, I just show right away I have no interest in interacting)for a reason, which they know.
        So its not about holding the grudge.Its all about the lessons that they’ve put on themselves.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Selkie, That’s always a tough one. If you acknowledge they think you still care. If you don’t acknowledge they think you’re still angry, so you still care. I saw the exMM in passing as we were driving in opposite directions. Recognizing each other’s vehicles it was just instinct to see who was driving. We looked dead into each other’s eyes. He had a look of surprised eagerness. I had a look of bored disinterest, then was immediately mad at myself for noticing him. Don’t you know a month later his number shows up on my cell phone. I gave him the boot > 2 years ago. This is to say, some of these dudes never give up. It’s all ego. Nothing more. In your case, Selkie, I think I would just freeze him out. If he comes over to ask why you didn’t speak, you can always say, “Oh, I didn’t see you. I guess my mind was somewhere else.” Then get away asap. No complaining, no explaining. And, reblock him on your phone if you have to because he’ll surely call you.

      • Fifi says:

        Yes, and actually it doesn’t matter what they think. In the past I’d have smiled and done the small talk and not cared too much, but there are some people who are toxic to me, and yes, I can’t afford to forget or let them back in. It’s the opposite of being a baby I think, it’s owning your own life

    • bikergrl says:

      You are being self-protective and that is a good thing! This guy really hurt you; you have no obligation to be friendly to him. If I would have stayed self-protective around the guy that hurt/dumped me I would not have gone for rounds 2 – 4.


  12. MRWriter says:

    There is a theme going around regarding apologies. A website called Fearless Men posted an article about “Man Up to Your Mistakes” today. It dovetailed with a conversation with a friend of mine last week about exes and apologies.

    I believe you wrote this as a word of caution for those who wish to apologize but as someone who has been on the receiving end of ‘Old News’ admissions, there’s a shelf life on apologies. I don’t need groveling. I don’t require even a face-to-face. Phone or email works just fine as it is hard enough to admit wrongdoing in person. Still, there’s an expiration date. Nothing fixed per se but a window that as “time heals all wounds…” slowly begins to close on its own accord. By the time I’ve reached my own closure with this person’s actions, how they made me feel, being accountable for my own actions and take my own inventory by acknowledging how I contributed to the situation or dynamic, by the time I’ve personally resolved another’s actions and forgiven them (but not forget) and apply the appropriate lessons…by the time I do ALL that personal work, the window is closed, sealed and shut tight. An apology after all this is borderline insulting. It smacks of THEM, and less about YOU, let alone true atonement or regret.

    The sincerity lies in its timeliness. If someone realizes years later that how they treated someone was wrong and feels badly, then they just need to accept that feeling and make a conscious effort to never treat someone like that ever again. Going back and trying to make up for the wrongs of the past when too many seasons have passed is like finding an old Christmas present your parents intended to give you when you were five. You might laugh or experience slight nostalgia over the gesture but if you’re an adult, that present won’t mean as much now.

    Same thing for me and apologies, and as someone who has experienced the decade later “I’m sorry….I did this or that to you,” it’s not nearly as flattering as one might think. It hurts deeply. I had an ex that 10 years later finally, god bless him, acknowledged the crap things he did to me. He regretted how he treated me and what he did. Seriously? What was I supposed to do? Hand him a medal? Go back to him? Throw my arms around him and say, “Now I can forgive you!!” I was surprised but saddened because in his case, I think it was as genuine as anything genuine from someone like him could muster. It left me standing there reeling as suddenly all the old hurts came flooding back in Technicolor and yet, at the same time it was also all water under the bridge at that point. I was powerless. He was powerless, because we both knew at that moment his apology didn’t change a thing. We couldn’t move forward and there wasn’t any point in going backward. It was ineffectual. Impotent.

    I had a similar situation happen when a former high school beau ran into a friend of mine at a reunion and suddenly wanted to say those two little words. My friend called me and without any warning put my ex on the phone. This was a man who got engaged on me behind my back and disappeared to a foreign country only to leave his best friend to tell me the awful truth months later when I had no idea what had happened to him or us (no warning signs either). This ex got on the phone and tried to apologize to me. I mean really. He was married (different woman than the one he had proposed to while we were together) and I lived in another state altogether. He knew what he had done to me was despicable. It even fractured his relationship with his best friend and they had been attached at the hip since they were in diapers. I moved to NYC, moved to LA. Got on with my life. Yes, I was hurt and the trust issues that resulted from that will probably linger on to some degree. Regardless, his apology over the phone did absolutely zilch to heal the rift between us or his friend. It was old, stale and pathetic. It was clearly all about him and his guilt. I cut him off as he began to rehash what happened and told him that it was old news and I wasn’t interested. He took it as gift. I spared him the humiliation. Fine. I didn’t care.

    Had he even written me a letter (pre-email days) within a couple of months of disappearing, sure it would’ve been painful, but at least I’d have the truth and of course, an apology. That many years later, I had no more than what I had when he didn’t apologize at all. It was way too late.

    An apology, if it is to be sincere at all needs to come while the time is still of the essence. Otherwise, I have to wonder what the point is. A dear friend of mine busted my boundaries years ago. He overstepped by a huge margin. He knew that I wouldn’t put up with what he did. After a few days, my phone began to ring. I didn’t accept the call. Went NC without knowing about NC. Weeks went by. My phone rang. And rang. Thank god for caller ID until finally I picked up and said in a flat voice, “What do you want?” He came back, “I want to apologize.” I went quiet and let him do just that. Not once did he put it on me. Not once did he try to excuse his actions. He took full responsibility, vowed to never do it again and has been true to his word. We are the best of friends still to this day. He said, “I wasn’t going to let you walk this earth without knowing how truly sorry I was,” and here’s the key…”whether I would accept him into my life again or not.” That’s the mark of a true apology. No expectation. No demands. Timely too.

    A friend the other night asked me if my “epiphany (thank you Natalie) EUM/AC-ex were to apologize now…how would I react?” I blew it off initially, saying he would never admit he was wrong even before we were anything, he certainly wouldn’t now. One of the red flags for me with him is that he lacked any ability to take ownership for his actions and previous marriage. An apology from an unlikely source? I’ll sign up for ski lessons in Hell first. But my friend pressed. I contemplated it. A part of me I realized had hoped he would apologize. Not because we would magically get back together but because I wanted to think more highly of him. I didn’t want to think he was an assclown. EUM. Fine. But if he is an assclown, that says a lot about me even giving him the slightest time of day when I had precious time to spare. I wanted an apology to make ME feel better having been with HIM. Knowing full well (and he’s had ample opportunity) that an apology is NOT forthcoming has made me sad that I settled for so little from a petty man. I adjusted my standards and moved on. No apology necessary now. Thanks!

    I have a clear conscience. I can sleep well at night because those who’ve I wronged in the past are still in my present because I didn’t let the sun set until I set things to rights with them. Those who allow too many sunsets and then come back with “sorry stuff” don’t care too much about the person they’ve mistreated because clarity doesn’t take eons, guilt doesn’t take decades, wrong and right, while complicated, are fundamentally basic. You know it in your gut.

    If you hurt somebody, you don’t apologize with any expectations, demands or gas lighting. You don’t guilt the other party. You do it because time is short, life is unexpected and there are no guarantees of another sunset. If by some chance you reflect on your actions and feel that you did someone wrong—don’t call, email, text or Facebook. Have the decency and bravery to feel badly and appreciate that person from afar with the knowledge that they simply bowed out, bruised and probably more than a little hurt, but had the decency to leave you be knowing they deserved more and received nothing in return. Unless they’re still trying to illicit an apology from you, they don’t need your apology anymore.

    So to my friend, my wise teacher Natalie and the apology theme flying around lately, I’m good. No thanks to those who owe me an apology but I have gratitude for recognizing that a person who can’t admit wrongdoing or accept blame for the hurt they caused another is not a person I need sharing even one of my few sunsets.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      Just wanted to say what a wonderful, thoughtful and well expressed post this is. I enjoyed reading every line and agree wholeheartedly.

    • Tulipa says:

      I got a lot out of your post thank you

    • Kit-Kat says:

      MRWriter… I really enjoyed reading your post. Sometimes its hard trying to explain to someone how you are feeling unless you have been there done that. Most of us on here have the same feelings & thoughts. To share is an amazing gift of this blog. I feel better after reading post like this, knowing I am not alone in all this.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Mr. Writer. Yeah, you know you can write, don’t you?!!! Perfectly expressed. Every line was straight out of my brain. We should meet sometime. Lord! Would we be talking and sharing for days!?? You, unlike me, don’t post often but when you do, look out! Thanks so much for expressing every thought and word I would have spoken.

      • MRWriter says:

        LOL…that’s the one thing we do get from these EUM/ACs…stories! Feel free to hit me up on Facebook. I’m M.r. Hunter.

        • Espoir says:

          Wow…just wow…my hats off to you, MyLady…can I hit you on FB too ? We could have a FB party :)

        • paolo says:

          MrWriter..How do we know it’s not really you that owes them an appology and your just telling it from your side? lol.

          • MRWriter says:

            Um…really Paolo? I grant there are always 2 sides to every story, but your comment could be applied to all these posts regarding our experiences with EUM/ACs…and I don’t think it would be appreciated. Clearly, you didn’t read what I wrote very closely. As I said, I do apologize in a timely fashion. Someone that gets engaged behind your back, treats you badly, etc. and YEARS later wants to make amends doesn’t signify that the problem was with me but THEIR behavior. Don’t really see 2 sides to that. Or the humor. LOL.

    • Hurting no more says:

      Your words really resinated with me. Thank you for the gems of wisdom.

    • Sunshine says:

      Wow, Mr. Writer, have to comment on your post (I don’t post on here very often these days): loved the way you’ve described and explained it so clearly! Have to copy it and save it so I can read it again (because I damn should, as often as possible). Thank you.

    • Thinking says:

      I think it’s ones choice as to whether
      or not he or she wants to accept someone’s apology or not, so I respect your right to choose, but what you wrote doesn’t sound like forgiveness to me. It’sounds’ like you are still holding a grudge, which, yes, is also your choice.

      • Lau_ra says:

        I don’t think its all about forgiveness in MRWriters post. Its more about the fact that if we deal with all that resentment after being treated in a disrespectful way on our own, when those certain people don’t bother apologising, they should also deal with their guilt or whatever they feel on their own. Not relying on good will and help from those that they’ve once knowingly had hurt.

  13. Chloe says:

    My ex (2 exes back) keeps in touch, emails me, we became friends which led to more one night and then he tells me he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, I do. He wants to be frineds, same BS, i believe he wants fwb. my inner guidance tells me i can;t be friends, in fact i haven;t gotten together with him since we slept together on night 4 months ago, but he keeps in touch, i spoke with him on the phone and felt crappy afterwards, he was telling me about a woman that is helping him in his business and I felt he was bragging, end of conversation I felt like crap and my good feeling were gone. Now, i;m serious about finding the right one for me amnd my inner guidance is telling me i need to cut him off completelyl no emailing, well NC of any kind and i can;t bring myself to do it, I don’t know why, i really enjoyed his company before the ‘get together’ i wish the friendship wasn;t ruined, but truth be told we were never friends, and i was fooling myself. I can;t believe i am still dealing with this one, but i can;t seem to do the final flush! for fear of being alone, no men in my life, nobaody to rely on if my computer/ car breaks down. I guess \i am codependent that way even though i am capable of dealing with it myself, i just don;t want to, it’s theone area i’ve had men in my life, for my car problems if for nothing else. like 911, intersting point my father is a mechanic and emotionally un avaiable. MMmmm….i need soemone to give me that nudge to flush this guy, i really liked him and his daughter and i will miss his energy, yet if i want to move forward i need to not even rely on an email to know he is still thinking of me. i know i sound pathetic and what’s worse, i’m on holiday (alone) and dealing with this.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Chloe, don’t say you “can’t” flush him. You don’t want to. Simple as that. Do you like/need someone who makes you feel bad about yourself after interaction? Apparently, you do. You cannot possibly find anyone else to help you with your car, or computer? Those are not daily issues. You could find help, but you rather rely on him. Don’t tell yourself it’s for those mindless reasons. I say “mindless” because you don’t want to use your head. You just want to take the shortcut to him. You need to lessen time thinking about him (NC) and try to find answers to that question. One of many, I presume? I’ve been where you are. Widowed 7 years, and the last AC was a general contractor. if he didn’t know what to do, he certainly knew someone who did. For the longest I kept him around for the same reason. He could help me with stuff. But HE WAS MARRIED. i finally snapped out of the dream and realized I deserved better. And, you know what? I’ve found other people to go to for help. YOU CAN, TOO. DO IT!

  14. Not This Time says:

    Great post, Natalie. My ex EUM is doggone relentless! I’ve been NC for 8 months (not a peep) but he keeps sending text messages (how genuine *barf*) trying to guilt me into ‘anointing’ him with forgiveness. Mind you, during the last conversation we had, I shared with him how hurt I truly was and that was met with “I said I was sorry! What else do you want me to do?!” So for him to try to hurry me along with forgiveness reeks of selfishness and insensitivity. Not much has changed. . . I have forgiven him, but I don’t feel the need to break NC to tell him that. It took me this entire eight months to get past all of the BS from last year. If he feels bad NOW then that’s on him to deal with the consequences on his own like I had to because now it’s my turn to not give a sh*t.

  15. Melissa says:

    I have been struggling with not contacting my ex eum. When we split he wanted to be friends right away, but obviously that wasn’t going to work out because I still wanted to be with him (just like I wanted him to be magically emotionally available). I had to get some space between us so that I could move on. I told him not to contact me for atleast 2 months if he wanted to be friends.

    It has been about 2 and a half months now and I haven’t heard from him at all. I want to reach out and let him know he can contact me, but I know that if I did I would be doing it for all the wrong reasons. If I go through all of Natalie’s questions I can’t answer one right. I am trying to shortcut the pain that I feel. I also have the strong feeling that he has moved on with someone else and I don’t want to be disruptive in his life. He probably isn’t even in the position to be my friend and if I reach out first how will I ever know for sure.

    “Are you reaching out to this person as a quick fix to feel better or have you already been through your own thought process and been applying what you’ve learned to your present?”

    Applying it to the present is the tricky part. I have such low relationship self esteem. I have decided not to date until I am truly over it.This last guy love bombed me and I thought he was the one. I am having a really hard time getting past it. I am sick of the constant thoughts of him. Staying strong is very challenging at times, but I am staying honest with myself. I can’t shortcut this because I have to trust myself that I can make good decisions. If I waiver on this how can I trust myself in the future to leave a situation that is bad for me. I just wish I knew how to make the thoughts stop. I feel like I have been going through this forever.

    • grace says:

      I’m not friends with any of my exes except the first one from thirty years ago, and that was after a twenty-plus year break. My boyfriend isn’t friends with any of his exes though he has a lot of female friends. Most people aren’t friends with exes. It’s normal, it doesn’t make anyone a failure or unattractive.
      To be friends with an ex there needs to be next to zero attraction, no hidden agenda, and the acid test – you’d be pleased if he met a nice girl and got engaged.
      Two and a half months is nothing really, especially if you’ve been spending that time scheming on how you can be friends with him. There are two things that are contradictory and true: a) it takes time and b) you want to be over it as quickly as possible.
      I got stuck for literally years getting over an ex, but it wasn’t about him really. I had to address my low self-esteem. Looking back, I wish I had been smarter about what the real problem was instead of wasting so much time.
      You’ve nailed the problem: low self esteem. Work on that instead of getting screwed up over something you have NO CONTROL over, ie another person. No wonder you feel powerless. You are choosing to pursue something that cannot succeed and isn’t even the solution.

      • Wiser says:

        I think it’s almost impossible to be friends with the ex because there is a power imbalance that can’t be overcome. If he dumped you, then he decided unilaterally what would happen in your relationship, he got what he wanted, he made it happen. He had all the power. By contrast, you didn’t get what you wanted, you couldn’t stop him and you were powerless to change what happened. In other words, power imbalance.

        At this point, the friendship is over. Healthy friendships are based on mutual equality, respect and a level playing field. Each person has an equal say in how it goes. Once all the power is on one side, it’s pretty much curtains.

        • Kit-Kat says:

          You hit the nail on head for me with power imbalance. To see it written down by someone else really makes it clear to me that I could never be friends with him. Not that I want to be but he does of course :)

        • Melissa says:

          Wiser, I think you are right about there being a power imbalance in relationships. He dumped me and it was all on his terms and I wanted him back, but he wasn’t going to change back into the guy I thought he was. I then when NC and regained some of my power (ie:self-esteem). If I break NC and reach out to him even though it is past the 2 month time limit I put on it, he gets the power back. He is not going to feel any remorse if I invite him back in my life. The very least he can do is reach out to me and ask to be back in my life. Obviously, he might not ever contact again. He is a big coward. We only dated for 3 months. It was pure bliss and we spent every second together, but it was only 3 months and it probably wasn’t so meaningful to him since he ended it. I want him to come around and I want him to want me in his life because I feel that we shared something special and that we genuinely have a good time and shared interests. I don’t know why he would throw that all away. I told him my terms and I can’t falter on that. I am probably expecting way more than he can give me or more than he is capable of. Obviously, I can’t possibly know him that well. It is a huge disappointment.I have a hard time attempting to not see the best in people.

      • Melissa says:

        Grace, I know that it is counter productive to moving on to have any expectations from my ex. I know that if I need something from him, then I am just not ready to be friends.

        It sucks knowing all this stuff, but to still have my mind trying to find a loophole in my logic to try to justify taking action to contact. I have made a commitment to my self and my esteem to not do anything in the way of contact. I just am tired of the thoughts. I feel like a relationship addict and an obsesser. In the past I have never had a clean break from anyone I always stuck around for the crumbs. I am turning over a new leaf and taking control of my life and I am not dating until I can find peace in my decisions/ life. I am working on becoming more self reliant. I have taken up so many new activities it’s ridiculous. I am just feeling like an oddball because I feel like I struggle more than others and have the curse (or should I say blessing) of being extremely self aware. The hard part is having faith that it will all work out in time and believing that I am doing all the right things, but that it just takes time and lots of it and the more I worry about it all the longer it will take. I have been thinking it might be beneficial to learn how to meditate….

        • grace says:

          Get Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.
          Your situation is our situation. Every one of us has experienced the eerily similar. We’ve all thought the guy was special, that the relationship was “bliss” (fantasy relationship alert), that we are odd in some way that makes it harder for us to find love. We present it to ourselves as our “niceness” or self awareness or extraordinarily analytical minds, but it’s more that we lack boundaries, are insular and prone to anxiety/obsessivesness/ fantasy.
          Nothing you present is unusual or unfixable.
          I’ve been seeing a kind, consistent, thoughtful, self aware man for nearly a year. It can happen.
          It’s easy for me to say now I’m out of the woods but forgive me if I’m highly sceptical that women younger than me or only slightly older, who are attractive, who’ve had a no of boyfriends are convinced thay can’t find anyone. From the day I thought, “right I,m ready” to when I met him was less than two years. Two happy years, by the way. I wasn’t gloomily sifting through the dregs of society. Two years sounds a long time but I had to find a fellow christian. There are many here, myself included, who’ve spent longer than that chasing, even if it’s just in our fantasies, an unavailable man. And at the same time wondering why they can’t meet anyone. Look at where you are putting your energies!

      • paolo says:

        I agree with Grace..Friends after relationships is mostly bullshit.

    • Lisa says:

      Don’t do it is all I can say. My ex ended things with me 2 years ago. The only reason he could tell me was “you’re not what I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Now, you would think if someone tells you that, then you would never want anything else to do with them. Wrong, 6 months ago, we started hanging out again. No sex, just doing things together. A lot of time spent together. He would give me mixed signals. Sometimes he would act like he did when we were dating, others just like we were friends. Well, yesterday I get a text that he’s met someone and thinks she may be the one. Asks me to be be happy for him and not be mad or sad. I just burst out in tears when I read that. I replied to him that I wished him the best and wasn’t mad or sad because I knew we were just friends. He said tha meant the alot to him and we could still call. I went home and cried for 3 hours, took an antidepressant and went to bed. This morning I noticed he posted on fb that he’s in a relationship and he’s looked a long time for this woman. My heart is crushed. I never should have tried to be friends after he broke up with me. I’ve deleted his number and really don’t think I will ever hear from him again unless this doesn’t work out. I don’t know what to do. All I want to do is cry and sleep. I’ve never had a long term relationship and have come to the conclusion there’s something seriously wrong with me. Any advice would be helpful…..

      • Eve says:

        Ok. I understand to some extent of what you’re feeling, I imagine led on is one of them.
        Acknowledge what you’re feeling, hurt, rejected (again? by the same guy). My guess is two things, he is totally clueless he was messing with your head which makes him a dumbass or he knew how you felt and was enjoying the company, attention till something better came along.

        Is that the kind of man you want? My guess is no matter what kind of ass he is he will call, more than likely when he gets a bit bored.

        So what do you want? You either accept things as they are. He’s with someone, you’re sitting at home crying because he doesn’t want you. Or think FU I made a mistake, I won’t let it happen again and I’ll find a man that does want me.

        • Lisa says:

          Thanks for the reply Eve. He knew exactly what he was doing and I’m guilty of going along with it. Seriously, I don’t think I’m dating material right now. I’ve gained about 30 lbs while we were seeing each other. I know I did it because he was alwasys making comments about my weight. So, now I’ve got weight to lose. It didn’t hurt him any, just gave him something else to make fun of me for. He was not a small man and I would tell him to look in the mirror.

          But, long story short, I need a break from the madness that comes with having a male friend, dating, whatever you want to call it.

          Ya’ll have a blessed day.

          • beth d says:

            Lisa, Take some time to work on you. Think of it as pampering time. Exercise (release those feel good endorphins) go on a healthy eating program and do whatever makes you feel good. You will start to feel better. You compromised your true feelings and I doubt you will make that mistake again. It’s all a learning experience.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Lisa you were riding a fantasy boat and it wasn’t going to paradise island… Sometimes we lead ourselves on paths that cause our own pain. Was the joy & happiness you got out of the relationship worth the cost of it. I imagine not. Learn from your mistake. Yes, he knew what he was doing and enjoyed every minute of it.. Flush & forget u every met him. He will be back when it doesnt work out with the one…CLose that door forever :)

        • beth d says:

          “Lisa you were riding a fantasy boat and it wasn’t going to paradise island… Sometimes we lead ourselves on paths that cause our own pain.”

          Love this kit!! I think it is something most of us on here have done. Too bad the boat ends up sinking and we end up scrambling around for a life preserver. BR is one of the best life preservers I found. :)

        • Lisa says:

          Kit-Kat, no the pain wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it the first time around either. My family hates this guy and would ask me what did I see in him. Well, I had my blinders on, but it’s ok. I’m over it. I’m tired of being used by him. I have deleted his number and if he does get in touch, I will ignore him. My health is worth more than this. Thanks for the reply…..

      • Melissa says:

        Lisa, there is nothing wrong with you!! Trust me I have felt the same way. Read my above posts.

        You need to be honest with yourself and others. You said, “I replied to him that I wished him the best and wasn’t mad or sad because I knew we were just friends.” That obviously wasn’t true. You are deeply hurt. You are mad and sad. Don’t beat yourself up from trying to be friends. Learn from this experience and move on. I know easier said then done. You have to listen to yourself. If your not ready to be friends then don’t be friends. And, if you can’t communicate your feelings in an honest way than that is not a good sign either. I should remind myself that I should stop thinking about being friends with my ex, because I am not ready and I would just open myself up to being hurt.

        Stay strong and try to find healthy ways to cope. Best of luck to you!

        • Lisa says:

          Melissa, it’s like you are in my head. Yes, I am mad and hurt. Not so much sad. I’ve made some bad choices in my life when it comes to men even though they have never been long term. They go on with their lifes and never give me a second thought. I’m just tired of all the games and deceit and lies.

          Just want to thank everyone for the replies. It really does help and I’ve been reading this blog for awhile but just have never took it to heart to use in every day life. Believe me, I will be reading and applying all this info to my life.

          I’m tired of being tired.

          Bless ya’lls heart and hope ya’ll have a good day.

          • NCC says:

            Ladies, wow…sitting here at work about to head home, I wish I had more time to comment. Lisa, I am and have been in your shoes. I’ve gone back for more when the first time I left was MORE than enough reason, but now i’m loaded down with another year of pain and “good” memories that try to smash the bad memories and pain, which there was much more of. He didn’t change, he insulted me, called me fat, ugly, you name it, coupled with I love you’s, you’re cute, you are the only good thing in my life. What a mind-f. I’m also tired of being tired. What hell I’ve put myself through. Melissa I feel you too. Wish I had more time to comment, I might later, hope to read more from you both and how you are doing. I love the responses too from those who have gone through, are going through, and have come out of the woods as Grace says to give us strength and hope.

      • suzy says:

        LISA -theres nothing wrong. This just wasnt your time. I think its perfectly ok, and actually good for you to hurt….its part of the process….so cry and feel sad, but not for too long.
        I spent time under my bed covers, sobbing, reading baggage reclaim, (still do on good days as well). I drank wine and felt life would never be the same. Truth, its not, it will change, just go through the journey and be good to yourself….

        I read something recently about getting over pain, by movement…whether thats exercise (I swim forever – Its really hard to cry while swiming and ive tried) walking, travelling, moving. So in your pain, move….
        In my biggest crisis when I realised EUM MM did the dirtiest betrayal and I couldnt move from that pain, but I made a plan. It involved stalking, checking him out etc, all those things we are told are NO NO. But my pain wouldnt let me move on. So i decided, if I was going to check him out, do all those wrong things I had to prepare for it. He lives 2 miles along a dirt track in the country. So in order to spy, I decided I needed to be able to run the distance, without being caught. So I ran. Not near him, near my home, every day until I was up to doing the frantic jog to his house in the dark. (WTF!)I looked up Bear Grylls under badassofthe I called myself Betty Grylls, drew a pic of me over Bear’s pic. and RAN. After two weeks, I made 2 miles. But I NEVER ran near his house. I healed instead. Slowly. But I started to heal.I then went to visit a good old friend in another country, I travelled, just for two weeks,I swam, I sat on the beach and thought sad thoughts. And one lovely evening, all on my own, with the beautiful sunset, warm sea and peace, I felt a glimpse of happiness, just brief. But it was all mine and nothing was going to change that. My happiness belonged to me.I still hurt, but I was healing, slowly.
        You will too. Love you, all for yourself xx
        I still have a scar, but ive learnt from it, and importantly im healed and im safe.

        • Lisa says:

          Suzy, thank you so much. I will take your advice to heart. I need to make some changes in my life. I have always tried to keep everyone happy and now I just think I need to worry about myself for awhile.

          I wish everyone on here the best!

  16. KM says:

    Yes this is a great read for an assclown ex boyfriend who feels entitled to call or make a halfassed attempt at saving what is deemed to be an unhealthy relationshit thanks to all his wrong doing and downright predatory behavior (lying about being monogamous, cheating, manipulating emotion and physical abuse and gaslighting and putdowns like “your cellulite” which were imagined by him and false in reality and all the future faking) on his former girlfriend whose first serious love relationship was with him (an assclown) and it lasted almost 2 years including a couple short breaks before I wised up from his last atrocious attempt and horrible disaster of reuniting after the last (one month) break where his behavior in the proceeding 2 weeks after reuniting and his lack of returning my voice messages until the 3rd one on the 9th day where he sent me a text right after my voice message was sent saying “I can’t talk right now and why are you being so [some word that means mean/difficult- which totally was not the case]” and I wrote “I’m trying to communicate” and I know within the time frame he had not listened to my message yet, so a few hours later, around 11 at nite, he calls and I let it ring 5 rings while watching the phone. I have never heard from him since and it will be 5 months next week. What I highlighted in the 6 minute voice message was that I was looking for closure, that this was not the respect I deserve in a healthy relationship, that I know what’s going on, and aside from mentioning manipulative and underhanded tactics and his stonewalling of asking me to talk about grievances (during the last time I saw him during the reunite) and then shutting me down by saying “I don’t know what your talking about” concerning a text sent to me from his phone intended for another and I went on about how I was so stupid to ignore things like that because I liked him so much and wanted to see him–well I ended it with saying whomever you are with now or the next person give it your all because I felt like I didn’t even get 10% and that’s all I have to say. Basically he must now realize that leaving well enough alone is best because of his issues…and even if his pride/ego/attitude of not caring or thinking I will come back is the result of him contacting me for the first and last time after the 9 days of silence from his end (playing the game of let me see how much she will call me, waiting for me to contact him, which I attempted 3 times, all of 3 calls, the first call the evening after I left his place in the early afternoon from staying over, no response, a voice message a few days later, no response-and he skipped out on me during Thanksgiving which he had invited me to/turned out to be an obvious future faking lie, then another voice message 4 days later on the 9th day to which he immediately texted me a line of BS that he couldn’t talk right now-see what I wrote above-and then his fail of calling me late to which I didn’t answer, the damage is done and my decision is finally permanent), it’s over. Thanks to coming across Natalie’s blog my new knowledge of the Assclown and other things from research on relationship matters have helped tremendously on figuring out what is best for me. I have also concluded that being single and working on myself is important for me to grow positively rather than being stuck and messed around with in an unhealthy romantic relationship of my choosing that causes me to let myself go in more ways than one.

  17. KM says:

    And he lied. So many lies. During the reunite everything was just wrong. Even during the wine and dine at a run of the mill casual but alright non-chain restaurant that I used to like, my sandwich looked like it was sat on. And the omelette he made me the next day was gross with lots of garlic and onion in it and I could tell he was trying to start a fight with me too asking if it was hot and repeatedly saying is it good? and he told me to buy a loaf of bread when I asked for a piece of toast, yet a bag of cinnamon bread was sitting in sin sight on his table, I mentioned it, he was like okay want some and of course I was like no. And I told him in response to his omelette questioning which was made with yucky string cheese “wow I’m going to smell fresh after eating this” he probably wanted me to stink and not attract others I met on my way after leaving his place. As I hang out with friends in neighboring cities since I currently live over an hour away from civilization and friends (the old out of work after university and stuck again at parents riff) and my drive if I go straight from Assclown’s place is a good hour. Anyway, what really irritated me was that last nite, after dinner at a dive bar he introduced me as “a friend” to a few others. Strike 1. Then I mentioned how that hurts my feelings back at his place and he’s all (insert childhood ex GF of a decade from a decade ago) never minded. Yes he started if not had been talking to his probably fall-back 38 y/o ex now within the last few months before his and my relationship ended (5 months ago almost). Strike 2 plus comparing me to another woman. Then I ask him why do you want me here, why am I here? and he replies because I love you. Well needless to say short story short it was all bullcrap and he has way too many issues to forge a healthy relationshit with anyone. And I am over it and hopefully my irritation and anger will fade to indifference. Change is good sometimes and hopefully more good changes will come my way and that’s what I want to focus on instead of negative thoughts about Assclown and worrying about or trying to meet another man because its just not worth it now.

  18. KM says:

    You have to wonder if the male population is aging ahem I mean maturing backwards. I’m barely 30 years and my Assclown is 37 and the grief over the almost 2 year relationshit makes me wonder if dating the 25-30 age group is the way to go because it seems that men 35+ age group are set in their ways and extremely hard to change meaning they generally don’t budge and not only do not correct the wrongs in the past the future will be followed with more wrongs done to you if you continue to stay with this old man Assclown. I now am understanding better why most of the older men (lets go with the 80/20 rule here) get the younger they prefer the woman in a romantic relationship because they are Benjamin buttoned into a stupified maturity level.

  19. Jule says:

    I was talking to a friend recently about how my ex husband is engaged to be married and how I wish things would have been different, that I still love him. She said “well, he’s not married yet. Tell him” but I thought long and hard about that and although it’s true I have deep regrets about our divorce and I still care about him a lot, I’ve decided to be quiet and move on. He has. He is doing fine. He has a new woman and for the first time in my life I made a decision about a love relationship that goes beyond my feelings now. I thought about it the other day — what would happen if I did say it?? Well, would I really want him back? And haven’t we made enough pain and heartache and enough mess for our little girl? If I said something and he miraculously wanted to end things with her and get with me, there would be YET ANOTHER heart I’ve broken. Enough. I’m done with causing pain just so I win or get what I want. And I’m starting to see…it’s me I want. It’s my life of new possibilities that I want, while knowing he is happy. If I truly love him the way I should, I should be happy he is happy. It’s taken a long time to get here (prob over 3 years) but I’m there. Thanks for this post Natalie. It helps solidify in my mind what I was thinking.

  20. Mamina says:

    I tend to send him txt’s when I’m on my way home alone from a night out when I’ve had one to many drinks….and the next morning I regret it so so much. How can I stop doing that?

    • Tabitha says:

      Take his number out of your phone?

      • MaryW says:

        Yes just delete his number from your phone. If you can’t (if you have an iPhone, for example) then save his name under something that will remind you of his flaws and why you’re not with him, e.g. I have one stored under “f@ckoff” (what he told me to do, which really upset me) – I am not tempted to send him a text no matter how many drinks I have!

  21. Elaine says:

    Such a great post! My ex’s been trying to contact me for a month and I’ve been ignoring him because I’m on NC for a month; We were 9 years together and he cheated on me 4 months ago, so I’m still recovering. In his texts he only says he wants to talk with, things like: ‘come on, we’ve been together for so long, can’t you just pick up the phone?’ and then he goes on ‘I’m really having hard time, I’m so sorry that I hurt you, but please call me’I can’t believe that he’s so selfish!I think he’s still with the other girl; so what does he want from me??? Has he no boundaries? My friend says that I should pick up the phone and give him a piece of my mind because he just doesn’t get it, he knows I’m weak when it comes to him, so he doesn’t believe that I went NC for real, so the more I’m ignoring him the more he calls. I have my ups and downs and sometimes I feel really depressed and my friend thinks it’s because I never let my anger out on him even when I saw him with the other girl I just turned around and went home, I didn’t give any reaction, so she thinks I should finally lash out on him and let my anger on him because that’s the only way for me to feel better. Anyway, I can’t believe that I gave years of my life to the most selfish person on the planet.

    • Tabitha says:

      Oh Elaine, this one is easy. I am afraid your friend is totally wrong. What he is saying is, “Oh, come on Elaine, this isn’t the way I wanted it to pan out! I thought you would throw a hissy fit at me and then hang around waiting for crumbs to fall whilst I paraded my new girlfriend around. I thought I could make subtle comments that would make you think you actually meant something to me, and that if you twisted yourself up into enough knots, I might actually dump her and take you back. Or maybe I could just keep you in reserve in case things don’t work out with the new one. The fact that you just walked away with dignity makes me feel you are indifferent to me. This is NOT acceptable to me. Please contact me so I can convince you and then convince myself that I really am ALL THAT. Things are seriously out of balance here. I cannot accept that you have moved on with your life.”

      Elaine, you know that if you speak to this guy you will be in danger. You have done the best thing. I am expecting a chorus of fallback girls like myself who will say they wish they had ended things in the stylish way you did. Not a backward glance.

      • Hi Elaine,

        My ex cheated too and then came back with the exact same lines about how sorry he was and didn’t mean to hurt me etc etc WHILE he was still seeing all the same girls!

        I tried to tell him exactly what I thought of him and his disgusting behaviour (as your friend recommended), but that was a fatal step for me as whenever we met up for me to ‘give him a piece of my mind’ it would end up with me spending the night or me agreeing to give him ‘one more chance’ just because I was so weak at the time.

        Just like you, I could never say no to him to his face or on the phone, he just twisted everything around to what HE wanted.

        I broke NC so many times that he just expected me to keep crawling back, but 5 months on and I still haven’t contacted him yet!

        I suggest you ignore his calls/texts and get some perspective by distancing yourself from the situation.

        • Elaine says:

          Hi, I appreciate your comment. Its interesting how he’s been trying to contact me over phone, e-mail and texts for the whole month but he knows where I live, so if he wanted to tell me something REALLY important why then he doesn’t come and tell me in person? It’s because he only wants me to clear his conscience so that he can again move on with is life with his new girlfriend; We have always been good friends so it seems to me that he misses me to talk about his problems.My friend says he’s a parasite and he needs me for an ego stroke and if I answer he would think ‘You see, I’m not that bad’. When he was with that girl (of course at that time I didn’t know that) he told me he could never bear to see me with another guy! Can you believe that? and he’ cheating and saying those things at the same time!!!I could write a book about his nonsense! Anyway, thanks for your comments, it helps a lot. NC all the way.

          • This is just why this website is such an amazing place to be! I used to think this kind of behaviour was very much ‘unique’ to me.

            The ex knew where I lived too and he knew where I would be at certain times of the day every single week and even when he was visiting a friend (every Monday night) in the apartment across the road, he never once attempted to apologise in person!

            This just go to show these ‘men’ are cowards and they don’t really deserve any more of our time!

            Also, when he was cheating, he kept sending me “I love you so much” texts all the time and when someone tagged me in a post on Facebook with another guy (just a friend) he absolutely hit the roof, demanding to know why I was alone with another guy without telling him. Erm hello?? Something fishy there!?

            I don’t doubt he misses you, but it is for all the wrong reasons, probably because you were willing to give him so much. Every woman out there deserves better than a cheat. Including you :)

            You’re amazing to have made the decision to not make it 10 years with this loser. On to better things!

      • Elaine says:

        Hi Tabitha, I appreciate your comment, it puts everything into perspective. He was the one who broke up with me, didn’t tell me he met someone else, but still kept calling me for a month telling me how he’s depressed and he would literally cry over the phone, so I felt sorry for him(!), and after some time I told him that I can’t be in contact with him and can’t move on like that, he said please if I feel like can I call you;at that point I couldn’t say no only to literally bump into two of them hugging and kissing each other, and when he saw me he tried to hide both of them under the umbrella, but I faced them, just looked at them, turned around and went home. I cut contact, but after some time I wanted closure and met him for a coffee to discuss what had happened because I was in a state of shock, but he said he didn’t feel well, he lost some weight, he goes to doctor regularly, when I asked why he didn’t have a response just said ‘sorry’ and wanted to stay in contact with me (still) because we could always talk about everything. I (being stupid enough) allowed that for some time and asked him if he was still with her, he said no, only to see him again in the car with her!!! Then I realized he was just using me to be his ‘friend’, so since then I am on NC, and he’s still trying to contact me,I don’t intend to contact him ever again! So, one can say I was, in a way, a fallback girl in the sense that I did allow him some contact after what he did to me but for short period of time, but we never got back together and I never had sex or anything else with although he did hint a couple of times that we could. Most of my friends say that it is ‘stylish’ way how I reacted when I saw him with her, I didn’t do anything stupid, didn’t insult him or her, just walked away, but most of them also say he doesn’t deserve that treatment and that is the reason why I suffer because I buried my anger inside instead of taking it out on him. So they suggest that I insult him so much so that he never tries to contact me again because it would hurt his ego a lot so that he’ll never contact me again. They say I shouldn’t be his nice and sweet Elaine because he would always think that he could come back if I don’t start rejecting him in a rude way. I just cannot believe that I spent 9 years of my life with such a person!!!

        • NCC says:

          Hi Elaine,
          Already some great feedback being given here that I am taking in as well as I’ve been in a similar situation! I’m so eager to respond to you but want to try and give a well thought out response for you as so many people have done for me! When it comes to having caught out the AC numerous times, I’ve gone the “polite, classy” route , I’ve gone the “blow-up tell him everything about himself” route, called him names, tell him how much he hurt me, that I’m a good person who deserves better. It’s all ended me up in the same place…dealing with the pain and hurt and feeling very alone. He is the same person regardless. My ego also had ulterior motives a lot of the time. I was more concerned with what he thought of me than how I thought of myself or what I needed out of finally ending things with him. But it was also a result of circumstance…how I was feeling from one instance to the next tended to elicit a different response from me. All in all I was hurt and disgusted each time.
          The bigger picture here is to GET BEHIND YOUR DECISION to not be involved with this person any more, and to stop doubting yourself. NO matter what, he acted in an unacceptable manner, he lied to you, you found out, you reacted. It’s hard to get behind this notion I know, but who cares what he thinks. Truly. He needs to be worried about how HE acted, and deal with his own issues.
          The classier route did leave me feeling more empowered, but at the same time, I wanted that to mean something to him….still thinking about everything in terms of what HE was thinking, not me! I wasn’t behind my decision at the time, so I knew I wanted him to contact me. Guess what? He did, I pushed back for a while, but ended up with him again.
          When I blew up at him, guess what? I got called crazy, a bitch, he treated me like he never cared if saw me or talked to me ever again. And of course, I FELT like those things were true. I gave him a great story to tell the next girl, or his brother, or whomever, that I had done this and that, thrown a glass, broke his phone, yada yada. (yes I did those things) But he didn’t see them as a sign of how badly I was hurt. He just used it against me, to talk about me behind my back, to justify to himself that he didn’t care I was gone. And you know what, he still contacted me later. I pushed back for a while, but ended up with him again.
          Words, emotions, pleas, crying, expressing agonizing pain, telling them all about themselves (see Natalie’s post on this) more pleading; nothing breaks any kind of barrier with these men that we think will make them into who we want them to be.
          Your expression of anger towards him will pump his ego, and only serve the drama addicts that exist at least somewhat in all of us here. He may say something great that you want to hear, he may call you “psycho” Trust me when I say you won’t feel any better either way. All the good things he ever said to me only served to let me delude myself further, and all the bad things he said have halted me to my core and caused more pain than I’ve ever felt. If you are not over this person, the purpose behind your expression will be hoping for a response from him that will make you feel better, you won’t get it. And for him to acknowledge that you are right, he is a jerk. Even if he does, he won’t change. You will walk away STILL feeling hurt from his ACTIONS. Your words to him won’t change what he did. You know he is a piece of s*&t, that’s all that matters.

      • McKenzieM says:

        WOW. Tabitha, your comment really spoke to me (see my comments further down to understand why).

        Thank you for writing it. :) I don’t understand why the EUAC wants to talk to me, but as you said (and another commenter below), he likely wants an ego stroke/to convince himself he is still great or whatever, and NOT because he has changed or realized how great I am or even that he necessary cares about me; it’s about HIM and him likely needing/wanting something from me.

        Thank you for the additional perspective.

      • Tee says:

        This is everything!

    • Revolution says:


      Listen to Tabitha. And congratulations on losing this fool.

  22. Chad says:

    Im going throught this right now and it sucks. I go over and over in my head about sending an email. How do I stop this back and forth thinking. Its been a month since last contact. I did not agree with how a friend was treating two different women. All his lies and coverups came cashing down when I told one of the ladies. I felt he was playing with peoples lives and needed to be stopped. Felt like I betrayed him so much afterwards. Any ideas???

    • Helen says:

      Well done Chad, you did the right thing, don’t beat yourself up over it…you acted in good faith and maybe you don’t need friends like that in your life!? :-)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Chad. Good for you. You behaved with integrity that many of your gender do not possess. Plus, you acted in good faith toward someone being screwed (pardon the pun) over. What she does with the info is another story, but not your problem. Your conscience is clear.

    • Revolution says:

      Hi Chad,

      You did the right thing, and you know you did because it was bothering your conscience enough to do it. Good for you. You didn’t break the “bro code” or anything like that….you followed the Golden Rule (which is not gender-, but people-specific) and in doing so, you have catapulted a user out of your life. Now you are free to pick better friends, ones who don’t make you choose to either be misguidedly loyal to them or disloyal to yourself (knowing that you are colluding with a liar).

    • NCC says:

      Hi Chad,
      Good for you. My ex had brothers around, friends, etc who I wish would have told me…but they didn’t care about anyone but themselves, just like the Assclown. Guess he was in similar company.

  23. Tulipa says:

    I don’t personally think ACs do remorse they fit the post “hurry up and forgive me so we can get back to how things were”
    I think of times in the past when I was in no contact and how I struggled and what for? He always got back in touch got impatient if I hadn’t accepted his lame half hearted apology yet.
    I think an apology that is genuine and honest includes not repeating the same behaviour you are saying sorry about. If you say sorry then do the same thing again what is the point of saying sorry in the first place?
    The ex AC has offered me time to vent my anger after I expressed I had many things to be angry about. I thought about it but it doesn’t appeal I will get a lame apology “sorry I hurt you” “yes I can see how my behaviour was wrong” and then do exactly the same thing again voiding the apology. Or even worse he will say “I understand what you are saying…” really ?? or “I hear your anger” ??? what…but the bottom line is EVERYTHING remains the same.
    “Closure can be done without having the other party admit ‘everything’”
    This is going to be my test I know all what I said above but believe I will be tested in this area. Here is sticking to the truth I know and staying away.

    • NCC says:


      YES! “not repeating the same behavior” Wow, what a concept. My father, has made his remorse my issue yet again. 30 years of this. He literally will say to the next day, after a drunken verbal attack on me,”so I guess you are pretty mad at me, huh?” Talk about passive aggressive BS making it my job to make him feel better and forgive him, put aside my hurt, so that he feels better about himself.
      I swear, thinking back to being a kid, when we learn about saying we’re sorry, and always accepting people’s apologies (yes I say ALWAYS because I feel like that’s what I was taught) I NEVER remember being told “and you have the right to accept an apology or not, and the right to expect that an apology means they care about you and WONT REPEAT THE SAME BEHAVIOR.
      I don’t want any more sorry’s from my father, or from the Assclown who cheated and lied over and over, or from the EUM first love who will never change but won’t let me go but won’t properly be with me either. For any Seinfeld fans, they can “stuff their sorry’s in a sack mister!” From people who have said sorry but never changed their behavior, I need and want nothing more from you.

  24. grace says:

    When I was going through my epiphany a few years ago I was tempted to look up an old ex to apologise for cheating on him. But then I realised it was boundary busting. Who did I think I was thinking he even wanted me to come back with my remorse?
    I had dressed the relationship up in my mind as “the “lost chance”. But it was not a good relationship. We both had deep seated issues. If I bumped into him I would apologise but I wouldn’t go looking to intrude into his life.
    I also had some regret over the returning childhood sweetheart. He was such an ass in the end that I have zero regret about that now.
    In the end, we’ve all hurt other people and been hurt. We can’t go back and do it over, which also carries the real risk of doing even more damage!
    The best we can do for mankind is be better people now and in the future.

    • Lucy says:

      Thanks for your post, Grace. I cheated on someone 2 years ago. I didn’t apologise at the time because for some reason I was angry at him and hadn’t processed it well. I did think about apologising later but I remembered his asking me not to talk to him again. It was a tit-for-tat thing where I didn’t feel like apologising because I felt that he hadn’t owned up to his side, so to speak. It’s weird to hear that from a cheater but that’s how I felt. I had to own up to the fact that I didn’t feel as sorry as I was supposed to be which is like admitting I’m a terrible person. This blog post has been pretty humbling to read and I’ve taken it on the chin. Thank you, NML.

  25. I have actually been thinking about apologising to my ex-AC myself. I know I made so many mistakes in our relationship and I just feel like I should validate them so that he doesn’t feel like I don’t care or that I don’t understand.

    But I think that if I do, it will firstly encourage him to think that there is another chance for us to try again and that he will think his cheating was actually justified.

    But I’m thinking whether he even deserves an apology, because I don’t want him to feel like he didn’t actually do anything wrong and by me admitting my mistakes, his are immediately absolved.

    I want to say something like “Sorry I made so many mistakes with you, but nothing justifies what you did.” But perhaps that is just hoping that he will respond with some remorse..

    • MaryW says:

      You could try writing it all down in a letter to him, and then don’t send it. But you’ve expressed your feelings.
      Everyone makes mistakes in relationships, but as you say they don’t justify his behaviour. He probably already knows that without you telling him :)

      • Hi Mary,

        I think I’m going to try that! It won’t be same as screaming in his face, but maybe it will help me lighten the load of the blame I am putting squarely on my shoulders.

        I doubt he knows that because I am pretty sure he thinks that my mistakes (which were very minor) justify everything he did.

        • Tabitha says:

          Wish, you need to be kinder to yourself. He was just a detour. Time now to get back to the wonderful business of being you and treating yourself with love care and respect.

  26. Valley Forge Lady says:

    Bad Pennies always turn up with less to offer!

    ALWAYS!!!!! The worse they are the more they attempt to get back in your life.

    They have not changed they are just peristent because they are always looking for vulnerable targets. DONT BE A VICTIM OR A DREAMER!!! Don’t collect bad pennies!

  27. Lostinspace says:

    I can relate to this post. My ex MM contacted me via text after 18 months apart. He was feeling lonely apparently, although not enough to end his crappy relationship. After all that time I had moved on and was in a good place. I should have told him to eff off, but part of was still in his thrall and I agreed to meet him for a chat. Stupidest thing I ever did because it catapulted me into another 2+ years of insanity. Still, we live and we learn…hopefully :)

  28. MaryW says:

    I have an ex who never quite goes away. He wasn’t awful. He wasn’t married or abusive, but he was emotionally unavailable and I wasn’t happy with him at all. I ended it with him, and I suppose I feel a bit guilty because I haven’t ever asked him to stop contacting me. He can go for a few months, then I get texts starting with “how are you?” and after a few days it’s “lets meet for a drink”. I usually ignore the messages, but recently he told me that his father died and I felt too bad to ignore him. Well I did ignore him when he asked about meeting up for a drink – at first I was trying to imagine that it would be OK, enough time has passed etc, but the reality is that he’d be all over me and I’d find his advances physically disgusting. Sorry, but that’s how it ended up. It’s much easier to totally cut someone out of your life when they’re a total b@stard, less easy when you just didn’t get on but they’re not an awful person.
    I have lied before and said I was dating, I have also told him flatly that I was happy when I was with him. He never gets it.

    On the flip side, I’ve been feeling guilty/ conflicted about the way I abruptly finished a deeply dysfunctional fling with another guy. I contemplated contacting him (for about half a second) even though I KNOW NC is the right thing to do. I have actually been having some dreams about him and other exes and it’s been quite unsettling. I mean, you can be as rational and logical as anything when awake but then your subconscious throws up lots of stuff when you’re asleep.

  29. lo j says:

    MrWriter … Love what you wrote.
    I’ve had to really look at my remorse and apologies to people I wrong at present. It’s about acknowledging their feelings, feeling sorry that I’ve hurt them, made them angry, crossed their boundaries, etc. and taking responsibility for what I’ve done, not because they did such and such, etc, but because I was wrong, controlling, insensitive, etc. I try to make sure that my apologies are for them, not me. And I can’t have any expectations as to how they react. I have to be ready to accept that as well. It’s amazing what a true heartfelt apology can do for both parties.
    I have also learned when someone is truly apologizing for me and when it’s for them. Used to, any old I’m sorry worked, reset button pushed, same old BS begins to play again.
    Unfortunately, there are not enough sincere apologies in our world.

  30. noquay says:

    This is an awesome post. Generally when I end a relationship if I feel I have done wrong, I apoligize then and there and that’s it. Over the past coupla years, rather than fall all over myself apologizing, I believe the better course of action for me was to listen to my spidey senses and try and “force” myself to be attracted to someone I really don’t jibe with rather than stay alone. Once we are away from the person we forget how awful it was to be with them, the clash of values, the stress and conflict. Yep, we may have lashed out, been hurtful, been an absolute bastard but a bad situation WILL bring out the worst in a person. The only ex I have any real contact with is my ex husband; we jave discussed our breakup in detail and he agrees that I was in a very bad situation where I was literally in danger, unemployable in the area and had no other choice. The other end of the spectrum is the at work AC: no closure, no discussion, no insight on his part that he did wrong, lots of tension due to shitloads of uncleared air; luckily the semester ends in two weeks and I get a three month reprieve.

  31. Nancy says:

    Timely post. Every time I think I will go NC, when I have something stressful happen or feel insecure, I always call, send a text or an email just to make sure he is still there. Well the reality is, he has never been “there” and his responses usually make me feel worse instead of better. I want him to say he missed me and loves me…instead I get a bunch of evasive mumble jumble that kind of says it but gives him an out for the future. I have stopped taking the 9:00 booty calls, but it hasn’t been easy.

    So I really, really like this article. Especially the questions “why am I doing this?” and “What are the consequences?”

  32. Lori says:

    Don’t make this so complex. Just tell that person that you accept their apology(if they are apologizing) and that you have moved on. Period.

    • Eve says:

      except to accept an apology from a liar has ‘what’ meaning exactly?

      His apology, guilt whatever he is feeling is HIS problem, he has no right to expect me to accept anything I don’t want to.
      I’m not going to lie to make as assclown feel better about themselves.

  33. Sandra81 says:

    In this moment, I have this exact problem with a male friend of mine. 2 months ago, he left his ex for another girl (whom he is still with), but in all this time he had a couple of “lazy communication” attempts to get in contact, and really for silly things. No reply to any of these attempts. Well, he’s only 25, he still has time to grow up! 😛 However, last week his ex went through a family bereavement, and now he’s flip-flapping back and forth whether he should send a message of condolences or not, and asking for my advice. On one hand, it would be a friendly and polite gesture, but, on the other hand… his situation is still the same, with the new girl in his life. Additionally, what I know is that his ex’s break-up reaction was very dignified: she accepted his wish to be with the other girl, wished him well, but, at the same time, went no-contact on him. Permanently or not, we don’t know yet. It was nothing “scandalous”, with crises of hysteria or insults flying, but she suffered a lot.
    What do you think, ladies?

  34. Selkie says:

    Several years ago I was visiting my home town and ran into an old high school friend. We got to taking, reminiscing, and laughing about old times. He mentioned the time my best friend slept with my boyfriend while I was pregnant my senior year. I was floored. I never even knew. I’ve been in touch over the years with this ‘best friend’, we’ve talked through letters and email, she came to visit me in another state, confided in me about her failing marriage when I came to visit her and met up with her ‘man on the side’ using me as an alibi while I was visiting ( I didn’t approve and felt used). When the beans got inadverdently spilt about her sleeping with my then bf in high school, she admitted it and cried saying she was sorry. Her apology meant absolutely NOTHING. She did it under duress and would never have done so if I didn’t find out. Eleven years had gone by. It was years after the fact and it didn’t shatter me as the ‘bf’ was long gone and I had been raising my son alone anyway, but I was disgusted by her. My son’s father left me to raise my son alone three days after he was born (the day I graduated), so I didn;t find HIS behavior surprising. Being pregnant in high school was hard enough and I had very little support, but I made it through and did well for myself and my Son. Honestly, I don’t forgive her but I don’t really even care anymore. She was never really sorry. She still tries to contact me, but I ignore her. I feel nothing really. I just am not interested in knowing her anymore. He apology only made her look more pathetic. Really, there was nothing she could do or say. She could of denied it and she would of looked pathetic too. Sometimes, an apology just will never be enough anyway. Does it matter she was sorry AFTER the fact? She is still a shifty person in my opinion and not the kind of friend I want in my life.

    • Lilia says:

      Oh, that´s terrible, Selkie. I´m so sorry you went through this, it´s hard enough to be cheated on but with your best friend it´s like a double betrayal.
      I wouldn´t attach any meaning to an apology either, it´s just a bunch of words. Good for you that you´re not friends with her anymore, no one needs friends like that.

  35. Wise ol owl says:

    Well said, MRWriter! You are right on in saying that time is of the essence with an apology. I have always tried to right my own wrongs immediately because it keeps me up at night when I don’t. I expected an apology from someone and it never came. I realized with the passage of time that it really doesn’t matter anymore. I counted myself lucky that I didn’t get the apology because it revealed SO much about the character of the person, or lack of character, I should say. Sometimes we struggle to seperate the wheat from the chaff, and other times, it gets seperated for us without us doing a thing. Thanks for your eloquent words of wisdom.

    • Kit-Kat says: are :) When its so obvious that someone has hurt you the right thing to do is for them to own up too it. By not doing so reveals so much about their character & integrity. I think the ex-AC never apologized to me because in some twisted thinking then he would have been guilty of hurting me and that would make him look bad… Wouldnt want that !!

  36. EUM Roberto says:

    I seek advice.

    I stopped having sex with ex-wife.
    I stopped having sex with all girlfriends except the most recent woman.

    I really need to be single right now and heal from divorce. I’m trying to get the current girlfriend back to platonic friendship but she is resisting and taking it personal as if i am rejecting her.

    I explain over and over that i just need time to heal from divorce and i have to do this internal self healing. That any relationship with anybody will be unhealthy at this point for me.

    Im doing the classic EUM push/pull and I recognize it and not happy with myself to be a push/puller person – i tell her it’s not fair to her to be with me and that i can only handle platonic relationship. She refuses and wants to negotiate some friends with benefits. She says she wants push/pull instead of platonic… anything as long as i kiss her. Im having a hard time asserting my boundaries.

    I try to explain that i need platonic for my own reasons and nothing to do with her and that any woman involved with me romantically at this point will get this push/pull crap from me and that i’m not ok with myself to do that to anybody.

    Its almost come down to me saying platonic or nothing. And her reply is kissing (f_cking) or nothing.

    I really like her (even feel that i love her) and care for her and don’t know what to do. Why can’t we go back to platonic like how it started?

    • Magnolia says:

      Roberto, your question is what half the women on here are asking. Why can’t we be friends?

      If she wants more and you don’t, then you can’t be friends. Were you hoping she’d wait around for you as your non-sexual friend until you get over your divorce? Then go back to being your girlfriend? It doesn’t work that way and if she agrees to that then she hasn’t read BR.

      When I felt uncomfortable in my relationship with the AC I tried to stabilize things by stopping sex. I think he only agreed because he was getting it elsewhere, but the fact that I tried to pull back emotionally was really more of an indicator of not having the foundation for a good relationship.

      Take the space for yourself and let this woman move on.

      • beth d says:

        If either person wants more you can’t be friends. The only way you can be friends with an ex is if you have absolutely no feelings for them other than platonic. If you can truly be happy for them if they find someone new is the test. If they don’t stir up any old wounds in you whatsoever is another test. The final test is….do you want to kiss them at the end of the night when you go out for drinks? My ex and I can’t pass any of those tests. My ex begged so hard for us to at least be friends and I broke. I thought enough time had passed and I was happy in a new relationship so thought I could do it. DOESNT WORK I felt so mean cutting him off but we all have to do what we need to do for our emotional health and I no longer feel an ounce of remorse because it is really unfair of him to expect me to be friends. We did ok for awhile as friends and then ended up kissing after a few rounds of drinks. That was it for me. Thought about him for days and almost ruined my new relationship. He is poison for me and will always be dangerous. There are many people you can be friends with that don’t stir up those kinds of emotions and thats who you should chose as friends.

      • EUM Roberto says:

        Hi Magnolia, thanks for posting that link. Very Helpful.

        Im really sad that i messed up another relationship.

        This is a hard lesson for me to learn. She was the best one, the one i was able to open up and get close to. Then when we are intimate – i freak out and start the push/pull behavior because i am scared of getting hurt.

        Not having her in my life is a major loss.

        As of now i am officially single/celibate and plan to stay that way for as long as it takes to heal from divorce.

        • bikergrl says:

          You are insightful to realize this about yourself. My ex boyfriend was recently divorced and did all the things you describe…sex with the ex (I think, though he denied it), total push-pull/ hot-cold treatment, broke up with me several times, and said I was the one he could really connect with emotionally. In the last break up a month ago, he said he really loved me, he needs to do this for himself, tried to blame his issues on me, and it really hurt bad. He swore he is going to be alone and is not running to another women, but he is a serial cheater so who knows. I told him I loved him too, and that it is too hard to wonder if he’ll call me again, and that I don’t want to know about him being with anyone else. So we are NC. It is for the best.

          You have to assert your own boundaries with this woman…she has none of her own. I was that way for a time, too. I would take the crumbs for the sake of something…then I started to read and recover and realized crumbs really are not enough.

          Good luck on your healing!

    • Natasha says:

      Ahhhhh, the things that happen when platonic friends become pants-less friends. Here’s what I would do: Say that you can’t be involved with her in that way because you need to work on yourself and that this has absolutely nothing to do with her. If she says that she can’t do platonic, tell her that it’s best for both of you not to be around each other as things are now. Stress that it’s no reflection on her. Say that you really do want to salvage a friendship with her, but if there’s no break in between, that’s never going to happen.

      What might happen here is that she has feelings for you and may never be able to go back to platonic. Unfortunately, these EU relationships have casualties 99% of the time. I don’t know how to put this in a more delicate, ladylike way, but if she’s saying it’s f*cking or nothing…something is off there. Disengage, stick to it and, since it sounds like you do care about this woman, hopefully you can both work on yourselves and someday get back to being friends. Hope this helps!

    • Melissa says:

      EUM Roberto, you need to go NC. You ended it. It is not fair to request a platonic friendship from her right away. In fact, it is quite selfish. It can’t be all on your terms. Accept that she can’t be your friend right now. She wants more than friendship and will not settle for less. Yes, she is boundary busting, but it is hard to let go of relationships. She didn’t choose for it to end, you did. Be a decent guy and tell her that you can’t be friends right now. Even if you think you can handle it your wrong. When relationships end, people need space to move on with there lives. After a long time has passed then maybe it is possible, but not right away.

    • Chloe says:

      eum Roberto

      I am going though exactly what your GF is going through, I went out with my ex and then broke, he was going thru divorce, I did NC, he kept trying to contact me for 9 mths. I finally got together with him, we were friends for 6 months, yes at first he was trying for more, but i had firm boundaries that i was able to keep…at first, on new years eve we ended up having sex and i realized how i had fooled myself into thinking i was friends with him. I mean friends don’t cuddle and watch tv, or at least they shouldn;t. he is now divorced, and after the incident, i said i’d be willing to move into a relationship, but i will not do freinds with benefits, he said, he couldn;t similar reason to yours. My point is, I realized i had fooled myself and cannot be friends, your ex feels the same way, no point in fooling herself, if you care fof this woman, leave her alone, don;t try to be friends. My ex keeps calling and emailing, i’ve pretty much ignored him, but have been on the phone with him a few times, and he had even admitted looking for a girlfriend which pissed me off becasue he said you’re looking, I’m looking (but not really) becasue I’m the one who wants a relationship. So, each time I got off the phone with him i was upset. and when i tell him i can;t do the friends thing, he wants to ignore it, which is mean and cruel. I now need to bring myself to email him and say don;t contact me anymore, which is really hard to do. But, i have no choise, becasue i know i can’t be friends, i proved that. So, let her go. I think it;s great that you don;t want friends with benefits, my ex would totally want that if i agreed to it. Also,if you do FWB with her, she won;t be ablel to do that either, so she’s basically fooling herself. It’s a no win situation Roberto, the only reason she want FWB is becasue she thinks you will get over what ever you are going through and be back to a normal BF. Won;t happen, I would not want to talk to you anymore, you are too confused. My question is, why did you get involved in the first place?

  37. grace says:

    When we have sex with a friend there is a real risk of losing the friendship. It’s not that friends can’t make good romantic partners but it’s not the failsafe option we’d like to think.
    You’ve done well to quit the ex and the other women. Sadly you may have to quit this friendship too.
    For what it’s worth, these periods of loss are followed by great gains, at least in my experience.

  38. noquay says:

    Whoopsie another typo
    What I meant to say was “listen to my spidey senses rather than force myself to be attracted to someone I really don’t jibe with rather than stay alone “.
    yep, you need total abstinence right now, no relationship of any sort. Time to be alone and reflect. This woman you describe sounds kinda desperate and a wee bit creepy

  39. Tired says:

    Im wobbling big time this week , i had sad news on sunday that my friend passed away and on top of other stuff its knocked the stuffing out of me .i just dont want anymore bad stuff to happen . I havent reached out for anyone i hoping to show that i can be strong . But as the sun shines i simply cannot understand how god can do that to a good person , why .

    • Revolution says:


      It’s so painful to lose someone you love. There’s no doubt about it. God didn’t do it, it’s the natural order of things in this world we live in. It’s that pesky thing called time and unforeseen occurrence, where we never know what will happen from day to day. Thankfully, it’s also true of really good, healthy, loving, strengthening things as well. We are sometimes surprised by those things too.

      I myself have had a pretty rough year on all accounts, but just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that I’ve been coming out of it for a while now, by degrees, and all at once I’m surprised at how much lighter I feel. I’m sure it’s not the last test in my life, but I’m grateful for the reprieve in between, and for the joy and love in my life right now, because I have a lot of it. At certain times in our lives, it’s hard to be grateful for anything, and if that’s true of you, Tired, then that’s okay. But from your past comments, it sounds like you do have friends who love you and who would be happy to take some of the load of your grief. Why not experiment? Call someone up and go for coffee (or tea, maybe, for you Brits :)) and spend an hour telling good stories of your friend that died. If you cry, that’s okay. We all do it from time to time. It’s nothing your friend won’t have seen or done before.

      Here’s a big hug, Tired. (((HUGS))) There is a period of sunshine after this cold day of grief, I promise. Remember that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that we go through is temporary.

  40. EUM Roberto says:

    Thank u all for thoughtful replies.

    She really just wants to kiss but that is super hard for me because we kiss for hours.

    I did suggest a length of time NC then try to be friends and i would respect her space and try not to bump into her at parties.

    She is hurt because she had no say in the matter of me basically pulling the relationship rug out from from under her feet.

    We both recently acknowledged our love for eachother then i pulled the plug and tried to cut out romance cold turkey. I did good for a little bit but we had sex but i didnt cant kiss her anymore.

    She is really hurt and the more i try to explain that i want platonic for my own reasons the worse she takes it that im rejecting her. I hate texting and she wont call me so ill stop digging myself into a hole and give her space.

    Technically we were not in relationship. It was more like i was her booty call. She is EU and recently broke up from her boyfriend who she caught cheating.

    We were both in it for unhealthy reasons. Both seeking external validation that we are loveable desireable.

    Turns out we are all loveable… Thanks BR for helping heal broken hearts

    • Tulipa says:

      EUM Roberto

      If you have made your decision about being alone then you must stick to it.

      The girl you are breaking things off with will have to learn same I as did that break ups are not democratic decisions and she will have to come to terms with it in her own way.

      Some space and time for her is a good idea so she can process everything.

      It is very hard to not feel horribly rejected when someone breaks up with you, but she will get there.

  41. McKenzieM says:

    I’m having remorse issues. I’ve been NC with the EUAC for almost three months now, though I occasionally have to speak with him about a project we are working on with others. The last time I spoke with him, the conversation was less stilted and formal than usual, which I chalked up to the fact that I had *finally* gotten over him completely. Then he started dropping all these hints about possibly wanting to date me (long story, but trust me — he was referencing the reasons he gave about why he couldn’t be in a legit relationship with me in our last conversation before I went NC). I didn’t know what to say, so I quickly ended the call.

    Ever since then, I’ve been feeling remorseful. Asking myself if going NC was the right thing to do. Should I have tried harder to salvage the “friendship”? Maybe I was wrong about him? Maybe he has really changed? But in the back of my mind is the knowledge I’ve gained from BR, reminding me that I should keep my proverbial door closed and that he likely wants an ego stroke/wants to win/etc. And also worry about getting hurt again.

    Aghhhhhhh. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. :\

    • natashya says:

      mckenzie, you say he was/is an EUAC and you wonder if you should have tried to salvage the ‘friendship’? why would you want to be friends with an assclown?? would you ever accept his ridiculous behaviour from a friend? what’s in it for you to engage in his circus? do you want more pain?

      stay NC and keep any communication you can’t get out of business like and distant.

      the odds of him being ‘changed’ are lower than the odds of you finding the pot o’gold at the end of the rainbow.

      you’re on the right track.

      • McKenzieM says:


        My best friend asks me the same thing. She says he was never a real friend to begin with. So, I’ve been trying to answer that question… what is it that I could/would gain from letting this man back into my life?

        The answers I’ve come up with are:
        1) It would make my life easier if we were “friends” again because we have a number of mutual friends that were his friends before I met them.

        2) I actually did enjoy talking to/spending time with him before things all went to hell. Sometimes I feel like no one will ever “get” me the way he did. (NOTE: my best friend says I feel this way because the EUAC was great at manipulating me. He was able to read me like a book and though we both knew how to press each other’s buttons, he had me beat at it by a long shot).

        I guess I want it to be like it was in the beginning. Yet, I know from common sense and my gut, I guess that this will never be the case, or if it does go back to being like that, it will be short-lived and the aftermath will likely hurt more than it did the first time. And I will have no sympathy from friends because I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I almost feel like I should try again on the off chance that we could have a happily ever after? It’s crazy. And I know this. I remind myself of it all the time so that I don’t go back to the insanity.

        I was doing so well in the beginning of NC and had even started going on dates, but it’s gotten harder to keep things strictly business. He asks about my life, etc., and tells me about his, and because I don’t want to come off like a bitch, I don’t cut it off right away like I should and then I get drawn into conversation with him. The past few times we’ve talked, it felt… comfortable. Like, we both missed the way things used to be. Yet, I was a complete mess at that time (it was seriously one of, if not, the lowest point in my life) and I don’t want to ever be that person again (and, in fact, I’m not quite back to 100% yet, but I’ve gotten a lot better in terms of my self-esteem, etc. since I went NC.

        I think I might need to go back to reading BR every day like I did when I first went NC. I know I would be ready to slap any of my friends considering reconciling with a guy that treated her the way the EUAC treated me. Still I wonder. Something must be wrong with me… lol.

        • BethD says:

          The aftermath will def hurt more than the first time. Yes get back to reading when you have weak moments. I always had an easier time in the beginning of nc. As anger subsides you start to forget the pain and you start to fantasize again about the good times. Yea they get you. They studied you enough to know exactly what makes you tick. Please stay strong! Relationship insanity is not fun and hurts more each go around.

          • Tabitha says:

            Beth is right. I hurt so badly when I finished with ex narc. But he would NOT leave me alone and he was insistent that we had to be friends. I got sucked back in,because I still loved him and I still harboured dreams of him turning back into That Guy From The Beginning. When it all went horribly wrong in the friendship, I can honestly say I nearly lost my mind. The pain was overwhelming, unlike anything else I have experienced, and I am twice divorced.
            Like Nat says, nobody here can stop you from putting your hand back in the fire, but we can all promise you it will still burn.

            • McKenzieM says:


              You ladies will be happy to know that while I was in the midst of contemplating extending an olive branch in hopes that the EUAC would go back to being That Guy From The Beginning, he did something shady. When I called him on it, he flipped out worse than he did the last time I called him out on something (which was when I told him I was going NC).

              I certainly dodged a bullet, and I’m thanking God now. It made me realize he’d never change. Now I just have to get to a place where I will be able to be distant and businesslike in conversations when he goes back to being charming again. I need to get it through my brain that he does not care about me or anyone else but himself and he only is nice when he wants something and stop trying to see the good in him.

  42. 2fearce says:


    You can’t control what happens, nor cower in fear of it. It’s okay to grieve the loss of your friend. When u can, think of the times you laughed to tears. If u have a friend who can just listen n not judge talk to them. If not, write.

    Strength is reaching out when you need to.

  43. ChiTownKitty says:

    This is my life of the last two months. My ex from last year with whom I have had no contact dialed me up at work (I work at in a public service area and had to be politely shocked) asking to see me and make amends. I did agree, we had a wonderful time and we have been trying to make a go of it (he’s the guy from a few posts back that never responds to the few initial emails I send).
    No, things aren’t all sunshine and roses. Since I am finishing three masters classes in three weeks (plus working) I have decided not to make any decisions about this relationship til then when I take my vacation and can think clearly. There haven’t been any obvious dealbreakers but since I don’t know which end is up I don’t want to act in a hasty fashion.
    Anyway, when I get mad about all this in my head I say “how dare he interrupt my life!!!” I had a small nice and yes sometimes very lonely life but it was working. Yes, there were nights I cried but truth be told not over him.
    I think his actions in contacting me were selfish. He said he wanted to apologize for hurting me. It was more a case of things not working out. Fine. But what he wanted to be told that he wasn’t the bad guy, yada, yada…

    One thing very off topic…this guy is big into knowing people’s personality types…ok, so I took the Briggs Myers test and came up a “caregiver” though I told him flat out that I wasn’t interested in taking care of anyone else. The test explained a lot of my actions which was good. His type? “Field marshall” I work on the stance that these things may explain your nature but you don’t get to be a jerk…
    So, question, at what point are things just two nice people who will never see eye to eye (everything I read says putting us together is a recipe for doom) and when is it someone being an assclown? Just wondering.
    PS please stop sending rain and send the sun!

  44. Robin says:

    You are so right about both considering the consequences of reconnecting and the fact that some people don’t want to keep in touch after so much time has passed. A close friend of mine cut off contact with me like I had done some horrible offense (she even said as much) even though I have no idea what was going on. I should have known she would do this to me, since she did the same to another of our friends. I dreamed of reconnecting to find out what happened. So when she reached out to me again, I grabbed the opportunity without really considering the reasons. Turns out, I wanted some closure, not to resume the friendship like I initially thought. But sometimes closure is best done without the other person, no matter what mistakes either party made!!

  45. Ashton says:

    Since when did saying “Sorry” become a bad thing? I don’t agree with this. Isn’t it kind of presumptuous on your part to think they “want another go around” just because they’re approaching you to say sorry? Already working out “what was what” only exists in your head and may not be representative of what they other person is thinking at all. Be gracious, and accept the apology. What’s so bad about that?

    • MRWriter says:

      In a word, Ashton: context. An apology from a healthy person (not an EUM/AC) can be accepted graciously. However, an apology from an unhealthy individual with a history of busting boundaries, shady behavior and the like is unlikely to make amends for the right reasons.

      This site is for folks who’ve been involved with those who only had their own self-interest at heart and not the other person. An apology from them (especially if given in a less than direct manner or timeliness, etc) should be regarded with at least some reasonable suspicion. The person can still accept it but what Natalie is saying is that the intentions may not be pure as snow AND for those who are vulnerable to EUM/ACs to not take the apology to mean they’ve “spontaneously combusted into a different person.”

      Unfortunately, human behavior and relationships are complex and not nearly as black and white as your comment suggests. Perhaps, to some degree you could look at it is as no big deal–they just want to clear THEIR conscience but again, it is about THEM. A genuine apology should be atoning for the wrong done to someone if it is to be sincere and coming from the right place. Otherwise, it’s just forcing the wronged party to (again) have to deal with the perpetrator’s ego. Not fun.

  46. G-Money says:

    I love how these posts come at such the right time. We were together 3+ years, broke up 9 months ago, NC for 5. I thought I was in the clear from his contact but as Valley Forge Lady said about bad pennies, they always turn up and with nothing to offer.

    It would of been my anniversary the other day and I wasn’t thinking about it as much as I thought I would, I actually had a good day. Then came the text – same dribble as ususal, I can’t come to terms with this, I think of you often – It actually made me feel very uncomfortable to the point of heebie jeebies for lack of better words. I was well pissed that this sense of entitlement he has wafting around him makes him think its okay to text/email whenever he pleases. I have filters on my email which was his ole reliable and now the texts have begun – a visit to my network provider is in order.

    What’s so freaking hilarious is the amount of times he wrote “I” in the text and it screams him all over, nothings changed it’s still all about him and how he feels.

    BR has been the greatest kick in the ass that was long over-due for me and these last few months have been great and I love that I can see the progress within myself.

    Heres to no more bad penny moments.

  47. iwaslost says:

    Suzy your post cracked me up! Betty Grylls I love it!! Running has been my salvation for a lot of reasons. Movement is key. Loved your post in general, speaks of hope to me :)

  48. Tired says:

    Thanks i just want to do them proud , my friend had been through the same and we often have a coffee and even tho shed had a kicking , she had a sunny disposition and solidiered on.

    Staying friends with a ex no not unless time has been put between it . Im friends with one and there was a five yr gap of nc and we had diff partners ( the one who has just passed was his and thats how we became ftiends) so unless there is no feeling no .

    The recent thing would never apolgise , he said to me once i did say sorry , but that was becausrci pulled him up in it .he has no empathy. His life is all about him and if you dont agree or say what you did is wrong , youd just never hear from him again . Hed rather move on to fresh meat thst believes his bullshit , than try and rehash someone who has sussed him out .

  49. Little Star says:

    Natalie, I just want to thank you for this post, I wish you posted few weeks ago:( so I would not responded to my current AC.

  50. Natmarie says:

    This post has come at exactly the right time. I have not been on this site for over 18 months but recently have been depressed over lingering guilt about how I treated my ex partner of 7 years whom I broke up with almost 3 years ago. We have been in contact over the years and he admitted to still loving me only a month ago. I still love him but know deep in my heart that I am not in love with him. I really feel badly about how I treated him, basically dumped him for no reason after he relocated across the country because I fell in lust with an EUMM.
    Anyway, in the past 18 months I have been seeing a man who is very nice but is not prepared to make any necessary compromises to keep our relationship going. I broke it off with him today after he told me our 18 month relationship which I put a lot of time, effort and energy into was really just a casual relationship and I said I don’t have time for a casual relationship.
    So over the past few days I have been contemplating telling my ex how I feel and how I am sorry for how I treated him but I don’t want to set him back or give him any false hope. This post has given me the strength and realisation that it is better to let sleeping dogs lie in case it dredges up all the sadness/anger for him.
    I think the feelings of guilt and depression I have had over the past week about my previous relationship have cleared my eyes to the flaws in my current (non) relationship and gave me the strength to end it and stop wasting both mine and his time on something that is going nowhere and me still having unresolved feelings for my ex.
    So now I am single and on my own at 43 with no chance of meeting Mr Right and really I think I should just never ever be in a relationship again as I am obviously really bad at them and probably EU myself. I don’t want to hurt any more men but I just don’t know how not to.
    Thanks Nat for a very insightful post and thanks to all the responders for very insightful replies.

    • BethD says:

      You have every chance to meet Mr right. You are young and he may be right around the corner. You did the right thing not continuing with the time waster. In the past few years I attended three weddings of friends in their fifties.

    • grace says:

      I’ve had a few relationships crash when someone moved (even though I liked LDRs). It’s tough to keep it going long distance, even if you do have good relationship skills. And while I know not everyone wants to get married, 7 years is a long time not to get married and then to move away! So I would let that go.
      You will meet someone worthwhile, but you won’t while you spend too long in casual relationships or revisit old relationships that have no chance of working out. We are sometimes, I think, the author of our own predicaments. That said, you’re not doomed. I met someone when I was 46 and we are still together now I am 48. And even if you don’t meet someone, it’s better to be properly single than to spend your life chasing unlikely prospects.
      It’s not being single that’s the problem, it’s the fact that we spend our time dreaming of has beens and have nots instead of enjoying life.
      Even though I am happy in my relationship, now that the initial excitement is over, I find I do still get sad, regretful, anxious, tired, sick etc. It’s still worth being in a relationship but it’s not the portal to happiness we might think it is!

      • Penelope says:

        Natmarie and Grace,

        I too am 43 and feel like I am never going to find someone. I have messed around people in the past only to pine after them after I rejected them or lusted after another EU man.
        I got in contact with one of these men only this week …I couldn’t see at the time that we could have been great together if I hadn’t pushed him away due to my own EUness. I was walking through his part of town on my way somewhere and thinking about him. I’m probably the last person that he would want to hear from and it was selfish of me.
        Grace – your comment on spending too long in casual relationships hit home too. I went on a date with someone last week who is good friends with one of my girlfriends. I met him and her party and he expressed and interest and she set it up. My girlfriends are encouraging me to have a fling with him (or sorry to be so crude – break the drought). He’s just out of 7 year relationship where he ended it as he didn’t want to marry her. He’s made it clear that he’s up for ‘hooking up’ (?!)
        I’m going through a redundancy and a recent failed IVF cycle (on my own). I haven’t been with anyone for 2 years but isn’t that a bad idea even it is for a bit of fun? A sign of low self esteem ?
        Wasting time with a fling? Don’t I deserve to find someone who is supportive and available ?

        • Natasha says:

          Penelope, our friends, as much as we love them and they love us, don’t always know what’s best for us. It sounds like you’re going through a very stressful time (I’ve been there and it gets better, trust me) and it can be pretty tough or worse to deal with one of these “casual” “relationships” during the best of times. If you really want to work on your own EU-ness, no hooking up with EUMs, am I right? I wouldn’t waste too much time worrying if the first guy was something you missed out on – sometimes when we’re going through a lot it can really cloud our vision and want that person simply because we associate them with less stressful times.

          I totally get wanting to have some fun when life hands us the opposite of fun, but the consequences can suck. Majorly. You do deserve to be with someone supportive and available and I have no doubt you will find that. My grandmother got married again in her 70’s and he was a wonderful man. It ain’t over ’til it’s over!

          • Penelope says:

            Thanks Natasha. I’m grateful for your comments. You are right – friends don’t always know what is right for you. I have had some terrible advice from my closest friends in recent years and I should have not listened to them.
            Good point about handling a fling at the best of times – I don’t think that I am cut out for it. The guy didn’t even buy me a drink on our date… I was not even drinking alcohol and we went halves on the bill!

            I’ve got to stop kicking myself, looking back and get on my own team. I made a big mistake a a few years ago(before the person that I texted the other day) which cost me a relationship and most likely a family. But I am trying to move on alone. It’s hard. A fling isn’t going to help me…

            • Natmarie says:

              “It’s not being single that’s the problem, it’s the fact that we spend our time dreaming of has beens and have nots instead of enjoying life”.

              Grace I love this comment you made! Soooo very very true. This is gonna be my new mantra for every new day.
              I honestly don’t care right now if I meet anyone again or not, but the comments about late in life marriages are very heartening to me. I really do want to meet someone one day who wants a committed relationship but first I gotta stop over-investing in guys who are pretty much just rebound guys. I did think this latest relationship was the real deal though, and it is scary to realise that I’m just as bad at picking the wrong man now when I should know better and be able to spot a faker a mile off right?

              Penelope, you sound so much like me you could be my long lost twin sister :) Definately don’t have the fling unless you only want a fling. If you want even a teeny tiny bit more it will just be painful and you will feel used afterwards. I also have friends who are quite happy to have casual flings and booty calls with guys and not get emotionally tied up but I know I’m not that sort of person. Been there done that and really don’t want to visit that place ever again even if it was George Clooney doing the asking.
              I’m done with wasting my time and energy on anyone who doesn’t treat me with kindness, respect and love.

  51. Lucy says:

    What do you do about a person who never apologises? My father has said many hurtful things to me which I cannot move past because he has never apologised. I had to grow up knowing that he could get away with being hurtful and not do anything about it. He has a short temper, shouting and swearing. The only way I can deal with it is to shout and swear back because it’s the only thing that works. If I show I’m upset, then he wins. If I try and reason with him, he spins it around to me being ‘too sensitive’. I told him how this affected my self-esteem growing up but I still haven’t heard an apology from him.

    • Marie says:

      Hi, Lucy, I have no idea how old you are and how dependent you are on your father. If you still live with your father, doing what I suggest will be difficult, but it will work. However, you cannot let up at all, you have to remain courageous and steadfast. I’m not a relationship expert, but I have experienced the same thing with my family.

      I’m the black sheep of my family. When I was young, my family would tease and ridicule me to the point of tears, then they’d ridicule me for crying. I didn’t have the right to be upset, but I was required to endure their emotional abuse.
      I was fortunate that at some point, I was able to leave home and experience viewpoints from other people.

      Your dad is crazy and has a borderline personality. The fact that he’s your father and older than you doesn’t mean he’s not troubled. I went through therapy to be told by my therapist that I was the normal person trying to live through an abnormal hell. That’s what you’re enduring.

      If you live with him, say minimal things to him, ignore him when you can, ridicule him if you say anything. Do not feed him with kindness. You are wasting your time – “Pearls before swine.” Do not worry about dishonoring your father. If he didn’t want you around, he should’ve used a condom. He lost his honor by mistreating you.

      Trying to rationalize with someone like this is futile. He didn’t care about mistreating you when you were young and he doesn’t give a hoot about your self-esteem.

      If you do not live with him, suspend all contact with him. Bite the bullet. I’ve had to do this with most of my family. I might seem like a cold person, but I’m not. I save my energy for people who love and respect me. It’s hard. I don’t like being mean – I’m like a little puppy who wants to please. I LOVE treating people well. However, I learned over the years to love my energy & I don’t like wasting good energy on bad people. Your dad is bad. He just provided sperm to make you. That’s it. You do not owe him anything.

  52. Belle says:

    My ex boyfriend was chasing me for “friendship” for almost 2 years after the breakup. It started a few months after he did the deed and continued at more or less regular intervals, the lazy way, of course: he would drop an email once a month, at first being all distraught and apologetic and telling me how much he missed me and still loved me, then just to say happy birthday, merry Christmas or ask what I have been up to. After I left a few of his emails unanswered, I guess he learned his lesson. It has been almost a year since I last heard from him. Coincidentally (or not) he shut up only after he broke up with “the other woman”. So he has been chasing me all the while behind her back but once he was single again, which was the time to really seek to get back together, if he was indeed sincere in his declarations, he all of a sudden got over me… I have had urges a few times during that year to send him an email and ask what he’s been up to, sometimes this wish is quite overwhelming and so is the curiosity. I guess I am still in need for closure even though I have long overcome the worst pain and suffering. On the other hand, however, I dread his reaction: what if he doesn’t reply or says something that will hurt me? The thought of this has prevented me from seeking contact again. And when I think of how he has probably forgotten about my existence, it’s not worth it either.

    • Rachael says:

      Belle. You are curious about the guy who you don’t trust to reply respectfully or even at all

  53. Wild orchid says:

    While it’s always good to consider the criticisms of others it is up to us a individuals to decide whether they are valid or not; and act accordingly.

    Also, we all know what feeling respected and being treated well is like. We also know what the opposite is like. Being treated poorly by someone never feels good, and I think deep down we all know we don’t “deserve” that. I have a hard time understanding some of the posters that are having a hard time “getting over” or “healing” after someone has treated them like shit. What are you guys healing? The other person’s opinion of themselves? Of you? That will never happen. Some people only feel good when they are holding others down, how can you take their deficits on yourself? It’s not you- it’s them.

  54. Wild orchid says:

    Recently my son broke an expensive vase while shopping with me. Of course, I was interested in making amends and PAYING for his lack of good judgment in where he was going. I thought about arguing that the vase had a slight crack in it to begin with, but ultimately, I felt this would only enrage the shop owner. Although it was a lesson for me, I PAID for my part in causing the disaster. I was glad I did because I found that this shop owner was dealing with some very serious business issues and that vase meant A LOT to her. I guess I could have walked awY telling her “it should serve as a lesson to place her merchandise more carefully and she should appreciate my input” but that seemed dangerous for me to do after my son caused such a MESS. Sometime peoples behavior is unpredictable. You never know how someone will take an insult like that. People have many different ways of reacting. I recently heard of a shopowner shooting someone just because they poked their head in to ask for the time. Actions can have disasterous consequences, especially when they are percieved to be callous and indifferent and the target of the indifference is struggling anyway; like the lady with the vase. Ps. My son not only apologized but he paid her to replace the vase AND he cleaned up ALL the broken glass. I was proud of him.

  55. SaltedSnail says:

    I’m not sure that I totally buy that remorse should be done on one’s own time. Sometimes, after all, even great people are immature and make mistakes, and this is a fact of life. Forgiveness, and the ability to maintain our boundaries while being able to listen to them (even if they have been a jerk) I would actually consider a pretty rare life skill. I think if things go wrong, sometimes people just kind of bounce because they don’t want to face negative emotions. Sure, it’s easier emotionally to just let them be sorry on their own and let that be the end of it for you. Out of sight is out of mind, after all. But my feeling is that sooner or later, this strategy can also prevent you from developing a deeper relationship when things go wrong.

    Also, even though someone else’s ten-year-too-late apology may seem insignificant to you, it may actually matter a lot to the personal growth of the person to have you hear it. It’s sometimes worth hearing someone out, just to be nice. You may find that you don’t get anything out of it, but I’m not always sure that means it shouldn’t be done. I mean, certainly, if the guy is a jerk, by all means avoid him. But if he is showing increasing self awareness you can perhaps look at it as a favor, to some other random female who may one day be with him. I’m just saying, occasionally it is the case that a person who was a total douche is on an arc of personal growth. Maybe you are both total douches and his awareness will help you see things about yourself. Who knows?

    Definitely not the most likely scenario, but occasionally they pop up, where maybe the kind thing is to hear them out! Just a thought, having been on both sides of it…

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.