Sometimes we spend a little too much time wondering why someone who we gave so much of ourselves to, would return to somebody who mistreated them and gave so little in comparison and we forget to empathise, in spite of the fact that if we did, it would actually provide the true answers about why they left. We remember their hurt, we remember the stories, we recall all that we did to show them another way and really, if it comes down to making a straight choice between which side their bread is buttered on, there’s no way in hell that they should leave us for pain, so of course when it appears that they’ve left us to go to pain, we wonder what the hell was wrong with us.

The thing is, when we get into the whole comparison thing in general, it’s a confidence depressor anyway where we judge ourselves as inadequate against our own imagination, assumptions and generalisations, and maybe what we believe is the information that we know. When we compare ourselves to our ex’s toxic ex when we have been The Great Girlfriend / Boyfriend, we’re so busy viewing things through the What’s Wrong With Me? / After Everything I Did Filters that we actually fail to see that person and reality.

Think about abusive relationships and how many people leave and yet despite knowing that that person and the relationship is toxic, they go back or cave when they hear from that person. They’ll even go against their own restraining order. They’re still hoping that this time things will be different and that they can change the person. They might latch onto an occasion such as a birthday, Valentine’s, or Christmas, convincing themselves the ‘magic’ of these will slot everything into place, only to wind up disappointed.

The abuser may seem all powerful because during their involvement, when they were ‘on’, it was amazing and when they were ‘off’, it felt like hell. The dynamic likely activated an urge to fill a void and right the wrongs of past experiences that may stretch back to childhood. It may seem as if the abuser is their source of value and salvation, even if in actuality, it’s more akin to them being their tormentor. They may get tired of ignoring calls and feel guilty when they hear their abuser’s pleas to hear them out and how bad they feel. The blame may get switched around and they convince themselves that they provoked it. And so these people go back.

It might be hope, it might be just not having the strength to fight and not seeing any other options. They may have what they feel is unfinished business in the form of seeking closure or trying to get that person to see their point of view and to gain their validation. It may simply feel more familiar and comfortable because outside of the toxic involvement, it’s like having to learn a new language and habits in a foreign country and it may feel far too uncomfortable. They may believe that it’s all that they deserve and that they truly are nothing without this person or that they can’t meet our expectations. They may still hear the chopping criticisms on repeat. They may have hoped that being with a new partner would jolt them to their senses.

They go back and then soon enough, the abuse cycle starts again.

Of course it’s terrible that they’ve gone back because of the potential for harm but when we feel wounded by their return and personalise it, we forget to empathise and recognise the trauma that this person may have gone through because we’re focusing on our perspective and position. There’s nothing wrong with this to a point – it’s bloody painful and in acknowledging our own feelings and opinions, as well as our true needs, expectations, and wants, we have an opportunity to be honest and recognise that our own mission may not have been as authentic as we’d like to believe, or that on some level we knew that we were a safety net and buffer. That and if they’re in a zone where they’re largely affected by their ex, they’re not available. We knew that they weren’t all in and that a part of them was still very much tied up with this toxic ex, but we hoped that with enough TLC, the ex would be forgotten and we would ‘step in’ and maybe even live happily ever after.

We have to be honest about why we’re hurting because it’s not really all about this person going back to their ex; it’s about what truly motivated us to want to love them in the first place, which may very well have tied into unhealthy patterns. It’s also about the unhealthy comparisons.

If we love ’em, we’ve gotta empathise otherwise, all we’re doing is making it about us but calling it ‘we’. Often when we look at our own reasons for going back to our dodgy relationships, those reasons don’t hold up in the logical, cold light of day but we made those choices anyway because it was something that we had to go through and we often acted on how we felt even if that took us towards pain instead of away from it. We could have learned from the insights within a healthier relationship but we may have had to cut our own teeth on some of our painful lessons. In spite of this, we may struggle to truly empathise if we can’t understand why they’re going back when we have managed to stay away from our own toxic ex. We can try to ‘replace’ their ex but we’re crossing theirs and our own boundaries – we’re not armchair psychologists, rehab nurses or even substitute parents.

It hurts, not just because we don’t want to see them hurt but also because we’ve experienced our own loss but we will lose a great deal more if we don’t rein it in and recognise what’s really going on. Sure, we could take it that their return to a toxic relationship must mean terrible things about us (it doesn’t) and that we’re not loveable or good enough, but we could just as easily opt to recognise the situation for what it is and see that the person we tried to love may not love themselves very much and is under the influence of a toxic relationship. That information is about them and their situation, not you.

Your thoughts?

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267 Responses to The Replacement Mentality: But WHY did they go back to their toxic ex when they could have had me?

  1. Michelle says:

    Great post! I particularly liked this statement:

    “We have to be honest about why we’re hurting because it’s not really all about this person going back to their ex; it’s about what truly motivated us to want to love them in the first place, which may very well have tied into unhealthy patterns. It’s also about the unhealthy comparisons.”

    Wow! This took me back to the beginning and an understanding of my unhealthy desire to love somebody out of their problems so that they will be available to be in a relationship with me. Ugh! I know! Thank you for the eloquent reminder of my own dysfunction.

  2. kookie says:

    Pffft, I refuse to go out like Isabella Linton in Wuthering Heights. Leave the two tortured souls to themselves and be glad you dodged a bullet.

    • Miranda says:

      This. A guy I just recently stopped talking to went back to his ex, only found out yesterday. All I can think is that they can be miserable together.

      I know what she has, and I already decided a week ago that I didn’t want it. I also know that they’re always fighting and breaking up, so they can go ahead and wallow in that. My pride is hurt, but like you said, I dodged a bullet.

  3. Mary says:

    Well this post is 100% me. And I read it, and I intellectually get it and believe it. But….my heart refuses. Somehow I feel my situation is unique (but it’s not) and because I know he is a “good” guy, not an AC that he should know better than to think she’d change, and want to be with me. You know what might hurt more? What if he is continuing in counseling and doesn’t go back to his narcissistic ex and STILL doesn’t want our relationship back? These scenarios all would lead to him not wanting me……and that is painful. Especially hard because I truly believed this man was as crazy about me as I was about him….I can’t accept those feelings just evaporate….or weren’t they as deep as I thought….:( Can’t see putting my heart on the line again :(

    • Allie says:

      I went to the same with my EUM epiphany. He was divorced, he had been divorced long but at the same time he had tried to “rebuilt” his marriage several times. It never worked out. He said he was done with her. So we dated 1 and a half years. The he took his cheating ex back one more time. He said they were just cohabitating or whAtever the heck that meant. She just break us up to leave him again and married someone else then divorce and the story continue… Anyway, it hurt aweful, I though how could he go back to her? It killed me. At the end, there only reason he went back is because hi is EUM his childhood wounds , etc., I can’t heal him, she can’t heal him either. I m glad now that I have moved on. I hurts but you better move on.

  4. susan says:

    Just got through going through this whole issue with 1st boyfriend from 1963. found me 47 years later on Facebook…left unhappy 43 years marriage…we were togther for 2 years and he went back to toxic marriage 4 weeks before his divorce. He’s 69 now. Good luck to the both of them. I’ve never been through anything as sociopathic as this in my whole life. When they tell you you are too nice and you deserve better you need to really look it in the face and believe them…it’s a big red flag and run like hell

    • Oregon Girl says:

      That happened to me too. After 2.5 years of being very happy with me, he says he can’t go through with the divorce because he just found out she will get 2/3 of his pension.

      I am so tired of hurting. I’m so done with him. I’m looking forward to hanging out with myself, healing, and later on finding a single man who is ready to love me whole-heartedly.

  5. DunrobINE says:

    Natalie often says that life will keep serving you up the same lessons until you heed them. When I read this, I was reminded of being the other woman in what was supposed to be an “open relationship”. He marketed it that way and I bought it. But I basically functioned as the other woman. Natalie often says “same guy, different package”. This post, for me, was kinda like “same lesson, different package”. Life has a way of serving this lesson up, whether they’re going back to their ex, you’re the other woman, he’s an assclown or Mr. EUM. The basic message in this post often shows up across the different packages, but is essentially life serving up the same lesson.

    • JustHer says:

      Tell me about it. Natalie is so right here.

      Life has continued to smash my head with a brick until I finally realised I couldn’t live the way I was.

      I think I’ve finally started to heed the lessons!

  6. Kathleen says:

    WOW!!! That was just FANTASTIC!!!

  7. Marian says:

    I met a guy fresh out of a marriage this weekend and we had a great (platonic) night together. I needed this SO BADLY so thank you so much. I need to be real with myself and set my boundaries according to me, and not according to him. I don’t want to date anyone until June anyway because I need to work through some things, and now I have even more ammo to stay true to that. Thank you!

    • AngelFace says:

      Hi Marian,
      Glad you are thinking, and putting your boundaries in the forefront. Guys fresh out of marriages tend NOT to stay with the first woman they date and have sex with. They want to explore their options (read: have many women), before they marry again. My advice to you is to Run, do not walk, Run away from him!!

      • Stephanie says:

        That’s is so true. My husband dating a women before me and because he didn’t like being lonely, he dated her. I met him at a time he was going through his divorce and thank god I didn’t have any problems. But I was lucky, I’m not sure I would recommend dating a newly separated man, but I would say be cautious.

  8. NCincanada says:

    Nathalie your post speaks to me in such a personal way its almost scary.A few weeks I started hashing over the details of what brought me on to this website and the post accurately sums it up. Thinking you can love or help heal a person who has shown signs of emotional trauma and hurt is never an option and making comparisons act, As humans we need to process and heal before we make sound decisions or become available anything else is built on shaky foundations and may unravel eventually. Its funny because now that I look back the writing was on the wall I just chose to ignore it and I have to admit a part of me chose to stay despite his warnings (Im not perfect, the way he looked dejected after the ex picked up her things and then ran into each other and what does he do run straight to me .. Man I should have just ran the hills LOL and finally telling me at least twice I dont know what the future holds for us and I hope not to hurt you .. Rolling my eyes.. LOL Be a man and deal with your stuff anyways I digress .. I have to be honest I feel this had to happen to help break the cycle and change my habits and Im starting to feel more like myself with a better grip .. (Singing Because Im happy, Clap along if thats what you want to do.. ) thank You for what you do NML, Blessing to you and your family! !!!!!

  9. Ilene says:

    Nathalie–your post has just awakened me to my situation which is a little different than what you posed. I just left my partner of 12 years (he’s German and we have lived in Malta–south of Sicily) because for the last five he began to drink more and more and I finally realized he was a high functioning alcoholic. He said he wouldn’t change or seek help. Before I left for a trip about six weeks ago to decide where I was going to make a new life back in the US, I had the feeling he was or had been with another woman. Yesterday, I found out that after 12 years he replaced me within a minute of me leaving. She’s also an alcoholic. His ex wife is an alcoholic (which is why he left her in the first place) and essentially he has gone “back” to a woman who is like his wife and himself. I just heard about this yesterday from a “friend” via a phone call. Today I’m feeling a little down by this latest jolt, but your post helps. Thanks. And good luck to all who posted here.

    • Ilene says:

      Natalie–Ilene here again. Maybe you’ve already done so, but you write something how to not feel like a failure because two long-term relationships have failed in your life? I was married for 22 years to my college sweetheart. I wanted a divorce because he mishandled money terribly. (We have two daughters, grown now.) But waiting in the wings was this German man (mentioned above) who I immediately gravitated to. Now, as I said above, we have parted after 12 years and I have to start life from scratch at the age of 60. Although the two relationships were totally different and ended for different reasons, I feel ashamed that I have failed twice in my life. And I don’t know if I will ever meet another man as a companion–and I’m now afraid to trust my judgement if I do. If you could address this, I would be so grateful. Thanks a lot. Happy Thankgiving.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Ilene,

        Are you new on here? There is a list of posts that Natalie has written going back >8yrs. You can certainly find the help you’re looking fir. If you read her current articles ON A REGULAR BASIS you find see yourself in her post and in the comments we BR people make. Just explore. You’ll find you answers because they’ve already been addressed. Lastly, you need to read her books,”Mr. Unavailable and The Fallback Girl”, and “The Dreamer and The Fantasy Relationship”. Get busy. I’m your age and I now have a very good man in my life who cares deeply for me. It’s a fulfilling relationship that we both enjoy immensely. I met him after I recovered from a miserable affair. When you seek to be much stronger in adhering to your values, working to improve your self esteem, and commit to learning to love yourself, better people seem to gravitate toward you and vice versa.
        All the best.

    • Oregon Girl says:

      I have also dated two alcoholics in a row. It is a soul-destroying experience. I wish Natalie could write a few posts specifically about this situation. It’s so hard!!

    • JustHer says:


      I also found it extremely shocking how WHILE I was arguing about the break-up with the AC he was cuddling up to another girl. We then stopped talking and I found out he had slept with that girl THAT VERY NIGHT!

      Never could I have imagined anything more painful.

      But their relationship lasted about 2 weeks and from what I heard, she deleted him off her Facebook even! So, take faith. These sudden rebounds don’t work out as well as we think.

      Although, I know honey that it will still hurt just as much as having a knife slicing your heart repeatedly, it is their foolishness to face up to. Eventually.

  10. Lacy says:

    This is me and it all boiled down to me asking questions, for him to say he loves me but not in love with me.After 10 yrs or more that I’ve been dealing with him.But it wasn’t shocking no one could love someone and do the things he has done its not possible heoved me.I’m ok with facing the truth I knew it all along.

    He told me he wish I had qualities like his x.He said but he doesn’t want to be with her ut she wants him and he hasn’t treated her right. I really think she dumped him, but oh well that’s where he’s at now I assume and its fine as long as he doesn’t bother me anymore.

    I hope in a few days I don’t get lonely and think I need to continue to accept a person only loving me as a friend but want u to love them like a husband. Crumbs when I go the extra mile for him all the time.He can love who he wants to love I just hate it took 10 yrs or more for him to finally admit how he felt about me.But I was stupid because he continued to show me how he felt about me and I kept hoping it would turn around silly me.

    • Stephanie says:


      What qualities is he talking about? Apparently, if those qualities where so positive then why did he break-up. These guys are amazing, they don’t understand how their actions are so hurtful. Don’t feel bad about loving someone, if anything you just loved the wrong person! It’s gets better and don’t let this situation and him make you think you are not worthy because you are. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!!

      • Lacy says:

        I think he looks up to her because she’s a lil older than he is, she’s 38 and he’s 32, she is persuing a degree, she has a child in college and I believe her mother has a well paying job.

        Me on the other hand I have 3 kids a teenager whom is going thru her rebilloin yrs but she has decent grades hasn’t been to jail and helps a lot with her brothers,I have a really shy son, both these 2 kids father has dine the minimum at times he’s good but lately he hasn’t helped much and a toddler his father passed away when I was pregnant.My finances are tight and I usually go to work and home sometimes I take the kids out or I go out with friends but not much my finances are low.I pay bills by groceries.

        I do have plans to get somethings on track but I think I do ok for me and my kids.

        So I guess judging my situation verses hers he’d rather persue a relationship with her.I’m all for people should do and be with who they want not once have I stood in his way or made that difficult for him.I even got a restraining order against him because he was so confused and one min he wanted me the next he didn’t so I figured I’d help him stay away from me.

        He refused to stay away he called different numbers to contact me everyday for 3 mths and showed up at my house several times and I gave in.

        These qualities I believe one time he said she’s understanding of his lifestyle and she would never disrespect him like I did when I drove his clothes to his mom’s house.He said she’d never do that he also said she’s of age and she knows its not too many good guys out here and she’d rather work on her relationship with him rather than move on to a new person that turns out to be worse than him.

        • JustHer says:


          You’re doing the best you can for your kids and yourself.

          As someone who was unemployed not too long ago and was struggling to pay for groceries and heating, I know how hard it can be and how much more courage it takes to keep pushing through!

          If he can’t see that, honey, then he doesn’t deserve a second more of your time or love. Someone’s apparent wealth and status is NOT a prerequisite for a happy relationship. Let the dumbass figure that one out on his own.

  11. Lydia says:

    Wow! Well my boyfriend won’t leave his mother for me. This has been gone into great detail in another thread, but the parallels are illuminating! She’s not the dysfunctional ex – she’s his constant. And although I think he has truly loved me, now that it’s time to move in with me, he has broken up with me and hurt me deeply. No honest realization or admission that he can’t leave his established (and in MY mind “sick”) relationship. But he made up all kinds of other reasons, making me out to be a bad person. BTW he too has said over the years he isn’t good enough for me and doesn’t want to hurt me. I just thought it was low self esteem! Thank you Natalie! Again you’ve given me a great deal to think about!!!

  12. Finally Free says:

    THANK YOU NATALIE!! I met a guy who was recently out of an abusive relationship, and we saw each other for a few months. There was some future faking and fast forwarding on his part (which I now recognise as such, at the time I just thought he was really into me) but before long he started flip-flapping and disappearing. My friends were concerned about the impact he was having on me, it was draining me of all my energy and I had to call it a day and stop engaging with him to let myself recover. A few weeks later he went back to his toxic ex and I struggled with guilt, thinking that me withdrawing my support had driven him back into her arms.

    If I’m honest, when I got involved with him I was really picking up the threads of my previous long-term relationship, which I’d ended when I finally accepted that I couldn’t love my ex (a lovely man who sadly had limited emotional means because of his childhood) into loving me the way that I wanted to be loved. I thought that if I could help this guy over his toxic ex I could ‘win’ his love and magically be validated.

    I’m still trying to learn the lessons and get over the hurt of what’s happened, BR is invaluable in this process! Please keep writing Natalie, I’m sure you’re literally saving lives!

  13. lygia says:

    He was soooooooo handsome and he was just out of a relationship of two years, however, he said he would never ever go back to her, she was everything bad, she shouted at him, she was manipulative and I was his peace, his love, his life from then on. I felt that nothing was right, I had no peace, i saw red flags flying and one I had the most strange premonition while walking with him in a park, I felt he was not really there and I had invented him, this took some minutes to go away and was most bizarre.
    Well, he went back to her. I never saw him again since 2012 and I dont know what is happening between them , but I dont want to know, I’m with the most amazing man who loves me and asked me to marry him. But it was so so so painful.

  14. AngelFace says:

    Reminds me of a George Harrison song with some lyrics like.. I, My, Me, Me, My. Yes, empathy does help give light to a situation, but it takes more than empathy to understand and heal from abuse. Happy Holidays All.

  15. rewind says:

    I can’t say that my guy went back to an ex…but he goes back to his different fallback people. This leaves me wondering why I’m not good enough and why he needs all multiple women. It’s hard to imagine him holding someone else and saying all the words that he says to me. But it is who he is. All the same, it hurts. He even asked me once if it was hurtful knowing he was with other women. When I explained that it was, his response was just to look at me, and say “really?”

    • Stephanie says:


      His response shows you where the disconnect is between you and him. If this is not enough of a reason to let him go then I don’t know what is. If he doesn’t understand how his actions are hurtful to you then why would he care how you felt. Let that one go and find someone else who you are compatible with.

    • Stacey says:

      rewind – he’s emotionally unavailable. have you read natalie’s articles at EUM’s? Have you gone NC?

    • Rosie says:

      rewind- Each of the other fallback girls are probably wondering the same as you, “How come I’m not good enough?” This isn’t about you; he’s an equal opportunity user.

    • may says:

      “I can’t say that my guy went back to an ex…but he goes back to his different fallback people”. ” It’s hard to imagine him holding someone else and saying all the words that he says to me. But it is who he is. All the same, it hurts.” Pretend your best girlfriend or sister had written the words you did. How would you feel about this “man” and how would you feel about your friend or sister? What would you tell them? I hope it is to do like we do in the States and say BUH BYE while giving the Queen’s hello/goodbye wave. Then I hope you would hug the dickens out of that girl and tell her how worthy she is of good things. And not to confuse a good shag with a good man.

    • gyserboy says:

      He is a drip definitely toying with you. “Really?” was his response, add egotistical to the above. It is really sad for you that he seemingly gets off knowing that he has hurt another human being, rather you :/ It is hard to imagine like you say but please do imagine it because that is what is truthfully happening. If you cannot find it in your heart for your own health and well-being to truly let this one go, then ‘not good enough’ you will remain to be…. In reality he himself is not good enough for anyone but himself and that in itself is still very lowly and pathetic……

    • Miranda says:

      One thing that I’ve learned from my past few relationships is that guys can say the sweetest things, with the most convincing face and the most loving voice, and not mean a single word of it. Heck, they might think they mean it at the moment, but deep inside they’re just confused and saying whatever they know you want to hear, and whatever will make the moment romantic.

      The guy I just ended things with, who I just found out went back to his ex, swore up and down to me that he wasn’t going to get back with her. He said over and over that he knew “for sure, without a doubt” that he wouldn’t go back to her. He called her a b—, went on and on about how much better than her I am, etc. But, lo and behold, the moment she texts him out of the blue he suddenly starts acting different towards me. Then, a week after I decide to end things before I get my hear broken, he actually goes back to her. For all I know, he was probably talking to her regularly while we were dating.

      Yeah, so don’t believe everything guys tell you. Don’t believe it until you see it in their actions and commitment. Words mean absolutely nothing.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Looks like on this post a number of women are being replaced, and traded in for the one(s) who came before, loves from the past. And he swears up and down the wall that he will never go back to her. But he does. What does that tell you? Seems as though all he was doing was trying to convince himself. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

  16. Stacey says:

    Mine didn’t go back to a toxic ex. Mine decided to start something with a recently separated woman who is ‘so into him’. Total EUM – we were talking about marriage, then he breaks up with me because something is missing and then let’s play it safe and date a separated woman who will give me lots of attention. AC.

    • gyserboy says:

      Hi Stacey, these types of men play on the vulnerability of such women….makes them feel the ‘stronger’ of the two (weakest). It truly does show their rather bleak character and best this did come out in time for you to realise he was definitely not marriage material, human material even. I hope you do have resurrected eyes now to give you wiser choice especially when it comes to seeking the permanent state of marriage…. You know some of these men do not like drama but they sure act precisely all that when it comes to the crunch (SMH)!

  17. Sparkle says:

    I think most of these assclowns are always running around replacing someone. AARGH, every girl is a replacement for something or the other. And it’s always the girls fault; they’re in arrested development mode with victim mentality. Let me lie to you, rescue me, while I look for other girls and cheat. What I have learned is that actions speak louder than words. They show you who they are. It’s up to us to watch, listen; set up a german shepherd fence and not let them take advantage of our good heart/nature. Done with that waste of time BS!

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! xo

    • JustHer says:


      Definitely agree! Most ACs are just looking for the next idiot auditioning to be their fool.

      It’s time we all saw this as it is and moved on from the pathetic drama!

      • gyserboy says:

        Yes agree with the drama (refer to a couple of notches above). I don’t know whether to laugh or cry how such men run through all these different hoops yet they simply do not end up anywhere constructive and good. And then they either sniff back for sympathy or run amok trying to find it elsewhere all because of their own pathetic behaviour which they will eventually have to deal with at some point in their lives (hopefully).

  18. lalamwah says:

    I was the OW for almost 3 years. He left twice and went back on both occasions. After 5 days of nc both times he contacted me to say he had made a mistake. The last time this happened I said if that’s how you feel you need to move out permanently. So he arranged somewhere to rent. Three days before he left, he spent those last nights in the marital home. I met him in his new apartment the day he left and we spent time together. After a few weeks he became distant. His ex got in touch with me and we ended up speaking. She filled the blanks for the last three years and I did the same. She told me two days before he left her that they slept together. I desperately didn’t want to believe this; I asked him and he denied it.

    Finally this week he admitted that it did happen and that things were a mess at the time.

    I feel sick- he could have stayed and left me alone or left but he still right to the very end wanted to have his cake and eat it.

    Since his admission I have been NC. I told him how disgusting his behaviour had been and that I never want to see him again.

    What a mess, and certainly I would never want to go through this again! I hope he doesn’t get in touch as I’m feeling really strong and nc feels like the right thing to do.

    Throughout this, I started going to see a councillor as it’s been a roller coaster and a horrendous experience. She likened the situation to a gambler- you keep putting money in and when you win, it’s a great feeling. You keep putting the money in to get that great feeling but more often than not you lose more than you put in.

    Time to stop gambling! I will try to remain nc and get my sanity back- day by day!

    • JustHer says:


      I love the gambling allegory. I definitely agree! Honestly, the highs can feel so damn good that you feel all the bad times are ‘worth it’ is some respect.

      I also find it so weird that you and his wife talked things out – but I hope you’ve both dumped his sorry ass like it deserves.

      Good luck honey!

    • Oregon Girl says:

      After recently ending a 2.5 relationship with a EUMM, I found the courage to leave him and move on with my life. For over two years I believed his lies that he was going to divorce her for me. We even bought a condo together! The stress of dealing with his BS for so long has had a serious impact on my health. Now every time my phone rings or every time something reminds me of him my heart starts to pound super fast and I can’t breathe. I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel like I am drowning. I have such horrible shakes. My doctor says it looks like PTSD. She has given me some anti anxiety meds to take for short term. Seriously, if loving him and hanging on to the illusion has caused this kind of hurt to my body, it’s lucky I got out when I did, and too bad I didn’t heed the warning signs that were there right from the beginning.

    • gyserboy says:

      Best of luck in the continued counselling. As long as you remain in no contact, the clearer things will definitely be for you to eventually letting go of the hurts, disbelief, heartache, and less than human treatment from a person who is incapable of being faithful and committed. Ignore any forthcoming (fake) pleas and I hope the other poor soul that has unfortunately become ensnared in his pattern is in the process of seeking counselling also.

  19. newbie says:

    ugh.. I am going throught the most difficult time.. way past it’s overdue date. The man I love is someone I can’t be with. For real life reasons and also because he can be a jerk. In the past when I’ve been willing to work through what are the potential problems to us being together, he has been mean, stood me up a couple of times and generally pulled a couple of real jerk moves. I don’t know why I still love him and it’s annoying because even if we were free to be together, I would have to say no because of all that he’s done.

    But it’s killing me to see him move on.. he has started dating this BEAUTIFUL, talented, amazing 19 year old and they look happy together online. I’m trying to stop looking but it’s so hard when you know it’s out there. It’s eating me up inside and giving me terrible self esteem :(

    Please help.. any advice on how to stop watching someone else’s life online and caring so much about such a jerk??

    • Sandy says:


      Block him, defriend him…just take him off. Stop causing yourself more pain by being able to look at pictures of him and her together, this is about what is best for you now.

    • noquay says:

      You stop by stopping it, period. Anyone can look happy together online. It’s a way that some folks brag about their lives. If this is on Faceplant, cancel your account. Be in the real world and try and meet others and do other things.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Newbie. Absolutely agree with Sandy and Noquay. Looking at him on Facebook or wherever is the same as watching some dumb rom-com and making it “real” in you mind. It’s a movie, for Christ’s sake! It has nothing to do with reality and is created to entertain. The picture(s) your looking at is not real. it’s entertainment for them and for the person watching. Do you really think it has anything to do with their lives together? They could be battling every day. YOU DON’T KNOW. You shouldn’t care. Take care of YOU. You don’t say it but if he’s married or attached, he’s not available, anyway. Stop looking!

      • lizzp says:

        Newbie, Try thinking of it as or Ditto for Address your problem with fantasy life replacing real life when you are ready as you are blowing out of all proportion.

    • Stacey says:

      I know its easy to compare yourself to the new person but don’t. It will just eat you up and if you are looking on facebook, BLOCK HIM! I blocked mine. It was hard at first. The thing that I am learning and its taking me awhile is that NC is about me. Its all about me now. He doesn’t matter. I’ve been making it about him for too long.

    • Revolution says:

      Newbie, sweetie. This too shall pass. Really, love. I know that it’s SO painful, believe me. But if this guy was a jerk with you, then he WILL be a jerk with the “amazing” 19-year old, or anyone else for that matter. Am I correct to assume that you’re a young lady? (The 19-year old girl your ex is dating tipped me off.) Well, whether young or older, you have your whole life ahead of you, with many chances to find love with someone who treats you with respect and care!

    • Pauline says:

      Newbie, you’re a unique and special person in your own right. Engrave that on your heart, you matter.
      Forget him, he’s not worth one more second of your time, thoughts or energy.
      Who cares what shit they put on Facebook, it’s all BS. Do I really want to know and see a pic of what someone had for dinner – hell no! Stop looking at him, you’re only rubbing salt into a raw wound and making it worse.

    • Elgie R. says:

      My feeling is that you are the attached one, Newbie. But, regardless, the FB stunt is just a salvo in meant to hit you. But take it like a weeble. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. You can either play into the drama and *decide* that he replaced you and feel all kinds of angst OR decide that, yes, it was probably a fix for him because he did not get what he wants from you. The fact that you mention the attributes of the girl suggests you feel replaced. You are comparing. ‘She’s younger, tighter than me. He’s moved on!’

      Now……why is it that you want him? Because he treats you so well? Because you like the push-me pull-me dance? Not judging. It’s just familiar, that’s all.

    • gyserboy says:

      Oh Newbie we all support you staying away from him and please do heed all the advice given above and any related links below as speaking from experience they all are, me included! Whatever happy and/or vulnerable moments you once shared for you to still care about him, consider them all history and life learning as clearly his actions right now does not include you!! If you cannot see this reality then the more incensed and downtrodden you will become. That is never a good place for you to put yourself in, himself nudging you further into it when you keep viewing those pictures which most likely will chop and change often. Do not see this as some kind of ‘magnet attraction’ that he possesses, rather his lack of forming sincere and true relationships with the opposite sex. Expect your heart though to be torn each and every time should you continue to keep yourself involved in his little and narrow life. Like you mentioned, way past the due date and yet still hung up on him yet he is posting these ‘beautiful, happy go lucky’ pics of the fantasy that he is currently in. Out of sight and out of mind by removing all online evidence of his unworthiness, take responsibility for your life now without him. It is a good path to be on once your realise your own self-worth and untie the shackles you have chained yourself to (him). With much sincerity I am cheering for your resistance and eventual deep deep cleansing!

  20. noquay says:

    I must admit I have never had someone go back to an ex, as far as I know. It could be because I generally wipe an ex off the face of the planet, emotionally anyway, when we break up. Don’t wanna see, hear, or smell them ever again. The only exceptions are my ex husband, and we broke up due to circumstance, not hate for each other, and the at work AC, whom I do wish would vanish but alas still works at our same place of employment, and lives in our same very small town. Noquay’s new policy of there being a minimum of 100 miles between a potential suitor and myself (not hard as the only suitable men WILL be that far away)hopefully ensures something like this never happens.

  21. courtney says:

    This will definitely be an unpopular sentiment, but I think it’s important to challenge yourself to think differently than the way you’re used to thinking.

    The only way I gain inner peace right now is by wishing my EUM’s happiness. I know – it’s weird. But it’s the only action that allows me to feel free to seek out my own happiness every day.

    Even if you don’t genuinely feel like doing this or you don’t think it will work for you, try this. Take a deep breath, say to yourself, “I cannot control what another person does to seek happiness. I can only control what brings me mine. What someone else does, with another person, has no bearing on my ability to be happy. What someone else deserves has nothing to do with me – that is the business between that person and God (or the universe, karma, etc). Today, I give myself back the control to be happy without it being dependent on whether or not someone else is happy without me.”

    It may not work for you, there will be different methods for each person. And for many people, the anger and the pain is just way too much to wish someone well right now. These EUMs have hurt us deeply…but we do this forgiveness and moving on for ourselves and our own healing. Not for them.

    Happy holidays and have a great Thanksgiving everyone. God bless you and be grateful for everything you have whenever possible! Every moment is precious.

    • Wiser says:

      I love your comment Courtney and totally agree with it. I too have come to the same conclusion and I know I am MUCH happier when I can wish the ex well. It feels like a thousand pounds is off my back. It’s easy to allow the anger and bitterness in us say “he (or she) doesn’t deserve to be happy.” Really? Who am I to decide what someone else “deserves?” That would be a terrible burden, and exactly the opposite of the peace of mind I want to have. I don’t know the whole of the ex’s life or the life of the woman he’s with now. I don’t know what karma or grace has in store for them. If they’re both blissfully happy every day for the rest of their lives, well, good for them. Their pursuit of their own happiness has nothing to do with me, and whether they are happy or unhappy also has nothing to do with me.

      You’re right – this is really the only way to get free of our grudges and resentments (no matter how legitimate they are) and reclaim our happiness.

    • Pauline says:

      Agree with you Courtney. My happiness and quality of life is more important to me than wishing bad karma on someone else. What goes around comes around.
      If BR has taught me anything it’s to step back and not bust my own boundaries and theirs when everything falls into a heap.
      Let them go!
      Happy holidays, peace and love to all.

  22. Elgie R. says:

    I would be shocked if someone said to me “I wish you had qualities like X”. I think I’d spit in his face and say “Can she do THAT?!?”

    My goodness.. guys who say things like that are jerks. Why do we get so emotionally twisted over jerks? Why do we give them final approval rights over our worth?

    My internal defense mechanism kicks in immediately when I sense someone deliberately said something hurtful to me. My FIRST thought is “What is their motive”. Constructive criticism never stings. Insults always sting. And insults disguised as constructive criticism always sting.

    If you can’t think if a snappy response to some guys (or gals) insult, “You’re an a$$” comes in handy.

    To me, the problem is, why does your self-esteem take such a hit because a man does not fall in love with you? I’m not understanding that. But I am older and have weathered a few heartbreaks and I know this too shall pass.

    I understand disappointment because you did not get what you wanted, but to think of yourself as having less value because he did not fall in love with you in return…?…. that indicates your wanting someone outside of yourself to give you value. IMO.

    So many women growing up with no real sense of self…even in this modern age.

    I don’t agree with wishing them well….I say ignore them and wish YOURSELF well. You do not love me? Then you are right…you are not the man for me. You think I deserve better? Then I agree. I deserve better than you.

    • Rewind says:

      My tells me that I deserve better quite often. Maybe it’s time that I start believing that. But tell me…what is their motive for telling us that?

      • lizzp says:

        The motive is that he believes it’s ‘nicer’ and ‘kinder’ to say that “You deserve better”, than to say “I don’t/no longer want to be with you Or I’d rather be with\have somebody else than you” (tick which one applies). That’s what he believes/says to himself that his motive is. Beyond this rationalising of his motive as being ‘kinder’ to you, the real motive for him is that he avoids taking responsibility for his feelings and what he really wants ie the “I don’t/no longer want to be with you Or I’d rather be with\have somebody else than you” (tick which one applies).

        • lizzp says:

          Having said that, *your* motive for staying away from him should certainly be that you do, indeed, ‘deserve better’ than a man who has nothing of the mutual relationship variety to offer you. So in way, *he* is telling you what you need toultimately understand yourself…on an unconscious level. However, his *motive* is still ultimately self serving at the deepest level even though the words do happen to be the truth.

          A man who was very dear to me at the time said to me “I’m a lost cause” and this proved to be correct.

        • Tanzanite says:

          Lizzp and Mymble

          Love your responses on this.You are so right.

          By doing it that way they also keep their golden bollocks status.

      • Mymble says:

        Let me paraphrase that;
        “I’m not treating you very well, why are you still around?”
        “why don’t you dump me, that will save me the discomfort of doing it myself”.
        “You deserve better than anything you’ll ever get from me, as I will only give you crumbs”.
        “Have you no self-respect?”
        “I am warning you that I do not have good intentions, I am fully aware that i am not meeting your needs and I’m not going to even try to do so. Really I wish you would just go”.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Hmm. I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way, but when the MM told me that I didn’t “love myself enough”, he was saying all the things Mymble just mentioned. The one that jumps out at me most is,”Have you no self respect?”. That was the primary feeling combined with the self loathing which lead me to eventually kick him to the curb. My, my. I see now it was even more of an insulting rejection than I’d thought at that time.

        • 539 says:

          I used to really hate the crumb line and hearing the “why am I so good to her” line. Like the other women here have stated, lines like those should not be ignored and the “relationship” or whatever passes for one should be picked apart and should end with you moving on.

          My ex would break those lines out occasionally and I eventually got tired of it and told her when need to part ways. No friendships, no rescue jobs, no birthday cards or chance meetings. It hurt going total NC. It opens a lot of space for self-reflecting but a year later, it’s been the best decision of my life. The support here is fantastic.


        • Little Star says:

          Mumble thank you for your comment, such an eye opener!!! I agree with Tink, you were spot on with ‘Have you no self-respect?” , so painful to read and absorb;( Never again, only love and care towards myself and no more losers in my new and exciting life;)

        • Lilly says:


          Ouch, I can relate to all of that!

      • JustHer says:


        My ex said I deserved better all the time and that he felt he was never “good enough” for me.

        I thought I was the all-knowing queen of giving, and that he would be so grateful to have someone who was “out of his league” (according to him) that he would treasure me.

        He cheated on me repeatedly and then abandoned me.

        I should have believed him. I DO deserve better and he would NEVER be good enough for me.

        • Mymble says:

          Just her
          I’ve had kind of remark made to me too. It isn’t a compliment.

          • JustHer says:


            I know, and I wish I had known that when I met the AC. It would have saved me a bucket load of pain.

            Luckily, I am no longer my stupid naive self and have learnt my lessons!

      • Allison says:


        He is too much of a coward to end it, and wants you to make the move.

        If he’s not treating you well, what are you sticking around for?

    • micheyl says:

      Elgie, I am lying in bed sick (cold), reading through all these comments and had to just say your comment made me laugh and then it made me feel love for YOU! hahaha. I wish my brain had you on loud speaker. I am learning, but I do still put so much value in how others feel about me. This self-love does not come easy after a life time of not practicing it. Thank you for the mental image of – can she do THAT! I will use that (at least internally) if an AC ever uses a line like that with me.

  23. stephanie says:

    Courtney & Elgin,

    I get as where you are coming from because I look at my ex the same way. I forgave him for me, because I don’t bitterness I see good. Besides it causes wrinkles lol. Really I could careless if he is happy or sad, I made my peace with that situation and moved on. My goal is to help support women thru their journey to find happiness from the pain caused by these assholes.

  24. Ali says:

    Loved this article. This is something I have experienced and even though I was aware that the situation was about them and their lack of love for themselves, it is still difficult not to internalize it. The loss we experience hurts and it can seem very confusing to watch a loved one return to a toxic situation. Not easy to deal with.

  25. Peanut says:

    It’s not my fault my ex likes whores. I’m not a whore. End of story.

    I want a nice, loving man who can give me a baby and not run to smut when things get difficult. I want a confident, generous and fully available man with a kind, warm heart that isn’t a nut case hanging from his mother’s teat.

    The last thing I need is a man with issues; I’ve got enough of my own.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      They ALL have issues, just as we do. It’s a matter of learning exactly what those issues are and examining whether or not and how much they are important to you. Deal breaker(s) or not? Life and intimate relationships are not easy.

  26. Finally Free says:

    Rewind – when he tells you that you deserve better, for goodness’ sake believe him! Nat’s written posts about hidden meanings in these ridiculous phrases we get hung up on, in this case there is no hidden meaning and he means exactly what he says. You think that if he KNOWS you deserve better and you’re still putting up with him he’ll be grateful and eventually value you. He won’t. He’s also telling you the truth – you DO deserve better. So thank him for his ‘honesty’ and tell him not to get hit in the ass by the door on his way out.

  27. Feistywoman says:

    Ladies just stop dating find other ways of being happy and leave the clowns to those women who will put up with them. I am not prepared to be put through all the shit that now goes with modern dating at 52. Had 2 failed marriages with enough shit that I divorced them and that is enough. I feel that the pool of available men for me is of such poor quality that I prefer a night in with my cats! So many of them treat women like they are test driving cars which is fine for cars but not when a man is sleeping with different women and often overlapping to find the one with bells and whistles he wants. I don’t need a man in my life to define who I am as a woman or a human being.

    • Lara says:

      WELL SAID. I totally agree with this. Please read my comment down below — this very same thing was done to me by a man who asked me out 2 days ago.. I give up, to be honest. I don’t even want a relationship at this point. Too much drama that I don’t need in my life.

      • Little Star says:

        Agree with Feisty, feel the same, very disappointed and rather have a cat or dog for company;) but still hope maybe one day I start to trust men again….

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Little Star,

          Aside from being alone, I want to adopt a dog because it will be able to share unconditional love and affection without speech. They don’t give you headaches. LOL! And the loyalty is incredible.

          Btw, I’m glad you won’t be writing anymore about AC#1 and AC#2, and “my two AC’s”. You always lumped them together as though they were one person. They were two different individuals, right? And you learned different lessons from each, right? I hope. Love, ya. Tink.

          • Little Star says:

            Awww my lovely Tink;) Yes, they were two different guys, but I was always in contact (but not physical!) with AC#1 when I was “dating” AC#2..I still miss these losers from time to time but hey I am different person now, life is good, thank you!!! Hope you are fine and happy, good luck with adoption;) xxx

  28. noquay says:

    Courtney and Wiser
    Wish I could be as compassionate as the two of you; in this I fall far short. I don’t wish the AC, my ex grad advisor harm, I wish them insight into their actions and that both of them break the cycle of destroying the lives/careers of others. It would be much easier to forgive AC if I didn’t ever have to see the SOB again and if I did not have to personally deal with the effects of his not being present for his students, if one of the women he destroyed wasn’t a good friend. Not only do I have to deal with how he hurt/used/betrayed me, my personal life, the ability to GET AWAY, so that I can have a chance to meet someone new, be able to move on myself, is hampered because I am given extra work to get his former students to a place where they can graduate. Then AC disses me for being
    “negative”, no s@#$! The ill-advisor had some similarities; mis-used funds brought in by grant writing grad students, when we’d complain to administration, we were labelled “troublemakers”. When I told him my car had been tampered with multiple times, I had been followed, I was “hysterical” as if hysteria loosens lug nuts on cars and makes people tail you at night with their lights off. I had fellow grad students come to me in tears, take to binge drinking so I felt obligated to drive them home, witnessed his emotional abuse of his wife (disguised my voice, called campus security), then he resented my taking a job out of state (which led to the end of my wonderful marriage). His reward? A brand new building for his research. I find it a lot easier to forgive those who are so damaged that they cannot help what they do; our collection of hoarders, a couple of bipolar folks I’ve had to distance myself from. I wish them all the help they need and wish them well (literally). However, when there is a repeat pattern of mistreatment, of unethical behavior, of deliberateness, I find it hard to forgive, especially when it’s in my face, directly affects my own life. I am not that good a person. I am grateful for 5 days respite from all things AC, the silence (no cars, motorized rubbish, TV sets), the mountains, wilderness. Happy Harvest Feast (this was what it was called before those Pilgrims got involved).

    • Wiser says:

      Noquay, I think that when you hope these toxic and destructive people change their ways, this IS a form of wishing them well and a kind of compassion. And that’s good for you – good for your soul. People who habitually hurt other people hurt themselves more and are miserable at the core. These are not happy people who like or respect themselves. They can’t be. Even if they appear to be “rewarded” by the world afterwards and seem to breeze through life, they are to be pitied not envied. By knowingly choosing a “repeat pattern of mistreatment, of unethical behavior, of deliberateness,” these people ARE damaged, perhaps even more than those who just can’t help themselves.

      I’m not saying that those of us who have been terribly hurt by appalling, even evil people should rush right out and forgive them. I’m just saying that I don’t think that blotting them from memory or being neutral or not wishing them harm goes far enough in healing our wounds. I can’t speak for anyone else and I can’t explain it – all I know is that when I can wish the ex well and hope he’ll be happy (which I can’t do all the time – not saying this is always easy), I get a wonderful feeling of freedom and well-being. This seems to be the path to happiness – in fact nothing less will do the trick. And I want my own happiness more than I want to be his judge and jury. It’s not about him anyway, and is actually the opposite of victim mentality. It’s an exercise in personal power, because I am CHOOSING my own attitude regardless of what he chooses, what he deserves or how he behaves.

      Reminds me of a quote I just saw: “You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who have hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.”

  29. Lacy says:

    Justher according to him he says no one will put up with me that I’m a b…. and I don’t have any qualities he’s looking for in a woman.So I have known this for yrs and just didn’t let go and now he said it out of his mouth.

    I’m not mad it just hurts and I keep thinking maybe he is right, I’m not fun enough nice enough or pretty enough or understanding enough of his life.

    • Mymble says:

      That doesn’t even make sense. If you are so unworthy of him why did you have to get a restraining order to make him stay away and why didn’t he comply with it?
      Some people enjoy pulling the wings off flies, keeping human slaves, and torturing prisoners. Leave their psychology to the psychologists and get out of this relationshit.
      I wouldn’t bother listening to a word he says because he isn’t interested in truth or genuine communication. His words intended to wound you or reel you back in, keep you so offbalance that you can’t run.
      You really can though, if you choose.

      • Sandy says:

        Lacy, I agree with Mymble, that doesn’t make sense at all, look at it this way are apparently the only woman that will put up with him otherwise why would the hell would you have spent 10 years with this douche bag.
        He’s trying to put the guilt on you because it’s easier for him that way, don’t let him get away with it, hold your head up high and move onto a better and happier life.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          Since when does a turd have the right to assess your qualities for a relationship? Just let it go in one ear, (you’re not deaf, fortunately) and out the other.

    • AHM says:

      Lacy – I had an AC many, many years ago who said the same about me “that I was a wigging B***h – nobodies gonna want you” a while later I got my aha moment – see he didn’t want anyone else to have me, so he put me down to make sure I wouldn’t go find someone else. Guess what – I did find others – we’re not together, but every single one of them has wanted me back at various times (didn’t go back.

      And by the way – if they are doing shady crap who wouldn’t get angry!!! or be a big B

      YOU DESERVE BETTER!!! And so do I!!

      • Oregon Girl says:

        I never thought of that! I think you are right! My ex called me the worst names you can think of, and all I did was cry and cry and then come crawling back to him. I’m so ashamed of myself. I should have told him to EFF OFF! I think you are right, he just wanted to grind me into the ground so I would not even think I was “worthy” of finding another man to love. Wow, super insight!

    • Rosie says:

      Lacy- Oh, boy…You’re lucky I don’t know you in person, lucky I’m no longer at my prior job. My job included the task of being a mandated reporter. This means that if I knew you, knew what was going on with you and this guy, I’d have to report you to the state and you would very likely lose custody of your children. Yes, your situation *is* that serious! I remember your mentioning how you gave your rent money to this guy (this jeopardized your children’s safety, you know that, right?), how he made you bleed, how he punched you in the stomach, how you ignored your own restraining order against him…Find a therapist who specializes in abusive relationships and get your head out of this guy’s ass and start thinking of your children.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Kudos to Rosie. Spot on!

        • lizzp says:

          Lacy,I have read your posts over the last year or so. You are so deep in this mire that you appear incapable of taking the step needed to begin making life better for yourself…and while you suffer so do your children at the behest of your very sick attachment to this…man. You need to have one healthy person in real life who can help you on a practical level. You need to take a first step and then let this person take over and help you. I understand that you do not and will not take that step for yourself but maybe if you dig deep enough you could take it on behalf of your children. Once you have taken that step and asked this person to help you, whoever this person is they need to ensure, against all your protests to the contrary and keeping a deaf ear to your ‘crazy making’ reasoning (yes, you are ‘crazy making’ yourself Lacy and the odds are high that you are setting your children up for the same) that you relocate far away from this man and all the toxicity that you now embrace. This person must turn a deaf ear to any excuses re the children’s schools, friends and ‘upheaval’ themed arguments coming from you. There is such a person Lacy, all you need to do is take that first step.

          Rosie is correct in that theoretically speaking outside authorities will, at their best, focus on the fact that by continually embracing this toxic man and his cohorts, most especially the fact that you broke your own restraining order, question whether you are a fit mother to your children. However, sadly in reality unless your children display bruises or speak up for themselves (both unlikely scenarios) you know you will be able to continue offering this extremely toxic emotional environment ad nauseum.

          Lacy, I have felt empathy for you many times and that is not negated, BUT enough is enough. Someone else needs to take over now. When you are far away from him physically and with ongoing support you may eventually recover some of yourself, but even if it doesn’t happen for you, your poor children should not be condemned. They still have a chance in their lives.

        • Allison says:

          Another kudos to Rosie!!!!

  30. Lalamwah says:

    Thanks Just Her!

    3 days nc and having a weak moment so posting on here instead of doing the silly thing!!

    She contacted me and I called her.. Feeling very confused now tonight- went out for dinner with a good male friend who knows both me and the man involved.. He did point out that she had set the situation up and although he was a complete **** for falling for it, she’s playing a very clever game (which fits in with the fact she reported me to my company for contacting her by phone- she initiated the contact with me and I thought we both realised how we had been lied to).. Either way he’s not a strong enough man it’s just so confusing as I don’t want to let go of someone who I’m still in love with if its a case of him being stupid enough to be under the ex spell??!! Either way I know it’s not right to be in touch with him tonight, it’s just hard that’s all!!

    • JustHer says:


      She seems to be WAY too much trouble than she’s worth! I hope she didn’t cause much strife for you at work.

      Ofcourse it will be hard, honey, but once you’ve made up your mind never ever ever let yourself be dragged back in. Honestly, I wish I had followed that advice a year ago and wouldn’t still be stuck in a rut!

      I also think that you might be attributing a bit too much to his ex – after all he CHOSE to go back to her. Being weak and stupid are flaws – put the blame where it’s due!

  31. espresso says:

    When guys replace their long term relationships with another women in a split second(and this applies to a lot of these EUMs) this is such a CLEAR reflection that they aren’t willing to or won’t deal with their feelings. A person that does that is totally detached from themselves and from real life. I know how much it hurts (been there) but it is all about them and not about you. It still FEELS like it is about us because most of us cannot do this.

  32. espresso says:

    and etc.
    Probably some of the people who don’t want to replace a dog who died too quickly because they were so close, are the same people who move on immediately to others or have something set up already. Frankly I just find this so hard to understand and this is why we struggle with it so much. I think in a lot of cases it also reflects hidden, unexpressed anger. I know it did with my ex. Being the “nice guy” he would never admit to wanting to punish me for ending the relationship so he took a sharp stick and poked it in my eye and said he hadn’t done it or didn’t “mean to.”

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Whether he meant to punish you or not the result is the same. You have been devastated by this man. Now that you’re coming to the end what are you going to do for YOU. What are some of the good things and happy times you are beginning to create for yourself? It has taken an extraordinarily long time for you to come as far as you have. I hope you will not continue to spend a long time lamenting over him and the fact that he could not be what you wanted. He has already squandered all of your efforts to work things out and your loyalty. It’s futile to give him any more brain space. Enough already. Please stop wasting your life. Learn to live. NOW!

  33. noquay says:

    I don’t date anyone near here because the quality is sooo awful (druggies anyone?), rather than waste my time wirh losers here, I do pet my cats, dogs, chickens all of whom are much more appreciative and intelligent than the local talent (am now spending the holiday nursing a very sick hen).However, like any normal human, I still yearn for physical affection, caring, love. It’s probably a bigger issue for me because there is no family to speak of, I was happily married once, and my friends here are all married/partnered/have family. I don’t like having to settle for something “less than”, while I am still healthy and vital.

    • Feistywoman says:

      Yes I agree we all need love and affection but we can also live without it. The love I get from my cats is unconditional and they are a joy in my life that would not not be surpassed by a man. However it can be the need for love and affection especially when it becomes an over riding hunger that can propel into less then healthy relationships and result in exploitation. I am regarded by my BFF as well grounded and this has been because I have taken time out to sort my baggage and decide what I wish to have in my life. The over riding feeling is that I am better off on my own than getting embroiled in drama and stress due to dating, the latter I have never particularly liked. In addition I am now at the stage where it is simply a case of am I prepared to compromise to get a relationship going? I have no desire to re-marry or live with a man and whilst companionship would be nice within an honest, fulfilling relationship, I am realistic enough to know that such a goal is not the be all and end all in my life. Besides few single people I know have experienced honesty from men many of whom married as it felt right at the time but the woman wasn’t the love of their life then they wondered why it went wrong! Men with baggage don’t get reclaimed by me.

      • Yana says:

        Some women have unrealistic expectations of men. Men don’t exist to complete us and now it’s your cats who are the center of your existence. You went from men to cats. It’s your thinking that’s off, not men.

        • Fesitywoman says:

          Yana I am a woman who is considered well balanced and if I prefer the company of cats to the clowns of men many of the women on here have had problems with so be it, I really don’t give a monkeys cuss about your opinion. You know nothing about me or my life and nothing about the sad, lying, cheating men I’ve seen in real life or the horror stories I’ve heard many women tell. Cats to men who treat women like test driving cars, can’t keep it in their pants, lie, cheat, are selfish, play games and deceive…….. yes any day. The fact is that I have come out of the desire to be in a relationship and like my quiet life. Perhaps your problem is that you can’t be without a man in your life and think it strange that a woman can be happy, independent and single.

          • Yana says:

            You’re right, I don’t know you. I think I was projecting my own fears of ending up alone and bitter onto you because that’s how I interpreted your post. I see myself heading in that direction due to my fears and stubbornness.

        • Mymble says:

          I don’t think you can get “love” from any animal, it is ascribing to them human characteristics and feelings which they do not have. Much as I like cats and dogs. They are nice to have around, but no substitute for human company, love and affection.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Wrong!!! Mymble. I beg your pardon. They DO give love. They sense your moods and they are always “there” for you.They just cannot speak. They are not human beings, but in many respects they are much more loving and rewarding companionship.

            • Mymble says:

              There was a discussion about this ages ago, and it was concluded that cats are EU!
              Note how they will disappear to a neighbours house for hours, days or permanently, if the pickings are richer or the hearth is warmer. I like em, don’t get me wrong, but so very EU.

          • micheyl says:

            I agree with Tink. I do get love from my animals. I had a dog who lived to be 18. I got him in my early 20’s and he saw me through 2 divorces, 2 children, moved around the country with me and was my companion through joy and heartbreak. I was never lonely because of him. He did almost 3 years ago and I will never stop missing him. You could never convince me that he did not love me with all of his sweet little heart. That was one of the most special and loving relationships of my life and I cherish it <3

      • Elgie R. says:

        I interpret the meaning of this BR post as “give your fellow BR posters room to make mistakes”. All of we BR posters are at different points in our journey to be free of ACs. Some are still valiantly trying to make the fantasy real. Those folks cannot be browbeat into seeing the frog and not the prince. They will have to get there in their own time.

        I think some will never get there, because it is too important to them that the fantasy turn out to be real.

        Feistywoman, I am as pragmatic as you. I did not hear bitterness in your words, but more of a resignation to look at harsh, sometimes disappointing reality.

        I too am sworn off the drama and feel a strong need to put my energies into more personally rewarding ventures. I don’t look at it as “they did me wrong”, but more like “I did myself wrong and I can change that”.

        But some folks are forever hooked on drama. And they will not change. Prince Charming is always around the corner in their eyes.

        I think there are some nice men in my future. But the thrills & chills of AC highs & lows – no…..never again. Those highs & lows are all about uncertainty. I’d like my next one-to-one relationship with a man to be all about Certainty.

        • Lilly says:

          I interpreted the meaning of this post in a similar way as Elgie and it helped me to understand why I kept in contact with the AC when I should have run away sooner. Looking back I do view it as “he did me wrong” but I can also clearly see that “I did myself wrong” and that is what I’m working on. I’ve been very hard on myself for being such a fool and I’ve certainly beaten myself up for my part in this whole saga. The realisation that you let yourself down takes a while to come to terms with.

          I also didn’t interprete Feistywoman’s comments as bitter just practical and realistic. Given my past tendency to engage in fantasy and dreams I need to be more like this. I want to be my own Prince Charming. Right now I don’t know if I could ever trust a man again or myself for that matter and so I will just cuddle up with my beautiful little dog. As Mymble says I don’t know if she ‘loves’ me in a human sense, but I love her and she benefits and so do I.

  34. Peanut says:

    I would like to marry a man who values monogamy, commitment, responsibility, authenticity, and freedom of expression.

    • Feistywoman says:

      You may have to wait a long time sadly.

      • Sandy says:

        Peanut, don’t listen to Feistywoman, men like that are out there, I was married to a man like that we just grew apart after marrying young…there is no need to be as cynical or as bitter as Feistywoman seems to be, big hugs.

        • Sandy says:

          The ex hubby is not the man who put me here (totally different person who I met after the divorce) so that is why I know there is better out there for everyone of us :-) life is always a learning experience don’t you think?

        • Fesitywoman says:

          Sandy I am not bitter but I don’t believe there are many men who meet Peanut’s wish list that is all. I am older and have seen a lot of life and know that once men have baggage they are poor quality. Stop deciding what I am or am not based on a comment, I don’t judge you by what you say so back off. If peanut wants a man with the qualities she desires then she may have to wait a long time…… that is a fact given that as we age the available pool of men gets less and less attractive. I would like to meet a man with those same qualities but it isn’t my holy grail and I have found other ways of having a fulfilling life after my experience with an evil man. The fact is that either one holds true to values or principles or one doesn’t. Then it is a choice of waiting for what you desire, compromising and risking being done over by some of them men people have described, or not. All the women of here have described some unbelievably bad situations and I’ve heard many sorry tales from women in my day to day life. All I know is that I won’t take up with damaged male goods and addressed my baggage growing stronger through Nat’s site. Each to their own but I am not compromising on the values I need for a relationship and if I remain single so be it.

          • lizzp says:

            Well said Feisty Woman.

          • Sandy says:

            Feistywoman, maybe bitter wasn’t the right word, negative maybe, Peanut is quite young and I will be honest if someone said to me after I had expressed my wish of what I am longing for that I would have to wait a long time then yes I would be a bit upset, maybe at our advanced ages we don’t see the positive side due to a lot of years of experience but I don’t want to be negative about it either, there are nice guys out there, all hope is not lost, I guess I just don’t see why we can’t be a little bit positive that’s all.

            • Wiser says:

              I know three women in their late 50s who just got married to terrific guys. Two met theirs on-line. It can happen!

              My cousin met her now-husband when she was 61. At age 60 she hadn’t even dated anyone in 12 years. She had never heard of this guy. But she never gave up. She was hopeful and looking and stayed positive. Also, part of her secret was to stay happy and busy and develop her own life. She was and is a happy, fun person. And it was her successful, happy life that was attractive to the new guy.

              The message is: Life can change in a flash. Or as a good friend said to me (which was oddly comforting), “Well, you’re not dead yet. Anything can still happen!”

              • Revolution says:


                You are dangerously close to being attacked with love by a crazy Italian woman. If you were here, I’d give you a big bear hug. It’s a good thing you’re safely far away. 😉

                Great comment, my love.

              • Tinkerbell says:


                Yes! I can happen at any age. My best friend got remarried at age 62 after 28 years divorced from hubby #1. She is a very devout woman who attracted a widowed minister. She has always been extremely independent, had many friends, industrious, very intelligent,(went back to get her master’s degree at age 60) and always the life of the party. She never seemed to needed a man or anyone, for that matter. Now lives a wonderful life with a man who is “perfect” for HER.

            • Allison says:


              Totally agree!

              I believe with a more positive attitude we are more likely to find someone with healthy qualities, but if we continue to drag around our baggage, we will end up with more of the same, or alone.

              All that baggage is exhausting!!!

              • Contrast Effect says:

                1. Being realistic is not the same as negative.

                2. There’s nothing wrong with being alone.

                3. The comments about being alone are far more telling than anything Fiestywoman said; likewise comments taking subtle/not so subtle digs at Fiestywoman – whether intentional or not (e.g. perhaps just poorly composed) – assumptions about another person, apparently based solely on conventional wisdom rather than fact, only serve to cause the person commenting to appear immature and naive.

                4. Fiestywoman’s attitude/comments reinforce much of what the posts on BR are about.

                5. There’s nothing wrong with being alone (especially if a result of staying true to ones core values).

    • JustHer says:


      If you find such a man, I hope he has a brother and if so, please do introduce me 😉

  35. espresso says:

    Because I gave my ex the benefit of the doubt 3 million times and I placated him even though I thought I didn’t and didn’t want to and denied my anger quite a bit and ignored the needs of my core self I just can’t get to that compassionate place right now. I spent HOURS being compassionate towards him when he was using his victim status to deflect from dealing with my feelings or to avoid resolving problems in the relationship or how he contributed to them. This went on for years.

    I find my emotions often very difficult to handle right now but I think this is a healthy although uncomfortable stage for me. It is a REAL reaction that comes from my real feelings and it is legitimate and although awkward and makes me feel nasty and mean – it is where I am (I don’t act out my feelings and am scrupulous in my behaviour). Not saying I wouldn’t like to get to a compassionate place because it would mean he didn’t have an effect on me at all. This is what I really want…to be totally non-reactive. Hope I get there someday.

  36. Nikki says:

    You’ve done it once again. I have to realize it’s not that there’s a problem with me. He obviously has some things he needs to resolve that are independent of me. Literally and figuratively. I wish him God’s speed.

  37. Lilly says:

    Whilst my experience is not about being replaced I can relate to so much in this post. For the most part I’ve stopped looking through the ‘what’s wrong with me’ lens and I am FINALLY seeing that the AC/MMs behaviour was/is not a reflection of my worth or my baby’s worth. He is not my source of value and I’ve kicked him right off that pedestal. It’s taken a long time to get to this point. Lately, I’ve had whole days when I don’t feel as if I have a knife stuck in my heart and those times are becoming more and more frequent. I am however not feeling very compassionate towards him. I don’t wish him any harm, but rightly or wrongly I just do not wish him well and may never be able to. I’m with Noquay, I just hope he gains some insight into his actions so he doesn’t hurt or destroy anyone else. I still have some way to go as grief is a very complex emotion and can knock me off my feet in a moment. In the meantime, I’m going to be thankful and relish those days when it doesn’t hurt quite so much anymore.

    • Wiser says:

      Lilly, I know that my approach isn’t going to work for everyone, nor should it. It’s the kind of thing that comes only by grace and with enough time passing. I only shared my story so that people will know that it’s possible. In your case, I wouldn’t spend any time thinking about his happiness or wishing him well – you need to spend all your energy on YOUR happiness and wishing YOURSELF well!! The fact that you don’t wish him harm after all this soulless creature has done to you is a miracle in itself. Maybe someday you will come to the point where you will think of him with some form of neutrality or even mild pity (for no one is more pitiful than this guy), but don’t worry about that now. Just take care of you!

      More than anything I wish YOU well on this Thanksgiving and that you continue to heal. Sounds like that is what you’re doing!

      • Lilly says:


        I agree, I think it was me thinking about his happiness and not my own that got me in this mess in the first place! I also understand where you are coming from because I have been able to get past other hurts in the past and wish the person well, however, not this one. Too much pain, but I am looking forward to the day when I can feel indifferent towards him. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I agree. Since it’s over two years ago and I unwaveringly left the affair, and rarely thinking of him I still do not wish him well. He is a damaged soul who is highly toxic to any woman whether she is EU or not. He is a scheming, maneuvering, lieing, conniving devil. At the same time he has all the charm, personality, ability to converse, and charisma of an AC/EUM. I’m sure he has had little difficulty finding an other OW and I may not have been the only one at the time. How, do I wish a person of that nature well? I cannot. I don’t hate him, not at all because I feel nothing in regards to him. I feel that he can do nothing more than to wreak havoc in another woman’s life, just as he continues to do so in his marriage. I do, however, feel sorry for his wife because he is incapable of human decency and can never be a responsible husband.

      • Sandy says:


        I am the same, I don’t hate him (kind of hated myself for a while for becoming someone I truly disliked but lately I feel myself coming back to the woman I used to be) but I don’t wish him well either, this man treats women like they are there to serve him, there is so much I could say about him, so much hurt that he caused and now he is doing the same to her, she is the one I feel sorry for, bet she didn’t realise what she was getting into, the crumbs,the abuse,the anger,the name calling..the feeling that no matter what you do it is never going to be enough and if she is anything like me she will stick it out way past it’s used by date, try to make it work, make herself sick with anxiety trying to understand what she is doing wrong and why he is like he is until it just becomes too much for the body and mind to take. So no I don’t wish him well at all and I do belive in Karma and what goes around comes around.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          So true, Sandy. So true.

          • Lilly says:

            Tink & Sandy,

            I think these ACs are all related! Can I add a few more descriptors, eg., manipulative, cruel, callous, un-empathetic and the list goes on and on. My therapist gave me a book to help me better come to terms with his cruel behaviour and he had many characteristics of psychopathy including the superficial charm, the overly high estimation of his self (which I must have fed no doubt), and lack of remorse and/or guilt. Lets leave them alone with their appalling personality traits and get on with our lives. There are good people out there and happy times ahead. Never, ever again!!

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Right, Lilly.

              They’re not worth a thought, much less writing about. It’s just that when you meet someone who is so remarkably twisted in their minds and they treat you in that same twisted fashion, it’s shocking to your psyche and you never forget the experience. I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. You are doing soooo well. You will continue to have ups and downs in your moods which is normal, but never give up because the road you’re on now is the right one. Going forward, and not looking back.

  38. Lacy says:

    Lizzp its messed up for me that it took him to really come out and say that he doesn’t see any qualities in me that would make him want to commit to me.I wasted so much time and jeopardized 3 people who are dependant on me, I hate myself for that, and I see everything u and everyone else is saying as right I always have I just was too focused on not accepting that he’s not for me, I just couldn’t accept that and every small attempt he mad to come back around I allowed him back.

    People have stepped in Dcfs was at the school talking to my 2 sons.The dcfs worker told me they were called because my younger son seems angry and emotional.I have a 2 mth investigation but the social worker has talked to all 3 of my kids and me and she says everything is ok.Like u said there are no physical signs that I am letting them live and see me kive in a toxic relationship.But I talked to my daughter and she says she hates that I be sad and she doesn’t see much good that he does, she says he comes and goes as he please and he only buys restaurant food.

    My kids said they love being with me and wouldn’t want to live with anyone else, they love the guy especially my toddler I know he has and never hurt them but not helping and all the drama he has me go thru actually is hurting them too and I have to fix it and let go.

    I thought I am letting go with nc here and there but I always cave in.I have made stupid choices and burned up all my yrs on someone who will never be in love with me and has offered me and my kids crumbs.I can only be mad and focus on me and do better because he is living his life the way he wants but its no good for me and my kids and I have to be better for them or else I can loose them and that’s the scariest thing ever.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      It’s one thing to not know you issues and therefore not attempt to remedy them. But, you have stated some of your problems which I’m sure are only the tip of the iceberg. But

      • Tinkerbell says:

        you’re not doing anything about them. At lest it certainly doesn’t appear as though you’re trying to get your act together and be a better person for yourself and your CHILDREN. You owe them that.

    • lizzp says:

      Lacy, As Nat says, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. You know you will keep ‘caving in’ but won’t address physically removing yourself and protecting your children at least ahhhh…I won’t repeat myself an more, as my sanity matters to me. End of.

    • micheyl says:

      Lacy please keep NC with this horrible horrible man. Maybe I can speak as a possible future version of your daughter. My parents had an extremely abusive relationship. Both physically and verbally. I grew up watching my mother get beat emotionally and physically. I have 2 older brothers. Well, one is unmarried, never had a relationship and has moved back in with my parents (to ‘protect’ I’m sure. He was always the protector). My other brother is married to the angriest, meanest woman I have ever met and he is the nicest guy ever. She didn’t start that way; he thinks she has a personality disorder. They have 2 young children and he does everything for them. Then there’s me – my self worth is shit and I have not been in any LTR that was healthy or loving.

      So you might think the kids love him. Just because he is not physically harming them or belittling them does not mean they are not terrified of him or hate him. He is harming their MAMA, the person they love more than anything in the world! Watching the most cherished person in their world being abused is just as bad as being abused. They feel helpless. You are setting them up for a lifetime of hurt.

      If you truly want to do good by your children LET GO of this man. TRULY put your children’s needs in front of yours. Get help. My mother is still with my father. And she still uses the excuse she is with him “for the children” (we are all grown adults). I want to shake reality into her and say if you wanted what was best “for the children” you would have run far and fast away from that man. But she didn’t make that choice. I am begging you to please make that choice for your children. Show them they mean so much more to you and your heart than a hateful man. Give them some of their self-worth back. Make them your priority and you will only benefit from it. I promise you! Please <3

  39. noquay says:

    You are indeed wise. AC at least, does have major abandonment/rejection issues, probably was abandoned by his father. It would be a lot easier to wish AC well if he was in another state and my own life wasn’t affected by his actions every workday. Ironically, after I wrote that post, the woman he was leading a double life with showed up at the coffeehouse where I hang out. She doesn’t live in this town, she was formally dressed, as if going to a meeting, looked wan and dangerously thin. She again, was alarmed to see me, and I treated her with kindness. The situation with AC isn’t her fault, I doubt if she knew about my place in his life. I don’t believe he is even in town, as he couldn’t be bothered to come to work the two days we were supposed to be there. Hope she is not going back to HER very toxic ex. As for myself, I have decided to avoid the Holiday and tend to my dying (probably) hen. Got a last minute invite to dinner in the great concrete metastasis 100 miles away and decided my hen needed me more. I would’ve been with “not quite able to be a boyfriend” and his football lovvin family. Again, I am failing at compassion because I simply do not have the emotional energy to play armchair shrink for him. His situation is like mine, but worse, was horribly attacked by a mentally ill woman, I suspect that the emotional and physical damage is permanent. He too cannot forgive and wants justice. I fully understand this but other than giving asked-for advice and being a friend, there’s nothing more I can do. Also do harbor a bit of resentment that he even was trying to date on line (where we met) as he must know he cannot have a real relationship. Will go hiking with him tomorrow but today is mine and mine alone.

  40. noquay says:

    If you find such a man, see if his father happens to be single, eh?

  41. noquay says:

    You’ve gone through the absolute worst a man could dish out and are in
    the process of coming out on top. It’s gonna take time but you’ll get there.

  42. AmandathePanda says:

    I don’t know if my ex EUM has gone back to his ex in the literal sense…he has been “apart” from her for 4 years (with something on/off in between) but what I do know is that he never really “left her” anyway despite his assertions that she was a psycho that cheated on him for 17 years and he would never go back to her.

    How do I know? Because…he has a 2 year old child by another man and in my exes words it “pisses him off” how cute the little girl is because he wanted another child and she made him have a vasectomy. Because…even though their children live with my ex he supports her financially, keeping a roof over the head of his ex and her daughter. He “does stuff” for her, around the house and goes car hunting for her. 4 years on! She doesn’t and has never had a job. Because…when she asked about me “why didn’t your girlfriend get out of the car the other day?”, his response was “what makes you think she’s my girlfriend?”…I could go on..there’s still a wardrobe full of her clothes at his etc etc. And when I questioned any of this he couldn’t see why it was an issue. Definitely not over her..amounts to the same thing I guess??

  43. Tinkerbell says:

    Amanda The Panda,

    You’re staying in a crap relationshit with this dude? What, pray tell, is in it for you? He’s “taken”, MENTALLY. Totally wrapped up in his wife. It doesn’t matter one bit whether they are separated, divorced, taking a break or trying to work things out. His MIND is on her. He’s doing for HER because he still CARES. He’s her doormat. Where does that leave you? ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN. Whoopeee! What fun!

  44. AHM says:

    Tinkerbell – you forgot “it doesn’t matter if they are DEAD too! My ex AC called his dead wife “wife” all the time, but he forgot they were divorced when she died as he got another girl pregnant.

    Where and How the heck do these guys find all these girls to keep using & abusing? Are there really that many of us out there willing to put up with their BS?

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Girl, that’s even more pathetic, isn’t it? It’s also a testament to how weak some men can be, so tripped out over someone who is deceased and wasn’t even his wife (anymore) when she died. Crazy. But, you know, I have to wonder if it’s all an act on his part to keep himself unavailable. He’s is PERMANENT mourning. And yes, there are many women out there who will be all too happy to have a man whatever the cost. Thank goodness we’ve learned and continue to get smarter everyday on BR. Thanks to Natalie!

  45. espresson says:

    Feisty woman…I don’t see bitterness in you at all …perhaps an unwillingness to spend a lot of energy on something you don’t think will be positive or nurturing for you. That’s a good decision. As women we spend a lot of time twisting ourselves into shape or waiting around for the men of our dreams when a positive life which depends on us is in front of us. It has made me rethink getting a cat again…
    Tink I am doing so many things for myself and my life it is exhausting me :-) Off to Europe for four months in January to get an advanced language certification, house up for sale in two months and the separation agreement completely ready…all undertaken by me to be delivered on Tuesday. So things are not standing still in that regard..oh also working on some career changes starting next year too.

    But it is true that it has been a long emotional process for me…all my adult life with one person and all the interactions, habits, hurts, and accommodations I made…they really affected my self esteem…still working on that and I think it will take awhile. My therapist told me once that I am the kind of person who needs a narrative, like tying the ends together in a meaningful way and also for my going forward. That makes sense to me and I am grateful to BR for letting me rant.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I’m delighted to know you ARE doing things for yourself and really trying to keep your life interesting and productive. That is soooo important. You’ve lost so much time, etc, already and it would be a travesty if you continued to spend a lot of time thinking and rethinking what coulda, woulda, shoulda been different. You were talking about HIM so much I feared you were going to stay bogged down forever over the failing of your marriage,even after the finalization of your divorce. Just remember, Espresso, there were TWO PEOPLE in the marriage. According to your very forlorn and detailed posts, he did not do his part, nor had any inclination to do so. You could not force him. Take all of your BR knowledge and use it to make YOU, the woman you have every right and the capability of being. I wish you more good luck than you can imagine. Tink.

  46. Nadia says:

    Hi Natalie! I love your site. You’re such a strong woman, and I’m so thankful that you write these encouraging and insightful posts. Because no matter how much you think you have things under control one day, the next day, I can find myself doubting and challenging the really strong and self-protecting thoughts I built up for myself. And then all of a sudden I’m back in empathy land where I’m getting down on myself and being critical of all the ways that I contributed to the bad relationship. (i.e., being too serious, not standing up for myself, being so untrusting and critical…)

    The facts tho, are pretty obvious to everyone else. Even though he was a fun and charming guy – he STILL had a heavy drug addiction – that I just refused to believe was stronger than what we shared. Especially considering how passionate we were about each other.

    On top of the addiction, our parents who are longtime friends, ended up in a feud because my mom didn’t want me dating him (because of his addiction) and his mom was offended that my mom wouldn’t even let him near our house, much less let me talk to him like a human being. Yes, a lot of drama. Which only added to the passion in our relationship as you can probably imagine.

    Long story short, we dated on and off for 4 years, and he disappeared last Feb. and I haven’t spoken to him since. So it’s been 10 months! I’m a lot stronger now than I’ve ever been before, but he contacted my 3 days ago. And I don’t know what to do, I want to talk to him, but then another part of me is just so tired of the predictable B.S the guy often brings. Stories, convincing but ungrounded emotions, and controlling energy — the list goes on.

    I’m at a place now where I feel really grounded in myself and still love and care for him as a human being. In a way, I’m curious to talk to him to also witness how much I’ve grown and if I can handle the things in the past that would normally effect my self-esteem. But I’m not sure if that’s like masochistic or what? Not to mention, I really just want him to know that I still care about him, but that I’ve changed – I’m not the same girl who’d risk myself for him anymore. I obviously want him to do well in life and I believe he’s got what it takes to turn his life around and I want him to know I think that. Am I being totally naive here to think that I can or should be talking to him?

    Does ignoring him make me weak or mean? I’m just not sure.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Hate to burst your bubble but yes, you’re being naive to think that you should give this bozo the time of day.

      You’re not being mean but rather you’re being smart. Protect yourself as that’s where your strength come in. He a drug addict. What hope is there and things will progress satisfactorily for YOU? As long as he is addicted, he is not worth your time or brain power.

    • Rosie says:

      Nadia- He disappeared on you without a word. You owe him nothing. There’s a saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” If he’s a drug addict, you need to stay far, far away. End of.

    • Allison says:


      Ignoring him makes you strong! You’ve done your time with this guy, remember he bailed on you! You owe him nothing! Listen to mom, there’s no future with this guy!

      You are not doing him or yourself any favors by enabling him. You may have changed, but he hasn’t!

      Time to put yourself first! Have you checked out CODA for co-dependency?

    • micheyl says:

      I agree with everyone else Nadia. Stay away!! The fact that you care so much that he sees how you have changed, just means that you still care so much. He doesn’t care that you’ve changed in fact he’ll probably try to prove you wrong. If you have indeed changed, you only have to show that to yourself. And that means you don’t need to be his Florence Nightengale/ Cheerleader any longer. Just your own.

  47. Lara says:

    Dear Nat & BR regulars,

    I am really grateful for this website. Really really grateful. It’s made A LOT of difference in my life. I haven’t been commenting a whole lot lately, but that’s because I’ve been busy with work. This post really resonates with me, because I am really guilty of comparing myself with women that the men I’ve gone out with have eventually opted to go for — constantly wondering what they had that I didn’t, why they were chosen, etc. Which also led me to try and do the “pick me!” dance, trying to impress the men who had devalued me. Talk about lack of self-respect!

    However, I think I am starting to wise up. Rejection still hurts a lot (even if it’s after a first date with someone you barely even know), and I still wonder what that woman has that I don’t have (and sometimes assume the victim position, why not me? why do men always pick other women over me, all the time? etc.) — but I am at least not accepting any disrespect that comes along with it, including being given false hope, being led on, or put on the back burner, being used for ego boosts, narcissistic supply, etc.

    Consider this story — this happened to me 2 days ago. I went on my first date with a guy I had met on a paid online dating website.

    He asked me out, was pretty insistent on seeing me, etc. He shows up to the date, puts on his rudest mannerisms (including yawning loudly several times, cutting me off, etc.), then shakes my hand at the end of the night… He apologized during the date, and told me he had had a job interview earlier that day and was extremely exhausted. OK? Fair enough, though I still found that rude and wouldn’t have done that no matter how exhausted I was… In retrospect, it’s almost like he was making the effort to be rude, to see how much of it I would put up with… Anyway, he was otherwise an interesting guy, and I didn’t want to write him off for one post-job-interview date: after the end of the date, I kept wondering if I had shown enough interest, sent the right signals, etc. I thought I didn’t send the right signals about my interest.. so I emailed him the following day, saying I would like to get to know him more, so I would love to see him again some time if he’s also interested.. he replies and gives me the “it’s not you it’s me” tripe, along with — he wants to know more about me, etc. So I was pretty confused at this point — he either wants me/is ready for a relationship (eventually) or he isn’t, so what’s the point in continuing this if he’s a commitmentphobe? I don’t want to get involved with someone who’s not ready to date. Anyway, I decided that this must’ve been just a cliche statement to let me down gently, and I called his bluff. I told him I’ve been around the block long enough to know that he used that statement to let me down gently because he wasn’t interested, and that it’s fine and that I appreciated that he let me know one way or another that he wasn’t all that interested (even though he really had tried to put me on the back burner, but I was just making a graceful exit at that point), told him it was good to meet him, good luck, and goodbye. He then emails me and tells me that he had met someone the previous week on the airplane, and even though it was probably impossible for things to work out between him and that woman, he wanted to see things to the end… (I am not sure why a stranger woman with whom he had only spent exactly 2 hrs of his life and whom he had told he wasn’t interested in, needed to know that; I suspect he was being passive aggressive and trying to get me to chase after him or something; or rubbing it in, trying to make me insecure, etc.). He said he still wants to be my friend, that he feels we could be “good friends” (friends with benefits??!) and maybe something more down the line. Wait, what? So I’m supposed to stroke his ego and “wait for him”, like a damsel in distress waiting for her prince charming who is busy f*cking random women he meets on the plane??? In the past, I would’ve accepted that, and lived on a diet of sh*tty breadcrumbs. But I am a different person now and I got really pissed off at the nerve he had to tell me that sh*t. I tore him a new one by email (no name-calling or anything, just pointing out the facts). I told him that if I were looking for pen pals or friends, I would’ve gone to a book club not signed up for online dating), that I can’t be friends with someone who treats me and other people with disrespect, that he had led me on by going on a date that he KNEW from the start that was not even interested in taking further (just to see if he could do an upgrade on his airplane-woman), and that I don’t want to be friends with him and cannot in fact be friends with someone who disrespects me in this way or treats people like options he can upgrade on.

    He replied almost right away and told me that he was thankful I had “showed my true colours” and that I was closing doors because I was angry and resentful (what doors? the door to his genitalia? lol). He had actually asked me about my last relationship so I had told him that my ex had cheated on me and he turned that against me and made me look like a resentful, jaded b*tch. Essentially making me look like I was cray cray for getting insulted at this blatant passive aggressiveness and disrespect. What a manipulative jerk! And despite all this, and knowing that he’s a total jerk, I still wonder what that other woman had that I don’t have.. Sigh. I really need to work on this. :( Maybe the other woman does not have the experience to differentiate this sort of disrespect/bullsh*t/drama from love/genuine interest, etc.

    I really really have come a long way, though, all thanks to the insights from Nat and all the people who share their own stories/experiences. Thank you!

    • Allison says:


      You are putting waaaaay too much energy into people you do not know!!!!!

      You went on one date with the guy, and you’re questioning your worth, his motivation etc…. This is too much.

      I think your neediness to be with someone – anyone – is coming across to men. I’m sorry, but you’re sounding quite desperate for male attention.

      Please take some time off from dating, and get to know and appreciate yourself, or you’re going to end up in a bad place.

      • Allison says:

        Also, the emails were over the top for a stranger! What you communicated to this guy, would only have had weight if you had been in a relationship. If someone doesn’t want to date you that is their prerogative, they do not owe you an explanation.

        This went tooooo far.

        • Rosie says:

          Lara- What Allison said in both her posts.

        • Lara says:

          We had been communicating for more than 2 months by email — lengthy email conversations, so there already was quite a bit of time investment. When he said he wasn’t interested, I left it at that, and said bye. He was the one who kept insisting on being friends and that I shouldn’t “write him off.” He’s a stranger, at the end of the day: yes! This is why, when he gave me the cliche line about not wanting a relationship, I told him I knew it wasn’t about that, but wished him good luck and went my way. He had told me he still wanted to get to know me, etc. I told him I didn’t want an online pen pal. It was no skin off my back at that point. He then brought up the other woman, and kept insisting that we should be friends and that I shouldn’t write him off. I then wrote that email where I told him I didn’t want to be friends with him or anything else.

          Too much drama, yeah. But I don’t appreciate being taken for a fool. I felt insulted enough that he had been so rude during the date, and despite that, was going to exit gracefully but he was even more insulting, so I felt like I had to give him a piece of my mind. Again, no skin off my back, and I am highly turned off by this man and his piggish behavior anyway. But I don’t want this man to contact me again and I didn’t want to risk being tempted to respond in the future, so I did something that would ensure he’d never come back and/or that I’d never contact him again.

          • Allison says:


            The thing that I don’t get, is if you weren’t interested in him after the date, why did you send the thank you email and suggest another date?

            Also, after his first email, you should have cut contact, as you knew there was no future. The back and forth between you two, made no sense at all.

            I would also suggest not communicating for two months: set the date up within a week of initial communication. Don’t waste so much time on someone.

            • Lara says:

              He was out of the country, which is why we communicated for 2 months. I don’t usually do that — I don’t want pen pals and don’t have the time for it.

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Excuses, Excuses, Excuses. You don’t want a pen pal, but you’re actively dating online aholes. Makes no sense. LISTEN, TAKE IN what others are telling you. YOU ARE NOT RECEPTIVE. Everbody can’t be wrong, Lara. LOOK AT YOU!!!!!!

          • Rosie says:


            ” It was no skin off my back at that point”

            You said this twice. Yet, look at all the energy you’re putting into complaining about a guy you met once. I’m not judging you, just trying to get you to see how your own words and actions aren’t matching. You said you were E-mailing this guy for two months. Yet, it was around this time when you said you were going to take some time off from dating. You were putting a lot of energy into complaining about a guy after one date at that time too. It’s obvious that you’re not ready to start dating again. Follow Selkie’s advice–take a deep breath, regroup, and take some time off from dating–seriously this time.

            Look, I believe you that the guy was a jerk. Who knows why and who knows if there’s even an airplane chick? What does it matter? If a jerk E-mails trying to put you on the shelf after you said good-bye, click “delete”. No need to put more energy into somebody not worth the energy.

            • Lara says:


              The energy I am putting into complaining isn’t about that particular guy per se, though I am mentioning him in my comments — it’s just a general complaint and disgust with the dating scene (both online and offline), and the reason I felt the need to reply to his assclownery via email was that I had reached boiling point — fed up with people’s disrespect towards me — and also, in all previous situations with men, I’ve always been the quiet one, the one who does as she’s told, or who doesn’t put people in their place when she’s insulted, and I needed to break out of that and feel more empowered. I didn’t want to see this guy again, so I didn’t care what he thought of me. I just find it hilarious and a show of his manipulative character, that he then turned the whole thing against me and called me crazy. That’s why I mentioned that, not because I care what he thinks of me. I don’t think I overreacted, honestly.

              • Allison says:


                Why would you think a stranger would care if you told him off? You would have gotten much more out of this situation if you had never responded to the email. Who cares about this guy! Why would you even bother???

                Your response and anger to this situation is concerning, why you take it as a personal affront, other than move on is confusing.

                Please stop defending your position and see what we are seeing here. It’s not a good response to rejection!

                • Lara says:

                  Hi Allison,

                  I appreciate what everyone here has said, and it’s given me a different perspective on this. But I wasn’t annoyed by the rejection aspect of this. I’ve been on dates before where the guy was not feeling it, and I dealt with it just fine. I’ve also been on dates where I wanted to get to know the guy more, but held out until he texted / called me and let his interest be known. I was not bothered by the rejection but by the insulting way he acted with/around me during and after the date. Maybe telling him off wasn’t a great idea and maybe he doesn’t care either way, but I wanted to get it out of my system anyway since I wasn’t going to see him ever again. I think part of it is my fear that if I ignored him now and didn’t close that door with him for good, and he came back and asked me out again, my boundaries would collapse and I’d want to explore the idea of seeing him again. Also, I think part of my reasoning in contacting him after the date was that I felt insulted / disrespected during the date, so subconsciously, I wanted to see if I had been correct to give him the benefit of the doubt or if I should’ve walked out on him during the date. It’s probably more about me experimenting with my boundaries and whether and how to enforce them and not so much about my interest levels in him. Though definitely his intelligence really did also pull me in and make me want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

                  • Tinkerbell says:


                    You are working yourself up over jerks who are not important. They have not EARNED the privilege of your worry. Save the worry for a progressing relationship. If you have closed the door on someone, why are you still worried about them being able to collapse your boundaries and get you to try again? This is a serious case of buyer’s regret.

        • Lara says:

          I agree with that: it’s totally his prerogative. The last thing I want is to force someone into dating me lol! I am not desperate. I have too much dignity to beg again. No way. But: I think that if you go on a first date, and you’re not feeling it, you’re a jerk if you act like an ass during the date just because you know you don’t want to see this person anymore. Just be decent and stick around for an hour or two. How hard is that? It’s common decency. This man is no gentleman. I went on a date that was so boring I was on the verge of crying because it felt like torture, and I still maintained good manners, and even went for drinks with the guy after dinner — but told him afterwards that it wasn’t gonna work out (we each paid our own way so I didn’t feel bad about going for drinks with him after dinner).

          Anyway, I told him I would like to get to know him more, and he turned me down but that he wanted to keep talking to me and get to know me. I told him I don’t want a pen pal. He then proceeded to tell me he had met another woman but that he had asked me out because he wanted to meet me anyway. I felt duped. He knew full well when he sat across from me, that he was just going through the process so that I’d stick around long enough for him to make up his mind about which one of us he wanted. That’s not going to be acceptable for me. When he told me about the other woman (I had NOT asked him if there was someone else in the picture as that is NONE of my business). He volunteered the information, for some odd reason. It strikes me as odd that he chooses to tell a woman he met for 2 hrs and to whom he was rather rude, that he preferred some other woman over her. Sounds very manipulative to me. Then proceeds to accuse me of being crazy and for “closing doors” for myself, for telling him I don’t want to be his friend or his anything else.

          I’m actually flaggerbasted.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            You see, Lara? This is what I’m talking about. You seem to have a knack for choosing the WRONG PEOPLE and then lambasting them when it doesn’t work out. “I went on a date that was so boring I was on the verge of crying because it felt like torture and I still maintained good manners and even went for drinks with the guy after dinner–but told him afterwards that it wasn’t gonna work out (we each paid our own way so I didn’t feel bad about
            going for drinks after dinner).

            Can you not see how you’re completely missing the point? Who paid for the drinks is unimportant in the scheme of things. The important point is that you went for drinks with someone you had almost cried from boredom with. That doesn’t make a bit of sense. Instead of prolonging the time spent with him, you should have been making your exit. You knew he was not someone you wanted to be with, ultimately. WHY are you behaving this way? When you act like a fool, life smacks you in the face every time until you wise up. You’re desperate for male companionship and these guys see it in a heartbeat by the way you conduct yourself and the things you say. We are all trying to help you “see the light” and you just keep denying, denying, denying your role in these failures. You are fed up because you keep going out with jerks. You have no filters, at all. You spend way too much time lamenting and being angry over the way you were treated, but look at who you are choosing. What do you expect? You have very little self esteem because if you did you would make better choices for yourself and be more discriminating about who you spend your time with. Every human with male genitalia is worth your time. This is one of your many issues. Lara, perhaps you have made some progress from where you were, but you still have a LONG WAY to go. Stop defending yourself, stop denying that you’re not perfect. Be OPEN TO CHANGE. And don’t even bother saying you are or are not these things. Evidence speaks for itself. Stop dating jerks. As soon as a guy does not meet your standards flush him. What you really need to do is take a year off. Yes, you need that much time to revise your distorted mindset. You really need to work with a therapist and work diligently with them on YOU. You are not going to see any improvements in your love life fantasies until you do this. I promise you. You’re on a road to failure. HELP yourself, and stop blaming these bozos. That’s who THEY are. They’re not going to change for you and you don’t need to entertain them for one minute.

            There are some people in this world who enjoy complaining about their miserable lives and yet they won’t or don’t see their way out of it. Are you one of those people, Lara? Prove that you’re not.

      • Lara says:

        Well, I am not questioning my worth most of the time — but every time I get rejected, every time a man picks another woman instead of me, I wonder if it’s about me. I do the comparing thing. I want to know what it is about her that made him pick her. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular. It could just be absence of chemistry. But I still do it, and I think it’s human nature and even people with high self-esteem do it when they are rejected. Egos get hurt.

        In the process of getting over some of the issues I have, I don’t want to become inhuman or robotic. I don’t mind wondering, I don’t mind questioning things, etc. That doesn’t mean I do it from a position of low self-esteem. We all want to learn and improve ourselves. Maybe *I* am doing things wrong in some instances, who knows. It’s not the case that if someone wants to know what it is about the other woman that made the guy choose her, that she is comparing herself to others in a negative way.

        Anyway, I think his deliberate attempt at striking at me and making me feel insecure — by mentioning the other woman, which I had NO business knowing about after 1 date with him — really made me angry. This man is clearly not a normal, healthy person or a gentleman by any stretch of the imagination. He claimed he told me this because he wants to turn me into his friend. What kind of a person would tell this to a woman he just went out on a date with? — that he prefers some other woman to her, and that he wants to be friends with her? Seriously, how does anyone expect a positive reaction to something like this? It must be that I am giving off signs of being a doormat and attracting the worst people into my life in the process. All my interactions with him via email have been intelligent and intellectual, and confident and the date itself I don’t think I did anything during it to give off doormat signs. But I think narcissists dig the challenge of an intelligent woman, and want to turn her into a doormat. Which can explain his behavior. I think the problem might be that most men (insecure types anyway, which I think most men are) feel threatened by highly-achieving or intellectual/intelligent women. That might be why I am attracting all those douchebags who have zero real interest in me but who still want to maintain me in their harem.

        • Allison says:


          I think you’re totally over thinking this. I don’t think he is trying to make you feel insecure, as he has no investment in you. I don’t get why you would be angry, you don’t know him.

          Perhaps, he made up the story about the other woman, as he did not want to hurt your feelings: easier to accept if there is interest in someone else.

          Please consider that you are coming off too eager to have someone in your life, and it is not sending out a good message.

          • lizzp says:

            “I think you’re totally over thinking this. I don’t think he is trying to make you feel insecure, as he has no investment in you. I don’t get why you would be angry, you don’t know him.”.

            Lara, I think Alison’s point is spot on. To me the issue is your reactions to a dynamic that, to be honest, seems almost totally created and then prolonged by you. Why are you so angry over someone you don’t know and what is it *in you* that drives you to actually initiate this dynamic where, in your own words, the result for you emotionally is very negative?

            ” Honestly, it was a horrible , insulting, demeaning experience for me. “

          • Lara says:

            Hi Allison,

            I know a narcissist when I see one — and this man is a narcissist. He even told me by email (after mentioning the airplane woman) that I was a clone of his personality and he wants to be my friend for that reason. I know the modus operandum of narcissists: the push-pull, them drip-dripping the truth, pathological liar, entitlement (expecting to be my “friend” after lying to me TWICE and coming up with 3 different stories in the span of 3 successive emails), seeking to make a woman insecure (my ex did this a lot too, by mentioning other women, how sexy they were, or how he was interested in them, or how they hit on him, etc.). Maybe he was trying to put on his best jerk behavior, so that I’d leave him alone — but why even insist on being friends? He WAS pretty insistent on that, btw. It wasn’t just something he said to soften the blow. HE could’ve ignored me at that point — I didn’t have his phone number, couldn’t have blown up his phone, etc. Why did he choose to engage, especially that I had gracefully accepted his disinterest and said goodbye? I don’t think I am overanalyzing. He was playing games and seeing how much he could get away with AND still keep me on the backburner. It’s an ego game — he’s a narcissist for sure, and I don’t use that word lightly either.

            • lizzp says:

              “Why did he choose to engage, especially that I had gracefully accepted his disinterest and said goodbye? I don’t think I am overanalyzing.”

              It’s a valid question Lara but really you might be putting all this energy into exploring why *you engaged*, most especially in the light of your ex (which you say so yourself). Look, your posts jump about and to be blunt it really does appear that you are talking yourself into corners and holes and then instead of looking at how you got there, finding excuses to no longer be in that corner/in that hole. Shizen, I’m so confused by your posts I’m having trouble trying to write what I mean.

              On the one hand you say
              ” Honestly, it was a horrible , insulting, demeaning experience for me. “ and then on the other you say
              “I just find it hilarious and a show of his manipulative character, that he then turned the whole thing against me and called me crazy. That’s why I mentioned that, not because I care what he thinks of me.”

              You say you know a narcissist when you see one, that the guy treated you like an interviewee on the ‘date’, that he was boring, disinterested and rude…but then you write an email post date saying you’d like to get to know him more, that he’s an interesting guy (IOW you ‘found’ him interesting). Why did you prolong engagement with a narcissist…oh you only realised that after he tried to make you an option in an email by pulling the friend card and admitting he had an interest elsewhere…ok, so you don’t know a narcissist when you see one, you know one when you read one? Lara, it’s digital and fantasy, it’s no good for you. Whatever he is or effing isn’t, the question is why are you involved to the extent that you feel “drained” (your own words).

              It’s almost like you are on a mission/job to uncover narcissists in order to tell them that and blast at them via email. Who you gonna call? Narc Buster.

              You say you made a time investment by emailing him for 2 months prior, but you don’t say you made an emotional investment, yet it’s clear that you did. Not unusual if you are digitally communicating for 2 months that fantasies and expectations would develop, impossible that they wouldn’t actually.

              Then you say the reason you emailed for two months was because he was overseas, but you don’t ask why you were engaging with someone in fantasy land (overseas or not), only that you wouldn’t “usually” do this. Lara, I think you chose to engage with someone this way because, beneath all this, you are certainly EU yourself. Understandably so, but for heck sake, recognise that, stop damaging yourself and stop dating.

              You might take some time to look carefully at your reactions and your part in the fiasco with the man, so that you can avoid more of the same in the future. IMO it’s just not worth putting ourselves through things like this, all the anger and frustration you have felt…somehow or other if this is all about trying to do the right thing by you -stand up for yourself etc – then it hasn’t worked because your posts tell that you feel worse, bad and your self esteem has actually taken a hit. I really think it is worth asking yourself what it is you ‘get’ out of initiating and/or being drawn into a situation like this. Because you do not appear calm and empowered in the knowledge that you’ve done right by you.

              • Lilly says:


                LOL! “Who you gonna call? Narc Buster.” If only there was such a service. I would have gladly paid the fee.

              • Allison says:

                “It’s almost like you are on a mission/job to uncover narcissists in order to tell them that and blast at them via email. Who you gonna call? Narc Buster.


              • Rosie says:


                ““It’s almost like you are on a mission/job to uncover narcissists in order to tell them that and blast at them via email. Who you gonna call? Narc Buster.”

                LOL!!!!! This so made my day, totally needed the laugh!!! :)

                Double kudos to you for your whole post!

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Nobody can turn you into a doormat. If you really believe that you are an intelligent, highly achieving female, why aren’t you behaving like one. This type of woman weeds out the jerks so that she doesn’t have to complain about them. PLEASE hold up a mirror and look at YOU. Stop making endless excuses.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        I had posted to you earlier but apparently didn’t press enter. You only had ONE date. DON’T be so quick to get your panties in a bunch over someone you don’t even know. I think your behavior is far too eager. Too eager to make something happen. That’s desperation and it doesn’t look good on you. Believe me. This story sounds familiar. Are you the same person who talked about how she works in a male dominated field which leads her to feel comfortable making the first move, or something like that? Well, you are not a man. Slow your roll and give it a chance to get started. Would you want someone drilling you with questions as to why you’re not showing more interest after one date? You’re coming off waaayy too needy and demanding. I totally understand that you want to avoid getting hurt and you don’t want to waste your time on some bozo. BUT, you don’t do yourself any favors by treating every guy as if he is your last chance saloon. Don’t make it/him so darned important. I’m not saying don’t ask questions. But, at least let there be some kind of groundwork that has developed first.

        • Lara says:


          I only told him that I enjoyed our conversations and that I’d like to do it again some other time if he was interested. I didn’t ask him questions about anything — not about why he wasn’t interested or anything else…. Really, there was no chasing going on here. Because he was acting very odd during the actual date, it was hard for me to give off flirty signals indicating interest. I wanted to rectify that by telling him know that I was interested in getting to know him more. It doesn’t mean that he had won me over already, any more than a man or a woman wanting a second date with someone means they are madly in love with their date, and want to marry them and have their babies. I can be blunt, but via email, that’s all one can be anyway. If I want something, I will not hesitate to make my interest in it known. I don’t like playing waiting games, etc. I think that’s all a myth: if someone wants you and is interested, they will not pass judgment on you for wanting to get to know them, for having had sex too soon (for example), etc. A lot of people would pass judgment, but those people are immature jerks and hypocrites, IMO.

          I definitely did not treat this guy as being the last chance I will ever have of settling down. In fact, he asked me out at a time when I am not really actively interested in dating or getting into a relationship, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. My mistake was to think that because he could maintain a level of intelligent conversation via email, that he was also a decent person who would act like a gentleman even if he ultimately were not interested in me. That says a lot about the quality of men I’ve met online: that meeting someone who can even maintain a half-decent level of intelligent conversation, is so shocking that it fools me (and others) into thinking that they are some different “animal” than the ones that we find on online dating sites (or offline)… I’ve become convinced that appearances (even seeming intellect) can be very misleading.

          • lizzp says:

            “…my mistake was to think that because he could maintain a level of intelligent conversation via email, that he was also a decent person who would act like a gentleman even if he ultimately were not interested in me. That says a lot about the quality of men I’ve met online: that meeting someone who can even maintain a half-decent level of intelligent conversation, is so shocking that it fools me (and others) into thinking that they are some different “animal” than the ones that we find on online dating sites (or offline)… I’ve become convinced that appearances (even seeming intellect) can be very misleading.”

            Lara, getting yourself involved in a fantasy conversation with someone online who you have never met was your biggest *mistake*. It’s the same with text messaging.

            Lara, I think you should pay attention to the words you use, the amount of negation you engage in when responding and explaining your actions and thoughts to yourself and others.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Please pay attention to Lizzp’s post. Quit dating online. You cannot decipher who you should spend time with if you meet them in person , so you are further handicapped by trying to be successful online.

    • A says:


      This guy is an jerk. Yawning and seeming disinterested on a first date – flush. I think a lot of us need to work on recognizing crappy behaviour for what it is rather than thinking of possible excuses for these jerks and hanging around to give them a second chance.

      And for any future offers to “hang out” and have something casual, a simple “no thanks” will do (that or just ignore him – not worth your time to tell him all about his shady self).

      • Lara says:

        lol — you’re right. In retrospect, I should’ve just flushed right away. I considered just getting up and leaving, to be honest, but I’ve been taught good manners and couldn’t do that even to a jerk. I should’ve flushed him afterwards, at least, instead of contacting him and indicating interest in seeing beyond his jerk behavior. lol. Totally made him think he was god’s gift to womankind, by doing that, and then lowered myself to his level by telling him what a jerk he was. Live and learn. Next time, he’ll get the radio silence from me. It’s odd, because it’s not like I haven’t done that silence thing with other men who have treated me like sh*t. I have no trouble doing it, but I saw some potential in him — mainly attracted to his intelligence like a moth to a flame. Turns out he’s a master manipulator, a misogynist, and a jerk.

        • A says:


          “I’ve become convinced that appearances (even seeming intellect) can be very misleading.”

          I think you’re on to something here that you need to watch out for – even if a guy has certain attributes that you’re looking for (intellect, career, looks, sense of humour, shared interests, etc.) it means nothing if he shows signs of being anything less than a person of integrity who treats you with care and respect.

          Be careful not to overlook someone being, well, a jerk, just because he has other traits that you like (in other words, hoping for him to turn out to be something other than what he is showing himself to be).

        • Tinkerbell says:

          You see, Lara? “I should have flushed him but I’ve been taught good manners. I should have flushed him afterwards, at least, instead of contacting him and indicating interest in seeing beyond his jerk behavior…..lowered myself to his level by telling him what a jerk he was.

          You set yourself up to feel bad. You keep doing this. If you’d weeded him out in the first place you wouldn’t have had to lower yourself by telling him what a jerk he was. You seem to enjoy this whole scenario.

    • courtney says:


      Yes, he’s definitely a jerk. And yes, that was weird that he told you about the airplane woman. I really hate when EUM’s bring up other women as if it’s really necessary to tell someone you just met there’s some other woman you have on your mind. Quite rude. I suggest you delete the e-mails, block him, and never contact him again. He is NOT worth your time, and this airplane woman (who I suspect probably isn’t even aware of his existence) can have him. Good riddance! You deserve someone who’s going to put in effort to see you and impress you. Also, next time, don’t bother saying you know the signals when someone’s not into you, etc, just say, “Okay” or don’t even text at all. Your actions will always speak louder than words. SILENCE CAN’T BE MISQUOTED or used against you.

      It’s important sometimes to remember that silence is often the best response to a fool. We can sometimes reveal too much about ourselves in the beginning stages of dating (which assclowns will use against you, of course) and it’s not safe. I am still learning this too. Go slowly with the next person you date, just say, “It didn’t work out, we weren’t compatible” if someone asks you about your exes, and move onto a different conversation. Natalie always talks about how incessant mentioning of the ex can be seen as a red flag, so take it as one and don’t give off any red flags yourself by talking about your own past.

      As for the “good friends” thing, I had a good laugh over your “opening the doors to his genitalia” bit. He’s not ready to commit to you but he still wants you around as a fallback girl? Um, NO THANK YOU! You deserve to be the main girl on someone’s mind. Don’t settle for less, you’ll regret it.

      Remember: you deserve way better. Work on your own self-love, live in the present when it comes to dating, and chances are you will attract someone who’s WAY better than that weirdo.

      Much love,

      • Lara says:

        Thanks, Courtney.

        You’re absolutely right — silence IS the best response to AC, EUMs, narcs, etc. and also gives us the distance and space to look inward and understand why we allowed them to disrespect us, etc. I should’ve known better. I’ve gone total NC on my narc AC ex’s ass for 6 months now, and it feels so good and gives me peace of mind. I no longer even talk or think about him much. It’s good to learn from mistakes, and I will definitely learn from this one, and if I date again, I will go in with the mindset of finding someone who is good for ME, rather than wanting to be picked, and being able to flush people who disrespect me without trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • lizzp says:


      The main thing I see in what you’ve written is a perpetuating chain of self defeating, self disrespectful and self sabotaging thoughts and the actions and further thoughts that in one way or another stem from the original.


      Mistaken Action 1:
      Emailing him for two months before meeting (see your subsequent posts);

      Leading directly to:

      Mistaken thought process 1:
      Built up fantasies and expectations in cyber land (not necessarily conscious). Nothing to do with who he really is.

      Mistaken Thought 2:
      “I went on my first *date* with a guy I had *met* on a paid online dating website.”

      (- No, you hadn’t met until that night, but in you’re mind you were on a ‘date’).

      ‘Date’ and Post ‘Date’:

      Self disrespectful/sabotaging/defeating Thought 1:
      “OK? *Fair enough*, though I still found that rude and wouldn’t have done that no matter how exhausted I was…”

      (- Not not fair enough, not respecting or listening to yourself and your standards).

      Leading directly to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Thought 2:
      “Anyway, he was otherwise an interesting guy, and I didn’t want to write him off for one post-job-interview date…”

      (- making excuses to avoid feeling disrespected by him; wanting to try and win him).

      Leading Directly to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Thought 3:
      “…after the end of the date, I kept wondering if I had shown enough interest, sent the right signals, etc. I thought I didn’t send the right signals about my interest..”

      (-Ignoring yourself, disrespecting your gut and standards, self defeating, wanting to control him by making his behaviour about your possible behaviour, taking responsibility for his behaviour. Not liking your self or trusting yourself. Revealing a need to prove your self worthy of him)

      Leading directly to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Action 1:
      “…so I emailed him the following day, saying I would like to get to know him more, so I would love to see him again some time if he’s also interested..”

      Leading (via his response) to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Thoughts 4:

      “..he either wants me/is ready for a relationship (eventually) or he isn’t, so what’s the point in continuing this if he’s a commitmentphobe? I don’t want to get involved with someone who’s not ready to date.”

      and, 5:

      “…Anyway, I decided that this must’ve been just a cliche statement to let me down gently,”

      Leading Directly to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Action 2:
      “…and I called his bluff. I told him I’ve been around the block long enough to know that he used that statement to let me down gently because he wasn’t interested, and that it’s fine and that I appreciated that he let me know one way or another that he wasn’t all that interested (even though he really had tried to put me on the back burner, but I was just making a graceful exit at that point), told him it was good to meet him, good luck, and goodbye.”

      Leading (via reacting to his response) to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Thoughts 6:
      “(I am not sure why a stranger woman with whom he had only spent exactly 2 hrs of his life and whom he had told he wasn’t interested in, needed to know that; I suspect he was being passive aggressive and trying to get me to chase after him or something; or rubbing it in, trying to make me insecure, etc.).”

      and, 7:
      ” Wait, what? So I’m supposed to stroke his ego and “wait for him”, like a damsel in distress waiting for her prince charming who is busy f*cking random women he meets on the plane???”.

      Leading Directly to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Action 3:
      “I tore him a new one by email (no name-calling or anything, just pointing out the facts). I told him that if I were looking for pen pals or friends, I would’ve gone to a book club not signed up for online dating), that I can’t be friends with someone who treats me and other people with disrespect, that he had led me on by going on a date that he KNEW from the start that was not even interested in taking further (just to see if he could do an upgrade on his airplane-woman), and that I don’t want to be friends with him and cannot in fact be friends with someone who disrespects me in this way or treats people like options he can upgrade on.”

      Leading (via reacting to his response )to;

      Self Disrespectful/Sabotaging/Defeating Thoughts 8:
      “..and he turned that against me and made me look like a resentful, jaded b*tch. Essentially making me look like I was cray cray for getting insulted at this blatant passive aggressiveness and disrespect. What a manipulative jerk! And despite all this, and knowing that he’s a total jerk, I still wonder what that other woman had that I don’t have..”

      and 9:
      “( Maybe the other woman does not have the experience to differentiate this sort of disrespect/bullsh*t/drama from love/genuine interest, etc.”.

      • dove says:

        Beautifully broken down lizzp, I hope that this will help others as it helps me.

        • Allison says:

          Yes! Great job, Lizz

        • lizzp says:

          Dove, I’m very glad what I wrote has helped you. And thanks for the validation which is always very nice when it comes my way! Although written for another poster, almost every post I write tends to help me clarify my own ongoing challenges which I face on a daily basis. all the best to you.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Carry around this post above from Lizzp. Use it as your bible for mental/emotional balance and decorum. Use it for YOU to help you LEARN and stop dating men for a YEAR.

        And, please, no more complaints about these men and making excuses for your unwise behavior.

  48. stephanie says:


    Understand something everybody you meet is not the one for you! However, if you suspect thatb you maybe giving off some negative non verbal cues ask people who know you. This is by no means saying there is something wrong with you, but sometimes we may unconsciously do things that may turn people off (me included). With that being said sometimes you have to go through some jerks to get to the right person for you. The good thing is with skills you learn here its get easier to weed out the trash from the treasures. Cheer up and keep your head up.

    • Lara says:


      Thanks. I don’t really expect that everyone I go out on dates with would like me and want to date me. But I expect a modicum of respect and when I don’t get it, and then get told he wants to keep on talking to me, I will be honest and tell him that I am not interested in being friends. He got insulted at that. He’s the one with problems if he’s going to get insulted at that ! — acting all insulted and rejected because I don’t want to be his buddy is rich, coming from someone who just turned ME down… At any rate, I think the major problem here is that this man had come to the date with the full intention of letting me down, doing everything wrong so that he could justify (to me and more importantly to himself) that I wasn’t the right person for me. He never gave me the chance. He made it extremely difficult for us to click, if there ever would’ve been a chemistry between us. He was very dry and just not very engaging, etc. So I don’t think it was anything I did. I’ve had some really fabulous dates with other men, and I think I’ve noticed that some men just make it easy and create an environment where I am happy and feel confident and good and so am very talkative, smiley, etc. Others not so much, and some, not at all. So many times, we blame ourselves for things not going well, but I think we should also look at what the other person did/said. It takes 2 to tango, and for a date to be good, it requires participation and effort from both people…. if one side goes in , having already decided he wants someone else, but wanting to meet up with you to “interview” you “in case” you turn out to be an upgrade on that other woman, it already sets up for a terrible experience… it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: of course, you will make the whole thing so business-like that any woman would start wondering if she said or did something wrong (and dates can be awkward and sometimes stupid things are said on dates because of nerves, so that makes the wondering worse)… It was unfortunate that I had this experience. Honestly, it was a horrible , insulting, demeaning experience for me.

      • courtney says:

        lara, I already responded to your post above but I wanted to comment on this. You’re right, many times it has little to do with us. I also agree that we can also give off energy sometimes that makes it easier to be a target which is why I think we should always work on our self-love which will help us flush these people out of our lives ASAP without negotiation or doubting ourselves. If the guy is dry and engaging, choose not to be into him and don’t beat yourself up. Learn from this and next time a guy like this comes around or you sense a disconnect, immediately hit FLUSH. Don’t waste time e-mailing or chasing or justifying or rationalizing because that will only give him more material to work with. Regardless of what a jackass he is, being into him when he’s not that special is your choice, so make sure to choose yourself always and run for the hills babe. your intuition is usually spot on. Hugs!!

  49. 2Fearce says:

    So uhm… a sister maybe?

    Hate to break it to you ladies but these traits have nothing to do with gender. Aholes are aholes no matter their genetalia. Literally n figuratively. Pay more attention to the smell of bs tham whether they have an innie or an outie. You will save yourself a lot of grief.

  50. simple pleasures says:

    I think a common reason why someone leaves another to pass time with someone else, new or from their past is because they are emotionally unavailable. They are looking for someone else who is emotionally unavailable. They realize you happen to be emotionally available, and that’s not what they want. It becomes obvious you are not compatible so they go off to find someone not available, and leave you to begin the search again for someone who IS available.

    • Lara says:

      Yeah. In a way, it’s good, because you dodged a bullet. I am grateful this man made that clear. He told me that he is pretty sure things aren’t gonna work out with this other woman (he described the situation as “amazingly complicated” and verging on the “impossible’) but that he wants to see things through to their conclusion… Sounds to me like he’s chasing after the impossible, because he’s not willing/ready to commit. I am starting to think that people who are obsessed with sparks are like this, and are emotionally unavailable and chasing after shadows or ghosts.. things that don’t exist or that aren’t the be all and end all of a great relationship…

      • Kirsten says:

        Hey Lara
        There are shameless idiots on internet dating for sure….
        Date 1: nice lunch etc, good conversation, found out during the course of the date he’s still “sharing” a house with his ex. Urgh. Game over
        Date 2: Nice walk around local markets and lunch. Followed by some later texting and phone calls. He asked if we could catch up the following weekend, I had already made some plans but also had my son for the weekend and I don’t want my boy to meet any dates until I’m actually in a relationshit. He got real snarky about that. Another game over. Seriously why would you want to even meet someones kids after just one date? I wouldn’t.
        Plenty of Fucktards….at it’s finest. Have a great day everyone

      • Allison says:


        Please consider counseling, as I can’t imagine that this problem with rejection, is not affecting many aspects of your life.

        • suzy says:

          Ive just quickly scanned through the Lara Dilemma are all singing from the same NTL hymn book and theres a lot of wisdom in there. Lara, Im guessing these are comments from you that are about where you are at in your understanding of yourself? Surely Lara, you are not in a lot of pain, but working out the BIG Dating bullshit/ relationship/shit/ship we have to face in life.
          Lara it seems you escaped with no broken bones, a few scrapes on your knees after one date and a lot of wisdom and insight to bale when you did. Next time you go on the slopes you will now when to bale, without the analysis….
          I love you ladies, we’ve got it all covered, to pick up the falls, the injured and the mystified.
          Lara, I think you did OK, you saw it for what it was, at the time that was right for YOU. I get the feeling (?) you are not so injured, and all this builds on the wisdom we all gain from looking on here. So take that as confidence to keep on going, to have the love relationship with yourself first, whatever else follows, you can have your own back, your own safe place.
          On line dating is the pits, but hey, we’ve all been there, are we that bad? Yes we should know how false it is, I can testify to many a false profile I have encountered….but was mine so genuine years ago, when I was still learning the ropes, who I am, what I want, how I should care for myself, how I should relate to others, what I want from a relationship, what I am able and want to give?
          I can also say I met a genuine guy, (13 months on and no red flags)and am enjoying an off line relationship..still learning….but from a safe place of loving me….
          Keep going, peoples here. More life lessons to learn….xx

  51. Elgie R. says:

    Lara, I’m running off to a matinee…got 2 minutes…just wann tell you – you are making progress but you are still kinda stuck in “pick me!” land. You are allowed to reject him, you know. Your instincts were saying “dump and flush” but you so wanna be picked that you made excuses for his bad behavior. And started the pick me dance again.

    He’s not the last chance saloon.

    Talk with you later.

    • Lara says:

      Hm, I think you may have misread my comment? I didn’t do the pick me dance. When he sent me the “it’s not you it’s me” email, I told him I was assuming he wasn’t interested in ME, and said my goodbyes. He then chased after me and told me he started seeing someone before he asked me out, but that he now wanted to make me his friend. I told him no, and that I don’t want to be friends or anything else with someone like him. I don’t think I ever did the pick-me dance, but I may have excused some of his bad / rude behavior DURING the date (loud yawning, just generally stand-off-ish and constantly telling me I was his clone personality-wise, which was frankly insulting because similarities aside, you don’t tell a woman she doesn’t have a personality of her own). Anyway, I couldn’t put my finger on why he’d say those things, since he had pursued me so strongly — I attributed it to his exhaustion, and he kept apologizing, looked tired, etc. So I thought I’d give him another chance, because when we did have some conversation, he seemed intelligent, we shared similar interests, etc. I wanted to go out with him again, to see if his bad behaviors had been a one-off. Anyway, not after he gave me the “it’s not you it’s me” line. I don’t really want someone who relegates me to secondary or tertiary status in his harem of women he picks up on planes.

      I think I maintained a good balance between a) seeing the red flags and recognizing them as bad and making sure to examine what they were about, and b) not being an angry, jaded person who pushes men away at the slightest hint of what may have been circumstantial rude behavior. But like I said, no matter how tired, I would still be on my best behavior on a date. I might not be my normal self, sure, but I wouldn’t do stuff like yawning, complaining about noise coming out of the pub’s kitchen, or whatever.. It’s like he didn’t want to be there, even though HE had asked me out. It’s almost like he had either come with an agenda to really be rude, or did it subconsciously because he was already biased against me since he really wanted to go for that other woman deep down. He could’ve been honest and told me he had found someone else that he wanted to explore things with, but instead he chose to meet up with me to see if he could get an upgrade on her. I never, I don’t think, did the pick me dance. When I emailed to tell him I had enjoyed our conversations, I didn’t know there was ANYONE ELSE involved. He hadn’t been on the online dating site for the past month. Anyway, I didn’t want him to pick me: I wanted to find out what he was all about, if he really was all about the rude behavior that he demonstrated in his first date, or if that was just because he was frustrated, tired, etc. Anyway, in retrospect, I should’ve just bailed on him, since I don’t want a man who can’t even put on his best behavior on a first date: imagine being in a relationship with this man… so in a sense you have a point. But I am getting there. This is a huge step for me already. :)

      • Empowerbutterfly80 says:

        You sound like your doing very well recognising what your ex was like and seeing the projection of this new guy, all because you wouldn’t do what the new guy wanted, lol been through that myself. One of my exs after getting rid of him new girlfriend use to send me abusive messages saying your crazy not sure how she new my name to look me up on Facebook, I wonder, i could see the maddness she must have been going through with him and felt sorry for her, she even married him, I went back to him time and time again then finally when I walked away I just felt relief, he had the traits of my dad distant neglectful abusive etc etc it’s so powerful. I think you sound like your doing extremely well in reading the red flags, for myself it’s a slow progress, well done for trying out a date it is nerve racking and anyone would feel abit rubbish if someone is yawning out loud, sounds like he wondered if he could control you and get away with things, the other girl probably puts up with more, I think remembers if they can see your different they’ll go for the easiest option, as you have grown that will be obvious 2 him subconsciously, I’ve progressed onto the stage of seeing them as they are then attracting an emotionally available man yet! Sometimes i wonder if any are out there then I realise I’m still unavailable myself and working on boundaries and I’m just not ready yet and that’s ok :) good luck on your journey xxx

  52. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Lara,

    So what are you going to do about HIM? Will you still date him? He doesn’t sound like someone you should waste your time on. DO NOT C0NTACT HIM, since he is showing minimal interest. Move on to another jerk. I really don’t have much hope in online dating because it, more times than not, has proven to be a depository for jerks. When you have to actually tell a person that you’ve “been around the block” and know when you’re getting a brush off, there’s little chance that that person can offer you a healthy relationship.

    • Lara says:

      Tink, no way am I contacting him again. I left it at that. He contacted me and told me I was crazy, but I am not going to reply to that or to any further communications from his part — now or in the future.. He really showed his AC nature towards the end, because I didn’t accept being put on the backburner with the full knowledge that he was exploring his chances with someone else… he wanted to put me in my place and I think he thought that if I accepted being “friends” and waiting on him (he said that maybe down the line, something will develop between us), he would have achieved that. No way, no how. I am not going to play second fiddle or third fiddle to anyone. I accepted similar behavior from my AC narc ex. Never again. Funny how he was projecting and telling me he was thankful he found out early on that I was crazy….. I think he’s a narcissist and was hurt that I didn’t want to be his friend when he assigned me to his harem of women. This is why I told him: I don’t maintain harems of men just because they compliment me on my looks or intellect, as I am not a narcissist (this is after he told me about the other woman and that we could be good friends and maybe something can come out of that in the future). I told him thanks but no thanks. I’m now crazy for making my decision clear to him, for turning down his carrot of friendship. Pretty crazy.. Reminds me of my ex’s crazy-making behaviors…. never again, as I said.. Scary how many narcissists and ACs there are.. I have met only 3 people (including this guy) from online dating so far.. the other 2 were half-decent. One of them was a cheapo who wouldn’t even buy me a cup of coffee. The other kept talking only about himself and was very very socially awkward, but an OK guy (he still was cheap and let me pay my own way for dinner). Not reassured about the quality of men, both online and offline, unfortunately. :(

    • Selkie says:


      “Move on to another jerk.”

      Ha ha! I laughed out loud when I read this. Seems like there’s an endless supply, doesn’t it….like weeds in a garden. Just keep weeding…..and hopefully when spring comes and you’ve done your job, the flowers have room to grow. If you’ve let your garden turn to thorns, it takes time to get it back. So…. Lara, take your time, okay? Take a deep breath and regroup. Take a little time off dating and get in a better place.

      • Lara says:

        I am definitely off the dating market at this point. It just doesn’t seem for me. Too mercenary, honestly. I have no time nor energy for it. I suspected this was going to come about eventually, but I had thought I’d give it one last shot with that dude from online dating (I then deleted my online profile, and have not engaged with any other men).

        • grace says:

          Did you feel the need to tell the other men that they were cheap and socially awkward? If not, what in particular about this man/ situation caused you to continue engaging? That’s what you need to avoid, not all men.

          • Lara says:

            Hi Grace,

            The reason I felt the need to tell this man that he was a jerk, was that he was a jerk and insulted me and I felt kinda played (like he was interviewing me for a part, but was really sure I wouldn’t fit it anyway since he had a better candidate). I didn’t feel insulted by the cheapness or social awkwardness of those men. I just didn’t feel they were a good match — maybe some people wouldn’t mind someone who only pays for their coffee, but to me, generosity is important. It’s one thing not to be generous or not to know how to act in a certain situation, and it’s another to be an outright jerk, IMO. This is why I told this guy off. Besides, this guy came after a long string of men that I’ve met who have disrespected me so it was sort of the boiling point, and it was such insulting behavior (during and after the date) that I felt I needed to get it out of my system without caring what this man thought of me.

          • Tinkerbell says:


            It’s not that you should stop dating, although it may not be a bad idea for you in terms of clearing your head, getting rid of old garbage, knowing what you want in a man. Mostly, you need to be MUCH MORE discriminating about who you date. If you screen more carefully, you won’t end up with quite as many turds, hopefully. How do you meet guys, in general? You need to meet them thru friends or acquaintances that can vouch for their decency. Or meetups? I’ve never tried the latter so I don’t know if that’s a better option than online. But you really need to slow down and take more time before an actual date. What about in a group, so that you don’t have to be isolated with a nincompoop and go home feeling defeated and disgusted. Think about it.

  53. danielle says:

    Had my 3 autistic sons dad knocking my door at 4 o’clock in the morning last sunday his 22 year old gilfriend (hes 32)had broken his nose and threatened him with a hammer.went to drop them off today they are back together and shes there,apparently shesfit to be around my disabled sons?my oldest no longer wants to see his dad as was sick of their constant arguments,dont want to stop his contact but feel backed into a corner :/

    • Rosie says:

      Danielle- You are backed into a corner but your children’s safety MUST come first! Your ex may choose to live in violence and he may use the excuse that it’s not in front of the kids or that the gf’s good with the kids, blah, blah, blah. In a rage, who knows if the hammer goes flying and accidentally hurts one of the children? What about the devastation of witnessing this violence? There’s no dilemma here. He’s unfit to be a father and you would be unfit as a mother by allowing your children to remain in a violent home.

      Have you notified the authorities?

  54. Mj says:

    Hi all- I decided to post, because the timing of this article was great! I’m 33, and started seeing a girl who was 23. She was in her first relationship of 2.5 years. She wasn’t happy, said that she hadn’t been for awhile, and a few months later they broke up, finally. She was always wishy washy though, would be into me, then say she couldn’t, then back and forth, obviously I tried to do everything and gave everything, where she gave hardly anything at all. I really was into her though, even though most of the time it was drama and back and forth. She went on a planned trip with her ex, they would always end up spending time together somehow, but she said nothing happened. She always said I was too good for her, that she was messed up and I just didn’t see it. We kept going through we can’t do this because she needed to figure herself out, but then we always did. Then she had a one night stand, and said it was ok since she said she was always honest and couldn’t give me what i want. About a month ago we ended it, so she could have space to figure her stuff out. She told me her ex was abusive, hurt her mentally and physically and she could never trust or love anyone again, and that’s all she thought about. We were still friends on Facebook, and the day this article came out she became friends with her again , so I de friended her. I thought maybe it would spark something from her, but it didn’t. I just don’t know how to let go. Why would she go back after seeing how different things could be? I keep asking myself why? How do I just let go and move on?

    • Rosie says:

      Mj- Here’s my present situation: I keep running into this one guy on the subway. This has been going on for more than a year. He knows I don’t want to date him yet he keeps asking whenever I see him at the subway station. He even contacts me on holidays after I told him to stop contacting me. I’m shaking my head in disbelief, thinking, “Do you have no self-respect?” “Do I need to call the police?”

      The point here is that no, she doesn’t respect you as you don’t even respect you. No mutual respect=no mutual love.

      This is harsh and I’m sorry for the insensitivity. My intention is for you to see it for what it is regardless of what she says. Actions do speak louder than words. This is the first step in moving on–acknowledging reality. She’s not “into” you like you’re into her no matter how much you want it to be otherwise. It’s good that you defriended her. If you can afford it, get Natalie’s book, The No Contact Rule.

      Secondly, let yourself grieve the loss. It’s ok to miss her, ok, to feel angry, ok to feel just…sad. Expect waves of grief to hit you when you are doing the most mundane tasks, such as ironing a shirt and that reminds you of the time when you and she did such-and-such…and then you’re going to get angry again…let it happen. Fight your feelings and you’ll be fighting your recovery. Acknowledge the feeling, “I’m feeling really angry right now!” and then continue to iron your shirt.

      Thirdly, don’t date other women yet. You’re presently EU and it’s not fair to these other women.

      Ok, I hope this will get you started. Good luck!

      • Rosie says:

        Mj- I apologize. When I wrote that she wasn’t into you, it was for all the reasons Tinkerbell gave.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      This person is a bad choice to begin with. Move on, now. She’s an unhappy very confused soul who has been through a lot of pain that she has indicated she is not over. What can she offer you, except to bring you down mentally and spiritually? She’s still trying to figure herself out. You should want to be with a woman who is at least happy within herself and who she is, someone who has a life and interests and enjoys being with other people and generally having good healthy fun. This girl is not any of those things so what are you holding on to?

    • Elgie R. says:

      “You are too good for me” is relationshit speak for YOU ARE WAY MORE INTO ME THAN I AM INTO YOU. We all know that. But we misunderstand out of hope. The girl is obviously not over her ex…she took a break…you came along and she decided to take a little romantic side trip……but her heart is with the ex.

      Now you are doing the why her not me thing. There is no reason why. The girl was never invested with you. She was a bad romantic risk for you. It is *her stuff* that’s got her running back to the ex, not you lacking something.

      From your sadness, I sense a revolving door relationshit brewing. You love her, she loves the abusive ex but runs to you for comfort, and you two do have nice times…but she never stays forever.

  55. free voice says:

    This is a hot number, thanks Nat 😉 I’m so disgusted with what has happened to me. My Ex has decided to go back with his 26yrs bipolair. Why would he want to stay with a 47yrs old person with a fat belly, gum disease and androgenic alopecia. Just makes me feel like shit…

  56. Elgie R. says:

    When your instincts said “he’s really being kinda rude to me” but your mind started the benefit-of-the-doubt rationalizing – that’s when the “pick me!” dance began, IMO. And it was in full force when you started wondering if you gave sufficient “I’m interested” signals. You were actually trying to entice someone who was rude to you on a first meeting where everything should be about Best Behavior.

    This guy is clearly into rejection. He’s probably learned that nothing makes a needy woman run after a man like rejection. Actually, that is true for both sexes.

    I suspect that had you flushed him right after the date, did not call or text him, he would be blowing up your text box with requests to get together again.

    I’d suggest going out regularly but only doing “first dates”. Set it in your mind that you will date each man once. You don’t have to make any big announcement about it. I can already hear your “it’s not fair to him” argument. Sometimes a date is just a date. I think more men understand that than women. I think you need to stop looking for happily ever after in every guy and just learn to enjoy a single evening with no projection.

    • Lara says:

      Hi Elgie,

      You’re right — and yeah, I am sure this man would’ve blown up my phone if *I* had appeared to be the one rejecting him. In fact, he kept pursuing me when I was acting aloof and not terribly interested (I was considering completely laying off the dating for a while, so I wasn’t sure if I should make him the exception and meet up with him). The problem with me is that I don’t want to play these sort of games to win someone over — if I am interested in giving someone a second chance, I will say so outright. Maybe honesty is not always the best policy, even though men always complain that women are too roundabout and never come out and outright say what they want. Another myth debunked. Men don’t want women who are straightforward and blunt, who lets her interest known, doesn’t play games, and who initiates dates or whatever. That’s one of the takeaway lessons for me, I think. Also, yeah, I can see how I did the pick me dance there, in a way. I guess I was seeking validation. I think, though, that there are things that people do that set off my insecurities and kick me into validation-seeking mode. This guy was so business-like in his approach from the outset, my professional/career instincts kicked in and I felt like I needed to impress, which got me incredibly nervous, and my competitiveness instincts kicked in, etc. I started thinking of the date (subconsciously) as a job interview. It didn’t help that he DID act like I was auditioning / interviewing for a position. He was interviewing me basically to see if I am a better fit for the position, and was pretty explicit about it. I just felt like I was being judged, grilled, etc., throughout, from start to finish. It depends on the person you are going out with: if he treats you as someone he wants to discover more about, vs someone he is interviewing for a “part”. I think he had already decided against me anyway, but wanted to see if he could do better than the other woman. Kinda infuriating to be treated that way. I don’t treat men that way, even though yes, ultimately, a date is sort of like an interview. But it doesn’t have to be so explicitly so — so dry, straightforward, and plain objectifying, you know? I don’t look for instant chemistry or connection, sparks, etc. it’s great if that’s there, but that’s not the be all and end all. I’ve given men second chances that I didn’t have the spark with, because I found them interesting. It’s dehumanizing to be discarded for just not being flirty enough or whatever, when you are already being treated like you are a rigid, dry, uninteresting person who is a mere extension of your own personality (he told me in the email that I was the female version of him and that it would be like incest — yeah, way to go, turning me into a female version of you, telling me there’s nothing more to my personality than what you already discovered in 2 hrs of sitting across from me and yawning loudly!). Anyway, I would’ve done the whole “only first date” thing, but I think I better get off the dating market because I just feel so drained by it. I don’t have the energy or time anymore. I feel more content and at peace when I don’t have to think about any of this, or meet anyone, etc. I don’t NEED a man in my life, and at this point, I don’t WANT one either.

      • Little Star says:

        Lara, I do not understand, if you felt like you were on interview and did not feel comfortable on the first date. WHY you wanted to meet him again?! I NEVER sent texts to men after my first dates, this is my rule! Let them chase and wonder if WE want to see them again or not…All the best to you x

      • Elgie R. says:

        Back when it was called computer-dating, I had a date like yours, Lara. I remember he criticized my attire, subtly. Then we spent the next 45 minutes listening to him talk about his recent ex’s physical appearance in such detail that I could draw her. I look nothing like her and he was intimating that I was “less” somehow. I kept trying to end the date but don’t remember why it took me 45 minutes to get out of there. Maybe it took me that long to realize I could not take control of the subject and steer it elsewhere. I do remember thinking “Man I wish I was home watching reruns of the Fresh Prince.”

        Jerk. Maybe your guy is his son.

      • Furry White Dogs says:

        I have occasional (5 in 1 year) meetings from online introduction sites (I refuse to call it ‘dating’ when you haven’t even met!).

        My experiences have been relatively positive and when I’ve felt negative it’s been because of my own assumptions and projections. I’ve made a nice friend from one meeting and the other three either didn’t go past the first date or petered out after two or three with no hard feelings on my end.

        I’ve learned some useful strategies from my experiences and posts here on BR,

        Firstly, my profile clearly states that I’m looking for a relationship, what my values are and that I’m not interested in emailing or chatting as getting to know a person starts by meeting face to face.

        Secondly, as other people have already pointed out I don’t engage in lots of emailing beforehand. A couple of messages while trying to set a time and place and get some basic introductions out of the way is fine but much beyond that is inviting fantasy and projection (something I discovered I have to be on my guard against).

        Finally I try to have a meeting at some kind of activity or event that I’m interested in anyway. That way if the chap is a dead loss I still got to go to something fun/interesting/enjoyable. It cuts back a little on the ‘interview’ feel and there’s something else to focus on apart from the other person.

        It’s not always possible and if I have to have drinks etc then I prepare a handy ‘get me out of here’ excuse so if it’s a ho hum or not nice then I can bug out asap. I’ve made a vow never again to do ‘coffee’. That’s real interview territory and feels damn lame.

        I’m finding having the occasional meet from online to be good BR skills practice and useful material for reflection and taking to my counsellor so I learn about myself.

        It’s not the be all and end all to meeting someone. I go to meetup groups and work social events and sometimes there are unsavoury or boring types there too.

        • Mymble says:

          I like your approach, i think I might apply some of your “rules” if I dip my toe in those waters.
          The thing is I don’t meet many single men in my day to day life and my opportunity for socialising and pursuing hobbies is limited due to heavy work commitments, two young children and limited finance. I would see it simply as an introduction, nothing more.
          As you say it’s not dating until you’ve met in person and decided from that that you actually want to date. As with any form of introduction in the majority of cases that isn’t likely to be the case.

  57. espresso says:

    Thanks Tinkerbell for all your good wishes. I send the very same back to you too.

    As you know…it is tough to process this stuff but I don’t actually feel I have wasted my life…with HIM yes, but not in so many other respects, wonderful kids, interesting creative work, friends, passionate interests that were mine alone AND the capacity to enjoy them. Thank god for that. But I DID waste my expectations, hopes and energy on building a relationship with somebody who was incapable of it in the deepest sense.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Thanks for acknowledging, Espresso. I see much growth in you over the past several weeks. I’m sure the more you get your ex out of your system, the more we will see of YOU in all your splendor. How refreshing that will be for YOU and for us to witness it. Good luck always.

  58. Mymble says:

    I have followed this thread with interest because years ago I did something similar. (before marriage)
    A man showed interest in me and (I thought) asked me out and then didn’t show up. I got very upset and angry , phoned him up and blasted him, generally went crazy. Thing was he had said he would phone to confirm so in his mind it wasn’t definite and then he had simply – forgot. Yep that can happen, without the person being an AC, EU, or a narc. But the point was why did I get so very angry and upset? We were not in a relationship of any kind, were merely acquaintances. It was total overreaction on my part due to my own emotional issues at that time. I was feeling very lonely (was working overseas) vulnerable and a bit, well, desperate.
    If you are happy and secure these minor disappointments won’t trigger you and send you into such a spiral.
    Life can be tough at times, be a little kinder to yourself and focus on building a good well rounded life for yourself so that you are able to ride out the minor and major bumps in the road without falling to bits.

  59. Erade says:

    Please read and give me some advice, thanks everyone.
    My boyfriend of 5 yrs has been blowing hot and cold on me, we keep making up and breaking up. don’t know if the problem is with me cause when I see him cold I feel down and start arguing with him and it creates more drama and problems we end up not talking for days.
    Everytime we make up he is all over me, send me lovely text messages telling me how much he misses me and loves me and telling me how happy he is and so on, but after few days, same things happen, I am so confuse and its draining, he never accepts any responsibility for any problems in our relationship, some days are good but most days we argue.
    We were living together but now we live apart, makes me sad, him at his mums and im in my home, we are both mid forties, both been married and divorced.
    Sometimes we can be very happy, other times we just ignore each other, I try talking to him but we keep hurting each other all the time.

    yesterday all was fine, I was texting him back and forth and when he failed to text me goodnight I got annoyed with him and didn’t reply his call this morning or texts messages.

    Things have become so stressful about this make up and break up relationship that my family doesn’t think he is a good man for me, my sons doesn’t want me to talk to him anymore so I am meeting him in secret after the last break up 2 months ago, I don’t know if its worth me falling out with my kids over him.? I feel very sad and we keep trying to sort things out and we end up the same situation all the time.
    Anyone can give me some advice please?


    • Sandy says:


      Sorry to say it won’t get any easier, I also was with my ex AC for 5 years, looking back I should have made the break earlier, so many similarities between your story and mine, my two teenagers and family also thought he was bad for me, they saw things that I just brushed over and ignored…it’s draining, it’s demoralising and in the end you have to give it up for your own good.
      I lived with him also, but only for a few months as it just didn’t work, there was absolutley no compromise on his part at all, and I got sick of him breaking my stuff due to his temper tantrums, and then you find that you are becoming someone you dislike, the playing games to get a reaction, yep, been there, done that, in the end it just saps your soul…it shouldn’t be that hard, a relationship should make your life happier not angry and sad.

    • Rosie says:

      Erade- This stood out to me:

      “have become so stressful about this make up and break up relationship that my family doesn’t think he is a good man for me, my sons doesn’t want me to talk to him anymore so I am meeting him in secret after the last break up 2 months ago, I don’t know if its worth me falling out with my kids over him.?”

      You say you are in your mid-forties so why-oh-why are you giving your children and your parents so much power that you’re seeing your bf in secret?? You are a grown woman, for crying out loud, it is not your children’s decision nor your parents’ decision who you date. When it comes to your children, what you need to ask yourself is, “How are my decisions and lifestyle affecting them?” Obviously, your decisions are affecting them negatively and this is what you need to address as you are their mother. Really, who’s the parent and who’s the child in this scenario?? A child cannot be in charge.

      And why are you even thinking that a man is more important than your children??? I’m flabbergasted that you’re even asking if risking your children is worth some guy. Seriously??? YOU ARE THEIR MOTHER!!! It isn’t “Is he worth losing my children over?” It’s “What is best for me and my children?”

      As far as the guy goes, you’re giving him all the power too. Where is your own mind in any of this? Do you like being his yo-yo?

      Yes, this is a harsh response but when it comes to children’s best interests, I don’t play.

    • Elgie R. says:

      Erade, your dilemma is a common one, so common that these song lyrics from a 1942 movie apply:

      “Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
      But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay.
      You knew it was right, wasn’t wrong.
      Still you knew you wouldn’t be very long.
      Go or stay, stay or go,
      Start to go again and change your mind again.
      It’s hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
      But still have the feeling that you wanted to stay.
      Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do.
      I’ll go.
      I’ll stay.”

      The best relationships require both people have emotional maturity AND emotional intelligence – and it rarely happens that both people possess those things. So…when one partner acts up it is hard to say whether the other partner should leave.

      That is one reason why I find committed relationships so scary….people change. People get bored, leave, then they get scared of being alone and come back.

      My mother had a 73 year old girlfriend who was married to the same man for 50 years. But somewhere around marriage-year 42, she said she could feel that her husband seemed to start hating her. She could feel hatred coming from him anytime she was in the same room with him. They did not divorce…he has since passed….but those last years were a sad time for that lady.

      The ebb and flow of affection between relationship partners is a hard thing.

      I know of a young engaged couple who experienced this same thing – he’d push her away, then call her in tears wanting to get back together. They eventually married but I have been told that they do very little together as a couple.

      So…my words offer nothing but anecdotal evidence that this kind of uncertainty happens.

      My fantasy is that good relationships only get better with time…..but I don’t think that is true. Good relationships sometimes have to pass through bad periods. But you do have to have a shared goal of “wanting” to get to a better place. One partner can’t be the only one wanting things to get better.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        I’m with Rosie. How can you consider his needs being anywhere near as important as your children especially when he has a penchant for behaving like an a-hole. How do you have the patience for the ups and downs. Apparently, he enjoys this but it’s entirely too stressful to be comfortable for you unless you enjoy it also. You need to leave him. I don’t see it getting better and it doesn’t look like he is a person who is approachable in a calm manner and have a discussion about the relationship. But, if you feel you can bring that about, YOU have to take the lead and put your foot down that things have got to change for the better or else he will not have you around at all. Why did he go back home to mama? Big red flag!

      • Allison says:


        My parents have been married over 60 years, and have a very loving and respectful relationship. My landlords have been married 50+ years, and have the same. These are only two examples that I know of. I don’t understand why you always go negative on committed relationships?

        • Rosie says:

          Allison and Elgie- My friend just told me about her aunt and uncle who were together for 63 yrs (he died and she recently died). They still held hands in their old age. 😉

        • Elgie R. says:

          Allison, can you open your mind enough to accept that your reality is not my reality? My parents divorced two years after the last child – me – left home.

          They were great parents. Responsible, taught us discipline, manners, and responsibility. We were the noticeably well-behaved children. Parents were home every night. We ate dinner together every night. We kids did the dishes. Parents helped with homework. We played board games on the weekends. Hardly ever had fast food. Don’t remember any major dramas playing out between them. Yet, it was an empty marriage. After they divorced, and I had been living on my own for a while, I do remember my mother telling me that sometimes, after she and my father had relations, she would roll over and cry.

          My sis has been with her boyfriend for 38 years and they have 27 year-old son. The boyfriend lives in her house, has always been with her, yet at her request, he is set up in the basement as his own apartment. He is always in and out of work and can’t afford to be on his own, so he lives in the basement, has the run of the house during the day while she is at work, then heads downstairs when she comes home. They don’t sleep in the same room – haven’t for years. But they don’t fight, they just live separately.

          We all get together at Xmas like any other family. I have many happy memories of times with sis and her family, Mom, and Dad. Sometimes the boyfriend’s parents and siblings join in.

          My mother has another girlfriend who at 58 years of marriage left the husband. The friend said they had not had sex in 40 years. She did go back after 3 months. He got sick and she cared for him until he died. He’s been gone 9 years now and the girlfriend is happily living her life.

          Do you *really* think I am withholding happily-ever-after stories?? I do not know of any happily-ever-after couples. I know a lot of make-the-best-of-what-we-have couples. I work in a male-dominated field and I see a lot of married men who seem to be perfect family men who I learn are slipping it to a side piece and have been for YEARS. I know two married women who have something on the side. I currently have married-to-other-people-coworkers who are doing each other – the guy’s wife is expecting. Several years back a couple got caught doing it in a broom closet in our department! I was stunned because the married man appeared to be so upstanding….but then….it was a lesson that you don’t really know people. You can’t judge by appearances.

          Since I lived on the inside of my parents’ empty marriage, I am not as harsh a judge as some folks can be.

    • noquay says:

      Hot and Cold means this dude already has one foot out the door but is too wimpy to go it alone. Your sons are right, run away from this ASAP, you deserve better.

  60. Amanda the Panda says:


    How to avoid doing this ever again..

    Im currently working out how to avoid doing this ever again..

    Here’s a list of some the red flags I have identified since my 4 month relationship ended last week, that I cheerfully ignored at the time:

    – not telling his sons anything, for several months, even who I was and allowing them and me to feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure they even knew my name after 3 months. I did talk to him about this.
    – not telling his ex about me and when she asked, as she had seen my car on the drive several times, he her why she thought I was his girlfriend. 
    – asking me to park round the corner so his kids wouldn’t know I was visiting relatives with him (I believe it was so his ex wouldn’t find out)
    – telling me right from the start that he had no false promises or guarantees, that he was damaged and had difficulty trusting (I should have walked away)
    – not wanting to add me on Facebook but offering no reassurance as to why.
    – when he did add me, still no acknowledgement at all and I wasn’t allowed to tag anything or post photos.
    – inconsistent with contact, unkind at times….openly mocking me for wanting to see him. 
    – drinking heavily and often and alone. Drinking binges. No off switch. Regularly drink driving. 
    – entangled with ex, doing stuff for her, still responsible for her and her child from an affair financially and practically despite being split 4 years and having their children living with him. She cheated on him throughout their 17 years. 
    – letching over a young girl to his mate in front of me as though I wasn’t there which made me feel bloody awful
    – never wanting to make plans or asking to see me, yet making plans with friends. The relationship was very much driven by me. 

    There were good times, of course but I had a eureka moment talking to a friend last night where I realised…I didn’t LIKE him that much really, but I wanted him to like me. He displayed vulnerability at first, which I found attractive but as the relationship progressed I found myself increasingly insecure and obsessively vigilant looking for clues that he was about to exit or was cheating. I became anxious and paranoid which of course, especially because he wasn’t invested, pissed him off. Viscious circle and by the time it ended I’m sure he had me down as a psycho although he did acknowledge that he knew he made me feel insecure. 

    So it’s all very well looking at him. I put up with it. Not the first time I’ve stayed with men that are not over their exes, or unavailable in other ways and whilst this was only months not years I want to avoid it ever again if possible. I had an extremely difficult upbringing and a terrible relationship with my parents, there was abuse etc I think I’m somehow trying to achieve the love I never had. My dad was my first emotionally unavailable man.

    I’m 44. I’m scared that the anxious woman I became with this guy is who I am but really hope it was simply the choice I made to pursue a non starter that made me feel that way. Whilst I miss him (why) I do feel better without the anxiety and am not remotely tempted to chase him. I was kidding myself from the very beginning. 

  61. Erade says:

    Hiya, a few more points about this situation, me and my bf have talked a lot about what is happening in the relationship, he never argues with me, im the one who argues cause some things he does just makes me unhappy, last month he did acknowledge to me that he wants to change and he accepts he is stubborn.
    we use to live together as a couple and im open about everything with him, yet he keeps me in the dark about everything, his mum and family knows more about his business than I do, yet we were living as a couple for 4yrs. Instead of moving forward we always seem to go backwards, honestly I havea lost all confidence and my self esteem is very low, my bf does not cheat on me or anything like that, its just he is kind of strange mentality, I have to be the one to always plan things, sort things out, I once spoke to his ex wife, she tells me he was the same with her for the 10yrs they were married, shes divorced him and remarried…
    lately my bf has changed changed a little, more generous and helps me financially, take me out for a meal and he pays the whole bill, as before we use to go half and he use to be tight with money.

    The relationship is draining cause it seems like we are both trying to hurt each other, keep bringing up the past, child like tantrums and not talking for days or even weeks, yet everyday he will text me sweet texts and saying he misses me, yet our relationship is not going forward, just circling around the same old.
    I just don’t know, im suppose to see him today, hes giving me some money to do my hair and nails, honestly I don’t even know if I love him anymore of if im just comfortable with this situation?

    • Rosie says:

      Erade- Have you and he gone for counseling? I don’t have any advice (Re-reading my last post to you, it was much, much more insensitive than I intended, though I stick by the message, just wish I had said it a different way. I’m sorry).

      One of the big lessons in the “School of BR” is that it isn’t our job to teach an adult how to be an adult. He’s a grown man who will do what he wants to do and/or can do. It’s up to you to decide if you can take him *as is*. What do you want, Erade? Your decisions need to be based on what’s best for you and your boys. How is waiting for him to change/trying to get him to change serving the highest good of you and your boys?

  62. Magnolia says:

    I read the whole Lara thread with interest. Lara, I have been where you are: launched as if by a sudden storm of righteous indignation into telling someone the ins and outs of how they have behaved badly.

    It’s not that he didn’t behave badly. It’s that this bad behaviour made you lose your cool. It’s as if some stranger came along and said: “Hey bitch,” and you lost it on him because he shouldn’t do that. I think the model of health we’re aiming for on BR would have us ask ourselves: do I know this guy? If not, why would I think it’s my job to teach another adult not to go around calling random people “bitch”? Of course if this were someone I cared about and had a long relationship and trust with, if they suddenly swore like that at me it would really hurt, and I’d want to talk, but do I need to do the same with strangers?

    And what counts as someone I know? What counts as a stranger?

    I think it’s that for those BR vets who have come to self-esteem via a path similar to yours, they recognize in the story you tell, and the amount of energy you put into the storytelling, the actions of a woman who might not know yet how she’s in fact leaving herself open to being disproportionately disappointed, shocked, hurt at others’ poor behaviour.

    I was big into a lot of self-divulging with new people, and would also tell people what was ‘wrong’ with them having had less than 3 hours in-person interaction with them, when I was still in a place of having to validate my own experience but not knowing that this self-validation was the missing piece. I grew up around folks who discounted my feelings and told me “what-was-good-for-me-to-hear” in ways that may have been well-meaning but were boundary-crossing; and as much as that was unhealthy for me to put up with, I knew no different, accepted it and learned to go on similar well-meaning corrective lectures with others.

    I don’t remember when it happened exactly, but it was definitely after some months, maybe even years, on BR: I realized that my “cool” was my balance, my inner peace, etc and that by understanding that lots of folks out there weren’t going to march to my beat, and that I didn’t have to teach them to, that I could save myself a lot of adrenaline spikes and mind-races. I also realized that I had been reliving trying to “teach” my family to listen to me and value me every time I got into a new situation where I felt devalued. Once I saw that, and came to an emotional place of no longer needing to teach my folks that lesson (i.e. grieving all the compassion/tenderness/attentiveness I never had then and could not ever go back and reinsert into childhood), I stopped putting myself in situations that would have me trying to teach someone else their “lesson.”

    • Magnolia says:

      * Unless of course you count my propensity to write long advisory responses to strangers on BR! But hey, I get out the old urges here, and hopefully I understand your post as actively seeking input :)

  63. Linden says:

    I’ve been divorced for three years now and have two young children. Recently I had to fight for additional custody to stop my ex from making the kids live with him at his sex-based commune on his time with them. He finally has his dream — he lives full-time with a harem of young women who probably think the moon shines out of his behind and who he can have sex with any time he wants. It’s creepy as hell.

    So today he’s supposed to come over and pick up the kids and spend the day with them, but he’s late because he has to take all the other women’s children to school because the designated person who was supposed to do that got called into work unexpectedly. The kids are wondering where he is and why he doesn’t call, then he swans in wearing new jeans, a new shirt, new shoes, a new haircut, and an attitude. This is a man who quite literally has been telling me for the past 25 years that he hates wearing jeans, doesn’t care about such unimportant things as appearance, wants his hair to be long, and hates social occasions. He let himself go while we were still together until he was unattractive to me and our sex life was practically nil, but he told me I should accept it because otherwise I wasn’t accepting who he was and didn’t really love him. I went to so many parties by myself while we were married — now he goes to parties. He looked hideous with long hair, but now he’s cut it. He’s all shiny and new for these women he met six months ago and he looks down on me every time he sees me because I’m not in a relationship, while he has a houseful of women lavishing themselves on him. He drives their kids to school, but can’t be bothered to call his own.

    It’s not like I want him back, but I can feel myself falling into the mental “what have they got that I don’t got” trap, and I don’t want to go there. It feels crappy, that’s all.

    • Allison says:


      I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing!
      You should only be concerned with the environment your children are exposed to, not this other nonsense. You need to address the visitations, as this sounds weird and unhealthy!

      • Rosie says:

        Linden- I agree with Allison.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Linden. What Allison said is sooo true. Heed her advice. Your children should not be in that environment. It’s a travesty!

        • lizzp says:

          “Recently I had to fight for additional custody to stop my ex from making the kids live with him at his sex-based commune on his time with them.”

          Hi, Tink Alison Rosie. I think Linden’s taken this step? Seems she has arranged it so he can only take kiddies on day trips and NOT to the commune? Linden, will you clarify?

          Linden, yeah I guess you are feeling jaded that he seemingly has all he wants and why weren’t you enough? Especially as he has spruced himself up huh? I hope you’ll pass through that soon and move on to a better life without this creep in your head space. If you have done as I read in your post and legally arranged for the kids to be kept away from the commune, my hat is off to you. And think about this, if you know your children would be damaged being subjected to you ex’s abhorrent choices, you won’t be far off recognising that he is not worth a moment of *your* head space – he is acting like an immature adolescent.

          • Allison says:


            You’re right! Thanks, for the correction!

          • Linden says:

            Thanks, everyone. Yes, I went to court and took away his right to overnight visits, except on his weekends, when he’s agreed not to take the kids to the commune. I thought I’d mostly processed my disappointment over the relationship ending, so my recent bummed-out feelings kind of caught me by surprise. I guess that he relinquished some of his time with the kids brought it home to me that he prioritizes himself and these new people above all things, including his commitment to them. I’m worried about what this might mean to them as they get older and more aware, but I guess kids have to come to grips with being disappointed in a parent’s choices all the time. I just don’t want my daughter to chase an absent daddy figure in her adult relationships, or my son to think that women are simply replaceable prey.

  64. Amanda the Panda says:

    Linden, what an absolute a**hole. You should not spend a second putting yourself down, this man is not worthy of anyone remotely decent.

    Is it him that has told you about his current situation?? It sounds like pure fantasy and as much as it’s tempting to imagine our exes as being in the throes of ecstasy once they leave us behind,the reality is probably much more mundane. Sounds like a classic mid life crisis to me…

    • Tinkerbell says:

      I agree Amanda. The go thru mid life crisis and totally lose their minds. What little they had in the first place.

  65. milk says:

    Hi Erade, You have spent 5 years or more with this guy so you know who he is and how he treats you in a relationship.

    This guy is a player AC!! He doesn’t have to argue with you, cheat on you to be bad. He is bad because he says he wants a relationship (which are based on each person giving 100%) but he gives you crumbs, blowing hot and cold like a child. Read Natalies article on Status Quo- how to maintain it.

    Do you really want this clown. I would get out now and do not lower yourself further- when we have to lie to our children and loved ones WHO would give their right arm for us if we needed it, it’s time to excit the relationship or FLUSH. Then work on you and don’t except second best or crumbes.

    I have been in two relationships one when I was an empty headed 19 year old and another off the back of that when we finished at 24. The second relationship lasted 10 years but I knew I was with an EUM, but ignored any clowning around. The second guy after always trying to make me his, trying to move in, suggesting we have a baby together on day came round and said lets just be friends as I can’t marry a smoker, then left and was married in 12 months. Of course he was seeing other women and had a girlfriend when we met.

    I did not care about other women after bit of fun after first bad relationship, but then I feel for him. I still knew he was a cheat AC and not someone I should hook me self to for life. But I stupidly allowed and kept contact as there was no one else so it was company on my terms.

    The point, the relationship was no good I should of got out and into a better one or enjoyed my friends and family NOT that crap. I think you should too-get out x


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


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