Last year, I got a lot of emails from and spoke with a number of women who had fallen prey to the fairy tale of a man from their distant past returning like a breath of fresh air into their lives, only for him to turn into a complete and utter nightmare.

Now, whilst some may think I’m a cynical bitch for saying this, I’m going to say it anyway:

Whilst there are lovely, warm stories of people reuniting with their childhood sweethearts after spending a significant period of time apart, overcoming obstacles, other loves, and all that jazz, they are few and far between, especially with the poor modern day dating habits that many people have. Instead, The (Returning) Childhood Sweetheart tends to be a Mr Unavailable or assclown in disguise…

There are a few things that tend to spell trouble when these clowns appear on the horizon:

How they contacted you: Almost every time, I heard barely plausible tales about how the guy just happened to look up the woman online, school yearbook, bla bla bla, and it just happens to be when they are newly separated/divorced/ripe for a cheating session/gagging for an ego stroke/looking at themselves in the mirror and suddenly having a panic that they may not be ‘all that’. The thing is, ordinarily, a man who is recently separated, divorced, looking to cheat, gagging for an ego stroke, or in the middle of a mid life crisis doesn’t make a great candidate for a relationship and is likely to pose issues for a committed relationship where he’s emotionally unavailable. The fact that he’s from your past does not erase these glaring red flags – in fact, they enhance them.

Why they contacted you: When you fan away the hot air and them blowing smoke up your arse telling you about how they’ve thought of you often, have been hunting you down for years, have missed you so much, there’s actually something more than a little weird about being contacted by a man from your very distant past, especially if the memories aren’t actually as wonderful as they claim but we’ll come to that. Unfortunately women think ‘OMG! This is like something out of a movie’ and before you can say ‘Er, check that he’s not an assclown’, you’re off fantasising and betting on potential.

Here’s the thing:

He’s thought of you often – Was this whilst he was shagging his wife and creating four children? What’s he trying to say? That he made some poor choices and when he thought about who he could turn to first, he thought of you? Why?

He thinks “I’m separated, I’m scared, and I need somebody who won’t see what an assclown I am…Oh, I’ll look up [insert your name]. She’ll be a great gap filler that will help me get over my ex…”

You think “He’s separated and he’s taken the first chance he has to get in touch with me because he has been carrying a serious torch for me all of these years. His marriage hasn’t worked out because he knew who he really loved deep down and realised he’d made a massive mistake. She sounds like she was soooo wrong for him anyway…”

Why? Why? Why, why, why?

This is the big question that women who let a man from their past back into their lives fail to ask themselves:

Why, when he decided to turn to someone, did he choose to turn to me?

Is it really because he never did get over me and we are destined to be together? Or, is there something about his memory of me, his perception of me, that let’s him think that I am an ideal candidate for whatever bullsh*t, rinky dinky behaviour he has in mind?

Does he remember me as adoring? (Read massive ego stroker) Does he remember me as agreeable? (Read: easy to take advantage of, will accept any attention, won’t expect too much).

In fact, what does he remember? What do you remember?: This is another key problem when one of these ‘relationships’ start. More often than not, he doesn’t see you as Debbie 2009 – he sees you as Debbie, from 1992 who hung off his every word, waited for him to call, and was devastated when he ditched you for that bitch [insert name of choice]. You’re just as guilty of the same thing.

Depending on how your relationship ended but also what you both ‘had’ together, you both represent to each other, something youthful from the past that conjures up a feeling that works for you both.

If you’ve had a series of poor relationships, he may represent a time in your life which you don’t feel is blighted by so many assclowns.

In fact, even if he was an assclown at the time, the danger is that he may represent an opportunity to right the wrongs of your past, almost in a wipe-the-slate clean kind of way, because if you can ‘get him’ after all this time and everything that has happened, it will validate things within you that you feel many men have invalidated and don’t feel you can validate yourself.

This is just like the typical Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl relationship where these guys become an opportunity to prove that you can change him and win him.

Much like when we become obsessed with focusing on what he was like in the ‘beginning’ and using that as a yardstick to bet on potential and determine what he’s capable (more like incapable of), if you are a woman with poor relationship habits and/or low self-esteem, you will be ill-equipped to deal with this situation because you will focus on a beginning, a fantasy that started long ago, rather than seeing him in the real light of today.

One of the big traps for women is not seeing the wood for the trees – we’ll go on and on about how great he was in the beginning, but refuse to acknowledge that he actually hasn’t consistently been this person for the majority of the relationship, so the beginning doesn’t actually matter.

In every single tale I have heard and read, these men, like ordinary Mr Unavailable’s and assclowns, exhibited huge red flags, but these were ignored because of the perception that these women had of these men, the automatic feeling of trust that was often given purely on the basis of having a previous history (even if it was bad), and the idea that this guy represented their dreams coming true…when in fact, it was closer to a living nightmare.

Don’t forget, easy as you may feel it is to attach the glow of love to this scenario, think back to other exes that have magically materialised and ask yourself if they meant you any good? As every woman who has been on the receiving end of a boomerang relationship and been a Yo-Yo Girl or general Fallback Girl can testify to, the truth is, it doesn’t spell anything good.

Back with part 2 in a couple of days.

Your thoughts?


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49 Responses to The Trap of the (Returning) Childhood ‘Sweetheart’ Part 1

  1. Loving Annie says:

    I watched a close GF do exactly this, and it was sad.

    She lived in such a fantasy of what he COULD be based on a few minutes of flattery – and ignored a dozen horrific red flags and a lot of abuse that showed what a total assclown he was.

    Then I also realized this – their dysfunctions were similar : they both lied to themselves, lied to their spouses, and were manipulative.

    They had far more in common than I thought at first –

    Loving Annie’s last blog post..Bliss

  2. Betterwithouthim says:

    I have a gf this happened to. She lives in Houston, TX now and he was her HS boyfriend of 10 yrs prior. They had moved on and married other people and he tracked her down through friends of friends.

    He contacted her they got along great so he went to see her for a visit (however he didn’t plan to leave). He turned out to be a meth addict and stole her car, some personal belongings and so forth. She was devastated and to this day has no idea what happened to her car and went through some legal stuff to get her name off the vehicle for fear it would cause her additional problems/pain.

    She has started dating again, but now does a background check on the men first before investing time with them. Her prior track record with AC was horrible, now she’s taking steps to protect herself and she too has changed to keep preventing this from happening again.

    It took her 2 yrs to clean up the mess, but she’s come back and is better, stronger than before. She didn’t give up on herself and she knew she could have a good relationship with men, she just had to do the work first and get to a better place.

  3. madeamistake says:

    NML, This might as well have been my story you just wrote about. The key thing (and red flag) here was the WAY HE FOUND ME! That should have sent every alarm bell in the world off because I KNEW for a fact that he lied about how he found me again after 5 years and a foreign country (for me). And it was exactly as you said…things weren’t going well at home and I fell for first being his friend, and then when separated, a lot more. UGH! It’s been years, but finally, I’ve realized what a complete EUM he was/is and I now can completely laugh about it. BTW, he was the only EUM I’ve ever been around–it was a totally new thing for me and I think that’s why it took so long to accept it. But NML, thanks to your website, I’ve been able to do just that and focus on me & my life! And…thanks for the reminder–it’s always good to be ‘reminded’ of how they are/were–just in case those “old feelings of nostalgia” coming back to haunt us!

  4. ts says:

    Sigh….this is my situation.

    I do think the betting on potential played and somewhat still does play big into this. I realize now that all the red flags were and are there to show me he is definitely an EUM. My gut told me from the restart of this that it didn’t all add up, but, because of the feeling that he was someone I thought I knew and had had a nice connection to in the past, I ignored them and began projecting a schoolgirl fantasy of what could be, not what was really going on.

    Fortunately, I have stopped it. I began to realize I was doing most of the pursuing, with moments of interest from him, just enough to keep me hooked. I finally realized that I was being reinstated back into his harem. I was the agreeable type, your interpretation of that was spot on Natalie, I think that is the role he expects me to play. I have stopped all contact, not that there was much to begin with. This site has helped a lot to see things more clearly.

    I will put him back in the past where he belongs. There was and is a reason we never had a real relationship.

  5. myalmostlover says:

    I think this may have happened to the woman my xEUM cheated on me with. Supposedly it was a random meeting, they had a past relationship, no details on that. BUT she knowlngly got involved with him when he was with me. So I think there had to be some pretty major problems with them the first go around. What kind of woman wants a man with another woman? So I think he just picked out his next victim to phase me out. He probably knew, as you said NML, that she would put up with his BS, she was an easy target, would give him the ego strokes he needed and he may not have had the time to start a new relationship, so why not drag one up from the past? Yep it all makes sense to me. Sort of sounds like a fallback girl.

    Now I’m wondering if he didn’t track her down and the random stuff was just a ploy. Interesting.

  6. Mike says:

    Ladies… never be with a man that has already rejected you once – for whatever reason!! Someone else was tired if his B/S and now he’s lonely. Please don’t think he’s changed from what he was when he was with you – especially if he treatedy you poorly.

  7. I think part of the problem is, we are drawn to familiarity. Not only do we have a history with them, and somehow hope we can make it right, it hopes that you both have learned something along the way, but they give us a false feeling of safety, because we know them, have been with them.

  8. ChiTownKitty says:

    My situation is a bit different but sadly all too much the same. My childhood sweetheart and I never dated-we were both too shy. We found each other about 10 years ago on a board for our small high school and began emailing….just talking and opening up about our lives. It was 2 years ago when it all changed (I was in the process of my divorce-now final -and he was saying how miserable he was…I know, I know….) I thought since we had been friends for so long, had shared so much that this was going somewhere…it wasn’t. He got a number one fan who lives several hundred miles away. A girl good for an ego stroke any time he wanted one. I was living in fantasy land…I wasn’t thinking along the lines of a new marriage but rather seeing what was possible in this relationship without having to start with a stranger…Well, long story short he’s still with his wife (obviously she’s not as bad as he describes) and I find it hard to totally break away for a number of reasons. Oh, I can say that its because on occasion he can act like a good friend/sounding board but to be completely honest it’s because I am afraid…I’m in my late 40’s…and when I am with him I don’t feel old and ugly and alone. I know the change has to come from within me. I have tried no contact but the pull from him and the push from me has had me back answering his emails and phone calls…I want to break lose, want to heal myself but really am at a loss right now on how to do it…I know the right things…I just find it too hard or scary to do them.

  9. annied says:

    Not so long ago I did this … to myself. Contacted someone from my past that I had long had a secret crush on … it ended in complete and total disaster. I mean, it was bad. I am too ashamed of myself to give you details. No matter how nostalgic you feel … dont do it. Whether you contact him or he contacts you. Dont do it.

  10. ts says:

    I was just remembering something someone once said to me. It was along the lines of, “Nostalgia is the favorite drug of the deluded”. It can be powerful, because usually it is accompanied by a sense of well being.

  11. Gaynor says:


    So True

  12. Used says:

    What about the guy who marries his fallback girl? This has not been discussed. I went through the perfect scenario on this, too. Not a high-school sweetheart situation, but a boomerang situation nonetheless.

    I went out with someone for 3 months when he was 8 months out of a very public, very rocky, on-again, off-again relationship of no more than 4 months…but, 1 year after I ended things (via his catching me on a date with another guy), he was back with this same ex-girlfriend, and married her (after at least 3 more break-ups) 3 years later.

    BUT when he got her back (and she had publicly vowed that she would “never take him back again” after the first huge break-up, 8 mos. before he met me), the friend who introduced us asked me what went wrong. I told him that my EUM didn’t know what he wanted, and that, though I liked him, it had to end b/c of this.

    Guess what? That same weekend, he broke up with the fallback girl, with no explanation. Did he think I would call him? I was engaged at the time!

    2 years into his marriage, we ran into each other. I did not speak to him. I have never spoken to him since I decided to end things. We are both married. But, since running into him 2 years ago, he has been in my face whenever he can be. I won’t get into the details, but, before running into him, I never saw him, for years. Now he has gotten to know friends of mine better, and has joined an organization that I have been involved in for years. Stares at me and flirts with me all the time. And we are both married, he with a little girl!

    I broke up with him b/c I felt he was using me to get his ex-gf back. I have since learned that he would tell his ex’s friends about women he “knew” (he would say, “Do you know x girl? Y girl? How about z girl?), including myself! So my gut was right!

    So, why did he marry his fallback girl? Why didn’t he appreciate me? And why is he in my face now?

    Oh, I also should add that we were never intimate past “second base”. But he was intimate with the then-ex-girlfriend-now-wife. (I think that may be why he kept going back to her. Who knows.) But he did treat us both badly: hot the first few weeks, then cold the rest of the time. But the fallback girl he saw every 2 weeks. Me, every 3.5! It was so insulting.

    I should also add that, after our second date, we ran into each other at a bar he frequented, on a night that he had asked me for a date on. See, he called me for a date, and I said “Sure. There is a party I have been invited to. Let’s go to dinner, then the party.” He didn’t want to even go to dinner after I proposed this, saying, “Fine, go to your party! I’ll call you later.” I then went to the party with a “friend” who warned me about my EUM and who knew his then-ex, now wife and all the facts about how he treated her.

    Well, after the party, my “friend” wanted to go to that bar that she knew he frequented. I didn’t know he liked this bar. So we run into him. He didn’t talk to me at all. And, ever since that night, he started the game of calling me only every 2.5-3 weeks! It was so humiliating.

    I don’t ever regret ending things. I hate the fact that he may be sitting there, all this time, thinking, “Hah, she followed me to my hang-out. She really wants me!”

    Oh, and my “friend”? When she is with my ex-EUM and his wife, she ignores me AND anyone who is with me, including my spouse and family.

    Another mutual friend, based on his behavior/actions, acts as though I am obsessed with him. (She once looked to see whether I am “checking him out”. Funny, when he is always glancing over at me! I know, from a friend.)

    I never chased him down. I only called him once, when I thought he was upset b/c I didn’t agree to see him at the last second for a “date” watching a game at his place. He otherwise always called me. But I think that one night when we ran into each other at that bar gave him the entirely wrong impression of me. And I am a very proud person. I never made dating mistakes. I hate how this had affected my image!

    His friends? Whenever they see me, they smile wide. One was so enthusiastic when he saw me and my husband at a cafe with his wife that his wife turned her chair around to see if I was flirting with this guy! And I am known as a pretty serious person, not a flake or a flirt! I am generally respected and treated like a lady.

    This “relationship” with the EUM has affected my relationships with other people. That is what upsets me more than anything, in addition to the fact that I, the “nice girl”, was perhaps used by him to get the “bad girl” back. Oh, and, BTW, the fallback-now-wife is a very plain-jane-looking girl. Dull, too. I am better-looking, more educated, and more personable/friendly. I don’t understand it!)

    • learningtomoveon says:

      Just stay away from the pack of them. Your being in the same places and situations is being understood as you being still interested. I am getting a feeling that he is again using you, though now as an ego boost. Like you know to tell his friends, you see girl Y, we had a brief affair once, and see both of us are married and she still wants me. Also if you really have nothing to do with it, why are you still comparing the fallback girl now wife with yourself. You need to realise that however upsetting they are, they are none of your concern. Ignore him, his friends and especially common friends who behave oddly when you are around. You dont need them, really you dont. And you dont mention your husband here. Have you talked to him about these odd behaviours and found out what he thinks? Why not go to places where you know the jerk would be around only with your husband, if you are going alone, just choose not to go, and if you have to, choose not to look any of these jerks in the eye, just plain avoid and discard. It would be tough, but there is always a way if you want to. And also you dont have to prove to yourself or anyone that you are better and that they did you wrong, believe me those you know you, know and trust your integrity, those who dont, well they dont matter.

  13. ts says:

    Ok Used,

    I have to admit, I am a bit confused by your post. Is this an old high school sweetheart you are talking of?

    In your first post you mentioned that you broke up because he caught you out on a date with someone else? Is that correct?

    I sense your pain and confusion, but, sorry, I am confused as well. You are both married to other people, yet, you seem to still have expectations of him. Please help me here, I’m confused.

    Hope you are ok, sorry I am not quite getting your quandry here and maybe I just missed something, sorry.

    Best to you, ts.

  14. Gaynor says:


    I’m confused as well.

    If I am getting this right, you saw him about 5 times in three months? No sex. You met him through a friend, you dated a few times and you ended things. I don’t understand, you’ve been married for several years and now this guy is flirting with you again, I don’t understand why this is a big concern???? Ignore him!

  15. ts says:

    Ok Used,

    I have reread your posts, and, sorry, am still a bit confused. Mostly, by the timeline of it all. Given that, what I think you are saying is that you are still being affected by situations that involve your past EUM. I guess my best reaction would be to discontinue any social interactions that would possibly put you in contact with him. Step back from friends that may bring him up or challenge you as to why you are even in close proximity to him. That is the best I can offer right now. I hope it all works out for you. Take care of yourself. ts.

  16. lisa says:

    To ChiTownKitty,

    I don’t usually post, but I read everything on this site. My situation was similar to yours (not exact), but I have to tell you, if he hasn’t left to make a new life with you by now, he probably isn’t going to do it ever. I learned it the hard way after 2 years or more of feeling “in love” and hoping and waiting for things that, month after month, year after year weren’t happening. It is only through a desperate internet search on how to get over the “going back for more of the same” syndrome that I stumbled upon this site and immediately ordered the book about the “fall back” girl, and in that book I learned about the “no contact” rule. I had tried it so many times on my own, not even knowing that I was applying the “no contact rule,” but I kept going back sometimes after months of no contact. After finding this site, and trusting in my heart that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere (even though it hurt, and I still wanted him to go somewhere with me) after several tries of “no contact” and then giving in, I just somehow got the courage and strength from reading about all these other women to just stick to it for GOOD! It took me about 2 months of feeling horrible, wanting to call him, wanting to unblock his e-mail address so that I might get a stupid note once-in-awhile, to realize that he truly was unavailable for anything real and that I was better off without him. I have successfully stayed away since before Christmas now and I realize that he is just enjoying (or even not enjoying) his holidays and times with his wife and isn’t going anywhere. I want something better than that for my life, and although it wasn’t a situation I had ever thought I’d find myself in, I have to say I learned WHAT TO NEVER DO ever again in finding myself attracted to a man. So, I’m sorry this is so long, but from a person who was just like you and struggling to end it and all the pain and heart break I went through, I want to encourage you that you have to trust that there is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel and a new and better life ahead once you go through the hard part. I even have been noticing nice guys again (not dating at all yet), and at one point I thought “He” the married guy was the one and there could never be another for me.

    Keep trying. One day you will have had enough and will finally be able to make the break to find yourself a better life than what you have with him.

    I hope this sounds encouraging and not disrespectful of your situation.

    Everyday I thank God for NML and for having lead me to this site!

  17. Gaynor says:


    I think you are misunderstanding the term “fall back girl.” A fall back girl is a woman that remains on the back burner for a man and remains available when he needs an ego stroke or sex.

    You said they broke up, and you and he casually dated for a very brief period, which ended in a break up shortly thereafter. By him returning to this woman and marrying her does not any way make her the fallback girl but does make it his wife.

    I cannot figure out the timeline of this whole situation but if my guess is correct it has been at least five-years. Honey, you need to move on from this situation and focus on you marriage. I don’t understand why you’re asking why he didn’t appreciate you?

    This guy sounds like he may have a bit of an issue with self-esteem and needs a little extra attention from the ladies.

  18. NML says:

    Used, I have to admit that for once, I too am very confused by your postings.

    I suggest you read: why her and not me? although finding something specific to your situation on this subject may be tricky…as you haven’t really had anything happen with this guy from what I can gather – certainly not anything of substance that would warrant you expending this energy on him.

    What I will say is that I don’t think that there was enough of anything going on in the first place for you to have any expectations of this guy where you would think that you should be in line as a marriage candidate.

    I think you are reading far more into this than is necessary. One relationship progressed, yours didn’t – that is the fundamental difference. Considering that it was overall a very brief dalliance that you had with him, you can’t really compare it. It’s like going on a few dates and it fizzling out for whatever reason. If he treated you badly, why do you care?

    And this is where I feel you really need to address things because Used, there is no way on earth that someone would be expending this amount of energy on a barely there guy who treated them badly and has moved on unless they were emotionally invested in some way – your issue isn’t him – it’s you – why the hell does this stuff even bother you if you have married someone else and have moved on? Unless you are still interested in him?

    Why do you need an ego stroke from him? Why do you need him to validate you by choosing you instead of his wife? Why are you pulling apart his wife and comparing your looks etc when those things don’t even matter? In fact, you have to ask yourself why you are doing this period.

  19. Used says:

    I am confused and feel insulted, more than anything. His being on the scene again re-opens old wounds and questions, as you will see below.

    TS: No, this was not a high school sweetheart, but his re-arrival into my life, which involves him putting himself and his family in situations where he will see me (he started attending my church after seeing me at a mutual friend’s wedding 2 years ago, O.K.!), or hear about me (he has gotten closer with mutual women friends) makes him a blast from the past, so to speak. Funny, he does not hang out with his old “guy” crowd, either, including the men mentioned above, especially the guy who introduced us!

    I do ignore him. I do nothing to encourage his behavior (which makes me feel awkward, more than anything). I do not in any way go near him. (BTW, I don’t know how someone could suppose that, from what I wrote above.) His wife keeps her back turned to me. She talks to me when we run into each other, whenever we do, as long as he isn’t there. But, when he is, she ignores me! Why?

    But once, at church, when he was about to take communion, he turned around really quickly to see if I was watching or looking at him (I wasn’t, but I do have peripherals!), and a female mutual friend–of 20 years!!–touched the back of his shoulder, as if she as “sympathetic” to HIM getting unwanted attention from ME. (???) Funny: this friend actually ruined an opportunity I once had to date someone back in college, BTW, b/c she liked that guy WAYYYY more than I did, and for years. I have let her go on that. I was the good, forgiving friend, etc. Always been. But she doesn’t seem to mind making me look bad in front of the guy I actually dated! And, BTW, I am sure I don’t get invited to parties she throws at her house when he is there! (Not that I care all that much. But do you see how this jerk has affected my relationships with others?)

    I am actually angry when I see him. I do not want or expect anything from him in any way. (I am the one who cut contact, BTW.) I am confused about why he is at my church, and very upset about how I am surrounded by women who put dicks before chicks. (And these are all professional women, BTW.) I still feel betrayed by my “friend”, the one who wanted to see me squirm by having me run into him at that bar, when she knew he would be there. She wanted to sabotage everything. I feel that that event, which was out of my control, determined how I was treated thereafter. Before that, he’d call me to go out once a week, with good advance notice. I even said I couldn’t go a few times, b/c of prior engagements. After that, we’d go on dates, and he was silent most of the time. Even had wandering eyes. Why the change? Or did he “use” my running into him as an excuse to lower my status, and “have the right” to keep the door open with the ex? (NML, your thoughts?)

    Actually, now that I think about it, I am not upset about the lack of appreciation. I just want someone to give me an explanation on these open questions/issues. I am confused. And why shouldn’t it matter, even when I am married? I still feel humiliated, disgraced, like I was used. Wasn’t I used?

    You should know that I am from a small community, where everyone knows everyone. This stupid episode of my life causes me pain b/c I still feel a lack of respect from my friends and acquaintances.

    Also, in our community, she would have been known as the “loose girl”, one that a guy wouldnot take all that seriously. (Look at the way she accepted treatment from him, for God’s sakes! How in the world was she NOT a fallback?)

    I actually never gave him a thought until he started showing up again.

    BTW, the woman he married he had treated badly, as well. When he first went out with her (a period of not more than 4 months or 10 dates), a mutual friend told her that she saw him on a date with someone else. When she brought it up to him, he denied it. The mutual friend also says that he was seeing a lot of women, I presume during the one-year period he was not seeing his now-wife. But he actually abandoned his now-wife on a major holiday: he told her he would show up to meet her family, which included a parent dying of cancer, but he didn’t–and that’s what caused their initial huge, very public, break-up.

    Sorry, but his wife WAS a fallback girl, in my opinion. (NML, your thoughts; now that you have these facts? What did she do that was more marriage-material than me? She had NO self-respect, esp. in taking him back! I guess he had no self-respoect, either, in going back. Where are you, BradK? You talk of self-respect more than anyone. Or did my going to that bar f*&# things up, in that my “friend”, who I did not want to abandon at the bar, thus making her have to take a cab home, made me look like a quasi-stalker?) The now-wife accepted dates every 2 weeks, still had sex with him, and still took him back after he had effectively abandoned her. And, when they did get back together, he started the same thing all over again with her: dates every 2 weeks, on-again, off-again, break-ups from out of the blue, etc.

    He is no Prince Charming, I know, He even specifically went out with another woman I know only once, I feel, to show the fallback girl that he could get dates with quality women. She, too, is more pretty, educated, and personable than the fallback.

    I think it’s funny that he dumped his fallback after I had the conversation with his friend. His (very likely) expecting ME to call him is hilarious. Of course, they got back together, soon after, and broke up at least another 2 times after that, before getting engaged themselves.

    When he caught me on the date, he stood there, expecting me to leave my date! This lasted about a minute (very awkward). Then he made a smirky face, as if he was telling my date, “I had her” (which wasn’t true!), and left. I hate that he had the “last word” in a way. And that he tried to ruin my opportunity! I mean, his dating me (and another friend, too: see above) didn’t HURT his chances of getting his ex back! Why the nasty behavior?

    So, you see, it ended badly. It was a quasi-ending. I knew I had to move on, I am very happy that I did. But I never understood why I was treated the way I was.

    I still lived at home when we initially went out. He would call my house, He talked to Mom a bunch of times! It is embarrassing also b/c my family saw how I was treated.

    He knew that I had a good reputation, was from a nice family, etc.

    The big sign with him: when I brought up that I knew about how things ended with his then-ex, he said, angrily, nastily, “You don’t know what happened between us.” I knew the then-ex through our mutual friends. Seeing this behavior (which evidenced a lack of closure, obviously), I said, “Well, she is a nice person. Since we first went out, I have met her.”

    And here I am, getting treated like crap by her, when he is around.

    You guys, I am sorry. This is all so high-school. But I feel like the nice-girl nerd (and I in no way look or act like a nerd!) who was used and abused so that the bad girl would take the guy back! And my friends, who all consider themselves nice girls, who never let themselves get treated badly by any guy, ignore me (or otherwise act as thouigh they are reflecting upon this “episode” of my life) whenever he and/or his wife are around! As if I was the bimbo!!

    I guess I just want to “get” him and his behavior, for closure, more than anything. I also want and need advice on my friends. Why did the one decide to play God and sabotage everything? (I will say that, on paper, and physically, the EUM was a “catch”.)

    Maybe he really does need admiration from the ladies, as someone mentioned above. I thought he was a narcissist when I dated him. If I couldn’t see him, he got angry quickly.

    I think this guy represents the sum total of the worst of my dating experiences, and symbolizes why men like this act the way they do: I think, b/c they can get away with it; and b/c women, stupidly, stand around and support them and s&%t on the girls who get “left behind”.

  20. ChiTownKitty says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Thank you for the encouragement and no it wasn’t at all disrespectful! It amazes me to find myself in a situation where, if someone they told me they were in it, I would just shake my head. My guy is like a drug to me…gives me just enough of what I think I need to keep coming back…he’s texted me twice today…and I haven’t answered! Its my day off and I have been on the web, cleaning my house, and now going out shopping…anything to keep me off the phone!

    You are so right about him not leaving…as a friend put it “Because of you he gets to stay on the farm.” I am there to cheerlead, understand, be sympathetic, etc… a few days ago I had the courage to comment during one of the times he was listing everything that he said was wrong with his wife “But there must be some things that are good or you wouldn’t stay.” He immediately jump in and said yes, that while my ex was emotionally abusive his wife was just cold, distant, uptight,etc…I keep replaying that conversation in my mind because that told me everything that I didn’t want to hear and needed to know.

    Thanks for your support (and this website! Until I found it I thought I was going nuts!)


  21. Gaynor says:


    You were not used. There doesn’t seem to have been much of anything between you to suggest it. How could you be considered “loose’ you didn’t do anything with the guy?

    I think you are putting waaaaaaaaaaaay too much energy into this situation (illustrated by the length and detail of your post) . I believe you to be your own worst enemy by putting so much focus on something that seemed quite insignificant. You’re making it worse than it is, you’re creating the drama .

    Lastly, why do you care how he treated his wife when they were dating, none of this is your concern! I suggest you focus on your own family and let this situation go, it’s not worth the energy and it’s certainly not healthy.

  22. Used says:

    Based on what someone has told me, I know that he effectively told his wife that he thought I was “easy” (for making out with him on date #3, BTW: big deal!). And I do take things, including this, too seriously–you are right, Gaynor. (And sorry if I write a lot.)

    I do believe that not only was I used, but also my friend, who knows (and met the EUM through) his wife’s then-best-friend. Funny, the wife doesn’t talk to her then-best-friend now (the one who warned her about his cheating), either! (Who cares. It’s her life.)

    I bring up the wife (in any and all contexts/situations: how she took his crap, how she treats me, etc.) only insofar as to learn why I have been treated the way I have been. I don’t care whether he treated her badly or like a queen. But I always have treated her well. And she ignores me when he is around. (She is also the one who told a friend that he said that I was easy, BTW.)

    I do take my image very seriously. I do not like that a “friend” took control over how I was perceived, esp. by a man I was seeing, by making me look like I was following him to his hang-out! It was ONLY after this that I started getting treated badly.

    BTW, he acts very nervous and fidgety when he sees my parents at church. He knows he was a jerk. And the friend of his who told on me for being on a date with someone else, he can’t even look at me in the eye. He is ashamed for how I was treated, definitely by himself, at the very least.

    I would like to see a post about the specific (and probably rare) EUMs who actually marry their fallback girls. I firmly believe that this jerk was looking for some sort of an “ideal woman”, and married this girl only b/c he never found the ideal and/or out of pity and/or b/c of timing (who knows!), and she was of the same ethnic group and religion as him (as I am).

    I will say that I do not like the fact that I never have had the support of my friends, while she has. And my friends (who are still not married) are the ones who, ironically, complain to me all the time about how “nice girls finish last” (not that I finished last, FYI: I adore my husband).

    And I wonder whether my “friend” gets a real laugh (maybe even with the now-wife!) about how she was a big part of getting them back together…and my “friend” is the one who intentionally took me to his hang-out (on a night that we were supposed to see each other)! He probably thought I was lying about even having a party to go to! BTW, my “friend” once tried to dissuade me from going to a party we were both invited to. I went, and, of course, saw him there. (He wouldn’t even look my in the eye–my “friend” even admits/says that he acted this way out of embarrassment!) But, you see, my “friend” only told me that he was seeing her (for 3 mos.) when she knew that I was about to go to this party. Otherwise, she would never have told me! It was like a warning.

    I will add that, at the time, I was very vulnerable, in that I met him during a transitional part of my life, when I was seeking a fresh start: I had just moved to the City. That made the difference here.

    So, NML and all, could you pls make light of my questions, esp. those involving the women I have known? And: would he have started acting like a jerk eventually, even if the bar incident didn’t happen? (I know it doesn’t matter, but I would like to know if that was an excuse to “take me off the pedestal,” so to speak, and to feel justified in using me.)

    You guys sound like you yourselves are (a bit) on his side. I, meanwhile, can not believe how all sorts of women are treating me like s&^t (ignoring me) when he is with his wife! I do not want to be ignored, by friends, pseudo-friends, or his wife. How do I have to start acting so I am not ignored when he is with his wife? Or is it time for me to ditch all of these women?

  23. Gail says:

    Used, I would suggest reading NML’s blogs: Seeking Validation & Understanding in Your Poor Relationships – Part One & Two, click on the latest posts, you’ll find the links there. That may help with getting some of the answers you are looking for….Gail

  24. Gaynor says:


    You really need to move on from this. Make new friends and establish a new social circle. Attend a new church, do volunteer work, take courses in school, get involved in clubs where people share your interests, etc…..

    We are not on his side. We are coming from an outside prospective and see too much energy being put into these people. I am also suspicious of your involvement when you continue to discuss and trash the wife .

    It doesn’t matter what other people think as long as you know the truth. Your true friends will stand by you in difficult times, if you’re not finding this then perhaps you should reconsider your friendships.

  25. Used says:

    I am upset on a matter of principle: This guy not only used me (in dating me–and another friend–and lots of other women–to impress and win back a woman who said she would never take him back), he said bad things about me (to a woman who WAS the loose, desperate girl, who he ended up marrying!), AND he caused (and/or at least does nothing to stop) the bad treatment I am getting from friends. Yes, we did not see each other that long. But the damage done to my friendships and my self-esteem (at the time) was big.

    And I will NEVER speak to him again, even if his wife ever does decide to talk to me when he is present.

    Also, pls note that, in my ethnic group, guys don’t date girls like me unless it is with something serious in mind. And that is a big part of what is confusing me. And I find his flirting completely insulting. Does he really think I would have a fling with him now? It’s crazy!

    I guess I am seeking some validation (**respect**) (**recognition for being the decent, bigger person**) from my friends, and maybe even him, here. And I hate that most of my friends who know all of us are respecting him and his wife more, even though they have known me, my family, and my husband way longer! (My husband is very social. Before we dated, he knew all of these people better than even I did.)

    I actually hung out with the wife, who knew many people in my social circle (including my husband), after I started dating my husband, and during the time (of one year) that she was not yet back with the EUM. I actually invited her to a party I threw for my husband’s b-day, thus: I told our mutual “friend” (the one who took me to the bar) that I needed her number, to invite her; my “friend” said she would ask the now-wife-then-ex herself whether she could give me her number, so that I could invite her personally to this party (strange, I know!); a few days later, my “friend” said, “So you know, when I told x that you needed her number, so you could invite her to the party for your boyfriend, she, right away, said “no, I won’t be going.” [I actually wonder whether this even happened. How do I know whether my “friend” even told her of the party for my husband? Again, she had control here.] I actually do not talk to this friend anymore. We just had plans to go to lunch, where she got to pick the location. Guess what? She picked a location very close to where my ex-EUM works! Does she want us to “accidentally” run into him again? I called lunch off, b/c of this. The lunch location was far from the hub where we work, necessitating me to walk a good 3 blocks to get there, and very close to where the jerk works! So now she completely ignores me, even when my ex-EUM is not present, and even when my husband is! I am being insulted in front of my husband. But her ignoring me makes me feel all the better for refusing to go to her lunch location, and all the more sure that she had bad intentions in picking the bad location.

    So, you see, I have been a good friend to all, including (and especially) the wife. I don’t think I am trashing her, but, hey, she herself should not be talking to mutual friends about any intimacy shared (even minimal) b/w me and the EUM, especially when she went all the way with him. She is a total hypocrite. And I always respected her as a woman, and as a friend.

    Call me a sucker?

  26. Gail says:


    Did you read the two part series on Validation? You will never receive what you are looking for, believe me, many women on here have looked for the same thing. NML has addressed it as to Why you won’t receive validation, have you communicated to him/them that you want to be respected? How do you know that your friends respect him and his wife? (Maybe they just don’t want to get in the middle of something that doesn’t affect their lives one iota.) Have they told you that? Also, if he has been bad mouthing you, are you sure he is flirting with you or are you interpreting that by his acknowledgement of you that it is a form of being flirtatious or just being curtious?

    What NML says is that you can project what You are feeling and what your expectations are but what you are thinking/feeling and what they are thinking are entirely two different things, she writes extensively on projection.

    Again, if you haven’t already, recommended reading is suggested.

  27. Used says:

    Note also: I never said anything negative about the wife publicly, to the ex-EUM, his friends, or to my friends. I even said she was a nice person while on a date with the ex-EUM to the ex-EUM.

    If anything, my friends have been trying to lower my status, esp. in his eyes, probably out of jealousy. Then they (including my former friend) turn around, complain about how men want the girls who give it up easy (**like the wife they support, instead of me**), and want me to fix them up with nice guys! (Which I have done.)

    I have been sooooo the bigger person here. Thx for the advice so far. It helps.

  28. Used says:

    A family member has told me that he constantly stares at me. And, at the wedding we both attended, which occurred exactly 1 week before he started coming to my family’s church, he walked in front of my parents’ car, where my husband and I were in the back seat, and flashed a big, huge smile and held a very long stare, to the point where I looked at him shockingly, looked away, and my Mom said, right there, “He was eyeing others when you dated him.” I said, “Why do you think I dumped him?” Then there was more bad behavior from him at the wedding (constant glances; smiling at me when I walked by, thinking that I would talk to him; etc.).

    So, why all the attention now, since the wedding, which was the first time I saw him after years?

    I have to read the posts. Thank you for the info.

  29. Gaynor says:

    I’m confused?? In one post you said he stared and flirted with you, and in another post you said he can’t look you in the eye and you never speak to him????

    As I said before, you’re causing yourself a lot of havoc. You need to move on from this and associate with another group of people. By making this such an important point in your life you are making the situation worse. You mentioned church, I am assuming you are a Christian? You need to stop the gossip and anger and let go and forgive. Do it for yourself and family.

  30. Used says:

    When I first saw him back together with his wife, it was at a party that occurred about 7 mos. after the party I threw (where I tried to invite the wife). At the time, he had been dating her for a few mos. It didn’t bother me one bit, my seeing them together. What does bother me is that my “friend” must have known that they were back together–which I then supported, as I liked the wife (until I found out that she told our mutual “friend” that my ex-EUM told her I was easy)–and never told me, until she “had” to: when she knew that I was going to attend the party where I ultimately saw that he got back together with the ex who he had formerly disgraced. That is when he would not even look in my direction. (Not that I cared that much.) He was embarrassed, as even the mutual “friend” said.

    Why would I ever speak to him? Esp. when I decided to end things, and I decided to end things without giving him any explanation? (He didn’t deserve one!)

    What’s funny is the mutual guy-friend who originally introduced us called me for business advice the same month that my ex-EUM got back together with his ex/now-wife! I avoided talking about my ex-EUM every time he called; and I never called him, unless it was in response to a call from him. Only business.

    He scheduled an appt. to see me just after I ran into my ex-EUM at that party. He brought up how he tried to get us together, and that my ex-EUM was a good guy. I thought he was asking for an explanation on his friend’s (my ex-EUM’s) behalf. So I said, “Well, I liked him, but he didn’t know what he wanted, so it ended.” I didn’t even say that I ended things (to be the classy one, the bigger person, whatever).

    I didn’t see the ex-EUM again until that wedding a few years ago. I don’t gossip about him. I have no desire to see or speak to him, either. But I would like to know why I was treated the way I was, and how to handle my remaining friends, esp. as my friendships with them are affected by his presence in their lives (and parties!), too.

    It’s hard to totally let go, esp. when I feel that a friend still specifically treats me badly (maybe even to the point of trying to make me look bad to this jerk). Why would she want me to look like I am chasing him (or trying to run into him, whatever) when I am married to someone else? Could someone pls answer this question? Why would she want control over who I invite to my parties? Why did she originally take me to a place she knew he would be at? Or is she in cahoots with the wife all this while? (My family believes that my “friend” never even told the wife about the party I threw. NOte: my “friend” knows my family, and other family members and friends, very well. She is part of my social circle, whether I hang with her or not.)

    How do I let go, esp. when he is in my face now, all the time? A once-close, once-peaceful (peaceful before he came along, that is!), friendship just ended b/c of him, too.

  31. Gaynor says:

    Used ,

    Numerous suggestions to you as far as establishing new friends and interests, you can choose to move on or not.

    You seem so involved in this situation and I just don’t get it. You are the only one holding on to this, frankly I don’t see why you care ,you’re the one keeping it alive. It doesn’t matter who says this or thinks that, let it go!!!! I don’t understand why you involve yourself in relationships with these “friends” and not move on to people who will support and love you. Perhaps, part of the issue (problems with friends) is the way you choose do deal with situations such as this. I’m not trying to be mean but this is sounding obsessive.

    Have you spoken to religious leader for guidance?

  32. Gaynor says:

    I meant numerous suggestions have been made to you.

  33. Used says:

    Him, I can deal with. I just ignore him. Easy. What I also can not avoid, besides him, is seeing these toxic “friends,” the ones who don’t support me, and like to gossip (obviously!), as they are part of my community and extended family!

    Gaynor, do you mean that I am the one who created the problems with my friends? How? I never did. I am the one who has shown respect, and has been treated with disrespect. I don’t know what you mean when you say that “problems with friends” is the “way I choose to deal with situations such as this.” Pls explain.

    So you know, the main “friend” who I keep talking of has pissed off enough people, to the point where she has been called two-faced, even by my own husband. In fact, I strongly believe that she sabotaged my relationship with the ex-EUM specifically in order to curry favor with the wife b/c she was on the outs with another of their mutual friends, the girl who told my ex-EUM that he was cheating on his wife when they dated. That girl is a straight-up friend, who I am close with. I do get recognition as a decent person from her.

    So, what do you all suggest I tell others who know that I was once close with these friends when they ask why I don’t hang with such-and-such anymore? I don’t want to look like the “bad guy” here.

    I am coming out of a bad period in my life, where I was treated badly and taken advantage of, so you know. I think I am overall just sick of what is really abusive relationships, where people take advantage of how I and my family care a lot about our own reputations and do not want to rock the boat in any way. We do this to AVOID gossip, Gaynor. And I am not creating (or trying to create) drama.

  34. Gaynor says:


    I apologize if I was wrong about the gossip.

    I believe you need to move on from this and the people involved to find peace, I hope you can.

    I think we have gotten really off track from the original topic and must respect the site to stick to the related issues.

    Good luck!

  35. Used says:

    My problem actually involves issues spread over various posts, including: validation; boundaries; chicks-before-dicks; why her and not me; the disappearing ex; the narcissistic ex; and the case of the returning ex (**this post**). So I feel my post is highly relevant, b/c, though this guy was not a childhood sweetheart, I was a “clean slate”, and at a very new stage of my life, when I met him. Please respect that. And I do appreciate your input, Gaynor.

    I would like NML’s input. I think she read me wrong a bit. NML, I do not still carry a torch for this jerk. My emotional investment in this whole experience involves the matters of principle, stated above, and the hypocrisy I am faced with. (I am big on principle, can’t you tell?) Though I still wouldn’t mind getting some clarity on why he used my “mistake” in going to that bar as a reason to treat me badly! I am thrilled he did me the favor of showing that side of himself sooner rather than later. If I wasted any more time on him, I would have lost the opportunity with my husband and the (few) others just before my husband, all great guys!

    On a personal (dating) level, until this jerk, I was never treated this way. The fact that he knows a lot of people I know doesn’t help. Don’t blame the victim!

  36. Brad K. says:


    If I understand your situation, while dating this guy you were also dating someone else. And got “caught”. This is not something that “happens” in a meaningful relationship, between respectful and honest partners.

    I don’t hold much with gossip. Whether true or correct, false, self-serving, hurtful, or incorrect – nothing good can come of gossip. And you are dreadfully focused on gossip. I consider gossip one of the true social evils. Anytime someone talks about someone not present – that is gossip. “I heard about his wife” is gossip. If you weren’t there – that is gossip. Gossip feeds on itself, and tends to be hurtful to the teller and the listener. Gossip is providing you with data and innuendo that distracts you from what is important.

    What is important is that you are not dating him.

    There is no principle involved. There is respect – he doesn’t want you, you have to respect both his decision and his privacy. Unless you are in a committed, life-mate relationship, what he does and why is his own business. If you are considering him for a partner (i.e., you respect his character, integrity, his attitude and aptitude as a life-partner) you have a responsibility to yourself to fairly observe and to judge his actions or motivations – looking for red flags and problem behaviors.

    You state “I do not still carry a torch for this jerk” – yet, you still do. You are still discussing him, you haven’t overcome the hurts and feelings from your relationship with him, you are still defending your reactions and actions. You are still letting the past distract you from your current relationship – you cannot be as involved with the issue as your posts suggest.

    I am concerned that your continued interest and re-living of the past is posing a risk to your current marriage. I don’t think anyone is blaming the victim, you, for being hurt. I think that the focus, and rightly so, is on what to do to avoid getting hurt in the future, and to avoid hurting those in your life. For many of us – avoiding the problems of the past means taking responsibility for bad decisions, overcoming values and decisions that harm us, being respectful of ourselves and others.

    Looking at today, I have to ask – what fears or enticements did you have, of yourself, that led you to date the guy, and to continue dating him? Are there still self image issues or misunderstandings about relationships that are affecting you today? Because usually we have to change, to stop being bait for the jerks of the world. That kind of problem seldom occurs just once. So I have to hope that you really have moved on from the jerk – except you have so much concern and gossip to share, even today.


  37. ts says:

    Well folks, in an effort to get back on topic….

    Mike, I agree, going back to past rejections is never a good bet.

    In my case, it was much like ChiTownKitty’s, in that, there was never a “relationship” to begin with, just a school girl crush that danced around a good friendship. So, I didn’t have negative feelings about him from a historical point of view. We were actually pretty good friends back in the day. But, with the reconnect, I did find myself floating around in my teenage mind again, and, quite frankly, it felt pretty good.

    I have now realized, that is all it was. I have reconnected with many friends and family through the years and that has been quite nice, but, this has been different. Like I posted earlier, there is a reason we never were a couple, even in high school.

    I guess I was just betting on potential, but it was my deluded vision only, not what was real or could possibly really happen. The odd thing is that if I had met him today, having not had such a crush on him in high school, I would have never been attracted to the man he is now.

    It is truly strange how I ignored all that to pursue something I so desperately wanted at 14, yet, now as a grown woman, would never consider.

    Strange indeed. I do feel good that I have stopped this before it got to the point of me resenting him. He was always a sweet and good memory, now a bit tarnished, but, not completely broken. I have decided to protect the good memory and move on.

    Best to all, keep strong on your paths! ts.

  38. NML says:

    Used – Before I comment about your issue, I must actually concur with what has been stated on this thread which is that I have been very vocal about off topic comments on posts recently as they hijack threads, distract from the subject, and prevent people who actually do have the issue or have experienced it from feeling that they can comment. Your issue has nothing to do with childhood sweethearts – yes you have several things going on but actually, this all boils down to why her, not me.

    If you continue to comment on this subject, you must comment on the appropriate thread which is why her and not me”

    In regards to your issue, my original perspective hasn’t changed and I don’t think that I have got you wrong – you don’t want to see it in any other way than your own way. The sheer volume of comment that you have written about this indicates that regardless of how you want to perceive it, you are emotionally invested in this guy – it doesn’t have to be positive emotional investment – it’s negative investment but investment all the same. You are not over him, and you are married to someone else. The key to starting a new relationship is that you need to cut your emotional ties with previous parties, heal, and move on. You haven’t. All I see is a load of he said, she said, gossip, conjecture, and assumptions here. High school does not even begin to cover it and yet whilst you acknowledge that there is a high school attitude to all of this, it doesn’t incite you to wake up and realise how ridiculous this has all gotten – instead you continue to feel justified in what you are doing.
    What is shocking here is that you are married to someone else and yet you are still stuck in the ‘drama’ of this barely there relationship. You aren’t validated by the fact that you escaped an assclown, you aren’t validated by your own judgement of your situation at the time, and you certainly do not seem to take any pleasure and validation from the fact that you have supposedly moved on and married someone else.
    You want this guy – you want validation, acknowledgement, and more explanation than your brief dalliance deserves.
    Your ‘friends’ are either gossipy, or they don’t want to be involved, but one thing you do have to acknowledge is that you are the driving force of this whole drama. If you can write what you have so far, I can only imagine what has been said before to your friends.
    Your friends don’t need to ‘support’ you in this craziness – any true friend would believe that there is something wrong here because you’re married to someone else but obsessing about something that doesn’t matter.
    Who cares what he said to his now wife? Who cares if she ‘easy’? You know that you are not what he said about you and you also know that he’s an assclown. If she was ‘easy’, let herself be taken advantage of, whatever, it is none of your business.
    You cannot gossip if you don’t partake. Instead of collecting up information on him and this woman, stop allowing people to tell you things and stop asking people and recognise your part in this issue instead of blaming everyone else.
    Trust me ‘Used’, you may feel that you are misunderstood but you are so deeply entrenched in this mode that I don’t think you recognise how your words actually read. You are not the first person who has been part of some weird involvement to make someone else jealous and you won’t be the last. No it’s not nice but you are applying a disproportionate level of energy to this and surely you must realise that.
    If your friend is treating you badly, it’s not because of him – she is an adult and makes her own choices. You must stop making him the centre of your universe and if your friendship no longer works for whatever reason, you need to deal with her and either confront the issue and/or end the friendship but stop blaming him.
    If you care about your family’s reputations, you will do this: 1) You will stop driving this drama 2) If there is genuinely evidence that he has done this and you after all this time can’t move on, then go and speak to him and his wife – but be prepared – he may have no clue what you are talking about, or her for that matter because there is a lot of gossip. 3) Go for counselling. 4) Focus on your marriage
    You don’t have to change your social circle – you need to change your obsession with this man and his wife – you do that and you’ll find your life gets easier.

  39. Used says:

    BradK: I did not start seeing anyone else until after I saw that he was unwilling to meet my family, after 3 months of dating, just as he had done with his ex, who he initially dated for 3-4 mos. And the only reason why I know that he he and hife were that initimate is b/c my “friend” told me, to protect me, so that I would be on my guard and not get hurt by him, either. (Then she turns around and takes me to his hangout on a night we were supposed to have gone out. ????) And, so you know, MANY people knew the facts of his relationship with this girl when he first dated her (how it was rocky; how they barely saw each other; how he was caught with another girl; etc.). He was (maybe still is!) a player. I have never said nothing but good things about the wife (except here, but she has acted like a jerk to me! As I have said). The jerk, I have always held accountable for his actions. If the subject of him ever came up with people who knew him, I told people of how he treated me. Why not? In my community especially, a girl like me just NEVER gets treated the way he treated me: disrespectfully. And he was lucky to even have the chance to go out with me, or any respectful girl, when everyone knew of how he had treated his then-ex!

    Oh, and I wanted to get caught “cheating”. My date and I, on our first date, went to a cafe where a young man who knew my family and my ex-EUM worked, specifically so that man would tell my ex-EUM that I WAS on a date. I didn’t expect the jerk-ex-EUM to show up! (But that was fine, too.) Of all people, do you, BradK, think the ex-EUM deserved an explanation? I have never regretted the decision to let him know (yes, by surprise) that I had started seeing other people, that I had moved on. Never.

    Oh, and, BTW, Brad, not too long after seeing him at the bar, at a time when I had not heard from him for almost 2 weeks, but while we were still “dating”, I ran into him at a singles-night event: the same event which occurs about once a month at a certain location and where, about a year before, he had met his ex (now wife)! (Bad sign; right?) And he was telling me that he couldn’t see me as often for a while, he could only see me at most every 2 weeks, b/c he was looking for a new job! (Which was true, but still!) And, so you know, after the bar incident, which had occurred almost exactly a week before, he started to space the dates out even more: every 3.5 weeks.

    I guess I have always wondered, “Why her and not me?” Especially b/c he had treated her so dreadfully (despite the fact that they were initimate, even when she shouldn’t have been, considering they, too, had a barely-there, pseudo-relationship), why did he go back to her? (And I do think he looks bad by going back to her!) He knew that, by dating me, he was dating a respectful girl. He knew who I was. He knew many people who knew my family. So, yes, why her and not me?

    So why would running into him at that bar have caused him to start treating me like dirt? UNLESS I WAS used and he used seeing me at the bar as a scapegoat to keep the door open for the ex. (???)

    When he “caught” me on the date, I had not seen or heard from him for the longest stretch of time ever: 3.5 weeks. I had the right to atart seeing other people, without telling him.

    I just have always been deeply offended. I have a strong sense of pride. So sue me. I am happy for him and his wife that their lives have moved on (b/c she took him back after she saw that he dated me!), but I can’t get what happened.

    Sure, maybe he didn’t want me…at least until he saw me with someone else! But he still didn’t call me to apologize for his past bad behavior–not that I would have taken him back! But he didn’t call also b/c, I feel, he was always keeping the door open for the ex.

    I will admit that I do wonder “what if” partly b/c our having kids was siderailed for a few years financial and other important reasons. And now we might not be able to have any (I am over 30). I feel I was used and helped his life move on, while mine hasn’t totally. I am happy for him and his wife. But I can’t help but think that one incident (the bar fiasco) completely ruined the way I looked to someone, and that may have controlled my fate forever, for the worse.

  40. Used says:

    NML: just read your post. You are right about most of what you say, but I really do not care about this guy. You are right that my friends, particularly the one I am no longer speaking to (for many many reasons, not just any that may or may not involve the jerk), ARE gossipy and toxic, at times. And, so you know, I do not talk about him or his wife to others AT ALL–except if the subject of him comes up, at which point I will say that he treated me badly, if the context of the discussion allows for it. (This is how I learned he used another friend, too!)

    He may be in my face now as something of a mockery, to show me that he has moved on, with a family and all, but I do not care!

    I am so glad I posted. It has helped me get this all out of my system. I have had no one to talk to, who I can trust, about this! Thank you!

  41. Betterwithouthim says:

    Every love song written has some line in there about how they want you back, have regrets, and wish it to be different and beg for another chance. Maybe that also feeds our fairy tale endings with these losers. We’re just betting on potential.

    Honestly, I guess I was so naive before to believe the old bf really did miss me or want me back in his life, that he had regrets and wanted to make it right, blah, blah (yuck). I’ll admit I fell for this more than once and melted each time like a stick of butter in the microwave.

    These two recent posts by NML have given me a whole new perspective on why the former AC has tried to make contact. The more I read from this site the more humiliated I feel sometimes about how gulible I was and how some took advantage of me.

    The good thing is I’m not dwelling on the past, but rather giving myself a “tune up” so that I’m tuned in with better frequency going forward. I can’t tell you how many of my friends I’ve shared this site with and how many have checked it out but have done nothing more than that and then call me when their EUM’s are behaving horrible towards them.

    Another boundary has been set for me with my girlfriends, I’m not their life coach. If they want the help- here is one place you can get it, amongst others. If my friends aren’t interested in changing, then I need to stop wasting my time trying to help guide them towards change.

    I’m really liking where I’m going now, I feel empowered, stronger, and back on a more productive successful track. The obsessing is almost gone, and the why her not me’s are in the past. 6 months NC now, it’s getting better every day!

    Thanks NML for another great post! Keep ’em coming.

  42. Realistic says:

    When you are known as a nice, agreeable, considerate person, it is hard to stop being a target for user and abusers…because they’re onto you! Of course, the type of women who date the EUMs are usually taken for granted in other life situations, too. (Look at Used.)

    So how does a woman “stop being bait forthe jerks of the world”? Especially the ones who dwell on nostalgia!

  43. Used says:

    Are women who date EUMs drawn to each other in friendships? Funny how you, Betterwithouthim, bring up your friends, too. B/C I was always convinvced that my friends wanted the EUMs/jerks! And now they (in their early 30s) lament that the nice guys I used to introduce them to are now married!

    I some from a Middle Eastern, patriarchal society, where the men can do no wrong. I have become much more supportive of all women since getting married, since our troubles having children began a few years ago, and especially since recent, very bad, experiences where my good nature has been taken advantage of.

  44. Bella says:

    I think Facebook alone is responsible for half the misery of the return of the childhood sweetheart. Mine found me after many many years and I always wondered why me? I have a bad feeling that if he contacted me he probably contacted other girls too, I mean why wouldnt he? He has made no promises to me, never said he’d leave his wife. Its a going nowhere relationship, and the romance of the past connection is clouding my judgement. He gives me enough to stay hooked, but not enough to believe it could ever be anything more than a friends with benefits thing. This is just insanity. I dont know why it’s so hard to break it off.

  45. Jane says:

    I had an ex look me up – whirlwind romance, proposal, record breaking marriage ceremony only to be followed by a series of revelations – he didn’t own his property, he didn’t have any savings, he had debts, he didn’t bother to tell his ex girlfriends he was married as he thought this would hurt their feelings…it took more than a year to get the divorce through.
    A year on I have met several bag-carriers – merry middle aged freeloaders who think once a woman has hit forty something she should be grateful for any attention. I now have a rule – if a guy can meet me eye to eye, nose to nose and chequebook to chequebook fine, otherwise no. I would love to be held again, kissed again, special again, I’m optimistic enough to think it might happen, but if it does I believe it will be with someone new, where our relationship is based on looking forward to what we will do and not backward to what we did do and sideways at what we might have done had we not gone our separate ways. Meantime three cheers for mascara, sunshine and sleeping in the middle of the bed….

  46. Stephanie says:

    This situation just happened to me. My junior high boyfriend looked me up on Facebook. He is married with two kids. He told me he wishes he could have had a life with me, kids with me, blah blah blah. This after 27 years of not seeing each other. At first I fell for it, thinking, wow, was he pining for me all these years? Maybe we were meant to be. And I was drawn in to chatting online with him. I got to hear how there was no intimacy in his marriage, how he was fooling around with a co-worker and a neighbor, how he texts the other ladies in his neighborhood, etc. I decided to distance myself and he started calling me and texting me (didn’t ask permission, got my number from Facebook which I have now deleted). He was so arrogant he wanted me to fly to another state to see him (while his wife is up north with the kids). I finally saw this clown for what he is and understood what he wanted from me: an ego boost. Because we had never been intimate in our young years, I think he was curious about how it would have been. Plus he thought I was still hot. Yes, he was and is a bad boy, I think I knew that even when I was 14. I think he is also a sad, lonely narcissist. Finally I went no contact and I believe that will be the last I hear of him. Last year an old college friend looked me up through email and we had a long distance relationship for 8 months which ended horrendously with me being emotionally devastated. He was a total emotional predator. So I think I learned from the prior situation. I fit the criteria of what those type of men are looking for. But… I am proud I dodged the bullet on this one!

  47. Complicated says:

    I’ve been reading the posts and even purchased the e-book Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. In addition, I thought others who are on this site and possibly experiencing/experienced the same as myself might be able to give me some insight. A little background on me is that I am currently married with children. Yes, I see that all this is wrong on so many levels, but I’m looking for feedback and insight to getting out of this situation and thought this would be a non-judging place to seek it. So here it is in a nutshell:
    16 years ago, while in college, I met a man online who lived in another country. He flew to my hometown to meet me a few months later. It was wonderful, we enjoyed each others company and there was a connection. We spent a wonderful (non-intimate) weekend together getting to know each other and then he flew back home. Two months later, I flew to his country and met his family and friends…but things were different this time. He was cold and distant and wouldn’t even hold my hand. When I asked him about this, he became defensive and said nothing was wrong. I even asked if there was someone else and he said no. Needless to say, he broke it off with me a month after I had returned home saying he couldn’t handle a long distance relationship. I was devastated, we hadn’t been together 6 months but I felt a real connection with this person. As the years passed, I thought of him and wondered if he thought of me. I met a wonderful man and married a few years later. All these years, I never seemed to be able to get this other man out of my head. A few years ago, I had a job which required me to travel, I ended up a few hours away from him and called to say hello…not sure why, but I did. Again, wrong I know. He was happy to hear from me and I from him. It was a quick hi, how are you call and that was it. Several months later, he called me at my home to do the same. Years later it was ME that found him on a well-known website and sent a friend request, which he quickly accepted. That brings us to last year. In addition, he is now married with a child as well. Like I said, wrong. After finding each other again in January, he sent me long emails detailing how he had regretted what happened during that visit all those years ago and wish things could have been different..he says he even sat in an airport a few weeks after we broke it off all those years ago and was too scared to get on a plane to see me because he
    thought I wouldn’t want to see him even though we should have had a chance to see if things could work out (but he didnt get on that plane & history was made).
    We began emailing each other everyday (he even said talking with me was the best part of his day) and then it turned into late night chatting online talking about our lives and the occasional “what if”. But, this abruptly stopped in the spring and he would answer my emails occasionally, only giving vague answers saying we would “chat soon”. Months passed and I couldn’t get him out of my head..ever. Obviously I had made a relationship/thought more of what had happened in my head between us that only I believed to exist based on our communications. The more time went on without me hearing from him, the more I wanted to hear from him and thought of him. Then out of the blue, I heard from him in September and ended up flying to his area on business and hoped to see him. Yes, we saw each other and the spark was still there (we were not intimate as we are both married) just had lunch & talked for hours. I thought there could be a great friendship at the least. Please know, I have never even thought of straying from my husband all these years until this man returned to my life, which is very confusing to me. When I returned home he began texting me all the time saying how he missed me, asking about my day, etc. and I responded accordingly. Again, this abruptly stopped and I continued texting him to which he would reply “you shouldn’t get so upset if i don’t immediately text you back” (I hadn’t heard from him in days). Yes, I even see a pattern here. There would be weeks I’d hear from him everyday and then a week would go by and I wouldn’t hear from him at all. Then, I made a special visit to his area a few weeks ago with the intention of seeing him..I thought this would be a way for me to get resolution or answers after all these years..maybe even forget him for good. When he found out I was coming, he began sending texts again saying how he was looking forward to my visit and everything that we would do while I was in town. In short, he saw me for 2 hours of my 5 day trip there to see him (no intimacy, just talk considering I was mad I hadn’t seen him after all those days anyways)..when he left he said we’ll make this a ‘to be continued’ until I come see you. Everyday I was there something would “come up” that would keep him from seeing me. Now, I’m back home and the texting stopped. Yes, this was our only method of communication. I even sent him an email explaining how I felt about traveling all the way to see him & getting 2 hours, and that I can be casual friends if that is what he is also looking for, but I just need a straightforward answer. Well, 10 days later, he says ” did get your email, sorry i havent responded to it. not really sure what to say. im sorry that your trip here did not go as planned. even though you may think i was trying to avoid you, that was not the case and again im sorry if it appeared that way. i will shoot you a response to your email later ok. hope you are doing well, chat soon”. As of the day I received this email, I started the No Contact rule. It’s just hard letting go of someone that’s been in my head for 16 years. Any insight would be appreciated.

  48. mink says:

    I got myself in a strange problem. I had a childhood sweetheart , I’ll call him X, who didn’t know I cared for him then. After my high school I moved to a different state but kept in touch as friends through letters for couple of years when he told me about his feelings for me. I told him that I thought of him only as a good friend, because of my sexual abuse as a child and didn’t know how to explain this problem to him in a letter. I thought he deserved to know everything about me before we start any kind of relationship. He kept asking me so I stopped writing to him so that he gets over me. 5 years later he came to propose me.I refused, was too shy and ashamed to tell him my real problem. He then proposed to me over the phone through our mutual friends ( who were at the same place as him) who tried to convince me about how much he cared about me. I gave in saying I’ll marry him only if my family agrees( we don’t belong to US and in our country arranged marriage is a norm). My family liked him but his parents didn’t care for his feelings and he couldn’t fight them. So the whole thing fell through. I felt hurt but also relieved. He got married to a girl of his parents choice and we never contacted each other.
    I got married few years later to a person of my parents choice and I’m very happy with him and living in US. He knows about my abuse and treats me very well and I know we care about each other deeply.
    Now, 18 years later I accidentally found one of my high school friends and got in touch with him via email and facebook. He is a mutual friend of X (he is not in US thankfully) and passed him my email address and thought it is best for us to patch up( none of my friends knew that I cared too) thinking that I must be mad at X .
    X contacted me through email telling me he’s happy in his marriage and just wanted to be friends with me again. I wanted to say no but out of curiosity started writing to him asking about his family and life. Somehow eventually got very stressed and confused and wrote the truth about the past. We decided not to write to each other as we both care about our families. But 2 month after that he added me as a friend on facebook and I have responded by doing the same. We have exchanged harmless emails but it still feels as if I’m cheating on my husband whom I love as I keep thinking about X. Mostly about what he must be thinking,going through and waiting for him to respond to my mail. I find myself very stressed out and distracted all the time, don’t want to write to him but also do. Right now I feel awful and it seems I’ll never get over him. How do I take myself out of this situation? I don’t seem to have enough courage to end this. i feel it will eventually hurt my marriage. I have tried erasing his email i.d but I have it memorized. I’m very scared and confused.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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