good intentions? bad intentions? does it matter?

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

Of course I intended to do it.

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

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

Intention is all about doing something with conscious purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we do impacts others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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163 Responses to The Truth About Intentions – Do you really need to work out whether they intended to hurt you?

  1. grace says:

    I know my ex didn’t intend to hurt me. I should still have run screaming from the room when he said “I don’t want to hurt you”. This translates as “I’m going to hurt you”. If he’d planned it he couldn’t have hurt me more. In fact, its the mix-up of their “good” intentions and actual behaviour which is so confusing and leaves us hanging around trying to figure them out.
    Forget his intentions. They mostly don’t have any, they’re just careless. Just look at what they do. If someone cheats, lies, avoids you, doesn’t show up, lets you down, hits you, demotes you to booty call, disappears, future fakes, takes drugs, hits on your friends, never supports you – does it matter why they’re doing it and what their intentions are? It’s tempting to try and figure it all out. It’s a terrific excuse for inaction. “Oh no, I can’t leave because despite all the evidence in front of me I need to know what his intentions are. I need to keep interacting with him and watching him so I can work out the magic code that will turn him into a decent boyfriend”.
    It ain’t happening.

    • Marina says:

      Grace, my guy said those EXACT words to me and I should’ve listened too. :( I think the reason we DON’T is because we believe that if a man cares enough to say that, then they WON’T hurt us! At least that’s what I believed, and I was only 22 years old at the time and had very little experience with men, so that’s how I interpreted it.

      Oh, and Natalie, that line you wrote: “Or the ‘casual relationship’ with a friend that ended up hurting more than anyone else has” really rings true in my case. I think that’s what hurts the most, when you really believe you are friends (and in my case, actually WERE friends back in High School). Also Natalie, that article you wrote about the “phrases” to look out for was so true as well. Mine said plenty of the ones you mentioned, such as, “I don’t want to hurt you,” “I have nothing to offer you,” “You’re better than me,” etc. I think women like myself don’t want to BELIEVE these things because in my case, once he was telling me these things, I already had feelings for him and DESPERATELY wanted things to work!! So we just convince ourselves we “know” better. :(

    • Allison says:


      Love it!

    • Elle says:

      Ha! Come to think of it, my ex-AC said to me very early on, “I promise whatever happens, I am not going to hurt you. Like whatever you get out of the situation as far as a relationship goes, I am not going to be the guy who hurts you.” (He was, then, the guy who caused me more pain that anyone in my adult life.)

      I agree about the inaction excuse. On some level, the dysfunction becomes an attractive distraction; a way of removing focus from one’s own ‘stuff’.

    • cavewoman says:

      The version I was given is even more carefully worded… He broke the news in the middle of an otherwise pleasant conversation: “I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Why, who else is listening? Who are all these women you’re trying not to hurt? Can’t I at least presume it’s me specifically you intend to spare? Poor naive me at the time, I actually thought “Good, he doesn’t want to hurt me like my ex did. Nice guy.” I hadn’t read Natalie’s translations.

      This line is such a dead giveaway. They see expectations growing on the horizon. They’ve been there, done that, so they can spot it from a mile away. What they actually have no intention to do is invest in the relationship. I wish they just said “Look, the others all end up asking for all this burdensome and complicated emotional stuff from me. Search me! Are you sure you’ll be able to handle the disappointment?” Once they gave us a the disclaimer, we’re fair game.

    • MaryC says:

      So true grace, so true.

    • Australia says:

      “Oh no, I can’t leave because despite all the evidence in front of me I need to know what his intentions are. I need to keep interacting with him and watching him so I can work out the magic code that will turn him into a decent boyfriend”.

      Haha! Thank you for this statement as it is exactly what I am doing, and I realize I need to stop!

      His “intentions” do not make up for his bad behaviour, simply because his intentions are a shag, an ego stroke, and a shoulder to lean on! There is nothing more to it, otherwise we would’ve been in a progressing, loving relationship right now.

  2. Tan says:

    powerful stuff and so true. I especially liked the bit about actions having consequences, regardless of the intentions behind them. this has really helped me get a few things straight in my head.

    • Elle says:

      Yeah, one of the most beautiful and distinctive features of human beings is our ability to imagine the consequences of our actions on others, how it might make them feel or react, and how we can connect to that.

      In my experience, ACs and EUMs are just too tied up in their own fears and desires. They tend to consider the feelings of others mainly to either get what they want or to alleviate feelings of guilt AFTER they’ve screwed you (literally and figuratively). They don’t want to be a ‘bad person’ – it’s a morbid fear – so they then do or say something nice to realign things psychologically to make it out, as Nat says, that their intentions/purpose/actions were different than they were. This then starts the cycle again because we are then confused/hopeful when they simply can’t keep it up.

      (BTW, I had an ex-EUM call late last night to get me to come round to his place. When I said no, and that I couldn’t be expected to either, he told me to stop being a b*tch. It was amusing to me because I was being nothing of the sort. He was just throwing his sand-pit toys at me because I didn’t do what he wanted. It just shows how instrumental these people are – great for business success, probably going to be the wealthiest of their peers – but crap for personal happiness, I’d say. Flushed.)

      • leisha says:

        Funny how we are bitches when we don’t give them what they want and we are bitches when we try to get what we want…damn to some we are bitches anyway anyhow except when we are “baby…oh how Good you feel” then it’s back to bitch again. Don’t think so. Good for you sis. You are a lioness. A warrior. Don’t let the asses bring you down.

        • leisha says:

          Oh, and if your refusal means bitch in EUM’s eyes then I’d say we all need to be bitches and be proud of it. Change the context and meaning to something good instead of the crap they intend it to be.

        • GTash says:

          I’ve been called a bitch twice in the last week or so by two different guys because I wasn’t giving them what they wanted which of course was easy sex no strings. I’m like “no I’m not a bitch – I’m the queen of bitches”. I’ve also been told I’m hard work by the same two guys and yes, I agreed with them and said if they couldn’t handle it they knew where the door was.

          Thank God and Natalie for this site, without it I would still be bending over backwards to please guys even when I know they are planning to dump me once they get what they want.

          I’m still single but at least I’m not wasting my time and energy on guys who don’t make the cut.

      • Natasha says:

        Elle, so true! When a lot of these guys don’t get their way “they take their toys and go home”. Seriously, my feeling is if my 7 year old nephew can understand that actions have consequences and we don’t operate in isolation…no way in hell was I going to sit there with a man in his early 30’s trying to explain this concept. Maybe all these guys were absent the day they taught this in kindergarten?!

  3. That girl says:

    At the end of the day, it should not matter what their intentions were. The reality, however, is that we need to rationalize it, make sense of it as it does not make any sense that someone could be cruel intentionally-right?

    Whatever the intentions, we all need to move past trying to figure anything out and move on the best way we can, by putting one foot in front of the other.

    As long as your still breathing your ahead of the game!

  4. Lisa says:

    I think when I get to tell myself that they didn’t intend to (whatever), it softens the blow that what occurred happened because I let it happen. So that if they had indeed intended to cause such distress, then I’m worse than I want to believe…omg, am I so full of self loathing that I chose not to protect myself from someone who meant to cause harm? If they didn’t know what they were doing, I can be less hard on myself. Either way, I allowed it–a disgusting truth to face. But, never again now that I see my part in it. Still, ugh!

    • gala says:

      it’s interesting that what you’re saying-that it softens the blow.
      To me it was harder on me to think that they didn’t intend to hurt me. It’s so much easier thinking they are the bad guy in the story. By saying they had good intentions, but they didn’t work out as planned, I saw the blame shifted from them on me, since they didn’t mean it,right?So who could blame them…

  5. Obsessed says:

    Ouch. Spot on. [future fakers … overestimate their interest and capacity for a relationship, they don’t connect their thoughts with their actions, and they’re not into following through or being emotionally honest with themselves or you.]

    I spent months obsessing, trying to understand how I could go from being “the love of his life” to being cast aside overnight. He trotted out: “I didn’t mean to cause you pain” with the few post-ops he allowed, as if that ameliorated the anguish. Most definitely “A painful ‘whoops”.

  6. allie says:

    I was told that twice, ” I don’t want to hurt you” and in both cases it ended in me hurting.
    It is not enough having “good intentions” only. They have to have the desire to respect you and your feelings. I guess their good intentions translate to “I have good intentions to not have a real relationship with you and I expect you understand and do not demand anything from me because I won’t give it to you and I don’t want to hurt you but if you get hurt then it is your responsibility not mine”

    • cavewoman says:

      I found that the ‘intention’ to respect feelings may or may not be there, but the capacity sure isn’t! Why else did I get explanations instead of empathy? Lectures about why my feelings were misguided… Feelings are subjective. They reveal something essential about who we are. If someone can’t even get to the point of acknowledging who I am, how could they possibly not hurt me sooner or later?

  7. mak says:

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

    This sentence felt like it echoed in my head all day. Just entered into NC after a 6 year relationship with an AC and on NC day 3. Sadly, I allowed him to wander back into my life 6 months ago. This is the 2nd time I an trying NC.
    I realize now that his intentions were never there from the beginning. He consistently doesnt follow through in relationships and emotionally (whether intentional or not) shuts down when he feels ‘pressure’. Natalie, you made such a great point when you said we get caught up in being word focused and miss the action. True intentions are reinforced by actions. Grace said it nicely above, why am I trying to analyze intentions when his actions are clearly telling me to run and not look back. He is master at faking how much he cares. I am seeing it so clear
    I am realizing how important it is for him to convince himself that his intentions are not to hurt me….(reality check for me) but he to became so emotionally unavailable (he would claim this as unintentional) so the committment is lessened and he avoids having to break it off. To avoid following through and being emotionally honest with himself, EUM avoid, distance themselves and cowardly and selfishly disappear -or “take a break” like my AC said. Doesnt a break mean it will start back up again?
    I can’t believe I fell for this AC and stayed for this long. Thanks Natalie.

  8. christine says:

    grace, you really said it all- as you look at what they do is right on – who needs all that – future faking. cheating, lying, letting you down, demoting you to a booty call – my “friend” is in jail right now – with a lot of needs – i have custody of his cell phone and property and it’s been entertaining and sad to look at it – at least i know what i’m dealing with

  9. Beth D says:

    So true. That was my bf favorite saying. You know I don’t mean to hurt you. My response was….but you do!!! What kind of psycho means to act like an ass! I never meant to hurt you equals I am a self absorbed jerk that doesn’t think of anyone but myself !! It also equals I am not anticipating any consequences for my bad behavior since I will talk my way out of it.

    • Minky says:

      So true! Although my ex EUM’s fav saying was “i don’t want to let you down”. Same difference really.

      I have other ‘Danger – run like hell’ warning phrases that are burned on my brain, such as “You’re too good for me”, “Don’t get too attached” and, my favourite: “I have issues”.

      They all mean the same thing: “I am a selfish knobhead trying to make myself feel less of a prick by giving you early warning of what a humungous waste of space i am”.


      • leisha says:

        Have to agree Minky…those are “heads-up!” but too frequently we ignore them…NO MORE… we are finally learning the code and SHARING it! hee hee

  10. runnergirl says:

    Dear lord Natalie, I know you are in the UK and I’m in SoCal but are you in my house reading my email? The ex MM said everything you said regarding not intentionally hurting me. Do you know him? I’m going to have to re-read your post again and think before I can comment coherently. It so totally struck hom on the first read. I loved the intention vs. purpose distinction. “If the actions aren’t there, the purpose wasn’t there, which means the intentions weren’t there either.” It’s the old walk vs. talk. My ex MM can talk a blue streak and NEVER intended to hurt me. His actions did!

  11. colororange says:

    Talk is cheap – yes! Recently I decided (fully aware of my intention) to approach the ex EUM to ask from his vantage point what he thought I may have done wrong to sabotage the situation (I have been known to do some screwy things). Honestly I did this in hoping to gain more insight into myself and how I am in a relationship. How others experience me.

    Since I am working on releasing the pattern and not totally able to see what I’m doing/saying and how that impacts others, I asked. I figured he’d tell me I was too needy, I went too fast, my breath smelled or whatever. But no. Instead he makes it about him. He makes it about how he doesn’t want to talk about it. That we’re through and he is stressed out. I was taken aback. I wasn’t asking about US! Here I am thinking I want to know what I might be doing that is turning men off and he completely turns it around to himself!! I had my big girl knickers on and was ready for whatever he might tell me but the fact he wouldn’t give me any feedback kinda caught me off guard So I have to take what I know and what I can sort of guess at and use it in my next relationship. Because asking this jackass about it is useless, as he is.

    • leisha says:

      Colour Orange: The married man wouldn’t tell you how you screwed up in a situation which by it’s existence was screwed up to begin with…girlfriend he can’t address the fact that he’s unfaithful to his wife, to commitments he has willingly involved himself with. I can understand that you may want to address your relating habits and traits…but you were going to a man with shady habits from the get-go. If he could look at you and your interaction without bias he’d have to address his own interactions with you and his marriage and probably a whole lot of fall-out that he simply is not likely equipped nor willing to handle. A therapist is trained to assist you with learning about yourself in a safe environment. Journaling can assist you with learning about what you are thinking on a day to day basis. I hope you realise that seeking validation from that man or anyone else is not going to provide you with lasting happiness and self-acceptance. It comes from within.

      • colororange says:

        @ leisha

        He is not married. I was not seeking validation from him. This is a pattern of mine: being involved with men for a brief period, things look like they may be going in a good direction then they pull a disappearing or “i’m busy” act. None of my other exes are around and this is the most recent so I asked if he could possibly give me some kind of idea what I might be doing that is evoking this behavior. I must be doing something otherwise why would it keep happening? But now I am seeing that part of the problem is I am picking duds. As for the rest…..maybe subconsciously I believe I don’t deserve a man to stick around. Anyway, he is not capable of telling me the truth and really that became my nail in the coffin. It’s done. Balloon is out of air. I have to continue to work on being more honest with myself. He did say it was more because of his issues BUT I could accept that if it weren’t for the fact that this is a recurring theme in my relationships with men. It’s annoying since I feel like I have blind spots.

        • NML says:

          Actually Colororange, you are looking for validation from him – confirmation of what you’re doing to scare away a dud. It’s like asking someone who is unqualified to determine your worth, to value you. He is unavailable and may not even fully realise he’s unavailable. You’re still making yourself responsible for his behaviour because you seem to have this idea that if you *weren’t* doing whatever it is that you’re doing then he wouldn’t be unavailable which means that you think unavailable people are only this way until someone comes along and they choose to make them the exception to the rule. You’re making his problems about you so when you mosey on over there asking him to tell you what you’re doing, he’s thinking “what the eff?” Relationship insanity is choosing the same guy different package, carrying the same beliefs, baggage, and behaviours, and then expecting a different result. If you want to deal with the blind spot, deal with the one right in front of you – you. Work out why YOU”RE unavailable, what your beliefs are and what you need to address to improve your self-esteem and be available for a relationship. That has nothing to do with him unless your plan in life is to try to work out how you can better yourself to win an unavailable man, which would show that you have no genuine desire to get uncomfortable and instead want to keep trying to get one of these men to spontaneously combust into an available man.

          • Namaste says:

            “It’s like asking someone who is unqualified to determine your worth to value you” This is the crux of the matter from my side of it. Looking for validation when my my self worth was at rock bottom. I learned this lesson through the pain of 2 relationships, one long term and one short. Now I feel the free because I’m not obsessing about how I can change another person. I have more time to take care of myself and I feel worthy and good about myself. I focus on what’s good about me rather than what’s wrong with me. :)

        • grace says:

          picking duds isn’t part of the problem, it’s the whole problem.
          I picked duds but have been more “successful” than you in hanging onto them. I’ve done this through the most extreme jedi mind games, manipulation, denial, indecisiveness, indifference, putting up with crap, not voicing any needs/opinions, letting them dictate everything we did together, letting them hit me, flirt with other women, screw me over financially, even have sex the way they liked it. Look at that list again. Are these things you want to be doing? If so, knock yourself out and hang onto these duds for years at a time.
          I even got one of them to marry me and divorced him a year later cos I just couldn’t respect him as a man. Before you feel sorry for him, this was someone who dumped me upteen times in the first 2 years of our “relationship”, had sex with his best friend’s wife, entertained the idea of swinging when we were married, took drugs and made no financial contribution to the household. Some of these things he was doing when we were on our countless “breaks”, so it had nothing to do with me. I take full responsibility for my lack of standards though.
          Stop contact with the exes. On the one hand you say you want advice but it looks suspiciously like an excuse to engage. I’ve being a bit tough on you but you’re going to have to be even tougher on yourself to see your situation for what it really is and what you can really do to change. The rewards are worth it.

        • leisha says:

          Colour Orange…I am so sorry for thinking he was married…I am so glad that wasn’t part of the deal. I don’t know why I read that into it at all . Mea Culpa.

      • Nevertoolate! says:

        Thanks leisha, you helped me see my situation with the MM in a better light. We were getting along, his family lived out of state, his job was finished here and he was moving back, but still has a house here and was going to come back to manage his property and see me once a month (allegedly). For some reason, it was all too much for me and I flipped out on him via e-mail, I was just too emotional to even speak to him. As a result, I started to blame myself for the “end” of the the so-called relationship, I apologized to no avail, but you just put it into perspective!

        • leisha says:

          Nevertoolate: I thank good that someone took some good from my botched communication attempt. Perhaps the universe heard you and worked through me??? Who knows. I am very glad your gut was screaming at you to cease with a relationship that was so unfair to you. It seems he wanted to “manage” you as well as his “other” PROPERTY…wordplay…couldn’t resist. Thanks for the comfort. I’m pleased to be of service.

    • Ms A says:

      What if you didn’t do anything wrong? What if it just was what it was?

    • Magnolia says:


      I see myself in your story. I once went into my boss’s office and asked for a grade – wanted him to tell me how well I was doing, let me know exactly where I stood with him – and he wouldn’t tell me. I was annoyed; but that interaction is a mini-version of what I’ve done, and what it sounds like you’ve just done, with guys.

      The thing with any guy or person you give over the power to, is that you have two possibilities if you feel like you need their evaluation. A) They say: you’re great! Continue as usual! Then, if you haven’t built the ability to come to that conclusion yourself, you either have to keep going back to them or other sources for that reassurance or you find a way to discount what they said, because it doesn’t fit what you believe. B) They say: you know, x is wrong with you, and a bit of y, and you could really stand to work on z. Again, because you haven’t built the ability to come to that conclusion yourself and identify your own areas to address, you either keep going back to them to get feedback that you’re improving or you find a way to discount what they said, because it doesn’t fit what you believe, or WORST, it does fit what you believe and now you’ve given all them power to say when and if you’ve suddenly become okay/deserving/lovable/whatever.

      In hindsight, my boss not giving me a grade maintained a boundary and I respect him for that. He showed me what HE thought months later when he promoted me, but that could have as easily been about the plusses of having an employee who so desperately wanted his evaluation rather than my performance.

      I have spent a lot of my dating life asking guys “So what is it I’m doing that makes you take advantage of me?” I don’t know what I expected! Were they going to say, well, sweetheart, when you bend over backwards and do everything I want, I love sucking back everything you put on offer? I mean, that’s what these jerks are attracted to, is women who don’t know how they set themselves up to be used! They’re not going to educate us on how to avoid men like themselves.

      • NML says:

        Aaaaaaaaamen! Fantastic comment Magnolia.

        • runnergirl says:

          Hey Magnolia….spot on. I got a good giggle “They’re not going to educate us on how to avoid men like themselves.” I’ve been in the same spot as you and Colororange and it seems to be true, they do because they can as long as we keep bending over backwards. The ex MM said “I don’t want to hurt you” so many times and then proceeded to hurt me and I allowed it to continue. I may resort to Sam’s response of nutt kicking if some jerk ever utters those words again, although I know violence isn’t the answer. It’s fun to think about though. I think “I didn’t mean to hurt you” will be added to my list of deal breakers.

          Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you Colororange. Remember, he’s still stale old cake on the inside despite the fluffly pretty pink frosting on the outside.

          Wonderful, wonderful article Natalie, as usual.

      • colororange says:

        Then how are we supposed to know WHAT we’re doing if no one ever tells us what we’re doing to bring this on ourselves? I’ve only read about healthy relationships or seen some halfa$$ healthy ones. Because if I just decide “well, i’m too needy” and stop doing that, then if I end up in the same predicament, then being needy wasn’t the answer. What one man may consider needy maybe another doesn’t. Heck who knows. Sometimes I think I have such a lack of people sense and am dumb when it comes to this stuff. Right now I’m afraid to do/say much of anything for fear that it is the wrong thing that will push somebody away!

        • leisha says:

          colororange, Hey, I’m sorry for misunderstanding yesterday. I keep wondering if you have read Natalie’s books. The No Contact Rule and Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl have really helped me and I highly recommend them.

          • colororange says:

            leisha, no worries about the misunderstanding. No need to fret over it. I’ve read and continue to read through articles on this site. I’ve done the NC thing. Plan on reading Fallback Girl.

        • NML says:

          Colororange, I want to say this as simply as possible because I think that the message is getting lost:

          Go and get some self-esteem.
          If you can’t date *with* self-esteem, don’t date until you can.
          If by your own admission you pick duds and have low self-esteem, instead of concerning yourself with how to be attractive to a dud, stop avoiding dealing with you.
          If you’re that concerned about what you might be doing wrong, address the one thing that eradicates these problems – people who have self-esteem regard themselves as people of value who are worthwhile of being treated decently and as a result are confident enough to recognise when to fold and know their own needs. People with self-esteem don’t worry about being needy and what they need to change in themselves to please someone who either doesn’t exist yet or who has already shown that they are unworthy of their time.

          Let me say it again Colororange – sort out yourself self esteem for you.

          • colororange says:

            “people who have self-esteem regard themselves as people of value who are worthwhile of being treated decently and as a result are confident enough to recognise when to fold and know their own needs”

            I noticed lately something I do when I am around people. I say and do certain things that invites others to laugh/make fun of me. AND I can not take teasing very well. It usually ticks me off yet most the people I am around daily like to tease. I’m left feeling angry or like a pile. The people I grew up around did not treat me like I had any value. If someone treats me poorly I think I did something to bring it on. Anyway my point is if I act like I have value there is a part of me almost waiting for the other person to shoot me down; that is what I am accustomed to. And if they shoot me down I think “well maybe I am wrong, maybe I should not be feeling the way I do since I was told I shouldn’t be feeling the way I do since I was born. “Does that make sense what I am saying?? Figuring out how to come from a place of self-value/self-esteem is uncomfortable……..that must be what you’re talking about getting uncomfortable. But I’ve gone on about it enough. I know I’m tiring. I’ll keep working at it. Reading your Boosting Your Self-Esteem article now.

            • NML says:

              You’re not tiring at all. Stop thinking the worst of yourself because often people aren’t even thinking that of you.

          • cavewoman says:

            Hey Natalie and Colororange,
            the message doesn’t get totally lost, but it does takes a detour sometimes. Because honestly, even though it’s sound advice, for the mildly insecure to be told to go get some self esteem can trigger a bit of defensiveness… speaking from first hand experience here :) Who, me? Insecure?

            It’s easier said than done, when remembering my low self esteem makes me feel worse about myself, which undermines my — you guessed what…

            I’m hoping this will be helpful for you too Colororange, I try to focus on accepting all of me, even the insecurities. Just a decision, like: for the next hour, I’ll be a good listener for ME. I’ll listen to my inner voices with compassion, acceptance, kindness etc. I know how to do this because I do it to others (on a good day!) and I deserve the same.

            You might notice fleeing thoughts as you catch yourself judging, berating, rushing yourself… they may only take a split second, but they are powerful, because they are probably a very old habit. You’re establishing new habits now, habits of kindness, and everything else will follow.

        • Magnolia says:


          you are right that it is a tall order to have to figure this stuff out yourself!! no one CAN tell you, is the thing – until you have the skill to know for yourself how to pick better people and be in better relationships, how the heck can you trust the people you’re picking to give you information!?

          i have broken down and cried so many times in confusion and despair over simply feeling functional socially. i’m sure that the people i interact with don’t think as poorly of me as I expect them to, but tell that to my heart rate and hormones as I have to deal with the cliques and social competitiveness of professional life. hell, of life in general.

          you describe a dysfunctional home upbringing. i don’t know if either of your parents were addicted to anything (mine weren’t, technically) but I still benefit from going to the twelve-step group for children of alcoholic or dysfunctional families.

          in that group the specific goals are to help you assess the behaviours that are continuing to bring pain into your life and to help support you as you learn healthier behaviours. self-esteem is a big part of this package.

          as someone who grew up in a fairly unresponsive, emotionally immature family, combined with a lot of early social trauma (racism and bullying and sexual assault), the project of my self-esteem around relating to other people is one I am in for the long haul. I’ve been at it for about six months and I’ve already learned quite a lot about how to like myself.

          I like the format because they allow speaking but not commenting on others’ speech, specifically targeting the problem of not being listened to as a child, and the advice-seeking and (inappropriate) advice-giving as adult habits that we gradually lessen as we get stronger.

          if this isn’t you, i post for any of the readers who might recognize themselves in your post or mine…

          i look forward to reading your posts, orange, as we work together on our self-esteem on and off this site xoxo

          • colororange says:

            Magnolia, thanks for such a thoughtful post. Yes I grew up in a very dysfunctional household. Dad was/is an alcoholic and addict. Mom was nuts trying to fix him. There was no healthy mirroring for me. I have actually attended an adult children of alcoholics meeting a while back but it has since closed. There are no other meetings of that nature in my area. I am in a group now that helps with some issues but it’s this self-esteem thing I keep flubbing up on. I can’t begin to tell you how many books I’ve read and how many things I’ve done to “better” myself. Making the connection between what I’ve gathered and putting it into action is confusing at times. It’s like learning how to walk, something I should have learned back then. It’s the day to day stuff, minor things I tend to need input on or at least think I do from someone else.

            I already know and get the feeling from a couple people that I come off as timid or even arrogant. And I have figured out this showing emotion/being vulnerable thing scares the pee out of me. I find it comical really since internally I’m usually a whirlwind of anxiety and have most my emotions at least expressing them on lock down. It was not safe to express emotions in my household. Even expressing joy or feeling good was met with “what’s wrong with you” or something of that nature. And the cliques in the work place and all the drama, it’s a nightmare for me sometimes. Don’t trust anyone there.

            Seriously it feels as though I’m too troubled to ever get it all figured out! Talk about one jumbled up knot!

          • Allison says:


            No one is unfixable.

            I think if you decide you really want to truly understand the past and previous behaviors, you can make some healthy changes. I know it’s painful and scary, but don’t sabotage your recovery by thinking there is no hope.


  12. cavewoman says:

    I love this distinction you make Natalie between intention and purpose!
    Who cares if they didn’t intend to hurt me, I pass by hundreds of strangers every day who don’t intend to hurt me. What matters is, Is it their purpose to make me happy?

    • LostEnergy says:

      Exactly! And we know how p**sed off we can get when a stanger hurts us, so how much worse iti feels when a boyfriend or future faker hurts us, that we’ve invested & been intimate with.
      Mm puts it in perspective.

  13. Cheryl says:

    Brilliant post!

  14. Elle2 says:

    Ha! The guys who SWEARED they would NEVER EVER EVER hurt me where, of course, the ones who hurt me the most. But yeah, of course, it was never their intention, because they are oh so wonderful. Is just that things didn’t go as planned/I’ve got a lump on my willy/my grandma died/I’ve got no money/you’ve gained weight/I want to become a writer now/Oh, no, wait, now I want to work for the Peace Corps/life got in the way so our relationship now took a ‘back seat’. Whoopsy whoops. Bummer. Not my intention, I swear darling. I’m innocent. Is just life.

    After spending over a 1 now being very extremely selective of who I choose to spend my time with, weeding out people who were not really my friends and stopping contact with them, made new GOOD friends, etc. I can see that is actually quite easy to recognise the people who really care about you and therefore have your best interests at heart, from those who say they care, but is mostly because they have a secret agenda so it ‘suits’ them to care, or those who plain and simply do not give a fark because they are too busy thinking about themselves and what suits them and you are just a piece on the lego to play around with. Needed today, but tomorrow, who knows, right???

    It was my projection, neediness, loneliness, and desperation, wanting to turn the frog into the prince, betting on potential, etc. that made me turn a blind eye to the reality of who those guys really were, because deep inside, I also had my own little secret agenda so it also suited ME to cling to my hope.

    Now that I love and respect myself and make myself my number one priority and have put my ‘inner’ house in order, I have absolutely no intentions of letting anybody who is not worthy of me to come in and make a mess :)

    I can provide for msyelf resources, support, love, happiness, and pretty much anything I need… ok perhaps not everything, I´d still like a shag, lol. Buttttt, even in that case, the prospect of sleeping with some a$$hole just bcause I am horny sounds sooooo unappealing!! Rather spend some money on some quality toys, lol.

    I love me, I absolutely love my life, and nobody will ever come to mess it around. Either you bring something good to the table, or…

    • leisha says:

      Go Elle2! I’m on my way too! Hell, I LIKE my toys! No drama No Pain. Sweet release and that’s just fine until and if someone decent arrives…and no rush there.

    • Allison says:


      Good for you!!!

      I made similar changes in my life! It’s so good to weed out the toxicity-in all areas- and give ourselves what we deserve :)

  15. Christina says:

    Oh, so true! No one thinks they are a bad person- even bad people won’t admit it! By camouflaging real actions and their consequences with supposed good intentions, it makes them seem like a good guy and you’re just “reacting badly.” And it all seems to boil down to: Actions speak louder than words!

    • leisha says:

      Actions do ultimately “tell it like it is”. No more wasting time guessing. Act decent or I’ll have nothing to do with you. New rules of My “game”.

  16. Ali says:

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

    The last paragraph (above) says it all to me. It’s as simple as that! These guys “live in the moment” – promise you the world to get what they what in the present – it’s how they have always lived their lives and all will.
    Great post Nat, felt a bit down this morning and opened BR site for some inspiration…..and as usual you gave me the lift I needed. I will have a good weekend now. Hang on in there folks x

  17. susie sunflower says:

    After i was dumped by my ex psychopath/AC/EUM whatever he was, (probably a combination of them all) after he had disappeared on me for 2 weeks and then came back to tell me no one else would put up with him, he became as time went by, a cruel man nit picking at my self esteem in various ways, i.e. i was beginning to go deaf and perhaps i should get a hearing aid. That was because i missed his mumbling drone of a voice on the odd occasion. Then my neck was beginning to get straggly. I wonder how i put up with that, but i laughed the comments off and on occasion, retaliated with a few spiteful one’s about him of my own! However, things became impossible between us, he seemed hell bent on causing arguments one way or another until we split.
    After 2 weeks he phoned to ask how i was, so i asked him if we were patching things up between us and perhaps trying again, and his reply ‘i can’t promise you that – i don’t want to hurt you’. I asked if he had anyone else and his reply was no. BUT he then went on to tell me that ‘WE had been here and there’ so i took the view the WE was, in fact, some other female he had in tow and eventually i was proved right.
    This man really hurt me so bad, all the future faking he did, how i was the centre of his world, how he was so glad he had met me, and then could just turn away, tore at my self esteem and it has taken me months to stop the tears flowing, a lthough on the odd occasion they still do. I told him never to make contact with me again and luckily he has obeyed, but he has left me with mistrust of all men and for that alone, i shall never forgive him.

    • LostEnergy says:

      Please try not to let this A/C destroy your trust for all men. I know it’s immensley hard but try if you can to sometimes see it as more of a lesson on the elements you dont want from a guy. If there was nothing to like -none of us would have got hurt or duped. We all like/loved things about our guys. However its about the average. How they make you feel. There are lots of guys that want to have an honest caring relationship. It maybe doesnt feel that way now but luckily many BR readers come back on and tell us they have happily found a new guy who treats them well. They will have suffrered alot of cr*p too. This website & all of the 9,000 or so posts from NML have had a massively positive impact on my self esteem and outlook over the last few months. It’s been more effective than anything. It’s really helped to share here too as part of the greiving process.

  18. Sam says:

    It’s like the twilight zone. I have heard so many stories from girlfriends where there guys followed up their confessions or confrontations of having an affair with “I never meant to hurt you.” Ok…..well you did…Goodbye! How do they say that with a straight face?

    At least my ex EUM spared me the oddity that is that famous line and actually told me 3 different times in our relationship that he was a bad guy. “Look at me Sam, I’m a bad guy.” I was a romance freak-show and just assumed he had poor self-esteem and I was the girl that was going to save him and constantly tell him how wonderful he was and not to listen to all those bad things inside of him. EFFFFFF that.

    Sorry – off topic. Next time a guy pulls that line you kick him in the balls and while he’s on the floor squirming you mutter out “I swear, it wasn’t my intention to hurt you.”

    • NML says:

      I couldn’t help but laugh Sam! That’s three too many times! Although obviously with respect to the nut kicking, violence not good!

      An ex said to me “I didn’t mean to hurt you” probably a few hundred times during our relationship. The last time he said it, I responded with “But you did”. He repeated it again and I came back with the same response, more emphatic. He was stuck. I mean what did he want me to say “Oh there, there, it doesn’t matter”? It’s not my job or yours or anyone else’s to give out responsibility free passes, not least because when we do so, it’s like denying our own feelings.

      • Mango says:

        When my EU man-unit said, “I didn’t mean to hurt you”, I too responded, “But you did”. It didn’t seem to strike a chord. Because I don’t think he did mean to hurt to me. Though, I do wish I had said, “What did you think was going to happen?”

        I really didn’t see what was so about him saying that, at first, but now I think I’m getting it. That he’s not being accountable for his actions. I think. Oy, I’ve got a lot to learn.

    • yoghurt says:

      Haha – brilliant! I can but dream, right?

      If anyone has any other fantastic, witty, leave-em-for-dead lines in response to ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you’ (that don’t involve physical violent – I’m a wuss) then I’d love to hear them.

      • Aimee says:

        Ok – I had to comment. My exAC used that line “I didn’t mean to hurt you”, but the topper was when I told him he broke my heart his reply was – “No I didn’t”. Thank you so much for being me and TELLING me how I feel – I mean really – what planet do they come from?

        • Natasha says:

          Aimee, that is CRAZY. I think these guys pretty much have to do the emotional/mental equivalent of slipping themselves a roofie (“Oh…woe is me. I’ve over-promised again. What to do? *approximately 30 seconds elapse* Why…I don’t remember that happening?! No, it didn’t. She’s got it all wrong and therefor she’s not really hurt. I am a FANTASTIC catch.”) in order to press the reset button. The amazing thing is, you know it’s highly unlikely that they’ve only done this one time to one woman, so they basically have to deny a mountain of evidence that they suck. My ex-AC was the type that loved to yammer on about what a “good man” he is…I mean, like, posting Facebook updates about what a great person he is. Errrrr, hello? Your ex-AC clearly needs to reserve a place next to mine on Egypt’s fabulous vacation destination, The Riviera of DeNial.

          • leisha says:

            Natasha: LOL!

            Aimee: yes, our hearts may be broken…but we keep on loving and we keep on following the light. Someone posted a song called,”Jar of Hearts” that can be heard and viewed on youtube. It fits a lot of us and a lot of the men we’ve encountered (I believe)…

            My but this site is full of awesome people who keep going forward and sharing their selves and not giving up…sometimes I get goosebumps of joy from the obvious growth…wow

  19. Natasha says:

    You know, nothing and I mean, nooooooothing my ex-AC said (including comments alluding to him having a problem with my religion) stuck in my craw like “I didn’t mean to hurt you”. Now I know EXACTLY WHY this was so infuriating! It really is one of the worst “lines” to be on the receiving end of, in my opinion.

  20. Zsuzsi says:

    (Im not native speaker, sorry for language.) After a few weeks of incredible bliss and pursuing me, he showed some sign of disrespect, which I called him on immediately. All I remember of that conversation is him shyly uttering the words “uhmm… self-defence, you’re not considering?” I thought WTF? Is he an enemy or what? Is this a war or what?!
    It was, and I only much later realized my love was actually my enemy.
    To see thoughtless, respectless, loveless behaviour for what it is- pure aggression.
    There is no middle way, no excuses, no grey zone- one either loves or is ready to use you.

    • Used says:

      Yep, exactly! Excellent analysis!


      I love = I will give and respect. (And It makes me happy to give, too.)


      I will not give = I do not love and do not respect = I will TAKE and USE and DISRESPECT, if I want to or feel like it = what’s in it for me me me??? and, later, and louder: ME ME ME?????!!!!!!!!

      What they say (e.g., “I do not want to hurt you” or “I don’t know my plans for the future in x respect”) is operating as a huge, neon, flashin WARNING SIGN to you!

  21. chelsea says:

    I remember writing a email to my ex that before anything physical happens because i was getting suspicious of him being interested in other girls, I even asked him to be honest and he denied it he also told me in my face that he didn’t want to hurt me again. Well later on and after getting pretty intimate a few times and after what i learned to be “Future faking” because he would talk about things we could be doing and plans and emphasize “WE” often etc … etc….

    I hate how I’ve been honest with my feelings, never really lead him or didn’t promise anything in the future but I’m the one that got hurt, I often watch out what I say and when I say things I mean it so I got pretty pissed when he disappointed me again by not being honest , I guess I set myself up to be the fall back girl.

    When I straight up called him out on the sex and stuff his response was that he didnt mean it to be his intentions. So in the end I feel like the bigger asshole or still feel like shit for it while his probably carrying on and getting whatever he wants. I haven’t contacted him in months.

    So I learned that it doesn’t matter how honest of a person or a good person you are people who take advantage are the only ones that get far and oppurtunities in life =(

    • TeaTime says:

      Chelsea – I will admit I still have days when I think like this. That these assclowns eventually get away with being the way they are while we have to suffer the consequences. Actually, yesterday was one of those days, and it definitely brings you down.

      But what always pulls me out of this train of thought is knowing that I will eventually meet a good guy who will do the same for me and we will have a healthy relationship, whereas the assclown will never get that. We look from the sidelines and see them as getting on with their way without consequences, but I don’t think that’s right. I think ultimately it will bite them, and perhaps already has. Perhaps they have a list of issues, ex gfs who loathe them, self-hate even! We will never be fully aware, but we can just know that unless they change their ways these types of people will never experience what it is like to be in a healthy relationship with others or themselves.

      Just be true to yourself and don’t change for any assclown. You deserve better!

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you Teatime for the uplifting thoughts. I’ve been feeling down like Chelsa since I read this article because of my role in allowing him to get a free pass every time the ex MM said “I didn’t mean to hurt you”, which was often because of course as long as his needs were getting met, I didn’t matter. He got everything he wanted and like Magnolia said, I bent over ass-backward to make sure his needs were met. Chelsa, you aren’t alone. I think Teatime is right. There is hope for us. I’m not sure I agree with your statement: “So I learned that it doesn’t matter how honest of a person or a good person you are people who take advantage are the only ones that get far and oppurtunities in life.” It may look like they are getting off scott free but they are lying cheats. Keep your head high above the toilet water.

      • Phoebe says:

        Tea Time and Chelsea – I agree completely with you TT. The other day I was thinking about how they treat people badly and then get off scott free. But then I thought about NC. NC is about giving you the space – emotional, mental and physical to get on with the grieving/healing process. And it really is the only thing that works and allows you to move on with your life. But the added bonus (if I can say that), is although unintended, it’s also the best revenge in a way. Because when you enforce NC, they ultimately know they have hurt you, treated you unkindly, lied, cheated or whatever, and what they did was bad enough for you to cut off all contact with them. So they cannot absolve themselves of their guilt (which if you had agreed to remain on friendly terms, they could tell themselves they weren’t so bad if you were still willing to be friends). So like TT says, they do know. They have a string of exs behind them who won’t engage, and that must tug at their consciousness. I think that is why they pop up out of the blue – sometimes years later, trying to press the reset button, and absolve themselves of guilt.

        • TeaTime says:

          Phoebe – I totally agree with what you say about the power of NC and how it prevents them from absolving themselves of their guilt. By not sticking around or talking to them we ultimately have the power to make them face who they really are – assclowns, EUMs, etc. If they just push that aside and continue on with their life instead of addressing it and trying to become better people, then they’re just leading miserable lives because they’d know they are lying to themselves.

          If only more of their harem would wake up, smell the coffee and get out! Maybe the pressure would finally make them stop the madness.

        • Mango says:

          I completely agree with you. However, I sometimes wonder if he’s thinking, “Oh, she’s not in touch because she’s still in love with me; it’s too painful for her…”. Sometimes I want to break NC (which is very fresh & very new for me), just to make it clear. I won’t break NC, right now, for that. I wish I did know for certain that he know the NC is because he did hurt me.

          • Minky says:

            As NML always says: NC is for you, not him. Eventually you will get to a point when what he thinks and ‘knows’ doesn’t matter at all to you. This is about you moving on, you getting on with your life, you changing the way you operate in life and relationships. He does not factor anymore. He had his chance with you and he blew it. Hugs! :)

        • chelsea says:

          hey phoebe and thanks to tea time for the kind words , yes there were some indications of hurt from his previous relationship though he does not want to really tell me anything or there would be some signs of insecurity and he would mention weird things about his friends.

          I always chose to ignore it because he seemed like a good person but I always had that feeling of shadiness or that I wasn’t getting the whole story.

          He would often say he didn’t do anything wrong so It always made me feel like It was my fault and I would try really hard to fix on myself or do this or do that. So now is the longest time I haven’t tried to contact him and im sticking to it, I used to be the one to freak out and constantly call or break down and we would start talking again but this time its time I stick to it.

          Aside from NC I also quit smoking so I have those two to stick to. I remember he mentioned none of his exes wanted to talk to him anymore, I was the only one that wanted to remain his friend …. but that was difficult because that meant I was only convenient when he wasn’t getting what he wanted from someone else or I would make the effort but in return I didn’t get much. Another reason why I stick to NC.

          I come to the point where I want no apologies or closure. There’s no point, If we do get a sorry its just half assed or to relief themselves from guilt. I had to face my own emotions hard on and I refuse to jump into another relationship because im not ready .

          • Phoebe says:

            Hey Chelsea,

            I think what you say is key – that he told you none of his ex gfs wanted to have contact with him. I think when they make a point of telling you that, then it is something that bothers them. I had an ex who told me that when he and his first wife broke up she told him she didn’t want any further communication with him. We had all known each other for years, so I knew him and the situation well enough to know that it really bothered him. And here is the interesting thing… it had been ten years since she left him and he’d been in another relationship almost that long, and it still bothered him enough to tell me about it. That’s how I knew when I sent back all of his crap after I realized he’d played me, and refused further contact, it would weigh on him. Given how long we have known one another and the importance our relationship had had in both of our lives, I know it’s something he’ll think about for years to come. Not everyday, not like he’ll pine for me, but he will feel guilt and regret.

            @ Mango – so that last bit is also for you. Initially he’ll tell himself that it’s just to painful for you, but as time goes by and you refuse contact and do not respond should he attempt to get in touch with you, believe me, he’ll get the message.

  22. Zsuzsi says:

    We’d rather blame ourselves by looking for some excuses for them, to see good intentions where there is none. At best, these people feel appreciation and lust for you- that is not good intention.

    I think cruelty is when someone can hurt you and they WILL do it indeed. Good intention/decency would be refraining/self-control in this case.

    As NML said recently, you can be the most boundary-less person in the world- that still is not a legal pass for another to use you and have no remorse about it.
    It”s like those rape cases back in time when the victim is judged for wearing “tempting” clothes.

    I stopped analysing anybody’s intentions and shifting responsability when I slowly realized the need to learn to discern, and when I had the courage to evaluate reality by questioning every thought of mine. My peace of mind returned with a deeply felt sense of satisfaction about myself. I felt what belonged to me and what was not my business.

  23. LJP says:

    My EUM use to say things like that also – “I’m an a**hole” or “I’m no good”…..& at the time (before I knew the truth of EUM) I thought he had low self esteem & would stroke his ego SO MUCH saying “what are you talking about?” – “your such a nice person” (& so on). NOW I see things different … he knew what he was doing to me & his intentions were bad, on some level. I think if he wasn’t really aware of what he was doing (consciously)….. his sub-conscious (& his inner soul) KNEW what he was doing to me was WRONG & that is why you would make these comments to me…..& why he always talked down about himself.

    • LostEnergy says:

      Sounds familiar how they seem to play into our nurturing, care giving, ..or ooh no-one else has realy seen the good in this guy I do & i can make him mine!! My ex said once about himself “It’s all good on the outside but shit on the inside”. He couldnt have described himself more accurately really.
      Funny how they reveal themselves occassionally but we *think* we know better!!
      But you make a very good point that perhaps there is an unconcious element of them that knows it’s not right what they are doing.

  24. TeaTime says:

    Thank you for yet another spot on post Natalie! I remember the question of intent was on my mind after I told him I’m cutting ties and he replied “I’m sorry you feel hurt. I didn’t want you to feel that way.” I remember feeling like all the anger I felt got thrown up in the air with that message. Did he feel bad about what he did? He didn’t mean to hurt me? These questions circled my head, and the more I felt like he didn’t intend to hurt me the more I felt I had myself to blame. It was the last thing I’d ever hear from him, and it felt like his final attempt at making sure I realized I was the one who messed up. Thankfully after seeing the light I realized it was just his last attempt at removing responsibility from himself so he can feel better about who he is.

    Ultimately what you say here is right – it shouldn’t matter what the intention is, it’s the action that counts. If he’s not mature enough to realize his actions have consequences, then he’s not relationship material anyway.

    • Elle says:

      Tea Time, I have to say that I had to cut off a friendship with a girl in high school because of her propensity to use this phrase: “I’m sorry you feel hurt. I didn’t want you to feel that way.”

      It’s one of the most frustrating and disrespectful replies because if you were really just being crazy (which the first sentence implies – there’s a suggestion that they really can’t imagine why you’re feeling hurt.) and they cared, then they wouldn’t need to say this – they would not be sorry and declaring intentions. It would be a conversation more along the lines of ‘Can we talk about what the hell’s going on with us because obviously there are some real communication probs’ or whatever needs to be said to get things on track (it could be that you’re expecting too much). Sorry should not be a defensive, shut-down move.

      And if you aren’t being crazy and they gave a sh*t, it wouldn’t be this distanced, catch-all, focus-on-my-intentions-you-whiny-cow response.

      These just aren’t solid people, and they’re often arrogant and controlling to deal with that. I can’t say I am always perfect about remedying the crap I dish out, but I am rarely dishonest about it or back-away from resolution.

      • TeaTime says:

        Elle you are so right. I was taken off guard that he had even replied to my message telling him I’m cutting ties. That in itself was the first sign of disrespect for my boundaries. Then, when I did see the message light blinking, I originally thought his message would be something along the lines of what you mentioned – that he would be suggesting we talk about it, clear the misunderstanding, etc. Ha! How silly of me to expect such a response from a man who only showed me disrespect right up to the very end.

        People like this – boyfriends or even friends like the one you mentioned – are poison, and know very well that their ‘apologies’ are anything but. Definitely signs of arrogant and controlling personalities. Better off without them!

  25. LostEnergy says:

    This piece made me laugh but struck a strong chord too;
    “This is like having a blinkered belief that everyone is running around intending to ‘do the right thing’ or to be committed or whatever, but if you piss them off or don’t breathe the right way then the plans will change”
    I guess that means this must have been a familar feeling in my last relationship. Almost like treading on eggshells – which is also a familar problem from childhood.
    My ex was incredibly intense in the first months 20 texts 10 calls p/day etc, he was jealous/possessive type, he would check-up, check my phone, call and call and call until I answered (sent me text with swear word in ordering me to answer too) & I would always answer the phone whenever it was possible -so much to the point I probably checked too much. Anyway point is it came to a point he worked away during the week for a 4 week spell and was put up in a hotel. Several times he didnt answer my call, He said he would phone me back & never did, tried to press the re-set button next am. This happened a few too many times for my liking, infact the relationship pretty much ended as he had a work/job to do in glasgow allegedly… The night before I’d requested a bit more in terms of contact & specifically said ‘keep in touch’ the morning he left. I ended up initiating all contact. About 8pm he said he’d call back in 20 mins, 10pm I called again & he said he’d call back in 20 minutes, he never did. This maybe isn’t the worst thing in the world but when its combined with lack of trust previous disrespect & all kind sof other mind f**kery & a similar list to Grace’s earlier on this post… then it makes for feeling like a pretty pushed out, 4th rate unimportant person… I guess there’s only so long one can carry on feeling let down for. It was one rule for me [Answer the ‘******’ phone] Another rule for him “I dont answer my phone when I’m out” -He actually said that!

  26. LostEnergy says:

    “The truth is that we only have to really go around playing Columbo about someone’s intentions when we seek to make excuses for them, to deny the reality of them” Hmmm I have done some Columbo playing, I guess by definition, it at least means my instincts are screaming ‘something is not right here, warning, warning’
    Obviously there are a number of personal factors that have lead me to picking these guys, ignoring the red flags and warning signs, then standing by my man way past whats best for me. But I’m wandering if there are some common more social factors, such as feeling ‘the *outcast* of beiing single by married or coupled up friends, pitying freinds and family -who plain can’t understand why ‘an attractive, intelligent girl can’t find a guy’
    1 girlfriend of a girlfriend actually laughed at the fact that i’m physically attractive and yet still single (that did hurt!)… like its a major flaw/fault or error on my part. Strangers (guys) when they find out I’m single they always ask ‘Why?’ it’s uncanny, it makes me feel so inadequate and like a failure.
    Natalie do you have articles on dealing with feeling like a failure or a freak for just being single? Please :-)
    I’m wandering whether it has got something to do with internalising other peoples comments and behaviour as well when this is unecessary -as you mention ealier in this post.
    I have started to be more selective with my friends due to this. Also I think some women dont invite single ladies or are scared of them pinching their boyfreinds/partners/husbands etc. Sometimes I wander if they spent less time being so fearful and more being thoughtful there might be less single women going off with MMs.
    Anyhow any posts or comments on this topic would truly be appreciated :-) Thank you

    • leisha says:

      Please read Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl…Nat addresses the issues that you are questioning and commenting about. I have it and it is a winner.

    • grace says:

      I’ve been single for five years and don’t get any reaction from people. I just don’t give off that vibe where acquaintances/strangers feel they can randomly comment on me. My friends aren’t shallow women so they’re not bothered either.
      It doesn’t matter what other people think. Don’t apologise. When people ask me I just say “I’m single” with a huge smile (which shocks them as I’m not a big smiler) like it’s the best thing in the world. I swear half of them are envious. I’ve never had to deal with “why”. I think I’d probably just look puzzled and disdainful like it was a really weird question. Or how about”I don’t know, I never meet anyone!” and wangle get an invite to a party or something. It’s not a big deal, people are too wrapped up in their own lives to give much thought to anyone else’s. If they’re that interested they must have very empty lives.
      As for s ingle women going off with married men – there are plenty of single men out there, and even if there weren’t a MM is not the answer. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Of course you’re not going to meet a decent single man if you’re running around with a MM (not saying you are, general comment).

      • LostEnergy says:

        Thanks for your reply. Hmm I’m not sure if I give off a vibe where people feel free to comment on me, it is possible. I’d like to know what i do and to stop it, coz it’s very annoying!
        I know being single isnt a *big deal* but I have the bad luck of knowing or living in an area where people seem rather judgemental and not so open-minded in the countryside! And whether it’s me or something but people *are* interested and they do ask lots of awkward questions. I think as the world catches up -it’s less frequent though which is good. And I’m getter better at not really caring so much why or what they’re asking if it’s just like they wanna read me like an OK! Magazine and not genuinely interested in me as a person. Luckily I’ve learnt to choose my friends better and keep the decent & discard the dudds.
        I think I have often looked puzzled and disdainful when people ask me ‘why?’ but then last time i said, er coz I broke up with my boyfriend (duh!) … Next time I might say “that’s one of the most bizzare questions”… If I told them coz I never met anyone I jut know that would ensue a load of ‘really?! like never?!” But at least it’s possibly an indiciator of a Goon that I dont want to get involved with anyhow yellow/amber flag!
        With regard to the single girls going off with MM no, not clever although I have been there… What I meant was some single women may be more likely to take the next thing they’re interested in (which could be an MM) & try to make it good/into a relationship rather than throw the fish back in the sea.
        Just think there are strong social pressures to be in a relationship, posibly depends on locality, culture etc but the pressure exists.
        I think it is a factor in women making not such good choices in the haste to have a relationship (e.g. a MM instead of a single man) -rather than waiting that bit longer for a better catch.

        • Minky says:

          Hey Lost,

          The reason these people are making you feel bad is because YOU feel like a failure for being single and they’re just tapping into this. I am with a great guy now, but I have always loved being single! You can come and go as you please, date as many people as you like, flirt like crazy, stay in the house in your pyjamas for days on end, you have the whole bed to yourself, you can go travelling at the drop of a hat, stay out ’til all hours with no one pestering you trying to find out where you are – the list is endless! When people used to ask me if i was with someone i would say (with mock distain) ‘Oh god no, i’m having way too much fun!’. If you embrace singledom and see it as a good thing, no one will laugh at you. And Grace is right, they probably do envy you. When i used to tell my ‘settled’ friends about my life, my crazy nights out, the men i flirted with, the hobbies i had (photographing music gigs being one of them) etc, they would say how boring their lives seemed in comparison – and these were the people seemingly ‘living the dream’: settled and married with houses and children!

          The other positive thing about embracing your singledom, loving yourself and leading a full and interesting life is that, when you do meet someone worthy of you, you will have so much more to offer them and you will respect and love yourself and be totally unwilling to engage with someone who doesn’t see that. Dont worry about what other people think – what you think is the most important thing, because you are the most important person in your life. :)

          • LostEnergy says:

            Thank you for taking the time to comment. I do appreciate it.
            Your comment: “these people are making you feel bad is because YOU feel like a failure for being single and they’re just tapping into this”. Whilst there may have been an element of this at the time & possibly still is to some extent, it doesn’t automatically mean others should make thoughtless comments -is the point I’m trying to highlight. We do not have control over other people’s actions. As NML does so well in helping us to see that internalising other people’s behaviour is not helpful to us, so I just choose friends more wisely now. I can’t account for strangers in a pub, family, or acquaintances making those comments but I can choose my friends.
            Psychology & Society both have an impact is what I’m saying. My past/childhood AND my *surroundings/society* effects me/us all. There is Relationships Status or Single Status discrimination, like there is discrimination of gender, sexuality, race, religion, social class, background, intelligence etc. If someone discriminates against me on these basis I don’t automatically think “ooh okay I’m being tapped into negatively and bullied because I’m Female, Black, Christian, etc!” I think they have a prejudice &/or just like to bully others.
            Their INTENTIONS are already there, I am not blaming myself for their nasty comments -nor will I. If someone is raped or abused or bullied – it doesn’t mean they’re emitting a vibe that’s being tapped into. It’s about the perpetrator. Yes low self esteem will not help someone to fend off a bully or to disregard their behaviour as nothing to do with them. Now, this may seem heavy handed way of explaining but as you can see I do feel society has a singles discrimination issue. This is my point.

          • LostEnergy says:

            I enjoy my life try my best to make it full given my small resources currently, have made lots of friends and recognised a few EUW/M friends for what they are. Am re-building lots of activities/interests/friendships etc. BUT humans do want a partner, therefore we will have moments of loneliness when being single feels uncomfortable/odd 1 out also. I’m not denying these common feelings and neither do I feel inclined to treat people with disdain or be dishonest. Authentically sometimes it’s fantastic & sometimes difficult. Just like a relationship is.

          • LostEnergy says:

            Thank you for your last paragraph Minky & esp.;
            “Dont worry about what other people think – what you think is the most important thing, because you are the most important person in your life. ”
            It’s totally true. Has taken me a long time to get better at this but I am definitely getting better at it. Thanks for the advice and support :-)

        • grace says:

          I tell a lie. People have asked me about it, and quite recently too. I’d forgotten because I’m past caring. We are not impervious to other people but don’t trouble yourself if they gossip about you for a couple of minutes.
          If they don’t drop the subject, it’s because of their own issues/insecurities. Ignore them or, if you feel up to it, argue the toss . Don’t let it get to you- they’re not worth it. It’s different if it’s friends who genuinely want to talk about your life but everyone else can take a hike!
          Friend of mine got a grilling from her friend’s boyfriends because she is single. They asked her if she was a lesbian – which is insulting to her and to lesbians. She was really chewed up abotu it. I told her not to worry about what twits thing. Some men really cannot handle the fact that women are often happier without them.

          • LostEnergy says:

            Hi grace
            Yes thnkfully I am better placed emotionally to deal with this kind of tosh now. But I do honestly see it as a tye of discrimination, probably most similar to class discriminiation in the forms it takes I guess. I guess it’s essentially gender discrimination as men dont receive the same volume of treatment as women on this topic.
            But point taken, Note to self Must try to give less of a sh*t in future.
            Perhaps the real issue i finding more ‘brush off (or F**k off) lines for those i find annoying in public places that say random things! :-) More ‘brush off’ vocabulary would be good:)

  27. LaTosha says:

    I truly appreciated this blog post! This framework is very indicative to a relationship that I had to let go. The information is so true. After reading the post I was also convicted of my behavior. Thank you for sharing. Please visit my blog called It’s All About Love at

  28. Magdalena says:

    I used to analyze, re-analyze, and over analyze the dude’s intentions until I realized that it really didn’t matter. Whether his intentions were good or bad, his actions and inactions still hurt like f*ck, which actually did matter.


  29. Finally Happy says:

    This post is perfect timing. After 3 weeks if wondering what my ex’s intentions were, this helped me realize how uncomplicated it really was. His intentions were to do whatever he wanted and hope that my laid back attitude would let him get away with whatever that happened to be at that moment. I was rational and reasonable for a very long time. i.e. Making a fuss but forgiving fairly easily. i.e. ENABLING. When I finally reached my boiling point and flipped, it was the perfect opportunity for him to exit and blame it on me. “I don’t want to hurt you” and “This is hurting me more than you” were two cop out phrases that were used. Still all about him. I now also know what I really want out of a relationship and things I can work on as a result. But those lessons are going to be used to build a much healthier relationship with myself and someone else down the road, not to wonder how I could have changed the outcome with someone I’m clearly not compatible with. Thank you for the much needed perspective!

  30. Magnolia says:

    I’m enjoying all the responses to this post … but I have to laugh – my ex AC never once said “I’m sorry I hurt you” or “I don’t want to hurt you”! His attitude was more one of “If you’re going to play with the big boys, prepare to get bruised” / “no pain no gain.” He figured himself such a catch that I think he just assumed that his high-roller lifestyle naturally left the weaker souls in the dust and assumed that women just “got hurt” dealing with him (because women are weak and so darn easily hurt). I think he believed his nastiness was a kind of street/political savvy and necessary ruthlessness that the right woman would just have the hide to take. Nope, he didn’t *intend* to hurt but he didn’t give a damn that it happened all the time to anyone who got involved with him!

    Or not. Who cares, right? Who cares what his motivations or underlying psychic complexities were.

    Actually, once he got really offended when I said that being with him I could expect to get a verbal slap in the face about once every 48 hours. But he wasn’t really astonished and sorry that his words hurt so much, he was peeved that I used a violent metaphor, because “I don’t think of myself that way” (he liked to compare himself to a superhero, champion of the underprivileged) and I was insulting him. (Seriously, this man had dreams of himself as a caped avenger who leaped tall buildings REGULARLY!)

  31. susie sunflower says:


    I understand where you are coming from. After my ex had put me on a pedestal, said he was so glad he had met me, wanted to be with me forever etc etc, and then he became like someone i never knew, literally cold, deceitful, calculating, obnoxious etc and i could not understand why his change of attitude had happened, and was looking for answers. I actually asked him was it something i had done to make him change his mind about me. His answer was ‘there is no one big thing about you, just some little things’. WTF he was no easy, peasy person to get along with and i had made many excuses for a lot of his behaviour on occasions and then he tells ME i have little issues. He forgot to tell me at that time however that he was shagging someone else behind my back. Now i would call that a really big issue of HIS not mine. These men are users, nothing more and nothing less. They are all out for something for themselves no matter how long you are with them, they have a game plan and once they have had enough and feel its time to pull the plug on you – they do, no looking back – done! At least now i know how they operate i shall be forearmed and not get involved. I am beginning to wonder if there are some decent men out there…….

  32. Mango says:

    Hi, I just discovered this wonderful site a couple of weeks ago, and though I’ve wanted to ‘jump in’, several times, most of the issues I’m struggling with are from old posts re: NC, being friends, etc.

    But this topic also resonates a chord within me as something with which I’m currently struggling. urgh. I’m trying to detach, I’m trying to let go; made it 10 days no contact then responded to an email from him (we live 3000 miles apart in different countries), which left me a bit shaken. Not what he said, rather, but it got me thinking and analyzing all over again, not that it had waned a whole lot during my brief NC…lol!

    So, I’m a whole 5 days NC again. My reasons for NC are because I want to “remove myself from the source of the pain”, NOT because he’s an AC, or a bad guy. We have a long history together; we’ve been in each other’s lives for 25 years, though we did not communicate the 13 years he was married. We do have a foundation of friendship, so it is so hard to detach from someone who has had a special place in my heart, and mine in his.

    I’m just having a hard time letting go of my desire to want to know what was ‘real’, what his intentions were. I think I know, though, there are many unanswered questions. And I have enough awareness after reading many posts on this blog that he may not even know himself, do to his emotional unavailability, so the odds of getting a straight ‘answer’ are slim.

    Too have been built up, so much, just to have it all crashing down, is not only hurtful, but baffling at times.

    I’m having a hard time letting go of someone who really was, at times, a very dear friend. And, someone I always thought of as ‘the one that got away’. He pursued me & kept in touch with me for years; I was the UA one. Sigh. To re-write history………..

    • grace says:

      They do a lot of pursuing, and then suddenly YOU’RE the one pursuing as they withdraw. They realise they don’t want to give you what they were promising. Now you’d like to pursue an explanation from him regarding his intentions.
      I don’t know the backstory but it all boils down to the same principle. If he really wanted to be with you, he would be.
      He may have intended for the two of you to be friends, or to be in each other’s lives (I’ve come to hate the ambiguity of that) to infinity and beyond – but what’s actually happened is he’s …not around. I’ve personally seen men and women cross oceans to be with the one that they love. It’s perfectly feasible and happens all the time.
      Don’t over-romanticise it. You’ve known him a long time and I’m sure the affection is genuine on both sides but equally he liked having you there looking up to him and you were comfortable with him.
      When I’ve been in these ambiguous non-relationships, it’s not so much that they’re mysteriously fascinating and valuable (which I thought at the time) – it’s because I was too scared to put myself out there for the real thing. They’re like a child’s security blanket. One day it’s time to ditch it.

      • Mango says:

        Hi Grace,

        There’s been quite some time since he pursued me so intensely; we met overseas 24 years ago. I was the EU one back then, and he eventually, understandably, lost interest, or just gave up.

        Then I fell in love with him, through his 4 years of letters (4 years!). But at that point, though we got together a few times, it was too late; he’d moved. When I found out he got married, I thought, oh well, I had my chance, and blew it. I was devastated, realizing I had let got of a chance with a really fine man. I had such fears, such walls up.

        Somehow, NC was easier back then. We didn’t communicate at all, for abut 14 years. No cards, nothing. But he never left my heart. Then we got re-connected via the magic of facebook close to 3 years ago, and the rest, they say, is history.

        Once his divorce was final, he came on full tilt with the love, and kind, loving words, etc. I really thought this was our chance.

        Anyway, fast forward to present…………you’re right. You’ve brought up some great points and definitely something to think about. You’re spot on. Yes, I did completely over-romanticize it. And yes, the ambiguity of what it means that we’re in each others lives, and we cannot imagine our lives without the other. However, NOW I see we have different ideas about what that looks like.

        I just wish he had been clearer about the ‘friendship’ part, and cooled off on the, I’m crazy about you, I’ve always had a crush on you, I love the sound of your voice, etc. part. Even moreso, I wish I had heeded the many, MANY red flags.

        Oh! How I wish I knew about this blog back then before I let my neediness take over! Sigh.

        Thank you for sharing your insight with me.

        • Mango says:

          ooops, edited to clarify: *moved on*, not ‘moved’, in the second paragraph; big difference!

    • EmLAW says:

      Mango – I am in the same boat except mine is a MM, future faker extrodinaire….I fell hard…and now its soooo hard to let go of something you know is not right and pretty much was doomed from the start. I may be the one with bad intentions now because I work every minute of every day to break away. Slowly but surely I am seeing results. Hardest single thing I have ever done in my life…I honestly believed he was telling me the truth about the future and I never intended to care so much. Just keep telling yourself you deserve so much more!

  33. Mango says:

    Also wanted to say, thanks so much, Natalie, and thank you ladies, for sharing your wisdom, strength, and hope. It has guided me enormously in starting to see some light after feeling as though I had been sucked into a dark vortex. I really lost myself for awhile there….

    • Phoebe says:

      Hey Mango,

      Your situation and mine sound very similar, right down to thousands of miles away, living in different countries, having a looooong history together etc. It hurts like hell but Grace is absolutely correct when she says that if they had wanted to be with us, they would be. We would be in a relationship right now with them. We may never know what their intentions are as Nat says, or what was or wasn’t true. All we know is the outcome, how they treated us in end, how interaction with them made us feel. It takes a long time to get over these types of relationships, especially if you were once childhood sweethearts and reconnected only to have it end again. But you will come out of it and get through. Keep going with NC, it’s the only way. Hugs!

      • Mango says:

        Hey Phoebe,

        Wow, it does sound similar! It’s a crazy ride isn’t it? So painful. To drag it out over the years. To think we’re done, only to have it re-surface all over again.

        Which I think makes it all the more painful. That there is so much love between us, but do to bad timing, and fears, on both our parts, we just never came to be.

        I think this last go around has been so much more painful, because I’m beating myself for not heeding his red flags. He did make it clear he wasn’t ready for a relationship, that he was scared due to his bad marriage, etc. I really thought he just needed time, and soaked up all the good stuff. There were a LOT of mixed messages, and therefore a lot of confusion and unanswered questions.

        To think we’re not even friends now (he really wants to be), is at times unbearable. It feels terrible to just cut him out of my life. But I’ve got to move on, get myself back on track. How did you do it?! Just NC?

        Thanks bunches for the support, and hugs back!

        • phoebe says:

          Hey Mango – yup hurts like hell. The way I dealt with it was NC – he wanted to be “friends” as well but after all the hot/cold, “don’t know what I want”, etc. etc. but “I do want to see you etc.” I thought to myself – this is ridiculous. If the guy really loved me I’d see it in his actions, without a litany of excuses. I came to see that more than anything I provided an ego-boost, shoulder to cry on and (he hoped) the possibility of no-strings attached sex. What was I getting? Nothing, except confusion and heartache. And if you really look at your relationship, you’ll see repetitions of issues that existed when you were together the first time. I just came to the conclusion that he was exactly the same person, the relationship was exactly what it had been, but I needed something different/more. So, after explaining all of this – only to have him use the “I never meant to hurt you line” and disappear for a few weeks only to try to press the reset button as though nothing had happened. I packed it in. Literally. Fed/exd all of the memorabilia I’d collected of us over the years, back to him. He sent me a note as soon as he received it – blaming youth for the stupid things said and done (couldn’t even use the personal pronoun). I never replied. I suspect he stalked me a bit on FB – I shut down the account, closed twitter, instituted NC and never looked back. It’s been a few years since the last contact. It is much better now. It is just persistence and time. But I will never go back. Loads of exercise, friends, hobbies and reading Dr. Kalish’s research (lost lovers website) help a lot too! :-)

          • Mango says:

            Hey Phoebe,

            Thanks for sharing more of your story. Inspiring indeed!

            For me, he was a very different man in the beginning, but that was 24 years ago. I was the EU one for years.

            I broke NC tonight, over something very silly.



            He didn’t follow through by calling me back when he said he would; he hits the mark 50/50 on that 😛 Anyway, I wept, but more because I let myself down, AGAIN. So, ironically, it actually makes it easier to resume NC again & feel good about it, not forced.

            I can see more clearly his intentions really don’t matter. His behavior NOW is what matters.

            Thanks for the support and tips!

  34. gala says:

    To me the whole intentions business is just a way of trying to stay in the delusion and denial. I did it when I didn’t want to deal with myself. Analysing his intentions till we’re sick is just shifting the focus from ourselves to somebody else, because we’re maybe just too afraid to look at ourselves.
    But generally his intentions don’t really matter, because as he’s gone for good, what good does it do us to think of it? We just go through a whole new overthinking period and in the end we blame ourselves again, if it seems he had good intentions (of which he might have spoken).
    Some time before, when it still hurt every day, I emailed my guy about his intentions and he wouldn’t want to discuss. I was hurt again, but I think he was right. It doesn’t really matter and for me it was a way of seeking his approval.
    NC is a great thing, it just needs to be done in the head as well.

    • Mango says:

      “Analysing his intentions till we’re sick is just shifting the focus from ourselves to somebody else, because we’re maybe just too afraid to look at ourselves.”

      Yes. You’re so right. And yes to the over-thinking and the self-blame.

      Ugh, it makes sense, yet, so hard for it all to really sink in. I am really struggling with this. What a waste of time and energy the last 3 years have been. Time to move forward and put this time and energy on myself…..why is this so hard to do? Perhaps because this all just came to a head recently; I feel so shaken.

      Thanks all for your words of encouragement and support, and your stories of healing!

      Yes, yes, yes to re-claiming our lives :-)

  35. Trinity says:

    BRAVO !!!!!
    ” I didnt mean to, I had good intentions” was exactly the thing i heard when my X walked out after promissing the world, drawing up plans, intergrating me nto his family etc. This was his catch phrase and im sure still is to this day and to everyone. This then meant other people, including work collegues, mutual friends and his family came to me saying the same thing “he didnt mean to hurt you” Guess what this caused for me beside all the other crap and hurt i was going through? It felt like i wasnt aloud to be upset because HE DIDNT MEAN TO! It invalidated my right to be pissed off, angry, heartbroken, upset and grieve. It invalidated my right to do NC, to not want to be friends and on top of that it shifted all the responsability on to me while he got away scott free !
    I can honestly say NML with out a word of doubt that one of the primary things that got me through all that confusion was your blog. Each time i read something things would start to make more and more sense. Even the fact that it was o.k for me to do NC, it didnt mean i was immature or a bad person, i was just trying to survive and heal. The fact that you explained hot/cold which is what i typed in to google looking for answers the day i found this site :) And even now reading this, even though i worked out a long time ago that “I didnt mean to” didnt cut it for me and i felt he was far more calculated than that. Reading it in black and white written so well reminds me that im on the right track and adds more and more confidence :) Even though i went through all the harder stuff at the end of the relationship im the one who is better off because ive grown, learnt and been brave enough to hit everything head on. He didnt get away scott free because he is and i think always will be the same miserable, unstable jerk he always has been.
    Take care XXXX

    • runnergirl says:

      If you haven’t signed up for Natalie’s tips on NC, I’d strongly recommend you do so. What a fanatastically brilliant woman. When the ex MM decided in December “that he was hurting me too much and didn’t mean to” and bailed, I found this site by googling something. You all have been a lifesaver. I’ve relapsed and broken NC via telephone and email with the ex MM twice and each time it has re-committed me to NC and moving on. Since I have to place my hand on a hot stove in order to understand the stove is hot, and run out in traffic and suck it and see, I broke NC again. Guess what, nothing was there but empty promises and how much he misses me but won’t do anything to get back with me. He sent me to the briar patch when I wouldn’t meet for coffee on Friday morning. Coffee? I’m starting to like the briar patch. Screw coffee with him between his meetings on a morning when I don’t have to work, can sleep in, and go to the gym. Since I wouldn’t meet him for coffee, he wasn’t available all weekend. Is all I could think was, sheesh, another close call with going down the rabbit hole with the ex-MM. Oh was he pissed that he couldn’t take me out of the closest and blow me up like his toy. Since I have to do everything assbackwards, I’m writing the UNSENT letter per Natalie’s guidelines. My journaling was spot on but the UNSENT letter is triggering a ton of stuff regarding the ex MM and my relationship with my father. Probably stuff I wanted to avoid because I’m sure my father never meant to hurt me by cheating on my mother. Great work Natalie. Your worksheet is really, really helpful. Next weekend is my birthday. More ex MM and father stuff.

      • Trinity says:

        I did sign up for tips on NC and recieved the email each day, it was extremely helpful.

      • Allison says:


        What did you want from the coffee?

        How are your feelings as to how this affects you and the wife?

        • runnergirl says:

          I had a weak moment and responded to an email and agreed to talk on the phone. My B-Day is coming up. It was not such a good idea as it turns out as you all point out. Nothing has changed, same old tired story which is why I didn’t want to do coffee. I think the wife would be unhappy. It reconfirmed my choice to do and stay NC for my sake and for hers. I could never go back to being the Other Woman and since that is all he is selling; I’m not buying and that’s that. Athough my self-esteem and boundaries still need a ton of work, the work I have done recently (with the help of all of you), makes it darn simple. I not that woman anymore. He’ll probably keep selling though. I’m looking forward to a different future now and that future no longer includes playing second fiddle waiting for him to face his issues.

          • Allison says:


            Why don’t you block this guy?

            Hon, you have written a great deal about what a sleaze bag he is and how he has disrespected the wife, but you’re are still making yourself very available to him, this is what is confusing? You have also stated how badly you feel about the affair relating to the wife and how hurtful it is to her, but there is still communication?

            Girl, you need to back up your words with action, b/c you are only prolonging the drama. You know this is coming from a good place, time to end this nonsense!


          • leisha says:

            excellent. What a perfect birthday gift you are giving yourself…one that will provide you with joy and protection the rest of your life. kudo’s runnergirl. Stay the course.

          • grace says:

            New number and block his email. It nearly killed me to defriend the MM from facebook (our last remaining contanct) but afterwards I felt 150% better. When the door is still ajar you can’t help yourself from having a peek to see what’s on the other side. And every time you end up disapopinted. Why put yourself throught that -you’ve got nothing to prove. Best to shut it. And bolt it.

      • leisha says:

        Trinity: You are doing some fine hard work. It will end up being one of the best gifts you will ever give yourself. Happy Birthday next weekend. Like Runnergirl you are providing yourself with a lasting gift and what could be a more precious thing than self-knowledge, self-love, and self-protection? Kudo’s.

        • runnergirl says:

          Thank you ladies. I missed your posts. I realized my actions were not consistent with my words, the door was ajar, and I couldn’t resist taking a peek. I’ve got it firmly bolted now and have re-aligned my actions with my words. No need to peek anymore. I know what is behind door no. 1, 2, snd 3. Same old s**t and he “doesn’t mean to hurt me”. I did not respond to the b-day card he sent via snail mail and so far so good. Actions really do speak louder than words. I realized he’s going to be persistent until I follow-up NC with my actions which I’ve done and no more rat droppings (Outergirl’s wonderful phrase). I also realized that I’m prolonging the drama and avoiding doing the real work to heal. I’ve done the best I can blocking him via cyberspace. Now, I’ve just got to get a grip and not respond if he manages to get through. Natalie’s image of a cockroach after a nuclear bomb has been really helpful. Thinking about him gorging himself on my cake helps too. Yikes, cockroaches and cake in the same paragraph conjures up some nasty visions. Thank you, I’m staying the course.

          • Marina says:

            Runnergirl, my my my, I feel like I am reading about my life. I can relate to doing the peeking. Changed my phone # yesterday and he then sent me an email from a diff. address. Just found this site yesterday and am shocked & awed so many of us have had experinces with AssClowns! My b-day is coming up and he is pretending to accidentally have let me know of some b.s. flower deliver he supposedly has planned. PATHETIC. I’m getting more emotional strength from Natalie’s site than one-on-one expensive counseling. STRENGTH, I say!

          • NML says:

            Runnergirl, I’ve read your comments over the last few weeks and I’m reminded of one of my favourite movie lines of all time from Whoopi Goldberg in ‘Ghost’ – “Molly, you’re in danger girl”.

            I say this to you as someone who is rooting for you and wants you to get to the other side of this, but yes, “Runnergirl, you’re in danger girl”.Most of that danger is from you, as to be honest, he’s freakishly predictable like most Mr Unavailables. He might do the odd new step in the dance, but pretty much the dance is still the same. You are engaging with this man from a distance. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to do NC or the ‘traditional’ breakup with ‘It’s over’, sayonara and meaning it, you *have* to mean whatever you’re doing and commit to your decision.

            Do not bullshit yourself because it will trap you in denial and your feelings for much longer. Yes the truth hurts, but to be honest with you, so does prolonging the agony with the man that won’t put up or shut the eff up. The key with this isn’t about trying to get him to revolutionise the wheel and suddenly drop his ego, consider your feelings etc – the key is to meet him with a closed door. That can be silence, that can be saying you’re not interested and engaging in no further discussion, and better still, a closed door is getting on with your life and moving on.

            With that tenacity of a cockroach after a nuclear bomb, any and all attention from you is perceived as attention – he doesn’t give two shits about the *quality* of it, and unfortunately *you’re* selling yourself short on rinky dinky pathetic crumbs from him.

            At some point, you have to stop holding out hope. Keep staying the course but commit to the course. You have made so much progress and you will get there in the end, but help yourself there by moving forward. Hugs xx

          • runnergirl says:

            Thank you Natalie for the warning. I hear you. I AM IN DANGER and it comes from within. Crumbs, figuratively and literally. I am engaging with him from a distance and any attention from me is attention. You are right. It was so subtle, I wasn’t conscious of what has been happening. Looking back I can see that I’ve been prolonging the agony with a guy from a distance that won’t put up or shut the eff up. Silence and a closed door is the only way through this with him. My head is committed to moving on and I am committed to the course. But sometimes my heart wanders down the “what if” trail. Thank you for your help and insights. It is frustrating to think that any attention from me is attention and an ego stroke or him. Grrr. No more.

            Marina, if you identify with what I’ve been writing, be careful and be conscious, particularly with your B-Day approaching. For me, it’s like he can sense when I’ve had a good day and getting some clarity, and then he leaves a rat dropping. I’ve got to get a new cell phone so I’m going to change my number too. Happy B-Day to you. Commit to the course.

          • Allison says:


            You can also get a restraining order. This would end it for good!

  36. jennynic says:

    “I’m sorry you felt hurt.” or “I didn’t think I needed to tell you” It seems that there can be some grey area with intentions versus actions. Isn’t it possible that two people can have very different ideas of right and wrong and what is acceptable and what isn’t in a relationships? So if one doesn’t agree that XYZ is a hurtful thing to do and one feels hurt by XYZ… the first being not sensitive enough and is the second being too sensitive? If one simply doesn’t agree with the other how do you get around that? In the last post you mentioned being empathetic doesn’t mean they have to agree with you, so then what? They did something that they say wasn’t intended to hurt you, but it did. Can it be that this really is true because you have different opinions? I don’t want to rationalize away behaviour that hurt me but I don’t want to be impossible and close minded either because I have trust issues. Is it enough that someone says, “I don’t think its a big deal and don’t agree with you but I hear what you’re saying.”

    • grace says:

      If two people have very different ideas of right and wrong they probably shouldn’t be in a relationship. Especially if those ideas are around fidelity and how you expect to be treated. It’s a bit different if one’s a meat eater and one’s a vegetarian, but I’ve even seen sparks fly with that.
      Only you can know if what you expect is reasonable or if you’re beign a spoilt drama queen. If he’s never giving you an inch I would say the relationship is doomed unless you want to spend the rest of your life being put down and coming second.

    • LostEnergy says:

      Hi jennynic,
      Perhaps which should matter most is how it all feels to you. If your gut is telling you -this feels wrong then it’s wrong for you. Feelings are feelings. It may be someone said/did something that brought up old wounds and it’s more sensitive to you. If you can recognise that, it’s helpful that you know it could be a sensitive spot. However generally there is a level of respect that should be met and appreciated. Your feelings are important. Very important. They are your emotional barometer. Listen to them. And consider other people feelings too, sometimes this requires a step back & cooling off period, if it’s got heated.
      Perhaps listening to your own feelings and trusting them, trusting yourself, the validity of your own feelings, may help in trusting others? But get a counsellors advice on that as I’m no expert!
      Empathy -simply means you can see how someone else may have genuine feelings on a topic (in their shoes). The same situation may have u feeling different but it doesn’t mean their feelings are invalid (although I wouldn’t be surprised if some ACs use this method to mind f**k people -by saying they feel something completely off the wall) Feelings are not up for discussion, they just are, a bit like its sunny today, it just is. Of course we can increase self esteem & this helps to clarify our feelings and how we see them rather than being in emotional confusion & self doubt.
      If they ‘hear what your saying’ then they may change their actions to consider your feelings if they care. Although I agree -changing actions to accommodate another’s feelings is easier for some people than others. But maybe it’s a question of who we chose to be with those that can consider our feelings or those that have limited capacity for it. ..
      I like you have struggled with this, coz at times you can see that the guy does have feelings and concern and care and shows this, then when he doesn’t show it or disregards instead it makes it even worse.
      But then I think I am sensitive too… dont think that’s a bad things, just need to be more selective sometimes :-)

      • jennynic says:

        Grace and Lost Energy, thank you for your responses, both have been helpful. My gut is screaming at me about all this and it doesn’t feel right to me. I have engaged in a little bit of drama with him but I started to feel that familiar feeling of the “mindf**k” starting to happen and it scared the crap out of me. I have been sensitive to him about his issues (some major ones) or sore spots and when I asked for the same consideration I was met with an argument and stubborness. I doesn’t look good for the future and it made me not feel comfortable with him anymore. My feelings do matter, and they are being trivialized by him. I feel kind of kicked really.

        • LostEnergy says:

          Hmmm possibly could be a case of Flush! & move on to next. Okay well no relationship is perfect, but the least you should be feling is comfortable or relaxed most of the time, else what’s the point? There’s enough sh*t in life to have to deal with -without inviting it to get intimate with you.
          Sounds like you’re recognising some feelings and alarm bells that are important to notice, so at the very least proceed with caution, maybe write a jounrnal to help guage your level of comfort/discomfort or just flush and move on.
          I’d like to be proud of my man, am willing to help him but not mother him or constantly teach him – that was a tough lesson to learn for me and many others on BR. I still regulalrly refer to the BR posts about red flags and the red & amber warning signs type posts as well as the 12 boundaries. They keep me sane:-)

        • LostEnergy says:

          Infact it sounds from what you’re saying that it really is a flush and move on case. Only i dont really like to tell people what to do. But also dont what you to think what you’ve written sounds fine or normal to proceed with regardless, cos no it dont sound good chick. Especially if you feel emotionally kicked. No-one desrves that kind of treatment. Big hugs & take care

          • jennynic says:

            Thank you Lost. It is good to get outside insight when you are stuck and feeling confused …..which has turned into inaction. In my heart I know what needs to be done but have been dragging my feet. Doubting myself, not really wanting to stop being around him, being insecure, maybe setting myself up….lots of tangled up reasons for me to sort out. Guess I just needed some reassurance without judgement, and I know many people here have been in the same boat. Thank you.

  37. susie sunflower says:

    I have been in NC for almost 12 months now, some days i do think of the good times we had because there were good times, it was only once he had found someone else behind my back that he began to show his ‘true colours’ and everything went downhill and left me bewildered by his complete change of attitude towards me. Once i found out about the OW and i left the building like Elvis straight away, a lot of things fell into place and became crystal clear to me as to why he acted in the way he did.

    I have come to the conclusion that these people, whatever handle we put on them, are dysfunctional and as such, they will never change no matter what we try to do. I was offered the ‘friend’ card as he so nicely told me he did not want me as a lover anymore (after over 3 years), but i could stay as a friend, and i actually laughed in his face. Who could remain a friend with someone you knew had replaced you and you were no longer going to be numero uno, and having to sit back and watch him giving his attention to someone new!

    I have found NC to be great and when i feel i might be wondering whether i should still be doing it, especially on birthdays, celebrations etc, i have made a list of all the horrible things he did, the things that drove me to distraction, the things that got on my nerves about him, pinned it up in my pc room and reading through it strengthens my resolve to stay in NC.

    • LostEnergy says:

      Susie Sunflower
      Wow, sonds like you handled yourself really well over this situation, well done. I wish I could have handled it so well. Sounds like you have a healthy does of self respect that helped. You’re totally right, so much of relationships is about trust and that is very difficult (if not impossible) to regain with someone once it’s been completely flawed like that. The deceit the disresepct is painful. Thank god you didnt do a Cheryl Cole and take him back, gave benefit of doubt, look where that got her to another set of indescretions cheating and deceit by Ashley. Trouble is once they know you know they’ve lied/deceived/disrespected you it’s time to leave it all behind. We all have good and bad days -your list sounds like a brilliant idea to combat those :-)

  38. j d says:

    Some EU people aren’t just lying to you about their intentions; they are lying to themselves too. When they suddenly realize that they aren’t going to follow through they shut everything down. People who can’t deal with their own feelings can’t be considerate of yours.

    • NML says:

      Exactly J D!

    • chelsea says:

      JD that’s a good point, I was told all these things we could do later on or all this “future faking” but I guess they were just words of no substance, I guess he realized the extent of what the words meant when I actually reacted to them and thought they were more and POOF he backed off, its pretty inconsiderate but I guess I learned to take things at face value so I won’t be too disappointed.

  39. LostEnergy says:

    “However, they did intend to leave the relationship. It was also their aim to safeguard themselves from being vulnerable, to do what they wanted and to ultimately lessen/break the ‘commitment’.”
    This is an incredily helpful comment and possibly something that has been at the back of my mind in the relationship & made me even keener to try harder so they wouldnt go ahead with their intention of leaving. Even though like others here he made me part of the family, we signed a tenancy together etc. My ex was very well prctised in the art of seduction, I noticed so many things like; ‘you won’t hurt me will you, coz I’m not going to hurt you’. Buying a pay-as-u-go mobile virtually the day after he got my number -then saying ‘well you can tell I dont normally do this’, talk about actions & words not matching (polar opposites almost!). He would say how he couldnt wait to be cuddled up on the sofa together – I never moved in. He said he’d teach me how to ski, never did -he just went with his son & friends. Then his words started to math his actions a bit more once I wasn on the desperate trail of trying to make myself worthy in his eyes and he must have known it. He said ‘oh you’re not going to get all upset if you dont get what you want for your birthday are you?!” Grrrr. I guess that no longer sounds like someone who wants a relationship with me.

  40. Dee says:

    The image that kept coming to mind as I read this article is the fact that here in Texas (as elsewhere, I suspect), if someone recklessly fires a gun in an urban area and kills someone, he/she is still guilty of manslaughter even if they did not maliciously “intend” to kill anyone. It’s not enough to say “well I didn’t INTEND to do it, therefore no harm done.” That person is guilty of a serious offense based on the fact that a reasonable person should know better to engage in reckless behavior that could likely harm someone else.

    • NML says:

      Brilliant Dee. This is also similar to drink drivers. It’s very tempting for people to spend morning, noon and night analysing the crappola of the who, what, where’s of intentions, but if you’re reckless with another person’s feelings, they will be hurt.

  41. Gina says:

    After a painful divorce I met a man out at a bar one night. He told lies and created fake scenarios saying later that he was “testing me” and made me cry on numerous ocassions because he said he needed to see how I would react in different situations. He was very close friends with an ex-girlfriend who was pretty obviously still interested in him. She would often join us for dinners out with other friends of his and openly pout and cry because she was single and everyone else was paired off. When I was unavailable due to obligations to my children, she would still join him on outings and ocassionally he would cook her breakfast so they could talk and catch up. When asked by a bartender why we chose this particular hotel bar to have a drink, he answered because it was the only one that accepted prostitutes. After introducing me to some women friends when we were out one night, one of the women commented to him that I was “beautiful”. He replied that I was his sister. He told me on several ocassions that he did not want to disappoint me. He never in 3 years met my parents or more than 2 of my friends. He told me once that it was because IF things didn’t work out between us, he basically didn’t want anyone I knew to recognize him and possibly call him on his behavior. He wanted me in HIS life, but didn’t want to be in mine. He TOLD me that he is selfish and I thought I could teach him how wonderful it could be to commit yourself to another person. He told me that if we were together and he didn’t feel like going to another one of my son’s boring band concerts and wanted to have an “adult evening” out on his boat instead (will his cell phone conveniently stowed away so as not to disrupt his adult evening) that that’s what he needed to do. I spent 3 good years trying to get this guy to love me enough. His last attempt to get together again resulted in me falling head over heels yet again. He sent me sexually suggestive test messages, talked about travelling together, told me that he had looked at a house for us, took me to dinner, etc. He agreed to see a marriage counselor so that we could talk about why he couldn’t commit. Then he sent me a TEXT saying that he could not see us in a…

    • grace says:

      I hope you no longer have anything to do with this louse. Dinners, travelling, holiday. It means squat. They can’t give you the real thing (they don’t know what that is) so they give you … stuff. Though he can’t even do that. It breaks my heart when women put their lives on hold because they’ve been promised … a holiday. Yeah, I’ve been there and didn’t even get the freakin holiday. I was lucky to get a Saturday night.
      Loser, loser, loser. Drop him. No more texts. He’s toxic enough to warrant a new phone number.

      • Natasha says:

        Well said Grace! As someone who’s put her life on hold after being promised similar stuff, I couldn’t agree more. Gina, this guy is a jackass. Lose him!

        • Gina says:

          Natasha- so funny that you called him a “jackass”. That was my nickname for him many times when I spoke of him to friends! Some would even say, “So how’s Jack? Jack Ass?” “Jack’s” former girlfriend (the barnacle) is now engaged to be married next month. Funny how he wouldn’t cut ties with her for my sake, but as soon as she met the new man, she wasn’t so interested in being his friend anymore. I know now that I had a wheelbarrow full of reasons to drop him. I’m so thankful now that he was SUCH an EUM that he never actually proposed. Because the old me would have married him and then would have been subject to his criticism of my weight (perfectly normal), my shoes (stylish, if I do say so myself!), and the fact that my wonderful, sweet, smart son likes bacon too much (who doesn’t?). As I see these things in print, I am so ashamed about putting up with it for so long. Truly, this site helped save me.

          • Natasha says:

            Girl, I am SO glad to hear that you are done with Jack! I love that…and “the barnacle”!! It’s really true about being thankful that we didn’t end up with these toolsheds. My Mom said to me about my ex-AC, “Dear God, I pity the woman who ends up married to him.” Keep up the good work lady :)
            p.s. Bacon is good for the soul and anyone who doesn’t understand that would not make a good life partner for me either. Truth.

      • Gina says:

        Thank you so much, grace! I wrote too much last time and the post got cut off, but the end was that this *50 year old* man sent me a text saying that he could no longer see us in a romantic relationship. Of course, I was devastated! How could HE reject ME when he was the one who was so badly behaved?!?!?! I mean, he was the one who told me no one would even buy my house because I had bad taste in paint colors. I once wore the “wrong” shoes and he became angry because he’s not used to people DEFYING him! Anyway, he got away with it because of my low self-esteem and because I LET HIM! I have slipped up on NC a couple of times but am currently back on the wagon :) I love collecting quotes and a favorite has become “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you keep getting what you’ve been getting”. And I don’t want any more of that! Thanks to Natalie and all of the women here who deserve better and are willing to put in the work to get it and support each other along the way. And grace, you’re right. A new phone # might not be a bad idea!

        • outergirl says:

          ‘Bacon is good for the soul’!! LMAO. ‘Bacon..fried heaven on a plate’. Song lyrics, unfortunately, I do not know the song or artist.

  42. Tina T says:

    When we’re children we are told repeatedly that “actions speak louder than words” but we seem to forget this as we grow older. Judging someone based on their good intentions or lovely words can never take precedence over what their actions are showing you, especially when it comes to repeat behavior. If you truly didn’t intend for your behavior to have certain consequences then you would adjust for your behavior from that point on, rather than continuing that “unintentional behavior.”

  43. SE says:

    I am a man who’s been dealing with another dude over the past 5-6 months. About six months ago I met a very attractive and charming guy at the gym. At the time I wasn’t sure about his intentions or orientation. Over the course of a couple months, we began going out dinner regularly, texting all day, phone conversations until late into the night, he even asked me to shave his back for him. He calls me his “Boy” and his “best friend”. I began to really like him. Not only because he was beautiful to look at but because he had most the qualities I want in a mate and I enjoyed the time we spent together. During this time, he constantly talked about women, and finding a girlfriend. But he was also asking me to spend the night with him and sleep in the same bed, which I did (Although we have never done anything sexual –I definitely wanted to.) When I would ask him about the girlfriend thing, he would downplay it and say things like he really wasn’t that eager to get a girl and even if he did, she would have to understand that nothing was going to come between us. So I figured he was just in denial about his sexuality or playing a role because he didn’t want to ‘out’ himself to me. Then bam, he tells me he’s asked a girl at our gym out on a date. That was a wakeup call for me. I decided to tell him about my orientation and that I liked him as more than a friend. His response was “I don’t swing that way [homosexual} and never will.”
    He assured me that I was still his “boy” and that he still wanted things to basically stay the same. I texted him the next day and told him I couldn’t talk to him for awhile. That didn’t work so well, I couldn’t stop cold-turkey. Two weeks later he was dating a new woman. After one date and two weeks, he asked her to be his girlfriend. The last month he’s basically contacted me only when he needs something from me or to throw me a crumb so I’ll stay on his d*ck. He never misses an opportunity to flaunt his new relationship in my face and remind me that he’s not gay. The last time he came over my house, he spent most of the time on the phone with the girlfriend as if I wasn’t even there. After that incident stopped I responding to his texts and phone calls. I saw him at the gym the other day and spoke but that was about it. He hasn’t contacted me since.

    I thought he actually liked me, like I liked him. Now, I think I was just a…

    • grace says:

      This reads pretty much “business as usual” for the EU. Even down to other women. Ha! The irony. You did get a red flag early on when he talked about women. 99% of the time we’re given a get out moment. It’s like the cosmos is trying to even things up for us. Sadly, we ignore it at our peril.
      You say he had the qualities you are looking for in a mate but I think you need to dig deeper. Attractive and charming are good qualities for entertainment. But it doesn’t get you very far when it comes to what really counts in a relationship.
      I don’t know if he liked you or not, or what his intentions were. But it was not good enough or you wouldn’t be here. Chalk this up to experience.
      You’d be better off meeting a man who knows if he’s gay or not. Even if this man did come out on your watch, it’s a lot to handle. He should do it on his own time and not muck about with other people’s feelings. And God help his girlfriends!

  44. Katie says:

    I found your blog at a time when I needed to read this, and especially liked this post. (Now if only I’d found you seven months sooner, I could have avoided some heartache!)

    The guy I was dating(we met on a dating website, and since he was stationed overseas, we Skyped a lot) wanted to meet me on his leave time. He talked about taking me to see his family, and friends. I planned my own vacation to coordinate with this time. That week when he had his schedule, we spent time just Facebook-messaging back and forth to decide the dates.

    Then the breakup happened(on Valentine’s Day). His reason was that the “distance was too far for him to get involved with me.” What? When he was willing to fly across the US with me before! I was not buying it.

    I believe he fit the “future faker” profile very well, after reading your post. I tried to save the relationship(of seven months)–but then wrote a Dear John letter when I couldn’t take his lack of attention. We had agreed to be friends, which I see you say is another no.

    His response was that he had not intended to mislead me. And “I’m sorry you got hurt, but really, I always hinted at being friends.” Well, he was the one who mentioned marriage, the future, etc. But I didn’t even see this breakup coming, and it hurt. My friends all said he was gun-shy of commitment(he was never married, neither was I.)

    I was rather foolish and wrote a letter explaining how he hurt me. But I am NC now, for almost 2 weeks.

    We are still Facebook friends, but I have hidden his profile. I feel I should unfriend him at some point, but am not willing to do so right now. Trying to get over the hurt. Thanks for your advice, it’s helped me keep from messaging this non-committed future-faker!

  45. izzybell says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately- because I believe how one frames things to oneself matters a lot in terms of moving on. I like to think my ex had good intentions, as I did, but a limited capacity to follow through on these intentions and translate them into reality. He isn’t able to give me the intimacy and commitment I need and want, even though it’s probably true that he needs and wants these things too. If I believed he was using me from the beginning, I’d feel like a sucker or a victim. So instead I figure there was real affection there, and mutual hope for the future but he just couldn’t/wouldn’t move beyond wishful thinking. Who cares why, really. In any case, I still had to leave.

  46. Rita J says:

    Wow…this just happened to me with a future faker!
    He wanted me by his side to renovate a building he just purchased. I gave up my fab loft to move into his new place. He promised a new and better loft for me. We would not live together, I would pay him rent.
    Then our 8 month anniversary was yesterday and he was suppose to help me move into his newly purchased building. I had been packing boxes with my friend for two weeks!
    He started an absurd fight over where we were going to eat. Then started accusing me of all kinds of mean actions towards him. Then the kicker: he did not want me to move in at all!
    I am praying my landlord lets me stay in my old loft. I should hear back soon. I am lucky to be getting out! Cross your fingers for me!

    • Natasha says:

      Rita, I’m so sorry to hear that you were caught by the dreaded future faker! As someone who’s been invoved with one too, I will say that as much as it sucks, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. What timing this loser had! I wanted to let you know that my Dad is a landlord and, trust me, what a landlord wants most is to hang onto a good tenant. It can be expensive to find a new one and they would much rather keep someone in the apartment that they know is reliable. I have every confidence that he’ll let you stay, but just in case, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    • Allison says:


      I’m sorry! That is horrible!

      Were there any red flags before this?

      Good luck with the landlord!!!

  47. SE says:

    Yeah I hear you Grace. And you’re right I should have cut him off or distanced myself sooner. I just thought it didn’t matter what he said because his actions indicated he was interested in more than just a buddy. its weird. . But I have learned a lot. No more games. Either ur str8 and wanna be my homeboi or u get down and want to be more than my friend. F*ck dating a str8 dude, can’t keep wasting time or getting my feelings hurt.

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.