giving the person that says that they only want a casual relationship the benefit of the doubt

When people tell me stories about their relationships or their interactions with people where they experienced a great deal of pain, the stories are often peppered with, “I kept giving him/her the benefit of the doubt.” I’ve been in situations like these many times where I’ve wrestled with the uncertainty that can come with either not being able to take a good reading of your gut or that comes with knowing that if you accept what you see, that you may have to take action or acknowledge certain things. Much of the time and energy is spent trying to pin ‘good intentions’ on a person or at the very least analysing the intentions. The uncertainty tends to grow the less we trust ourselves in general and the more that we’re inclined to throw our self-worth into the mix and question ourselves and what we’ve done to ‘provoke’ what we’re doubting.

It’s critical though when we make decisions that have the potential to impact our wellbeing and to potentially keep us in a toxic situation where we’re not adequately representing or protecting ourselves, that we get clear on what we’re doing and ensure that we’re not doing something else entirely, because often we’re not giving the benefit of the doubt – we’re giving the benefit of the equivalent of magic eraser combined with over-empathy.

Benefit of the doubt – an acceptance that a person is truthful or innocent if the opposite cannot be proved. (source Oxford Dictionaries).

What we tend to focus on is whether we can ‘prove’ that the person in question is guilty of having malicious intentions. Aside from the fact that we cannot ‘prove’ what another persons intentions are or were (that’s up to them to do), what we forget is that who a person is is self-evident and that they show us their intentions. We sometimes take ‘seeing the best’ in people too far and interpret giving the benefit of the doubt as denying what we saw, heard or felt.

It’s healthy not to run around assuming that anything that we don’t like has bad intentions behind it or to assume that other people’s behaviour is about us and put our worth behind their intentions. We can give the benefit of the doubt when it’s needed and appropriate that the interpreted meaning or particular outcome wasn’t intended, but then the person is either going to give you reasons to justify your doubts regarding dodgy intentions or give you further evidence to justify your concerns.

We’re not giving the benefit of the doubt when we pretend that something didn’t happen or we start coming up with all manner of stories and excuses in an attempt to shut down our misgivings and silence our inner voice. We’re definitely not giving the benefit of the doubt when what we felt uncertain about the presence of, is actually continuing to happen and potentially has other things that back up our initial feelings and concerns.

Acknowledging that something happened and giving the benefit of the doubt are not mutually exclusive. We have to acknowledge what happened and how we feel in order to gauge whether the benefit of the doubt is warranted or whether we need to represent ourselves more adequately. We often choose to give the benefit of the doubt not just because of some uncertainty we may feel but a tendency to feel anxious and over-empathetic to those who bring out our Florence tendencies. Instead of recognising our own feelings and even possible danger, we choose to analyse, fix/heal/help and in turn our confusion increases and it becomes increasingly difficult to get a reading not just on our feelings and general wellbeing but also on what the other party is or isn’t doing.

When we give the benefit of the doubt, it’s never a bad thing to question where that comes from, not because trying to see the ‘good’ and not assume the worst is a bad thing (quite the opposite) but because denying the existence of stuff and giving ourselves a hard time instead is never a good thing.

Is the uncertainty there because you typically struggle to recognise your feelings and opinions?

Is it because you don’t want to see the truth because it would scupper your hopes and expectations and cause you to have to take what you currently perceive to be a ‘difficult’ action?

Is it because you feel bad for feeling uncomfortable or just recognising what you experienced? This would mean that you’re making a judgement about you – what is it? Why aren’t you judging the situation instead? Are you blaming you?

It’s good not to assume that everyone has shady intentions but it’s equally good to recognise your feelings, as well as situations, and behaviour from others that call on your gut, ping or even bust your boundaries, or show a conflict in core values. Sometimes we have to admit that due to the fact that we spend so much time second guessing ourselves over certain people, our whole interaction with them is one big fat benefit of the doubt that we’re definitely not benefiting from. Sometimes we’re actually giving the benefit of our overactive imagination and our difficulty in trusting ourselves. There’s no need to keep doubting and doling out benefits – the evidence is there. It’s that whole being a CSI collecting evidence but not wanting to process it.

People unfold and who each of us are is self-evident. When we give the benefit of the doubt, it’s not there to write off our boundaries; it is there to give ourselves and the other person the time and opportunity to see that we were right not to assume the other possibility and for them to show through the evidence of their subsequent behaviour and how they treat us, that continuing to trust / engage with them and to not assume or decide that they have shady intentions, was and is a good thing.

Your thoughts

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242 Responses to There’s a big difference between giving the benefit of the doubt and giving the benefit of magic eraser

  1. Lara says:

    This is a really timely post. I’ve recently experienced this “problem” of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, when in reality, I really seemed to be making excuses for him. I recently (yesterday was the 4 month mark) came out of an abusive relationship with my narcissistic AC ex (who also cheated on me), and a few weeks ago met this guy from online dating, who asked me out. At first we went out for coffee, but then, he seemed rather intent on not asking me out for anything too “serious” like dinner. For our third date, I had to ask him out. For the first and second dates, he asked me out , respectively, for coffee (1st date) and drinks (2nd date). Both times, I ended up paying for my share, as he didn’t offer to pay. I thought he was OK otherwise, and didn’t notice any big red flags (though I guess the fact that he only wanted to keep this ‘light’ and didn’t even offer to pay for my coffee, were probably really big red flags). Until I realized that he was never actually calling me, never really putting any real effort. He only texted me, kept texting me all day long, having long conversations via text, but never bothering to pick up the phone. The only time we had a phone conversation was when I called him, as a way to basically tell him that I wanted to talk. I can’t type pages and pages via text. That’s what I was ending up doing because he wanted to have conversations via text! Anyway, I guess he thought that was enough or even too much effort on his part. Because I am usually attracted to “bad boys” who turn out to be *ssholes, I decided to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, even though my gut feeling was telling me that this guy was, at the very least, not satisfying my needs, even if he wasn’t a “user”/AC. Of course, he didn’t change. He kept texting me. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt again, and even asked him out to a 4th dinner date (which I ended up paying for). By the end of that dinner, I just wanted to pay for both of us since he’d paid for both of us on the 3rd date, because I was ready to call it quits and didn’t want him to think that I was a golddigger who was trying to get meals off of him (though I didn’t have to do that — I guess I am seeking validation from people in doing so). Anyway, after that dinner, he still kept texting me, and I didn’t say anything about wanting or not wanting to continue to date him. I sorta wanted to observe what he’d do, if I pulled back — if he’d put in more effort. But no, same pattern, just texting. I stopped replying, and he still wouldn’t pick up the phone and call me. In the end, I realized what I was doing wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt, because the signs were there for me to see that he was either not that interested in putting in more effort, or wasn’t a good fit. I am just ignoring him at this point, and I don’t think I even owe him an explanation / closure after that. I feel a bit angry and taken for granted, so I think I really don’t owe him that explanation. I feel like he really treated me badly — it’s like telling someone you are interested in them, but not enough to pick up the damn phone. Kinda insulting and reminds me of my AC ex. I am noticing a pattern here, though. I usually am attracted to quiet, nerdy types, and it’s usually my assumption that those types are awkward, shy, etc., and so, they will not be players/users/ACs, but so far, it’s been those types who have been the real ACs who have not put in any effort, etc. Goes to show stereotypes are misleading. I think I should really try to date other types of men as well. My picker is seriously messed up I guess. Now, another guy is chasing after me, even though he does not live in my city for most of the year. I am still wondering what’s in it for him. He, too, does not put in any effort, other than emailing me. I gave him my phone number and he didn’t even text me once. Granted that he’s abroad at the moment, but how expensive is it to text me once? Is he that worried I will bomb his phone with a ton of messages? Maybe if he wants to keep a woman at arm’s length like that, he shouldn’t be looking to “date”. And then again, maybe he is NOT looking to DATE. And this is a 38 year old man. Talk about immature, commitmentphobic probably as well.. What is it with so many commitmentphobes these days? This guy kept ignoring my email for 12 days, then emails me asking if I’d like to meet for drinks (he downgraded me from dinner to drinks, as he had initially suggested dinner) when he returns home for 2 weeks. I am still giving him the benefit of the doubt (or maybe the big magic eraser)and not sure WHY. I think a lot of people, especially men, get away with jerk behavior and not putting in any effort, because so many of us don’t know the difference between justifying someone’s bad/lazy behavior and actually giving them the benefit of the doubt. I still struggle with this even when I SEE the red flags.

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Lara, I know this is a bit off the topic but can I say that you do seem to be rushing into the dating scene quite quickly, it’s only been 4 months since you broke up with your ex AC are you quite ready or are you trying to fill the hole that the ex AC left?
      Because until you get yourself sorted you will keep on attracting the wrong sort of men, I didn’t quite understand that before but after coming onto BR I now realise that it is so true.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        I agree with Sandy. What’s the rush with dating? Give yourself time to heal from the last debacle. If you don’t take the time to examine yourself and how you can avoid future mistakes, you’re just going to keep making them (mistakes). This guy shout EUM from the rooftops and you’re unable to recognize it. Do you think a man has to be blantantly bad to not be good for you? Big mistake. Don’t be willing to settle for so little. This dude clearly wasn’t interested in a RELATIONSHIP. That’s is not attainable by solely texting. Actually it’s insulting after you complied with it for awhile then called him on the phone and he STILL gave you the crumbs (texting). Take some time to build your self esteem and learn to quickly recognize a deal breaking situation. If you don’t, you can’t complain about attracting guys who are seriously lacking in romance, let alone love, care, trust and respect.

        • Lara says:

          Well, I took 4 months off dating, and in the meantime, I worked on myself A LOT. I am more self-confident now, and I don’t feel the need to chase after men, and I know if something doesn’t feel right, that I should just EXIT the situation. Which is exactly what I am doing. The only reason I gave this guy so many chances was that I thought I always got attracted to men who are douchebags, so when at first I didn’t feel terribly attracted to this guy, I thought maybe I should give this a try because maybe he IS the different type who would be GOOD for/to me. That’s the only reason I gave him a chance. Anyway, I am done dating — for a long time to come. Ironically, it’s just when you don’t want to date that all the men start chasing after you. It gets really frustrating. I am actually very annoyed at this point with all the men chasing after me. This guy from work is also chasing after me, but not putting in much effort in the first place. I am really annoyed at that. If you want to chase after me, do it properly, and not just through texting or coffee or drink dates where you don’t even treat me to a coffee/drink. This concept is so alien to me. What is it with men nowadays? Is it that they are all so bitter about women being “golddiggers” (a lie/myth), and so they don’t want to treat them to anything, even a coffee? Or what? It’s really rude. I treat my friends and co-workers to coffee and drinks more often than men have bought me coffee or a drink or dinner.. Sheesh. Anyway, ranting here, a little… Just frustrated with the way men are… it seems to be a widespread phenomenon and not just an AC thing, IMO. Anyway, I am done dating as I said. I don’t even like all the attention I am getting nowadays. It reeks of sexual desperation on the part of the men who are doing it.

          • Ciembi says:


            I hear you! This year I’ve had three, you read right: THREE different men do the whole dance where they contact me through text/email/whatsapp or whatever and never ONCE suggest meeting up, not for coffee, not for drinks, not for anything. They are not interested in holding a conversation, they don’t want to know you. They just make lazy contact, await my response, and once they’ve had my answer, they disappear. I have suggested meeting up countless times and have been met with false enthusiasm and false promises every time. Mind you, I was not pressuring them for a relationship or anything, I was just suggesting to have a coffee.

            I understand this is nonsense, so I’ve kept my expectations real and didn’t get emotionally involved with any of these guys, but I can’t help notice this behavior, as it seems completely insane and even rude!

            An interesting twist is that when you do not respond to their stupid messages, they insist or taunt you or get all urgent, and when you finally answer… they disappear and make you feel a dupe for responding. I don’t lose sleep over them, it got to a point for me where I just responded out of curiosity, to see how long they would keep it up. Well, it seems they have a lot of time on their hands and not a single good friend with whom to spend it, for they kept contacting me with one-word questions (“Doing?”) or stating that they’re cold, or hungry, or sleepy, or depressed and other such nonsense, and when you answered they couldn’t seem to be bothered to hold the chat for more than a couple half-assed sentences before they disappeared again. This went on in cycles of one to three months. I can’t, for the life of me, figure WHAT they were thinking. I have stopped responding of course, because it is too much of a waste of my valuable time and my curiosity only goes so far.

            I understand that today it is possible to “communicate” very easily and almost for free with anyone who’s given you their phone number. I also understand that human beings experience episodes of boredom, isolation, loneliness, whatever. The combination of cheap communication and endless boredom seems to breed these very shallow people. I don’t know. But seriously: don’t these guys have ONE good friend to tell their stuff to? Not a single hobby to pass time with? What’s the point of making contact with a person they are not even remotely interested in? Why not make contact with someone they ARE interested in? It baffles me.

            • Lara says:

              It’s truly sad, Ciembi , isn’t it? That people can be so desperate for attention from random strangers, even ones in whom they are not interested at all. In a way I feel bad for them, and then my Florence Nightingale instincts kick in. I am trying to avoid re-establishing contact with this man out of pity. I did it a few times with my AC ex as well. They’re not to be pitied — just stayed away from… IMO. They are dangerous people. And highly manipulative. It’s like they realize you’re a Florence Nightingale type person and try to use that to their advantage.

            • ReadyForChange says:

              Yes, this is has been my exact experience with online dating too. And I thought I was filtering them a lot, choosing to respond only to a very small proportion of the messages, on the basis of their profile, education, interests, etc. I am done with online dating for good. Particularly after having been burnt with a guy who eventually decided to meet and made lots of promises only to disappear. It seems to me that a lot of people online are not there looking for something real, just to pass the time with the illusion of being wanted by many.

              • NK says:

                I agree that you seem to be rushing into dating these guys. Everything is being analysed, you feel really unsure about the behaviour and signals from them. Until you can trust your instincts, take a break or except the roller coaster ride of emotions! I was also a little confused that you said you are attracted to bad boys and nerdy types, are you attracted to both? am I reading it wrong?
                Also, whats the hang up about paying for coffee? not sure how you feel about it but I always offer to pay for my share/half. I don’t see it as a big deal if the guy doesn’t pay. Honestly, that just makes things easier. Also did you tell the guy that long texts are not the best way to communicate? and that you’d prefer phone convo? what did he say? x

                • Lara says:

                  Hi NK,

                  Yes, I definitely think I rushed into dating again, though as someone else said here (I think a comment below), I don’t feel comfortable with waiting too long either. I don’t think I will ever heal 100% from the traumatic experience I had with my narc AC ex who was incredibly abusive and a cheater (and it was my first ever relationship, so that is the only thing I have to compare to). I found pictures of the woman in his bed, the woman he cheated on me with — his escort-prostitute-gf in Thailand. Anyway, I still have nightmares about those pictures, and I don’t think I will really heal 100% from that. I don’t have any feelings for the ex, though, and I have really dealt with some of the issues that arose, but I also don’t want to assume that I have a lot of issues that aren’t really there, just because the ex was really projecting a lot of the time, accusing me of being things and doing things that I just wasn’t/wasn’t doing. I definitely feel that I have regressed from emotional availability to emotional unavailability though, after that experience with the ex. It’s not so much about trust (though that is definitely an element of that unavailability), but more about just seeing right through so-called relationships/dating and not feeling like there’s anything genuine in the whole process. Like it’s just a show that 2 people put on. It doesn’t help that this is exactly what a lot of if not most people do. They put on an act, to reel you in. And then you discover they were never really the person you thought they were. I’ve come across this time and again, both in online dating and offline dating.. All the men I’ve gone out with, whether it was just for one time or multiple dates, have been like that. I don’t think I am picking the wrong guys either — it’s more like, most/all guys are like that. I even make sure that the ones I am meeting up with meet my very high intellectual standards, can maintain a good conversation (via email if I meet them through online dating). I don’t even appear clingy or needy, and they still want to keep me at arm’s length, while still texting me on a daily basis, throughout the day even, etc. I just don’t get it. I don’t want the rollercoaster of emotions. I am just too tired and sick of this whole “game.” My ex wore me out with his mind games and now I come across time and again, other men who are similarly into mind games (though at a much reduced level compared to my ex).

                  By bad boys I don’t mean men who are outwardly womanizers. By that I mean men who don’t treat me right. All the nerdy/shy types that I have ever come across, are the bad boy type. Appearances are misleading. My ex was a ‘nerdy’ type, as is “Mr. Coffee.”

                  I don’t mind paying my own way. I can afford it, and don’t usually expect it from people. But it’s nice to be treated to something (no matter how small) every now and then. I do it for my friends sometimes, and they do it for me as well. On balance, it evens out. People who don’t do it, are either the type who don’t want to invest anything into something they are supposedly interested in, or just aren’t that interested in that person, or just can’t afford anything more than their own cup of coffee. In which case, I have to wonder, why do they even want to be on the dating market? It is nice and just an expression of interest when someone treats you to dinner or drinks or whatever. Not saying that jerks don’t do it, with the expectation that you will jump into bed with them. A lot of men do it for the wrong reasons. They do it because they think it will increase the chances that you might put out, or whatever. I want a guy who sees through that, who doesn’t do it for THAT, but who does it because he just enjoyed my company and wants to make me feel appreciated. And I’d reciprocate. I don’t believe in the guy always paying for the both of us. I pay for the both of us sometimes too. It would even out. In fact, with my AC ex, I ended up paying most of the time, for both of us (he started taking advantage of me not only sexually but also financially). To me, a guy who never offers to pay for the both of us (not necessarily a first date) is stingy or jaded. I’ve been raised to rely on myself, and always had difficulty accepting people paying for my food or whatever, but I have come to see that it is a sign of appreciation sometimes, and I like it. I like doing it for others too. It’s not about the money, but it is a demonstration of one’s personality. Also, if he can’t afford to pay, I don’t want to date a broke person and act as his financial savior. I like dating an equally ambitious person who is not lazy and can make the best out of any situation no matter how bad, and make ends meet. I don’t want to be “raising” a boyfriend or a husband. I want us to be equal partners and a man who can’t afford to buy me a coffee is not someone who can offer me that sort of relationship. Also, what is the harm in buying a woman coffee? I mean, ask yourself that question. Why is it such a big deal? On the first morning out with my ex after we had had sex, we walked around town and stopped by a coffee shop to eat, and he claimed he didn’t have any cash on him, and that he can’t use his credit card abroad (because they charge him a few bucks). I ended up buying for the both of us. That’s cheap. I still did it gladly, but I was being taken advantage of, by a jaded bitter man, who thought the world (and womankind) owed him royalty treatment. If a guy is not putting in the effort at least at the very start, in my experience it will only get worse. It is of no use to even give them the benefit of the doubt at that point. Men seek to impress in the beginning stages. If a man is not even putting in the effort, it either tells me he’s not that into me, or is lazy and just wants to get what he wants with minimal effort. It doesn’t make me feel appreciated and I don’t need a man like that in my life. I’ll get a pet — it would probably make me feel doubly appreciated and wouldn’t cost half as much money or heartache.

                  • Lara says:

                    Another red flag with Mr. Coffee , that really got me thinking: He seemed to be expecting that I would do some event / take him out on his birthday (at that point, we were a coffee date, a drink date, and a dinner date into the dating process). I was extremely busy that week, with a crucial deadline approaching, and was very stressed and busy. I still made time, and suggested that we go somewhere — he opted for.. coffee shop. I do think he was hoping for something more. But I just didn’t have the time for more, and was exhausted and couldn’t do an all-nighter dressing-up-going-out-having-dinner that takes hours. I still put in some effort, and I didn’t owe him anything anyway, at that point, so early on into the dating (especially after he had only asked me out to coffee dates and hadn’t even treated me to a $2 cup of coffee). He then left an hour later, claiming he had emails to respond to. It’s like he was disappointed or something, or wanted to be passive aggressive and show me that he didn’t care about my effort. Anyway, this was a day after I had called him and I did tell him that I like talking to him on the phone, that it works for me better than texts. And he wasn’t anxious about talking on the phone either. It’s not like he was awkward or whatever. If anything, he seemed rather aloof and hard to get, when we were talking on the phone — like he didn’t care. Anyway, too much drama and mind games, honestly. If it’s so bad so early on, it can’t get any better. It wasn’t even this bad with my ex at the beginning.

                • Lara says:

                  I am really convinced that if you give people unwarranted benefit of the doubt , they will take you for granted. Now, I don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. I assume they are out there to get laid and not interested in dating (and this is true for most people even ones who sign up for online dating), and they can always surprise me by being different. It’s much better than time and again giving people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t deserve it. I don’t owe anyone the benefit of the doubt.

                  • grace says:

                    Okay maybe you aren’t ready yet.
                    Maybe a couple of months time out enjoying your hobbies and connecting with friends is in order.

          • grace says:

            I think a four month break can be long enough. It depends on the individual.
            There is a danger of waiting too long until you are 110% healed. For me that took nearly six years! If you have one date in six years it can take on too much significance.
            Also, after years of being on our own, I do wonder if we get too used to it.
            I can’t remember where I read it but excessively long periods of time between relationships can be just as much as sign of emotional unavailability as too little.
            Most of the men you meet are not going to be right for you. A lot are nervous about asking women out. The ones who are very good at it have had too much practice! Try not to be discouraged.

            • DiggingDeeper says:

              I agree with Grace: “Most men aren’t going to be right for you.”

              I think it is soooo important to “date with your self-esteem in tow,” as Natalie says,” and YES, try not to get discouraged, but make sure you know your limits, and take a break from dating when you need to….

              You could put me in a room with 10 men, and I won’t be interested in any of them,and none of them would be interested in me, and then I could wake up the next morning, and, boom, I find somebody who is interested in me, and I’m interested in him, but still there are no guarantees the relationship will grow into anything substantial… or ‘work out’ between us…and you know the rest. …life….

              • DiggingDeeper says:

                Or, you could put me in a room with 10 men, and I would be interested in three of them, and two of them would be interested in me–and bingo!

                And after dating one of them, it grows into a mutual relationship, and we could end up in a long term relationship based on love trust, care and respect, and COMPASSION. Life! :)

    • Emerald says:

      Lara, this is time you’ll never get back. You know what to do.

    • Lilia says:

      Lara, please read the following:

      I think this doesn´t refer only to japanese men, the bulk of guys I´ve met in the last couple of years were all avid texters, not much interested in 3D encounters… sigh.

      • Lara says:

        Yup…. pretty crazy….. My AC ex was an avid texter — not a talker.. and he was also a porn addict. I wonder how much of it is due to porn addiction. I definitely see more and more men who are satisfied with porn and porn alone. To the point where I’d really call them porn addicts.. The massive availability of porn online has really ruined relationships — but I don’t even blame porn for it. Men always have a choice to make and I think those who prefer porn have made that choice clear and it reflects on the kind of person they are and the kinds of priorities they have in life.

      • Allison says:


        How sad!

        It seems that some of the Western men have replaced women with porn. Guess it easier to live in an emotionally-detached world where there is no responsibility to others.

        • Lara says:

          Yeah — it is sad and pathetic. But i think what’s worse are those men who have a ‘relationship’ with porn, and still have sex with women, by doing pick-up artistry stuff / tricking unsuspecting and inexperienced women (who have issues with boundaries and are too trusting) into believing they’re in a relationship or that the man is interested in a relationship with her, while they use her for sex. And then they return to their porn on days “off”… it’s happened to me. My ex did it to me. It’s nauseating.

          • Tenneil says:

            It happened to me too, Lara, and I’d never felt so used in my life. I was stupid and naive as he was my first boyfriend. He used to ask me for dirty photos and I didn’t know any better. Towards the end, he stopped asking for them and when I brought it up, he told me porn was easier. Funnily enough, he texted me yesterday and I did exactly what he used to do to me. Ignored him.

    • NotHavinIt says:

      Hi Lara,
      The texting thing is so horrible and frustrating. I have been telling select people that I do not have text on my phone plan – so I will only be able to communicate with them by a phone call – Period! If they don’t/won’t call me I don’t care!!!! I do not initiate phone calls with men and making it my new rule (this works for me at this time, and different for everyone).

      Online dating is plain CREEPY, and I’ve found it to be a total waste of time. It is way more fun to go out to a local event, like a music venue – dancing and mingling with local people. That way you can see if there is chemistry and etc. I personally think online dating might have been cool/worth it, about 10 or 15 years ago, but now it is full of losers, and weirdoes, and time wasters.

      Best wishes to you! PS: YouTube has many great clips on relationships with narcissists. (Sam Vaknin and the Delusion DisSpeller) I still watch these when I need support on that issue!

      • Jasmine says:

        Don’t you find there are losers, creeps and weirdo’s in pubs, bars, clubs, music festivals, offices etc?
        I think online can attract guys who lack confidence to speak to women. Not all guys feel comfortable with that. Would you prefer to be with someone who was arrogant and cocky? Who chatting up women while he was out with his buddies?

      • Sparkle says:

        Hi NotHavinIt – The Sam Vaknin videos and info are very insightful. He is a self confessed narcissist, so we’re getting the real truth.

        I’m done with online dating. Found most of the guys were either personality disordered, just hooking up or in a relationship, but had a fight with GF and went online to get ego stroke, until makes up with exGF and then will disappear. I can’t even count all the guys who would call and talk endlessly about the horrors of the exGF. LOL! I also prefer to meet guys when socializing with friends. That way, my friends can size him up too.

        • Einstien says:

          You nailed it with the online guys. That’s where my exAH found the women he was just looking to hook up with, while he had a g/f that he wasn’t fighting with – just cheating on.

          He didn’t bother to mention he was only interested in a piece of arse and an ego stroke. They’re equal opportunity liars.

      • Lara says:

        Yeah. I’ve told men before that I do not text unless it’s to re-confirm the place of a meet-up or something like that. I have refused to do the back and forth with a few of them, and have told them CALL ME. One guy in particular (from the U.S., here long-term for work, and so his phone was on roaming) called me a few times (his company pays his phone bills anyway) and then apparently thought calling me was too much effort/money. Not that I was expecting long conversations every day. Plus, he could’ve easily done that in affordable fashion if he really wanted it. There are so many alternatives nowadays, like Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, etc. Skype even has a phone-calling feature with reasonable rates. Anyway, he gave up on it. Whatever. I really find it bizarre, though. If they can’t talk on the phone, for whatever reason (financial, shyness/personality, etc.), how are they supposed to communicate with their gf / in their relationship? IMO, men who are unwilling to call, are really not ready/willing for a relationship. They are unable to communicate. The not calling thing is a symptom of that inability to communicate and the unwillingness to put any effort into developing that social skill.

        Most of the men I’ve met I have not met through online dating. They’ve still been ACs, creeps, narcs… In fact, only this most recent guy is from online dating. I thought I’d give online dating a try, after the final breakup with the narc ex. I don’t particularly like the idea of it. It’s too awkward to meet someone. It’s too businesslike and “dry”, for lack of a better expression. Anyway, another man I met online, we went out on a date — I paid my own way as well. That guy was even worse. He kept mssging me for weeks online.. Long mssges too. I started to get frustrated. He wasn’t asking me out. It was getting exhausting to keep up the pen pal thing. It felt like he was a pen pal / was looking for one. It was bizarre. Eventually I asked him if he wanted a pen pal or what, or if he wanted to meet up. We met up — he turned out to be very boring, dry, talked only about himself, and was VERY FAT compared to the pics he had posted. He then continued to communicate with me via email even though I had given him my phone number. I told him goodbye and never bothered with him again.

    • Jasmine says:

      Hi Lara
      I would say the fact you have had to be the pursuer in this, tells you all you need to know. He isn’t really interested, if a guy doesn’t offer to pay on a date, he isn’t a decent man. He isn’t looking to invest anything in a potential relationship with you.
      But he doesn’t mind if you offer to take him out for dinner/drinks after ignoring you all week. I wouldn’t even offer to take Brad Pitt out to dinner! He may think you come across a bit desperate, keep calling him etc. Some guys like to chase women.
      The signs are always there, trust your instincts. Major red flags!

      • Lara says:

        I only called him once. The conversation lasted for 2 minutes. I called to tell him what I would’ve texted him. I wanted to try and let him know this texting thing wasn’t working but it didn’t work. Anyway, he only ever asked me out to coffee ‘dates’. Even the second date, drinks, he had at first suggested another coffee date “or drinks”, which frustrated me. I wasn’t about to go on yet another coffee date with him, so I said let’s go for drinks. I don’t think I chased after him. I thought since he was shy (and very awkward), he might be thinking he’s too good for me or that I might not be interested, so I wanted to show some interest. But apparently that didn’t change anything. It didn’t reassure him, or that wasn’t the problem in the first place. I mean, if it just didn’t reassure him, how much more reassurance can a man need? Maybe he shouldn’t date if he’s that shy or inexperienced. I mean, I am not exactly experienced in dating, but I know normal social etiquette and if I like someone I will woman up and ask him out every now and then.. to dinner. Not to some lame coffee date where you sit in some cramped up space and everyone else (including possibly your own students, since we go to the coffee dates in the area) can listen in to your conversations. Gross and annoying. Anyway, I do think that a lot of men don’t like the chase. They love being chased. I think this guy, and my AC ex, loved being chased. My ex thought he was the best thing that happened to humanity, so he believed he should be chased, begged, his boots licked by a woman, etc. I think this guy is really coming from the same place. You wouldn’t believe how many men like that I’ve seen in the past few months.

        • Lara says:

          I meant, since he was shy, he might be thinking *I* am too good for him. But now that I think about it, I don’t think that’s the issue here.

          • Tinkerbell says:


            Shy? How old is this young man? This is 2013! On what exactly do you base this assumption? Perhaps you should be thinking that instead of interpreting his responses as shy it’s more likely that he’s just not into you? If he wanted more he should know how to ask. If he doesn’t, you don’t need someone to spoon feed.

            • Lara says:

              Yeah. I know.I was making up excuses for him. I keep doing that with men, if they do not step up to the plate. Did that with my ex too. At least I pulled out of this one soon, unlike with the ex. My bullsh*tometer is working better now, I’d say. Though still not perfect.

            • Sandy says:

              Well said and Lara sorry but I do think you are still rushing into this whole thing too quickly, four months isn’t long, and you did say you met this guy a few weeks ago so I am wondering how long you have actually not been dating!
              Look, what ever works for you, just for your own sake just take your time with these men.

              • Misa says:

                I agree. I’ve been reading your comments and, while I feel you (here’s a hug!), it shows that you are simply giving too much importance to these men. Step back, concentrate on yourself.

        • Allison says:


          If a man is really interested in a woman, he will pursue.

          • Revolution says:

            Amen. Done and done.

            • DiggingDeeper says:

              Yep, I have male friends who travel from coast to coast to be with their mates; others celebrate monthly anniversaries with their girlfriends; and some of these American-metro guys really know how to treat a woman; they are vvvery romantic, sensitive, and loving, as well as great conversationalist–don’t get me started on Pisces men, extremely sensitive in my experience–when they want you, whew! Hot stuff! And no, I’m NOT just talking about sex.

          • Jasmine says:

            This is true, at least then you know they are interested!

            • NK says:

              Was just about to type – perhaps he isn’t sure that he likes you that much. Thought about that?

              • Lara says:

                Yeah, but how does it explain him blowing up my phone with texts? I mean, I’d think that he’d just be reluctant to keep in touch at all if he weren’t sure? I don’t know. It’s just bizarre. I know that if I am not interested in someone, I wouldn’t be blowing up their phone with texts or calls… even if I would’ve been ok with going out with them in the past (despite my lack of interest) because of the fear of being alone… still, I wouldn’t have blown up their phone with texts all day long.. This guy must be thinking that he’s putting tremendous amounts of effort in, by texting me all day long..

                • Ciembi says:


                  It’s the same I wondered with the three heavy texters I wrote about in response to your original comment. I have spent long months trying to figure out why a sane person would flood my phone with texts, chat messages, and the like, and when you answer and/or suggest meeting up, they passive-aggressively make sure the meeting never takes place (by disappearing, or seemingly agreeing and then disappearing, etc). I never came up with an answer, other than that they had lots of time on their hands, a good phone deal package, and an immense need of attention. In any case, whatever the reason, it’s not about you, as Nat has repeated many times. They do it for their own reasons. I, like you, used to think: “Wait, I would never spend time sending millions of texts to a person I couldn’t care less about and couldn’t be bothered to have a decent conversation with, so why do they?” And as BR readers, we know what the answer is: this is not about us, and what WE would do in a situation is not necessarily what THEY would do in the same situation. They do it for their own reasons and because they can and it’s easy, and we ENGAGE, and as long as we keep engaging and trying to figure out their nonsense, they keep doing it. A while ago I came upon a phrase that someone (I believe it was Nat, but I am not sure – sorry!) wrote here in Baggage Reclaim that resonated with me and I think can be used in this situation: “When guys seemingly flirt with you/maintain an ego stroke but nothing happens, it’s because they’re enjoying it but don’t want to progress it and don’t want you to know that they don’t want to progress it.” I think it hits the nail in the head.

                  • lizzp says:

                    Regarding potential dates text messaging but not meeting and/or calling: the answer is to give no benefit of the doubt to someone who CONTINUES to text message AFTER you have made it clear that you don’t communicate that way. Really, if the majority of us refused text messaging from the start then emotionally stunted/cowardly men would either have to step up or rack off. We should have more faith too, because the more emotionally mature man is going to call you and ask you out (if he is interested in you) when you respectfully communicate that you don’t do text. I’m fast coming to the conclusion that our participation in text exchanges on the basis of giving someone’s intentions the benefit of the doubt (and unproductively analysing them) is enabling and complicit behaviour, pure and simple.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              That’s why I Pisces. They’re usually more direct in how they feel.

              Btw, There seems to be creeps and wierdos all over these days, even more so than years ago. More need to carefully assess and be stingier with using benefit of the doubt. Online is almost a sure bet to be a waste of time. True, these guys for the most part are not looking for a relationship. If you can get them to agree to see you in the flesh, they want to play you cheap by not spending any money and if they bed you, God forbid) they quickly disappear. I did OLD for a year or so, had a few actual dates and they were a waste of time. No progressing to intimacy. I dodged plenty of bullets. At least in bars, pubs and clubs, you see them, size them up and know in 5 minutes if they’re worth your time.

        • Little Star says:

          Lara, I think it’s too much drama after only FOUR dates…leave him, he is not worth it, do not waste your time with a guy who is not 100% interested! All the best;)

  2. Karen says:

    Regarding my being the other woman, that was a situatiion which was making me miserable and taking up too much of my emotional energy and real-time, so I had to quit.
    The married woman I love(d) is kind to me and making a sincere attempt to be honest now that I’ve stepped back, but she’s still addled and confused about her marriage and her strong feelings for me that conflict with her marriage. I gave her the benefit of the doubt when she told me she’s taking a close look at where she is in her marriage and trying to decide whether to stay or go.
    I found that when I detached from her process of examining her shaky marriage and I started to just go on about my business, it’s easy to give her the benefit of the doubt. Yes, she says she’s trying to make her marriage work again, but has some doubts it will survive.
    I don’t envy her.
    Once I removed myself from the daily chaos and drama she’s going through, my happy single life bounced right back to me.
    I made no promises or asked her for any guarantees about the future if she decides to divorce. I have my own plans and dreams to work on.
    All I know is, I am no longer The Other Woman, and I have given MYSELF the benefit of the doubt that self-love will increase my self esteem, which in turn will help me create and maintain good boundaries and strong core values.
    I wish her the best, but as long as she’s married, her personal life and struggles are between her and her spouse.
    I give her the benefit of the dount that eventually she will come to some sort of decision. But I have dropped any concerns about the outcome.
    I’m hoping we can say hello via e-mail on occasion, as long as we keep things light. But if I feel like I’m being dragged back into any romance drama, then a hard no is always an option.

    • Rosie says:

      Karen- Even if she decides to leave her spouse, I’d doubt she’d be ready for a serious relationship with anyone for quite a while. As painful as it is, cut your losses. Also, as the saying goes, “If she’s cheating with you, she’ll cheat on you.” Chances are that, even if you were her only affair, after she leaves her spouse, you’ll be a reminder of past pain and she’ll start fresh with somebody else.

  3. Moving on says:

    This is something I struggle with. I tend to read into crappy actions by making obvious excuses. I have been single for 4 months from an EUM ex who wouldn’t leave me alone and in the end has a new gf while telling me he loves me and misses me, true character finally surfaced. Since I blocked him (2 weeks NC) from my phone and I feel great and literally within days met a new man that has wined and dined me and seems like a gentleman. He hasn’t future faked, no red flags yet, and we have a blast together. I am so happy to be moving on. I am trying to not get ahead of myself though with excitement and take things slowly to see them for what they are and keep my red flag radar in check just incase. Giving the benefit of the doubt has destroyed me in the past and I am ready to make true changes and boundaries for future prospects.

  4. Moving on says:

    My new motto is “See things for what they are, not what they could be”

  5. espresso says:

    Instead of recognising our own feelings and even possible danger, we choose to analyse, fix/heal/help and in turn our confusion increases and it becomes increasingly difficult to get a reading not just on our feelings and general wellbeing but also on what the other party is or isn’t doing.

    Such a true statement! I was in danger but got blinded by stated good intentions….as if just “trying” actually made a difference. I redoubled my efforts because I just felt it was so cruel to be dismissive of a person who was “trying so hard” although I never saw any real change. In the end I became confused and bewildered, lost my sense of direction and didn’t hold him (or myself) accountable.

  6. JustHer says:

    oh wow. I have been doing this for so long.

    I kept on giving the benefit of the doubt to the AC who broke my heart multiple times and then got given another chance by yours truly.

    It is important to realise and consider why I did not just pull away and move out of the drama I could see unfolding in front of my very eyes. Why I did not cut him off when I found out about the first woman on the side and instead waited while the number increase to 2, 3, 4 and who knows how many more I never knew about!

    I realise now that I was pulling wool over my own eyes! I was almost making it effortless for him to lie to me and he took that opportunity the minute he could.

    I have chased after him to take me back (losing all my dignity in the process) even after he cheated, abused me and explicitly told me he wanted me out of his life. It is time to realise that enough is enough and he gets no more free passes from me.

    I have struggled with trying to understand WHY I thought it was okay to overlook all the meagre efforts at making me feel special and WHY I thought he was “too nice” a guy to ever hurt me. Maybe he was just too simplistic, not good looking and nerdy and I thought it justified him really wanting to keep a woman (me) who he insisted was out of his league.

    Apparently not.

    But the tide has finally turned and I have smelt the coffee. Asshole, your turn is over.

    • Lisa says:

      Just Her, your story what you dealt with free passes, chasing, loosing your dignity sounds like mine. I have just recently 3 weeks broke up and initiated no contact. He pushed me out-no time for me, making it impossible to have a nurturing (excuses galore) relationship so this time I left there were 2 other times he broke up with me. I wonder if there is someone else-why else would he do this. He has been married 4 times and does not want to marry again so he may be off with someone new that has no expectations of him. Honestly, maintaining no contact is killing me-it is getting more difficult. I want to email him once more to “be sure” there is no chance for us in a committed partnership. Because I have not responded to his 2 very lame text messages or thanked him for a birthday card I feel like he is not contacting me because of his ego even if he did change. My family says if he really wanted to be back in my life he would contact me even though I didn’t respond. Any insight help appreciated. I am afraid if I don’t act now it will be too late if there is a chance. Lisa

      • Lara says:

        He didn’t change. People don’t change overnight. Please do not contact him and lose your dignity in the process. I can assure you that you will be banging your head against the wall shortly after you contact him.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Is he trying to “be sure” you’re out? No! He broke up with you and this is not the first time. What is there to be sure about? Texting doesn’t add up to a bag of beans. If he felt he’s made a mistake, although that’s doubtful since he’s done this before, he would have the decency to pick up the phone and talk to you. Flush and don’t look back. If you contact him, you’re begging. Don’t do that!

      • JustHer says:

        Hey Lisa,

        I’m actually out right now for a walk and just saw this. I never reply from my phone, but I thought this was urgent enough.

        Honey, I think the only way I can help you is to tell you how the rest of my story played out.

        I initiated NC in december last year. We both broke it multiple times until June this year, when I lost my job and I left the company. I was out of his life completely unless he wanted to seek me.

        I also knew by that time that he had many many women on the go on the sidelines and he always would, so I decided to spend my summer alone with him. I was pretty busy with family over the summer so I didn’t get a chance to meet him even if I wanted to.

        Then September came and I was all on my own. I started missing him desperately. I got exceedingly sick and unwell because I wanted him so badly. So I decided that I needed to know what page he was on “one last time” (see where I’m going with this?).

        I knew I was wrong and I was scared about what would happen, but I emailed him anyway.

        Guess what? Nothing had changed. He welcomed me back as his whore. He wanted nothing more and could give me nothing more. He wanted an all or nothing situation.

        I had always thought that if he really wanted to be with me, he would find a way. And I am sure he would. If he was ready to put the effort in, he would do it. I’m sure he would. But he isn’t. I have lost everything I had for this one guy and I don’t even have anything to show for it except a badly bruised life.

        Since that incident I have re-initiated NC and this time I’m keeping it strict. No more chances.

        Honey, you have a limited time on this earth. We all do. Isn’t it better to hold onto the hope that there will be something better in the future rather than staying stuck in the past?

        As I write this, I am struggling too. I wonder if I’ll contact him in another year under the pretext of “one last time”. But instead of the “one last time” I should be thinking, “no more chances”. We need to push through the pain because there is NO coming back from “one last chances”.

        If he really wanted to be there, he would be. If he isn’t, then you’re free to be whoever you want to be.

        • JustHer says:

          Meant to say *I spent my summer alone without him

          • Lisa says:

            Just Her, THANK YOU! I am going through such guilt because I initiated the break up and no contact when in fact I wish he’d reach out and commit to me. I am afraid that because I did not respond to his messages (2) very lame and a weak birthday card that even if he did want to reach out to me he wouldn’t because I never responded to him. Curious on your thoughts about that? I go between anger and tears wanting to text him. Did you go through those emotions?

            • Allison says:


              If they really want to be with us, they will make the effort.

              Please see his lazy communication for what it is.

              • Lisa says:

                Allison, plain and simple. You are pride will stand in the way of that. Thanks for reaching out with this help.

            • Einstien says:

              He was just putting out feelers with those texts. They’re lame, but that’s about as much effort as it’s worth to him. They hate giving up their sure-things (lays), but they won’t go out of their way to keep them because it’s too important for them to keep your expectations managed.

              You’ve been on the roller coaster of ‘maybe he really does care’ too long to remember what it’s supposed to look like. When somebody realizes they made a mistake, they let you know. I see it happen with my friends every day. It just doesn’t happen with these guys.
              I know how hard it is to accept the truth. In my case – like every other case on here – he never cared. Not in any way that would ever mean anything to me. Remind yourself who is is, and what his intentions are and bite the bullet and get through this.
              It does get better, but it takes time and distance. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be that happy girl on your way to the life you deserve.

              • Lisa says:

                Einstien, thank you! You made a real difference. Last night I wanted to make contact tell him how he ruined us then I as crippled with the thought that he might already have someone else…it was a very anxious night. What you folks that have been through this already write is giving me such strength. Thank you and Bless You. Lisa

            • Tinkerbell says:


              Did you initiate NC to punish him because he didn’t respond to you in a deeper more meaningful way? If he’d wanted to do more he would have. If you NC’d him as a punishment you have the wrong idea. Once you do NC, you not supposed to be panting for him to call you. NC is used when it is OVER. There is no going back if you’re doing it effectively.

            • JustHer says:


              I went through the exact same roller-coaster ride with my head kneaded into different directions by the plethora of emotions.

              I was also the one who called time on our relationship and initiated NC. But that doesn’t mean that I am to blame and the same goes for you.

              Imagine the situation where you desperately wanted to be with someone: you would keep going back no matter what, right? If he REALLY wanted you, honey, he would be right there on your doorstep on his knees. Have you checked the front door yet?

              I suggest you go and open the door. If he isn’t there, it’s because he doesn’t want to be.

              I didn’t respond to my ex’s twisted emails about how he couldn’t live without me because I didn’t feel like there was any need to. I had heard it all already.

              It doesn’t matter if you don’t reply, because he will keep on trying (if he wants you back). Maybe when you’re over him and he is STILL trying, you might want to see if you could be friends (I advice against, but it apparently works for some). But this is FAR FAR into the future. And I think this guy will be long gone by then.

              I was so angry (and still sometimes am) about how I was treated and in disbelief about many things that had happened. But it happened anyway. You should feel these emotions, but know them for what they really are.

              There was a BR reader a while back called Wish or something and she had a blog about her experiences. I didn’t really read the whole blog, but I am plagiarising from her, so I thought credit where credit’s due, and she spoke of how she was desperate to have him back and obsessed about him, but it never worked out.

              See if you can find it. It’s entertaining too.

              In the end, I was warned against contacting him, but once I’ve made up my mind, there is nothing anyone can say to change it, normally. I got hurt and I pulled back.

              Don’t do what I did.

              • Lisa says:

                Just Her, Bless you for your reply. It has made a difference. I was feeling so weak and vulnerable last evening, wondering if he already has someone else and that is why he isn’t contacting me anymore and just ready to contact him to tell him how he ruined us. I am so happy that I woke to your reply this AM. Thank you and BEST to you!!

              • Lisa says:

                JustHer, I tried to find WISH but cannot. Thanks again. Lisa

                • Tinkerbell says:


                  Apparently, you didn’t like what I said. I’ve had some VERY hard times, and I’m much older. I think when we’re morning the loss of a relationship, it’s essential to “get tough”. Feeling sorry for yourself and ruminating just keep you stuck. My way of helping is the “tough love” method, but I’m sympathizing with your plight as much as anybody. Sometimes young women think. “Well, I’ll go NC. I’ll show him he can’t push me around”. That’s the wrong idea when one is using it as a punishment tactic. I wasn’t accusing you of doing so. I hope you’ll be feeling better soon. Right now, I’m in the same boat with a “broken heart” but I refuse to suffer over it. life goes on.

                  • Tinkerbell says:

                    You can’t find WISH because that was quite awhile ago if I remember correctly.

                  • Lisa says:

                    Tinkerbell, I thought I was in fact ready to make the break because the pain while with him was so great. I am now finding it so difficult not to make contact. Questioning that because I rejected him if he ever were going to commit would he after I didn’t respond. I appreciate your tough love approach and that is what I need to hear as well. I JUST WISH I would stop with the second guessing myself, the, guilt and the sadness. Thank you. Bless you for your help.

                    • Stacey says:

                      Lisa – its like dealing with an addiction….look at your EUM as alcohol and you are done with it. You attend support meetings, lean on friends, and call your mentor when you need help immediately. Its hard to break an addiction…and wanting to communicate with your ex is an addiction. I’ve been NC for a little over a month and its still hard but I know that nothing good will come out of contacting him. And when I do want to contact him I ask myself ‘what is it that I am actually seeking?’ Validation that he cares. But it really doesn’t matter…all that matters is that I care for myself during this time.

        • Little Star says:

          JustHer what a great comment, I feel exactly like you do, you are right no more chances..I miss my ACs so much and felt like contacting them yesterday night, but stopped myself, yet again Natalie and BR community saved me;(

          • Lisa says:

            LittleStar, I am struggling with this daily-not contacting and sadness. I am reading and re-reading Natalie’s books and the folks on this site are keeping me strong. Bless you in keeping strong. Lisa

            • Little Star says:

              Lisa, I do not think our ACs good for us, but what I miss its familiarity, because I AM SO FED UP TO GO TO THESE ENDLESS dates and meet men who I am not interested in;( I just want my AC back, be with him, and not starting something new again..I am 40 for Gods sake! Whe this searching going to end??????????

            • Tinkerbell says:


              This is what NC involves. It’s not a joy-ride. It’s very painful and takes huge determination not to contact him. It’s natural to give yourself reasons to email, or text. Remember, using those methods are STILL breaking NC. You will have very sad days and some days won’t be as bad. But good days or bad you must remain committed to YOUR OWN happiness. Focus on YOU. He had his chances. You were there for him. Did he cherish that fact and act as though he really cared? NO. He squandered it because he didn’t care enough to do better. That’s it in a nutshell. If he can’t or won’t appreciate you, FLUSH! Don’t waste so much of your valuable love and caring on an AC. Save it for someone MUCH better who MAY deserve it.

              • Lisa says:

                Tinkerbell, thank you. You sound so strong. I hope I can get over him. My friend (she has never met him) who saw a picture of him believes that she saw my ex of just 3 weeks already with another girl. Remember he doesn’t have time for a relationship. I am devastated. I sent him a text msg asking him to ask for 3 expensive items at his place (I have belongings there) He came back with must be, I will check though. I put everything together awhile ago. (Awhile ago…its only been a few weeks!) He also plays games galore. My text response was thank you, let me know and although “I have accepted it, I wish you would have been honest with me I know the truth and it stinks” Guess what…no response from him. I am okay with the no response because He is a coward. But I am feeling like such a reject because he doesn’t want me. That is keeping me stuck! Intellectually, I realize he is messed up with the one with the 4 failed marriages and failed relationships and didn’t tell me until almost a year, but what is it going to take to get me to BELIEVE I AM OKAY and I WAS ONLY ASKING for what is normal. Thanks for your help. Bless you!

                • Lisa says:

                  Rosie,Einsten, JustHer and Little Star, UPDATE from Lisa
                  I have an update: I hope I can get over him. My friend (she has never met him) who saw a picture of him believes that she saw my ex of just 3 weeks already with another girl. Remember he doesn’t have time for a relationship. I am devastated. I sent him a text msg asking him to ask for 3 expensive items at his place (I have belongings there) He came back with must be, I will check though. I put everything together awhile ago. (Awhile ago…its only been a few weeks!) He also plays games galore. My text response was thank you, let me know and although “I have accepted it, I wish you would have been honest with me I know the truth and it stinks” Guess what…no response from him. I am okay with the no response because He is a coward. But I am feeling like such a reject because he doesn’t want me. That is keeping me stuck! Intellectually, I realize he is messed up with the one with the 4 failed marriages and failed relationships and didn’t tell me until almost a year, but what is it going to take to get me to BELIEVE I AM OKAY and I WAS ONLY ASKING for what is normal. Thanks for your help.

                  • Rosie says:

                    Lisa- It’s normal to feel rejected. Our feelings don’t determine our self-worth as feelings are transient. Sometimes I feel happy, sometimes I feel depressed, sometimes I feel confident, sometimes I don’t. Does this mean that I’m only worthy of life when I’m feeling confident and happy? Of course not!

                    Yet, when we feel rejected, we take this to mean that we aren’t worthy of love and acceptance. You will get through this, Lisa!

                    BR poster, Suki, gave me the suggestion of writing action-oriented positive statements around my home to read when I am cleaning, etc. This piece of advice helps so much in re-training my brain to think in terms of problem-solving (one of my most underdeveloped life skills). Maybe try putting positive quotes around your home and writing down and posting positive statements about YOU around your home while you’re busy cleaning or whatever.

                    It will take a lot of effort and energy to do this in the beginning but it’s like any workout; it’s tough in the beginning but the more you use the “muscle”, the easier it gets and the more you’ll want to do it. Just try! :) It’s about re-training your brain to think more positively about yourself. Soon you’ll recognize when you’re beating up on yourself and will have the “muscle” to stop your inner bully.

                    Be patient and gentle with yourself, Lisa. This is so wordy, I know and I’m sorry, just not always the best at articulating what I mean. Your heart is a muscle and has been weakened through self-abuse (negative self-talk) and abusive actions from others (the AC). Thus, the heart’s ligaments are stretched out, the muscle is bruised and tender…you can’t expect it to be healed and ready and oh so strong over night. It takes time. So please, please don’t be so hard on yourself. Be as easy and self-forgiving as you can so that your heart may rest. Put up those positive self-statements around your home as it’s medicine for your heart.

                    Ok, I’ll stop as this sounds way too preachy, don’t mean it that way.

                    You can do this, Lisa! :)

  7. Lacy says:

    I gave the benefit of the doubt as usual and got same or worser results.Well this time I am mainly at fault.

    The x kept pursing after I did nc, I even got a restraining order for him to step things up and I accepted money spa dates, dinners, and much more.The arguments started frombme wondering why is it that he only stays one night at my house although I would see him everyday because his clothes was here most mornings he’d come around 8 or 9 and change clothes. I usually would be at work by the time I got off sometimes he’d be gone or there watching the game and then he’d be gone. Who knows where cause he wasn’t working was collecting unemployment from construction.

    He said I was crazy to question him because all his clothes were at my he use and he takesbaths there everyday.Something just wasn’t right then after a week of whinning and dining my days off consisted of us in bed all day and then he was out the door around 5 and I wouldn’t see him again til if the next day I bumped into him when he came to change clothes.

    He said it was normal cause we didn’t officially live together. Sundays I usually worked hex come to my house and sleep til I got off then he’d be gone by 5 and I wouldn’t see him for the rest of the night.

    I questioned him about it and asked if he was with his child’s mother still he said no that I’m crazy. I asked him if he was dropping them off and spending time with the baby the reason he’s not around me and he and he said she has a car, but he told me a week prior that she didn’t have car and when I brung it to his attention that he told me that he blew up he told me he helped her to buy a car at the beginning of the yr.

    So I asked him if he was able to help her purchase a car why didn’t he return the money I loaned him last sept.He went bezerk he start saying how basically everything he had done with me since I took him back and dropped the papers I had on him was basically payment.He had paid my bill for 200 bought my son some shoes took me out twice to eat and to the spa.So he basically paid me back, and he said don’t worry about what he does with his money and don’t worry about th next person cause they are not worried about me.

    He was yelling at me in the car.I can understand helping someone u have a child with but if u are still in a relationship with that person and telling me u not its a problem for me.I told him that I have to start moving on with someone else.He said he never told me not to that he is single and can do what he wants to do.He left and the next day he came to change clothes and didn’t talk much to me I figured if we always wind up back dealing with each other its no reason for me to tell him to get his stuff.

    He changed clothes and sat on my back porch wai on his friend to pick him up because he had just totaled a new car he bought a week ago.
    So I told him he can come in and wait he didn’t have to sit outside that I wasn’t going to argue with him and he told me he just can’t stand me.That was on fri and I didn’t see him that night.

    The next day I didn’t hear from him all day I called him twice and he text me back to ask me to drop was his clothes. So at that point I figured we weren’t doing anything together on sat as usual so I decided to go out with a friend from work that I consider as my girlfriend he’s just a cool guy but not gay something like a brother.

    It began to ran and he and I were just hanging out shopping so we got pizza and didn’t want to sit in the car and eat so my house is closer so we came to eat and planned on going out for a drink when we were done eating.

    At this point its around 7 sat night and in walks x and he told my friend he had to leave so my friend headed for the door.I went to talk to him but he knows some of my situation with the x and how he’s not too active in my life and usually not around he knows he has keys but he also knows he’s usually not at my house much because he has had to help me out a few times where as if I had a steady guy it would be done or in the process of being done at least.

    So my friend wasn’t mad, but the x was a lil irritated and when I came back in the house I couldn’t find my cell and the x was packing up his clothes and left.

    He came back the next day to get some mors of his stuff and we talked and he left and gave but gave my phone back that he was holding hostage but didn’t give my keys.The next day I cmae hkms he was at my house and his babymother showed up to bring his clothes he said she was doing him a favor amd she knows he’s been at my house that they are not together she just helped him cause his car is down.I was irritated and I thought about the mistake I had made when I had my friend over knowing x has keys.So the x and I went to pick up food ate and talked he said that everyone knows he loves me he said look at what he just took off me another man in my house eating pizza and he said most men would’ve left me, he and I talkex more but I still didn’t have clarity, we both are screwed up.

    That night i went to sleep I left his clothes all over the bed and he came in around 2am sat morn I didnt think he would be at my house after everything that happened.
    He seen his clothes on still laying on the bed and he want off.He said I don’t know how to love him or treat him that he was leaving and not coming back. I said ok and just leave my keys and he wouldn’t I stood in front of the door and I grabbed his arm and he hit me in the stomach. He said he didn’t have my keys they were in his rental car and I felt like if I hadn’t had company that day a male at that, that night wouldn’t be happening he said I hurt him and disappointed him.

    He told me to come out to the car to get my keys and we got outside and he said he is too drunk and if I can make him some food so we came in and j made him food.He said he can’t shake me but in the morn he will leavd and won’t come back said but he does love me.He asked how many real relationships have I ever had and I only could think of one, and he asked me what does a man want in a woman and my mind went blank.

    He told me I am out of his league and if I had him to myself I wouldn’t know what to do with him.

    I believe him I know I have unhealthy love habits I am working on me but it doesn’t justify the things that has went on with some things he has done.I own the fact it wasn’t a good idea to have a guy over knowing my x has keys, I just really wasn’t thinking.I was bored amd hadn’t talked to x and I know we usually don’t fo out on week and really since us be back in contact we went out twice and no more after and since I called him twice that day and no answer only him tell me to wash his clothes I thought it was ok to have a friend over for a min also he said he wasn’t holding me back and he was single.I wasn’t trying to make him jealous I just wasn’t thinking straight far as what if it was a fight amd someone got hurt.

    • Mymble says:

      Does he get the magic eraser, then?
      Because there can’t be any doubt, by now,about who he is and what he does.
      What is your plan?

      • Lacy says:

        The things I have found out about him now is turning the blind love thing off.Those desires and wanting him that made me give in to him all the times I did Nc those feelings are gone. I plan on focusing on me try to do a spiritual cleansing.My whole way of thinking is off and i don’t know if I’m coming or going.I have am a nurse I been in school my half my adult life and I can’t comprehend small things lately.I got my schedule mixed up and missed a day of work when I came in the next day the charge nurse asked me what happened that they were worried about me cause I didn’t call anyone and say I wasn’t showing up.My vision is blurry and I have all kinds of aches.I am going to try my hardest to focus on me thats the plan.

        • DiggingDeeper says:

          Lacy, are you still in counseling?

          When someone mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abuses you, like this dude, it can be difficult to think clearly and break away, and you have been deliberately confused, manipulated, shamed, and ‘tangled up’…, and it can be a painful mess.

          It’s hard to heal when someone has messed with your mind because most times you can’t see the damage yourself; you need someone to point it out to you.

          If I was in your position, I would get more help. I would call a domestic violence hotline and find a domestic violence counselor AND support group. You just need the right kind of help. I wouldn’t try to do this alone Lacy, and I would protect my health. Actually, I would move as far away from this monster, as I could, and get some help.

          Take care.

          • Maeve says:

            ditto DiggingDeeper. Lacy, I got a chill reading about your last encounter with him. Especially when you started off by talking about having a restraining order. He sounds really unstable and scary. I’ve heard over and over again that women don’t usually get out of these situations unless they get lots of emotional and professional support. When you’re dealing with an unstable person, it’s way bigger than you.

        • Sandy says:

          Lacy I have read a lot of your posts over the last few months, sorry but you were “irritated” with his actions??!!! This guy is a complete user when will you realise this, you take out a restraining order but apparently don’t bother using it, why waste the police and any other authorities time with something you don’t seem to want to use?
          He punches you in the stomach were you “irritated” with that?
          It’s your place you are allowed who ever you want there!!
          This man is completely controlling you and you don’t seem to want to listen to any of the advice you are given on here..but if that was me I would be running from him as fast as my legs would take me, you deserve so much better, why don’t you see that?

          • Tinkerbell says:


            Don’t you know physical abuse as well as mental abuse escalates? Are you a grown woman or a dog?

    • NotHavinIt says:

      You need to change the LOCKS on your door and on your HEART. Seriously, you are not so desperate as to have a man use you like this.

      Being without a man/lover would be 100% better than what you have been allowing to go on.

      Keep reading Nat’s articles, try to make a new friend or hobby. AND KICK THIS GUY to the CURB – ASAP!!!

  8. Lavendar says:

    This is a great post. Really relevant to what I am going through with this new guy who is rude and offensive to me, but I keep thinking is just doing this to be manly or something like that.

  9. LadyL says:

    Standing Ovation!!!! Yes. Amen. So true. Actions speak louder.

  10. noquay says:

    There’s many an article, post etc. out there in electronica land telling us older chix to give the benefit of a doubt, don’t be too picky, and so on ad nauseum. BR has shown me the importance of having a healthy sense of detachment. If someone feels wrong, it is because something IS wrong.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      Right. Not only articles, but oftentimes we hear these relationship gurus advocating that we should twist ourselves into pretzels to get/keep a man. I feel this is such a hunk of crap and that kind philosophy appeals to women who have low self esteem, of which there are too many of us. I advise that we need to be very careful of media that tends to lessen our self image and leads to desperation. There’s a relationship guru whose initials are RR. She is nauseating with her cd’s and stage appearances and, unfortunately seems to have a wide following. UGH!

      • Mymble says:

        I think the reason I gave so many men “the benefit of the doubt” when I was younger was that I was ver EU and had a lot of romantic fantasies. I could ignore any number of red flags, in fact I think I even gravitated towards them. At the moment I find it difficult to imagine ever having any interest in a man again, because I can usually see fairly quickly why it would never work. In a way, as my options have shrunk (which they inevitably do, due to aging) my expectations and requirements are higher. And yet I don’t feel down sat about it, still feeling very relieved and at peace to have at last brought my marriage to an end.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          I was so sorry to hear what an awful time your husband put you through. Do you still have to go through the divorce process? I know very well the sense of peace and more balance you you feel when you gotten rid of the AC physically. I also know what you mean when you say, you didn’t realize how bad it really was until now that he’s gone. I’m wishing you peace and happiness in the future and though you may face bumps in the road, which are part of life, no more experiences that demolish YOU and your ability to prevail. xx Tink

          • Mymble says:

            I have yet to go through the divorce, but we have a binding separation agreement drawn up by our lawyers and signed, dealing with all the property and children so the divorce will be a formality. He has already consented to it in the agreement.
            Thank you for your good wishes!

            • Tinkerbell says:

              That’s good. When you’re going through a time such as this you have to focus on the positives to keep yourself functioning in a healthy way.

      • Maeve says:

        I’m dying of curiosity to know who RR is. Wracking my brains but the intitials don’t ring a bell.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Hahaha. Rori Raye.

          • Maeve says:

            Never heard of this guru! Will go look up! Thanks, Tink. I’m sure I’ll barf, but just curious to see what’s out there.

          • Rosie says:

            Tinkerbell- Out of curiosity I looked her up. I’m quite feminine and even I felt my stomach tighten. Titles such as “How to Make Him Fall in Love with You” reinforce insecurity and the illusion that we have control over others. We don’t and when that reality reveals itself–and it will–we sink further into despair over feelings of “not being good enough”.

            I guess that’s my

          • Maeve says:

            Well–I didn’t get too far on her website. She had a reader query asking about living with a guy who says he’s not ready for marriage just yet (with the implication being that he may never be). And she encourages the living arrangement and being patient.

            In other instances it looks like she advises people that a guy is just not that into him, but her response to that one query seemed wrongheaded.

      • ixnay says:

        Tink and all,

        Here’s a piece on Medium about the alliterate “relationship experts.”

        tl;dr — it’s a marketing scam, pure and simple. like some guy selling videos of how to make money flipping houses. the topic is love/relationships, but the goal is to sell stuff to you.

  11. Sparkle says:

    I remember a great weekend I spent with the exAC. He waltzed through my front door with a small box. Went straight to the bathroom and put the box in a cabinet. It was guy stuff he wanted to keep at my place. I thought, hmmm, how nice. After 5 months in a relationship, he seems to finally be stepping up. I could never figure him out. Actions not meeting words. But, I was good at minimizing and giving him benefit of the doubt. A whole weekend together was rare. I even took him to meet my family for the first time. A big deal for me.

    On Monday, he blew VERY cold. My gut was saying there’s some serious trouble brewing. My BFF and I decided to play Lucy and Ethel and conduct a late night stakeout. Sure enough, there was a girl at his place, at least until we left at 1:00am. My BFF said, he’s a loser user and you need to get rid of him. But, I wanted to give him a chance to explain before coming to any final conclusions.

    The next morning, he texted he was under the weather and had crashed early. I concocted some lame story about how I was in his hood and saw he had a visitor, etc. His reply was “I’m allowed to have friends too”. Hmm, well, if it was just a friendly visit, why the secrecy and blowing cold? So, he shows up at my home with lots of roses. Sitting on my couch looking like a sick, weak puppy. Proceeds to tell me how he always feels insecure with me/us. Projecting his bad behavior onto me. We talked it out, but after that incident, I never trusted anything about him again. His behavior didn’t change. There were more lies, girls, drama, crazy making. It took a few more months to realize it was a fake relationship and just go NC.

  12. Rachel says:

    Another nail hit squarely on the head Natalie! BRAVO!

    As much as it irks me to have to admit it, I am also guilty of having given pretty much every ex AC and ex EUM I’ve ever dated, the benefit of the doubt (BotD)- when what they should’ve got was directions to the door!

    Your article has made me realise the reason why I’ve never had a long-term, healthy relationship with a decent loving man is because I’ve wasted time giving guys the BotD when they never deserved it in the first place. I was so grateful that they would try – even though their efforts were minimal (and non-existent at times), I still gave them credit for ‘trying’ and ignored obvious red flags.

    For e.g. for the duration of my ‘relationship’ with my ex Future Faker/AC,he told me that he was in the process of sorting out his status in the UK, when the reality of the situation was that he was an illegal immigrant who’d overstayed his visa by four years and had no hope in hell of being granted leave to remain. Sadly for me at the time, I was so in love with him and the idea of us being together that I was willing to go back to Sierra Leone with him, marry him and on my return file for him as a spouse in the UK (even though part of me knew deep down he had no chance).

    Needless to say, after weeks of a slow and painful breakdown in communication and lots of arguments, we endeavoured to spend our 1st Christmas together as a means of trying to make it work, but it wasn’t enough. We broke up shortly afterwards (just before my 29th birthday in Feb), and the deterioration of our relationship coupled with having to accept that I would be single again on my birthday and having experienced weeks of him blowing hot and cold – led me to having panic attacks and being diagnosed with depression.

    The thought of being alone (again) and growing older with yet another failed relationship under my belt was devastating for me. The realisation that I would probably enter my 30′s as a single woman (something I felt was a fate worse than death seeing as all my friends/relations were settled and having kids) and the hopes I had of being a wife and mother were crushed. I felt like I had nothing to live for, I was suicidal and the anti-depressants were numbing but not in a good way.

    It’s only been in the last 3-4 months that I’ve started feeling my ‘old’ self again. I can laugh, cry and enjoy my life now (although I still get pangs of anxiety wondering if I’ll be on my own for the rest of my days). My 30th is rapidly approach next Feb, and although I’m not entirely looking forward to it, I’m trying to appreciate the life I have and be thankful for good friends, family a great job etc.

    I still have hope that I’ll meet someone special one day, but in the meantime, there will ne no more giving of BotD and I refuse to allow any man to drive my to the brink of insanity ever again.

    • Revolution says:


      My 30s (I’m 36) are PLANETS above my 20s. And my Mom tells me that her 40s were even better, and her 50s were her favorite. Don’t drink the Koolaid of society. All they wanna do is make you buy another handbag.

    • Allison says:


      I turned 50, last month. I have never been married, but certainly believe that I will meet the right person, some day.

      I have changed my attitude towards relationships, and believe it will lead towards positive results.

      You’re still very young! Try not to compare yourself to others, as you really don’t know what goes on beyond closed doors.

    • Feistywoman says:

      FAO Rachel.

      “For e.g. for the duration of my ‘relationship’ with my ex Future Faker/AC,he told me that he was in the process of sorting out his status in the UK”

      That is the red flag you ignored as African men are known scammers with white women. They want to find a woman to leech off and marry to get them residence entitlement.

      “when the reality of the situation was that he was an illegal immigrant who’d overstayed his visa by four years and had no hope in hell of being granted leave to remain”

      I hope you reported this scum bag to the immigration authorities as he should have been shown the door from the UK. No doubt he was living on our benefits whilst having no entitlement to be here, work or claim benefits. That is what I would do but then unlike you I wouldn’t have gone near him. The main thing Rachel is to learn for this. I was well duped by my ex husband and it whilst it sucks and hurts like hell, you will get there and emerge like a butterfly….. stronger, reading the red flags and having your boundaries respected or flushing. I have learnt so much that I am happy to counter a man if what he says doesn’t add up even in conversation never mind dating.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        They’ll marry you for permanent residency regardless of race if they’re certain you’re a citizen.

  13. Feistywoman says:

    People (male or female) only get one chance with me and then flush. I don’t do shady behaviour or boundary busting behaviour of any sort. There are simply no second chances with me and if trust is betrayed then it can never be found again.Think about a lot of the old sayings ladies like the leopard will never change it’s spots, running with the dogs and hounds. They are absolutely spot on (excuse the pun. I have worked on my boundaries so much that my mother recently said I am very good at standing up for myself. Well I have to be as no-one else will do it. There is no need in society for poor manners and manners maketh the man or woman. I have one very good female friend whom I meet up with about once a month and she always steps up to the plate. We also chat in between. I prefer not to communicate by text only but my rules now are:

    If a man gives me his number and says “ring me” my response will be if you want to talk then you ring me. Failure for him to make the effort That indicates laziness and don’t go there.
    I expect a man to plan and pay for the first 3 dates. If I am asked to go 50/50 then he is a lazy, bad mannered, tight arse and I’ll flush.
    I don’t purse men and if they go cold then it is flush and no contact. I’ll make sure they know they are flushed as I’ll text them to that effect so they don’t think they can weasle back in. The more women who tell men to shove it and why then they might learn.
    If he is still on friendly terms with all his ex GF then I’ll flush as I don’t do harems. Men are only friendly towards a woman in the hope they will get into her knickers and besides these men like a harem to get their rocks off on a casual basis. An ex is an ex for a reason and I never go back. Similarly if a man is still in contact with an ex he can’t move on and may still be having sex with the ex which is very common these days.
    I look at men as all being assclowns so I don’t get conned again after my divorce. I think that Nat has been very lucky with Em but for most of us there is a different world out there.

    So I don’t even give the benefit of the doubt as having done that many times with various men and female friends in the past I’ve found that history repeats itself and by not flushing at the first let down, you only show you have no boundaries and can be taken advantage of.

    • Einstien says:

      I like what your saying Fiesty, but I’m the opposite when it comes to being friends with their Exes. It says a lot about a person that the people who loved them most, love them still. NOW, that’s NOT to say lovers, or any indication thereof.

      I think it’s a great big red flag when they aren’t. Nobody wants to be friends with somebody who can’t even be bothered to bring common courtesy into a relationship.

      If there’s a next time – and I don’t care that there is or isn’t – I’ll consider it a deal breaker.

      • Feistywoman says:

        After what my ex did to me there is no way on this earth I would want him to be a friend once the divorce was over and with no kids there was no reason to remain in contact. This was also important for my own safety and I moved without him knowing where. I believe in karma and that his will be slow and painful. I did have an ex shitheart as Nat calls them as a friend and when he showed controlling tendencies from across the pond for gods sake and making declarations that were inappropriate to me as soon as my marriage broke down, I flushed. I seem to be a woman whom men fall madly for and even if I have them as friends they all fancy their chances and make a move as this happened in my pre marriage single days.

  14. Rosie says:

    So I lost my latest job (agree with former employer that it was an ill-fit) and am now living with my mother. Right from the get-go she gets angry with me and tried to shut me down. I wasn’t criticizing her or pointing fingers, only said that I have to clean such-and-such (uncomfortable giving details even though “Rosie” is pseudonym). I guess she didn’t like light being shed on some of her habits so shutting me down was her way of turning spotlight away from her so she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable, although I didn’t put spotlight on her. I really did need to clean such-and-such.

    This morning she got angry with me when I sought clarification for what she was saying and why. She actually put me down. In the past, I’d recognize the emotional abuse but this is the first time I recognized the put-down. I don’t know if she was trying to shut me down or turn the tables so that I felt awkward and dumb when she was the one feeling like this. I don’t know.

    Relating this to the topic, I’m wondering if much of this giving the benefit of the doubt and magic marker erasing that a lot of us do has to do with being shut down as children. Children are pretty honest and call it as they see it. Dysfunction and abuse like to hide in darkness. Thus, I wonder if parents shutting us down as children or turning the tables so that we doubted ourselves and what we were seeing/experiencing conditioned us to second guess the obvious in our present relationships. Instead of calling it as we see it as we did as children (and got punished for it or manipulated into thinking it was something other than what we saw), we give the “benefit of the doubt” or we hold the magic marker eraser in one hand while holding a different colored magic marker in the other.

    Tonight I’m meeting someone who needs a roommate and I might be able to afford it for a month. This person lives near public transportation and close by the large city that I just left. That gives me a month to find a job. If I have to stay with my mother, I’m not concerned with short term dealings with her but am nervous about long-term effects of living in that toxicity. I’m grateful, though, that I was able to recognize her “drawings” so clearly this morning and when I first arrived. I’m a grown up now. I’m done playing with magic markers.

    • Maeve says:

      Rosie—I’m really sorry to hear about your situation and can totally relate to it, having gone through a domino-effect downspin a couple of years ago.

      As for your question about giving benefit of doubt to undeserving pinheads, the same thought occurred to me too (I may have even posted it somewhere on this blog)–and yes! I think being shut down as children and made to feel as if our voice didn’t count sows the ground for downplaying when others trample our boundaries.

      The question is, how does a person effectively explore and revisit that part of their past where they learned to do this?

      • Rosie says:


        “The question is, how does a person effectively explore and revisit that part of their past where they learned to do this?”

        You ask some pretty thought-provoking questions! Being an underachiever who had no experience with healthy risk-taking, this isn’t the first time I’ve lived with my mom as an adult. I was in therapy the last time and my therapist said something a little counter-intuitive. She said that my being in therapy and living with my mom as an adult is an opportunity to develop the skills that I need for when I’m not living with her (or something to that effect). My therapist gave the example of children who leave a dysfunctional environment when they go to college but still carry that dysfunction with them and re-create it when they marry even if they’re living a thousand miles away from their folks. By living with my mom, it gave me an opportunity to learn healthy relating/coping even if the person I’m living with isn’t healthy.

        I forget the psychological term for it, but separation from parents has to take place internally first and this manifests in external interactions. For example, let’s say an emotionally immature parent may make a dinner that’s a little too salty. When the parent asks the adult child if he likes it, he may say the truth, “It’s a little salty but I appreciate your making it for me and I really like the chicken in it.” The immature parent may rage and blame the adult child for “making” her feel bad about her cooking and the adult child is, therefore, ungrateful for the meal and, therefore, ungrateful for all the work and sacrifices the immature parent has made for the adult child…If the adult child is still carrying all that responsibility for his parent’s feelings and still caving in to the parent’s emotional blackmail, the adult child may try to comfort the parent by saying, “Oh, I’m sorry for my ingratitude. Yes, it is quite delicious, a little sweet even. You’re the best cook and the best mother in the whole world [hug, hug, kiss, kiss]…”

        An adult child who has successfully separated from his parent may, when parent rages over the adult child’s agreement that the meal is a little salty, not respond at all to the parent’s raging, just continue to eat or may take the meal and go eat elsewhere or may respond by saying simply, “It IS a little salty but I am grateful for it. Thank you [and remain silent after this, which gives raging parent no choice but to handle her own feelings as her emotional ball is back in her court].”

        If one isn’t living with his parents, it’s important to always keep in mind that we are adults and can’t control what others think or do, not even our parents. We can recognize immaturity for what it is and, in this way, learn to not take it quite so personally. By not taking it so personally, we’re reinforcing the separation, which enables us to look upon the other person, even our parent, with compassion (not excuse-making) but without the sense of “duty” to take responsibility for what’s clearly not our fault and what we can’t control (parent’s emotions and actions/reactions, which are internal and thus, out of our reach). When immature parent rages, we don’t have to do anything with it as it’s not our mess to clean up.

        I don’t think I’ve really answered your question but I’m not sure we can really explore our past objectively until we can really look upon our past through adult eyes and look upon our parents through adult eyes.

        My mom’s raging is often her way of getting the other person to leave her alone when she feels “victimized”. It works because who wants to stick around and be yelled at by somebody who accuses of accusing when no accusation is anywhere in the conversation (ex. Me: “Boy, the sky sure is blue today!” Mom: “I never said it was red! Why are you attacking me!???”)? If emotional blackmail is what she chooses then so be it; not my problem to “fix” her but it takes its toll after a while, ya know? Oh, I hope I find a job soon!!!

        • Tinkerbell says:


          That was excellent. Whether or not (and I hope you are) still in therapy, it has done you a world of good. I’m able to attest to the same fact which is why I’m attuned to seeing it in you.

          You’re a very intelligent woman. Don’t ever forget that – just as smart as anyone else on this board. I remember you extolling the “smarts” of another poster recently. But, you’ve got it going on , girl. You will get a job. I pray for you. In the meantime, keep hope alive.

        • Maeve says:

          Rosie, thanks so much for your response. Ok–my mother is a pain in the arse but benign compared to the manipulation your mother is pulling…damn!

          Whether intentionally or not, sounds like what you’re talking about is developing emotional iq. That’s a big priority for me right now. And really, it DOES boil down to managing our responses to others’ behavior.

          The whole separation from parents thing is very interesting. It sounds like you have good insight into your situation. And yes, I agree with the others. You are intelligent. I get a lot out of reading your posts. :-)

          • Rosie says:

            Tinkerbell, Revolution, and Maeve- Thank you so much! I cried when I read your comments as I really needed the positive feedback. Maeve, yes, I guess I was talking about emotional IQ without knowing it. Tinkerbell, I wish I were still in therapy but there’s no free therapy where I am. Revolution, thank you for your warmth that comes through in all your posts.

            Ok, group hug! :)

  15. Nigella says:

    Even if for a short while, I made the mistake of giving Mr. Liar the benefit of the doubt. Exactly five months ago, my relationship with him came to an abrupt end. In retrospect, I realize that I went into this relationship like a lamb to the slaughterhouse since I had ridiculously limited understanding of red flags & shady behaviors in the dating context in addition to being out of touch with my gut feelings.

    Because of the warmth he showed me until the last 10 days of our 2.5 months of dating, I had dropped my guard and trusted him more than was necessary. Keeping his erstwhile actions and words in mind, I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he did the following things that started to confuse and bother me: (1) texting more than usual in my presence, (2) changing plans with me to be with his friends, (3) passing snide comments under the pretext of teasing me, (4) failing to contact and thank me & my parents for accommodating him at their place, (5) sounding lukewarm in his emails and phone calls, (6) withholding physical affection, (7) making excuses for MIA & claiming to be very busy with projects, and (8) failing to deliver on promises and backtracking on future plans.

    Yes. I tolerated all of this for 10 days because I gave him the benefit of the doubt, started to live in the past, assumed that things will return to as they were before, bought his excuses & lies by over-empathizing & feeling sorry for him, and because I failed to ask him the right questions. I understand that in the big scheme of things tolerating 10 days of shady behavior is not a big deal. I dodged a bullet.

    Post-break up, for the first two months, I felt a lot of rage at myself for giving him the benefit of the doubt and at him for getting away with fooling & using me. Despite all my efforts to treat him well, I was discarded like a used Kleenex. I felt duped by him and defeated by his narcissistic friends – “friends” that relentlessly sought his attention by texting him & having meltdowns. It frustrated me to see that the ex – despite his apparent intelligence and independence – did not set limits on the time and attention his friends could demand from him. Each “friend” or “Bro” enabled the other to act in a self-absorbed and self-destructive manner. Of course, on the surface, such folk appear to be good “team-players” & “superstars” because of their stellar academic & professional track-records. In the future, I plan on deepening my assessment of a person based on the company he keeps. There is no harm in reminding myself that birds of a feather flock together. Having reflected on his pseudo-friendships, I have come to the realization that Mr. Liar and his friends were cerebral & co-dependent narcissists, each mirroring the other and using one another as excuses to avoid staying in romantic relationships. I cannot be 100% certain but it seems as though Mr. Liar had the pattern of using his friends & projects as barriers between himself and his romantic partners. If only I had picked up on this pattern sooner than later.

    For the past few weeks, I have been feeling an ongoing sense of sadness. During the anger phase, these questions consumed me: Is there no punishment for people like him? How can I set myself free from feeling disappointed, hurt, angry, defeated, duped, sad, and sadistic? How can I feel better again? How can I take better care of my heart? How can I steer clear of folk like the Liar? Thanks to BR, I have found a number of helpful & hope-inspiring answers to these questions. I am 30 and cannot see myself returning to the dating scene anytime soon. In fact I feel that even if I do not find a compatible, caring, and committed companion in this lifetime, I will be content as long as I do not betray myself.

    To avoid betraying myself, amongst other things, I have to curb my habit of giving people the benefit of the doubt. I am going to be careful about the number of chances and the amount of time I give to someone. Life is too short. I cannot waste it on narcissists and emotionally unavailable people. I had some important lessons to learn and I hope I do not repeat the same mistakes. It has been emotionally draining to find myself consumed by sadistic and sad thoughts regarding the ex. I am trying to accept that there is no justice, no punishment for his actions. No matter what he said, essentially I was just an object of gratification for him – an object that was discarded at the first sign of conflict, an object that was probably replaced by another – more easily available – source of gratification. I am not the first person he has discarded and I am sad to think that I will not be the last. There is nothing I can do to protect others from him.

    I need to focus on my own healing, happiness, and success. If I allow myself to sink any further in negative feelings, I and only I will be responsible for my pain. Taking the suggestion of a well-wisher, I bought a copy of The Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beattie. Perhaps some of you could make use of it as well.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      You’re free of him, now. Focus on that and don’t look back. I know it’s hard because you wish you’d been wiser. But look at all the rest of us. There are no simple-minded women posting on here, and yet we’ve all been fooled somehow in a variety of ways. Natalie’s blog is a testament to that fact. And, realize too that even though you may have felt pretty emotionally intense about the quy, at least it wasn’t that long before it ended. Many people on here have spent 9-10 years, and even longer before they say “enough”. So chin up and try to focus on the positives. You didn’t marry or move in with him so you’re free form those kinds of headaches. All the best. You’re going to be fine.

      • Nigella says:


        Thanks for your response. I have stored a text-image on my iphone with your advice: Chin up. Focus on the Positives. Look ahead.

        The moment I find myself sinking into negative thoughts, I will pull up this reminder to help me let go and move on.

        Difficult as it seems to me, I have to accept the fact that there is nothing I can do to punish the Liar. I cannot shame or hurt him. I cannot rip off his charming mask and expose to others a cold, careless, and self-centered coward. He forgot me. I must forget him.

        My ego is bruised. To make things better in my life, I need to focus on *my* priorities, goals, and needs. To become stronger, I need to develop better defence mechanisms – better coping strategies – against any pain or hurt I might incur with a loss or defeat in my life.

        I will learn to manage my fear of failure, betrayal, and rejection. I will get better. Thanks for helping me stay on track.

        • Maeve says:

          Nigella–remember to be patient with yourself. It takes awhile to work through this. Each person has their own pace. But really, we’re talking months here–maybe even a year or more. However long you need to process it.

    • MaryW says:


      You are often too hard on yourself. Please remind yourself, you only gave him the benefit of the doubt for a brief period, and it’s much easier to recognise shady behaviour in retrospect than it is at the time.

      “It has been emotionally draining to find myself consumed by sadistic and sad thoughts regarding the ex” – yes it is draining. So draining that we can forget any positives that are there, i.e. the lessons we’ve learned about ourselves and about others.

      I’m also avoiding the dating scene, and I find that so sad but necessary.

      I suppose we both have to remember that the Mr Liar and Mr Messiah’s of this world are actually quite uncommon – most men don’t and won’t hurt us as much as these chumps did.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Maeve, and Nigella,

        There’s not a thing you can do except hold your head up high and move on, knowing that they were fools not to appreciate the love of a good woman. Walk away feeling you’re the best thing on two feet. It’s an illusion of course, but one we need to hold onto until a mature, sensitive, loving MAN comes along. You’ll be able to recognize the imposters just a little more quickly. You’ll take more time and hold back until he REALLY proves himself. That’s something to be thankful for and it’s better than feeling sorry for yourself when what happened is done and you can’t change it. Unfortunately, there are just no guarantees no matter how we behave, but at least if you know you’re being wise and living by your principles, you don’t have to regret that you didn’t. Wishing you two all the best.

        I’m being sadly philosophical. Want to connect so badly, but the longer I stay away the better it gets and I
        know it’ll be better as time goes by.
        Let’s raise our imaginary glasses to creating for ourselves a much better 2014.

        • Maeve says:

          hear, hear, Tink. Hang in there. It’s amazing how your emotions can change when you talk logical sense to yourself. It may not be immediate, but it definitely happens.

          In my own case, I was really resistant to the idea that I have my EU thing going on and that I need to address it. But now that it’s sunk in, it’s become a priority.

      • Nigella says:


        You are right: I am my toughest critic. Self-berating thoughts are not going to help me feel more confident about my ability to handle different situations. I try my best to ensure that I do not use, control, manipulate, intimidate, or deceive anyone. In the same spirit, I do not want to be used, controlled, manipulated, intimidated, or deceived.

        Rejection is not a big issue for me. Deception, on the other hand, really bothers me. I will try to trust what you say: “most men don’t and won’t hurt us as much as these chumps did”. To some extent, I made the mistake of behaving like Pollyanna by having an overly optimistic and trusting attitude towards people. I should avoid going to the other end of the spectrum, thinking like Eeyore and gloomily assuming that nothing good is to come from dating someone down the road. For now, dating is out of the question. I am happy with this decision.

        I am sure things will get better for you with time and I hope that when you date again that your care and affection is reciprocated.

  16. Moving on says:


    Sending a texts are AC attempts. If he wanted to be with you he would be at your doorstep. I understand what you feel, I was there for three months of hell after the. Breakup with my ex and he kept on with the I miss you texts, I love you texts, and never once wanted to commit! In fact the ass has a new gf. You should consider blocking him. It’s hard at first, but trust me, not getting that mind game texts has given me a world of peace and a new man. It’s not worth it. Be strong. And remember, actions actions actions ! Words are empty !

  17. Trikywu says:

    I don’t mean to sound jadded, but after being screwed around by EUM’s and pretenders, I realized the best male companion is my dog. He’s loves me. I love him. Doesn’t play games (unless I throw a ball or toy at him), and gave me lots of company and warmth when I was recuperating from surgery this past month. Of course, the physical stuff are just hugs and kisses. No, he can’t pick me up from hospital or doctor visits, and no he can’t really be left alone in the house for too long or let the cable guy in. But he’s better than some of the guys I’ve dealt with. However, on another note, I believe that I attract men who aren’t into me because perhaps I’m not really into myself. I’m trying to love myself more – especially since a very serious medical condition was recently diagnosed that required major surgery and a cancer scare coupled by a blood clot. (All benign – so I’m fine – but blood clot still lives.). How did that happen? Healthy me – the one who’s exercised all her life, eaten well, healthy as can be? Well, despite that – I disconnected myself from my body – so to speak.Never went to doctors unless something was bothering me (like this particular instance). Never cared because I didn’t value myself. I’m turning 50 in December, and thanks to my parents great genes, I look much younger. I live young, think young – as a lover of alternative comedy and indie music, I’ll never loose the post-punk modern girl I was and will be. On my b’day, I will treat myself to two days at a spa by the beach in Malibu – alone. And I’m extremely fine with that. Maybe the right guy will show up late in my life. But if I’ve spent too many years pushing aside possibilities, then perhaps this is the karma I’ve created for myself. Aloneness. I kind of love it. But if he came into my life – I’m on it. He just better not be the narcissitic, love addict, daydreamer, looking-for-a-Jennifer-Lawrence-in-Silver-Lining-Playbook girl while hanging around me biding his time. No more. No more. I bring this up in this topic because I recently gave someone the benefit of the doubt, but he was just using me to have someone to listen to his bitterness about job and ex-girlfriend who dumped him. Yet, the “benefit of the doubt” played in well for me. It gave me time to get to know him more and find out WHY that girl left him. Man, I applaud her for running. And I did too.

  18. Tinkerbell says:


    I am very sorry about your loss of your job. That’s so tough. Now is when you need you Mom’s support, not bashing. You did TRY to get fired, I’m sure. Even when you don’t like our job, it’s still an income so you want to PLAN your departure. Sorry you’re getting bashed. Some people will kick you when your down and unfortunately sometimes parents are no exception. I hope you get to stay with your gf, temporary or whatever. Hopefully, if you have to go back home it won’t be for an extended period of time. I sense that you really have a lot on your plate, no car, no job, Mom giving you a hard time. Yet, you’re always so supportive to the rest of us. Be blessed. xx Tink

    • Rosie says:

      Thanks, Tinkerbell-

      Yes, I’ll be moving in to my friend’s place for the month of November. I hope I find a job within this time. I’ve learned to not take my mom’s nonsense personally and I’ve learned to have compassion for her and even forgiveness. I don’t know when that happened or how but wow! I really HAVE forgiven her and feel compassion for her even though I’m in the midst of the nonsense. I don’t make excuses for her, just no longer dwelling on what I think she can or can’t control regarding her own perceptions and behaviors. Who knows? What goes on inside her and why she acts/reacts the way she does isn’t my problem. But I’ve got to deal with it as I’m presently living with her and already it’s taking its toll because who wants to be yelled at everyday?

      Supporting others who are trying to make positive changes within themselves and their lives is easy because I’m trying to do the same. Because we know we’re all trying, there’s mutual respect here (authentic “tough love”, which is what you and some others here do, is showing respect) so no burden, ya know? ;)

      Thank you, Tinkerbell, for your presence here! XXX

  19. espresso says:

    In the past year I feel for the first time I have a much clearer vision of my ex, my marriage and myself…well clearER anyways. I don’t know how long my insight development is going to take. Ido have stuff to learn but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on it.

    It is sad to me that I got so used to living in an unappreciative environment where I was begging for crumbs and was exhausted by trying so hard. I don’t think I actually came into the marriage that way and outside of the marriage I feel and act differently, but I was young and I didn’t really know how to assess things. Overtime it just became such a struggle and HE was MUCH more skilled at shutting me down than I was at being able to improve things. He didn’t even want to anyway. I always DID respond to my gut but really didn’t have any allies, even myself to remind me that this wasn’t right, it wasn’t good for me and that it would be a good decision to leave. He is/was a very emotionally crippled person who feels entitled, plays the victim, acts entitled, disrespects me and had the power in the relationship. (But he made me think I did and always attacked me for that). I actually didn’t believe a person could be so sneakily destructive …so I discounted it and gave him the benefit of the doubt. It has been hard for me to admit to myself that he is manipulative and he lies. He has a self image of being a nice guy so you can imagine the fury with which he has always met my distress. I got very worn down.

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I’m very happy for you that you are on the mend. This unsavory situation with your husband has been really hard on you, as you’ve posted many time attesting to that fact. That’s a long time to be so unhappy and devalued. I wish you better days ahead. You’ve hit rock bottom so it should be onwards and upwards (in a positive way) from here. Good luck.

  20. noquay says:

    Yep, that very person SLAMMED me in her column because I took umbrage with her telling a very young woman not to worry whether a potential mate has a steady job, ambition, and not for the woman to even worry whether she is even attracted to a guy. Heavy on giving the benefit of the doubt!!! Talk about setting someone young and inexperienced up for a fall!? A lot of it is “it’s our fault, we suck” and if you’ll just spend money to buy my tapes, CDs etc., it’ll all be fixed. Better to expect good behaviour from the get go and flush as soon as it’s clear such isn’t going to happen.

  21. lizzp says:

    “In fact I feel that even if I do not find a compatible, caring, and committed companion in this lifetime, I will be content as long as I do not betray myself.”

    Nigella. I am very grateful to you for writing that. It seems you are facing hard and painful truths owing to the legacy left by Mr Liar’s betrayals and deceptions. I feel I can relate is many ways.

    I know that the worst emotional pain in my life has always been tied to a knowledge, even if deeply hidden and denied, that I have betrayed myself. How and why have/do I betray myself? Because often in the moment I do not connect with my self worth. All else stems from this; standards, boundaries, self esteem, self care, loving action and real trust.

    Regarding this post: throughout my life my giving of various people – men I’ve loved, women friends, family,colleagues and so forth – the benefit of the doubt has mostly amounted to a self betrayal. If I am having to ponder any ‘benefit of the doubt’ dilemmas then that is cue that I am disconnected from my gut which knows what is right for me as it has a direct line to my self worth.

    True grief and sadness over loss hurts like hell but it involves letting go, not self betrayal. When I grieve it feels right, not black and depressed. But emotional pain because of self betrayal is a muddy, black swamp, it’s sticky and doesn’t move and as Nigella suggests, it interferes with contentment.

    I know I’m on shaky ground emotionally whenever I start couching my thoughts around the concept of benefit of the doubt, especially when my heart is involved in matters of intimacy, vulnerability, trust and loving affection.

    • Nigella says:


      Thanks for your response. Had I not found BR and support from people sharing their feedback and experiences on this site, I am certain I would be stuck and sinking in the “muddy, black swamp” of pain that you describe.

      I will set myself free from the fears & negative thoughts that are interfering with my progress, success, and happiness. To this end, I do need to focus on building my self-esteem.

      You raise an important question: How and why do I betray myself? In my case, I betrayed myself by giving someone unnecessary chances to redeem himself and by not demanding more respect for my time and feelings. I was unnecessarily nice and naive. Good news: I will not make the same mistakes again.

      The moment I sniff something fishy, I am going to reassess my involvement in a relationship. To avoid over-giving & reeking of desperation, I am not going to try hard to please or attract the other person. I am going to focus on (1) what I want and deserve & (2) what I am willing to give to another without compromising my own needs and goals.

      I am not afraid of being single for the rest of my life since I can provide for myself & fight my own battles. But I must confess that since I am no saint I do feel dissatisfied about not having sex. This is embarrassing. Since I am not interested in having casual flings, I have to control my need for sex. I wish I could once and for all put to sleep my need for sex. This pressing need is the chink in my armour. It muddles my sense of judgement. It makes me feel dependent on another for that adrenalin rush. I am not dropping my armour anytime soon. The pleasure of sex is not worth the pain that is engendered by betrayal and breaking up.

      I cannot medicate myself with sex. Sex – I know – is not going to be the panacea for my pent-up frustrations and fears. I need to find other remedies or distractions. I will.

      • lizzp says:

        Nigella, I understand the need/desire for sex but like you I don’t/won’t and honestly cannot afford (in an emotional sense)to ‘do’ casual flings. For me what I miss is sex as an expression of intimacy and trust so really ‘sex’ and ‘casual’ is a misnomer to me.

        Speaking of adrenalin rushes, benefit and doubt: I recently formed a friendly ‘older’ women’s soccer (football)team so we could compete in a local, social competition. Our team are all in our forties. I’m not the fittest person in the world and am not large/very muscular so I picked goal keeper to avoid too much running around. And boy have I discovered an adrenalin rush from defending. Funnily enough(or maybe not…) I’ve realised that being goalie is an actualisation of boundary keeping as others not on ‘my side’ come in and try to overrun my defenses. I get a hell of a kick (pardon the pun haha)in blocking these boundary busting antics and… ‘protecting my goal/s’! My single-mindedness and dedication actually astound me when I think about it. I have no control over the various strange sounds that emerge from inside me as someone tries to take a shot, it does feel a little primal at times.

        So…uhmm..trying to make this relevant to benefit of the doubt seems a bit of a stretch – it’s pretty hard to doubt the intentions of some hefty, strong ‘player’ who is making no bones about wanting to ‘penetrate’ my boundaries with the ‘ball’…hahha… and make headway with their own goals whilst making me (my team)fall behind in ours! Doubting the ‘opposing’ team’s intentions would to me be analagous with giving some online man explicitly looking for casual sex without ‘strings’ (and anyone who ever proposes FWB…yuuuuckkkk, what a terrible concept to have become acceptable mainstream) the benefit of the doubt (read this as the benefit of my delusional fantasy) that: If I drop my defenses and boundaries, maybe even step aside from the goal so he has unfettered access, and allow him to ‘score’ once or twice, he’ll be obliged to develop deeper feelings whereby transforming his triumphant scoring into a desire for mutuality. Right…and even were this to be the case the fact that I’ve betrayed myself to get there doesn’t get magically erased, nor does the fact that I have deceived and manipulated both of us by falsifying what I really need.

        Anyway,all should be well if I don’t have a heart attack.

      • Nigella says:


        Thanks for sharing your soccer experience. Glad you are having fun! Your dedication to the sport comes through in the comment. May you continue to enjoy being a goal-keeper and win the competition with your team.

        In my view, everything boils down to your point about maintaining our boundaries. I think as long as we are *consistently* clear-certain-communicative about what is acceptable & valuable to us, no one can really toy with us for too long. This is not to say that one should never be spontaneous or flexible, that is, open to changing things for good reasons. Before dating the Liar, I was clear about some of my boundaries. Now I’ve gained awareness of many more – a personal gain outweighing any losses I incurred while dating him.

        I can’t predict or control the way others may choose to treat me. But I want to ensure that I’m not *complicit* in setting myself up for disappointment or mistreatment. Keeping things simple, if I feel dissatisfied or confused, I won’t *pretend* to be fine & keep granting chances to others to prove themselves to me – depending on the issue, three chances at most. Example: I’m not comfortable with anyone distracting me from my career goals. If a person fails to respect this limit, I’m out. Three chances at most. Yes, I’ll maintain an *account* in my mind, for this is how I’ll be accountable to myself. Did I again deny or downplay what I want? Did I again excuse that comment or behavior? Did I again fall for a meaningless gift? Empty apology or promise? Did I waste more time waiting & hoping for things to get better? Life is short and so is my tolerance for disregard of my feelings.

        Finally, it feels good to be free of believing that it is okay if the needs or demands of others trump mine. This belief has had nothing but pernicious effects on me in my romantic liaisons. Because of this belief, I devalued & betrayed myself. This self-sabotaging belief – I have realized – is premised on (1) undermining my own worth and (2) inflating the worth of the other person. The needs of another can trump mine only if – deep down – I think that I *should* cater to his needs at my expense, that I am less than him, that I cannot be content on my own, and that I cannot find anyone more compatible & caring than him. Of course, I understand the importance of compromises, of mutual give-&-take, of having fair and reasonable expectations. But sacrifices – relinquishing my needs & desires on a *permanent or prolonged basis* for the sake of another – are senseless. Now my mantra is “I tried. You didn’t. I’m done.”

        Only time will tell the extent to which I’ll be able to adhere to these newly cultivated beliefs – whether I’ll be able to walk the talk. I reflected on what you, Mary, and Tinkerbell said about (1) learning to identify signs of emotional unavailability before getting attached & (2) sex intensifying the attachment one feels for a man. It seems to me that signs of emotional unavailability, toxicity, incompatibility can emerge within weeks or years in a relationship. So while it is worth taking things slow & not having sex too early in the dating phase, ultimately one just has to think of sex as a “part” of a relationship. Great sex is essential for a fulfilling relationship to last (for me at least). However, once and for all I’ve learned that it can’t be the only or primary factor determining my attachment to a person or assessment of a relationship. Living in la la land, I mistook sex as proof of an emotional connection, as evidence of his care and commitment to me. Mea cupla: I made this false assumption and fell for his future-faking. Looking back, I can see that sex deepened my attachment to Mr. Liar. There are many things that blurred my ability to see him accurately. Sex is one of them. Now that I’m aware of this tendency, I won’t allow it to muddle my judgement. Losing self-respect for sex is lame.

        For now, I’m not sure what to do about my desire for sex. It’s not a need or addiction. I want sex but not a serious or casual relationship. In short, I can’t have sex unless I am with someone who cares about me. I’m not sure why I want sex? Even in a relationship not sure what all it means to me or what affect it has on my power-&-independence? For now, I see sex as something that makes me depend on another for pleasure, closeness, & relief. I don’t like to feel dependent. I’m uncomfortable thinking that someone can frustrate or humiliate me by denying me sex or depriving me of physical affection. I’m mystified by my intense desire for sex (within & without a relationship). Maybe I over-value sex.

        If I’m denied sex, this is the negative tape that plays in my mind: “Get away from me, you pest. I don’t want you. I no longer find you attractive. I’m lining up & thinking of someone else. It’s only a matter of time before I get rid of you. For now, I’m biding my time. I enjoy seeing you suffer. I’ll see for how long you can pretend that you don’t need me. I enjoy inflicting this pain on you, having this power over you. I’ll use sex to reward or punish you. I get to decide whether you experience pleasure or pain. I can’t or won’t give all of me to you because you’re not that worthy & I’m not that into you.” Harsh. I can’t see myself living with these demons in my head. So I must figure out how I can maintain a stable sense of self-worth even if someone eventually tries to punish or control me by withholding sex. One thing is certain: I’m not a nymphomaniac but I do expect to have exciting & satisfying sex at least twice a week. I’m not looking for a colleague or a roommate with whom to have a sexless relationship. Depending on the *overall* quality of the relationship, I might give a partner some time to satisfy my sexual desires. But ultimately if he is unable or unwilling to satisfy me in this way, I’m out.

      • Feistywoman says:

        The menopause and ageing causes a reduction in libido! Sex in my marriage was crap anyway so there is nothing to miss there. My ex wouldn’t have found his way round my body with sat nav if he’d cared that is.

  22. Tinkerbell says:


    Connecting with our self worth. You are soooo right when you say everything else stems from there. When you’ve maintained your own sense of value it’s not the end of the world when a relationship is over. of course, you’re in pain, perhaps regretful for the time you feel you may have wasted, but you’re not totally devastated and demolished. On the other hand, when you’ve given too much benefit of the doubt, sacrificed your dignity by being a doormat, allowed all kinds of shady behavior and it doesn’t work out, you feel not only sad that it didn’t work, but then you have all these other issues in which you put yourself “one down”, made him all important, and compromised your principles way too much. I’ve experienced not only both situations but the extremes of them both. I have to say walking away knowing that you’ve kept in tune with your self worth is far better and the recovery isn’t nearly as traumatic, imo. And, too if you carefully scrutinize a romantic prospect before jumping into a relationship, the degree of hurt corresponds to the type of individual you allowed into your life.

    • MaryW says:

      Tink and Lizzp, I agree with the correlation that more self betrayal = more hurt. With ‘hurt’ being an understatement.

      I’m in the position where I simply don’t trust myself not to betray myself so I’m steadfastly single. I think I had a few crazy years of giving a few men the benefit of the doubt because of the ticking of the biological clock. To be honest, I’m not out of the woods in that respect (haven’t quite accepted that having children is very unlikely to happen).

      I am thoroughly ashamed to think of the ways in which I’ve given people the benefit of the doubt, or even worse, let them carry on with BS even when there is no doubt that it’s wrong on some (or many) levels. Talk about learning the hard way….

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Mary dear,

        I saw this after I finished posting to Maeve and Nigella. Please know that everything I said to them, words which were deeply conveyed from my heart to be encouragement, are also meant for you. We have to bolster each other up with the most positivity we can muster. I understand, Mary, that you’ve lost a lot of self confidence which is why your afraid to date. But that will pass eventually. Feelings really are transient. They don’t remain the same with the same intensity forever. Take a break and go back to seeking Mary, who she is and what she wants. Take baby steps back to your best life. (Not to be sounding like Oprah, LOL!) xxx Tink.

        • MaryW says:

          Bless you, Tink. Yes I lost a lot of self confidence but also lost confidence in several areas of life – not just my life but life in general. But as you say, baby steps.
          Thank you and hope you are well :)

  23. Sparkle says:

    You can be the most Wonderful Girl in the world. But you will NEVER be good enough for a guy who’s unavailable/not ready. (Pinterest)

    Listening to girlfriends last night, talking about their latest dating/online stories. One guy demanded to know if he’s getting sex on date 3, another only texts, one got mad when she talked to another guy at a party, one not divorced, one fast forwarding, one seems like a narc. Really, not one fun story. They just deal with it best they can. Mainly minimize, denial, weak boundaries, playing games. I am so glad to be on a dating break. It was exhausting just listening to it all.

    • Nigella says:


      Thanks for this life-saving reminder (which I have slightly modified): “You can be the most wonderful woman in the world. But you will never be good enough for someone who is unavailable, narcissistic, not ready”.

      Surely, I am not Ms. Perfect. Nor do I pretend to be perfect or expect others to be perfect. But for now I resent the fact that despite my best efforts, the ex more or less made me feel not good enough.

      The fact is that if someone is not interested or prepared for a long-lasting and mutually fulfilling relationship, then they are going to find any excuse to devalue and dump a person – even if they had initially pursed, idealized, and future faked that person.

      I have realized that if I stabilize my own sense of self-worth, then no one can make me feel inferior or incompetent, unappealing or unhappy.

      • MaryW says:

        I think the key thing is identifying these people who are not interested or prepared before attachment sets in. This is my problem, though.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        YES! x 3.

      • lizzp says:

        Nigella, I feel that’s it in a nutshell, because what can really cause demonic pain and confusion if our sense of self worth is stabilised- meaning something that goes beyond some daily mantra on the fridge, a deeply felt knowledge that we are good and precious and that we truly do not *deserve*: withholding of affection, withdrawal and closing off, patronising, deceptive behaviour, passive aggressive insinuation, lazy communication, avoidance of communication, passive or deliberate dishonesty, misleading information and the plethora of other behaviours and rationalisations of the weak and emotionally stunted man.

        Where do I find in myself the opposite of *not deserving* careless and non-respectful conduct in my relations with others? If I don’t deserve to be met with such behaviours then how, in the moment that it is happening, do I hold fast to my sense of value when being devalued?

        There is so much involved here. I cannot value myself without boundaries, I cannot expect to connect with my sense of solid self-hood if I am not valuing myself in the moment, every time I drop my boundaries and give the man the benefit of a doubt that I have infact manufactured for the benefit of my own denial I am shifting to me/myself/my value not being ‘worth it’, I am presenting him with my human lack/vulnerable part that is most precious and fragile, I am saying – here get a look at all this and take care of it even though I have no idea who you really are and what the hell you might do with my vulnerability and fragility.

        MaryW, yes, not getting attached as the key. You are so smart and savvy. There is nothing wrong with attachment per se, we can’t get by without it, it’s necessary for a life. But in my last ‘relationship’, (same man of over a year ago now, I too am not dating at all and the thought of online fills me with disgust) my attachment proceeded at the expense of my value. I began to attach as soon as we progressed to physical affection – about 3 weeks in- I switched from me in reality to me and him fantasy in my head, this was by no means very obvious but incredibly subtle but I WAS aware of the signs. I knew and know myself well enough and I still decided ‘what the fuck’anyway…and I didn’t even sleep with this man though we were physically affectionate up until his back tracking then complete disappearance from my life a few month later. I haven’t been the same since,and in the last 2 months I have come to the point of being able to admit to myself that I regret ever having allowed myself to attach to him. This means I wish I had never been physically affectionate with him…I needed to wait. It is one step from wishing I had never me him. It’s been very hard for me to realise because like Nigella, at bottom it has not been rejection that has been killing me but deception, both his and my own. If I am changing and learning something real it is out of necessity, because I need to survive emotionally, actually not only that, I want to not only survive this but move well beyond the patterns in me that have allowed me to be open to such terrible pain.

        I can’t regret that we never met or I would not be where I am now – dredging this muck out that was there before we met. And I guess if I had taken care of myself when I did meet him, then I wouldn’t be having to do the accumulated dredge now cos I would have been doing it in a more timely and consistent manner, a daily dredge.

        Tinkerbell, MaryW and Nigella, thank you for your support…even though it’s only 2 D, unlike Mr Weak’s text messages of bygone times, I know it is not based in fantasy.

        • MaryW says:

          Lizzp, so nice to see you here and read your wise words. You manage to write what I think, or what I feel without the feelings having got to the concrete thought stage (if that makes any sense!).

          I also lost myself when I became attached to Mr M, which was also when things got physical (which was MUCH too fast – damn future faking/ building castles in the sky took place on both sides, I can’t just blame him). And regarding physical affection – well I get so little of it, so infrequently, that when the opportunity arises I seem to have no control over myself. Hence I’m not going near any one with a 10 foot barge pole.

          In my case, rejection is/ was most likely NOT the main cause of the devastation … because I somehow managed to walk away from him (although in retrospect I probably knew he was going cold anyway and wanted to get out first); it was the horrific realisation that I had allowed all this to happen; as you say, the deception of oneself; giving someone the benefit of the doubt, when actually there was little to no doubt there anyway (in my case) that I was with a textbook EUM.

          If I think about it/ him too much, I shudder and feel the need to take a long hot bath to cleanse myself, then I remember what I tell Nigella: yes, learn the lessons, but stop being so damn hard on myself.

          I must agree, words of support, or just shared experiences, from anyone here, be it you, Tink, Nigella, Allison or anyone else, do mean a hell of a lot more than a “miss you babe” type message from any AC. :)

          Lizzp, some of the words you wrote for me around the bleakest time (several months ago now) helped me more than I can express, and I will be forever grateful to you for that. You continue to inspire me as I dredge away.

          • Allison says:

            Mary W,

            I can remember when you first came to BR, and where you are today. You have made huge strides, and will continue to learn and grow as times moves forward- many stages.

            I too, have been in that place: WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING, but if it weren’t for that ridiculous experience, I wouldn’t have done any self reflection and discovered that I was the problem – I was attracted to the wrong men. The relationship made me realize how EU I was and address the trust issues and walls that were in place. This is a great thing!

            Today, I am more discerning, and ready for a long-term commitment, so if I had to go through the embarrassment, anger and hurt, it was all worth it.

            Girl, give yourself some time and credit yourself for how far you’ve come. Someday, you will be grateful for the experience!!!!


            • MaryW says:

              Allison, thank you! It means a lot to me to read that from you. I feel like I’m more EU than ever before (step backwards) but in a healthy and real way (forwards step).

              And thank you for being a straight-talker: being a tad thin-skinned, it sometimes smarts but then it sinks in and I realise you’re right :)

              Many thanks to you and sending a hug back.

              • Tinkerbell says:


                I also remember when you first came here. You were a mess, but no different than the rest of us when we first got here. I see the emotional growth in you. You’re still basically a very gentle person, very considerate of others feelings. That’s a wonderful trait as long as it’s dispensed with the utmost wisdom, restraint, and determination to learn and not repeat past mistakes.

                • MaryW says:

                  Tink when I first came here I was still embroiled with a EUM who I thought I adored after 6 weeks….(!)
                  I was still recovering from other online dating experiences, having dated:
                  - a psychotherapist, who spent each date analysing me, then dumped me
                  - a narcissist who would lose his temper and once told me to “f#ck off” for no reason
                  - a seemingly normal, intelligent man who I allowed to seduce me and who I never saw again :(
                  - a seemingly normal man who I had several dates with before he told me he wished to pursue a polyamorous lifestyle
                  - also a few just boring, going-nowhere dates sprinkled inbetween, after which I felt hugely disappointed.

                  So yes, I was a mess! I am no longer using on line dating and just putting the pieces back together after putting myself through the wringer with all these men!
                  I am doing well at being restrained, though only by default because my life is work, home, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat. But yes I am determined to learn (therapy is exhausting!) and not repeat those mistakes as far as possible.
                  Bless you, Tink.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          But if “not getting attached” was simple, why are we all here? (No one said this. I’m just talking out loud to myself.) It seems that we women have a natural proclivity to attach once physical intimacy begins. Apparently, in my case, and in others who have posted, it doesn’t even have to be that gratifying. Why is that? What causes this pervasive need in us to attach and to be gratified by the physical closeness of a man? Is it loneliness? A lack in our feelings of self-worth? The desire to “win” him and, hopefully, be adored forever? Whatever it is, I don’t think there’s any one answer and it will remain elusive. I am so sick of it all. Without doubt, I’m joining the ranks of those who are taking a dating hiatus. There are other things we can do with our lives besides get into these repeatedly unsatisfying, abusive, deceptive relationships with men who aren’t fit to polish our shoes. I know I’m feeling very bitter and very sad, but I’m human. Hell. How much are we supposed to put up with before we get good and mad? I’m angry, but at the same time if he were to call me and tell me he wanted to try again to be the man I want and need, I know I would succumb. Being smarter and wiser would mean a firm “No”. But, right now, I’m not that strong. Maybe it’s too soon for me to able to say “no”. I will not be the one to reach out to him because I feel that I’m the one who basically has kept it going this long. But I’m not ready to refuse him if he were to connect.

          What Lizzp said, really puts it in a nutshell for me and her words have struck a chord. So insightful and wise. And yet, someone as smart as she can still have an uninspiring ROMANTIC existence with a loving man? My God! What does that say for me? I need to just pack it up and move on to “never-never land”. I thought I had gained a better sense of my worth and self esteem. I showed it by using some restraint because i could have moved in with him, like a fool. But, why did it take me a whole year before giving up? Because he was a good guy with a problem that was not going to be resolved. I kept wishing and hoping, because he was worth it.

          Coming here to Br can be very helpful, but at the same time you can feel even more depressed reading of other’s dissatisfaction. But, I know for me I’m just sad for now and I will pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on. What else can I and the rest of us do? We certainly aren’t going to commit heri-keri (?sp) over a man, so we have no choice. I’m just going to tell myself that life is full of ups and downs, feelings are transient and maybe by tomorrow morning I’ll feel much better.

          • MaryW says:

            Dear Tink,

            There’s getting attached in a normal way and then getting attached in a pathological way – which is what happens to me. In my case it stems for a clingy, neediness because I didn’t have a solid attachment to my mum (or dad) EVER. So I attach but don’t really let the person in for fear that they’ll see the real me – fear of abandonment. Yes, I’m EU, so just as well I’m not dating.

            Even women who aren’t pathologically clingy attach more after sex. There’s info about hormone release after sex etc which explains it from a physiological view point. So I battle with both the physiological and psychological aspects of sex > attachment.

            Tink, you’re allowed to feel bitter and sad. Petie left you hugely disappointed. Pray that he respects your NC request and there’s no risk of you succumbing. I deleted all of Mr M’s details but if he messaged me, I can’t honestly say I’d be strong enough to just press delete. I count my blessings that he has left me be.

            Tink, I’ve done worse than your ‘mistake’ of giving Petie the benefit of the doubt for a year. I put up with an asexual chap (who was also a bit of an assclown) for 2 years. He didn’t even have ED, just low libido and was a lazy lover – and at a crucial time in my mid thirties (I don’t have children). What a flipping waste of time.

            I do know what you mean about reading other people’s stories on BR. Sometimes it helps to know you’re not on your own, other times it feels as if everything is useless and there’s no hope. Sometimes I take a break and come back here when I’m ready.

            Wishing you all the best, Tink, and hope you’ll find the positive transient feelings outweighing the negative ones very soon.

            Life isn’t straightforward :/

            • Tinkerbell says:


              I’m so sorry about your dysfunctional relationship with your parents which has contributed to your lack in intimate relationships years later. I can’t say my childhood was very bad but from young adulthood through to mid 30′s it was horrendous. One calamity after the other with mucho drama.

              I think you can really understand the depth of my sadness, Mary. I’m anticipating a birthday card very soon. I mentioned it to my sister and how I didn’t know if I’d be able to resist calling. I, more or less, decided I would not. The BOTD with him has expired. Anyway, my sister told me not to respond to a greeting card. Let him really attempt to engage me by doing a lot more than that. And she’s right. I had already decided the same thing. I’m emotionally drained, having insomnia. I just need quiet and to be spared from expending too much emotion. But, the good thing is that even though the emotions are still disheveled, at least mentally I can feel myself slowly detaching. For that, I couldn’t be happier.

              Now for a little reading and a nap. (Big hugs) Tink.

              • MaryW says:

                Only just read this but saw on the other post that the card arrrived. Well, that was nice of him (or was it, considering you’re No Contact?) but it doesn’t require a response.
                I completely understand your need for quiet and minimal drama/ emotion. Wishing you lots of rest but also lots of fun on your birthday ;)

    • MaryW says:

      Sparkle, I don’t think I know anyone who’s actively dating at the moment. Friends are either settled or resolutely single. I’m in two minds about being on a break from dating; in one way I feel more content, less anxious etc, but in another way I feel that life is passing me by.
      I like the quote, by the way :) I’m sure a lot of us here can take some solace from it.

      • Maeve says:

        I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or not, but I’m not advertising the fact that I’m single. I’m just getting into activities I enjoy and if I meet someone, that’s great. If I don’t, that’s fine. But no concerted effort on my part to join singles events. This is exactly how I would’ve done it from the beginning if there weren’t so much societal pressure to try online dating, attend singles events and otherwise bring attention to my singlehood.

        Now, what I DO think I need to work on is discouraging anyone who mistake my nonchalance as a sign that I’m fine with something casual– even though I don’t flirt or encourage.

        It would be pretty cool to cultivate the right kind of signals that convey I don’t want to be bothered unless someone is looking for something real.

        • MaryW says:

          This is difficult, Maeve.

          I think your approach to meeting someone is spot on and much more natural than online dating (never again) or single events (nope!).

          On the whole, I walk around giving off signals akin to a neon sign saying “F*CK OFF”. I am just not ready.

          On a rare occasion recently, I removed the neon sign and was just myself. I ended up with a MM sniffing around me, to my horror. Don’t know if I was accidentally giving off signs, though I didn’t flirt with or encourage this man. I assumed he was safe (to be nice and normal to; enjoy a conversation) because he’s married, 15+ years older, and works in the same (small) field. I was wrong, though it wasn’t the end of the world.

          Cultivating the right kind of signals is something I have never managed; my next challenge, when I’m feeling ready! The alternative of course is to recognise *their* signs and respond accordingly ;)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            MaryW, (almost forgot the W, again)

            You answer my question of why I went off the deep end over the physical closeness. Same as you, I’ve gotten so little of it that when I do I go crazy. How I ever spent 25 years with a man who denied me sexual gratification, I’ll never know. I spent 6 months with the MM who put me on cloud 9 with the sex, and now this last one, Petie. Am I destined to not have a gratifying sexual relationship? I think so. I will not be open to it anymore. Sometimes we have to accept our fate, esp. when it slaps us in the face.

            • micheyl says:

              Tinkerbell, your post makes me sad :( No I don’t think you are destined for that. I went 7 years celibate after my divorce (just one encounter that was blah) and so sex with Mr. uk being so good made me kind of an addict during our relationship and then our long break up too, that is what kept pulling me back. So then I had empty sex with 2 other men in the mean time and now I have stopped all together. I have come to admit I have such a bad sexual history (sex too soon, sex as intimacy/love instead of true intimacy, one night stands after my first divorce, empty and meaningless sex with practical strangers.) And yes sex was great with Mr. uk but I can’t allow the sex to be the end all be all. And neither should you. Yes, easier said than done. I would rather be alone and satisfy myself (tmi) than with someone that either physically or emotionally I feel badly with. I hope the physical/emotional/spiritual connection is out there with someone for both of us, that we can find that someone that satisfies us in all areas. It is there. Please don’t resolute yourself to being without one of those areas. xo

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Aw Micheyl,

                Thanks! And how’re you doing? You haven’t been around for a while, right? I appreciate your encouraging words. You know, it means so much when people who you only “know” on this website reach out, because they don’t have to do it. Like you, as a younger woman from my late teens ( virgin until age 19) until my late 30′s (one bad marriage at age 21 for only 2 yrs) I was very sexually active. I don’t know if it could be called promiscuous behavior because I always has a bf and, for me, it was always exclusive at the time. I remember thinking that during the years of my second marriage to a man who had zero libido, I was being punished for all the sex I’d had when I was younger. That’s probably why I stayed in the marriage and never cheated. Resignation of my fate. Sometimes, certain beliefs can really mess with your head until you become more spiritually mature. However, after my most recent sad experience, I can’t help but be convinced that I’m just not supposed to have sex ever again. In correlation with this post perhaps I should use the magic eraser to my benefit by erasing that fact of having had a lot of sex so many years ago because its really irrelevant now. Anyway, my mood is better today and I plan to get my rest because I’ve had frequent insomnia for over a week. Got any news since your last post? Take care, Micheyl. xx Tink.

                • Rosie says:

                  Tinkerbell- It seems you’re applying the “one false move” philosophy to God. Yes, take that magic eraser and erase the thought that God’s punishing you for all the sex you had when younger. I talk a lot about my morality and I know I must sound self-righteous at times but, usually, it’s because I’m feeling horny and I get really, really angry at God for my “doing things right” and not being gifted with a husband so that I can have sex. I resent couples who talk about how “God brought us together…” So they’re God’s little darlings and I’m what? The reject of the family?? The Bible says the rain and sun shine on both the evil and righteous. Using that as our premise, just because something good happens to others, it doesn’t mean they’re His little darlings but, logically, when something bad happens to us, it doesn’t mean we’re God’s little rejects. Good and bad are everybody’s fate on earth and either one can change in a heartbeat. God’s love is greater than any sin, ya know? ;)

                  • Tinkerbell says:

                    Hi Rosie,

                    Thanks for your empowering message. I will try to remember not to blame God when things don’t go as I wished or planned. It may well be because HE sees a better
                    plan, thus outcome in the future which may not even appear right away. Faith is the key.

        • Tinkerbell says:


          When you find out how to convey those signal, let me know. LOL!

        • Rosie says:

          Maeve and MaryW- Maybe thinking we’re sending the wrong signals or asking how we can send the right signals is another version of taking responsibility for others’ behavior? I know Nat has a phrase for this and even wrote a whole post about it, just can’t think of it at the moment.

          I’ve said this zillions but am saying it again because I believe it to be true: Respectful people will be respectful and disrespectful people will be disrespectful. It isn’t about our sending out signals but about our own recognition of nonsense when we come across it and not engaging with it. It really is that simple. My opinion is that we really need to stop thinking we have control over other people, the world, God/higher power, blah blah, blah through “signals”, perfect psychological health, perfect praying, etc. I don’t mean that it’s ok to stay dysfunctional and/or in pain but if we wait until we’re perfect before we start dating again or even look at a man or if we take the blame for any jackasses who may approach us, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives before we ever date again because guess what? We won’t ever be perfect and guess what? Jackasses abound and would abound even if we were perfect. We’re not that powerful as to control the world and who all is in it. We only have control over who we let into our personal lives and who stay in our personal lives. The brick house was strong enough to keep the wolf from blowing it down but the wolf still came to his door, ya know? ;)

          • Maeve says:

            Rosie—thanks so much for saying that. I feel responsible for EVERYTHING. I still have no idea why I attracted a string of losers into my realm–I went through a 2-3 year hell where I bumped into every deep-seated psychological problem child in the book–and not just in the love department. It just seems too weird for coincidence and maybe it’s as simple as my defenses were down (which is kind of like sending smoke signals). But yeah, thinking I hold that kind of power over people is exhausting. It’s a warped version of reality.

        • Feistywoman says:

          Maeve I’m doing the same thing enjoying my life for what it is and took up horse riding again after 40 years out of the saddle. This did wonders for my confidence. My ex did say that he thought I preferred animals to people and when I encounter shallow, lying, poor mannered people he is actually right much as I hate to admit it. I take a lot of joy from the simpler things in life, my cats, riding, seeing birds in my garden. Love from an animal is unconditional. I took on a homeless older cat earlier this year who was stuck in a cattery. I saw her there in the pen opposite when my other cats went in. This cat faced a poor future in a rescue centre not getting homed and then most likely being put down. She is devoted to me and seeing her adapt and open up as she trusts me has been so rewarding. I am also proud of my other cats for accepting her. It was fate that she came into my life and her twilight years are now being spent in comfort and with love. If a man doesn’t like cats then it is tough. My other cats kept me going though many a dark day with a traumatic divorce. As my father says they give me a lot of pleasure and they do seeing them play, their antics making me laugh. So many people miss a lot of what is around them but animals can teach us a lot in life.

  24. Lola says:

    You are right on the money and articulated on a subject that is sometimes hard to adequately describe. I think one more facet of letting things continue when you know it’s doomed is that at some point in the process of coming to terms with the reality, you also realize that you’re still having more fun than you would be if you were doing nothing (or no one, as it were.) I used to make myself miserable overthinking men who didn’t spare me the same courtesy, and at some point I would remember what my older sister once said: When you get tired of being miserable, you’ll stop being miserable.

  25. 2Fearce says:

    Lara etc.

    If u have to spend this much time analyzing it there’s nothing there. Ok….entertainment perhaps… but nothing real… stop wasting moments of ur life u can’t get back.

    People who are interested etc make it clear. Things are simple. They listen to what u say n u do the same. They say what they mean and mean what they say… as do you. All else is smoke n mirrors.

    • Rosie says:

      Thank you, 2Fearce- for putting it quite simply and straightforwardly. I need to remember this as well.

      “They say what they mean and mean what they say…as do you. All else is smoke and mirrors.”


  26. clare says:

    i have a mr. unavailable in my life. we are now friends after over a year of no contact. he has a family member that just passed after a year with a horrible cancer. for that year i was a support whenever he needed it and, to be fair, my dad passed in that year and he was, to my pleasant surprise, a HUGE support for me. there is no sex or intimacy between us — i make it a point to not even touch him unnecessarily. i don’t trust him in the ways of romance and never want to go back there with him. i love him, but the thought of being physical with him is repugnant to me (sex/love for me, MUST co-exist or the physical desire is not there). i cherish his friendship now… Ok, back to the death of his family member. About 3 weeks ago she fell into her final coma and 2 weeks ago she passed away. This is when the change started… I had to find out through someone else about all this even though we were texting back and forth at the time (i am out of town for an extended period of time. i might also add that when i left he broke down in tears, saying he would miss me terribly and didn’t know what he’d do without me). Since his relation passed my texts have gone completely unanswered. we have many mutual friends who are in touch with him every day, getting texts, phone calls etc., but he is not communicating with me at all. he had to leave town to attend the memorial, but is back now and still hasn’t attempted to contact me. i have texted him 3x now in 3 weeks (general support, filling him in on my adventures, which he requested i do regularly) with no response. i really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, to believe that he is grieving, but the fact that he is in regular communication with everyone in our social circle but me is making it tough. our friends are telling me that he seems normal and not sad. for 5 years i allowed this guy to drag me along, not committing, dropping me, sleeping with younger women and then coming back… all the typical mr. unavailable stuff and now those sad sad feelings and memories are flooding back with him ignoring me. he is grieving, i know, but given the circumstances how long should i try to reach out? can we truly be friends after such a history? was i deluding myself? did he just need my support until she passed and now i am not needed? is there a point where i should go into self protection mode and back right off?

    • Missytom63 says:

      Hi Claire
      This must be very painful for you. Only you know this guy well enough to know, in your heart, whether his absence is a natural result if his grief or whether he has used you, albeit playing a different non sexual role, like he used you before. Whatever the reason, a period of proper NC is required. You have been a wonderful support but you aren’t Florence Nightingale and it sounds as if you have a very full life of your own to live. If he can’t be bothered to return your messages then that is his problem, not yours. Grief is no excuse for behaving like an arsehole. Xx

    • clare says:

      so he did end up texting me this afternoon. after 3 full weeks. nothing spectacular just a couple of lies (his story is opposite of what others have said), apologized for not contacting me and said he misses me. i read it and felt sad. he’s starting to lie again. it’s the lying that was always the hardest to take. the death of his relation has obviously affected him in some way that he is not willing to share with me. i am stepping waaaay back and am just going to enjoy my time away and hopefully return free of him once and for all.

  27. Missytom63 says:

    I have just been caught up short by giving my ex AC the benefit of the doubt. A bit of background: he has two forms of cancer which is the reason I excused behaviour which was totally disrespectful and just plain weird and perverted.

    NC for a month..I can’t say it was easy and then eventually a text:

    AC: Hi silent one x. Had biopsy. Cancer gone…

    Me (after half a day of agonising): that is really good news. I’m very pleased for you.

    AC: Sends picture of himself smiling: I live! Only thing is I don’t think I can take early retirement now as the doctor has given me a clean bill of health..

    WTF! He’s been told he’s going to live and he’s complaining that he’s going to have to carry on working – like a normal healthy person does..

    This really got my goat as I have so many close relatives and friends who are despairing and can barely make ends meet because they have lost their jobs and would love to work..but the work isn’t out there for them. I said this and got a right snarky reply. No empathy for my friends and family, just me me me, winge, winge, winge..

    What an utterly self obsessed, nasty, tosspot.

    I am back on NC without a backward glance. And I don’t even have to feel guilty because he is clear of cancer now!

  28. Tinkerbell says:


    I swear God know what we need. I just now received in the mail from Amazon “The Dreamer & The Fantasy Relationship”. It was supposed to arrive on Monday but got her earlier. Yay!!! Can’t wait to start reading your down to earth, cut to the chase words of wisdom. Thanks for being YOU. Hugs. Tinkerbell.

    And, all the best to you on your upcoming tv show. You are really movin’ on up.

    • lizzp says:

      Hi Tinkerbell, I’ve read a fair amount of this book a few months back. Natalie, it is scarily true…you have to have been there at one time right?. Tinkerbell, I read your other recent posts on the thread. You seem in a little despair right now? I wanted to warn you that you may to see parts of yourself in the book that could come as a shock at first, I recall feeling that way anyway.

      Back to the despair I read in your last post/s, it’s off topic but I wanted to respond. For what it’s worth-you are not alone in this experience and as you often point out yourself, emotional states do/ will pass. I think that we probably can’t be in despair for too long a stretch at any one time anyway without being forced to move into something else to avoid the alternative, that’s not unusual, just normal self protection… Tinkerbell, I think you are being too hard on yourself (not to mention fantasising a tad….) by linking what you call ‘smartness’ with some kind of better future prospect for a fullfilling intimate relationship…and finding yourself somehow falling short. In my view you’re in error. And you certainly should not pack your bags to never never land based on erroneous conclusions reached in moments of despair such as this one…if that’s what this is. In despair it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that, as posts on BR explore, comparisons of ourselves with others are inimical to growth and staying intact, or at least that’s what I sometimes try to remind myself with when I fall into defeating comparisons, which I do with monotonous regularity each time I lose my way. How do you like my version of ‘tough love’? It feels against the grain. Raising my imaginary glass to you…please remember to take good care of yourself. xo

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Lizzp,

        You’re not only brilliant, you’re telepathic, too! I wanted to get a post from you to me. Thank you so much for what you’ve said. You know? I must have known I was a dreamer before I got my hands on the book, because I had nudged Nat several times reminding her that I was looking for the book (not kindle) version. Well, my suspicions are confirmed because I can see already, after a few pages, that I have MANY of the dreamer characteristics. Now, that I know this I will try to revise some of my behavior and also realizing that it will take place little by little but should be consciously focused upon. You know, I’ve noticed that while on the road to a healthier mindset, I seem to find more issues that I need to correct. It involves uncovering of layers and layers of misguided thoughts and perceptions. I wish I could put it into words as well as you can, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say.

        Today has been a better day for me. I’ve made my plans to enjoy myself for my birthday tomorrow which is entirely new behavior for me. It’s finally gotten through to me that I’m alone. There is no one to make plans for me, so unless I get my butt in gear and make my own plans, I’m likely not to have any. During this period of NC time, I need even moreso to have plans. I’ll be spending the entire day with my girlfriends. Yay! Also, I realize I need to do this more often. I’m free, I have nobody to be responsible to, so there’s no reason for me to be sitting at home bored or depressed. Revelations abound.
        Thanks again, Lizz.

  29. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Clare,

    I can relate, as I’ve recently been torn between maintaining a friendship, or cutting it off. You really need to examine YOUR feelings about him, not so much what he is doing or not doing, right now. It sounds to me that you may very well be EU to him as well. Whether you were before your involvement with him or his past behavior has caused it, that’s what it looks like to me. Imo, if he is showing no desire to even communicate, let alone have a mutually warm relationship with you, you should leave it alone. Men (not boys) know what they want and they have a myriad of ways of letting you know “where it’s at”. Don’t try to force him to stop ignoring you. That’ll only make you feel worse whether or not he complies. Maintain your dignity. I know how much it hurts, but you’ve stated that you don’t want physical intimacy any longer, for reasons unclear. He seems to have started NC so you need to finalize it. Good luck. Do post back what happens.

    • clare says:

      Thank you Missytom63 and Tinkerbell for your responses. I was really struggling with the fact that he is grieving, I mean everybody deals with grief differently, there is no one way. I think I was assuming that whatever I was feeling should be put on the back burner b/c his feelings mattered more in this situation. You are right, there is no reason to be an arsehole during grief to those who are trying to support you. I do know him, better than anyone, and I feel the tides turning. I feel blindsided and had to question my feelings considering the depth of sadness I feel at his ignoring me. I realize that my sadness is more fear than anything… fear that I will be sucked back in and I promised myself I would NEVER go back there as it’s the most horrible place to be. I won’t physically see him for another 5 months so, fingers crossed, this should perhaps make the loss, this time, a little easier to deal with. Thank you Apple for offering individual text/call blocking in iOS7!!

      • MaryW says:

        Amen to Apple iOS7! Saved my sanity! My thoughts are with you, Clare. You can move on from this man to pastures new x

  30. Tinkerbell says:


    You see? They show you who they really are, and sometimes it doesn’t even take that much time. Good for you. Wonder if he really had cancer or if he exaggerated. That would be VERY sick — in the head. NC all the way!

    • Missytom63 says:

      Tinkerbell, bizarrely the idea of him having Munchhausens doesn’t seem completely out of the question. But i know he does have cancer, as he once texted me the full recording of one of his consultations to listen to (no doubt a group text to his entire narcissistic harem). It made a change from a pic of his genitals I suppose

  31. micheyl says:

    I have been hiatus not only from dating but from BR. I have flitted on here but have not replied to any posts. I can say it is so good to “hear” from some familiar names this morning.

    So, I have finally come to a point in my story that I am no longer giving mr. uk the benefit of the doubt. I have had so much doubt about this dude and yet ignored it because of my low self worth and because I was wanting the fantasy. There were times in my relationship with him that I had felt anxiety but gave him the benefit of the doubt and told myself I was being jealous, possessive and insecure. I still don’t know if he was actually being shady but in the very least he was being ambiguous and I knew I was not okay with that. But yet, I tried to put it on myself.

    Then when we “broke up” he gave one excuse then changed it later on. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was just confused, scared, wasn’t comfortable with being with someone who truly loved him and so he was seeking a superficial relationship with someone else because that is what he felt he deserved. (Yes, this is what I have told myself for the past 8 months!) But that our love was so strong that is why he couldn’t stop pursuing me even though he now had a new girl friend. Giving so many excuses for his ill behavior.

    The last time for this was just 3 weeks ago. He invited me for a day out (through text…) and we of course had a lovely day. Acting as though we were still together even though my mind and heart was well aware this is not so. At the end of the day, we had sex and I convinced myself before that I was ready to just be physically intimate since it had been so long – 2 months – I just wanted to be intimate that’s it. But then of course afterwards all the emotional stuff starts hitting hard and I am crying and he is comforting me. So ridiculous really. I love you. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are wonderful. When in my mind I am screaming: Then why the fuck aren’t you with me????

    Then the next day I instinctively went on a mutual friend’s facebook page (mr. uk and I aren’t FB friends). I never go on the mutual friend’s page ever. But I did this day. And there is Mr. uk and mutual friend both tagged in a picture and dum dum dum… picture of new girlfriend. STAB in HEART here. It hit me so hard and it became real. And I became furious!!!

    At first I was so furious at him. That he could disrespect me and his girlfriend so easily! I tried to call him but it was late at night. So I then emailed him a pretty scathing email ( I think I wrote the word fuck 55 times!) The next morning he texted me so I instructed him to read the email. He then said – I love you. Goodbye. I wasn’t out to fuck you. Thought we could be friends but was obviously wrong. – Oh you motherfucker, you knew we couldn’t be friends. Anyway, my very last text was: If you truly care about me then just leave me alone. Pretend like I don’t exist.

    As the days passed, I became sad, but also realizing how much of a fool I was to give this joker the benefit of the doubt. If I acknowledged his shady behavior without giving him the benefit of the doubt: fucking two women at one time, cheating on girlfriend, stringing me along for 8 months, not leaving me alone to heal even though that is what he claimed he wanted. I would turn to a friend, or a lovely lady on BR and say: what are you doing? what are you thinking? He obviously means you no good.

    Well, now I am finally finally saying that to myself! I have stopped with the …BUT’s! He’s acting like an asshole but… He makes me feel like shit but…

    No more. No more. I feel like Feistywoman right now where NO ONE is going to get the benefit of the doubt from me from this point. I will not build excuses for other people in my own head so they can continue to treat me like shit.

    Thanks for listening xoxo

    • Sparkle says:

      Wow, Micheyl – feel your pain. I went through similar situation. Don’t beat yourself up. Its a learning experience. Just stick to NC. I found that after a few months, he really wasn’t that special. Didnt miss him. The hurt was from the cheating and fakery. And this is probably what you will feel too. Your revenge will be your own success and happiness. Moving forward, your new wisdom and self respect will attract better guys. xo

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Micheyl,

      Your last sentence is your lesson learned. It is one of great importance and bears a huge impact on on our lives. We need to see things as they really are, and not what we want them to be. I know for myself that one lesson is exceedingly difficult. I want what I want and don’t care about risks or lack of healthy benefit. As a result, I have spent a lot of time going through my life in a rather reckless fashion. Is that treating myself well? Hell, no.

      But getting back to you. I think you have finally come to realize that regardless of how much you may have wanted a sincere, gratifying relationship with MR. uk, what he wanted from you was an FWB situation. Why wouldn’t he have chosen you instead of someone new? Be glad you can accept the truth now. Push through your pain and NC him. The longer you’re in NC the better you will feel. Guaranteed.

      • micheyl says:

        Thanks Sparkle and Tink. Yes, many lessons learned with this one. I was so future faked by him through our relationship. Talking about kids and then living together… how many kids would you want? Who would you invite if you got remarried? I should just move in with you…
        I guess I wanted that fantasy so badly. I wanted to have a family. I have been a single mom for almost 9 years. It’s been so hard. I wanted a partner. But then when things got real I guess, he snapped out of it. Didn’t want a ready made family. Want a woman with young eggs, not old crusty potentially damaged eggs my 40 something year old body holds.
        Fantasy continued throughout the break up. And yes, that is what he ended up wanting me for, just the sex. The sex and the ego boost.
        Well, yes NC is the way to go. It’s been 3 weeks. I have blocked him on FB and unfriended the mutual friend so no need to see any reminders of him and his ability to move on.

        I am so overwhelmed with life. 2 jobs, school and 2 children. No time for a man right now anyway. I just don’t want 9 more lonely years…

        Sorry. A bit melancholy tonight ladies. xo

    • Brenda says:

      micheyl, I understand.. But understand that your “fantasy” is still a part of you, and something you still deserve to have and NOT dependent or needs to be NOW flawed somehow just because of this shady guy that is just not on the same page and obviously is after mere attentions.

      And that lady probably cannot really get close to him either since he is spreading himself thin.. “she will feel that at some point if she is wanting something more.”

      I know what it’s like to have feelings of goodness and purity walked on, took for granted and abused.. But really it was not my loss at all but something instead I realized I was able to have, and will just be more careful next time to make sure the next guy is in actuality on that level before fantasizing that he is.

      That was where I messed up.. fantasizing someone into the same place or readiness in life.

      Now.. well, that will take simply take proof anymore, and being more mature myself, I was 1/2 the blame and can see that clear as day.

      • micheyl says:

        Thanks Brenda. Your comment makes me feel good. You’re right. I guess I don’t have to give up on my desire to find that partner, although at times it feels like I should. And you are right in that I messed up in fantasizing mr. uk to be more than he was and to be at the same place when he wasn’t. I do own that fantasy. But like I said, it is easy to get deep into the fantasy when he future faked so much. But now I know how to recognize that future faking was his fantasy. There were no real discussions about these things, just “what if’s”. I am learning about actions and words matching. I think the words play into fantasy. And actions must match those so it is reality.

        I am trying to not care. Let go. It is so hard. I know I won’t break NC but I wish I could break this sadness. It stinks. It is not as intense as before. Time helps. But it is still there. *sigh* I just want this to be DONE! Thanks

  32. Nickster says:

    One thing that always strikes me about Nat and the BR readership is what an intelligent, sharp-witted, often highly educated bunch we are (if I may include myself in that!) I don’t think that’s a co-incidence. I reckon it’s linked to the ‘benefit of the doubt’ syndrome. I know for myself as a kid I was always in my head, protecting myself by working things out, and possibly putting a positive spin on not so positive situations, so as to feel okay and loved. I think that habit (if not unearthed in therapy) just gets transferred to adulthood, where we re-direct it by throwing enormous amounts of brain energy into trying to work out the puzzle of these unpredictable guys, whose behaviour never quite matches their words, and who promise everything and deliver much less, but somehow are always still hanging around. (A bit like family…)

    We’re so clever, we can put an amazing spin on any situation. I personally have ‘understood’ (for which read justified) my all ex boyfs behaviour to a point where I should really have been awarded a PHD. But where did it get me? Precisely nowhere.

    Reminds me a bit of the film A Beautiful Mind; there’s a set of really quite ordinary and obvious circumstances (as,in life, a guy is not genuinely up for a real, honest to god relationship) but we can put our brilliant minds onto the situation and come up with another fantastical, but juuuust about plausible story where they are, it’s just that they (insert PHD here).

    Think of all that brain energy that we have wasted or, in some cases, are still wasting!

    Might as well just go and get a PHD instead…:-)

    • Brenda says:

      LOL! could really NOT agree more on this one, Maybe could be brain surgeons had all that energy gone into the study of THAT rather on getting what some lil fart of a guy could not seem to feel and all that cr@p.. well I feel less these days, well NOT less just less stressed.

      I am getting really really lazy about trying WIN anyone over, I need some other challenge I guess like seeing what the other spectrum looks like, that book is old and even has worms sh*t.

  33. noquay says:

    We attach because we are women and that’s how our brains literally are wired. Back in the ol hunter-gatherer days (not that long ago for some of us), men made war, hunted the big stuff whereas we chix did everything else such as grow/gather foods, hunt/trap small game, raised kids, and generally kept the community together which required cooperation and formation of close ties. Nowadays, community has been destroyed so it (attachment) seems weird. It’s also why we need to feel attraction for our mates and that attraction selects for attributes that evolutionarily speaking, meant a good protector and provider, such as fitness, strength, ability to provide, ability to protect. Choose wrong and you and your kids could die. There’s nothing wrong with attaching. Guys on this site; would you really want a woman willing to sleep with you but not give a rats about you? The problem lies with taking advantage of someone’s attachment and behaving poorly because you know s/he probably won’t leave. There’s also nothing wrong with trusting, giving the benefit of the doubt unless red flags are waving all over the place. Why? Adults are supposed to be honest, up front, have integrity. We as a society have forgotten this so crap behavior has become the new normal.

  34. NotHavinIt says:

    This evening after reading all the comments here, I’m wondering if there is a Male-Version type of website, with a man writing the articles and the men blogging in their comments – like we do here on BR.

    If so, I’d love to read it for awhile, cause really, the men can’t be happy and fulfilled in these times with these poor male/female relationships. Or can they??????

    (PS: Respect due to the men who do partake here on BR – You’all know what I mean). PeaceOUT!

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I tend to doubt there is one because a blog of this nature, imo, is typically initiated and maintained by women. Now, of course anything is possible. i’d love to read the same if I were to find there was one. But, men are generally not as introspective as women are and I, personally don’t think they sit around and obssess over women nor do a lot of the stuff to themselves that WE DO that brings us here. And, certainly, if there is one, there’s no possibility of it being as active as Natalie’s BR. That’s a good question to ask, but as you see they (men, in general) tend to post in spurts moreso than with any kind of regularity.

  35. kirsten says:

    I’ve recently re-activated my POF (plenty of fucktards)profile and I think I’ve heard just about every pile of bullshit ever, but in all fairness I’ve chatted to some lovely guys that for whatever reason (location, age etc) it wouldn’t suit to meet up with and had a few on-line laughs with them.
    The one and only date I went on was fine at the time, we had lunch and he took me for a ride on his Harley, all went well until he revealed he’s still living with his “ex” so I ran for the hills after that. No sex involved, all well.
    I’ve been asked for casual sex, asked if I like black dick, asked to send naked photos….you name it.

    The attention whores: These are the guys that initiate contact, ask how you are, when you reply that you’re good and how are they…..aaannnndd….end of conversation. I figure these twits are either married/taken and just trying to stroke their egos with a bit of attention. Boring *yawns and ignores
    The lazy ones: So you chat on-line for a few days, all is fine then they ask if you want to go for coffee/lunch etc. Ummmmm…. what happened to the middle part where you ask for my number, call me a couple of times and text in between?
    Mr getthefuckonmynerves: These idiots will chat on-line for a bit, then ask you what you want. My response is something like “well, I want to go on some dates, and if we’re on the same ball-park, then get to know each other better and see if we are compatible for a relationship.” Then they ask if you’d consider something casual and maybe a relationship if you get along ok. Um no dipshit.
    Also in this category are the ones that still live with their ex’s, and anything else that represents sleeze
    Mr Busy: Say no more, we’ve all heard it before. And no, you cannot give me a call in a few weeks after you’ve cleared your oh-so-busy calendar. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if you’re busy at work (I am too but I can fit a coffee in for an hour), your dog is sick/you’re hooking up with your ex/scratching your balls/whatthefuckever. You snooze, you lose.
    Anyway that’s the main ones I’ve come across so far. I’d rather have coffee with my dog. Rant over, have a good day everyone ;-)

    • Sparkle says:

      POFreaks, OKStupid and Match! My friends and I have so many nicknames for these sites LOL

      IMHO, online is OK as another source for meeting guys IMHO. And helps if you can have a great sense of humor about it all. I have found that most people online haven’t even met themselves yet. I shut it down for exactly the reasons you described. Just some really creepy guys out there. And it is a breeding ground for predators, narcs, shady behavior, etc. A private detective told me that 50% of the guys online are just having fun. Almost every case he’s investigated for a girl, the guy is criminal, cheating or living with someone else.

      • Brenda says:

        What blew me away was even on Marriage minded people meet some dude had the nick name of something like p*ssy eater – out looking for fun?

        Marriage minded people meet really? LOL! what a moron.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Sparkle. You stated, “IMHO, online is OK as another source for meeting guys, IMHO.” And, how you have to keep a sense of humor. Then, you wrote several more sentences which give reasons why a person with any common sense and self care would NOT engage because not only is it full of deception, a waste of time, but it’s not safe. You’ve just contradicted your original statement.

    • Allison says:


      This is frightening! I have been vacillating with the online thing. No more!

      I’d rather hang with the dog, too!

    • MaryW says:

      Thank you, Kirsten, for a timely reminder NOT to give online dating the benefit of the doubt and reactivate my account ;)

    • Brenda says:

      Total loooosers all the way, you know those kind of guys really do not even respect themselves, that is (((EXACTLY))) why they seek to make women into crap with them.. they are crap and they know it, how I see that anyhow.

      • kirsten says:

        It’s sure been entertaining, you need to have a sense of humour and the hide of a rhino to do on-line, as well as a high bullshit radar.
        I’m the kind of person that prefers to meet men via the real world, but I’m a single parent who has one night a fortnight free to do what I like (without paying babysitters etc).
        Even crazier is that I keep coming across guys I know on POF so of course I say hi and have a quick chat to them. One old friend told me he’s only on there for all the nude pics he gets sent, so it’s not just the men behaving like morons.
        If I meet someone that’s fine, if not that’s fine too. If I meet some new friends, then that’s just dandy with me.

    • lizzp says:

      “The lazy ones: So you chat on-line for a few days, all is fine then they ask if you want to go for coffee/lunch etc. Ummmmm…. what happened to the middle part where you ask for my number, call me a couple of times and text in between?”

      I can’t agree with this part of Kirsten’s post. I think that until we meet (in public and safe place) in person, communication by via text messages and email that goes beyond logistics and basic info (ie how long single/divorced; both at least saying up front that they aren’t interested in ‘casual’) amounts to fantasy building and is to be avoided. As to exchanging phone numbers, my personal choice has been not to do that until after we have met so I would not expect myself and would not expect him to be phoning someone he has never met. After a few days emailing where all is “going well”, expecting text messages and calls from a man who has never met us but who has respectfully asked to – -isn’t that asking HIM to give us the benefit of the doubt by investing more time online, text messaging and cALLING when we may never meet?

      Far from lazy, and all other things being good and well – meaning the online man-entity emailing me has shown himself ‘on paper’ to be respectful and sincere – I would be delighted if he suggested we meet sooner rather than later. Gosh, it saves me from doing it and, again STRESSING all else being well, shows me at the very least that he is capable of assertive action…a green flag for a change I reckon.

      • Kirsten says:

        I can definitely see your point here. I’ll give that one some more thought ;-)
        It wasn’t a great deal of on line chatting, just the hi, how’s your day kind of stuff and I didn’t feel like we had even done enough of that, to be comfortable meeting up at that point.
        Should have mentioned too, I have a separate SIM card and email address that I use for internet dating, so that my personal phone number & email is kept well away from everyone on the site. I had a stalker a few years ago (used to work with him) so my personal safety is my main concern
        Have a great day, thanks for your input xx

        • lizzp says:

          I was trying to make the point that chatty type communication in cyber space DOES NOT mean you are getting to know anyone, MOST ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER MET. This is one of the most insidious and unexamined assumptions of naive online daters (of which I was once one). We don’t start to get to know someone until we begin to interact with them in person. So beyond biographical facts (age; years divorced; no of kids etc) which we have to take at face value until proved otherwise and logistical arrangements to meet in a public and safe place, there is nothing to be gained from online chat except fantasy building. Stressing again that this is in a context where the man you are arranging to meet presents as sincere and looking for the same things that you are (for e.g if this was hypothetically me, the man has to write that he is looking for a long term relationship; has been divorced/single x amount of time; etc)’on paper’.

          Sure, we can be uncomfortable meeting up with someone we’ve never met, but unless we are ignoring obvious AC red flags, giving him the benefit of the doubt when he has written something disrespectful, or are EU ourselves and do not really want to meet, that is probably pretty normal for an EA person and not the point. The point is that if you chat and/or text, even speak on the phone once or twice for, I dunno,three weeks and begin to feel ‘more comfortable’ and ‘ready to meet’ because you now feel you have’got to know him’…you haven’t. You are fantasising. You don’t know sh**t about his character/ personality or humour or sense of decency. Those are things that you will only learn about through interacting with him in real life.

          That is why I would never describe as lazy an ‘on paper’ decent man who suggests we meet for coffee rather than that we keep chatting until I/him feels more ‘comfortable’. Infact, I would take any statement of that sort from a man on a DATING SITE, as a sign of EUness.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            As far as I’m concerned OLD is just a huge waste of time, no matter how you proceed, long emails, phone convos, frequent texting, meeting just for coffee, it’s all a hunk of crap and leads to fantasizing. Then, you still don’t know beans about the person. I agree with Lizzp, that you don’t BEGIN to START learning who a person is until you’re with them in the flesh. Even a coffee date is going to reveal very little if the man is a slick, suave, well experienced “lover man”/EUM because those types can all too easily maintain a facade (lies, and omissions) for an hour. It’s like taking candy from a baby for those types to do that. And usually it’ll take a little time before you see the light. It’s the repeated meetings, not only lengthy convos but engaging in a variety of activities together being in the company of each other’s friends, etc. that you may be able to say you’re beginning to learn who this person is. The big draw back with OLD is that who can you go to in order to verify his reputation or confirm what he has told you? You don’t have access to anyone else who knows him. For ME that fact is huge. I’m speaking as someone who did OLD for over a year on more than one website. For me it was a lose/lose situation. Even now when I feel like I’m destined to be alone, I would never waste my time going back to OLD. It’s beneath me. The “men” for the most part are losers and you have to rummage through an awful lot of them to find someone worth giving the time of day.

            • lizzp says:

              Tinkerbell, I agree with your overall take re online dating. I will never go back to any sites that use chat/instant message. I have not ruled out eharmony type sites for the future, though if I do I will be committed to flushing anybody I may date from such a place who shows the least reluctance to introduce me to his family/friends/work colleagues after a certain amount of time where all is going well as defined by me. I will also be having no physical\romantic contact with any man, regardless of how we meet, until (a) he is ‘verified’, if you like, as who he says he is (see above) and (b) he has shown his care and respect of me over a period of time with actions, again as defined by me.

              However, my posts above were addressing the assumptions made that an ‘on paper’ decent man who asks us to meet for the first time for coffee is ‘lazy’ because he won’t call, email and text us first, as if we are entitled to that from someone we have never met. The assumption went further – that there is a ‘category’ of these men who ask us for a coffee after a few days emailing when ‘all is going well’ when they should be first asking for our numbers and phoning and text messaging us as is our ‘right’, before we have even met. If they don’t do all this and instead suggest a coffee when ‘all has been going well” for a few days then they are ‘lazy’. That is an entitled thought process.

              When I tried online, it never crossed my mind that I might be considered ‘lazy’ for suggesting to an ‘on paper’ decent man (see my posts, cannot be bothered expanding this idea again)that we meet for a coffee sooner rather than later. Lazy communication? – that is text, email, efbook.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      After reading this ongoing thread and all the rants against OLD I had to share my current ongoing experience and a slightly different perspective.

      I do have one little rant about Online Dating and that is the term… it’s not dating, it’s introductions. I don’t know how Introduction Agencies became Dating Agencies and of course the term followed when they went online but I think that the word associations are unhelpful, much like Facebook ‘Friend’ is when applied to everyone (for the record I love FB for keeping in touch with my real friends).

      I’m a year on from my cheating pathological lying arseface husband leaving me.

      I found BR after searching for a polite way to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ after a coffee date from an Online site. – OL Happy Outcome number 1.

      At that time and from reading BR I realised that I wasn’t ready to dive back into dating of any kind so I deactivated my account and started to work on myself and resolving the end of my marriage

      I went NC at the end of April after making sure myself and my dogs were as financially secure as I could manage. NC was good for me and allowed me to focus on myself and do lots of work and make healthy changes in my life – working through grief and anger and all that, working out my core values, learning about boundaries and practicing enforcing them, improving self regard and compassion, seeing a counsellor to address childhood issues and triggers, getting out and doing things I enjoy but hadn’t done for a long time like hiking, making sure I was meeting my own social and emotional needs by joining Meet up groups and nurturing existing friendships.

      About six months ago I reactivated my profile. I rewrote it to reflect my values in line with what I had been learning on BR. I said up front that I wasn’t interested in endless messages and chat and that getting to know someone starts with meeting face to face. Got the usual ‘fresh meat’ page views which tapered off pretty quickly and a very few messages making contact. I screened and filtered those messages I did get according to my values and boundaries and spidey senses. Of those few most were only good for lols (my daughter and I had a good laugh at the guy who said he liked my profile but would wait for the dvd! Learn to read mate!) So going back online gave me a chance to refine and practice the invaluable attitudes and skills I had been learning from BR and I felt good about doing so. – OL Happy Outcome number 2.

      From the messages that were worth replying to I’ve face to face met 3 guys.

      The first one is a lovely decent bloke who genuinely wants a relationship; we had three nice dates and on the third date he manned up, spoke seriously and said that he had realised that he was emotionally unavailable for a relationship at this time, had more inner work to do and didn’t want to lead me on but that he would make a good friend. I went into a bit of a tailspin as I thought I was developing feelings for him but when I stopped, took a deep breath, and really looked at my thinking realised that it was drama making and childhood triggering issues on my part and that actually having another decent person in my life was no bad thing. He has become a lovely friend, and friend only, with no agendas or drama who positively adds to my life and I hope I add to his. – OL Happy Outcome number 3.

      The second was yawns after an hour on a picnic in a park date who phoned me post date but didn’t leave a message so I figure he felt yawns too. Nothing lost there but I did get along to a great park festival that I thoroughly enjoyed but probably wouldn’t have bothered going to if I hadn’t thought it was a good setting for a date. – OL Happy Outcome number 4.

      The current guy is early days, three weeks and three lunch dates with two more locked in for the coming week. Taking it slowly, enjoying his company and going out for lunch, no red flags waving on either of our parts yet, feeling relaxed with my boundaries firmly in place and mindful that it is a discovery phase and we are unfolding. It may fizzle out, come to nothing, end in tears for one reason or another. But I feel much more confident and open to the possibility of a relationship because I have my back and will walk away fast if anything shady rears its ugly head. I know that if it doesn’t work out I will survive and learn and grow and keep on looking after myself and my needs. So even though this one is unfolding I’m counting it as – OL Happy Outcome number 5.

      I’m 47, very pragmatic, and somewhat introverted with a small but close circle of friends. I know that the odds of meeting a man who is also available and healthy through work or friends or social events is miniscule to zero as the pool of possibles is also fairly small even though I live in a reasonable size city. I’m not in a hurry to form a relationship but I also recognise that meeting someone genuine and well aligned is going to take time so I want a toe in every available pool, including Online.

      Many people here on BR have recounted having met their unsuitable unhealthy partners/lovers through work or friends or social events so I think there are risks every time we meet a potential partner regardless of how we meet them. Others have recounted how they’ve been burned by friends that they’ve known for a long time. That’s why BR and the philosophy and skills I have learned and am still learning from it are so important.

      So to me Online is just another way of introducing yourself, everything thereafter is up to you and the introduction may lead to meeting, and dating, and a healthy loving relationship, or it may not and you have a chance to look after yourself and practice your healthy BR outlook on life :-)

      • Elgie R. says:

        FurryWhiteDogs, I like your viewpoint. I am afraid of OLD, but after reading your posts, maybe, after I get myself more together, maybe I will give it a try.

        If you do it right, it’s like conducting interviews for the available position of “good boyfriend”.

        • Furry White Dogs says:

          Hi Elgie :)

          Thanks for your comment.

          It looks like the current guy is fizzling out for who knows what reason and I’ve been blue about that the last couple of days. But I’m still counting it as a happy outcome because I’m actively paying attention to actions and not words, not waiting around for him, and making sure I take care of myself and my needs. I also got out for a few lunches with good conversation.

          Even though the OL experiences haven’t come through with a possible healthy relationship they are providing me with opportunities to practice good BR behaviours.

          It’s hard to focus on the positives when you feel you’re trying and not getting anywhere but I figure that’s a skill to be practiced as well.

          Nat has a few posts about ‘dating’ online (and general dating) that were good reading for me and I go back to them when I feel my perspective is getting distorted. I highly recommend reading them when you’re feeling you might be ready to dip a toe in that water. :)

  36. espresso says:

    Thanks for your good wishes Tinkerbell…I send the same to you. Funnily – I consider myself a happy and interested/interesting enthusiastic person…except around my ex. Trying to remember that on the bad days….

    • Sandy says:

      @ Espresso,

      Me too espresso, but I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about alot of the time, so I just shut up in the end..the weird thing is he is not as educated as I am and has trouble reading, alot of street smarts though I guess you could say, but he just made me feel so dumb that I would hesitate to give an is a bit of a bad day for me, but still maintaining no contact sigh he just carries on with his life while I sit here still ruminating about him. I always liked meeting people, asking questions but he used to accuse me of flirting so I stopped doing that as well…I just want me back so badly :-(

      • Tinkerbell says:

        What a truly ignorant a**hole, Sandy. I know the type, street smart but THAT’S ALL. Uneducated, unintelligent in stuff unrelated to “the street”, and then has the gall to put YOU down and make you feel stupid. He’s threatened by you, which is why he doesn’t even want you to speak, just be deaf and dumb so he can have the stage with his ignorant self. I know, I know the type.

  37. Brenda says:

    Sometimes I also think it’s not even a matter of intention but what what simply knows or lacks in knowledge as well, I have relazied as of late not every one that ever made me cry really meant to.. I think often guys are just as lost on what love even is as we are and have some lessons to learn.

    Why we really need even MORE for our needs to be known, they in a sense I have noticed get rather “spoiled” and think love is when a female likes all he likes, catered to his dreams and such.

    I have not long ago had a guy get like blown away just because I did not “pretend” to LIKE all the same songs that he did, nor did I feel flattered when he started in the sexy you stuff way too soon for my taste.

    Over empathizing oh I id that one, think in a lot of ways I was doing my own healing, so a friends pain I was able to feel and understand it.. only his I don’t know I think were more for reasons of not being ADMIRED by someone he had took for granted.

    But again that is what he really THINKS love is.. agreements and having things in common and never having and argument type of a deal.

    He is very, what is that word when someone cannot say what they really feel straight on.. but act things out? ( passive aggressive ) – he is actually overtly KIND so much that is cannot even be real you know?

    Basically anyhow, I think now he is rather trapped within himself, and confused, and it could be a long road of hard lessons for him.

    Just like I had to have in my life.. just in different ways and maybe even in some similar ways.

    I only know he already has a mother and doesn’t really need another one, and I don’t feel any-longer like protecting him from just growing up either, sometimes only pain can do that.. and lots of it.

  38. Feistywoman says:

    To all of you wondering if you will come out of your bad days the answer is yes. I went to hell and back and have emerged a woman who has boundaries and isn’t afraid to act on them. I got here to BR and learnt so much. Along the way I made mistakes but then who doesn’t. But I learnt from them and carried on being my own person, true to myself and my beliefs. Rome as they say wasn’t built in a day and likewise we can’t expect to emerge from the poor relationships we have had and become whole overnight. I am still to some extent a work in progress nearly 3 years on. What I do know is that as I am now over 50 I really don’t give a shit what others think of me as I know the person I am and don’t feel I need to prove it either. That for me has been quite liberating. Similarly if someone busts my boundaries they get know about it and I have better techniques for speaking up for myself too. Onwards and upwards as they say. If I can do it so can all of you.

    • lizzp says:

      Feistywoman, The inspiration your words inspire consolidates yesterday’s experience where I loudly and rage-fully surprised my most respected long-term therapist with an hour long verbal flood re: my own self deception, his (man of the past who carelessly, though blindly, tarried with my mind and heart owing to his own unexamined weaknesses and consequent self effing-absorption) own self-deception and deception of me, my bitterness and anger towards myself and him. Each time she tried to interrupt with an interpretation or could not resist her need to sooth by wanting to provide me with excuses, I dismissed her (no people pleasing, no sir ree) and continued my dredge – laid it out and showed her how it is for me…she is a quick learner and did what
      I pay her to do…witness without judgment. As I left I thanked her for bearing it (because I am indeed grateful). I went to car with emotion flooding out of every pore, felt like a jelly rather than a pretzel…good feeling. I intend to be more responsible for myself in therapy from this point on and make sure I get my money’s worth each time. I would like to be able to apply your words Feistywoman – “I really don’t give a shit what others think of me as I know the person I am and don’t feel I need to prove it either.”-unequivocally to myself…if my therapist is worth my hard earned bucks then she’ll keep doing just what she did yesterday till I’m done and feel safe enough to truly assert my good and valuable self in the world….minus the unproductive and self -destructive fear and self doubt.

  39. IcanIcan't says:

    Oh Lordy..I’m hurting so bad now with the AC. He’s completely cut me dead AGAIN for the most ridiculous reason. I am convinced he is borderline personality disorder, and I made allowances for that, I just can’t stop texting nasty/nice msgs , I feel like i’m possessed. It was going so well, too. He won’t respond, and i’d do anything to do the same. Tonight I put a dildo up the exhaust of his car , but then bottled it and text him that I done it. feel like i’m going insane

    • Rosie says:


      ” Tonight I put a dildo up the exhaust of his car”

      Yup. You’ve gone insane. Look, if you haven’t gone into therapy yet and, if you can afford it, please start right away. I’m glad you told him about what you did as that’s a sign that you haven’t gone completely insane as you’re owning your actions. Please get help from a competent therapist and stop the nonsense (your actions as well as interacting with this guy). Stay faithful to NC!!!

      Good luck! :)

      • MaryW says:

        I was going to say the same as Rosie but bottled it.

        Ican, please get a grip of yourself before he reports you for harassment or worse.

        If someone makes you insane (even temporarily), you take a big leap away from them.

        Honestly, I think you should go and talk to your doctor. What you did was extremely not normal, in any context.

        If you wake up tomorrow and feel like breaking NC, please remind yourself that you only need to take it one day at a time …. and start afresh the next day.

  40. IcanIcan't says:

    NC starts today! Every day I wake up in a different mood. Today I feel strong and think I can do this. Hope this mood lasts. Deleted his number so I’m not tempted to text or ring. Wish me luck . Natalie, your website is the best! Bless you for your wisdom . You are a Godsend x

  41. IcanIcan't says:

    temporary insanity, Rosie! It was a sort of symbolic thing because he is impotent, but I was so patient about it, and we even went to his doctors about it. He had to have injections (that I had to administer) , and the thanks I get? He ignores me for a silly throwaway comment (about something unrelated) Still NC , and I really will stick to it. I CANNOT let myself down with this now :-)

    • Wiser says:

      I’m changing your name to Yes,I Can! :) I have gone insane too in my life, plenty of times, and once did something really petty and pathetic in the name of “well, he deserves it.” Maybe he did, but what I (and you) deserve more is our self-respect. So take a deep breath and remind the crazy-making voice in your head that this guy isn’t that special – NO ONE is worth abdicating your self-respect over. Here’s a quote that might help: “A characteristic of wisdom is to not do desperate things” – Henry David Thoreau. Here’s to all of us continuing to get wiser!

    • Tinkerbell says:


      One question, because we’re not supposed to go off topic. Did the injections work? A simple “yes” or “no” or “somewhat”. Thanks. I dealt with the same for >a year.

  42. espresso says:

    I am very aware that even thinking and talking about my ex means I am still being connected to him. That is not a good thing. It is true that these musings take my energy away – the energy I need to manage my own life and future.
    I believe that I was traumatized my relationship, I get triggered really easily and plunged into anxiety (mainly) and feel very threatened and frightened. It really bothers me because I feel weak and powerless when this happens.
    A lot of my thoughts about my ex are quite intrusive…and I wish I could stop them. Somehow a thought will come in and voila …it is there and I am going OMG – that too!!!!!
    It is like I am going down down down into the depths of what happened and how it affected me and what “message” about myself I took away from it….and how I changed in the relationship. It has a direct relationship to how I feel about myself now and it is very sad to think about.
    Like recently I have been thinking about our physical relationship…he was very poorly informed and inexperienced prior to marriage and did nothing to prepare….whereas I was always pretty interested and had experience. It wasn’t that he was inexperienced that bothered me… it was that he never tried to question, discuss or improve things. He never has shown curiousity about anything or tried to find out what he didn’t know. I never actually felt he loved my body…in fact he rejected it a few really horrible times, saying I was “too much” for him! The emotionally unavailable passive aggressive man never gives his partner what she wants (although he feels he is giving..he is giving what HE wants) and I never got much in the sex department…so much so that I had to visit a specialist very early in the marriage….I don’t think he ever figured out that he was the problem or explored what he could done about it. The BIG issue here is that I could always have coped ( I would have loved it) if he said…this isn’t working, I want to change things, I want to make things better….this is what I will do and lets do other things together….he NEVER did that in any area… He acted entitled as if everything was fine and perhaps from his point of view it was. So this is an example of a thought process that really comes into my head and cascades and leaves me feeling despair and sadness. Oh, it actually was triggered by an episode of Girls I was watching where some guy sort of masturbates on the main character cause he can’t wait…and she realizes that THIS was intercourse and this reminded me of MY sexual relationship…very infantile and juvenile. I was/am capable and interested in much more than that. What was I thinking??????

  43. IcanIcan't says:

    I’m def not insane, me and Ac shared a warped sense of humour, which was one of the ‘hooks’ I suppose. Just out of curiosity, are you ladies American? x

  44. […] with him. That it was too early, I didn’t really know him, and I should have given him the benefit of doubt, that “half decent men” are in short supply. I responded that he wasn’t my type: […]

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!