image

I’ve been dealing with a company for several years and at first they were alright, probably because I didn’t need as much back then and didn’t expect that much either, but over the years their service has declined and I can safely say that for about half of our relationship, I’ve wanted it to be over or change.

I’ve always had or should I say found a reason not to move on from the company. ‘It’s not the right time’, ‘If I move it will be too much hassle’, ‘Something could go wrong with the transfer’, ‘Maybe they’re not that bad’, ‘Maybe it’s just what companies like this are like’ and yada yada yada. Despite my loyalty as a customer, this has not been met with increasing or at least steady service and in fact, they’ve been downright shady on occasion.

It’s like a bad marriage – too bad to stay and have a genuine shot at working at it but too ‘comfortable’ to leave and be uncertain. I may have remained their customer but it’s been with gritted teeth and some temporary improvements based on me kicking up fuss and then being placated with gestures of goodwill. In an ideal world, they would appreciate my loyalty but as is the same with interpersonal relationships, if a company or a person doesn’t value loyalty then you being loyal isn’t going to change anything – you’ll just continue to get dodgy service with it.

Our relationship worked OK when I had limited needs but that changed and it essentially boils down to us wanting different things. At that point, I should have left. Thank goodness that I no longer do this with my romantic relationships. At some point it’s time to see the gestures of goodwill, the promises, the excuses, the rationalisations, the make-up sex, the discussing to the nth degree, the willing, the waiting, the hoping, the stalling, the turning a blind eye and what not for what it is: delaying the inevitable.

When you want to find a reason to stay, you’ll find one (or make one up).

You’re not looking to truly understand the reasons behind your concerns because then it may take you in the opposite direction to staying or inconvenience you with what you find out or have to change. Instead you look for reasons to squash down your concerns and to remain in your uncomfortable comfort zone. You rationalise that it’s not ‘that bad’ or that moving on would be tough but the thing is, it’s one thing to find reasons to stay that are there in tandem with means of resolving your concerns and moving forward; it’s another thing to find reasons to stay and maintain a status quo of frustration with temporary improvements due to you kicking off and threatening to go. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t recognise genuine reasons to stay but shoving concerns under the carpet or muddling along until the next big blow up, doesn’t address the issues. I’ve realised that I’ve ended up falling into the trap of choosing to be inconvenienced and peed off for the long-term over getting uncomfortable in the short-term.

With relationships we can also argue that we may ‘get it wrong’ in the next relationship so it’s too much risk. It’s then, I’d rather avoid the uncertainty of getting back out there and the possibility of getting it ‘wrong’ with somebody else when I could just stay here with you where I know what’s up even if I don’t like it.

I remembered something important this week: Yes there is a cost to going but there’s also a cost to staying. I’ve paid, I’m done.

We focus too much on the perceived exit cost and the hassle without enough attention to the cost of remaining. We treat uncertainty as a cost but certainty of what we’ve been dealing with, even if we choose to deny it or to bet on potential, is a cost too. It’s also safe to say that what we perceive as a cost can pave the way to opportunity – instead we limit our opportunity and frustrate ourselves and then bag and tag it as loyalty and love.

When we stay and feel paralysed, miserable, and dependent on trying to control the uncontrollable by hoping that a person or situation changes so that we don’t have to, there’s a cost to this. There’s also a cost when we stay and decide that we will be and do all manner of things to maintain our decision to stay and end up deeply compromised. This makes it tough because not only is it scary to go but we think, Jaysus! I’ve only gone and twisted and contorted myself into all sorts of things in order to stick around and even that didn’t work. Feck! You know what? I’m going to stay and try and go bankrupt trying to get a return on investment.

There’s a cost to leaving but there’s also a cost to remaining.

Your thoughts?

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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198 Responses to There’s a cost to leaving but there’s also a cost to staying

  1. MSA says:

    I was trying to keep myself busy with studying, reading, listening to music trying to avoid the pain he causes me when I got the email to this topic. I believe Nat has some timing superpower.

    So, here’s the thing, without getting into too much detail, I’ve had 3 years of too bitter too sweet times. After a harsh breakup 4 months ago (his decision) and me working my ass off to move on, he’s back with his adorable cuteness that I’m unable even to yell at him, he’s full of regrets, “anger at himself” as he puts it, at his friends who had a great part in our breakup, but mainly regret for leaving… So many “Sorry”s and “I understand”s are said that you find nothing to say to get all your previous anger, frustration and hurt out at him. He wants me back, but understands if I can’t trust him again and would rather move on with someone else. Being a hopeless stupid effing emotional romantic that I am, I couldn’t tell him to fk off like I should’ve. Instead, I agreed to “take it one day at a time”.. and guess what! Since I agreed to that 4 days ago, I haven’t heard from him after making sure to contact me daily for the past month, sometimes more than once a day and telling me all his whereabouts. Idk why I’m so vulnerable to him, I can easily brush off shady people, or tell someone off, EXCEPT him!!! and Jeez, do I know this has become a pattern, him sweeping me off of my feet, a short honeymoon period, then him yoyo-ing back and forth and eventually leaves and returns with tears n regrets. I was wishing he’d come back for me to say NO to him even once, and even when I’m granted this, I did NOT. I know as soon as he contacts me with “I’ve had some rough days, but I feel much better now that I saw your smile”, I’ll swoon. Pathetic, right? I’m so angry at myself and Nat’s words hit a bunch of nerves, not just one. Yes, I was hoping he’d change or fight for me, but None of that happened or ever will.

    • Christine says:

      Do NO CONTACT. And stick to it :)

    • Paul says:

      MSA
      Sounds like he either likes the chase and then got what he wanted, decided he didn’t want it cause it is not longer a chase.
      ” him sweeping me off of my feet, a short honeymoon period, then him yoyo-ing back and forth and eventually leaves and returns with tears n regrets.”
      Did that for 15 yrs. Ex-Wife. It becomes an addiction. The Drama. You will have to watch that in yourself and that can be the thing your now attracted to.
      Put his traits into google. Hot and cold, charming etc. You will learn a lot about him. Make sure you take it further and learn you, about why your attracted to it. If you don’t, the lesson will be repeated until it is learnt.

      • Christine says:

        These relationships are gifts that we can be grateful for…they show us very clearly what our patterns are….and Natalie Lue has given us easy language to describe the relationship patterns that create the dysfunctional dance…it boils down to wanting something different for yourself and loving yourself enough to make the changes needed to dance a different dance. Good luck.

      • Sm says:

        Paul you are so right. We do become addicted to the drama. I noticed that I was addicted with one particular ex, the epiphany relationship, to his yo yoyoing drama. Phew that was a few years ago and now I avoid drama so much that I don’t even like it in friends. I was listening to a stranger last week discussing her drama on a cell phone and I wanted to get away from her as fast as possible. I do think we can break free from a drama addition by choosing not to be a part of it.

    • Karla says:

      I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE TIMING SUPERPOWER!!!

    • Allison says:

      MSA,

      You know this guy has nothing to offer, yet you continue to sabotage yourself.

      If you continue to invite this pain into your life, its on you.

      Time to show yourself some compassion and love. Block!

      • Nickster says:

        Allison “If you continue to invite this pain into your life, its on you.”

        I totally agree with this. I remember a good friend of mine listening to me talking (again) about the EUM and the misery he was causing me and she said, “Okay, you’ve done enough now, you’ve tried enough.” I couldn’t hear it, but what it did make me do was take responsibility for my situation (and to stop whining to her about it).

        It made me say, you know what, this is my choice – for whatever reason, I am actively choosing to make myself miserable here. I felt immediately quite peaceful with that realisation, and of course, shortly after that, because I’d reconnected with my power, I finally was able to make the break away.

        Taking responsibility is key, If you know you have a choice, and you’re choosing this unhappiness with someone who has and always will behave the same way, you start to see the other options…

    • Claire says:

      The comment you wrote… I could have written myself… verbatim. I’ve been so emotionally tied to the person for so long that I’ll take any crumbs he throws my way. I’ve gone maybe 40 days NC at the most but I let myself get sucked back in. 7+ years of me listening to his lies. I’d never take this garbage from anyone else in my life. It’s like a sick spell he has over me. He “loves” me when it’s convenient for him. He snaps back like it’s nothing- friends, coworkers, sporting events etc. I cry all of the time. I so wish I could get past him and see him for who he is. I pray to just be indifferent.

      • Stacey says:

        Claire – start reading the articles about the importance of no contact. It will eventually help you to start to take off the rose tinted glasses and see who he truly is. When I get nostalgic and want to contact my ex EUM, I remind myself of his core…who he truly is. Going NC is the only way you can break free. It will suck…but worth it in the end.

  2. crystal c says:

    Sums it all up …….delaying the inevitable. I stayed in a 6 and a half year relationship and did everything I could to try and make it work. I sacrificed my self esteem,my dignity, my self worth, and my health and well being. I paid a huge cost by staying in a relationship where I wasn’t loved , honored , or cherished. I allowed myself to be dragged through the mud over and over again. He cheated on me, lied to me , slandered me , and used me. But because of the fear of being alone , losing financial stability , and not wanting to start all over again , I sacrificed the most precious parts of myself. I became depressed, gained a lot of weight, became isolated , and began suffering from many physical ailments as well. I paid a huge cost by staying in a relationship with an EUM, and I just about lost all self respect.
    But a week and a half ago he finally moved out at my insistence. I realized that relationship was going to be the death of me. Don’t think I’m being dramatic either. It literally was killing me inside. I most relate to it as an addictive codependent relationship, one where all the energy was focused on him. I decided I needed to get my power back and end that long past due date farce of a relationship. I will say this that it has been the best decision. The stress was immediately gone when I closed that door. It has however put me in a position of a lot less income and a lot more things I have to be responsible for but that pales in comparison to the cost of being in that extremely unhealthy situation!
    I am so proud of myself for finally standing up for me and saying no more to all his craziness.
    I attribute Natalie’s book Mr unavailable and the fallback girl for getting me out of the mess I got myself into. It was an amazing resource for me and had him so pegged to a “T”. That book was a Godsend and I highly recommend it for anyone stuck in a relationship with an EUM.
    I know the road ahead won’t always be easy but I am so committed to myself now that I will tackle whatever I need to.
    I have set a goal of no relationship for at least 6 months and preferably 1 year as well as no contact. Now is time for me to heal and put all that energy into myself and getting back to the healthy happy me! Thank you Natalie for this blog and your book <3

    • Strongerinthebrokenplaces says:

      crystal c

      Reading your post made me very sad and happy at the same time. I know all you are going through and that it was Natalie’s book/s (I own and have read every one) that gave me the tools to get out of a horrible relationship myself. I am one year out and I have to see my ex almost every day at the office. It is her amazing knowledge of the damaged men, and my own faults, that we love that got me out of it and helped me stay out. Keep reading. There is light at the end. I know. I crawled out of the darkness and am now seeing the light of day and have hope too.

  3. Lili says:

    I agree. Of course I do.
    However, I would add that – just as you’ve explained- sometimes it takes time to realise it’s in our best interest to go.
    If we are to react at the first thorny issue, when would we demonstrate any persevering ?
    Not that I want to ‘flog a dead donkey’ as you sau, but I tend to wait and see how things develop before opting out or realising that his decision to opt ou is probably the best.
    I’m still finfind it difficult to gauge that time frame actually. If we bail at the first sign of potential unavailability or conflict, don’t we put ourself in a position of not finding out enough, gathering enough data to actually bail ?
    And if we wait too long, we may find the ‘investment’ you mention hard to disregard.
    Maybe a number of ‘issues’ should be our or should I say MY limit.
    Should we decide on a number of occasions when we feel miserable be the limit ? Probably so. Mine will be 3. Possibly 2.
    Too picky ? Not trying hard enough to adapt to the one in front of me ? Not sure. But in doubt…

    • A says:

      I think people generally show us who they are pretty quickly. If someone who you’re dating is unreliable or demonstrates undesirable behaviour early on, walk away. If that’s how someone behaves during the time frame when people are on there best behaviour, it will only get worse. Most of us can probably think of instances from early on with an AC where he showed his true colours.

      • lizzp says:

        Lili, These questions probably aren’t as tough as we imagine if we don’t use benefit of the doubt type analyses to avoid acting on the basis of our own value. I agree with A that people usually let us know at the early stages what their usual MO is but we really need not get our knickers twisted wondering why (not our business) or deciding on time frames for giving chances and so forth. We won’t do this if we are already in touch with which behaviours we will accept based on feeling, knowing and ACTING ON our own value and worth. So to respond:

        “I’m still finfind it difficult to gauge that time frame actually. If we bail at the first sign of potential unavailability or conflict, don’t we put ourself in a position of not finding out enough, gathering enough data to actually bail ?”

        My take is to avoid this mind set with someone you don’t know and with whom you are not in a mutual relationship. Act on your standards and sense of worth and value as each incident materialises.

        - So he calls you for a weekend date on a Friday? “Hi x, that would have been good but it’s too short notice for me, hopefully another time”.

        -So he sends a text message asking you “what’s up?”. “Hi x, If you’d like to call and chat I’ll be home after 6 tonight”.

        -So he cancels your date at the last minute by text? My sense of value tells me that I have been disrespected and that is not open to B of D analyses. What IS open to a doubt, as this is somebody I don’t know, is whether he understands this. My sense of value also tells me that I demean myself by communicating my displeasure in kind, ie via text message. So I DO NOT respond back via text message. I make no response. And if he never contacts me again then he has flushed himself. If he contacts the next day via text message? “Hi x, I’ll be able to chat after x time”. If he doesn’t call then he has flushed himself. If he calls I communicate verbally and calmly that it’s best for me that he calls well in advance if he is going to cancel. Unless I sense sincerity and willingness to admit it was in poor form I will end the conversations as soon as is politic and mentally flush. If I decide that he is sincere in his apology/reason then we carry on…however if there is a repeat of disrespectful behaviour and actions do not match words, it is no biggie. Mentally flush and move on. I don’t tell him twice.

        See the real trick is knowing when you are being disrespected, don’t let that slide. It is important that you clearly communicate this the FIRST time it happens, BUT ONLY IF THE PERSON MAKES AN EFFORT TO CONTACT YOU AFTER THE INCIDENT. No need to analyse him and no need to doubt if you remain respectful of yourself and communicate respectfully to him. Most that are not worth your time will simply depart, the seasoned players will slip up in the action/word balance and you simply flush by ignoring further advances. We need to let go of the ‘missing out on potential’ mindset.

        • lizzp says:

          To clarify, in my last paragraph above, I’m referring to the text message last minute cancel scenario. If for some reason he was to cancel a date last minute by phone or in person then ideally I would try to communicate my displeasure and expectations immediately. However, you can see where this is going. A person who is trying to do the right thing and has to cancel at last minute, someone who worries about disrespecting you and what you may think of them is more likely to call, so is more likely to be decent and sincere etc…

          • Lili says:

            Thank you for your answer.
            I would have reacted very quickly to a last minute cancellation or something disrespectful.
            What happened is just that he was distant and not responding to my moves towards him. I did tell him I felt I was not sure he liked me and his answer was not clear then… And then he became even more distant.
            My saying so probably pushed him further away but I felt increasingly uncomfortable around him because of his aloofness.I felt ok after voicing my discomfort. It was necessary for me.
            I still do not fully get it but I’m becoming ok with it.
            The time lapse before we last saw each other was probably too long. He came reluctantly and decided wy bother.
            Too bad.

            • lizzp says:

              Lili, was just responding to your general questions here about when to bail on a new date when he displays a dodgy behaviour.

    • LoobyLoo says:

      I stay because my heart says I should. I live in a fantasy land. I even ignored the huge red flags in the beginning of the relationship. I am so glad I found this place as everyone has described my life word for word. He’s told me he is with another girl just now and he loves me but not in the same way. Part of me is grabbing this as closure the best I can. Before I had no type of closure. Just him saying I love you – but not acting that way. Breadcrumbs was all I received.

  4. moving on says:

    Nat your words are so true, and sometimes when we have the rose colored glasses on we forget how much better off we truly are leaving than staying. I am 5 months post breakup and one month NC with my ex eum who would not leave me alone, crying calling saying he loves me and misses me so much but is messed up and can’t be what I need. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and blocked him. It’s been very peaceful and I’ve also met someone new who has been great. But this past week however felt sad about him and this reminded me to keep moving on. I guess what hurts the most and is most hard to move on from is was he a good guy who truly loved me but is a mess that can’t give me what I need or is he just not who I thought. I guess more than the love and passion I really loved him like a best friend :( I guess either way it doesn’t matter he can never be what I need. The ups and downs just stink sometimes. You think you’re ok and a wave of sadness makes a visit when you least expect it.

  5. Lili says:

    I say that it ‘takes time to realise’ and then I add that I find it difficult to ‘gauge the time frame’…
    I’m listening to my guts, more than before, but I can’t help waiting to see how things go… Only to be disappointed again.
    I don’t understand.
    I’ve read your posts. I’ve read elsewhere. And I still do not get it.
    How come interest and perseverance in getting to know someone can be so different from one moment to the next, from one person to the next?

    I met someone 2 months ago at a film festival after nearly 14 months of no contact with my former EU boyfriend. That one sounded different, interested, came to me. We live apart. He kept in touch for 2 months, saying that the prospect of seeing me again was enchanting and blablabla… He came to my home town, stayed with me for a week only to decide that he was no longer as attracted as he had initially been.
    I was not clingy the whole time he was here. I did notice he was distant and his aloofness made me uneasy at times but we still had some good times. He did not unfold much. I tried my best not to be pushy, but I would have liked more intimacy and physical contact. Is that bad from me ? Is is what pushed him away ?

    I’ll never know and at present it is still on my mind.

    I do not understand how anyone can move from being motivated to nothing at all. I know we should not expect anyone to react the way we do. I do know. But in the present case, my disappointment is so great that I can’t help thinking about it. We maintained contact for 2 months despite the distance between us… Only for me to realise that his motivation and mine were not on the same wavelength.
    Waht a waste of time. What a waste… full stop.

    Your feedback, anyone ?

    • Christine says:

      I don’t think it’s a waste of time….you’re reflecting and learning aren’t you? If you’re reflecting and stuck, then you may need to dig deeper. Keep reading Natalie Lue’s stuff….the answers are all in her work…and when you start applying all of her stuff, and loving you more, it will get easier to move on :)

    • Allison says:

      Lili,

      Is this the guy you met once, but had long distance communication with? If it is, you really didn’t know this guy, as your communication had been long distance. You must spend time with people to really know them.

      Long distance rarely works, perhaps you should focus on someone local.

      Let it go!

    • lizzp says:

      Lili, In terms of post theme the costs of ‘staying’ here seem to be synonymous with the costs of fantasy. It’s a deadly pain because on the deepest level you probably know that you unconsciously fantasised about this man and his potential – you took the 2 months of ‘keeping in touch’ as getting to know each-other and invested accordingly – this is a breeding ground for fantasising a man’s potential with no ability to see how his words and ACTIONS coincide. All you had for two months were his words.It would have been hard to resist. Even more so because society condones such digital or non face to face contact as ‘real’ when it isn’t. It is a hard lesson and one I learnt within a local relationship where I took text communication to heart, participated and invested via this medium – thinking of it as complementary to the more rare phone and face to face we had between us. For a man with emotional availability issues, text messaging and non-face to face are a haven from which to avoid real exchange with another person and keep safe from investment. I feel for you and hope you’ll avoid setting yourself up this way in the future. It’s not your fault Lili, many of us have learnt the hard way. All the best.

      • Lili says:

        You are right.
        I bet on potential and read too much in the communication we had, mainly because I chose to see his consistence and unwavering desire to come and visit.
        I did notice that sometimes I felt uncomfortable about the lack of ‘substance’ in our communication but chose to explain it by the fact that the distance did not encourage anything else for the time being and things could only potentially develop after we had seen each other again.
        Now of course I wanted this situation and encounter to be the ‘exception’. I had doubts but went ahead anyway.
        Will be extra careful next time.

    • LoobyLoo says:

      I know that long distance can be just as real as close up one so please don’t discount any of your feelings.

      • grace says:

        I’ve had long distance relationships that kinda worked. We saw each other every week, and eventually moved in together. Didn’t work out for me but sometimes it can. What you need to see is progression or plan.
        Two months is not a lot of time in the grand scheme and if you let this go now it’ll be a blessing.
        Yes you have feelings and they are real. But that doesn’t make the relationship a viable prospect I’m afraid.

  6. Tanzanite says:

    Hi Natalie/everyone

    I have mentioned before I have a male friend who I go out with occasionally.Well,a couple of times he has inferred he would like to have a proper relationship with me,only to change his mind shortly after.The last time he did this, I told him it was the last time.I hadn’t heard from him for a while until the other day when he suggested we went out for a drink.During the night he put his arm around me,held my hand and kissed me which he has never done in the two years we have been friends . (I remember sitting in the pub thinking what’s this all about ? Also,I am BR educated. ) I didn’t get excited because I know he is EU.At the end of the evening I think he expected me to go to his house but I wasn’t sure how it would go so I went home.He sent a few texts reflecting the mood of the evening and that was that.I text him a couple of days later to see if he wanted to meet up on the 21st of December or if he wanted to do something on his week off next week.He text back-I’m working on that day and I’m not sure what i’m doing on my week off mate. Mate! ( managing down expectations I didn’t have ) I’m not bothered about the word mate because we often say that to each other but it seemed inappropriate after the developments of the previous night.I wanted to ask you for advice but I have been too busy with my night classes.

    I have decided this friendship has gone as far as it can go.I’m not sad because I wasn’t invested but if I stay around my EU friend will turn into an AC.

    The difference between him and the AC is he let me close enough to see who he really was.My EU friend is conflicted were as the AC knew exactly what he was doing.

    Either way,i’m done.

    By the way,the ladies who were talking about human contact and cuddles etc I totally agree with you.It feels good and we all want affection.

    love to all.

  7. ABC says:

    This really resonated with me…mine is a different story. I have a nice husband, but about 3 years ago I fell out of love with him due various reasons. I have been stuck in a kind of limbo ever since, trying to make it work, hoping it would get better, giving it time. So scared of having to start again mid 40s, not being happy with staying in a relationship that was empty really, but being too scared to move on, staying in the hopes that somehow it magically sorted itself out, got better or I just accepted how things were…none of those things happened and I have been living a half life, unable to make plans, build a future, just treading water.

    • Christine says:

      When I read this I wondered….does your husband know how you feel? Part of the problem with emotionally unavailable relationships is that we aren’t emotionally available ourselves…because we don’t risk vulnerability by sharing our feelings. 3 years is a long time to not be living authentically. Can a relationship change without both people working on change? How can this happen if both people aren’t privy to the truth? Does he deserve the truth and an opportunity to work on the relationship? I don’t know the whole story…just some thoughts based on what you’ve said.

  8. Lacy says:

    Hey Nat I haven’t read this all the way thru yet but I will.I have came to terms with my situation and I feel good about knowing I can love him but still move on.Sun I sat by myself at home watching movies I felt good an ahha moment.

    My son came in from church and he put on his jogging pants that were flooding and his kenneth cole dress shoes it was hilarious he’s 5 yrs old amd he dresses himself now in spider man and iron man clothes everyday lol.

    I’m laughing and feeling good.

  9. margie says:

    Natalie,
    I’ve been loving baggage reclaim! This is the first article that makes me say, “but oooooh, what about the exact flip side of that perspective? There’s a cost to staying but there’s a cost to leaving (running away) in regard to being aware of & taking responsibility or our own contribution to what’s buggin’ & growing v. laying the blame & feeling ego empowered by that.
    I’ve experienced and witnessed both sides.

  10. Helena says:

    Amen. Thank you! It took far too long for me to finally recognize that my bf’s narcissism was more malignant to me than to him. After years of painfully discovering and forgiving his escalating lies and untruths, years of false apologies and charm I freed myself at last!

    So grateful for finding this site, for regaining enough self respect that I finally was able to go NC after discovering his “anonymous” blog and realizing he’s been using it to seduce other women and build a virtual (and real) harem. When confronted, he coldly described these women to me as being nothing more than “like heroin” to him to feed his self-described “need for adoration and attention.” They have no idea, and many think they’re participating in something erotically liberating. He positions himself as a sensitive artist, apparently even referring to our breakup on his blog (to gain sympathy) but of course omitting his long trail of pathological lies, misogynistic behavior, and the fact that he leads a double life.

    I finally managed to say “No more” and am slowly picking up the pieces of my life while he merely shrugged and went back to picking up women. (Watch out for wolves in prince charming clothing, sisters!)

    And yes, this exit strategy ain’t easy, though worth every hard-won ounce of reclaimed self worth!

  11. Sorrel (revised) says:

    My excuse? I thought about the people I grew up around who I felt were in worse situations than I. (parent’s, aunts, uncles, etc) who stayed in spite of it all and until death did them part. I don’t know how they did it! I felt that I had avoided the same issues that they had going on and that their issues were so much WORSE than what I was dealing with. After all, he wasn’t beating me, or molesting my kids, or drinking nor using drugs. He was just running from commitment and that surely, I could last this out and eventually he would see that I was “the one.” I even have a long term friend who explained that her NOW husband used to punch holes in the walls from angry drinking binges. They had 3 children together before marriage and eventually got married and bought a home. I held onto hope even after I was abandoned through 2 out of 5 pregnancies, the 5th one gifted us a child. We lived together for the 1st time after that child was born for a year and the inevitable took place. I am now a 50 yr old single-parent with a 17 year old and 3 year old (both girls), now enganging in the no contact rule after 8 years of damages to both me, my children and his children. Even though he and I do the same thing for a living, he seemed to always make his work the priority over everything. I can’t express how low going through this made me feel, but I continue to come to terms with that he was never really available to me and nothing I did was ever going to make him be…Healing…but still feel really stupid.

    • Sm says:

      Sorrel, my friend just got engaged to a man you are describing. I am beyond upset for her. After flip flapping for 4 years and her not knowing if he was dating her or not, he pops the question mysteriously 2 weeks after his father died. And they had a horrible breakup just 2 months before. But she now thinks his fathers death changed him, I say it hasn’t, since he’s almost 50 and never been married he’s feeling his mortality. So they are engaged, her words to me ‘he stands next to me now and acts like he wants to be with me’..yep. He’s supposedly magically changed. And the sickening thing for me is that we attend the same bible study class and the leaders of said class announced her engagement and said it was a great example of a Christian relationship that we all should strive for. Luckily myself and a few others think they are crackers and will view them only as teachers and not authorities on matters of relationship. Not that we ever did but now never will seek their council. Like I said before, Rock On Natalie! You are the voice of truth when it comes to what constitutes shady relationship behavior.

  12. Spinster says:

    This is timely. While this isn’t an issue for me in terms of a romantic relationship (yet?), this is an issue in other aspects of my life right now. I need to weigh the costs & benefits of staying vs. leaving when it comes to many things in my life, and this post came right on time.

    Thanks for writing this post in a simple yet thought-provoking manner. Good stuff as usual.

  13. Peanut says:

    Timely.

    I had some tears (always) about dating, and the ex and, basically all my three significant exes. My thoughts were as follows: This dating thing is fucking painfully relentless; I give up. There is no one for me. I can’t have who and what I want.

    It hurt. I was missing the good times and having someone who I thought understood and cared about me. (He didn’t care properly. It wasn’t enough.) Then I wonder what is enough? Maybe when I’m ready I’ll find out; I’m not ready.

    After an evening of ecstatically pleasurable school assignments, espresso, electronic music, tea and an entire anchovy cheese pizza, I sat down to watch some TV, which I rarely if ever do.

    The first show was reality TV and showed a couple of women who were still messing with men who had cheated on them. They were physically very, very pretty but emotionally miserable.

    Then the next show (reality TV too) showcased a woman who had contracted HIV from her unfaithful lover.

    I sound off on this a lot, mostly because the carelessness concerns, saddens and angers me. Many unavailable men (and women) do not process the consequences of their actions. They go through life with the “It can’t happen to me attitude.” It can and it will if you test it enough. (And I’m not just referring to AIDS.)

    Life is fun in many regards and there is a lot of pleasure to be had, sure, but the overall context has to always be examined.

    All three of my significant exes have been extremely promiscuous. This caused huge problems and rendered me a huge ball of nerves throughout. It’s not about committing yourself to a covenant and saying ‘Fuck it all.” I think it’s about taking life in in the realest sense you can, not in a way that only leaves room for what you want to believe whether it’s true or not.

    Ladies and gentlemen, be careful with your bodies, be careful with your humanness.

    • Sm says:

      Love it Peanut!

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      Hi Peanut :-) I think the take away message here is don’t watch reality TV!

      I attended a training session on Bullying in the Workplace a couple of weeks ago which had a number of interesting points relevant to BR which I shall get around to sharing but one that stuck in my mind related to self care wa that folks who watch a lot of News and Reality TV are more likely to become depressed.

      Reality TV to me seems particularly pernicious as so much is faked and hyped and deliberately drama filled. (there are some exceptions but they are rare)

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Hi Furry,

        I always scoff at comparing our lives to tv. Reality is particularly insidious when viewers don’t accept it for entertainment value only. The situations shown are preposterous and clearly designed to shock and entertain. Hopefully, we don’t manage our lives in order to shock and entertain other people.

      • Peanut says:

        Furry White Dogs,

        I couldn’t agree more. The news in the states and reality TV are poison.

        Though, AIDs is indeed an issue around here where I live and that TV show reminded me of that.

      • Sm says:

        Yea, I changed jobs and the internet was locked so I could no longer read CNN and I know that attributed to my happiness. Still not reading it or any other news.

    • Magnolia says:

      Peanut, a guy I hung out with briefly before he went back to his home country recently emailed me with the following tidbit update on his life:

      “I am also involved in many open relationships and as I don’t use condoms I may get HIV and die soon! :)”

      One hopes all the women that he is in open relationships with are aware that the relationships are open; that he can have so many women not insist on condoms is just … sad!

      The smiley face just made me faceslap. Am I supposed to LOL? I replied: “Hope you and your partners stay safe.” This from a grown person who considers himself an adult.

      • Peanut says:

        Magnolia,

        Dear. God. That’s my definition of evil right there.

        I see men like that here, though, too in my town. I avoid them like the plague.

  14. Susie says:

    Thanks Nat….your words always come at the perfect time. I appreciate all that you do!

  15. Heather says:

    loved this article even tho I think you could go into more detail on the what ifs of staying and leaving… people need hope.
    I am ending my under 1 yr marriage cause I wanted this man to be the one to “save me” from the pains of the other men. instead I just covered it up with another guy who wasnt truly right for me. Not in looks, not in work ethic… he lied, he was lazy, he lived off me like a leech BUT he loved me and he made me laugh. THIS is what I hung onto. never mind that we fought nearly daily. he is/was jealous, he always told me what I could and couldnt say or he’d hush me. but he got fat, and I was the abusive one. LOL. when i had to leave for work out of town and he flipped out making me chose him or my work that I have been at nearly 2 decades, I chose my job. I walked away. I just was in survival mode and got out.

    sometimes I miss him. I miss the moments of good. But I more miss what I thought would happen. i miss the dream that he sold me. I do not miss his chaos (he still tries to pull me thru when picking his things up from the house or when we have to hash out another bill that just needs to be split 50/50? why are we ever discussing it again?? but he drags it on. he “loves” me so making me miserable apparently is what you do when you love someone. wow.)

    i realize all I have is me. even if I went back it would be a facade. I wasnt getting what I needed to feel whole or alive or loved. I wasnt the right partner for him either.

    I wont accept cheating, lying or crazy behavior. He had 2 down. thats enough to move on. Im young, I dont really want to date anytime soon… I just want freedom to be the person I was a yr ago. he’s been out 3 weeks now and its been really good. not one crying session. a few times missing him and thats it. I feel like I can breathe again. so I will keep moving forward and trying to be brave even when I have no clue what the future holds.

    • Allison says:

      Heather.

      You made the right decision! This guy and relationship would continue to bring you misery.

      Good luck!!!!

  16. Rosie says:

    Ok, So I’ve been job hunting in the area where I’m now living and have been going into it half-heartedly. I’m roommating with a friend (for Nov. and now Dec.) in a nice neighborhood that borders a more upscale neighborhood (she’s been living here for years so rent is reasonable due to rent control laws). Anyway, I haven’t found work yet, feeling very discouraged, which is why I’ve been half-hearted in my efforts. A part of it, too, is just restlessness in having my whole life up in the air and, since I’m just here for a couple months, I’m seeing myself as more of a visitor, reality hasn’t been hitting me that I’m jobless and am living here in this new city.

    Today I took a little walk and noticed the old trees and homes with large, landscaped yards with post office and supermarket within walking distance. There are meetups in the area that I’d like to join and, last Sunday, my friend introduced me to some of her friends at church and I felt at home there. As my friend said I can stay through Dec. and even Jan. as she likes the way I clean her home, I think, today, I’m finally connecting with reality. Today I felt, for the first time, that I’m not just passing through on my way to homelessness. Today I looked around and thought, “I want to stay here.”

    Here’s where all this relates to the topic: I don’t trust myself to have hope, which is going to jeopardize my job searching efforts. I’m comfortable in my uncomfortable zone of discouragement and hopelessness, am so very scared of stepping into comfort, so very scared of success!!! I’m scared to hope.

    This occurred to me after I read this post. I read it, began to tear up without knowing why, bought a couple donuts (my comfort food of choice) and that’s what I realized while taking a bite out of my chocolate donut with peanut sprinkles. I’m scared of hope and this is what’s getting in my way. Now that I’m an adult in my relationships with others, how do I grow up in my relationship with life skills?

    • Magnolia says:

      Rosie, I can relate. “Afraid to hope” is a lot like “afraid to rely on myself to give me what I want.” You don’t have to suddenly trust yourself overnight, now that you’re on the verge of feeling hopeful without that feeling coming from a guy. Little by little you’ll earn your own trust, and “hope” will feel much more like goal-setting and decision-making; and where you actually don’t have control, you’ll feel a lot more acceptance of whatever comes.

      • Rosie says:

        Magnolia–Thank you. I didn’t make the connection between being scared of hope and not trusting myself but you are right. I also appreciate what you wrote to another commenter about wanting to be kissed “like that” when you are feeling depleted. This spoke to me too because I want a man most when I’m feeling depleted but didn’t make that connection, either, until Mymble’s comment in another post and your comment to me and the other poster.

        (P.S. I read your response to me in the other post and thank you for clarifying what you meant. I get it now. :) )

        I’m sort of understanding what you mean by hope being like goal-setting and decision-making but I’ll have to think about it some more as it’s just right there on the tip of my brain but hasn’t quite gone over the edge to comprehension yet. :)

  17. keepin_on says:

    When it started… I had few needs, hardly any expectations and my personal health was in a shambles. The situation provided the things I needed most at the time and quickly which was important.

    But then I continued the situation because I didn’t believe I was worthy of a better one.

    The person involved went from neutrally inconsiderate (i.e. he treated me with the same lack of care as anyone else) to being actively inconsiderate/rude. When I started expecting him to deal with some of his responsibilities (basic stuff that had a direct impact on me) he would try to pass the buck to me or anyone else he thought he could pull off (deflecting blame seemed like a knee-jerk reaction with this guy). When I wouldn’t back down (he’s manipulative and an avid liar but he crumbles in the face of direct confrontation) he’d act like he was doing me some big favor (like saying some b.s. that’d imply I was weak for having the request at all, pretty sick sh-t actually)!!!

    Thanks for this post because it helped me identify what was still bothering me about my part in this situation.

    I knew that I took a less-than situation because I was in a vulnerable space and I felt ok with that decision. Still, I was tripping a bit on being vulnerable again and feeling like the ‘goal’ was to never be vulnerable again (not gonna happen and I knew it).

    But I take some comfort in knowing now that if I feel like I’m staying ’cause I’m not worthy of better, I’ve promised myself to leave!!! The cost of staying when my primary motivation is fear has always been large.
    If I had left half way there would have been no negative cost to me. In the big-picture, the cost still wasn’t so bad but more than I’m willing to give out again… This guy treats people like dirt, I think he gets some sick reward/boost from knocking off on other’s self respect. thankfully, I took mine back from him and now I just have to give myself back the rest.

  18. once beaten says:

    i have been reding your blog for 4 months now, i must say it has helped me end a relationship with a MM, who left me at the alter 15 years ago. 3 months after he disappeared he married “the love of his life” came back in to my life 3 years ago and told me he made a mistake and is ready to leave his wife blah blah!and i agreed to take him back,(stupid now i know) the wife got to know about it and she came to my office to beat the sh.. out of me,(oh he knew she was coming for me as he told her where i work) i eventually got tired of the craziness,empty promises and the lies. i came across this site via google, was so desparate to get out of the madness but did not have strength nor the guts to do it! for two months a read everything on this site, the posts the comments. i found a lot about myself. i have been on NC for a month now( it has not been easy) he has been trying to contact me but have blocked him. a few days ago he rocked up at my work place, and lied to my PA to allow him in to my office, he cried and pleaded with me to take him back, i just looked at him and not a word came out of my mouth, i was so angry, i mean the anger rendered me speechless, after he got tired of crying he cursed and told me that im heartless, cruel etc..i picked up the phone and called security, thats when he run out crying like a baby! i mean really? as for my PA i wanted to fire her on the spot but realised she did not know the whole story! Nat thank you so much for this site you have saved my life here in Africa……. Thank you all for helping me, you really have no idea how your stories have helped me.

  19. GM says:

    It sounds clichéd but although my 8 year awful relationship got worse when my ‘partner’ moved in three and a half years ago, I can’t just force him out as he is so lovely to our almost three year old son!

    I really wanted my son to have his dad around… Okay now I’m typing this it sounds pathetic.

    I purchased Mr Unavailable and the Fallback girl years ago and just wish I’d stuck to no contact but then again I wouldn’t have my precious son… Aaaargh

    I know this relationship is not for me but I think I must bide my time, unless it becomes dangerous or unbearable for my kids..

    • Allison says:

      GM.

      You are doing a disservice to your child by keeping this man in the household. You set up visitation, and not subject your kid to unhealthy relationship habits.

      • Allison says:

        If you’re honest with yourself, this is about you not being able to let go of the craziness, not your son.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Absolutely,

        A child can sense the discord between you and his dad. It is far healthier for him to grow up with one loving, devoted parent, than two who are always fighting. He’ll carry a very warped view of what marriage is, regardless that you’re not married. You’re not setting a good example for him. If you really love your son you want him to be exposed to healthy environment.

        My daughter has been in a very unhappy marriage unhappy for years. The kids are 17 and 11. She worries, as do I what kind man the older one, her son, is going to be. He’s been stating for the last two years that he will never get married. That could be just teen talk but how do we know? Follow Allison’s advice.

    • grace says:

      GM
      It must be really hard. I know two people, one a man, the other a woman who waited some twenty years until their youngest children left home and then promptly divorced. A friend of mine seems to be consigning herself to the same choice, she’s only in her thirties. This is the stark future you’re facing. It’s totally normal to want your son to have his father around, it’s so sad when our natural human desires become our hijackers. sorry, I’ve nothing helpful to say!

      • Tinkerbell says:

        I just thought of this. I wonder how the now adult child would feel when as soon as he’s out of the house, they divorce. It may occur to him that the parents stayed together because thy were under the misconception that staying together was better parenting, among other reason. The son could feel some guilt over that situation. I may be reaching by saying this, but it’s not totally improbable.

  20. Paula M says:

    Aaaaawe-some! Well said! You just see it so clearly. Like I knew it already you just confirm it as usual.. You’re genius and make my life so much better.
    Besos Natalie!

  21. Milica says:

    The cost of staying can be huuuuge. I was aware my relationship was making me unhappy. I remember deciding to stay, I remember the words I said to myself: I can’t leave, he has me under his spell, I adore him, I desire him, I love him madly. If I leave, i will go back on it and make a fool of myself, and hate myself and lose this little power that i have in the relationship. I am going to stay until it is UNBEARABLE. And so I stayed. Luckily at one point(and this is after 3 years of relationship and 2 and a half years of being miserable)after another episode of flip-flaping, hot-cold, disrespect and the rest, incredible hurt at being misunderstood, ignored, trivialised,I asked myself ok, he is so demanding, he demands all the time, and I am never good enough. But let me see, what is he offering? What kind of relationship is he actually offering to me? Can I see myself in a relationship like this. It is happening but is this really for me? And those were the magic words. That is when I could get out, finally. Because i realised that what he was offering was not good enough. I was good enough, what he was offering was not! And I was so liberated. That’s when I knew it was over . But it was not, because after a couple of months he started a new relationship. And it was so painful, I was taken aback by intensity of my emotions. I started losing sleep, having nightmares and flashbacks. I googled in his behaviour: emotional withholding, silent treatment, withdrawing sex, affection, approval, criticizing, undermining.. and I realised: I had been in an abusive relationship! And it had undermined me terribly. Lost confidence completely, he made me reasses every turning point in my life, said my job was beneath me, my degree was useless, I was wasting my time being a good mother to my son, he would become just like his father (a parasite), I needed to lose weight, I was too old (at 40) to take up bellydancing, i was seeing too much of my girlfriends, my family was bizzare and mad… And I did not notice any of his toxicity, that’s how sandwiched it was between the episodes of ‘good’ which was only really crumbs… So after this relationship I have to rebuild myself from scratch. To pick myself up from the floor. There is a huge huge cost of staying ’till it is unbearable’, or ’till he unfolds’, or ’till I know him better’… There is no such thing. If there is anything wrong in the beginning, and your gut will tell you that, get out, but not leisurely, while waitong to have some more sex or some more validation from him, get out fast! A lot is at stake, trust me.

  22. frieda says:

    OMG, this is so about me! I stayed with him WAY too long, being afraid that if I ended it, I would never find another, have no place to go, on and on. Finally, the pain of staying overcame the pain of leaving and I left. Best thing I could have done – I met my current bf within 2 months!

  23. Gillian says:

    Another great post, Natalie. I always, always read what you have to say because I know that even though I have freed myself from two EUM this year, I never, ever want to go back there again and reading your columns and the posts keeps me in the right frame of mind.

    I live right next door to my last EUM and I told him a couple of weeks ago that we are not friends and asked him to honor my request that he not contact me or extend the hand of “friendship” to me. We all know what he was really doing – because all the relationship was about was late night shagging, and I was letting myself be sucked in by his attention. That’s all stopped now and it feels amazing even though it was massively uncomfortable at the time I sent him the email and seeing him in the hallway was excruciating.

    WOW! Now, every time that I think of him and how sweet it was (it wasn’t really)…I flip into feeling ecstatic at having got him out of my life. I stay with the feeling and want to jump for joy, literally, it just feels so good. So I keep hanging on to that feeling and letting go of the other feelings about how good we were together (YUK).

    I worked, worked, worked for months with your No Contact Rule and Mr Unavialable and the Fallback Girl books. I highlighted massive parts and kept going back every night and reading SOMETHING over and over again. All I can say is – it works when you do the work!!

    I’m seeing a really nice guy for six weeks and going slow as a snail with this relationship and he is starting to grow on me. Getting MR EUM next-door right out of the picture is giving this relationship a chance, I believe. But there have been so many times that I wanted to end it with my good guy because it was not hot and heavy and I wasn’t physically attracted to him. Oh! and of course, I wanted to end it because he is emotionally available and I didn’t know what to do with that!! He’s patient and kind and we have a good time together. He doesn’t play any games with me and is honest and a good communicator.And, I am not playing my silly games either, which is more to the point. Imagine that??

    All this does work, you just have to be willing to put yourself first for a better life and be willing to go with the short term pain for long term gain (that’s Nat’s line)! Good luck everyone and lots of love. Gillian

    • Shelby says:

      Wonderful post, I read something each day too. My no contact has had some blips, but I feel better each day. I love when you express the positives of having EUM out of your like. I really relate to your story, thanks.

  24. Christine says:

    I really needed to hear that. Thanks, Nat!

  25. dove says:

    I had been in a relationship that lasted eight years, I had finally decided that I would be better off alone rather than try to continue in something that was too one sided, where I had lost all contact with family, friends, self esteem, desire, and moved on. Its been a long climb back, with a side trip with another mr. unavailable along the way, and I am still learning every day how to truly live.
    Every day above ground is a good day, even if it is alone.

  26. Peanut says:

    On a lighter note.

    I’m twenty-eight and to say I’m insurmountably curvy is an understatement. In the town I live in there are quite a few young men in their early twenties, some of which are acquaintances. And it never fails: when they make small chat with me their eyes are as follows: tits, crouch, ass, tits, crouch and ass.

    They’re so helplessly obvious. It’s cute.

    Lord, this dating thing still has me stumped in so many realms. But thank God for BR or I’d be knee deep in hell.

    • micheyl says:

      Peanut, you crack me up! I am past the age of the wandering eye laid upon me… but I did get an ego boost from the young man at the liquor store – I can’t remember what he said exactly, but it was basically conveyed “you’re cute.” I think it was an ego boost because it was unexpected. Anyway I’ll take it as I approach my mid 40′s I need all the ego boosts I can get! At 28 you have many more looks coming your way. I am actually glad to be past that. I remember working in an office years ago with a tool that never looked at my face. I wanted to pin a picture of my face on my tits when I talked to him so he would finally look into my eyes.

      • Peanut says:

        micheyl,

        It is a bit awkward! A few years ago, I’d have thrived on the attention. Now, it’s just a bit humorous and a little confusing.

        I’ve certainly noticed not all young men are like that. I’m just kind of slow to emotionally mature, and am in beginning level college classes so I’m not really around men my age.

        Oh, well, it works for me because I am not ready to date yet anyway!

        BTW, some of the most beautiful women I see are in their 40s.

  27. Lilly says:

    The price of ‘staying’ for me:

    I haven’t physically seen the exAC/mm since February this year when he lured me to visit him with promises to talk about ‘our’ stillborn son. Looking back I was a shell of a person. I was desperate and I was grieving; “please someone take away this pain”. There was sex, of course, but no discussion, no empathy, no understanding. I kept trying, I didn’t blame him, I didn’t shout and I didn’t scream, I just wanted to talk about my experience; what it felt like holding my stillborn child. He refused to engage and I was crushed thinking ‘please say he mattered’,’please say I mattered’. He couldn’t handle this and promptly abandoned me at the airport where I had to wait hours and hours because I could not afford to change my ticket. That should have been the end of it all, but despite my determination to go NC he continued to contact me (and yes, I let him in) with offers of further research together, funny emails, plans to come to my State and all the time I was kidding myself that I could handle this. It was just ‘work’ right? I knew deep down I had to let go, but I couldn’t quite get there. He was the connection to my child and I just couldn’t do it. Contact was only via email, but with each one I was heaping more pain on top of more pain. I dropped the ball in every area of my life, and my life tumbled further out of control.

    I became severely depressed which led to a ‘friend’ taking advantage and almost bankrupting me. For the past 7 months I have been involved in a civil litigation case. Four days ago my lawyers successfully negotiated on my behalf and I ‘won’ the case. After legal fees have been deducted I have very little left and I have had to sell my home. I’m not complaining, my lawyers worked hard for me and deserve their fee. I have until mid-January to find a place to live. I had to quit my studies due to stress and I am unemployed.

    The cost of this ‘relationship’ has been high, too high. He was my thesis supervisor, a well- respected professor, I put him up high on a pedestal, I trusted him, I believed him, I loved him, I thought he cared for me. It was a fantasy. He was married. He used me and I deceived myself. I’ve been punished and I have paid a heavy price. He, on the other hand, has become even more successful, recently appearing on TV. He told me about it in an email dated 17 October, 2013. I did not reply. I have not watched it. It’s enough and it is over.

    It is time to stop punishing myself. As Nat says “I’ve paid, I’m done”. I ‘stayed’ because I was waiting for him to validate me and my son. I was trying to control the uncontrollable and was hoping that he would change so I didn’t have to. In the process I lost so much.

    I have to start again, pick myself up and move on. I’m scared, but there is hope for me. There is hope for me because I am truly sorry for hurting others, I can love and I have empathy. He has none of this. I named my son ‘Alexander’ and it may well have reminded the AC, as he said, “of a bad character in a children’s book” but I think it is a beautiful name for a beautiful baby. His remark will probably hurt me all my life, but I can cope with it now. I loved my baby and that truly is enough. It has been a long, long time coming, but it is time for us to move on now. Natalie, thank you for your support, for your understanding of my pain and thank you for being there.

    And for everyone going through similar pain, don’t try to hold on. Don’t push aside those doubts. Listen to yourself because in the long-term you will only experience more pain. Trust your instincts, be brave, move on and create a better life. I’m going too.

    • Little Star says:

      Oh Lilly, I remember your story very well…honey you went thro so much but I am sure it’s made you stronger! I wish you so much happiness, your deserve all the best things in life. I hope you will find place to live, work and the man who will be there for you in good and bad times. No way back Lilly only forward xxx

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lilly,

        You KNOW I remember. I feel so badly for you that it’s and effort to type. It’s unbelievably sad that you are now unemployed and have to give up your home!Sweetheart, life is really kicking you in the a–, big time. There’s no place else for you to go but UP. It will take time. Your situation is a prime example of the snowball effect of poor decisions and hooking up with the devil personified. I’m so sorry, Lilly. This has got to be the worst experience you will have for the rest of your life. Do you believe in God? Get down on your knees and pray. Thank him first and then pray for guidance and his mercy.

        • Lilly says:

          Tinkerbell – oh, your post made me literally sob and I cried and cried. It hit home because I know you understand and because it is true one poor, poor decision eventually led to all the others and here I am. It was good to let it all out and I suspect there will be more moments like this, but I’ve forced myself up again and will keep moving forward. Your post also reminded me to be thankful for what I do have, good health,loving family, my little dog and importantly resiliency. Maybe there is a chance I can turn this into something good. Thank you, Tinkerbell.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Lilly,

            It’s a good thing I don’t know you or I’d be right there crying along with you, in between pep talks about pulling yourself together and being strong. Believe me, Lilly FAITH, belief in yourself and your higher power are your strongest assets right now. YOU WILL PULL THROUGH. You will, because look what you’ve managed to victoriously survive through already. This past Sunday, during the sermon, the pastor brought out the fact that oftentimes when you are going thru the worst trials and tribulations, just when you think you’ve come to the end and it’s going to get better, all hell breaks lose. And, yes, he said the word “hell”. So for you, this is the last part of your personal hell. You will be OK one day and when you get there I want to hear all about it. Hugs, Tink.

      • Lilly says:

        Little Star – you are an amazingly kind person. I thank you for your wishes and I wish the same for you.

    • Magnolia says:

      Lilly,

      You have been through the wars. You do sound as though you’re out of the confusion and heartrending pulls of “why doesn’t he?” “should I?” etc.

      You indeed have paid a big price emotionally and financially. Not fair. I’m very sorry to hear about you losing your home and your momentum with your studies. No doubt you value your stability more than ever and will soon restabilize and start building back up; you’ll have a home and work again; and after all these experiences no doubt you’ll be taking care of yourself and your heart.

      • Lilly says:

        Magnolia,

        Oh the confusion; I remember it well! Everything is now as clear as can be and reality certainly hit me full in the face. Sometimes I can’t quite believe how far I’ve fallen. It’s like I suddenly attracted amazingly unkind, cruel people one after the other and completely lost all sense. Obviously, there is a lesson in all this somewhere and as I’m wading through the debris I am working it all out. I don’t think I’ll ever take stability for granted ever again. I’m determined to restabilize and get my life back on track, including study and never again will I give my heart (or money) away so freely. This really is a new AC free zone. Thank you for your response Mags and good luck with your upcoming interview.

    • Revolution says:

      Lilly,

      Alexander is a beautiful name. A strong one. I’m glad you named your baby boy that name.

      Glad to hear you’re working on moving on, and I’m so proud of you. I can see your beautiful, strong heart when I read your words. I’m saying prayers for you, my dear strong girl.

      • Lilly says:

        Rev,

        I’m having a tearful day today, but your words meant so much to me. Thank you for taking the time, as you have so many times before, to speak to me. Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit that I ‘still’ feel crushed about the baby and that disastrous ‘relationship’, but it’s not as raw as it once was. I’m left with an underlying dull ache that is still painful, but it is bearable. I’ll beat this yet!

  28. espresso says:

    ABC – It won’t become anything else unless you pinpoint what the problem is – either with your own life and likely more with the relationship. It isn’t a good idea to stay unless you try to deal with it, you are just treading water and letting time pass. Be really honest with yourself about what you think you are missing/needing. Don’t overstay in a bad relationship because it can become a habit.

    I would never consider going back to my ex…the cost of staying was HUGE and I am not sure even now I am going to really recover but I am scared of the future….I am older, it seems daunting, all of it – I feel anxious that I won’t be able to sort out everything, sell the house, manage on my finances etc. Not that I have a choice…but I still feel scared. So this is a good read…because I need to remind myself that these “costs” whatever they are going to be are just basic, “doing things” and do not crush my soul like the relationship did. I am not free of what yet so my energy is still being used up.

    It’s funny but I was having a “poor me” moment the other day when I said to myself that I feel so alone in doing a lot of these tasks…but then I had to laugh – I always WAS alone, only now I am not dragging somebody around behind me who always, but always, made things so much more difficult.

    • louise says:

      I completely and wholly get this Espresso.

      “Be really honest with yourself about what you think you are missing/needing” OUCH OUCH OUCH

      “the cost of staying was HUGE and I am not sure even now I am going to really recover but I am scared of the future….I am older, it seems daunting, all of it – I feel anxious that I won’t be able to sort out everything, …but I still feel scared.”

      me too. not scared of managing alone, my marriage is also ending, but of being unloved. not touched. not wanted by a love. not any old lover. a Love.

      • dove says:

        Oh Louise, you are right on, the whole being unloved, unwanted, it is the worst feeling, Mother Theresa said its the worst poverty there is, called it a poverty of the soul…
        There is love out there for all of us, do not give up. I am still searching, even after recently going back on my crumb diet again, which leaves me feeling even more alone and I should know better but I still do it.
        There has to be more than this, otherwise, what are we all here for?

  29. JustHer says:

    More than anything else, it has always been the comfortable pain of the past that keeps me hooked. I feel like sometimes it was worth hurting for the good times when he did treat me well, and the fact that since he left I haven’t had anyone else.

    I deleted the email he sent me last without reading it. And now I am regretting it. I wish I had read what he had to say.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Just Her,

      Please don’t second guess yourself. And, the good times are never worth putting up with shabby treatment, hurt and pain. Are you in NC? Remember why you made the decision, or if he broke off with you he had his reasons. Don’t dwell on the past. Believe me, I do understand how you’re feeling but for your own mental/emotional/spiritual health you have to be strong and get past this. All the best.

      • JustHer says:

        Tink,

        I know how much crap you’re going through right now and sadness and hurt. So thanks for your reply.

        It’s just so so painful recently. I am hurting and crying and feeling like there is no point in my existence. I have nothing to show for the years I’ve lived. I have no hope, no love left to give to anyone else.

        No one loves me like he did. I have been on-off NC with him since December last year, but I started total NC in mid-October this year. Since then I have not contacted him in any way. I sometimes google him and hope he’ll come up in searches (pathetic award for me!), but I’m just so lonely and miserable.

        I ended it after I found out he had been cheating on me with many, many women. I just couldn’t trust him, but for many months we kept getting back together, then breaking up. Until December last year.

        Now I feel that he will be the only one for me, and no one will ever be enough. I don’t know how he feels because I stupidly deleted his last email. I’m in so much pain, honey. I don’t know what to do.

        I still know that you must be struggling through and you mentioned you had got back in contact and were talking to Petie again. I hope it is going well and you are sorting everything out.

        • Little Star says:

          JustHer,

          I think you are my twin;( I feel exactly like you, I am spying on my ACs (in WhatsApp)and regretting that I went NC with them…I know they will be back if I text them, but for what? Sex – yes, committed relationship – no, so what is the point? No future, already wasted almost 7 years!!! Nothing to show, as you said…
          Please keep reminding yourself about your ex’s behavior and him cheating on you with other women…you deserve so much better, stay strong x

          • JustHer says:

            Little Star,

            Stupid us, huh? To have put with everything with the hope that it will turn into something years down the line. And yet, here we are, empty handed, broken-hearted and bruised.

            Thanks, I just don’t know how to be strong anymore. I feel so hard, that there’s no energy left to recover, it seems!

        • Allison says:

          Just Her,

          It saddens me to hear that someone has placed all their value on a relationship. You had a life before this man, and you will have a much happier and peaceful one after.

          This creep cheated on you multiple times. What can you miss if there is no trust or respect in a relationship? Is this good enough for you?

          Please don’t glorify out of loneliness, and see that this relationship had come to its end, and you deserve a partner that wants only you.

          • JustHer says:

            Allison,

            I know it seems so silly to have invested all my energy and feelings into one person, but I would never have done so if I had had any control then. I can’t remember my life before him. I can’t remember if I was ever happy or what I did to enjoy myself.

            It isn’t good enough – hence the NC even though he is eager to get back with me. But I think it is only because his other fallback girls didn’t work out/stick around for as long as me, so he wants back in.

            The loneliness and pain tend to colour my perspective and everything seems better “then”.

            How does one even begin to find such a partner? I don’t want to do online dating, and yet I don’t know where to go/what to do.

            • Allison says:

              Just,

              Hon, you need to focus on you, and getting yourself to a good place. You will not attract healthy until you get your old self back. Take a year off, and enjoy your old friends, make new ones and enjoy life. You need to move out of the mindset that a man will make you happy. Enjoy you!

              • Allison says:

                Also, please create interests for yourself. We get lost when we hand our lives over to other people. We must maintain our own interests and have time that is independent of our partners. It’s not healthy to spend all our time with the person we are involved with.

                • JustHer says:

                  I also wanted to ask about a separate topic, if you don’t mind answering.

                  You mentioned some things about your first boyfriend. Did you get over him? I have had some flings before, but even though I am pretty old, I have never been in love before. I think this may (at such a late moment in life) be my first love and I am wondering if you ever recover from that?

              • JustHer says:

                I read a quote today, Allison, that made me think of you, “A better you will attract a better next”.

                And you’re right.

                I joined some local ballroom dancing classes today. I suck badly and everyone is much younger and already has a partner. I turned up, old and alone and yet I managed to even smile a little at the end!

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Just her,

          I feel your pain, really I do. Emotionally, I’m not strong because my feelings are very intense and I’m inclined to dream a bit more than I should. It’s that tenaciously wanting what I want and no compromises will do. Well, my situation really whipped my butt. I had to pull back and do a total reassessment and revamping of my feelings. Now, he’s the one “chasing” me. I can hear it in his voice how happy he is that we’re back together. I am also, but with a modified sense of reality. I don’t allow myself to be so impressionable and indulging in fantasy, now. I see him for who he is NOW, not what he could be “if only…….”

          You have to make up your mind to take control over yourself and over the relationship. If he is running the show, you have to find a way to shift that. Mitigate his power and increase yours. Decide if you are committed to NC or not, because wishy washiness doesn’t cut it. All you do is confuse the both of you. It’s hard, hard, as hell but instead of moping around feeling like the world will stop turning without him, you have to help yourself. If you’re not seeing a therapist, you should. This is not to say it should be permanent. Sometimes people get therapy to help them get through a situation that they simply cannot handle alone. If you have one already, use him/her to help you with THIS situation, exclusively, for now. Talk about EVERYTHING that is causing you so much pain.You may only need a few sessions but they can help if you get a good one. I have a woman which I prefer. Read, read, read, Natalie and get the best self help books you can find. You have to do research. I suggest for starters, “Living Beyond Your Feelings, Joyce Meyer, and “Boundaries” by Dr.Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. So now pick yourself up and get to work. Also, increase your exercise, walking, the gym etc. and eat well. Spend time with your friends – NOT talking about him.

          Just. You can do this. Pull yourself together, girl. No man, I don’t care if he’s a good one, is going to hurt you. Since you’re in NC you have grabbed the bat and are beating yourself. Love yourself. You are more than worth it. I’m praying for you. Tink

          • JustHer says:

            Hey Tink,

            I’m glad to hear you’re entering this with both eyes open and with a clear mind this time. Maybe that’s what was missing between you the first time.

            I have tried therapy about 8 months ago and I didn’t feel like it was helping so I stopped. I didn’t want to take meds. I may consider going back into therapy too. I am dying inside and everyone keeps commenting on how I seem SO much better. Just because I laugh it off and then cry for hours every night or whenever I’m alone.

            This NC is final. I tried half-hearted NC for 8 months. This time is so much harder because I know it is for real.

            I’m going to see if I can find those books at the local library as I am still saving up for daily needs as job doesn’t start for a few months.

            Aww, thanks honey. I don’t want to let him hurt me, but he does it just by being there. I know he is enjoying his perfect life. It will never be with me. The truth is so difficult to face. I will learn to love myself again. I can barely look at myself in the mirror these days.

            Hugs to you honey and hope your recovered relationship keeps blooming x

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Hi Just,

              I see a psychologist. She cannot prescribe med. You know, just a few years ago, going through some very hard times healthwise, mentally, etc. I was on heavy duty meds for depression/anxiety. I was a walking zombie. I kicked the drugs and I don’t condone them because they numb you out and you don’t know what you’re doing.

              However, if you can get back into therapy with a woman preferably I recommend it. You say you did see any benefit? Imo, either it wasn’t the right person, or you weren’t committed to the process. It DOES help but you have to be with someone that you can talk to. The relationship comes a bit later because you have to get to know each other. I’ve been seeing mine for 18 months. We’ve only begun in the last 3-4 months to get to the core of my issues. I didn’t start out thinking it helped. Now I can’t wait to go each week.

              Even though you may feel this is NC for good you still need support in your decision, because, let’s face, YOU WILL want to go back. Please keep thinking about his cheating. You don’t want to put up with that again. And the health risk, my God! I know of women who have stopped having sex with cheating husbands because they were afraid of getting Aids or whatever.

              If you care about YOU FIRST, you can do this because he is NOT worthy of YOU.

              • JustHer says:

                Thanks, Tink

                I am considering approaching counselling again and seeing where it gets me. I will definitely have a look at the options and take a clear-minded approach about ME.

                It’s been too long since I have turned and maintained the focus on my life and I guess there is no time like the present! :)

        • sushi says:

          JustHer,

          “No one loves me like he did”

          “I found out he had been cheating on me with many, many women”

          I know the pain is blinding, but keep reading those two sentences you wrote, it will put your feet back on the ground and help accept the facts. Been there,really feel for you and sending you hugs. And congratulations on the new job.and that email he sent….very unlikely to contain anything that you haven`t heard before. It will all get better, honest.

          • JustHer says:

            Sushi,
            I know how stupid it looks when I write it out. Sometimes I write things and then just get fazed by the ridiculous concept. And yet, it is so hard to see beyond the love I have for him.

            Thanks for the congratulations, I am so glad at least one part of my life is under some control.

            I also got some hints regarding the email from the friend I asked to read it. I pretty much guessed what it said – nothing new at ALL.

            Am I surprised? No. Am I hurt? Yes.

            I just feel like I’m the only fool who has spent over a year recovering and is no closer to it.

        • Magnolia says:

          “No one loves me like he did.”

          Just her, if he was cheating on you with multiple women, he didn’t love you. You don’t want anyone, ever, to love you “like he did.”

          I can relate to feeling as though an AC provided the most intimacy I’ve ever had in my life. But just because I let him into my intimate life and he came in and played there for a while doesn’t mean he loved me. He just got really close to me and didn’t deserve to be there.

          Focus on the cheating when you feel pangs of “he’s the last one.” You deserve more, way more, than that. You will get over this guy.

          • JustHer says:

            Magnolia,
            Yes, I only saw a warped version of what love is. But it was more than I have ever had, and apart from the cheating, he treated me like a princess. He spoilt me, cared about my every feeling, word, glance.

            You’re spot on with the intimacy, that was what I had offered him, more than anyone else for YEARS. He was the first person I truly let in.

            The fear of me never getting over him is holding me back and hurting me every moment of every day.

            Also, I have followed your story for a long time too. And I wish you the very best of luck with the new tenure. Hope you get it, honey! x

  30. Anony100 says:

    We fall “into the trap of choosing to be inconvenienced and peed off for the long-term over getting uncomfortable in the short-term.”

    Interesting how we can make the choice to sacrifice immediate comfort to secure long term comfort. Example- surgery or hellish medical procedures to correct of lesson the impact of medical conditions that make us uncomfortable. We choose immediate discomfort in those situations to avoid keeping pain in our love long term.

    We do it in situations where we feel our safety to be endangered.

    Reminds me of a time I was taking a nap in my bedroom, laying there in a feverish sweat with the flu. The house alarm went off. I lept up. I allowed it to for all of 10 seconds before I flung open a window, kicked out a screen and threw myself clear out of it. The window sits on a hill and the floor immediately below it falls away. This means I had to risk falling a few feet in a thorny clump of bushes and getting all scratched up.

    I gladly chose to do it, rather than expose myself to the greater discomfort of someone holding a gun or knife to my face and me being forced to defend myself.

    Point? We choose to do uncomfortable things all the times to avoid greater hurt. When are we going to learn to start practicing this rational decision making in our love lives too? Or is that just such a blind point for us that it’s totally exempted from the rules of reasoning we use and depend on in other areas.

  31. Chutzpelady says:

    Instead of investing time and energy into men, I invest into my precious self and into my career. Finally – thanks Nat – your posts and books help!

  32. noquay says:

    Lili
    Looking back, I found that there were times when someone initially gave me a bad feeling. Obeying all the stupid blogs, books, etc that stated “don’t be do picky, give him a chance” I would give the dude a chance: it always ended in disaster. My at work AC was one of these. I think our guts know best and they know best right away. I have two good friends trapped in crap marriages because they gave up all their assets to their spouse or entered into business with their spouses. Now they are stuck in big houses they do not want to be in, in cities they don’t wanna be in. They’re both near or into their 70s. I’ve learned two lessons from them. First have your own assets separate from the relationship along with the usual joint accounts so you can bail if things turn south. Second, and I know this sounds awful but if you marry, marry a financial and education level equal. Both of these folks basically rescued others that have/had much less earning power and did not live within their means. Often folks who do marry out of penury have a lot more aspiration towards material things than someone who got out of penury under their own power. Also learn to fix stuff yourself; your home, the car, whatever. A lit of women here stay in relationships with men totally undeserving of the oxygen in the room because they lack the skills to do for themselves. I tell my female students that before they even consider having kids, they get their degree and become established in a position because things can and often go south and you may become sole breadwinner really fast.

  33. Rewind says:

    After sleeping with me once again, the usual text was received “Take care of your sweet heart, you deserve better, not happy with myself, I need a retreat…blah, blah, blah.”

    So I send my usual email trying to explain that I need to step away, etc. His response…”Shut up. I love you.”

    Arggggg. It’s maddening. I have way over stayed, but don’t know how to leave. Not even sure what I’m leaving.

    • louise says:

      You are leaving a self destructive sadness, like Gollum’s ring, that will get ever deeper and more bitter and more corrosive, WITHOUT END until you are unrecognizable to yourself and others.

      You are getting ready to enter into a another kind of sadness. That will be scary and fierce but ever softer and gentler and eventually, guaranteed, lead to healing and joy. I’m starting that today after finally dropping the ring yesterday. I’m so scared. But I’m even more scared of becoming the creature in the bowels of the earth who is more intent on doing whatever i have to do to get a hit of my precious than seeing the sun.

    • A says:

      Rewind,

      The longer that you stay, the worse it gets. He’s not going to spontaneously wake up one day and be a committed, reliable person. If you make your exit sooner rather than later it will be much easier – I beat myself up for a long time for sticking around for the abuse for as long as I did.

    • Magnolia says:

      ”Shut up. I love you.”

      Translation 1: Shut up and be what I want, little girl who I expect to be too ‘sweet’ to say no to me, and needs to be trained not to want anything from me, because I have chosen you to be what I want and you should be grateful.

      Translation 2: Shut up.

      • Rewind says:

        I know…once again when I tried to be honest with my feelings, he responded “shut up” but oh…I love you. Then as usual, he made me feel stupid for writing. I have been humiliated so many times with this guy. But it’s not his behavior that is the problem, it’s mine for allowing it over and over again. Not sure why I allow it, but time to stop…if I just had the magic cure. It’s hurtful to know I have wasted 3 years and we’re still playing the same games.

  34. Lisa says:

    Well I broke off my 2 year relationship a month ago. Although, I initiated no contact and the break up I had to as he was degrading and made a relationship impossible. I still in my heart wish he wanted to commit but know he won’t. Anyway, I inquired a few weeks ago about my belongings and he said, he’d check for them and never got back in touch with me. I know my belongings were there so I don’t know why he said he’d check. This morning I woke up and decided to call him. I left a voice message for him to call me. I truly believe I need this closure 1. if he doesn’t call I will have it. 2. if he does call I can tell him that I wasn’t fond of how it ended – 2 years is awhile to part like enemies. I just hope I don’t punish myself if he doesn’t call because of the rejection. I want to get up and move on either way.

    • Magnolia says:

      Your belongings, if worth under $100, hell, even $200-300 and you can afford to replace them, should be written off under “costs of break-up.”

      Go NC and don’t use your stuff as any excuse to be in touch.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lisa,

        Come on now, be honest with yourself. It’s not about your belongings. As I suggested before, he could drop them off at your place or mail them. Both of you are playing games. Forget him and your stuff which can be replaced. You cannot replace your heart.

        • Lisa says:

          Tinkerbell, As I said, he did not return my call at all. Now I am worried that he thinks I am a desperate looser because I broke no contact after a month! How can I let go of not worrying what this crazy man thinks of me. He was degrading and so hurtful. I believe he is relocating and most likely dating already. I have to stop worrying about what he thinks of me and get my confidence back and don’t know where to start. Thanks for your help.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Hi Lisa,

            I remember you telling us that he gave you the vague reply that he would look for them (your stuff). Then, I had suggested that you ask him only one more time to either post them or drop them off. I had meant that you should TEXT or EMAIL the request. I didn’t realize you were going to wait for him to call you back, especially when that probably wasn’t going to happen. Bottom line, you’re going to forget your things, chalk it up and go NC. Right?

            • Lisa says:

              Tinkerbell, Yes, I waited 2 weeks no response and did not hear from him so I contacted him and no response. I AM SO MAD AT HIM and MYSELF FOR BREAKING NC! I have to stop worrying what if he thinks I am a looser/desperate etc and just realize he really is the one with the issues and move on. I know in my logical mind he CAN’T be fair to anyone but himself and that I should not care about what he thinks of me. I have to find ways to stop worrying about what he thinks. Yes, I am forgetting about my belongings. Should I tell him to discard them or leave it be. I say leave it be a friend said text him. It is just too painful to text anymore.

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Lisa,

                Be proud of yourself that you’ve gotten to the stage of forgetting about your things because you were really focused on that, using it to communicate. Now forget him. You are already worried about what he thinks of you. DO NOT contact him again because you will make it worse, looking like a desperate loser, for sure. Remember I said to contact him only once more. You’ve done that and he has given you your answer – 0. Sometimes, you have to listen to your gut because friends can give BAD ADVICE.
                Walk away with your dignity intact.

              • Allison says:

                Lisa,

                Let it go! Do not contact him!

                • Lisa says:

                  Tinkerbell, Allison, Magnolia, I am experiencing such feelings! Between sadness-hurt-to shame that I didn’t get it to anger that I meant so little. I am of the belief now that he has not returned my call for belongings that he was cheating on me while together – hence the reasons for wanting so much SPACE. I use to love Fridays…now so lonely. As of 4 mos prior to our break up he consistently made me feel NUTS for wanting/expecting to share our weekends together after 2 years and insulted me like I was weak…had nothing else to do when to have a partner was an active choice. I am saddened and sick when I think he already has someone. I have no proof but why else would it be so easy to let go vs making compromises. I hope this lonely, sad, shamefulness goes away. Thanks for listening…

                  • Allison says:

                    Lisa,

                    Hon, it’s time to stop worrying about his life, and be more concerned about yours.

                    What brought me sanity was keeping busy: hanging with friends, involvement in volunteering, taking dancing classes. joining Meet Ups etc….

                    A common problem I continue to see, is the total involvement with the boyfriends, then when the relationship ends, people don’t know what to do with themselves, as there were no outside interests- I was once guilty of this myself. Lisa I am not directing this at you, but it seems to be a common problem in many posts i read. We can’t lose our identities in other people.

                    You are going to hurt – for a long time – and feel betrayed, but please try to make positive change and make new interests in your life.

    • Allison says:

      Lisa,

      By not getting back to you, he provided you closure.

      Please don’t make the belongings an excuse to hold on.

      It’s time to let go.

      • Lisa says:

        Allison, thank you. I know you are right but it is infuriating to be played with. Now I have to work on rebuilding my confidence and not give a darn if he thinks I am weak or if I look desperate because I broke no contact. I just don’t know how to start-where to start. I imagine others fell of the no contact wagon? How do you regain confidence and strength once broken and not care what he thinks of me?

        • Allison says:

          Lisa,

          You gain your confidence back by remaining NC. In time, you will no longer care what this clown thinks, or does.

          Trust me, some day you will look back and laugh.

          • Allison says:

            Lisa,

            I’m not trying to minimize your feelings.

            I felt as you, after my first love put me through the ringer. I was in agony, but when I saw him for who he was, and the part I played in the dysfunction, I was able to move on.

            • Lisa says:

              Allison, thank you. You have some solid advice I believe it! Remaining in NC will help me to re-gain my confidence. What this looser did is so painful and unjust.

    • Lisa says:

      Crushed….should have never called him. Went back on no contact and he did not call me back. One month into this. I am just sick inside.

  35. BrokenHearted79 says:

    Natalie Lue’s website has been a savior for me in so many ways. I am grateful to know that I am not going crazy when dealing with these EUM’s that crush spirits and breaks promises.After 7 years with my EUM, he completely tore me to pieces. He proposed after 7 years of breaking up and coming back into my life in May and he broke up with me over the phone.I didnt even earn a face to face breakup. He said that he always had reservations about “us” all these years ,yet he never told me until the day he broke up with me and yet he proposed to me crying on one knee tellimg me how sorry he was for breaking my heart all these years.We did lomg distance most of our relationship and he had finally moved to a city nearby and I was was making the move to finally be together. He was hot and cold all these years.Would boomerang back into my life when he felt like it.Always through email or reaching out to my friends desperate to get a hold of me.I have a son who’s a great kid.I begged him to please give us a chance to be toegther and be a family so we can work on any differences together b/c that is what love is about and he just said “I dont know if I need a break” , I just dont know. He blamed our breakup on me. He said I he didnt like the way I was raising my son , eventhough he’s in sports, has a woderfrul heart and has straight A’s in school. He told me that I deserved better and he didnt know why he was never satisfied and always wanted more.He chased money all these years never satisfied and being grateful for what he had in the moment.Now he throws the” I just can’t marry you”, b/c I wasnt planning the wedding fast enough b/c I was too focused on finding a job to finally move and be toegther.At the sign of any pressure and struggle he would just run away and then come back when he would get over his selfish , weird episodes.I know in my heart he just ran b/c he is a coward but this website has helped me realize that these men are mentally disturbed. No matter how hard I tried to please him it wouldnt have never been enough for him.Thats why we are braver than these EUM’s as long as we learn to say no and walk away with our head held high.I will never accept his lies again and I have decided to FINALLY move on and find someone that loves me for my flaws and fights for our love.

  36. louise says:

    “…when we stay and decide that we will be and do all manner of things to maintain our decision to stay and end up deeply compromised.”

    I read this yesterday and then, while I still had the courage and conviction and faith in myself to KNOW deep down this is true and I’ve known it’s true for a loooong time, I sent The Letter. I’ve sent many, many letters to the MM over the past 15 months breaking it up. And let him back in every time. After my BR training, THIS time I made sure I was prepared to stick to it. I asked him to respect my NC request if he loved me. I sent the letter. He responded he will respect my request this time. The crux of my short email was: I have to come to cold hard terms with the facts that 1. I can’t love you openly and fully and it f+++s me up. (And just being f’d up is enough for me to know. I don’t need to analyze that feeling any more or make excuses for it.) And secondly, if I say I love you I have to Walk the Talk. You have to love someone in the end, like you want to be loved. When you love someone you don’t put the life they’ve built at risk. I didn’t blame. I didn’t judge. I didn’t accuse. I just said what I needed to do to reconcile these two bitter and fierce conflicts in me, which was end it adn go NC. Being in contact in any way means returning to his arms. Always. I’ve accepted I can’t be his friend and not feel badly about that. Friends don’t give kisses like THAT.

    Now we have both given out word and have to see if our word, our intergrity is worth a damn thing. I am Devastated. Heartbroken. Desperate to reach out. I want to TAKE IT BACK!

    The saddest and most bitter thing for me is to realize that no one, ever in my life, has held my face pulled me to them and kissed me with such tenderness and “love”. Ironically it was that realization that pushed me off the edge. I want THAT kiss from HIM for all time, and I will never get it. He said “you deserve to be kissed like that.” Another knife to the heart. Yes. I do. And by someone who just wants me.

    I always wondered what it would be that sent me to the definitive end. It wasn’t “morality”. It wasn’t respect for his wife. It was finally some deep and lost-for-a-while life affirming need to be “true”. AND to want THAT kiss from my own man. But the pain! I am so sad I think I will die. I am sooooooo scared I will never be loved. I’ve reached 50 with decades of dating and two marriages without a man ever once kissing me like THAT. What hope now? On the upside, MM was gentle, kind and respectful, in the end.

    I feel relieved to have found my core again, and to have finally reconciled the costs of staying vs the costs of leaving (THANK YOU NAT!!!!) but damn, this fear, this pain, is unlike anything I have ever imagined. I raised two children alone and broke and never felt such fear and sadness. I feel broken. If it wasn’t for you BR readers I would not be able to see any future at all. But even then, the future feels so dim.

    • louise says:

      PS. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t respect my NC request. That was just a heads up for him to know that if he tries to engage I am prepared not to. It was a way of making him be accountable for what he says is his love for me. I’m tired of words. I’m all about the actions now. The bottom line is, he can engage all he wants, I’ve finally taken off Gollum’s ring.

    • Magnolia says:

      Louise, I remember longing to be kissed “like that.” In your words I hear echoes of JustHer saying she’ll never find another “like him.”

      I don’t know about you, but now I think that kiss – held face, deep gaze into the eyes, full of gentleness and passion, etc – the one I longed for, was about longing from a scared place to be loved and validated and cherished.

      “You deserve to be loved like that.”

      When you say, yes, I do – do you mean you feel you deserve to have the face-gaze? What human mortal deserves the power of bestowing on you this affirmation?

      When I read your post I am struck by how often I myself have cried, telling myself similar versions of what you’ve expressed: I deserve intimacy, I deserve to be cherished, etc. I pictured these passionate kisses coming from a strong, solid, paternalish, loving man. But lately (and again, probably because I’m processing the letting go of a dream of kids), I’ve been rethinking what I expect from a partner, and I’ve lost my taste for the vision, I don’t feel that need for someone to hold my face like a child and tell me I’m loved.

      Just for the record, when I am post-period and have just lost 2kg of blood, I often revert to feeling I need tenderness, but it should tell me something that the feeling comes when I am depleted.

      Good for you for taking off the ring.

  37. blueberry girl says:

    Peanut, I share your concern! I was lying in bed with a recently separated man who I’ve known and cared about for years, when he admitted I was the fourth woman he’d slept with in the past few weeks AND he didn’t use protection. I was horrified and sickened & couldn’t get out of his house fast enough. That was four months ago. He recently made contact, which I rebuffed. But I’m still angry that he put me at risk. He turned out to be a disgusting player. I wonder, do men typically act like this when a marriage ends?

    • Allison says:

      Blueberry,

      Protection is not a one-sided thing! There are female condoms, and always the choice of abstinence.

      Your life and safety are your responsibility, not others!!!!! It only takes one encounter to catch an STD!

      • Allison says:

        I want to add, I did the same with my ex. No one is worth our lives.

      • rewind says:

        My AC actually would sleep with another woman, and a couple of hours later sleep with me. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time. But I always found it interesting that he would take a shower before we had sex.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Rewind,

          Now that’s one disgusting creature. Why are you referring to him as “MY AC? He was never yours. PLEASE get the strength from wherever you have to and leave that fiend. “Shut up. I love you”. That doesn’t sound stupid to you?

      • blueberry girl says:

        You’re right, of course. It was a spontaneous invitation from him and I threw caution to the wind, but I didn’t know until after the fact that he was sleeping with others…but he did!Never again!

        • Allison says:

          Blue,

          It doesn’t matter.

          What if his wife had given him a deadly disease. It only takes one person.

    • Peanut says:

      blueberry,

      As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s always best to ask about std testing and such when you start to consider sex with a fella.

      With my ex it was so hard to resist. I hadn’t had sex in near a decade and he was oh so dreamy. But I didn’t go there because he was promiscuous. I ended it because I realized no matter how loud my loins were screaming, it was not worth my life, infertility, or a doctor bill.

      I’m sorry you went through that. Men and women often time go a little crazy in one way or another during times of change and unrest, though it is our responsibility to soothe ourselves in a nurturing way through shaky times. It’s hard. It takes practice, but abstaining from sex is the easiest part! Once you get that out of the way, there’s all the distractions of the modern world!

      I’m waiting for someone worthy of me, and if I’m eighty when that happens, so be it.

      • Wiser says:

        Peanut, I applaud your ability to resist your screaming loins – something I wasn’t able to do with the ex. I just leapt off the cliff with him, totally flung myself into sex with abandon and never gave condoms even ONE thought! So what happens? After he dumps me, he ends up with the wonderful new relationship and I end up with a miserable infection that cost me $500 to treat. I’m just lucky it wasn’t an STD, but it could have been. Big wake-up call for me.

  38. noquay says:

    Lilly
    I feel so bad that you had to endure all this while AC lands on his feet. Alexander is a beautiful name, dignified too.

    • Lilly says:

      Noquay,

      AC has indeed landed firmly on his feet which, feels like salt in the wound. Sometimes I feel angry, and want him to hurt like me, but mostly I just feel sadness. I do have faith that in time I will not feel anything anymore and I look forward to those days. I often think about how hard it must be for you to have to face that at work AC. I think you cope amazingly well. If it was me I’m sure my anger or sadness would overcome all reason and I would either break down in tears or even ‘clock’ him one (as I read in a previous post by Grizelda and Rev)! In fact, I quite like that fantasy and I’m going to stick with it as it helps me feel stronger.

      • noquay says:

        Lilly
        Believe me girl, you are the one coping amazingly well. My grad advisor merely stole my publications and threw me to the local wolves rather than stand up for proven scientific truths. Cannot imagine having a child together and all that has happened since. Tinkerbell was right, things have nowhere to go but up. I on occasion wish to clock (in the strictly American sense) not only the at work AC but that bastard you had to deal with too. Maybe a smack upside the noggin by a fellow tenure-head would open his eyes. I handle the situation the best I can, but having to deal with AC does pretty much ruin the rest of my day. I went to our cafeteria yesterday to sit with colleagues who asked me to join them for lunch, got there late,and there’s AC at the table with them. He never is normally there unless theres a scheduled meeting. Couldn’t sit elsewhere, especially when the folks that invited me had to leave and left me there with him and a barely eaten lunch. I stood my ground, and he left; still it hurt. As bad as this kind of crap feels, its nothing like you are going through.

  39. noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    My remaining parent was divorced three times; the first two marriages occurred during my child/teen years. This is how you feel “parents, beings as how I can do the laundry, cook, keep the house, I really wish both of you would just go away, I am tired the fights, the constant tension”. I understand your grandson completely but I merely stated that I would never have children nor ever live in a family situation ever again and except for raising my brother, kept that promise to myself. Kids are hyper aware of their environment and puck up tension, non verbals a lot more than adults think. As long as the children’s healthcare, food, and other needs can be met, the kid is far better off in a single parent family than having to put up with the crap surrounding a failing marriage. The tribes have it right, in that situation, it is perfectly acceptable for the kids to bail out and life with relatives or
    even non relatives. It’s only in nuclear (like the bomb) families that kids are stuck in an untenable situation.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hey Noquay,

      You’re agreeing with what I said. Reread my post. Yes, better to grow up with one loving parent than two who are either in heated arguments, or totally don’t speak. My grandson may someday get married. I just hope he treats his wife better than his father does.

  40. Magnolia says:

    I will stay in this town for who knows how long if I get the tenure-track job. There are indeed costs to staying. I believe the costs of up-and-leaving would be greater: I’m not in a bad relationship with work, work has been supportive, and like one might stay in a crap town because one’s partner works there, for now I’ll stay where my love (me) works, while I plan my next move. Of course, this is if they want me! Job interview happens not this coming Thu/Fri, but next.

    Went on date #2 with local guy. Decent, uncomplicated, not-very-wordly person. Was quite aware of being bored by the conversation, especially after having dinner with friends on both Friday and Saturday evenings and both nights having been filled with lively talk, appreciation for culture and political awareness.

    I no longer feel like I “deserve” a match educationally, earnings-wise, awareness-wise. It’s just a matter of preference. There are many people I’d happily put a good book down to talk with. But this guy made me wonder when I could get back home to read the book I’m into.

    FWIW, only once I came home did I realize that while out I never once thought about grilling him on his relationship history, never once thought about sharing my relationship history. I used to be keenly interested in hearing such details immediately. When I first came to BR, I thought that “being able to talk” to someone would mean being able to share all my tribulations and have someone commiserate / uplift / validate me.

    Now I guess it’s obvious to me that only if I value their casual company and I can enjoy talking to them about whatever – the weather, movies, books, teaching, politics – would I want to hang out with them, and only once I’ve hung out with and enjoyed someone quite a bit would I think it’s any of my business what their deeper hopes, dreams and losses have been; and any of theirs what mine have been.

  41. noquay says:

    Mags
    2kg of blood!? Wow, I’d say you’re depleted. I loose about 1/2 kg in a day and that’s bad enough. Not sure what I deserve or not these days but boredom is good hint for Noquay to start looking elsewhere. Someone like who you describe is great for short get togethers, having a cup of coffee with. Just went to a small gathering and the two single guys there sound a lot like the dude you are seeing. One was a former ski racer who became disabled in a crash, is into smoking, doesn’t read and thinks higher ed is a waste of time but a nice person. The other is educated but is incredibly reclusive and just wants to ski and hide from life. It was a nice gathering but yep, I was starting to look at the clock around hour #1. The group invited me to watch the”big” football game this Sunday and I did respectfully decline. Would rather have a root canal. I too am reluctant to talk about family or previous relationships. I don’t want to be judged on the basis of either. My sort of, kinda quasi relationship dude and I were hiking yesterday and he asked about family stuff, why I rejected having children, and the at work AC came up and I finally told him about the humiliating way I found out about his double life and the situation that made me even want to be even involved with him in the first place, namely a complete lack of men on the same page or even close, to where I am. He was somewhat judgemental and alarmed that AC is still around. However, since my friend can never really in a relationship, probably ever, I have not emotionally invested and really didn’t care what he thought of me. It sounds as though you’re not into your guy either which is OK so long as he doesn’t want more from you. Good job on calling that guy on his sexually promiscuous and seriously unsafe behavior. Cannot believe that folks are so stupid and inconsiderate of others in this day and age. I commented in another blog about a sexually promiscuous twenty something last week, suggesting that if they’re going to keep up such behavior, regular STD testing is highly recommended. Got slammed by the person running the blog as being prudish and controlling (but no smiley faces). I teach pretty med types and the degree of ignorance of STDs and who can get them (all of us) is staggering.

    • Magnolia says:

      I think some people rely on others’ honesty to keep themselves clean from STDs. I once fooled around with and swapped a lot of saliva with a guy BEFORE he told me he had Hep C. My peace of mind involved a series of shots. Fecking hell.

      Your image of Noquay potentially being made to watch the football game made me laugh. My ex, who I met in grad school, used to call baseball “the unending narrative” and if I sat down next to him to watch football I could make comments I wanted about the not-latent-at-all homosocialism and all the buddies-patting-each-others’-nice-bums-in-lycra. We could watch the game, he could care about the score (the ongoing narrative) and get all Foucauldian about it; it made it fun. I can appreciate a good throw, or good shot (I am Canadian, after all) but most dudes would get annoyed with me pointing out the masculinity performances. You might have enjoyed a game with us around ;)

      • Peanut says:

        Magnolia,

        It can even go as far as piercings and tattoos (my ex was very impulsive about that). My general doctor was warning me about a rise in hep c she was seeing among the tatted in this town.

        It’s really about adhering to your own boundaries and taking a healthy risk with someone who shares similar values.

        Even I am tested though (ha, quite literally, too, as I have been since my last partner).

        Today on impulse I nearly got an unnecessary facial piercing that might disqualify me from an internship I want (didn’t get the piercing). And I’ve had a hankering to get a pizza slice tattoo on my wrist. (I won’t). I texted a friend to talk me out of it and came home to draw pizza slices in neon sharpie over and over.

      • noquay says:

        Well, perhaps with a generous serving of a good dry red, maybe a cabernet.

  42. noquay says:

    Whoops that’s pre med types.

  43. Tinkerbell says:

    Mags,

    Imo, you’re just not into him, or you’d be curious enough to ask him questions and just generally engage with enthusiasm. That’s OK. You don’t have to go nuts over every guy. Good luck in dating.

    • Magnolia says:

      Tink, I don’t need to be “into” someone to be interested in them as a human being.

      I asked lots of questions, just not about his personal history on a second date. If I were “into” him I would still tread carefully around those issues and really am less interested in who someone was before than I am in who they are now.

      But now that I got to see how he answered all my initial questions, I’m not that interested in asking any more.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Mags,

        I wasn’t trying to say that you wouldn’t be interested in conversing with him as a human being or that you need to be asking about his past. You said you found him boring so I deduced you were not “into” him. You were talking about the same guy, I presume? I didn’t intend to sound snarky if I did.

  44. Louise says:

    Magnolia,

    Um. Wow. You just opened my brain and stomped around in there didnt you. I am stunned and stopped dead in my tracks. When I look back at the face gaze well, YES, that’s exactly what it felt like.” Ill take care of you forever you helpless innocent -give yourself to me–trust me–you are safe in my hands” as we kiss in a workspace with lights out so no one sees us and just before he bends me over, in the dark, then heads back to his more important life. When i expand the paternalism angle and think of it like .”this is how much i love you my precious one. But its so pure and true and unsullied it has to be our little secret. Don’t tell mum” Eeeeww.

    And your shut up translation was hilarious. And spot on–no offence Rewind.

  45. Louise says:

    Ps. To be fair. I think he succumbed to his need for that kiss just as much as my need to have it. But not in secret. Not any more. Not EVER again.

    • Magnolia says:

      That’s the thing, though; what kind of dude needs to be a yearning woman’s hero?

      When I look back with a few years’ perspective on who I lifted my precious young face to, I have to laugh. They were just regular dudes, some other women’s sons, with their own insecurities, who liked a girl looking up to them.

  46. Sally-Stress-Head--unboned says:

    There are certain feelings that are hard to feel, so I run away, but now I can’t run anymore. My child self wants to help me; she keeps offering me sweet pies, fast food chicken, remembrances of sweet times with my ex’s, she’s not my enemy, she just wants to help me escape.

    I worked soooo hard to feel my feelings, and now they are paralyzing me.

    Why do we have to feel every day, every moment? I want to shut it off, so I can get some work done; I wanna be a robot.

    I’m just so dang uncomfortable!

    It’s fear. But it’s fear with a stake. I feel ripped apart. It isn’t just in my mind. I feel it in my chest, my gut, and I keep waiting for it to go away.

    People tell me: “just do it,” …ok, as if I wouldn’t do that if that’s all it takes!!!

    Ok, but I’m up, and no one is going to handle this situation, but me, and why am I tripping? I can handle it. It’s all smoke and mirrors, right?… at least until my next anxiety attack.

    I’m gonna breathe as much as I have to, cry and crawl, baby steps–no it’ll be half steps. I feel like crap today, BUT I’m out of my comfort zone–it sucks though!

  47. Maeve says:

    I’m going to use this topic to express gratitude at dodging a bullet that was the full opposite of optimal.

    I was feeling kind of sorry for myself because at one of my social outlets (dance) a couple of people have hooked up–one being the ass clown whom I complained about before on this blog. I found him overfamilar, needy for female attention and disrespectful so I disengaged.

    Long story short, it seems my suspicions that he got together with another woman in our group are true. Plus, there’s two other people who have hit it off and seem rather cozy with each other. So seeing all this I felt a gaping hole in my life and felt like shite. For 10 seconds.

    Here’s the deal: In all of these cases, it’s EUs pairing with other EUs. One guy is still very much married…and in the case of the AC, I suspect he and she are both either still married, separated or at best newly divorced. BOTH OF THEM.

    So whatever it was I was panging away for was an ideal, not what any of these folks have with each other. I can just imagine how discontented and angsted out I’d feel if I lent myself to either of these situations…

    And…I suspect, these types of “opportunities” are common and more easily accessible than anything healthy.

  48. noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    Yep, sometimes we agree. Your grandson is at the age I was when I said to hell with it and bailed out of the family. He may marry, he may not, either should be perfectly OK. My dad tried to pressure me to take on the conventional family life after I bailed: until I clearly explained what they (parents) had taught me to expect of that life. Sometimes parents haven’t a clue what it’s like from the child’s standpoint, especially if there is an atmosphere of retribution for speaking out. The best thing you and your daughter can do for him is to create an atmosphere where he feels free to express his feelings about the situation, even expressing himself outside the family. The worst thing for a kid is that often he/she has keep all their hurt and rage bottled up inside for fear of retribution.

  49. Elgie R. says:

    So……why won’t another man ever hold your face, look into your eyes, and kiss you lovingly? Is it ordained that THAT will never happen again? You know how to make sure it DOES happen again?

    You ask your next good relationship partner to do THAT.

    Why wither because AC won’t do that again? I think it is all an act with ACs anyway. Especially since he actually had a little commentary with it….”you deserve to be kissed like that”. That sounds a little practiced to me. ACs hone their charm and work very hard to “seem” like the perfect guy. More than likely they’ve given THAT kiss many times to many women. And the phrase “You deserve”was patented by ACs. Translation: “I will not be giving you the things you really want. EVER. But I’ll pass myself off as caring about your well-being by telling you nicely that you deserve better than me. Cuz you ain’t never gonna get it here and you should be looking for what you want in somebody else. Now…I’ve cleared my conscience. Wanna fuck? “

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Elgie,

      You hit the nail on the head with the AC BS. That kiss was a typical AC manuever.
      Pathetic twerp!

  50. Tinkerbell says:

    Noquay,
    This situation does concern me. If he never gets married, I wouldn’t want it to be because of what he’s seen between his parents. I know my daughter tries to talk to him as much as possible. He’s a relatively quiet kid so I have no idea how he feels, especially since I only get to see him once or twice a year because of the high cost of plane fare. Thanks for your input.

  51. LoobyLoo says:

    He was a man of very few words. He said he didn’t like to talk about his work (he’s a correctional officer in Alaska) And he didn’t feel comfortable talking about feelings. So all our conversations were pretty one sided & consisted of me talking & him saying “yeah”. Still he had the most calmest softest voice & nature. I fell for him in December 2012. Something about his demeanor, his calmness. I’m not sure. Although he was very quiet in all ways he became very dynamic when it came to sex. That’s when my gut started telling me things weren’t right. Why so quiet about every issue except sex? Was he using me for his gratification?

    Then he became elusive & evasive. He would not be there when he said he would. I would be kept waiting hours, days at a time while he worked late, was busy etc. He said he loved me & I allowed myself to fall head over heels with this dream of a life together. He had asked me all about my dreams & told me his (meet a woman & have a family – how wonderful I thought) but all his actions were pointing elsewhere. I was hanging off my phone waiting for him to message or talk – because I was madly in love with the butterflies racing through me. He would message a single message. I’d get excited & respond – then nothing. Nothing for hours & maybe a day. Was that right for someone who said he was infatuated & in love with me?

    There were other red flags which I noted but did not heed enough to put an end to things there & then. I didn’t want to believe they would affect us. My intuition had gone completely out of the window as my feelings had gotten in the way.

    The red flags were of how he talked about his ex’s. I asked him what he liked in a woman – but half jokingly not to mention his ex’s in case I got jealous! His response was “I don’t have ex’s – just girls who I think “why did I date that?”” He’d also told me all his girlfriends had been “clingy & stalky”. “Wanting to know where he is & what he’s doing & stuff”. I didn’t fall for the all my ex’s are mad routine. I understood the flags & saw the fault was with him. But I was to adjust my behaviour & not be too demanding of his time & attention.

    Whilst under the continual pretense of being an “open & honest” person, he would go quiet & evade certain conversations. I asked why he would disappear & stop talking. He said it was because he could feel a mood coming on where he would stop talking to everyone & anyone for days. Another red flag – but I told myself – I could live with this behaviour as long as we were together.

    Plus he’d told me his roots. Severely abused as a child by his stepfather after being adopted out by his mother as a baby, & his real dad being a womanizer & leaving. The history was another red flag which I thought I’d log but I did not let it stop me. I hadn’t encountered passive aggressive behaviour before, but had been in an emotionally abusive relationship on a different level. I know childhood issues & patterns are not my job to fix, not within my ability to fix & can cause relationship difficulties – but I could try & understand him, & I was armed with the knowledge – was my reasoning for choosing to continuing the relationship.

    I had kept our relationship secret from both my brothers for the first few months.
    as they disliked him with a passion. They obviously could see something I couldn’t with my rose tinted glasses. I only confessed to our relationship after a few months & luckily they’re both supporting me now. They say he was a lying, manipulative person & other words I cannot use here.

    I broke up with him in June & spent my entire summer grieving & in all that time he did not even try to make contact. To ask how things could be fixed – nothing!! I was glad to have no contact but was equally aggrieved that he cared so little he wasn’t even going to try & salvage anything like someone who truly loved you would. I broke up with him as being with him hurt so much. Being with someone who INSISTED he loved me but yet neglected me so badly. Just feeling confused with mixed messages & being on eggshells in case I would set him off on a mood or he would disappear again or I would appear too clingy or stalky. I always had a sense of unease in which I lost my ability to be myself or say what I meant. He’d somehow very subtly eroded that away.

    The words of love which did not fit his actions. The words not fitting the actions are too subtle for me to describe. But one was that he would say “I love you but….” He could never simply say I love you.

    Well he made contact again last month & we did some sexy things. Each time I knew I felt so degraded. I did things I had not considered myself doing just in this way to please him. After every exchange I felt like a free whore but I didn’t know how to stop.

    He told me over that time we were apart that he had met a new girlfriend in July (I’d broken up with him in June remember). Urgh I was busy crying & he was busy dating. I could not have even contemplated a new relationship just weeks after leaving him. Their relationship was over now & I said I was sorry to hear that. He said he wasn’t sorry as she went nuts! Funny – because I’d also felt seriously crazy after being with him. I felt for her – I really did. He said she had trust issues & didn’t like him texting his buddies all the time. Ha ha it made me laugh because it was exactly what I’d heard about all his previous girlfriends – yet he continued to blame them for being insecure due to their own past relationships. He couldn’t see his own behaviour & how not showing love & being evasive & not entirely truthful does not create security.

    Last time I spoke with him he said she’d been calling him. I asked if he loved her, he said “he wouldn’t take her calls if he never”. His last words to me were “I love you I just I love her in a different way”.

    He still hasn’t even got the balls to tell me he doesn’t love me. I’ve told him honesty won’t hurt me but lies confuse & hurt me. He still keeps me dangling. He was so apologetic for hurting me before & said he never meant to. It was hard to angry with him & say my piece when he’d just say “I’m sorry”. He had just been too busy & stressed to contact me. He said he was falling for me when I left him. As if I blew it all. Whereas when I was with him he had told me he loved me already. So was he falling in love or in love? Did I leave too early? See how confused I get with his very ambiguous words & actions!!! I tie myself up in knots trying to work out what is going on. No wonder I feel crazy. This blunt & honest guy is the most deviant guy I know. Full of part truths never the whole truth. Never the truth. Continually lies by omission. They say this makes us grow stronger well I just wish I’d never met him & I could have my summer back. I know he is going to haunt me over Christmas too.

    I am sad about this new girl but I have some sort of closure too. I won’t be second fiddle. It has reinforced the depth of his relationships to me. With her & with me. He will create endless sorrow & confusion in anyone he has contact with. I am sorry for the new girl. I am sorry for myself. I am under no illusion things will be different for her. He’s already proved that by the, separating once over trust issues. Now she is dancing with him. I’ve always felt secure in relationships if made to feel secure. How can anyone feel secure with someone like him?

    The new girl has finally given me what I was missing – closure. Although I know this is not the end for me – it has brought me on a stage & one step further away from him though. I am sad now. Before I was hurt. Sadness is a blessing compared to the hurting. I no longer carry that great big stone around in my chest. I still find it hard to smile, but the hurt & confusion has definitely lifted. Thank you new girl but I’m sorry for the pain you will feel as I have & feel.

    • Allison says:

      Loopy,

      You know their is no future with this man! He has shown you he is incapable of having a real relationship.

      Please don’t get stuck on the words – words are very easy – he has clearly shown you that he is incapable of love or a commitment.

      I’m confused? Are you going to continue to stick around while he messes with you both? Does this sound healthy or like love.

      There’s no future here! Get out!

    • Rosie says:

      LoobyLoo- The other name for romance novels is “women’s porn”. Notice how romance novels have no pictures, all words and we, women, hang on to every word the author writes? Men’s porn is all images, few words, all physical actions. We, women, really need to stop thinking that men think as we do. To understand what a man’s really saying, look at his actions while turning off the volume so that we can’t hear his words.

  52. noquay says:

    Loopyloo
    It sounds like this dude never had a decent male role model and has no clue how to treat women. A veritable sea of red flags. He cannot commit, he is broken and unable to own his actions hence the crazy making behavior.

  53. Tinkerbell says:

    Looby,

    Run. This man is crazy making and will only continue to hurt you. Ambiguity is very hurtful. When you tolerate it from a man over an extended period of time you begin to lose yourself to the point that you don’t know whether you are up or down, coming or going. Actually, it’s cruel. Love doesn’t treat another like he has treated you. He sounds as though he definitely has some form of personality disorder. Pychological behavior and their corresponding terms are not my forte, but he doesn’t appear “okay” in my book. You said something to the effect of you’d rather know the hurtful truth than lies, omission, and being misled. I feel exactly the same. It may be that he’s been traumatized by his childhood, but still the way he’s behaving toward you is unfair. Go NC. Save yourself from the hurt and pain which will not come to an end.

    • LoobyLoo says:

      Thank you so much for your replies. I know my post was long – I could have written a book. It was the ambiguity which forced me to leave him. Instead of making me happy, the relationship was making me tearful, sad, lonely and confused. I felt so confused during our relationship and those months after leaving. Our recent brief reconciliation helped me see things more clearly. It’s still hard but some questions have been answered and new ones have opened up. I’ll try to go no contact and if there is any I will have my eyes wide open. Thank you for this place. He certainly did future dream me or whatever he term is! I lost my entire ideal of my world ahead. A family a future. I lost the fantasy more than anything – but it still felt sooooo real. I recall he never had a thought of his own. He would always just press me for my thoughts and just say he “felt the same”. Like a big ego massaging process for him. Watch as I tell him I love him whilst he has to do nothing but say me too. Urgh.

  54. confused says:

    I broke things off for good with my ex (who I thought was just an EUM, but have come to realize displays some definite AC qualities as well) four months ago, after months of being ‘broken up’ but still often ending up in bed together (always initiated by him, but of course, I am to blame too for giving him access to me!).

    We were very close, but he ultimately had very severe commitment issues. After finding out he had slept with other people while sleeping with me (post break-up, yes, but it was hard to feel truly broken up when we were still sleeping together), I decided the only way to proceed was to go NC and move on. Which I did, with flying colors, although I admit, it was hard to get him off my mind and I thought about him a lot.

    In that time, I met a very different, very wonderful guy and we began a relationship. This guy is essentially the opposite of everything my ex was. Four months of NC and I had made a lot of progress and was feeling a lot better, when suddenly, the ex pops back into my life – and his tone has completely changed. He admits he made a mistake, he apologizes profusely and tells me this time apart has made him realize how much he loves me. He wasn’t ready to commit before, but that has all changed. He even says that he wants us to get married. This is a HUGE change for him, a guy who never expressed interest in marriage before.

    Although my ex was certainly an EUM, I never put him in the AC category (until I found out about his sleeping around), because he had at least always been upfront with me about his lack of interest in marriage, and his essential unwillingness to commit. It was me who ended the relationship, not him, because I wanted someone who could offer me more. But in short – he never future-faked me, he was straightforward. So this lends SOME credibility to his new-found interest in a committed relationship with me..and it did come after a period of time apart. However, I am still skeptical…I don’t know what to think. To get back together with him, would not only mean taking a risk of getting hurt again, but it would also mean leaving behind a guy who has been nothing but totally committed (and in a very healthy, even way). I want to see my new relationship through, but I am also finding myself very distracted with thoughts of my ex…missing him, wondering what if, etc. If anyone has any advice..I would love to hear it!

    • Elgie R. says:

      IMO, you were not ready to begin dating. You had not closed the book yet on the EUM.

      You do know that when you dump the good guy and go back with the EUM, the EUM’s unavailability will come back with a vengeance, right?

      Just want to make sure your eyes are not wide shut.

      You must not be feeling the good guy, cuz if you have to ask, you are craving EUM drama.

    • Allison says:

      Confused,

      People do not change in four months time. Has he sought counseling or done some other kind of work to make him ready for a commitment, or was he simply missing you? I’m assuming he was not dating during his time of reflection. Oh wait, you said he cheated on you, too!

      This man has shown you time and again who he is, why in the world would you jeopardize a healthy relationship for someone who has disappointed you over and over.

      I think you need to honest about your own availability because if you were truly available, you would not give this fool the time of day!

      If you want to screw with your sanity and happiness, then by all means, go back!

    • lizzp says:

      Confused, I think you need and must keep this thought in the forefront of your mind: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Look at the past: Yes, he presented you with a set of reasons for being unable to step up and commit and whether he was honest with himself or not, you had no choice but to take him at his word and accordingly leave him. However, you then found out that he had been sleeping with other people during your relationship (if I’m reading you right?). So there is the ACTION that is a truth, and his omitting of the WORDS when you were together/when you broke up with him is a lie. You need to translate his sleeping around behind your back as an expression of his lack of RESPECT for you. Can you see that his being ‘upfront’ in his WORDS re commitment issues does not translate as a sign that he RESPECTED YOU? Can you see that these words rather were said to serve his own selfishness and desire and to use in defense of his own behaviour? He wasn’t thinking of your well being when he told you he was unable to commit, he was giving himself an excuse for who he is. Really, please look at it from his perspective and look at his actions as the key to how little this man was capable of caring about you and your interests. You took care of yourself and broke it off. Congratulations!

      If I’ve read you wrong and the sleeping around happened behind your back but after you broke it off but when you decided to take up his offers of casual sex then it STILL translates as an expression of his DISRESPECT for you. First, he knew you broke it off because you wanted him to man up and he couldn’t/wouldn’t. And then post break up he offers you casual sex, knowing how you felt? He didn’t give two big sh**ts about you. Although you were also disrespecting and letting yourself down by casually taking him up on his offers, this in no way negates the fact that at that time he did NOT RESPECT YOU OR HOLD YOU IN HIGH ESTEEM.

      I sincerely hope you will look at this with a rational eye and a perspective that doesn’t dismiss the fact that he didn’t care much about you in the past and actively demonstrated his lack of respect for you and your needs and feelings. Again, I’m proposing that these are ‘facts’: (a)During you relationship up until you walked, (b) when he then asked for causal sex and (c) finally when you NCed him 4 months ago – during each of these specific periods of time- he had decided you were NOT VALUABLE enough to him to commit to. He decided that what you had to offer was not good enough for him. HE LIED ABOUT THIS VIA OMISSION AND OBFUSTICATION. He packaged this up as him not being able/wanting to/ready to commit, but all you need to know is that he made a decision on the basis that you did not hold enough value for him and he let you walk.

      PLEASE VALUE YOURSELF ENOUGH NOW TO REALISE THIS AND PROTECT YOURSELF. pEOPLE say they have changed all the time, he has to prove this to you in actions over a long, long period of time. After such a short time period and given how self serving his words have been in the past there is absolutely NO reason why you should just up and believe him. SURELY, YOU WANT TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND HOLD YOURSELF MORE DEARLY THAN THIS?

      Confused, the ball is in your court. He HURT YOU AND DIDN’T GIVE TWO sH*TS.

      p.S Really, I would suggest finding out for SURE whether ex was aware of your new relationship. Find out if possible from his acquaintances or friends first, but if that’s no go I would, as part of a very carefully thought out set of questions, ask him yourself. Keep your intuition on high alert and look for signs of lying when he answers. If you are even going to entertain the idea of taking him back, once you’re done questioning him, you need to find a way of telling him to zip his lips about how much he ‘loves you, made a mistake’ etc, etc and have him earn your trust. Don’t for God’s sake just let him back in. And please, what ever you do don’t stuff around with the good man you say you are seeing now. You need to be honest with him RIGHT NOW so he can make his own decision.

      • lizzp says:

        p.s. I keep pulling myself up reading stories here where people will describe conversations – he said this, I said that etc – only to realise later that these important relationship conversations happened via [t]ext messaging, [m]email, or even effbook/[d]i[n]stant messenger. If your ex is using any of these to represent himself to you, I hope you’ll be aware that hiding behind a screen is a sign of emotional unavailability. He should be phoning you and respectfully asking when he can see you in person to talk with you. In the interim he should be respectfully leaving you alone and not sending little ext messages or memails. When you question him you should do it in person when you are composed and in touch with your value and with a heightened understanding of his past behaviour and past lack of respect for you.

        • LoobyLoo says:

          You are right with your point about messaging. Virtually all our communication was via messaging as we had a long distance relationship. In fact – all his relationships had been long distance I think. I can envisage the kind words over and over. He’d never call when he said he would. Just had crumbs and a few messages. What was I thinking? You have such a good point there.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Confused,

          Lizzp, Elgie and Allison have basically covered it all so there’s not much else to say. However, don’t you think it’s suspicious that all of a sudden he wants you and wants to be committed going as far as marriage? I think he’s aware or at least suspects you’re seeing someone else. He’s like a kid in front of the last cookie on a plate. He’s had his fill, doesn’t want anymore, but let another kid try to go for it and he’ll grab it. That cookie becomes important when someone else wants it. This happens all the time with men.

          Don’t mess over this new man. If you’re not really interested, he’s not exciting enough for you do the right thing and let him go. Going back to the ex is a grave mistake. HE HAS NOT CHANGED. Don’t believe me? Go back and you’ll find out.

      • lizzp says:

        Confused, To try and hammer it home -you make a big mistake if you just let him back in on the basis of his words. And by letting him back in I mean both psychologically -investing emotionally and fantasising sincerity on the basis of his words – and PHYSICALLY – for the love of God don’t do that.

      • confused says:

        Thank you so much for your replies everyone. Truly, I think these are all things I already knew, but needed to hear someone say them! I needed a shake! To clarify, As far as I know, he did not sleep with other people during our relationship, only once we were ‘broken up’. Obviously, I would have no right to be angry at him for sleeping with other people post break-up, except that he continued to constantly initiate sex with me, knowing fully how I felt about him (we had a creative partnership that was fairly successful which we tried to maintain post break-up, which meant we were around eachother alot – that all ended once I went NC).

        For the record, his initial admission of his changed feelings did come in a face to face conversation (and with a bouquet of roses, first time ever getting flowers from him!). However, ultimately, Lizzie, I think you are completely right – his past actions demonstrated a huge lack of respect, and although it may be healthy for me to forgive him, it does not mean I should ‘forget’ it either. My inner gut instinct tells me that, yes, the chances of his ‘unavailability’ returning once he got me back, seems high.

        I have a few more questions I would love everyone’s advice on, if you have the time!

        1) Lizzie, you mentioned that I should judge him by his actions over a long period of time to determine if he is genuine – what kind of actions should I look for? What should I expect of him? I’m not saying this because I am waiting for him to give me a reason to get back together, but I would like to know what you think constitutes true change in actions.

        2) Maybe there is some truth to my own lack of availability, that I would even consider taking this ‘fool’ back to begin with, when I am with someone who is truly the most healthy, emotionally mature person I have ever been with. However, my feelings for my ex were strong, in alot of ways, we were very good together. How do I tell the difference between ‘craving EUM drama’ and genuine love?

        3) How should I handle being distracted with thoughts of my ex, despite knowing that I shouldn’t get back together with him?

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Confused,

          I’m sorry. I didn’t even read your entire post because you started of with more delusions, making excuses for him. You don’t know who he slept with when. He could have slept with his grandmother! YOU DO NOT KNOW!
          He is NOT a respectable person. He can’t respect you when he doesn’t even respect himself.

          You’re asking us questions. Remember, we’re on here because we’ve screwed up in the past or still are and we’re trying to “get it right” ourselves. You should read every post, past, present and future that Natalie writes. And PLEASE READ book The Dreamer and The Fantasy Relationship. It will have the answers to the questions you’ve just now posted. Also read her Mr. Unavailable and The Fallback Girl. But, first and foremost NC this dude. He is bad news and his sexual exploits represent danger for you if you get into bed with him. If you really care about YOU, it’s within your reach to be happy and enjoy peace of mind, ALONE for the time being. You need to get your mind straightened out before dating anybody. It’s all on YOU.

    • grace says:

      A man who wants to get married says “Will you marry me”. Otherwise, treat all marriage talk with a pinch of salt. x100 if it’s an ex. He hasn’t seen you in four months, how does he know he wants to marry you?

      • confused says:

        well…technically he did out and out ask me to marry him….but trust me, I’m taking it with alot of salt…

  55. Lizzy says:

    I was devastated after he broke up with me, and i broke the rule of No Contact. He seem to be coming back with messages like oh that was a cute pic , how is work ? And getting all concerned when I went out dinner with girlfriends, who he kept assuming I lied and I went out with guys. I dont deny I kinda like that in a way becoz it shows he cares, but the next day, he acted like nothing again, and when I texted him hows his day. He only replied ” my day is fine, thanks” .

    I felt disappointed no doubt, and dont understand why hes behaving this way. He said he could not trust me and yet im going out dinner with my girlfriends. It was sad because i wasn’t doing anything or betraying , yet he said he couldnt even trust me 0.01%.

    In my heart I still hoped he would miss me, that he would consider us another chance to work things out, but I feel if trust is missing in either of us, the RS wont work.

    On the other hand , I find it hard to move on, i stll check on his online status at the whatsapp messenger and wondering who hes been chatting with etc etc, it drives me a little out of my sanity at times..

    I want to stay strong.. but many times, i falter back into depression why this guy isn’t doing much to work out something between us…

    • LoobyLoo says:

      Oh Lizzy. I do all the same. We know what we need to do for our future sanity. It;s just terribly difficult putting it into practice at times. This is why I just read here, read and read and read. That’s almost me obsessing over him but I’m trying to remind myself of the difference between reality and fantasy. It isn’t about strength so don’t ever bash yourself about not being strong enough. That worsens your self esteem. It’s a process, and armed with the knowledge you have, you will be free one day. Maybe not this time – but one day you will xx

    • Allison says:

      Lizzy,

      He doesn’t trust you to hang with your friends, but isn’t he the one that broke up with you? Not only is this unwarranted, but a mind fuck!

      He is feeding you minimal crumbs t string you along. he has no intention of getting back, but is playing a serious game of manipulation, so that his ego source does not dry up.

      Be honest, do these actions really indicate someone that is working towards a reconciliation. hell no!

      Time for complete NC!!!!! Time for some sanity!

    • Allison says:

      Also, what is your story? Why does he say there are trust issues?

  56. Summer says:

    You only live once. Time is precious. Live happy.

  57. Elgie R. says:

    ” And getting all concerned when I went out dinner with girlfriends, who he kept assuming I lied and I went out with guys. I dont deny I kinda like that in a way becoz it shows he cares ”

    What it shows is how he wants you to stay in his harem of toys, up on a shelf, until HE is ready to play with you again. Like the child who hoards all the toys so that no one else can enjoy them, even if he can’t possibly play with all the toys himself. He is thinking about HIMSELF, not you. He doesn’t want you. He just doesn’t want anyone else to have you because he is childishly greedy.

    I get how you thought that meant you were “special”. But think again.

  58. Heather says:

    for those of you who read my story above, I came back to comment and say even tho I am moving forward, my soon to be ex husband is doing everything is his crazy mind to make me pay. yet he also does things to try to make me miss him. like dropping off a pillow case bathed in his cologne. he tells me all the time he is great and fine, he wont reply to my text about him picking up his junk from my garage… yet answers a day and a half later to say, sorry I was out all night. whatever. hes not out all night, and if so, poor girl who walks into his jealous insane path. I was out of town for work and he stole my dog. He refuses to return him even though he was bought before marriage. he says tuff, dont ever talk to me again, stop harrassing him, when all I am doing is saying bring my damn dog back. especially if he is gone all day and night! that means my collie is sitting in a tiny cage for 20 hrs a day. this is a dog he rarely played with, refused to walk cause he was too busy laying on the couch and I paid for all food and care. I guess I have to file a police report or I can leave it till court in a month. in all of this, its made it so easy to not look back. to see I married a bipolar mess who hid so much from me including being bipolar and depressed.) we will be divorced 2 months after out yr anniversary. so thankful. I want this done immediately. Im tempted to donate all his crap in the garage because he is making my life hell because he thinks is fun. this is one case, that I hope an asteroid comes down and strikes his body.
    I just want to move forward. no kids. no stuff shared. should be easy right? nope.

  59. Tinkerbell says:

    Heather. Don’t wait. Get the police after him, NOW. When you go out of town and will be gone more than 8 hours, the dog MUST BE BOARDED or stay with someone and that’s assuming he’s been walked 10 minutes before you’re leaving the house. The animal cannot be expected to hold his business indefinitely. I’m very fussy about the care of animals. I was just telling a friend this morning that I’m going to adopt a dog as early as next weekend. Of course, the first issue is walking in any kind of weather 3 times a day, and boarding when I go out of town.

    That’s YOUR dog. Get him, back now and don’t leave him alone for extended periods.

  60. Shane says:

    When she said to me “You’d rather be homeless than be with me?” I knew that nothing I said would ever sink in. Yes, I made the choice to move out. Yes, ours had been a complicated relationship… at least an unconventional one. Yes, she was in the habit of threatening me to get what she wanted. So when I made arrangements to leave, with nothing concrete beneath my feet (not even a place to live), all she could think about was how I was choosing homelessness over her, and how that made her look.

    She forbade me from talking about the details of our relationship, and aside from what I’ve said here now I’ve respected that. There’s no reason why I should, since I know she tells her side of the story to anyone who will listen.

    I could have stayed, but I didn’t leave to punish her. I weighed the costs. I could have stayed and lost all self-respect, and allowed her to continue to act the way she did… or I could leave and take my chances. Sure. Self-respect is a payment either way. But at least I maintained a measure of control over my own life, rather than turning it all over to her if I had stayed. I wanted compromise. I wanted to work with her. She repeatedly gave me two options… Her Way, or the Highway. I took the Highway.

  61. Lisa says:

    Allison/Tinkerbell/Magnolia,

    His birthday is 12/2. He texted happy birthday me on mine after we had been broken up a few days and sent a card. Neither of which I acknowledged due to the games he’d been playing. Wev’e been broken up now 6 weeks. Since then hes not responded to my call or text about my belongings should I at least text him Happy Birthday or let it go. I’m afraid I am going to troubled by closure for the rest of my life. I want him to commit but know he’s not going to. I think he escaped commitment to me/us by going with another woman now. He’s moved on by not contacting me. Just don’t know how to handle his birthday since he hasn’t replied to me.

  62. Ligia says:

    I was in a marriage where secrets and lies were (his) the norm. Before i married this man, i was a single parent and i became a single parent again, due to my own stupidity in failing to recognize the red flags in the beginning. Experience has taught me that it’s better to confront the uncomfortable situation head on, without hesitation by talking openly at the first instance when something odd or uncomfortable is going on with your partner. Don’t let anything significant and of importance to you be brushed off as pre-wedding jitters or anxiety. Insist on a fair and honest discussion or end the relationship don’t do what i did and sweep it under the carpet for later.

  63. Louise says:

    Moments after I read this post on Nov 8 I gathered up enough courage to break it off finally with mm. I sent an email. He sent a loving one back saying he’ ll respect nc. All was well. I was sad but strong. Yesterday I discovered he’s blocked me on FB and his phone. I’ve never done that. And suddenly I’m furious and desperately sad at the same time. For the first time since we started 15 mos ago I want to rage and cry and I don’t know why. I feel betrayed (I know, imagine how is wife feels!) or shunned or I don’t know what. Shocked. I don’t understand why he blocked me after all the times he’s busted my boundaries and broken nc before. This won’t stop him from contacting me but it stops me from contacting him. The irony being I do never broken nc before he has. Damn. This is a mess. Anyway. Nc has been strong for 12 days.

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