They're just not THAT special

Every week people share their stories of outrageous treatment and what it’s like to be on a crumb diet and I frequently repeat what has along with FLUSH!, become BR’s mantra; they’re just not that special.

They’re just not THAT special that you should diminish you. If someone is all of the great things that you believe them to be and/or that they claim to be, you should be able to coexist without battering your self-esteem.

They’re just not THAT special that they can treat you like Dialalay.com, Dialanegostroke.com or an activity pack to pass the time with on rainy days. They either respect you within a mutual relationship or go and use someone else up.

They’re just not THAT special that they can show up and ship out whenever it suits. This is not a Pay As You Go ‘Relationship’ on the Booty Plan. The funny thing is that when you tell them to jog on, suddenly Houdini can’t be gotten rid of.

They’re just not THAT special that you should stand in as their punchbag, or be verbally abused, or be subjected to the mind effery involved in subtle and not so subtle forms of manipulation and control. There is no such thing as acceptable abuse and nobody deserves it. When someone has the power and opportunity to abuse you, they’ll take their ‘axe’ and chop away at you. Stop denying, rationalising, minimising and even over-empathising with them – get.out.


They’re just not THAT special that you have any business being their option. Newsflash! There is somebody out there that will prioritise you but that is only going to happen when you accept nothing less than being a priority. If you’re willing to be an option even if it’s in a passive manner, an option is what you’ll be.

They’re just not THAT special that more than a year after it became clear that they were talking out of their bottom and that they were only after an affair, you’re still there replaying their hot air over and over again as if you’ve missed out on The Perfect Person. If I could creep around behind my partner’s back, try it on with you, show you that I’m shady and still have you pining after me after all this time, I’d believe that I was THAT special.

They’re just not THAT special that you should be falling in love with a profile on a dating site, because it sure as hell isn’t the person that you’re falling for. I hear from people who feel excited just by the words on a page.

They’re just not THAT special that they need to be checking their dating site responses while they’re on a date with you! What they can’t even wait until they’re in the bathroom, or wait for it, after the date? FLUSH!

They’re just not THAT special that you should or even ‘need’ to give up your friends, family, interests, passions, money, dignity and your sense of self.

They’re just not THAT special that they should be the only way that you can be happy and have your needs and expectations met. A good relationship is wonderful but you still need to be able to make you happy and meet your own needs and expectations.

Your thoughts?

Updated 29th October 2012: An audio version of this post is now available on Soundcloud.

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249 Responses to Revisited: They’re Just Not THAT Special

  1. PhoenixRises says:

    Thanks for this post. There’s a guy who has given me a code amber recently. I had emailed him, he didn’t respond, and then a week later I texted him about something random. After a decent amount of time passed, I wrote a last text saying I get the hint and I won’t bug him again, figuring ‘here’s your out, buddy!’…well this caused surprise from him, so he messages me back that he had gotten my email and read it/thought he responded, explains why he’s been out of touch, etc. I made some small talk for a bit but decided that I shouldn’t try any additional contact for the future. I just wish this flushing business would get easier, I get so caught up in the disappointment and it’s hard to move forward. In general I find I need to work on my anxiety levels, because in a lot of my relationships in life I have this fear that if I stop talking/stop initiating and just relax, that people won’t come around, want to hang out, or remember me….even though I am a great person and worthy of others’ time!

    • Kay says:

      I so get what you’re saying phoenix.It’s because we’ve been disappointed so many times.If relationships had worked out for us we wouldn’t feel that anxiety,that fear of rejection as success does breed success and people don’t fear what they’ve rarely experienced.

      But the BR philosophy is a mantra to protect us.This post is timely.I’ve just flushed away another Mr Unavailable.It doesn’t really get easier but being able to spot them and run, saves us from a shitload of crap down the line.And I’m also reviewing a certain friendship which seems to have become increasingly one sided these last few years, namely 90% input coming from me!It doesn’t feel right.All friendships and relationships are a two way street, anything less is demeaning and quite meaningless.We gotta live by our boundaries.

    • Natasha says:

      PhoenixRises ABSOLUTELY! I had the same problem. Now I rest in the fact that if they can’t even respond or “forget” to its absolutely their loss. You sound like an amazing woman and when you step into the goodness that is YoU, you’ll probably wonder why you even cared in the 1st place! LoL. I’m finally to the point where I forget guys who stop responding. Messes with their poor feelings, kinda tickles me. Stay Well.

    • HS says:

      PHOENIX, can I please ask you to read a book “The Chimp Paradox”, it is about relationship with family, friends, boyfriends. You dont have to please anyone, or make them like you! They are not That special as NML said! All the best x

    • Heartache says:

      Oh Lord! Do I understand this. For example my best friend (Or I thought she was) disappeared into the wind with no explaination. Multiple attempts to contact her have gone acknowledged. It hurts as I don’t have that many friends.
      I feel like if I relax they will disappear.The anxiety around this is something I struggle with.

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Thanks all. It’s easy to feel when you are so anxious or upset that you are only the only person in the world who has struggled with this disappointment, but it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one. Like you ladies said, the problem comes mainly when you are focused on others’ opinions and thoughts, rather than sticking to your guns and remembering your own worth and value.

  2. PhoenixRises says:

    Oh, and I also forgot to fess up in my other comment…in the process of checking a social media/professional site, I had forgotten my ex was still a connection (he doesn’t update often, I guess.) As it turns out, this week I was checking something and I see he has linked his new Twitter account to this profile. Well, curiosity killed this cat and I went to look. It hurt to see it and I shouldn’t have done it, but oh boy was it a reminder that he wasn’t THAT special. I also couldn’t believe that he had linked this to his professional profile, either! His Twitter had inappropriate jokes, references to dates he’s gone on (by using letters of the name of the girl…can’t believe Homeboy thinks it’s classy to discuss that kind of thing on Twitter, let alone with grade school abbreviations for people), and all sorts of stuff about how cool and fun he is. Part of me laughed–and got angry–because half the stuff he mentions is things I’ve always wanted to do or like that he always put down or didn’t want to do with me. It was unsettling in that I worry a nice girl who doesn’t know how he is could see this and think he’s a decent, fun-loving guy.

    I’m also shocked that he is turning 28 this coming month, and is the same age as my sibling who just had a kid, is married to a wonderful person, has solid values, quality friends, and is about to start a PhD program. And what does my ex do? Nothing, absolutely nothing of value with his life. He’s just not that special!! Glad I saw his post though–it reminded me to take him off my connections list :)

    • Demke says:

      Sweetie… if you really believe he’s ‘not that special’, why spend your precious time even caring about what he does… or ‘tweet’s’ about?

      We are our own worst enemy sometimes. If we can’t learn to sit back, relax (with a bag of popcorn, lol) and watch what people are showing us, we will have that ‘fear’ of rejection and we’ll be disappointed, if we go into relationships blindly. But the only way you will learn how to walk when something isn’t good for you, is if you stop worrying about what other people think of you. So what if a guy doesn’t respond.. if you don’t like it, don’t obsess.. cause’ you got better things to do with your precious time, or don’t you?

      Think of what little effort would be if you just had the confidence to relax… and not initiate. In fact, just really not give a ‘bleep’. Women who get busy with their lives, and stop caring about what other people think.. think of themselves as a ‘prize’. Those are the women who men treat as a ‘prize’. They have the quality men.

      We need to stop taking things so personally (he didn’t text/call… so. freakin’. what.). Move on… why is it hard to move on from people who don’t reciprocate?

      My last couple of dating experiences.. we went out like 10 times, still didn’t give ‘it’ up for him. Because I wanted to make sure I had at least a good idea of what he was about..I paid attention. I determined what I wanted, not the other way around (my old way). Through that dating and getting to know him, I discovered that some of our values were different, so.. I stopped dating him. Period.

      I’m currently dating a nice man now. I think last night was our 7th date… and I’m still paying attention, getting to know him. No sex yet. If someone doesn’t respect that, they can leave… and it wouldn’t make a bit of a difference to me. Because it is my life, I determine when I feel comfortable with that. Not someone else. We have a great time together. I want a healthy relationship. So, I’m sitting back… and watching what he’s about. I am worth it. May the best man win, lol ;)

      Stop being scared ladies… be polite, but sit back and watch what they do before you jump into bed… and bend over backwards. If you don’t like what you see… move. on. Period. That is how you build self-esteem and self-respect.

      And, last but not least… ending a 7 year hot/cold manipulative relationship with a EUM/AC was the absolute, without a doubt… the best thing I ever did. I don’t care to FB stalk… not worth it. If he’s with someone.. good. Better her than me. If he’s happy. Good. Whatever. I don’t care. I care about me :)

      • Allison says:

        Demke,

        Love your attitude!!!!!

      • Al says:

        Thanks for that Demke! Really good reminder and really good read of the right kind of perspective to have (:

      • dancingqueen says:

        @ Demke I so needed to read this today “Think of what little effort would be if you just had the confidence to relax… and not initiate. In fact, just really not give a ‘bleep’. Women who get busy with their lives, and stop caring about what other people think.. think of themselves as a ‘prize’. Those are the women who men treat as a ‘prize’. They have the quality men.

        We need to stop taking things so personally (he didn’t text/call… so. freakin’. what.). Move on… why is it hard to move on from people who don’t reciprocate? ”

        My most recent ex called me last night and left this odd sounding voicemail to see if I could meet him for coffee today.I spent half the night wondering if there was some bad news-did he have to tell me that he had exposed me to some sexual disease, does he have cancer?-because he has not asked to hang out with me since our “closure” talk. I was so puzzled that all that I could think of was that he was ill or that I am. I know, crazy.

        I don’t want to go to coffee because a while ago I found out that he had been in contact and flirting with someone else while we were still dating…so I just let it go to voicemail and texted him and told him no.

        I am not broken up by this really because I was not that into him, but of course I was hurt and angry that this realization ( of him chatting up the other woman) came months after our breakup. I did not say anything to him because i felt like it was pointless and I got rid of him on my facebook feed. We have mutual freinds and I don’t hate him so for me that was enough nc. I just kind of want to segue him out.
        But despite doing the right thing ( texting him and politely telling him that I didn’t have the time, and reminding him that there was some things that he still had left at my house that he could easily pick up ( because I want them gone!) ) I was really a bit teary today. I don’t know why honestly?

        I guess I am upset that I can’t tell him what I know. I feel like he is trying to maneuver so that he can get his little attention fix when he needs it…I am so disappointed. I really had thought, even when we broke up, that he was not a bad guy.

        Anyhow, he texted back stating that he would pick up the stuff, I told him that I would not be home, but that I would leave it on the porch and lo and behold, after staying away half the day to give him time to pick it up when he stated that he would, I came home to…his shit on my porch still! Argh!

        I need your ability to not give a crap; I don’t know why this hurts, because again, I was not in love with him, but I am just so sick of insincerity. My father and I have never been able to have a sincere, meaningful relationship and when I trust people, and then I find out that they were not trustworthy, it really hurts!!

      • PhoenixRises says:

        Good for you Demke! Congrats on getting to the healthy mindset. I know he’s NOT special, and actually looking at that crap reaffirmed it for me, so I’m glad I saw it. Haven’t thought of him since.

        And I love your line about “In fact, just really not give a ‘bleep’”…that’s one of my goals, and I am getting closer each day! Thanks for the encouragement :)

  3. AngelFace says:

    Happy Halloween Ladies!
    (they aren’t that special)

  4. Victorious says:

    yeah he’s not that special. He is a small dicked cocaine using emotionally crippled tightwad. No Contact!Never ever again. Goodbye!

    • Kerry says:

      Posts like this make me wish there was a “like” option.

    • dancingqueen says:

      Ah Victorious that made me laugh; it gave me an image of a Halloween costume…don’t wear it, but that would be funny
      Random trick-or-treater: “I am a ghost. Who are you dressed as?”
      Victorious, wearing a small dildo attached to her pants, holding a large amount of white powder and mirror “Oh me? I am dressed as my ex, a small dicked cocaine using emotionally crippled tightwad”

  5. Liz says:

    this really came at the right time for me today.
    I saw some pictures of my ex who was definitely a AC, a user, a cheat, a manipulator he was with his new gf and it affected me and my mind started to drift back to that place.

    The timing was perfect

    Thank you

    • Victorious says:

      Liz, how did you see the pictures? I am guessing facebook or similar? I have also made this schoolgirl error so I am not blaming you, but block him. Just block him/her/anyone connected.

    • Heartache says:

      @ Liz:
      I ran into my ex-AC and his new GF at the Spa last weekend. They apparently had gotten a couples massage ($300+) this is a man who would barely buy me a coffee.
      She’s his princess. I was not. It hurts like HELL.
      I drift into that place all the time when I see him….

      • Zzavia says:

        I so understand. I met a man ( get this) I felt fate had sent to me in January. I had lost my fiance in April 2011 to an illness & had no intentions of having anyone in my life. Then this guy shows up, compliments me, makes me FEEL again. Wines & dines me, I have not been treated so wonderful. Fast forward a couple of months later…he is saying “We are not good for each other”. We are not good, because, I asked to many questions,and settled when he didnt include me in his life or want to be included in mine, I knew i was being jacked around. I have not seen him since I did a re-bound, slept with him ( after 6 week’s of no contact),and left his house on August 3rd. But I still had feelings, and culd tell, whatever we shared before was gone. He said he would no longer answer my texts or calls because I didnt say goodby. True his word, He hasnt. A friend told me he saw him yesterday. He was somewhere, all over some good looking woman, 10 years younger than me. My heart sank. But I felt much better when my friend told me the woman walked out of the bar, said she was going to her car, and never returned. Appeared he dropped some money on her entertainment & was left on a barstool. hahahahah I love KARMA!

      • araja says:

        What is it with freaking couples massages?????
        I saw my ex-AC with his GF the other day at the SPA as well.

      • RAVE says:

        Guys,
        I used to think that the guys didn’t treat me like a princess because I didn’t look like a top model.

        What’s the reason you give yourself for being badly treated by someone when he treats other well?

        I wonder why it is is easier for many of us to justify someone treating us badly and treating another woman by thinking WE are the flawed ones, that necessarily something’s wrong with us or we didn’t do the right thing…

        Remember,Cinderella, she was the same person when she was badly treated by her step mom and well treated by her prince.

        Well ladies, let me tell you about an ex-friend of mine who was not only gorgeous, with a body to die for, but a lovely, kind person to boot.

        She only had to work 3 days a week in an upscale restaurant to live comfortably and had saved money to establish a small business. Hardly a loser.

        She went out with a EU/AC for 4 years, the last 2 being his on-call fun girl while hoping they would get back together in a committed relationship.

        The guy wasn’t good looking, wasn’t rich, wasn’t particulary smart and certainly was not kind hearted, he was also an ex drug dealer, when my friend didn’t even drink.He wasn’t even good enough for her to wipe her feet on.

        He was a talented, struggling musician.

        My friend worked in a restaurant full of studio execs, famous artists, etc, who constantly showed interest in her.Yet, she was obsessed with that guy and totally faithful and committed to him, even when he was treating her like a FWB.

        Her paramour had a child from a prior marriage and lived with the child’s mother as “roommates” in order, he said, to be with his daughter…

        He kept on saying he didn’t want to get married again and was not ready for a relationship because his music and child were his priorities…

        Some of you might have grabbed the barf bucket right now and that’s totally OK.

        To make a long story short, that guy ended up popping the question to a plain girl with no money, no education and a mediocre job…

        While he was courting that girl, he was still having a bit of fun with my friend on the side.

        Because they were friends, he tought nothing of discussing falling in love with the other girl he was to marry.

        My friend had attempted to commit suicide for him, which I’m not sure he knew, so that was beyond cruel.

        My friend spent weeks pulling her hair wondering WHY he was going to marry that girl and not her, after 4 years of a relationship, 2 of which as boyfriend/girlfriend.

        I saw this woman giving the time of day to men that were so beneath her!

        There were no understandable reasons why this guy would give this other woman the attention and commitment she wanted and deserved using the comparison system.

      • Victorious says:

        I bet she paid. I usually did.

        • natashya says:

          yeah, what’s up with that, anyways? in all my relationships, i not only paid my way, but ended up with the short end of the stick. in each and every case, these men made more money than i did, and 2 of the 3 made over 100K a year. even when i was not working (i’m a freelancer, barely scraping by), they’d still let me pay for drinks and dinner, knowing i could barely make ends meet. i’m not saying that a guy should pay for everything, but obviously i’ve been doing something wrong when i’m the one who’s broke when the relationship is over!

          • Victorious says:

            Me too. My ex eum had hundreds of thousands of pounds in the bank (inheritance) which he loved to tell me about, whilst I am a single parent in a low paid part time job. He was REALLY stingy, I definitely paid more than half, and he seemed to expect it. Always moaning about how his long term ex expected him to pay for things. Always had enough money for his cocaine though. He frequently embarrassed me in shops etc by complaining about the cost of things. He is a paramedic and so I think his friends thought he had little money but he has STACKS of it tucked away!! I never saw a bean.

            • natashya says:

              i once was treated to a trip abroad… then the AC asked me to pay him back the money for the ticket. hotel was paid for with airmiles. he kept on bragging how he had taking me on this amazing trip to a faraway land, while had paid for my own flight and most of the food and drinks, too.

              i don’t need to be showered with gifts or taken out to expensive places, but it would honestly be so lovely to be taken out for some great food and drinks without having this awkward moment when the bill comes.

  6. Stella Gusman says:

    I LOVE your post!! Thank you..thank you for writing so well and with so much candor and honesty!! You have helped me so much, and I love your book!!

  7. Kit-Kat says:

    Nat, I just love to see a new post from you in my in-box because I know it will be something I NEED to hear from you. U see, I find you to be a key figure in my recovery over the EUM I was involved with. None of my inner circle understood the in’s & out’s of being with someone like him.. They didnt get it & truth be told I didn’t get it either until out of sheer desperation I searched for answers to questions no one could answer for me.. I was a lost soul walking around like a zombie wondering how I ended up where I was. ROCK BOTTOM.. Then WA-LA I stumbled across: Mr Unavil & the Fallback Girl and there it was. Thank you from the bottom of my heart… Cyber hug :)

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie. Thank you soooo much for this post. I heartily agree with every single sentence you have written. And, the language is so plain and simple any could understand from high school to senior citizen. I wish so much that a lot of the ladies on BR would understand why, you should NEVER chase a man down and try to browbeat him into loving you. Some people can dish out really
    unbelievable abuse and she/he is still pining away convinced that it will get better. IT GETS WORSE. My one experience with Mr.MM was absolutely awful. I was just reflecting back earlier today that in those 6 horrendous months I had at least 2, maybe 3 car accidents. I was so stressed out and preoccupied with the shoddy treatment I was receiving that I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. And the shame and disgust I felt for MYSELF was more than I could bear. I had lost my mind. Then I resorted to becoming Queen of Online Dating. My goodness. Such desperation. I was addicted to checking for messages, wishing, waiting, hoping. Supposedly, it does work out once in awhile, but I knew I was not able to hang around for that “while” to come along. Thanks, to you and this amazing blog, I am a different person. For the first time, since I can remember, I am beginning to respect and love myself. It’s is really true how you get back what you put out. Apparently, I’m readily smiling, laughing easily, driving MUCH BETTER because my mind is not clouded up with BS. I sincerely wish that so many of us women would wake up and smell the coffee. Life can be great and it starts with YOU.

    • runnergirl says:

      Tinkerbell, so glad to hear you are feeling better about yourself and beginning to respect and love yourself. Most of all, I’m glad you are driving better for your sake and us other unsuspecting drivers! It takes some time to refocus on you after being so focused on a HIM. Natalie’s consistent and amazingly patient message takes a while to internalize. At least it took me a great while and I still struggle a bit. I’ve been on BR for over two years and I’m just awestruck with how similar our stories are and I’m perfectly in awe of how incredible patient Natalie is. You’ve come a long way since this summer when you were doing the online dating queen thing. I was rooting for you. Good for you. No guy is THAT special, particularly some online guy, long distance, who you’ve never met. Even in person guys aren’t THAT special. You are right, it’s not about waiting, wishing, and hoping. Like you, I’m a different person because of Natalie and all the amazingly brilliant folks, like you, who post here. So happy for you Tink. YOU are that special. Natalie’s blog attracts totally brilliant, amazing, folks. And Natalie is the best with getting to it, even though I may not want to hear it. So happy you are out of the Molly Danger Zone.

    • Magnolia says:

      Tinkerbell – so true. I had five minor accidents (some which just missed being major, as in the one with the bus) in a year while Driving Under the Influence of an AC.

  9. Tinkerbell says:

    Phoenix. Wonderful that you decided not to contact him again. As Natalie says, “he’s just not that special” that you should be compromising yourself esteem. You stated that you anxiety has you feeling that if you stop pushing and pull back or even just cease and desist, nothing will happen. It’s been my experience to the contrary. When people see you relaxed, confident and apparently content they’re drawn to you. They want a piece of that, and not your vagina. YOU are the attraction. I hope you will find this to be true. It takes a long time, but as long as you are committed to YOU and not falter, you will get there. I don’t want to appear patronizing by any means. I still have much work to do myself, but I can see the difference in my attitude and I’m a much happier person. All the best. Tink

    • PhoenixRises says:

      Very true, and thanks for the advice! I have anxiety issues in general, and I notice they come out full force when I am not focused on myself and paying too much attention to external or superficial things. I’ve found keeping a journal and staying productive helps from over-obsessing or thinking about people/things that don’t really matter!

  10. beautifulkanuck says:

    When people show you who they are, believe them!

    • PhoenixRises says:

      That is my mom’s favorite quote, and one of the first things she said to me after the ex showed himself to be unworthy of my time. I wish I had listened back then. Now it’s my mantra :)

  11. Daydream Bear says:

    Hi pheonixrises… I dont doubt that you are a person of worth… Maybe it would be good for you to take some time out from dating..natalie says if you cant date with your self esteem in tow then take time out to work on yourself/ issues im doing it myself and am so much happier… hope this helps and doesnt offend you xx

  12. Kelli says:

    Natalie,

    I have a question for you: Why does it seem that a great majority cannot flush an obvious ass clown? What is it TRULY that THEY CAN’T FLUSH WHEN IT BECOMES OBVIOUS.

    Does the answer lie merely in the fact that we feel so bad about ourselves, or are so desperate for a relationship, that we will allow someone to COMPLETELY disrespect us with such OUTRAGEOUS obvious behavior?

    You know, in all the time that I was with my ex, when he sat and literally berated for me for hours at a time (and I sat and listened!), I STILL to this day cannot fathom why. WHY did I do that? What made such a person THAT special with such OUTRAGEOUS, ABUSIVE behavior? Retrospectively, I see it as not only a lack of awareness into myself, but every time he did it, my self esteem was so beaten down, I felt I DESERVED this!

    What created the “end” for me? When he was on a plane texting lie after lie about “going out with the guys” while he was flying to another state to meet the target he’d been love bombing for months. REALLY? Interestingly, I caught up with his target. Nice gal. She had NO idea about me and while I was blowing up his phone calling him an psycho abuser, while on their first date, she couldn’t figure out why he calmly sat there and kept looking at his phone! He was getting off on my pain. Getting off on the dupe.

    How long was I going to allow someone to abuse me, while I now am CLEAR about what he’s doing?

    It was at that moment that I knew I was responsible for allowing this to continue.

    And it didn’t continue.

    But what I cannot understand, for the LIFE of me, why it does even AFTER women KNOW FOR SURE what it is they’re dealing with?

    I don’t mean for this comment to be patronizing. there is a clear difference between awareness and unaware….but when there is awareness…what’s the excuse then? I think this is THE number one issue I deal with in personality disordered victim’s survivor support.

    Why? Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you ever feel like you’re saying the same thing, to the same AWARE people, over and over again?

    • Learner says:

      Kelli,
      I am not sure of the general answer to your question, but I can answer it from my own experience. When I found out what a manipulative, lying, hypocritical sleazebag the exMM really was, I stopped our “romantic” relationship immediately, but found it very hard to end our “friendship” since I had invested so much time, energy, feelings into the relationshit. I wanted a return on that 3 year investment. I was still neck-deep in illusion and delusion. The addiction was more powerful than my previous addiction to nicotine (which was considerable). I could not believe that I was NOT going to be the exception to the rule of how this man treated women (and he had 3+ on the go when I became “fully aware”). It took BR, therapy, and a desire to look at my own role in the pathological relationship to get where I am today – my 4 month anniversary of NC with this man. And I still feel like I need to hear Natalie’s messages again and again to stay on the road to recovery.
      Congratulations for flushing YOUR AC – and it doesn’t matter how long your MAY have put up with his crap behaviour. The important part is that you *don’t* and *won’t* any more!
      Hugs xo

    • FX says:

      Kelli, I’ve been NC for some months now and yet am still experiencing “cognitive dissonance” re my ex AC. I think CD along with Trauma Bonding are key pieces in the inability to appropriately detach. In most cases, you can also throw in Intermittent Reinforcement and other manipulations that are all scientifically proven to re-train the brain. We become like trained lab rats somewhere along the way! It is no longer love – if it ever was, it is addiction and dysfunction.

      I, too, reached my limit and am horrified at how long I let it go on. I was not this person before.

      I still spend a lot of time processing what I experienced and allowed. BR has been an absolute godsend in my recovery and I also discovered The Path Forward, which is for survivors of Narcissistic Personality Disordered individuals which I think applies in my case. I frequently want to reach through the internet to people who are still stuck in the dysfunction but I know each of us needs to come to our awareness and disengage at our own pace.

      My own story also encompasses circumstantial economic dependence, radically changed life circumstances, a full-on nervous breakdown… I know that if I and my life had not become so unrecognizable, I would have had the clarity and self esteem to have liberated myself long before I finally did. The important thing is that with the help of NML and so many wonderful people here and in my life, I am rebuilding myself and know he was never that special.

      • Victorious says:

        Check this out re “intermittent reinforcement” There are guys out there teaching other guys this shit!
        http://www.sosuave.com/quick/tip210.htm
        Just like you said – like trained lab rats.
        I thought I loved the ex eum but now I think it was/is an addiction. It really felt like that and I still cannot stop thinking of him all the time, despite being 100% sure I would not ever want another relationship with him for a variety of reasons. I am determined to learn all I can from this experience and reassure myself he came into my life for a reason. All that pain cannot have been just about the pain. I had lessons to learn about myself, my appalling lack of self esteem and my lack of boundaries. I really should be thanking him in a way as he has taught me to toughen up! What does Christina say? “Thanks for making me a fighter!”

        • Grizelda says:

          Victorious,

          Sosuave.com!!! I clicked on it and laughed like a lunatic! “How do we get them (women) to keep pressing our levers?” indeed.

          THIS, ladies, is the root of many problems. We need to steal their playbooks and pass them around so we know what they’re trying to do when they’re trying to do it. Not after. Not after all the damage has been done and they’ve walked away smirking.

          • books says:

            Ugh, the infamous Sosuave.net. I actually came across that site while searching “no contact” in google, only to see these guys consider it (no contact) one of their tools to keep the ladies salivating. Sample dollop of wisdom- “Just put her on ice bro and she’ll come crawling back”.

            • FX says:

              I thought it was unintentional cruelty. I had no idea there are men who do this consciously and teach others. This is beyond frightening. Be careful out there everyone!

              • Fearless says:

                Reading that site is very depressing. Think I’ll just get a dog.

                • learner says:

                  …or a rat – they are very affectionate and smart :)

                • Lilia says:

                  They even have instructions to have a booty call
                  “relationship”!
                  This is terrible. I thought EUMs didn´t know what they were doing – at least now I can defend myself without feeling sorry for their “clumsiness”.

                  • yoghurt says:

                    …and the scary thing is that they think they’re doing us a favour. Who WOULDN’T want to be treated like a cheap prostitute at the end of a hard day’s work, hey? Lucky lucky us.

          • Gina says:

            Grizelda,

            OMG!I just checked out that site and was mortified to see an advertisment for the dating website that I met me ex-maniuplative, passive-aggressive, EUM on!!! What’s really scary is that these guys can go straight to this dating website and practice what they’ve learned on that blog!! I have been on dating hiatus for almost four months due to trying to regroup and get my head back on straight after being mind f**ked. Until I read the article on how to control women, I was thinking about trying to get out there and start dating again. Instead, I think that I’ll go back to playing with my little dog, hang out with family/friends, and continue enjoying my new found peace of mind. #ifitaintbrokedontfixit

        • MRWriter says:

          LOL! I’ve been meaning to alert this board about SoSuave.com. I came across them before I found Natalie’s site when I googled, “how to make a woman do everything in a relationship.” and bingo! I even signed up for their newsletter so I can read the articles and advice with a “Know your enemy” perspective.

          This site sent me into tears. Almost all the men I’ve been with for the last few years display some of this neanderthal attitudes and approaches. It hurt to see it in black & white and I do believe men are reading this garbage and what’s worse…it must work because they become so entrenched with this selfish philosophy that when they meet a woman that isn’t so easily “Trained” instead of valuing her and treating her right they act like another woman will just come along right after you that WILL go along with their shitty, one-sided terms.

          I asked some of my straight friends if they had heard of this site and got a 50-50 response. Some said, they had and used some of the techniques but don’t take it too seriously. One guy pal admitted to using these ploys to attract women and he claims it does indeed work, although he admits that it probably isn’t the “right” way to find a good woman.

          Men don’t seem to value women anymore and add to that have such entitlement issues, grandiose expectations and a super-high standard for us to reach but give very little in return. My AC/EUM this year was what I call the “lint magician.” If he did one tiny thing for me he’d blow it up like the Rock of Gibraltar but if I did or gave something real and significant he’d act like it was hardly worth mentioning.

          I didn’t mean to go off the tracks but the SoSuave has me seeing red. If society and men are teaching men to treat women like Pavlov’s dogs and women continue to allow this to happen, then what hope do women who value themselves have?

          • Mymble says:

            MRwriter
            Don’t let it get to you.
            My feeling (admittedly not based on much evidence) is that the kind of guy who reads this kind of thing are either out and proud playas/ACs or sad little men who set their sights on supermodels 25 years younger than themselves and then feel aggrieved and misogynistic when these women have the temerity not to be interested. I really do not think most men subscribe to this rubbish and I haven’t been treated like this other than by the one person who caused me to end up here. And yes he did these things but I don’t think it was “deliberate” or he got tips from a website, I think he was a flipflapping MM who didn’t really know what he wanted. If I’d ever accused him of pulling a number like that on purpose to keep me hooked he would have been horrified, I am sure. He thought of himself as a caring and responsible person, laughable as that may seem. In fact he was always keen on painting me as the hardass, no doubt because he didn’t want to admit to himself that he might have been causing me or anyone else any pain. So me and the wife were the big baddies, and he was sensitive, loving and misunderstood. I daresay he believes that to this very day.

          • Rave says:

            They have each other and the few men who will value them and don’t have time to waste taking seduction tips from SoSuave.

        • araja says:

          Firstly: what the he!!??? Really they are teaching each other this behavior?????

          Second: I 100% agree with you everything you say.I’m on the exact path as you are. It’s an addiction not love. I can’t stop think about him even now after months of NC.

    • grace says:

      Kelli
      It’s learned helplessness and a perceived inability to make decisions. Going with the flow or someone else’s agenda. Not wanting to take responibility. Lack of identity.
      It’s a lot of stuff but the one key step out is to start making decisions. Especially NC. It’s not hard because the man or woman is so special. It’s because putting ourselves first or at least on an equal footing is completely unfamiliar.
      Regardless of how smart, beautiful, self aware blah blah we are. Smarts has nothing to do with it. We misuse our gifts by jumping through hoops justifying their crap behaviour.

      • Stephanie says:

        Kelli

        Grace is right, to some people putting themselves first is unfamiliar it certainly was for me. There is sometimes a need to go with the flow and see what happens or hope for the best. What happens when you do this is you become lost or lose your identity. In my experience I was so hung up on someone who I thought was the best thing since sliced bread that I become lost and just wasn’t present for a long time. When you finally get that the person isn’t that special you start to find yourself again.

    • sushi says:

      Kelli,
      looking at my relationship history with kindness and compassion for myself ( which feels soooo good :) I would say; inability to flush bad behaviour is directly correlated to how low our self esteem is. The lower the self esteem the more/more outragious behaviour and abuse we take. My gut “knew”, my rational brain “saw” the evidence but I was afraid to make decisions because I didn`t trust my judgement and so I felt that I couldn`t enforce my boundaries or my boundaries were “wrong”. My default and deeply ingrained belief was that I wasn`t good enough – that run from early childhood. It makes you desperate for love because you are starved because YOU don`t love yourself and for me personally- no one showed me how to do that when I was little, I had no reference point.I was used to having to work hard for crumbs and it was just normal. Each AC added to the load and enforced it and without self esteem and self respect you are vulnarable and you will feel like a victim who is not entitled to choice and is unable to stop the abuse that these people dish out. You will feel powerless. Also, when you feel powerless to change the situation denial kicks in. We FEEL how bad the situation is but we don`t want to believe it. It`s a misguided protection system from feeling hurt and rejection which equals no love. My self esteem is growing and it made me feel safe and steady ( like a tree with really strong roots ) and now I have no problem flushing.

      • grace says:

        Sushi
        Yes to not feeling good enough.
        When the boyfriend says he loves me, takes me out and pays, looks after my pets, lugs my suitcase across London ,picks up groceries for me, reads to me, a part of me thinks I don’t deserve it and he is deluded. He will realise that one day and bolt.
        However, at least I know that’s what i think and I can fight it. Previously I would have sabotaged it without knowing I was doing.
        It’s two edged. We must reject the bad and accept the good. For us, both can be a challenge.
        But onwards and upwards!

        • sushi says:

          Grace, thank you, it`s food for thought.I find truly accepting the good in my life more of a challenge than rejecting the bad at the moment ( but rejecting the bad was impossible a few months ago). I have the recognition of it, but not quite the feeling of having a right to it. Maybe when people present with the bad stuff it`s easier to accept that it is happening as it`s the bad that has always been, so it`s still a part of the pattern I know, except I now feel strong enough to say no (and it`s becoming an automatic reaction rather than a decision born out of lots of thought conflict)but the good stuff is all new. Harder to deal with, feels unknown. For now I find I truly appreciate just how much my children love me ( they always did), a few good friends, kindness in people, and I try not to cringe and feel like a fraud if someone says something good about me. Big step forward, miles to go. But I have faith.

        • Fearless says:

          Oh Grace, you so, so do deserve it and you are so not deluded! Sounds like he is well worth the risk. And so are you. Next time I see a bloke lugging a suitcase round London, I’ll think of you and smile! Enjoy these times Grace. Let him love you. It’s allowed.

          • Fearless says:

            Meant to say ‘*he* is so not deluded’. He is enlightened, Grace, and knows he has met a pretty special person. You.

      • HS says:

        Sushi honey, thank you for your post. You are right, we have such a low self esteem, GOD! This is a reason that we put up with AC’s sh”t!

      • selkie says:

        Sushi,

        You said:
        “My gut “knew”, my rational brain “saw” the evidence but I was afraid to make decisions because I didn`t trust my judgement and so I felt that I couldn`t enforce my boundaries or my boundaries were “wrong”. My default and deeply ingrained belief was that I wasn`t good enough – that run from early childhood. It makes you desperate for love because you are starved because YOU don`t love yourself”

        This is exactly how I feel/felt. Once this finally clicked for me, I was able to open up for real healing and positive changes in myself. I’m still working on things, but I will never go back to what you described. I’ve come at least that far. I trust myself so much more.

    • Fearless says:

      Kelli

      I think the answer is that we genuinely believe that we don’t deserve much better than that; that we have low expectations of what is good enough for us and being with these choppers only continues to re-affirm our beliefs about ourselves, what we deserve and what is good enough for us. Persistent chopping erodes the value we place on ourselves – the more abusive or neglectful behaviour we accept the worse it gets, and so the more acceptable it becomes – denial, rationalising and minimising; and the deeper a hole we dig, the harder it is to climb out of it. We learn to live in the hole as if it is “normal”. Also, it’s our consistent proximity to the situation that has us normalising it. The only way to see it for what it is, is to move away from it. Far, far away! Many of us here, including me, are now gobsmacked at the crap we tolerated – ‘how on earth could I have thought that was good enough for me’, is an oft heard cry by the enlightened on BR! With distance comes clarity and objectivity and with that comes the healing of the battered sense of self-worth.

  13. Espresso says:

    Are there more men around like this these days?

    I run a support and information website and people often get in touch with me and I help some of them out a bit more with information/ support. Over the years a few (both men and women) have become friends.

    A few months ago a man started keeping in touch a bit more..I felt compassion for his situation(Florence Nightingale) and we started a correspondence.

    I was vulnerable after my marriage ended and not looking or ready for anything but I thought he could be a friend (filling in the blanks). I got bewildered by some of the ways he was acting..and felt red flags go up pretty quickly. He didn’t answer emails that were important and in my world people DO answer emails. If I mentioned something more personal, he never alluded to it. He sometimes spoke in a critical judgemental and dismissive way to me, which I called him on…again..no response.

    I noticed that he often got warm and thankful but was never “personal.” I saw that he only wanted to email- the one time I felt a direct talk would be helpful he made sure he “wasn’t available.” After I started reading BR I realized that that his behaviour was often hot and cold (wow I REALLY want to help you (he was an IT expert) and make your project better) and then “I have mixed feelings” ….and then as he did get better he wrote me one big insulting email (to make me mad so that he could blame me for us not being able to be friends), so I flushed several months ago. And this was after he said that he put “kindness” above everything and always stated friends with friends…forever.

    Why did I put up with any of it? Well, I was vulnerable after my marriage ended and I liked his emotional side (I had been starved of that), his chatty side, he was interesting… But as red flags went up I made excuses because he “was not well” (there is NO excuse for bad behaviour EVER), and then I got confused…even kind of brainwashed by my “confusion.” I try to not to jump to judgement of people and I was so shocked that a person would treat me this way that I kind of denied he WAS treating me this way…… it took me a couple of months to “come to my senses.”

    And even after I flushed him I was pitiful for about a month, saying to myself, I just wish he had had the decency to write an email saying how appreciative he was for the energy, time and caring I had given. But this was IMPOSSIBLE. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the energy I DID put in to support him. After all, he would/had never offered this to anybody else in HIS life so why would he understand it. Like so many men he felt entitled to my energy and support and all he had to do was “show up.” And I was a willing “supplier.”

    It was a useless waste of energy for me to expect anything from him.

    The amazing thing is..once I “got it” I could see how predictable he was…as predicted he showed up in my in box again, obviously when he was “down” to ask for my help/support/advice. When I didn’t offer him free cheerleading he was gone like a shot. The sad truth of it is that he was a nice person when he wanted something from me, when he didn’t anymore, he returned to the nasty person he always was. A stark and unpleasant truth but the truth nevertheless.

    On the other hand, I am grateful to him for giving me a crash course in ACs which I hope will save me a lot of time in the years ahead.

    • Learner says:

      espresso,
      It sounds like this guy exploited your helpful, empathetic nature. Could “self-absorbed user” describe him? What were you expecting from him, after you helped him, that he could not deliver? Whatever it was, he is not that special and you are not that desperate!

    • Heartache Amy says:

      Hi Espresso,
      I know exactly what you mean about feeling vulnerable after your marriage ended, because that’s how I’ve felt for a year now. My divorce was final in August, but it had really ended almost two years before that. And both last summer and this summer, my vulnerability (I guess that’s what it is) led two married men to hit on me…and I fell for it. No affairs, but close. The last guy told me he didn’t regret anything, that I’m one of his good friends (and will always be) but he can’t possibly get divorced as he will “lose” his kids. Whatever. I called him on his “bad behavior” and while I know I struck a nerve with him, it doesn’t change him or his behavior. And, like your friend, he IS a nice person in other ways, which is what attracted me to him in the first place. Also, the more I think about it, the more shocked I am, too, about how he behaved with me. But, it’s easier said than done to just “flush” these men. Their niceness plus our vulnerability makes it very difficult, in my opinion.

      • Allison says:

        Amy,

        You can be a very nice person, but not keep married, inappropriate friends in your life.

        This has nothing to do with kindness, but the inability to let someone go due, to the attention and low self value.

        • Allison says:

          Uggh! I misread!

          I agree with Fearless! This has nothing to do with niceness, but has everything to with getting what one wants. Do you think he could say these ‘nice’ things if his wife were present?

          Certainly, there are single men you may know???

          • Heartache Amy says:

            Allison,
            No, this man would never have said any of these things to me had his wife been around. But I believe he would have been nice to me, nonetheless. As far as single men, I have only a small handful of single male friends. Interestingly enough (or not), none of my girlfriends know any single men to introduce me to. It makes me wonder where they all are…and if any nice guys are left.

            • Allison says:

              Heart,

              They do!!!!!

              I think if we believe that only creeps exist, then we will gravitate towards the creeps.

              Keep the faith and grow. It will happen :)

      • Fearless says:

        Heartache

        I am going to disagree with you about the supposed inherent ‘niceness’ of these men. They are not nice. They are manipulative, what with all the compliment bombing (which they have no intention of backing up with an actual relationship – no intentions of anything other than maybe getting laid) and all the shite about how they are married to the anti-Christ (good one Grace). These MM’s spot the women who are not going to tell them to eff off, who are going to buy into how ‘nice’ they are, who are going to get all puffed up by their compliment bombing – they spot an opportunity and they turn on the charm, which is actually more accurately described as “grooming”. Acting “nice” and being ‘nice” are two different things. These MMs telling you how special you are and how special you actually are to them are two different things. And these men are just not that special -they are not special at all, they are a menace.
        We need to learn how to read between the lines; to see what’s really on offer here – and the answer is f*ck all. They may as well fart into the wind.

        • Heartache Amy says:

          Okay, I see your point and that makes sense. I guess my problem is that I need to learn how to distinguish between truly being nice and just being “nice.” I need to smarten up!

        • rave says:

          Yes, this is absolutely true.
          They are a menace and not nice at all.It doesn’t matter if they think they are nice or act nice, and it also doesn’t matter if they are genuinely nice people as it’s not the intention that counts but the result of their actions.

          If they are so nice, why do we feel so badly, like going through the wringer, after interacting with them?

          They are a menace, just like a baby ( nice) holding a shot gun is a menace.

          The cuteness of the baby is not what we should care about, what we should care about is the menace of the shot gun.

          Years ago I had a ha ha moment when I related to a friend the comment of another friend, that made me feel really bad about myself and questioning myself. I said, I know she had the nicest of intentions and that she is a nice person.

          My friend’s reply was: who cares about nice people or people who intend on being nice when what they say/do has a not nice effect on you?

          • Heartache Amy says:

            Right, rave. To top it off, this man called me this morning to find out if I needed anything done in advance of a big storm that we’re getting. Then, he proceeded to chat with me, tell a few jokes, etc. Yikes – it wrenches at my heart and he has no clue. I sure hope karma comes in to play at some point for him.

  14. Imagine says:

    I can’t believe that BR hits the spot each time I receive an email from Nat. All of these posts have touched me and helped me so much.

    How perfect! It’s the my MM’s 50th birthday tomorrow. The last time I saw him was in May but he has brought me down numerous times since then. Each time he pops back into my life I think things will be different, that we can be friends…only to wind up feeling worse and worse about myself.

    The end came the last time he contacted me and I asked who he had been dating and did he have pictures…sure enough like trophies he sent them to me. WTF, I always suspected if he was cheating on his wife…he would cheat on me. So I told him if he ever contacted me again I would contact his wife and that was it.

    No one understands except you fellow travelers. Why did I stay so long if my gut told me he wasn’t what he appeared to be? On some level I desperately wanted to make it right. So I kept going back. He was like all the members of my family all rolled into one. My Father who would take me out to the theatre or a nice restaurant but wasn’t there for me emotionally. My Mother who is bi-polar, when she is manic it’s a circus and when she is depressed there is a black cloud overhead (not only that but she blames others for her well being) and my Brother who is narcissistic and a bully. The MM wined me and dined me until he got me in the sack. Then he moved on. When my friends told me to stay away from him he said they didn’t know what they were talking about. I always felt crazy like I could never get my feet on solid ground… again no one understood. I kept wanting to talk this to death and now I know all my instincts were right it just took 16 months to FLUSH for good.

    He was the first person I met on a dating website. His picture stood out and I immediately sent a message. It was red flags from the get go. Sexting, false email addresses, a younger age than he really was and by the way he wasn’t separated…when I asked if she knew the marriage was over…Nope, because it wasn’t. I left right away but just like clockwork he would resurface, say all the things I wanted to hear and I would go back thinking maybe this time…

    I sometimes think I’m addicted to feeling bad about myself. I just returned from dealing with my Mother who has Alzheimer’s and my Brother yelled and screamed at me telling me I didn’t know what I was doing (I’m a nurse!) and he ended up not speaking to me because he didn’t get his way. His bad behavior made me question myself and sent me into an emotional tailspin that I’m just getting over. I can now see that I don’t have to take AC behavior from anyone.

    Thanks to Nat and BR I can see Code Red behavior being dumped on me and even though it may take me a day or two I can recover quicker than I used to.

    This website has helped me where no one else has!

    • runnergirl says:

      Oh Imagine, I lived this roller coaster too. Please, he is an exMM. That’s the first step. Second step, and it hurts like hell, there is no such thing as being in a relationship with a married man. He has a wife and it isn’t you. This hurts worse than ever, you have been an option. I am with you from start to finish. I wear a rubber band on my wrist and flick it every time my mind wonders back to the “good ole days”. I gotta say, those days were amazing. But the not so good days were really not so good. In fact, those days were dehumanizing cos he’s not THAT special. I thought he was special. He proclaimed he was special. But nope. He just wanted sex. Oh well. He got sex. Got caught cheating on his wife. i got a huge lesson in life.

  15. Learner says:

    Natalie,
    “They’re just not THAT special that more than a year after it became clear that they were talking out of their bottom and that they were only after an affair, you’re still there replaying their hot air over and over again… If I could creep around behind my partner’s back… show you that I’m shady and still have you pining after me after all this time, I’d believe that I was THAT special.”

    I am cringing with embarrassment. That hot air he had me breathing was more putrid than intestinal gas, yet I inhaled it deeply and felt my life depended on it. (sorry to be gross). Your post has inspired me to write a list.

    Reasons I thought he was special:
    1) I felt so happy and excited when I was with him. (but wait – that was probably fear and anxiety since I never felt secure in how he felt about me!).
    2)He insisted that he loved me (and yet I never seemed to be a priority, and it took him many months to say he loved me).
    3) We both love music and photography (but so do many other people).
    4) He was willing to “risk” his family and career to be with me (but if we were together as a real couple, there would be no risk in these areas).
    5) He spoke often of the future he wanted with me (well, after he figured out how to take off his “cement shoes” that kept him in his marriage, and how he could leave his wife while people still thought he was a “good guy”).
    6) I can’t think of a number 6. Well, his sister thought we were good together. Hmm, not very convincing.

    Reasons he was NOT that special:
    1) he was cheating on his wife (and by proxy, so was I).
    2) he was lying to his wife (and to me, and to his OOW, and to himself, and to goodness knows who else).
    3) he never actually followed through on anything he “envisioned” for “our future” (and never had a plan, and never really said that he definitely wanted me as his life partner).
    4) he is unreliable
    5) he is always “busy, busy, busy” and “exhausted” (from living a triple life)
    6) he is an atheist (which does not match my belief in God)
    7) he thinks people who think affairs are wrong are “uptight” (despite me being in that category!)
    8) he values sex above real intimacy (and admitted to not knowing what love is)
    9) he makes like he will do anything for anyone (but just does this for his own gain)
    10) he does not have a healthy lifestyle (and constantly drinks sugary tea, piles salt on everything, loves fatty foods with preservatives galore)
    11) he views way too much porn for my comfort level (plus reads BDSM material,which is not my style)
    12) is being treated for ED (probably related to his porn use, as per Gary Wilson)
    13) there are too many to write out here in one comment!
    Bottom line: He is NOT that special, and I am NOT that desperate!!! Thanks Natalie and BR posters for helping me to figure this out. Reading the list, it seems obvious, but we all know how that goes. No more!

  16. Darlene says:

    But ….. he started out so special? That’s why it’s hard not to think it’s just me…. I so rarely connect the way I did to him, thought I really knew who I was giving my heart to… knew him for years and he was a friend, or so I thought. I didn’t realize he was such a liar and a cheat – or maybe it was just me?? That is always the problem – trying to move past the self-esteem issues…somehow it just gets harder. Maybe it’s best to just forget being in a realtionship. They are so tricky, and it seems like all the “good” ones are in my past – getting older kinda sucks these days! I got tricked, but maybe it was just me? I just can stand all the things he said and did …. in the beginning and over the years we were friends….then he just disappeared and said he didn’t love me the right way, when I finally talked to him. Wow – who knew?

  17. Darlene says:

    Oh, I forgot the part that he reunited with his ex, who worked very hard to get him back, even though she knew I was in his life (i think). And, not surprisingly, there were others that he was flirting with…. I realize in hindsight that the friendship over the years was at his convenience, but we did have a ton going on between us….and then it just disappeared…maybe it was me?

  18. La Pintura Bella says:

    Hi Ladies. Perfect reminder post, Natalie. Thank you. I, like many here, still need to hear this repeatedly.

    Kelli…I think there are several reasons we stay, or want them back after they/we leave. First, there is the betrayal. They sold us a bill of goods, preyed on what we want and thought we were getting only to find they never had any intention of delivering. It’s not like these relationships were healthy and both parties agreed it had run its course. There are lies, gas lighting, future faking, disrespect, emotional abuse, manipulation, all sorts of things that do a real number on your psyche and your soul before you actually become aware.

    Then, if you’ve slept with them, well most women bond when they have sex. Biologically, we are built that way. Oxycontin is a powerful substance and you literally do bond to that person. That also makes it hard to leave.

    Your conscious mind is aware of how horrible they are, but your subconscious is still hooked on the bonding and the betrayal deepens it. You’ve invested so much.

    Plus, there’s a weird psychological phenomenon called Stockholm Syndrome where the abusee starts to bond and identify with the abuser because it helps the abusee survive.

    Just my opinion, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Why else would a sane, aware person hold onto the insanity???

    • Lori says:

      That would be “oxytocin”, not “oxycontin”, LOL…

    • Jule says:

      La Pintura, you nailed it. I was going to mention some of this to Kelli but you did a fine job. I think it makes a ton of sense to me now that we aren’t fully aware until it’s too late and then we are entrenched. My girlfriends were all like DUH! Get out and away from him! But I couldn’t stop it right away. I’m a reasonably intelligent woman with a lot of sense usually. It’s almost like I was drugged.

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Thanks Jule. I know what you mean…it is almost like we are drugged. You get that high at the beginning and then you crash. Then you start doing all manner of things to get back to the high. I don’t know about you, but BR is very much like relationship rehab for me. I’m learning so many valuable and very practical, easy things here. It’s helping me immensely.

  19. books says:

    “They’re just not THAT special that you should or even ‘need’ to give up your friends, family, interests, passions, money, dignity and your sense of self.”

    Preach.

    I actually used to tell the ex how special he was all the time. These words exactly- “You are very special”. I based that on the fact that in the beginning, he showered me with attention, compliments, and made me feel adored. Of course, when he eventually pulled a 180 and ignored me, he made me feel lower than low. I have since asked myself how it is possible I gave away so much of my power to someone who had only been in my life for such a short time. Where was my dignity? My self worth? Do I really think that low of myself?

    I’m starting to understand it more and more, albeit slowly. Taking everything he said at face value, letting myself believe good sex equaled real intimacy, thinking I was part of my own love against all odds long-distance novela, not wanting to see any of his bad points because then I’d have to come down from my cloud and being head over heels in love feels soooooo good…it has all brought me to this point. Seeing him for what he is- someone who still has a lot of growing up to do and doesn’t consider how his actions impact others. He is really not that special.

    • EllieMae says:

      Oh Books! you’ve described my feelings exactly. Only in my case he was a friend from the past. In reality, he was anything but a “friend”.

      “Seeing him for what he is- someone who still has a lot of growing up to do and doesn’t consider how his actions impact others. He is really not that special.” Amen!!

    • Victorious says:

      That’s the thing though Books, my ex eum did exactly the same, maing me think I was the most special girl in the world, heaping praise and attention and valdiation on me until I felt six feet high. People at work used to comment onhow GREAT I looked. How radiant and happy. Then he withdrew the sex (blamed it on loss of libido) then he blew really cold, and I felt so utterlyrejected and awful about myself. I kept tryiing to extricate myself but he always persuaded me to stay and by that time I was desparate for the validation. i wanted my “fix” of being the special one again, the girl he had always dreamed of meeting, the EXCEPTION. Eventually I found the courage to leave because I was feeling so anxious all the time I actually went to the docs and begged them to give me valium. When he met me he was attracted to my independence and “aloofness” but by the time he had done with me I was a gibbering wreck, crawling on my belly along the floor craving more of his crumbs. And he still isn’t done, still wants us to be friends, and when I walked into that and got my little fix, he has done another lovely eum trick, he has disappeared. Never done it before so I wasn’t expecting it but there you go – -textbook. Don’t blame yourself Books, we have all been there and then been shocked at ourselves for what we have tolerated in the name of love. In my case I think I just never got over the sexual rejection and had to make him want me again so I could walk away with my head held high. I have paid for that mistake in misery and heartache.And no, he really wasn’t that special!

      • books says:

        I think need to start making some lists b/c I seem to get stuck on the constant rumination whereas I really want to be able to see him for who he is. The “specialness” is really an illusion that invented, yet it’s sometimes so hard to detach from we have tried so long to convince ourselves of.

        I’m having real trouble categorizing him as someone who’s EU or AC, even though I’ve read through Nat’s lists and he does match up in some areas. The thing is I don’t have a long consistent period of behavior to evaluate- largely because we went long-distance within a few months of meeting. I do see now that I did survive on “crumbs” for the next year and a half- facebook messages were the bulk of our communication. Somehow I had told myself this was ok, despite knowing that I deserved more, yet I thought it would all be worth it b/c of the future we would eventually share (he future-faked from the start). He also definitely was a mommy-hater and had a very strained relationship with his mom which I chalked up to his independent nature and age (he was 18 when I met him- silly me thought he was a better choice b/c he’d bring in no baggage).

        The real AC behavior kicked in during my last visit (now 5 months ago) where over a period of 8 days, I saw a side of him that left me blindsided. No compliments (I was begging for them throughout the whole visit), he abandoned me (left me alone in a room for hours at a time not knowing when he would return), used sex as a way to keep me feel connected to him (after we fought over his behavior, I told him we should just break-up and he clung to me, told me how much he loved me, then very quickly suggested we have sex), left me feeling empty after sex (the last day I was there, we had sex then he got up and left so he could- get this- watch cartoons in the other room). I laid there crying by myself on the bed, wondering how I had found myself in such an unfulfilling, downright demeaning relationship. Oh yea and this is also the visit where it became pretty clear he had a local girl on the side- of course, I confronted him and he turned it around on me. Can anyone relate?

        • rave says:

          Books,
          I can totally relate to that story.

          The watching cartoon after sex is such a horrible, disqualifying way of treating you!

          I respect men who actually wedge a knife through their woman’s heart,because it takes courage and honesty.

          The woman can grieve properly, if she survives, because she can see them clearly as the scum and danger they are.

          This man put you in a most vulnerable place, away from home, without any support.
          He belittles you in a passive agressive way, damages your self-esteem, ignores your needs, puts the blame on you for too timing you, and still he is not on trial for murder or murder attempt!

          Only a very immature, unhealthy man goes from sex to cartoon without an explanation.

          Unfortunately, this world seems full of these men – children with entitlement issues.

          Women have raised these men, so it’s not about man-hating.

          These men are like this because there are women who accept their behaviour or even don’t question it, there are mothers who foster this behaviour, and there are industries, like porn, that dehumanise women so much that leaving them straight after make up sex to watch cartoons is ok.

          Porn addiction or high consumption is a great indicator for sexual and emotional immaturity.

          When they find no woman that want them, there is always a porn film to give them the illusion they qualify as lovers.

          I learnt my lesson with a much younger man who told me once: “I’d rather spend my Sunday with my friends playing videogames and smoking pot than being with you, sorry but that’s the truth.”

          I think I was blinded by the honesty of his utterance and gave him credit for it. I thought at least if he said something nice, he meant it.

          I was also in shock,not understanding why my lovely boyfriend who was so in love with me the week before and introduced me to his friends ( trophy show-off) could be so cruel.

          Suddenly, he was super busy with going out, smoking pot with his roommates and oh so super tired!

          There was also one time when I said:”I want to spend the whole afternoon just cuddling with you” and he said: “Sorry, I don’t.”

          These men are very damaging. They trigger our worse fears of abandonment, of being less than, unworthy.

          They make us feel unsexy, unfuckable, unwanted. Though we never realise that being unfucked by them is the best thing that could ever happen to us.

          There is a split moment when we do a mental double, when we’re like: “What did you just say? “Or do?” The sickness is that instead of feeling like punching them, we feel like punching ourselves with the boxing gloves of shame.

          Unfortunately, after this brief moment, we find a way to make it acceptable, when we should be waving them bye bye from our higher vantage point above the toilet, when we flush them out.

          • TakeCare says:

            Ditto! He left me in the middle of nowhere when we went out for a run because I was too slow. I think it helps to see these sides of these people because these are the things that help me remember that in a world of more than a billion people this behavior is more an exception than the rule and this I flush. Although here in BR it may seem like the norm behaviour for men. Since then I’ve made some good friends and I’ve gone running with them. No one’s ever left me in the middle of nowhere, for the record. I just found out that he’s done similar things to another girl and is onto the next one. I wonder where these guys end up? I hope to see karma play out. I think what saddens me is that upon speaking to him after an entire year of NC, he had no intention of apologizing for all the horrible things he’d done. But it’s not my duty to tell him what he did wrong and I hope all the girls he’s hurt don’t either, I’d like to see his downfall. When i spoke to him, I made sure to be very succinct about how happy I was and i was no longer the damsel in distress. That ought to have been the best revenge, and the truth is I know I am happier than when I was with him because I don’t cry anymore and I’m open to trying new things. Once in a while I get sad, but in the long run…these will just be moments.

  20. Scarlet says:

    I’m just looking for some inspiration at this lonely lonely time in my life. As some of you may know (Grizelda), I have been involved with an EUM for a couple of years. For many months now he has disappeared most weekends and I knew he had a drug habit, but he has continued to lie about it after every weekend. Just a few days ago, I made a decision to tell him I was letting us go and for the first time ever, I said it purely for the benefit of me, not to get a reaction from him. I honestly thought that was finally the end of it and I felt a sense of calm, almost numb this time around. I wasn’t expecting him to call again because there was nothing else to say. I then contracted pneumonia (after just having a cold) and was on my way to the hospital when I got a call from a private number, which was him. He was of course concerned about my health and then rang again later to find out how I was. After enquiring about me, he then broke down and told me he was in real trouble with his drug addiction and was going to rehab. I don’t know why I thought that meant that anything might change between us, but maybe finally the honesty gave me hope for something. He of course told me he still loves me and wants to get better so we can be together. But come the weekend, I’m still sick and of course he’s gone awol again. Obviously using at his last harrah before rehab. So, nothing has changed and I should not have picked up the phone.
    I just feel so lonely.

    • Grizelda says:

      Scarlet, have you realised that you’ve been in a parent/child relationship with him all this time, rather than an adult/adult one? Check out the ancient book ‘I’m Ok You’re Ok’ about transactional analysis, is a seminal piece that helps people resolve a lot of cognitive dissonance.

      Substance addiction overwhelms the individual, granted, and we all know the horrible things it does. But you need to understand that it is also his DECISION to be an addict when he is not choosing treatment, or when he fails treatment again and again, doesn’t commit to it, or when he marches around talking about his addiction all the time and demanding that people (ie, YOU) pity him accordingly and enter a cycle of neverending offers of help. This is why the addicts are the perpetual ‘child’ in way they transact with others: and they like it. Every ‘child’ needs a ‘parent’ to complete the pairing and it reinforces their impulses. It makes them comfortable to find random ‘parents’ to respond to their childish way of relating to other people. I very much sense a ‘parent’ vibe in the way you refer to him, so I think I’m reading you correctly. You’re ‘parent’, he’s ‘child’. This is not okay. This is probably one of the reasons your own health is in danger. It’s too stressful. You’re an adult and you need to relate to an adult not a child. His concerns about your current state of health show he’s being caring, but he’s caring in the self-centred way that a child cares — he has an agenda — ie ‘what am I gonna do when you’re sick? who’s gonna be there for me? who’s gonna take care of me if you can’t get out of bed? who’s gonna make my lunch? don’t you want to hold my hand while I’m in the hospital?’ etc.

      The only way you’ll pull yourself up is NC. Now’s the time to do it. You can’t change the fact he’s an addict, and until he has completely recovered (2+ years clean is I think the accepted watershed), he won’t change either. By being the ‘parent’ to his addicted ‘child’, you’re unwittingly reinforcing his role and making it okay for him to ‘child’ his way through life. He needs to face his fears now and clean up on his own the mess he’s made of his life. If you’re there to help him, what does that make him? The child.

      • FX says:

        Grizelda, It is so coincidental that you brought up that book and the parent/child dynamic. In delving into my issues after the epiphany r/s, I vividly recall sitting in the car with my father after I asked for something from him and he mentioned that book and said, “I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, as you are not here to live up to mine…” I think I was 8 years old!!! I still remember feeling blindsided because even at that age, I knew that was an eff’d up thing for a parent to say to a child. I’m arriving at a better understanding now of why I have been attracted to/sought out/put men in the parent role in my relationships. Men who are overtly generous, accepting, adoring, etc. I may finally be getting it that I’m an adult now and that no man is ever going to heal the messed up relationship I got from my father. He’s just not that special either beyond his familial role in my life.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Grizelda. U are right in so many ways. My daughter is a recovering addict & I know all about beinging an enabler. Sometimes u have to pull some really tough love on them before they get it ..

      • Jennifer says:

        Whoah. I’m an addict. I’m addicted to addicted men. I run around mucking things up, self sabotaging, making life insanely difficult for me and looking for parental validation from everyone…even my boss. I’m twenty eight. I feel five.

    • sushi says:

      Hi Scarlet, check our http://www.soberrecovery.com. there is a friends and family section there that you might find helpful. There is a good reason Natalie clasifieds addictions as code red, it`s possibly the reddest of them all. I really feel for you, been there with an alcoholic.Addicts don`t do exceptions to the rule, please think of yourself. Hugs.

    • Jule says:

      Scarlet,
      Griz and Sushi are spot on. As a young adult, I married a guy who was an alcoholic and drug user. He was the child and I was the parent in the relationship. I had to leave him. It didn’t get better for him for a long time after and he is still very much a child but he eventually got clean many years later.

      I also want to mention that I hope you have gotten checked out for STDs. If he is a drug user, your risk to STDs is higher. Protect yourself. Take care of YOU now. He won’t change. Forget about his needs because he will suck you dry until you have noting left to give.

    • Doubtful says:

      scarlet. Topline information: He is a drug addict. You just described the dance I was in but I was married to him. It is impossible to have a functional relationship with a drug addict. Let him figure out how to get clean and you concentrate on you. Al-anon helps keep the focus on yourself which is where it needs to be. Drugs = lies. There is no room for you in anyone’s life who does drugs. You want to believe him but that puts you in the danger zone. Stop dancing with him.

  21. miskwa says:

    Really, really, needed this post today. Had a major meltdown about at work AC. Actually broke down in tears on campus, in front of others. He’s busily “nesting” in the house I was supposed to help out with with one of his harem. This woman I have to deal with at meetings on occasion, can’t tell her why we cannot get together afterward anymore, why we cannot go running together etc. Is taking a job far away at a much lower rank, half the salary, not being able to get enough for my current abode to buy another, not being able to grow food, be in the woods, no longer being able to help out my dad and probably taking a huge hit on my retirement worth it to be far away from this dude? Although Nat says there’s someone out there for us, I feel that the social situation here is never gonna improve. Although I do better alone than most, I do not want to spend the rest of my life alone. On one hand, escape is good, on the other, I am exhausted and am not sure I have the energy to start over, be displaced once again .I have invested so much time, money, and energy in restoring my land, trying to fix my house, building a retirement fund, literally building buildings, working on our sustainability center. I sooo do wish the person causing the problem would have to go away instead.

    • sushi says:

      Miskwa, I would say don`t let him take away the life you created for yourself and your security, he is not that special, but having him and his harem in your face all the time, uh… not easy. Think what is a better option for you in a general sense, as if he didn`t feature in the equation? There are lots of single and lonely people in big cities, yes, more opportunities in theory of meeting someone if you make more effort socially, but it`s not a guarantee. If he had moved away, would you still feel lonely? I feel the loneliness interferes a lot with the good old gut for me anyway. Gives me this panicky feeling sometimes, but learning to ride through it.Hug.

      • RAVE says:

        Miskwa,
        Please consider the sacrifices you are willing to make to be away from this guy. I have done this twice, uprooted myself because I couldn’t stand the city, the place I was in because it reminded me of someone that caused me pain, through my own fault of unhealthily obsessing over them. At the time, I had the money, but it did impact my earnings a lot, as I spent 5 to 6 months unemployed each time, eating up my savings.

        This is not worth it. No man is worth this, unless it’s your son.

        If you are so enclined, there are things to do to cut attachment, it’s a visualisation, you imagine cutting cords that tie you to them, I’m sure you can Google it.

        Also,if you are into visualisation and setting out your intention, you can always wish him away, in a positive way, for the best of all involved… I had a friend who did that and it worked like a charm.

        In the meantime: avoid, ignore, avoid, ignore.

        The pain will go away, and there will be a day when you look at this AC laughing, thinking: What was I thinking being so attached to him?

        I’m saying that from experience, because I had one of those moments when I looked at the guy and thought: waste of my time and just laughed at how I had inflated his specialness and importance.

        Please take good care of yourself and do not let any man take away your future.

        Your plans sound so great. Having some land, making a place your own is such a beautiful, positive thing. Love will grow where you are.

  22. Christy_jayne says:

    “When someone has the power and opportunity to abuse you, they’ll take their ‘axe’ and chop away at you. Stop denying, rationalising, minimising and even over-empathising with them – get.out.”
    I wish I’d known about red flags earlier. They were all there from the beginning. I was only ever his “option,” never his priority. I am worthy of more. I just wish that now that I know about red flags that I wasn’t so paranoid about being anyone’s priority. I see the flags EVERYWHERE now.

    • Victorious says:

      If it makes you feel any better Christy Jane, a mate of mine, an attractive and intelligent woman, ignored the following red flag when she first met her boyfriend. He admitted to her that he had shot an ex girlfriend in the head. Seriously! She even knew about it from when it had happened years earlier because the girl who was shot (survived) was the sister of an acquaintance. She still got into a relationship with him, and guess what happened? That’s right, physical abuse.

      • yoghurt says:

        Wow – I think that’s gone straight to the top of my Glaring Red Flags list.

        The scary thing is that I can see how someone might ignore it.

  23. Revolution says:

    Hi Natalie,

    God, another great post. Seriously, this is what I needed right now: He’s just not that special.

    Well….I just found out a few days ago from a friend that my ex-EUM has broken up with his girlfriend. Am I a bitch that I was relieved? Listen, I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I just felt like the birds were chirping, the planets where aligned, and everything was where it should be when I heard that. I don’t want to date him, but it made me feel better that it didn’t work out between them. Because hey, he shouldn’t find the “love of his life” while I’m doing all of this freakin’ gnarly hard-ass WORK on myself and trying to find the right guy with my self-esteem intact and without stabbing anyone in the back. He kinda screwed me over, so I wasn’t getting how the heavens could open up and bestow “true love” upon him while he was still massaging his knee, sore from kicking me under the bus.

    Umm…..so maybe this doesn’t have much to do with this post after all. Sorry. I just wanted to tell everyone this news. I know, I know: maybe I shouldn’t still be so invested in him as to be moved by any sort of news of him. But hey, I am. I’m taking my happiness where I can find it these days, and THIS made me sing myself to sleep. So yell at me all you want and tell me I’m not evolved and that it’s not all about me. I don’t effin’ care.

    • Victorious says:

      I am sure we would all feel the same Rev. I hope my ex eum never manages to have a LTR. There is still a part of me that thinks I am so damn fantastic that if he couldn’t make it work with me then he never will. Ha ha! To be honest, if we read what Natalie says, many of these men don’t ever manage to stay invested as they are INCAPABLE!!!

      • Allison says:

        Victorious,

        When you no longer give a damn, you will be in a better place.

        I am very thankful for that relationship, as it showed me how little self esteem and boundaries, I possessed- all time low. There was a great deal of self reflection and change, and without that relationship it wouldn’t have happened- I will never get involved with that type of individual again, and his life is of no interest to me.

        Now, it’s your turn, so please put the focus on you and your choices;
        take this opportunity to learn and grow, and soon, and he will become a distant memory.

    • sushi says:

      Revolution, perhaps I should be ashamed of myself but your news makes me giggle…there is justice in this world :) at least sometimes. High five !

      • Lilia says:

        Aww Revolution… don´t feel bad about feeling good. Your emotions are perfectly healthy and desirable.
        I would worry if you were upset about this breakup, if you felt sad for them. That would be completely insane and FBG-y. So, just enjoy. It doesn´t erase the bad times you had because of this EUM but it does bring some justice into the world, right?

    • Learner says:

      Revs,
      Could this be the “shadenfreude” of which Grizelda spoke earlier? Enjoy the sweet nectar!

      • Grizelda says:

        Haha Learner! It IS shadenfreude!

        I applaud you Rev. I make no apologies for wanting all the worst energy in the Universe to be directed at those who’ve patently done so many things to hurt us and inflict long term heartbreaking damage as if some kind of god-given right entitles them to do so.
        Pardon my French, but… No. Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em all.

        Provided their misfortune came at them from any direction other than ourselves – which would be very wrong and, if you like, cheating karma out of its natural flow – why not take a big deep breath, crack a smile, and just laugh yourself silly until you crease in half, your face goes crimson, your eyes flood with tears, and can’t stand up. You and your long-suffering patience deserve this kind of feel-good therapy!

        Know that what goes around, comes around, and there’s hope for us all.

    • araja says:

      Revolution hun, congrats. I wish I could hear news that my ex-AC has broken up with his precious precious GF. Maybe then I can move on. I know I’ll be able to move on. I don;t want him back but I cringe like you to think of him happy.

      “He kinda screwed me over, so I wasn’t getting how the heavens could open up and bestow “true love” upon him while he was still massaging his knee, sore from kicking me under the bus”.

      The above so resonates with me. But I doubt I’m going to be a lucky as you. I predict news of a ring falling on her finger any day now. :(

    • runnergirl says:

      Hey Revolution,

      Yeah, I totally get it. No yelling from me. After a suck it and see weekend with the exMM when his poor wife discovered the affair, although I was terrified, guilty, and filled with blame, there was a small part of me that thought good. Dammit, He’s finally getting what he deserves. She didn’t deserve it though.
      Just be really careful. An exEUM/AC on the rebound will be flipping through his rolodex looking for a dailalay and/or dailanegostroke. No doubt Mr. Special isn’t feeling very special these days. Your post is spot on. As long as this type of guy can find a FBG to blow smoke up their bum, they can continue to think they are the bees knees. Just keep the door bolted and sealed shut. He’ll be sniffing around for a FBG fix. It won’t be special. In my experience with the exMM, the minute I made up my mind that I actually do deserve better (like he said repeatedly), he was like a cockroach after a nuclear bomb. BTW, have you blocked him? So sing but stay present and stay NC.

      • Revolution says:

        Thanks, girls.

        And no worries–NC still stays strong. Good thing my damn bull-headed pride is stronger than my vulnerable heart.

        How jacked up is this, though: I don’t want to hear from him because I know he’s not the guy for me, nor has he proven to be a good, trusted friend to me. However, if I DON’T hear from him right now (post-breakup), then what does that say? That he never gave a crap about me? Or should I see it as a sign that he respects my NC? Dammit, he’s not that special, right? So why should I care?

        I never slept with this guy, just so y’all know. He was a “friend” only, one who led me on to think that there was something “more” between us. Does that make a difference in the FBG saga?

        Eesh, sorry but MR Writer’s comment depressed the hell out of me (sorry, MR). I just related so closely to it, that’s why.

        • araja says:

          Rev: Everything you are feeling is normal. I fantasies about the ex-AC coming back on his knees begging for me to take him back. It’s not going to happen as he is still going strong with the redhead. In those fantasies I go nuclear on his cheating ASS.
          Your guys is probably think that if he returns or make contact with you that you’d go nuclear on him as well. Remember these guys have the backbone of a jelly fish. LOL!
          The fact of the matter is that these guys don’t give a crap about any women. They’re mind set is that we are disposable or play things. Mine, I know has a mindset of a 5 year old. He has gone through a new woman in the three years’ post break every 3 months. This new one (am me) lasted longer. I lasted because I held on by my fingernail prior to being thrown under the bus for the new GF. Let see how long it will be with her. Especial since he is making promises that scare the shit out of him.
          Anyway, my point is his behavior has nothing to do with your value and your worth. He’s a spineless, jackass…Your NC probably has him scared shitless that you have strong self esteem and value yourself too much that you won’t take his BS. At least comfort yourself that you did not sleep with him. I slept with mine for 6 months…..It hurt and we want that validation but we are stronger and in no way worthless…..Keep telling yourself that he’ just not that special and go hit the gym in your best gear…the endorphins with help and trust me being checked out at the gym is a fantastic feeling in its self.

    • Jule says:

      Rev, I think it’s ok to feel this way. You are just witnessing the fact that they don’t become someone different with someone new. And karma is in the works too. :) I had to smile myself over this news. What’s even sweeter is the fact that you had no part of this and you are living your life free and clear w/out this dude and his mess.

    • Linden says:

      I know what you mean. I have an unholy pleasure in seeing the divorce filing of one of the members of my ex’s harem on the court record. If I don’t get to keep my family intact, neither should she after all the stunts she pulled (carrying on a long-distance love affair with him while we were still married, encouraging him to chase after a 18-year-old girl he had an interest in while we were still married, talking about her own husband like he was a mental patient — all of this via emails I discovered after the breakup).

      Yes, I know she wasn’t really the problem — he was. But still, it feels good to know that after she told my ex how sorry she felt for her own husband because he was so pathetic and needed her SO MUCH, he’s the one who filed divorce on her. Ha! Now the EUW and EUM are free to be together, since the pesky spouses are out of the way. Somehow I doubt it will go as they hope.

  24. Blue skies says:

    I think the reason a lot of us continue for longer than seems sane for intelligent women (and you only have to read the BR comments to know that it is not a community short on intelligence) is the fear that actually there IS someone special, it’s just hidden under ‘complex life circumstances’ (marriage, emotional difficulties etc.). It’s the triumph of hope over reason, and in the vast majority of cases it is a very false hope. In the worst of cases it’s a hope that becomes manipulated and abused.

    I allowed an EUM back into my life under the impression that he had gone away and resolved these difficulties. I took it SLOOOW – over 6 months I allowed myself to begin to trust him, a grain of sand at a time. Things seemed good.

    A month ago I discovered I was pregnant – and BAM! Straight back to the not-so-special EUM. He tried to bully me into ending the pregnancy, and when I wouldn’t he blamed me for ruining his life. He has made it clear that as it was my decision to continue he will not be held responsible. He says he doesn’t know what he wants (can’t commit to being involved or not, surprise!), he’ll never forgive me for doing this to him (!) blah blah blah – same old shite in a different formula.

    Of course I have removed him from my life now (as much as is possible under the circumstances) and feel 100% better for it, but this is such an extreme example of the ‘triumph of hope over reason’ – ladies, learn my lesson before the consequences become too high!! Don’t be fooled into thinking there’s gold hidden if you dig deep enough into the muck. You will simply end up dirty and tired and with no more gold than when you started. And a lot less self-esteem.

    • Victorious says:

      Wow Blueskies thanks for this post. I hope you are doing OK. A real warning as to what can happen, even when you take things slow and they appear to have changed. My ex eum was exactly the same “I don’t know what I want” and could not fully commit to being with me and would not ALLOW me to finish with him either, until the third attempt and he is still INSISTING that we be friends. I fell under that bus and am still dusting myself down and going NC (again) I really hope your child brings you the happiness this idiot could never have provided.

    • Scarlet says:

      Oh wow Blue Skies. I’m so sorry for your predicament. I hear your warning too. I hope everything turns out well for you with your pregnancy and your future.

    • runnergirl says:

      There is NO shortage of brilliant folks on this blog, you, my dear included. Good for you for standing up to him and doing what is right by you. With regards to pregnancy, the final decision rests with us, at least in most states in the US. Period and end of. I’m wishing you the very best and your words are so true. It is the triumph of hope over reason that kept me digging in the muck. You’ve given “gold digger” an entirely different meaning!
      I hope you’ll stay with BR. Yogurt, a brilliant, wonderful lady and single mother of a 2 year old went through a similar experience. She comments often and is a tremendously brave, courageous, and resourceful woman.
      So sorry that Mr. Special went belly up on you. Hugs.
      Sheesh. Some guys really aren’t special.

      If you are in the US, biological fathers are held legally responsible whether they want to be or not. Disclaimer: I didn’t pursue child support and haven’t pursued back child support from my daughter’s father. I just wanted him out of my life entirely. He has always been a part of her life but not mine.

      Lots of hugs to you. YOU are very special.

    • Jule says:

      So sorry for your situation Blueskies. I wish I could give you a hug. This is such an extreme case but really eye opening. I don’t understand how he can blame you for doing this…he was there! He certainly did his part! And apparently he wasn’t being responsible with birth control. I wish you the best for your future. I don’t know if you have children already but I hope it all works out ok for you and your child.

  25. Mymble says:

    Has anyone heard that song “Black Heart” by the girlband Stooshe? Everytime I hear it I shudder and I dread to think the message it is peddling to teenage girls. It’s utterly toxic and like all the most deadly toxins it sugar coated in a sweet tune.
    “Daddy I’ve fallen for a monster
    Somehow he’s scaring me to death
    He’s big and he’s bad
    I love him like mad
    Mother he’s the best I’ve ever had
    Daddy I’ve fallen for a monster
    He’s got a black heart”.
    Other verses are about him making the singer cry but He’s The Best She’s Ever Had! He IS that special! To my mind, this song leaves Adele standing in the self abasement olympics.

    • Revolution says:

      Ugh, don’t get me started on what they’re peddling to teenage girls nowadays. Any women on this site who were active during the feminist movement must be shaking their heads in grief. At least “in my day,” we had grunge music, and everyone was pissed off at the system. The music now is so apologetic and/or Prozac-pop that I can barely recognize it as creative/social expression. What a waste.

  26. Aboutme says:

    For me, In the past i have remained in romantic and non-romantic relationships long past the expiration date because I have I strong fear of growing old alone and low self-esteem. It really has nothing to do with other people they really are NOT that special. My decisions are All About Me……if you really love and respect yourself there is just no way anybody boyfriend/husband and yes even family can come into your life and treat you horribly, at least not for long. Take the focus off these people, these people are not going bring about change. I truly understand the importance of self love. I accept it not only in my head but my heart.

    The problem is, most women including myself never really learned how to validate and love themselves….i mean that internl unshakeable self love. Without this self love, my life has been hard. In therapy, I accepted that my mom just was not able to teach me these things AND I come from a family where men are valued, excused for bad behavior, and basically put on a pedestal for no more than being a man. But the Good News….I have learned so much and I believe that I am learning to validate and love myself and that little girl inside of me. That little girl that never received this type of love and validation from the people who was suppose teach these things. But it is totally my responsibility NOW… my happiness is dependent on it. With this understanding, it is much easier to opt out of dubious situations

    This explains why I have not had a partner/boyfriend in two Gosh this part is tough…it would be nice to connect to someone on a authentic level.

    I have met a few guys, all unavailable for various reasons…I no longer feel bad about the method that I choose to opt out. Just think, i used to be more concerned about what they thought of instead of doing whatever is best to protect me!

    I cant help but wonder why i am still attracting unavailable types! I guess I have some more work to do. Anyway, I have distanced myself from old friends and certain family members tough but I can not tolerate shady behavior or comments…can’t do it anymore.

    This route that I am taking makes life a little lonely but I know it’s the right thing to do. I believe that I recognize very early on that they are unavailable but it’s nice to have conversation in the evening and I still want to be hopeful. Like i said, I still have more work to do.
    But I know at the end of the day that these unavailable, disrespectful people are just not worth completly throwing myself in harms way and getting abused every which way possible. Then after they are long gone, left alone to put my self esteem back together and then try to figure out what happened. Who in the hell can be that special is what I remind myself.

    • Linden says:

      I recommend reading the book “Attached.” It explains the different ways people approach intimacy, and how their styles combine. I think EUMs and ACs fall into the “avoidant” attachment style, and because they have more trouble keeping relationships than people of other styles, this unfortunately means they are overrepresented in the dating pool.

  27. natashya says:

    i have done some hardcore psycho grieving in the past 6 weeks over a guy who was emotionally unavailable, a future faker (only in the very beginning, before he completely started ignoring my presence in both the present and the future). i made up a list with all the things that had happened between us that didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy (there were constant rejections of some sort). 6 pages later, i decided that in all fairness he had some good points. one of the points i wrote down was ‘he said i was lovely’. pathetic. i don’t need crumbs. i want the whole cake. he really is not THAT special. indeed!

  28. Grizelda says:

    Seeing this post is like when your favourite song comes on the radio. “Oh yeah! I forgot about this one!”

    The trouble with women is that they are supreme copers. They have an innate ability to cope with the most demanding or intense or horrific ordeals in life that men don’t even come close to. The flipside of this gift is that women are innately brilliant at coping with men who are very, very bad to them. I think it’s the same mechanism which stops us from strangling our infuriating temper-tantruming toddlers throwing themselves on the hard floor of the checkout aisle that’s the same mechanism which stops us from kicking out and flushing away our parasitic, cheating, online-porn-addicted, sponging, fraudulent men.

    Something in the female brain makes us think “I need to cope with this ‘shituation’ so that it doesn’t reflect badly on me.” And then the female works hard at dressing up the shituation, concealing the shituation, and explaining away the shituation. NEVER does she attack the shituation as she ought to do. Or, when she finally does, it’s only because she’s been beaten to a pulp emotionally and it’s literally a life and death choice between ‘him or me’.

    • Victorious says:

      Brilliant Grizelda! As always! Shituation. It’s as good as relationshit. I love it! yes, my choice felt like a life and death choice between me and him. I was off work, seeking anxiety meds, emotionally neglecting my children (ouch, first time I have admitted that, even to myself) and in a constant state of mania, because I just could not understand his words and actions not matching up. Total mind f*ck. Boy did I need to toughen up and rescue myself.

    • Teddie says:

      This female conflict aversion that we all struggle with, is an evolutionary trait. In order to prevent inbreeding/incest, it has mostly been (with little exceptions) the girls that have been married off into another village/tribe, the boys stayed surrounded by their own folks (with all the back-protection of the community). The girls on the other hand had to cope in an alien environment where ostracism most certainly equaled death. This is why they learned that in order to survive, they had to “dress up, conceal and explain away the situation.”, to accept and adapt to the circumstances and to even make do with crumbs (as the case may be). Very difficult indeed to “attack the situation”, and very difficult for us to fight off instinctive responses and unlearn old habits.

      • Mymble says:

        Teddie,
        And yet, many, many women do seem to manage it, to expect and receive respectful treatment, and to step smartly out of the way of anything less.
        The patriarchal model you describe is only one of many different ways human society has organised itself.
        And frankly you are coming very close to saying that behaving like a doormat is natural for a woman, as is behaving like a turd natural for a man.

        • Teddie says:

          Mymble,
          I’m after this thing in the female brain that Grizelda mentioned. This is one possible explanation that makes sense to me. Virginia explored it in “A room of one’s own” 100 years ago and saw the same thing: deprivation of economic resources for a great deal of history.
          Anyway, we’ve come a long way sistas!

    • That Girl says:

      So very well put Yes. Especially:

      Something in the female brain makes us think “I need to cope with this ‘shituation’ so that it doesn’t reflect badly on me.”

      Thanks!

  29. Tinkerbell says:

    Hey Rev,
    You’re still deeply hurt. That’s why this matters so much to you that his relationship died. I don’t know how long ago you were involved, but please continue working on yourself. You are unconsciously or may consciously keeping track of his life. If you heard through the grapevine, let people know you don’t want any reports about life. It’s taking away your focus on repairing the damage and REALLY moving on. Once you’ve accomplished that it will not matter to you if he turned green and was the first resident on Mars. (Sorry, but that was the first ridiculous thing that came to mind). But you get the point. I’m not beating you up. You need true love and care from your cyber buddies here on BR. I cannot relate because it’s a different situation when you’ve been kicked to the curb, or when you were forced to go NC. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have experienced the former situation. But, regardless you have to be committed to pulling yourself out of this hurt. Life goes on. Nothing stays the same forever. And, yes your story does relate to the post. He is just not that special and, like you another woman has found out and bit the dust. It’s no longer you. Be thankful for that. Love ya, girl.

    • Revolution says:

      Thanks, Tink. You’re totally right, and I really appreciate your thoughts and support. I have asked my friends not to give me “updates” on him, and this friend who told me the “breakup” news has kept to that this whole time, even though I’m sure she had much info she could’ve shared over the months. Still, I think she told me about the breakup because she knew that I was miffed and hurt that he could breeze off while I was left on the floor.

      As for him kicking me under the bus, yes he did something that was disrespectful to me, but I was the one who initiated NC and kept it up, despite a few feeble attempts on his part to stay “friends.” I actually wonder if I will be hearing from him now that he and the GF are no longer a pair. I don’t want to, because it will just eff with my head. NC no matter what, but I just don’t want to get the call/text/email in the first place, y’know? Still, yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still have feelings for him. But feelings are feelings. I don’t need to act on them or let them run my life. Eventually they will fade, and this dude will be on “Whatthefuckwasithinking” Island like the rest of the guys I vetoed.

      You’re a sweetie, Tink.

  30. Tinkerbell says:

    Imagine.
    Hope I’m not too late, but please don’t open the door and wish him, “Happy Birthday”. And, no texting. You may think, “Oh what the heck, it’s just a text”. Trust me he will view as remaining an option, and will not accept your good-natured attempt as you may intend.

    And, take a good hard look at yourself examining if you are really cut out for online dating, because it is not for everyone.

  31. Tinkerbell says:

    Hey Runner,
    Thanks so much for the pat on the back. I’m doing well, and hope you are too. Two things amaze me (1- how Natalie has the everlasting patience to keep repeating the same things to us over and over again, and always having our back. It is so much needed because it is so hard for us to pull ourselves out of the muck. If it were one issue it would not be as hard, but there are so many complex problems in the way we view ourselves and the outrageous situations we not only get into, but insist on remaining in. 2- How can anyone think up over 1000 topics of discussion which are all different, equally invaluable in enlightment and still essentially dealing with our on-going BS. That is one of a kind talent. Keep strong, cyber buddy!

  32. Tinkerbell says:

    Griz, another brilliant expression of your thought process. I always jump to read what you have to say. “Shituation.” – I love it!

  33. tellitlikeitis says:

    Read all your wonderful comments. The best comment for me was, “…it’s not about waiting, wishing, hoping.” That truly sums up my 10 month experience with my EUM. In another daydream about him last night I snapped out of it thinking that was the gist of our relationship, me waiting, wishing and hoping this daydreamed scenario would happen. After six months of NC I finally ordered “Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.” He sent one text two months ago wishing me well to which I DID NOT RESPOND. I still think of him daily, yet not for as long a time as before. When he pops into my brain I immediately tell myself stop, it’s not real, it’s over, it’s fantasy. Now, thanks to my daydream interrupting thought last night I can now add, it’s fantasy just like the relationship was.
    Wishing you all strength to take care of yourself and remain in No Contact!!!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      tellitlikeitis… U will love the book. It is like a bible to me on relationships . Its been a little over a year for me & yes he still pops in my head almost everyday but I tell myself it doesnt matter anymore. I think part of it is just being alone after we were together for 9 years. The last, very brief, conversation we had a few mths ago I realized how much differently I see him now , the tone of my voice was so cold (I realized this after our conversation & I had gone over it in my mind)..I had ZERO emotion towards him. Truth be told there was some bitterness in my tone and I know he sensed it,hence the brief part. I wont become a member of his harem. I know we will never speak again & its a blessing.

  34. lo j says:

    Revolution … when my exes and their new gf’s broke up, it was a validation for me. Like, “Okay … he’s not that special/neither is she and I wasn’t totally unlovable.” Of course, you and I have our own experiences to go by. That just sealed the deal. FYI … if they stay with the new gf your experience is still yours. Keep moving forward!
    I have found though the less I knew, the less I cared.
    Learner … I threw up in my mouth a little reading his not that special list. Gross!
    I remember being so proud of myself for “addressing his issues” with my last AC. Progress for me. The first time I did, he asked me to approach him “gently” as he was “sensitive”. I thought, ” I can do that. Wow communication. A real relationship.” Oh brother!!!!! He was saying, “You tippy toe around anything involving me, I’ll be passive aggressive with you then blow up and call you controlling when I don’t do what you say!!” Lesson: you can let them know what concerns you, work on it together, if not … WE walk. Because we are that special.

    • Learner says:

      lo j
      Yah, I have thrown up in my mouth a little after thinking about the exMM’s not-so-special traits. Stockholm Syndrome is a beyotch. Funny though – I would sometimes get stomach cramps after being with him. Shoulda just spewed and been done with it!
      And yes, I can relate to your lack of results after telling an AC all about himself, where he tells you how to treat his sensitive self. You are right – we have walked. Because we ARE that special. xo

  35. lo j says:

    FYI … my 13 year old also tells me how to approach him. Similarities? Yes … but I am only the mother of the one.

  36. lo j says:

    Grrr… thumb/phone/brain issues!
    Both have same maturity level, but I am only the mother to the one.
    Finally!!!
    I would hope to think now I would not find someone like him attractive. Pretty certain I wouldn’t. ;-)

  37. Awakened says:

    Been a minute since I’ve checked in on BR. They are definitely not that special but I am. I am all that and something. :) That’s what you gotta to start saying in the mirror everyday ladies. I am 4 months post op from my last online LD relation fantasyshit ex EUM. ( Sorry but fantasyshit should be the new term). So glad I made the decision to never attempt to reconnect; and to remain NC. It really is the best thing that I could have done for me.

    Ha Ha!! @Fearless @Grace comment there’s alot of truth that some of these men are married to the anti Christ. It’s funny that he portrayed in the beginning that he was such a man of God and he read his Bible often. I thought to myself dam he has got to be special !!! and that really meant something to me. I remember asking him when we first started talking what chapter he was reading and he said Leviticus. I said oh ok and I asked so what does the chapter of Leviticus talk about? His response: Sacrifice. 6 months later I asked him the same question what chapter was he on now and he was still reading the book of Leviticus. One key part that I forgot in all of this was that the Devil reads the bible too. I guess I was the Sacrifice for what was NEXT for him. Be mindful; be watchful and stay on your guard. Thatisall.

  38. araja says:

    This post is interesting for me.
    As I posted in the “Opt out” article ago, I want nothing to do with him and do not engage with him at all. But when I physically run into him, my heart do a tail spin and emotions take over.
    ‘He’s just not that special’ has been a mantra I tell myself all the time when that happens. It’s helps tremendously along with the Katy Perry song “Wide Awake”. (The words in that song ARE how my relationship ended with him)

    I was reminded that along with “‘He’s just not that special” that;
    HE left me by cheating on me.
    HE walked away from my love.
    HE never treated me with love, care, trust and respect.
    HE is with someone else. (I think. I try not to think about it or find out)
    My head is pointing me in the right direction but my heart still aches. There is still a massive disconnect between my head and my heart. (Ironically, he used to say that the longest 6” in the world is that between your head and your heart.?). It is getting better and it’s not as bad as it was in the beginning but I still struggle. He’s making a real effort with her (princess treatment) while he barely gave me scraps and that HURTS like hell.
    I’ve been reading and re-reading Nat’s “He’s with someone else – Why her and not me?” article but I still wrestle with my feelings for him sometimes. I really want this heartache to go away. Anyone else struggle with this?

    • Naz says:

      Aramark, I know what you feel like as my AC just 3 weeks ago said he would like to talk and patch things up, he would never find someone like me. This was after he cheated on me.
      He announced in the same week his new gorgeous girlfriend and how happy he is and I stress again she is the full package and he is really putting in all the stop stating she ‘s a keeper!

      I feel ill, no matter how much I say I don’t care, I feel defeated, struggle with myself. I am Asian and the AC was English. His new gf is a pretty, leggy blond personal trainer who earns well. I have recently lost my job.

      I should say how he cheated and lied instead I am jealous he is showering her with love, affection, respect and care.

      I am barely picking myself up most mornings…he so easily moved on without even a wince of care in the world…

      I meant nothing

      • Heartache says:

        Naz Honey I feel your pain.
        I am so sorry….Three weeks is a short period and it does get better.I lost 20lbs in the first month after being dumped. I barely ate or slept. My mother flew in to take care of me. It was that bad.
        You and I must be living parallel lives. I’m Asian as well with European ancestry and my AC is American. His new girlfriend is 5’9” skinny leggy red head. I’m 5’6”, cubby but cute average girl. I recently lost my job due to layoffs. She works at a fashion house in Seattle.
        I feel so hurt. Exercising helps greatly but then he started to come to the gym. YIKES! I can’t even find peace there. It’s like the universe is trying to rub him and his GF in my face. I even saw them at the SPA together. Couple massage, I do think.
        This is the man that did not give me anything for Valentine’s day. Not even candy. There are days I do well and those when I don’t. BR helps….but I still wonder, was it her? Was it me? Or is he like this with all his women? My friends say that it’s ALL HIM and that this won’t last either but I still wonder…..
        He is three years post divorce and not a serious relationship to show. However, he telling anyone and everyone who listens that this is the women that he wants to be in a relationship with. He has promised her the world, babies He told me this bar was closed), marriage, etc. Everything she wants and she has not had yet in her life. I truthfully and honestly did not want any of those thing as I’ve had or had them. I’ve been married, have a child and can buy my own freaking ring. I wanted a RELATIONSHIP. That he did not or could not give me. In hind sight I should have run the morning after our first night together when we had a minor disagreement and he said the following “You’re lucky I’m with you. I don’t need you. You know that right?”. When I questioned him about the comment he turned on the charm and I forgave and ignored his comment. WRONG WRONG WRONG……
        I really DO NOT want it back but my heart hurt from the betrayal and the trust battering….
        Enough about the AC Naz. You mean the world to me. Talk to me on this site and we’ll help each other get through this.

      • La Pintura Bella says:

        Naz…You have no idea if she’s “all that” or if he’s treating her with love and respect. You heard it from HIM. Most of these people DO NOT ever change their spots and they have been known to lie.

        Don’t get sucked in. Also, what a pity she’s lapping up his garbage as if it was honey. Chances are she’ll be in your position soon enough. Feel bad for her and GLAD FOR YOU that YOU are FREE!

      • Jennifer says:

        Naz,

        I know I don’t know you and all but I can say this with all certainty: YOU DO MEAN SOMETHING–irrespective of him. I ran into my ex and just as he acted the night I broke it off, he was cool, calm and unaffected. It hurts like hell. And I promise you there is NO WAY you can really know what’s going on with him and this new woman, so don’t even try. It’s a madness you don’t deserve. Please treat you well, nurse that broken heart, love you and give you time. And after you mend the relationship with you, you can focus on a mutually fulfilling relationship with someone who is worth it and deserving of you. My ex went right back to his ex after we broke up. I was devastated. I have much healing to do, but I’m getting over it. You can to. And please remember. What he does post breakup has nothing to do with you or your worth as a person.

  39. MRWriter says:

    He isn’t that special. I agree.

    What I’ve been struggling with lately is the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness. I remember in the 90s when men used to take me out on dates, open doors for me and in general treat me right at least in the beginning. They revealed their less than desirable behavior later, and I jogged when appropriate. None of them treated me badly though.

    In 2002-04, I ended a two-year relationship because he was in the simplest terms, a mooch. He wanted me to work, make the $$ and do nothing except as he put it “Offer his emotional support.” Sad but true, he found a victim a couple of years later that fell line and step with the “plan” he had for our lives. He married her only after she had secured a teaching position. He never worked in all that time and eventually her parents bought them a home. I observed all this as we lived in the same apartment complex (whole other story there — don’t crap where you eat!).

    It took 2 years to heal and learn and grow and put myself back into the dating scene in 2006 just as I finished my degree. I went in with an upbeat attitude and a modicum of trust. I mean no one could be as bad as him or so I thought…

    Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. I felt like Rip Van Winkle, waking up to an entirely new breed of man. I was stunned by the turnabout. Men didn’t bother with courting me anymore, their attitude was callous and very self-centered. They made very little effort and I couldn’t help but wonder what the eff? I looked in the mirror and saw an attractive, caring, intelligent woman with a glint of confusion and hurt in her eyes. I thought, okay, I’m having a bad run. Date smarter…

    So I didn’t go on more dates with these AC’s. Unlike codependent women, my self-esteem has taken a few chinks and kinks to my armor but overall I’ve always been pretty healthy…I credit my parents who are still happily married and a good, moral father that cringes at modern male behavior and is incredibly sad to see his only daughter treated so poorly (out of the gate!). He’s absolutely gobsmacked and now doesn’t bother to offer words of wisdom. He’s run out of ideas.

    I kicked these AC’s to the curb and kept jogging. But experience is a wonderfully terrible teacher. I applied better filters only to not date for months even years because the obvious flags were too easy to spot. I went from late 20s into my 30s watching my girlfriends settle for less than men, I call them “Dolittles.” They don’t seem entirely happy with what they’ve got but who am I to judge? Some of them marry these blokes, (where’s the upside I don’t know since they carry the entire relationship like a pack mule). They act like I’m holding out for something that doesn’t exist anymore and flat out told me so. Maybe, but I don’t envy them one iota. They stop calling, they fall out of your life because you’re a single.

    Time marches onward and I stay busy, focused, upbeat, proud and fill my days with work, friends and rats (I have pet rats). I keep myself in shape. I read. I have so much and yet so little.

    Years filled with birthdays that slide by, holidays that while enjoyed with friends and family seem hollow when I don’t have someone special to share with them. I tell myself, it might take time, it might get lonely sometimes, but eventually, you’ll be glad you held out for the right man. It starts to take on mythic proportions…like you’re waiting to see a unicorn or a leprechaun.

    After awhile, you doubt. You question if maybe YOU’re the problem after all. You’re the one who’s alone. I don’t care how good or solid your self-esteem is or how much you take care of yourself first by loving yourself and not settling for Dolittle, AC or EUM men, you begin to wonder. Thin hairline cracks appear in your psyche’s china. You batter the plates around enough and those spidery lines start to fracture.

    Is it ME? You self-help. You start accepting substandard treatment because being alone and nary even an enjoyable date eventually catches up to you…maybe I’M NOT THAT SPECIAL! You lower your standards and start hoping for the best (which is illogical). You think “well…maybe the times they are a’changing and if I want to share my life with someone, then I need to adapt,” even if your gut and your heart is aching for a kind gesture, a thoughtful consideration, a nice night out to dinner without picking up the check, a man who listens and shows an interest in your life…you believe it must be out there otherwise how would the human species continue? Who wants a selfish man = husband let alone selfish father? No thanks.

    But no matter who or how you meet (I don’t internet date)…the same man appears. I think, okay, I’m attracting these men. I gauge my behavior, I give less upfront, I recognize my boundaries and wind up alone in short order. Yippee…I didn’t waste my time, heart, etc., but the hope is dashed so quick that it becomes a liability. You stop hoping anymore. Not much joy in that but a lot less disappointment. You become this iron-clad maiden and that doesn’t work either. You try to dance on razor blades, you try to strike a balance, you compromise, you give in, you ignore, you deflect, you rationalize and justify because you can’t bear having to face the awful truth…that he’s yet another Dolittle.

    Sure, it beats the hell out of sticking around in a dead-end relationship but what joy is there in being alone when what you want by all accounts is reasonable, respectful and should follow the basic laws of reciprocity at the very least. I’m a Golden Rules gal. Treat people the way you want to be treated and once you catch on that they won’t, you move on…but I used to believe you move on so that you’ll meet someone who will treat you right. The absence of this works like acid. It eats away slowly because you tell yourself I’m doing right, I deserve more and then…you cross paths with another jerk whose jerkiness may be more subtle, may be harder to determine but still, it’s there and you think, what the eff? I just fired the last incompetent fool only to have to rinse and repeat?

    Your values are questioned in the harsh light of a decade gone by and no one to wake up next to that makes you feel good about spending another day with them. Eventually, you let things slide, you let flags wave, you ignore the obvious because you can’t believe the prevailing selfishness that has infected men like zombies. You hope your goodness will be seen, appreciated and maybe you hope it’s some sort of an antidote…they will SEE you and recognize who you are and what you bring to their lives. But they gaze right through you like a ghost. I don’t even feel human anymore, least of all a woman. I’m transparent and unacknowledged.

    After years of spectacularly bad dates, lousy prospects and bafflement, I reconnected with an old college friend that turned romantic. There were amber flags that soon turned red. He said out of the gate with pride, “The next relationship is going to be all about me!” And he was true to his word. After much aggravation, a miscarriage and a lot of tears, I jogged. It lasted all of 4 months. I don’t overstay my welcome, but damn if I could have some joy or happy memory to show for all the trouble and pain. He wasn’t the worst of them which makes it all the more terrible and the initial reason I ignored some big signposts. Screw that…billboards. It’s like the previews to a movie that pretty much leaves you thinking there’s no reason to see the movie, you just saw it in the preview. I pretended otherwise because I hadn’t had anything in so long that his crumbs were better than starvation. I was hungry for anything.

    After that devastating blow along with unrelated professional hits, I fell into a deep 2-year depression. I didn’t date. I took the time to endure, reflect, take ownership in what toxicity I brought into my life and make amends to myself. I slowly opened up to dating but didn’t meet anyone that wasn’t an AC for another 2 years. Pass, pass.

    Then I met someone earlier this year. The flags were there although I told myself they were amber instead of fire-engine red because I felt that when I do take care of myself first, I’m alone as the consequence. As an only child I don’t mind that so much but as a vibrant, successful, caring woman…er…yeah, it seems just plain wrong. I looked past the flags because we had so much in common, we lived nearby, I enjoyed his company (initially)…it should’ve been so easy. And it would’ve been if I had accepted his stingy, selfish, reset button, non-reflective, gimme gimme gimme behavior…we’d be together right now if I gave without the expectation of anything in return. He’d be happy, sexually sated, and have his narcissistic supply. My needs? Yeah, kinda like taking a number at the DMV. They don’t matter. They’re negotiable. They aren’t considered. Why are you even asking? Nice, huh?

    Sure, it feels stupid even in the doing but I admit to giving the universe a bit of a finger-wagging with a warning, “The next one has to be something good. It has to be or I might not come back all the way.” I’m not a pogo stick. I can’t suffer amnesia on command. I’ve noticed and maybe this is due to age as well is that I don’t bounce back all the way after these EUM’s/AC’s…each time is a little less until my humanity is decreased. Cynicism starts to set in although I try to push it aside. Bitterness wraps around your heart even though you try to hold it in restraint. You go in smart, with a healthy sense of self-preservation and a buoyant, kind spirit. You say, “This one may be different, don’t blow it by assuming the worst.” But then, he shows that he’s not that much different than what you’ve experienced before, maybe he’s worse or better, but the final conclusion, end scene is the same.

    I want to graduate to different problems. I want to walk away from a relationship and say he treated me right, he considered me on basic levels and it just didn’t work out because XYZ. Fine. I’m not hot-to-trot for marriage at this point in my life. I just want a yardstick of normal care to hold up to and say, “Yes, this does exist. Men aren’t the axis of the universe.” “I’m not Atlas.” “I do matter.” If it still doesn’t work out long term, that’s cool, not every significant relationship goes down the aisle or lasts forever. But show me NORMAL! Let me relax and trust that men aren’t soul-sucking, narcissistic demagogues. Let me have new problems. Let me feel joy if only for a short but defining moment of time.

    But experience has taught me to be wary. It has given me eagle eyes and coyote ears. I see the flags but try to kid myself that they aren’t so bad or big. I should give more or be more patient or be more understanding or be MORE until finally I have to see the truth and recognize that the EUM offers so little in return and cannot or will not see his shortsightedness. I stay long enough so my friends, neighbors and business associates don’t feel so sorry for me when I don’t have anyone.

    I left this recent EUM after 4 months of what amounted to a one-sided relationship. I don’t regret it. He certainly wasn’t that special. I thought I was vulnerable to him because I had let grass grow under my feet by not dating anyone in so long, even though the only blokes I met were obvious EMU’s/AC’s. I hurled myself forward (classic rebound behavior) just to self-soothe, try something new by spinning around in a revolving door and ignore the obvious variations on a theme.

    I threw myself out there only to wind up meeting a charming and lovely man that treated me like arm-candy, another EUM that only wanted a booty call and when I didn’t comply, vanished in a hot flash, a romantic idealist who future faked and also displayed narcissistic tendencies and a man who made it clear upfront that if we were to date, it’d be strictly on his terms. Needless to say, I didn’t even accept one date from him. Fun times.

    So for all the self-love, self-worth, self-esteem, I cannot help but feel that in order to maintain my authentic self, I’m looking at a reality of just one. I want to share my life, my dreams, my fears, my joys and my successes with someone who does the same with me. Is that too impossible an expectation? I think, okay, maybe I’m an EUW, but no matter how hard I try to convince myself that that’s the problem, it doesn’t sit right in my gut. I don’t think I am. I want trust, care, support and I offer that to them until I recognize that either they demand more or just don’t consider what you’re providing. It isn’t enough.

    It’s like having a jar of red jelly beans and telling me that there are 2 blue ones somewhere in there and if I really think positively enough, if I really concentrate on finding a blue jelly bean I can do it. I’ve dated older, younger, educated, blue-collar and across the spectrum to avoid the same Dolittle crap but if that’s the prevailing attitude of men, I can’t help but feel no matter how much I love myself, I’m still going to grab by the law of statistics, the red jelly bean EUM/AC.

    This hopelessness is overwhelming. I live with a finality that if I want to share my life with someone it’s going to be one-sided (not sharing). If I want a mutual, healthy, respectful and caring relationship, I better be prepared that’s it going to be with me, myself and I and a couple of rats.

    It says a lot for men when my rats treat me with more love, dignity and respect.

    Fine, they’re not that special. But when 10 years truck by of not having any man make you feel special, you don’t know what to hope for anymore, you don’t know what to accept or deny, you don’t know what to do or say because the sunburn is too sensitive, the acid has eaten away at your core and in the end, doing right by yourself is incredibly lonely. There is no converse that I’ve seen or experienced. It’s either be miserable with someone or tell yourself you’re happy being alone. Self-love may keep you from the fire but it cannot warm your heart indefinitely.

    Maybe I keep pulling the red EUM/AC jelly bean because I live in Los Angeles — Land of the Narcissists & the Vapid. Yet, I read too many similar posts by women from all across the globe and think geography may play a role, but it’s not the sole reason for the overabundance of the selfish man. Something has happened to make this so prevalent. Too many smart, witty, caring women are reporting after being in the trenches of this cavalier attitude men possess now. Is it our social media in that it’s all about self-promotion? Is it internet dating that have men treating every woman they meet as disposable because they know they’ll be another one…a sucker in my mind, to feed their insatiable self-serving appetite? Is it women doing themselves in? Giving in and giving up because spending your life alone can’t be the only solution even if it is the most realistic if you’re unwilling to accept crap?

    I remind myself through positive affirmation that I’m better off without these fools, my life is and will be my own without an elephant tied to my back, that I have so much to offer and so much to also work on (no doubt) and I should be emotionally and physically available because at some point the right man with the right values will come along and see me for who and what I am and not what he can get out of me. I tell myself that being alone is okay and can be exciting. I tell myself that holding out for more and right is better than settling for less and wrong. I’ve been saying this for years and while I still have faith in myself, I don’t have much faith in men anymore.

    They aren’t that special.

    It’s not up to a man to make me feel special. I know I’m worth too much to accept so little. Still, I can’t help but feel that the lack of anything remotely good sneaks up on you and one day you’re 36 and thinking, “Is this as good as it gets?”

    • SallyJane says:

      Oh MRWriter — I feel for you.

      From my own experience I can only say that I, too, have had long periods in life where “Is this as good as it gets?” is a prevailing theme. I have also had long periods where “Life is so amazing! I love this! Can’t wait to find out what happens next!” is my core state.

      Neither feeling had anything to do with whether I was in a relationship or not. It had everything to do with how I was directing my life and how I felt about that.

      Hugs to you.

      • MRWriter says:

        Hugs to you!

        SallyJane: I agree that life can be good/great without a man in it. My trouble lately has been that I think I’ve lived my life and rode the highs and lows for so long believing that at some point someone would be co-piloting along with me (at least for a while). That it hasn’t happened in so long and I keep having to kick EUM’s to the curb along the way has me viewing my life through a telescope rather than a panorama lens. Put another way, I used to have faith that I’d work, be successful, get my ducks in order and not let a jerky man undermine me so that when I do meet the right man (eventually) I’ll be even more ready to contribute what I strive to have for myself, first. Now, I cannot help but feel that what I do to move forward in my life, my friendships, etc. is only going to be for me when the men I continue to meet are some variation of EMU’s/AC. I admit that AC’s don’t get very far with me so I’m left with taking a pulse on whether or not he’s an EMU or a narcissist in the discovery phase.

        I would love to say I’m ecstatic about manning the helm of my life and I certainly don’t want a man to take over even if he’s a good guy either. What I’ve been struggling with is the idea that it might just be me as captain of my ship and whether or not the horizon looks dark and gloomy or sunny and bright, being at the helm alone year after year, trying to do right by yourself gets lonely, tiresome and tedious. Life is a big wide ocean and when there’s nothing to see all around you, it screws with your head. I keep trying to plot a new course, make sure my compass isn’t broken and have an excellent gang plank for those I throw back into the sea, but (we just had an earthquake…hold on)…Okay, back to our regular programming…just a rattle and shimmy…aahh! I’ve lost my point. I guess I just feel like the monotony of my so-called love life is broken up by a few meet/greets/& eventual heave-ho’s sprinkled throughout and it’s hard to maintain hope and balance that hope with the realization that there might not be anyone worth having in your life.

        • Revolution says:

          LOL, MRWriter. You’re in L.A. I take it. No damage so far, they say. I am just about an hour south of you, and didn’t feel the shimmy.

          And for all you non-Cali folks out there, don’t let this fool you! Contrary to popular non-Cali folk belief, we don’t have earthquakes every hour of the day, like you think! :)

          • MRWriter says:

            You’re too south to have felt it. It was a 3.9 it looks like in Santa Clarita. No we don’t have earthquakes everyday but I feel them on the third story. Eh…tremors keeps us on our toes. (-:

        • SallyJane says:

          Hi MRWriter –

          You wrote: “I agree that life can be great without a man in it.” Yes, and of course life can be unhappy WITH a man in it, even with a very good man! (Obviously, life with an EUM/AC is a GUARANTEED recipe for misery, as we all know.)

          I get that you are saying you are tired of the “grind”, the struggle and the aloneness. You wrote: “Being at the helm alone year after year, trying to do right by yourself gets lonely, tiresome, and tedious.”

          I wonder if there is a way to change this perspective on your life? Is there something more important to you than being loved and understood by someone else, in a romantic relationship context? Something that more deeply, and unfailingly, nourishes you?

          I suspect there is. You seem to have many gifts, including insight. Perhaps focusing on these things would help?

          Just a thought. This is what has worked for me, despite my recent (and I hope only) adventure with an EUM.

          And I also get that a certain amount of “venting” and expressing your unhappiness is necessary. We are all you on that!

    • Fearless says:

      MRwriter

      I loved reading your post. Am still digesting it, but what a read! Thanks. I’m inclined to agree with everything you said, but maybe that’s the defeatist in me. I often wondered if my defeatism is based on my (albeit more limited, though arguably not) experiences or if my experiences were borne out of defeatism. Your “field studies” would suggest the former. But in the interests of avoiding defeatism, I’ll think on this some more. Great post! Thanks for that!

      • MRWriter says:

        Yes, it’s the defeatism that is gnawing at me. I know intellectually that being defeatist doesn’t work but I’m a human being and dating feels like me struggling with intermediate algebra. I understand the logic but the computation is my waterloo and when time after time you keep trying to find X with the best of intentions, perserverance, study and practice and keep getting Y instead, how can a person not feel defeatist? I write sci-fi, I read philosophy so I get the drift on quantum mechanics but ask me to mathematically explain a black hole and I simply cannot do it. Is that defeatist or being logical and honest about your capabilities?

    • Mymble says:

      MRWriter,
      Those feelings of hopelessness and depression you are describing sound very bleak. I am sorry you feel like that. It’s not for me or anyone to tell you how you should feel, but if you are consistently feeling that level of despair and disappointment with your life, perhaps you could consider therapy? I have found it very helpful in unpacking some of my baggage and unhelpful beliefs that I was unknowingly carrying around with me and that were crushing me. I didn’t realise that’s what they were. I thought they were “facts”.
      The truth is, if you feel miserable and unsatisfied with life as it is, having a relationship will be much more difficult, and even if you do, it will not make you happy. It’s too much to expect of another human being.

      • MRWriter says:

        They are bleak. 5 years ago I would’ve said, “It sucks but it’s going to work itself out.” Now I’m not so sure.

        The misery I’m struggling with isn’t the Band-Aid approach…find a guy and he’ll fix me, make me feel good, etc. It’s the yearly grind of flushing, rinse and repeat that has me down and out. It’s the frustration of doing your homework, studying, putting in the effort and still failing over and over again.

        Add to that, I don’t think I’ve actually failed by not getting seriously involved with EMU’s. I did myself a tremendous favor. I passed, maybe not with flying colors, but I want to graduate to a new set of problems. I’d like to meet a guy that might be so totally different from what I’ve experienced for the last decade that I risk blowing it. There’s a new problem I’d like to have and learn from rather than the same old BS that’s getting so easy to spot it’s like “Hello – You’re a frog – Good Bye.”

        As far as therapy, I’m open to it now in a way I wouldn’t have been before. I’m not suicidal but I worry that mentally and emotionally if I’m not aligned anymore because it’s harder to keep self-satisfying when I feel self-honesty (I’m entitled to being sad, mad, and disappointed) keeps rising up and slapping me in the face. I try to maintain my equilibrium as I have in the past but this time, it isn’t coming back.

        Before BR, I was really depressed because I thought it’s gotta be me. I’m not ruling me out of the equation, I play a role in the attraction and the dynamic that’s created and take ownership in that too. It’s been so helpful (albeit sad) to discover other amazing women such as all of you struggling with the same thing.

        Your support and Natalie’s advice is worth more than its weight in therapy. (-:

    • Revolution says:

      Yeah.

    • bt says:

      Perhaps you should make a list of the things you look for in a man. Maybe there is a common trait other than being parasites or emotionally unavailable. On a very shallow level, if physical attractiveness is one of the traits, the men may not feel their relationship with you has been one-sided. They have gifted you with their looks for you, in exchange, to support them.

      • MRWriter says:

        LOL! Oh, BT, if you saw the men I’ve dated you’d say, girl, why you messing around with yard gnomes?

        I made a list in 2010 of the attributes I’d like to find in a man. They weren’t out to lunch: Kindness ranked the highest as well as thoughtfulness, ambition, intelligence and having a sense of humor. I’m a like attracts like gal and so those same qualities are what I bring to the table as well…that they aren’t recognized is what stings the most.

        Looks are negotiable (my only line is I can’t date a snaggle-tooth). I’ve dated: bald(ing), EMO-skinny, tubby-chubby, dark, light, vanilla bland and blue-haired odd. My 4-month EMU this year was 5’4 which I think magnified his covert cerebral narcissism with a lovely Napoleon complex–won’t do that again. Funny, how the most attractive out of the lot this year was the me as arm-candy dude. He was something to behold no doubt. Our personalities didn’t sync up, geography posed a problem and it was clear he was a confirmed bachelor with control issues…so while I enjoyed looking at him, I didn’t stick around because of his looks.

        It almost makes it worse when you date a guy 10 years older than you, 5’4, receding hairline, divorced with a toddler, not endowed (which is actually doable by me…been on the other end of that spectrum and that’s a whole bag of no fun), and he still acts like he’s the King of the World. I was lucky to have HIM!

        I don’t believe good-looking men should have that out to treat women badly, that’s why I usually avoid the studly, every woman throws her knickers at him type of guy. Like the plague…been there/done that.

        I’m willing to overlook the physical if the emotional and mental goodness is there. After this last shorty-pants but Godzilla-sized ego-maniac, I think I now have to put in a height requirement like an amusement park ride and I’d rather go on a couple of dates with an attractive man that thinks he can do better than me and let’s face it, in LA–looks wise, probably can. I know where I sit at the dining room table and it doesn’t phase me a bit to run up against that mentality. The Booty Call EUM had that attitude and in a few years he might not be able to be so picky, but right now, I could shrug and say, “Go, do better Mr. Booty Call. I’m not standing in your way.” Weird how he didn’t bug me as much as what my male friends called this year’s EMU the “Schnauzer.”

        I’d say that the one common trait of all the men I’ve dated since my 20s is intelligence. That’s a double-edged sword but they’ve all been smart, some are MENSA. I can’t hold with a dummy and maybe that’s the reason for their egos? I did dumb and hot once and felt like I was always thinking for two. I dunno.

        As far as looks, I do think I’m going to stop choosing from the last sale, clearance rack. I used to think those imperfections meant that this was a good guy that shallow women kept passing over but now I wonder if those same imperfections make them mean and nasty, even if they find a woman who chooses them.

        • bt says:

          MRWriter,
          My comment trivialized your experience, and I apologize. This is a fascinating blog that I just stumbled upon last night. I answered your post without knowing the context of the website. What first popped into my head after reading it was, “hmmm, I wonder why this person who’s no dummy keeps having the same experience over and over?” I wish I had the answer. You and the other people posting are remarkable–intelligent, insightful.

    • Donna Lopez says:

      Mrwriter,
      I’ve felt the same way on and off for several years. I saw myself in your story, miscarriage and all. And the revolving door of men has gotten exhausting. One thing I’ve noticed though is that society over values romantic love. When I think back on the happiest times of my life those moments have been doing things that I’ve done on my own. I’ve travelled, gotten an education, become a triathlete, had an amazing career and nurtured amazing friendships. I’m single but I do share my life with people. It just isn’t one particular person in a romantic relationship. When I look ahead at my future, I see more traveling, possibly opening a school and having children…by myself! Yes I think men have changed, people have changed in general. But I would like to think that my future is hopeful even in the absence of romantic love. I still hope to meet someone who shares my values and wants to share lives together, but if it doesn’t happen the option for an amazing life is still there…for all of us.

      • MRWriter says:

        Thank you for that! You’re amazing and have the attitude I want to have for myself right now. I love that you’re considering opening a school and having children. That’s so kick-ass. I think I’m in the pity party phase of my grief and it helps to emote this shit down. Your outlook is one I hope to embrace when the pity confetti stops raining down. Again, many thanks!

        • Donna Lopez says:

          It’s been a work in progress. During the summer of 2011 my family had me on what I could only call suicide watch because I had locked myself in my apartment and planned to stay there until I wasted away. I had just broken up with the man I lost a baby with. I learned a lot in the time that’s passed. Mostly, that my life was always awesome but I never appreciated it and so I let in any douchebag who I thought could make up for what I perceived to be lacking. I met guys online fornthe most part. Or i accepted any guy who initiated contact because i’ve always been so self conscious. I still have a lot to learn. Look at my post below, I can’t. Even start up a convo with a real live human guy who looks interesting to me. But I’m working on it because I want to be better for myself and for the people who love and depend on me.

    • yoghurt says:

      MRWriter:

      Have to admit that I’m tempted at the minute to agree with every word you say and draw parallels with post-WWI British women who were forced to accept singleness (on account of the war killing off all the men, as opposed to cultural conditioning rendering them pathetic).

      However, I realised recently that loneliness, whilst never being actively desirable, is like a salt-water bog. It’s a pain to wade through under any circumstances and slows you up but it’s dealable-with. Until you’ve got big open wounds, then it’s still difficult, hurts a lot and may possibly lead to infection.

      It sounds as though you’ve had an awful time at various points over the last eight or so years what with depression, professional difficulties, miscarriage and manky exes marrying people in your apartment building. All of that sucks, and if it were me, I’d be reeling still.

      I’ve had an awful time over the last three years – different set of circumstances, arguably easier than yours – but still difficult. I find that I most resent my loneliness when I’m feeling hurt over or struggling with other things, and that’s when I want to meet a man the most. And that’s compelling, but it’s illogical.

      No man, no matter how lovely, caring or considerate, is going to make my memories of 2009-2012 pleasant, and the things that have hurt about it will still hurt when/if I meet him. I will probably still feel sad about various things at various times and I doubt that I’ll ever lose the compulsion to punch the EUM in the head.

      This puts me in a bad place for meeting someone. Firstly, because I’m really looking for someone who is going to resolve all the issues of that last few years (preferably someone big and muscly who can punch the EUM in the head for me) – which nobody can. Secondly, because every rejection or hurt or inadequacy adds to my database of evidence that I am inadequate and deserving of hurt/rejection. I’m working hard at ignoring this database but it does tend to light up and flash neon lights at me whenever it gets some new evidence in it.

      I don’t know what the answer is to this, by the way, I’m endeavouring to heal but it’s slow-going and I seem to get tripped up relatively easily. I’m also inclined to agree with you that the standard of your average man has declined severely in the cultural climate. But I also think that, from what you’ve described of your recent past, it’s unsurprising that you’re finding dating very hard going and soul-destroying.

      • yoghurt says:

        Whoops – sorry, read your other post where you make it clear that you’re not looking for a man as a fix-it. (I probably am, but hey ho there you go…over-empathising again).

        I still think that, after cruddy awful experiences you’re likely to feel a lot worse about toerags being toerags that you would normally, though. I desperately want to believe that it’s worthwhile to consider other people’s feelings, deport oneself with dignity, maturity and kindness and to seek out true love rather than a quick-fix hormone-fuelled power-game where your prize, if you ‘win’, is to take possession of the other person’s self-esteem and dive back into the arena.

        It’s depressing to see and read about men (/people) corrupting their own and other people’s best qualities for the sake of feeling like Da Man. And it does sometimes feel as though it’s pointless being honest, courageous and genuinely caring when nobody notices. And hey, when you COULD behave like a spoilt child, sod em if they don’t like it and carry on hurting people until you find someone who puts up with it.

        All I can say is that it isn’t pointless – I can’t argue conclusively as to why it’s better to be a person of character but deep down, all of us (including them) know it.

        Your posts have come at a good time for me (so thank you!) – frankly I’ve had a particularly rubbish few weeks and I’ve felt moreorless the same way. But that’s what I cling to – it’s Better To Do Things The Right Way, whether or not it brings results.

        And here’s the thing – if all of us are able to sit down, think it through, see the flaws in the way that this plays out and take ownership of our behaviour (and cling to our integrity with the tips of our fingernails) then so can some men. They can’t all be devoid of sense and/or kindness.

        They’ll be rare, but they must exist :)

    • Grizelda says:

      MRWriter,

      I really enjoyed reading your comment and the responses you’ve already given to others.

      The reality, I agree, is melancholy. When one has even basic standards — and lives by them — one must sadly close the door on a lot of people who would otherwise be in your life — the ones who are only too keen to be users, sponges, timewasters, unstable personality-disordered cheaters and con artists, and big disappointments in more ways than one can count.

      I won’t insult you by saying ‘oh but you ought to be happy you’ve spent the last decade flushing away seriously unsuitable men as the alternative would have been hell’. Because I don’t see how you could possibly be happy that an entire university marching band full of losers has paraded into your life in the first place — not one of whom could prove himself capable of even the most basic requirements of relationship readiness.

      I also won’t insult you by blaming the victim by saying ‘It must be your fault — you attracted the Losers On Parade somehow.’ You didn’t. You sound sensible and it seems to me that you just gave a reasonable shot to any guy who wasn’t Captain Caveman. What you experienced was simply a cross-section of the general male population. What an unholy shock that was.

      You said: “I read too many similar posts by women from all across the globe and think geography may play a role, but it’s not the sole reason for the overabundance of the selfish man. Something has happened to make this so prevalent. Too many smart, witty, caring women are reporting after being in the trenches of this cavalier attitude men possess now. Is it our social media in that it’s all about self-promotion? Is it internet dating that have men treating every woman they meet as disposable because they know they’ll be another one… a sucker in my mind, to feed their insatiable self-serving appetite?”

      At risk of sounding apocalyptic, I think this is the horrible and widespread truth today. Men are now in a nonstop online wonderland of all women, all sex, all the time. Every time they try one, there are another dozen clamoring to be used. Because online, no one cares that a man doesn’t have a job, can’t stop talking about himself, lies and exaggerates about his life, doesn’t have any table manners, still lives with his parents, uses a toothbrush that’s over three years old, and that he hasn’t paid child support for seven months. These men turn up for dates like this, feeling certified and approved. And they have the temerity to feel free to reject you when you don’t look enough like the ‘hot model’ he was sexting with last night. Even though the said ‘hot Latvian model’ was probably some hairy old man sitting at his kitchen table in Latvia copying and pasting broken English sexy phrase responses for 2Lats an hour.

      I digress. I think more and more men’s values are completely warped by social media and the prevalence of porn, sexualisation and all the rest of it. All women, all sex, all the time, without any effort, investment or commitment on their behalf. The most troubling thing is that they don’t care that they don’t care. To be in love with a woman is seen as some kind of misfortune that’s going to cost ‘em dearly.

      What to do? I have to say, must say, don’t give up. Giving up is the wrong thing to do. You have a sense that you might be at a disadvantage in LA and I’m afraid I have to agree with you — that place is a vortex of self-obsessed and superficial attitudes that just don’t exist in such great proportions elsewhere. For a start, elsewhere people don’t think 36 is ‘past it’!

      • MRWriter says:

        Wow! You summed it up beautifully:

        “The most troubling thing is that they don’t care that they don’t care. To be in love with a woman is seen as some kind of misfortune that’s going to cost ‘em dearly.”

        That is exactly the underlining attitude I’ve been sensing.

        I’d understand if it was a young man in his 20s — sowing his wild oats — but grown men in their late 40s? How can they truly respect themselves? What wire is disconnected? At some point, there’s a choice men make as they mature. To live with integrity, have a partner they respect and trust to build a life with that is worth living. Or, what? Play the field, delight in sexual trysts and maintain their self-serving lives. Okay. That’s their choice but what I feel is that they want their cake and eat it too. They want a woman solely on their terms, toss her bread crumbs, have her do everything and give very little in return and expect the woman to be their reward by contributing what…their warm bodies?

        If men fell in one camp or the other, I wouldn’t be so frustrated but this nefarious grey area third camp seems to be growing in large numbers. It used to be spotting a “playa” was fairly easy to do but now it’s complicated by these Dolittles that say they want a healthy relationship but expect the woman to play doctor in order to keep the relationship alive. Those are harder to suss out at hello.

        In no time hello turns into hell.

        Thank you for your insightful input.

        • Linden says:

          Hi MRWriter — your comments really resonate with me. I’ve only been back in the scene for two years, and I’ve seen exactly what you’re describing. I’m in Northern CA, and our EUMs come in some different flavors than the ones in LA. We have the kind who are focused entirely on looks/working out/maintaining their bodies/picking over women’s attractiveness like old ladies at the fruit market, but to that you can add the guys who just want to smoke pot/grow weird facial hair/ride surfboards and motorcycles, the guys who work for tech companies and have the emotional depth of robots, and the New Age guys who are into polyamory/tantric sex/self-obsessed navel-gazing.

  40. espresso says:

    Wow MRWriter – I was really touched by your email. I am getting very depressed thinking that one day I may return to the “meeting” scene (do I even want to call it dating?)” I am older, was married a long time, am not looking for anything immediate or intense but would love to have some deeper more emotionally engaged men in my life other than work colleagues…someday. And like somebody said on another post, it would be nice to have some engaged and fun sex – okay I get the limitations of this. However, wish I could say that my libido had diminished after not much sex and being older too, alas, not true – at all. In a way, it feels like some kind of curse.

    But my recent experience with the “friend” AC and my marriage sadness….well I not sure I am up for it. Your phrase, “I have so much and yet so little” resonates with me today..perhaps I am just in a low mood…I try to be up-beat, positive, forward going and thinking but sometimes I just think…why is it so hard for women who are intelligent, attractive, dynamic and have a lot going from them!

    A HUGE part of it is that there are a LOT of women who will play along with EUMs and ACs so that these men have been trained to think, no, to KNOW, without even thinking about it, that they do not have to change – they can find women…and easily too without any kind of work or commitment. This is why BR is really quite revolutionary.

    I hate to go there (again) but I can’t get it out of my system that my ex, who is a very undeveloped person emotionally, who has very few boundaries, is often inappropriate, has little insight and refused to hear me during our marriage will have to beat the women from his door because he is fit, good looking and is “sensitive”, as well has having “learned” from me, while I who really suffered in the marriage, will have to apply filters to every man I meet because I probably will just not want to spend time with them. If there are any options anyway. I would never ever not be true to myself though and I believe what Nora Ephron once said, some women believe that it is better to be with any man at all than to be alone. It’s not.”

    Sort of stinks though, doesn’t it?

    • MRWriter says:

      Stinks to high heaven!

      “Meeting or hooking up” is spot on. I don’t know what else to call the dating world anymore. I’m at a loss there. There is no dating if you mean the traditional “guy meets girl, guy asks girl out, guy takes girl out somewhere fun, guy and girl get to know (discover) each other over time and possibly guy and girl enter into a relationship.”

      What I’ve encountered?
      1) Guy meets girl
      2) Guy meets girl over coffee if they’re relatively strangers. If they meet through work then they meet in said venues moving up to something more.
      3) Guy suggests meeting for drinks. If you’re damn lucky he might pick you up but this is a rarity. You meet for drinks and pay attention if the place he suggests is 10 mins from his pad but 30-40 mins from yours. He’ll actually recommend going to his place after drinks (gee…wonder why?).
      4) Guy might buy a round but you buy the next. Dutch is the do-or-die rule out here so never assume you won’t pony up.
      5) Here’s where it starts to get fuzzy for me and a bit specific but 90% of the men I meet have been doing this…guy asks you out but it’s dinner at his place. I’ve never encountered so many cooks in my life. Now, don’t get me wrong, having a guy cook isn’t a bad thing but I’ve noticed it is in lieu of taking you out to dinner. Mind you there’s no candlelight, mood music or anything. Just a casual dinner at his place where you’re 10 ft from his bedroom. Hmmm…It also isn’t a sumptuous banquet he’s providing…this isn’t Wolfgang Puck. You thank him, wash the dishes after and try to be cool. He watches a soccer game or other said sports. You can make out or not. Ladies choice, but this is the entirety of my “dating” experience. You can stamp him in the friends only camp…that’s where the majority of my straight male friends came about and they didn’t bother changing course even after I told them.
      6) So let’s say you’re tired of going it alone and you actually entertain this AC on a temporary basis. You suggest going somewhere, dinner, coffee, ice cream. Now maybe you ladies are running into something different but the mindset out here is if the woman suggests to do something, the woman is in essence asking the guy out and she is on the hook to pay. No lie. He isn’t taking you out but if you say you’d enjoy doing such and such (no matter how small) he stands back with hands in pockets and lets you pay. After all, he’s made you a couple of dinners.
      7) You pay. You’re a modern woman after all, and it’s not a big expense. Still, it feels funny. They all do this so it must be the norm. You watch your girlfriends pay and they say it’s liberating. We’re talking about two cappe frappes or a gelato…yet I don’t feel liberated…hosed, maybe.
      8) Now that they see you’ll contribute, slowly they stop buying you drinks. You find yourself buying your own damn drink or theirs too. You think, am I making too big a deal out of this?
      9) It’s been 2 1/2 months and still he hasn’t taken you out to dinner or a movie. You finally have enough and break the ice and go out to dinner somewhere. You both have cocktails and meals at a reasonably priced establishment. The check comes and the moment of truth…he lets it sit, it collects dust…you swallow hard because the tension is too thick to ignore. You finally give in and reach for it. He offers (without so much as pulling out his wallet) to leave the tip. You shake your head in confusion. You tell yourself, it’s okay. You treat your friends to dinner, but then again, they treat you. This is supposed to be something above and beyond friendship.
      10) You suggest a movie. He recommends the matinee. If you’re lucky he gets the tickets and you buy the concessions. That’s if you’re incredibly lucky.
      11) He continues to offer warming up a Trader Joe’s burrito at his place even when you’re out and about with him and tell him you’re hungry. He doesn’t take you anywhere and when he does it’s only because he’s suddenly hungry and then he splits the bill with you.
      12) He’s cheap. He’s selfish. You finally tell him it bothers you.
      13) He offers to do something and take you somewhere he wants to go. He pays but not without making a big To-do about it (mind you, if it’s something you want to do — forget it unless you’re paying)
      14) You give up. Throw your hands in the air and say forget it. He wants your time and is incredibly put out when you have to work (remember you’re paying if you do anything beyond his four-walls) so he wants your time but you have to pay your fair share. And god forbid you call him out because then they accuse you of being a gold-digger when if that was the case you wouldn’t have fooled with them out of the gate.

      Now that’s been pretty much the “dating” formula for me since 2002. If I hold them to a certain standard, then it’s no dates for me for years ad nauseam. If I Dutch it in the beginning either that’s where it lands permanently or they actually try to work it so you pay more.

      Some of these men are in tighter financial constraints than others so there are extenuating circumstances to consider, however, they always have money for the deluxe cable package, the latest IPhone, MAC computers, and other personal accouterments, but when it comes to spending money on a woman…it’s just not something they think should be budgeted in.

      Mind you, I’m not expecting to be lavishly wined and dined. But a little courting in the discovery phase should naturally occur I would think for the male from a sense of pride. They seem to take more pride in finding a woman who will pay then they do in treating her.

      I also get free tickets to theater and events because of my work. It’s usually me and a plus one. So, these men also enjoy the fringe benefit of going to shows and events with me and I’m always mystified that neither before or after do they show any thought of
      reciprocation. Of course, after a couple of invites and nothing but “lemme cook a meal at my place” I stop asking them along, but dating? This is anything but.

      I can’t begin to tell you how many men I’ve jogged from over the years simply because they refuse to court me in any distinguishable way. I’d chalk it up to they just aren’t that into you if they weren’t so upset when I refuse to play along and swing for everything. They also keep a running tab in their head and throw anything in your face. I just recently had a guy (strictly business) complain because he took me to two casual lunches with his partner when both lunches were their idea, they both had a beer while I had a soda, and it was a hamburger in one instance and a hot dog stand the next (and I offered to pay for my damn dog and he refused). He had the nerve to email this to me and my literary manager. We were shocked! And then, I laughed and said, “Imagine dating them, because this is what I’ve been running up against.” He’s gay and happily married so he’s had a hard time believing my stories although after that he had to admit…”Damn, I didn’t know it was that bad.”

      Yeah, it really is. Dating my arse.

  41. Awakened says:

    @MRWriter You have to believe that thats not as good as it gets cause there is better. As hard as it is I would stop allowing my mind to go there…. and not worry so much about how much time you think you have left. There is still hope at 36 and after. I know people who are in marriages right now that are in complete pure misery. Location doesn’t matter. Across the globe In this economy; holding anything together and maintaining a relationship is alot more tougher. You can’t date smart enough. I have a friend that had been in a relationship with a guy for 8 years; had a child by him only for him to go off and marry someone else totally opposite of his attraction.( she wasn’t even physically attractive at all but something drew him to her)financial security maybe? convenience? We will never know cause its just not something that you can try to figure out. You have to continue to have hope for something no matter how many bad experiences you’ve encountered in the past and we’ve all had our share. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. Put your faith in God and let him send you the right one. When we put faith in just ourselves we keep going around the same mountain; same BS; and another failed relationship. It takes humility to be truthful. You are not alone.

  42. miskwa says:

    Thanks Sushi
    Yep, the loneliness would still be there but would be much easier to cope with. It is hard to have the situation in your face. Latest girlfriend, a nowhard former friend of mine, will literally BE in my face at a meeting this week. At some point I will be leaving. Most of my single women colleagues are in the same boat. Being accomplished, educated women in a very large area where such attributes are not valued. I am currently serving on my 5th job search committee in less than a year, none of them due to retirements. Ironically, rumor had it that he was going to be fired but alas he must’ve weaseled his way out. As bad as it seems, I was relieved when I thought he was gone. That and I am not even remotely attracted to any other men in this area; it’s like they are one giant red flag. Financially, bailing right now is probably impossible but I am gonna check out the place (Vermont) anyway if interviewed. As I am very much a person who does not do well in cities, really need to be in the woods. My strategy there would be the same as here; try and get a healthy, educated, reasonably attractive retiree who is sick of city life to come live with me. MR writer, I am in much the same boat, 52 and loosing hope fast. I truly think that treating folks as we wish to be treated is now seen as an antiquated notion. Here in the intermountain west, it’s all about me, me, me and to hell with your feelings. I am a northern midwesterner; one very rarely experienced this behavior. Sure, there were bad apples here and there, but generally if you were your authentic self and put yourself out there, life was good. I really understand the erosion of self. I have a pretty healthy ego, not good to good parents but because I overcame a really bad family situation, got out, got my education, and avoided the cycle of dysfunction. Most of my women friends say I am both beautiful and a really good person including, ironically, ACs latest victim. However, one does start to doubt oneself after a trying to get back out there and facing a continuous stream of on line or in real life liars, loosers, and outright flakes. I don’t jog, I full tilt sprint away from such men but it still saddens and erodes me, like acid. Meanwhile AC gets to keep doin what he’s doin.

    • sushi says:

      Miskwa,
      truth is, it`s difficult to watch them play house right under your nose, but your AC`s new girlfriend is bound to find out in some time how he rolls, it IS going to happen. One of my friends just found herself separated from her “wonderful” second husband and her financial security at 50 is down the toilet, she is waiting tables and used to have her own business, dire times. I have married girlfriends who envy me because I am single+independant, they are stuck in marriages that are awful and can`t get out because they depend financially on their husbands.We have a choice;flush or not, they don`t. I`m self employed and work alone and don`t have a huge circle of friends (just had to flush the toxic lot, otherwise couldn`t live with myself )and people I care about are scattered all over the world, literally and do feel lonely sometimes.Can`t concentrate on improving my social life how i`d like because I am the only parent and I want to be there for my kids. I need to see if i can find a different balance, but it may not happen for a bit. I also know the loneliness thing will get worse when they fly the nest soon. I try to put things into perspective, and the truth is there is no other way than walking away from toxic and not good enough, not doing it is worse than feeling lonely- I have to keep remembering how it was with the AC, and the one before him and so on. Situation not ideal, but at least it`s not a shituation (my favourite term, Grizelda). Vermont sounds lovely, maybe it will exceede your expectations when you check it out and you`ll find it worth taking a gamble on and it will be more what you want and not because the AC won`t be there. I wonder sometimes if trying to look for the positive and feel this faith in life is another from of denial i`m getting myself into, but its that or sinking into feeling hopeless.You can be realistic in a positive or negative way so am choosing positive and see where it gets me.Fingers crossed.

  43. Jennifer says:

    I idolized my ex EUM. In my mind he was a God. Or God himself and the answers to all my prayers. Since I broke it off 6 months ago and initiated NC, I have fantasized about him relentlessly. I ran into him yesterday. And though I was wildly trigged ( it sent me into a depression and I near devoured all the twix from the Halloween candy). The fantasies have stopped (it’s only been a bit over a day but still, i had been thinking of him near ALL the time). And seeing him I thought he’s not that special. I mean he’s sorta handsome. He’s just some sorta good looking dude who triggers all my self destruction/ insecurity buttons. Not what a lady needs in a man or a relationship. Fantasizing about him seems silly now. He seems silly. And dangerous to my health and well being. Yes we had sweet moments. But that was just because we pushed each others uncomfortable comfort buttons and it felt familiarly dysfunctional enough for us to kiss, cuddle and laugh. But what a shady and impossible foundation! Our non relationship crumbled. But wait there were only crumbs to begin with. The crumbs felt like more because I was so starved in childhood of proper emotional nourishment and then just followed along with the same treatment of myself into adulthood. And here came Mr. Fancy Skin Tight Pants with his rations and sob stories and I thought I hit the relationship jackpot. I thought I had snagged a real man (and a musician too. So what) Whoah is little o naive me. Effin FLUSH. Time for me to grow/wise up.

  44. Tyla says:

    @MRwriter

    You just described exactly how I feel and what I’ve experienced. I’ve worked my ass off for 2.5 years to improve myself, live by my values, have boundaries and limits, respect myself, don’t settle for less, don’t be desperate and seek out ppl for validation, validate myself, etc. Where has that gotten me? NO WHERE. Not even a date in over 2 years. Is settling for less better? Of course not. But living by your values isn’t always easy bc unfortunately in this day and age, the pickings are slim and men’s idea of “dating” and relationships definitely is NOT what it used to be! I’m shocked to hear of guys making an effort these days, and I have a lot of girlfriends in my life who are attached and dating, and it seems most have the same story and the one’s who manage to find dates are dating complete douche bags and also chasing valuation and settling, which is the only reason they’ve even scored a date. It’s pretty sad out here! I feel your frustration and hopelessness every day. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be alone for a LONG time. I know that’s a pretty negative outlook but unfortunately my reality has formed that outlook, it’s just the way it is. Men are NOT what they used to be. Sad but true. Quality men are very hard to come by, if not impossible.

  45. Donna Lopez says:

    I’m having a strange time lately. I’ve given up online dating and hope to expand my social circle by being out in the world. But I realize that I don’t quite know how to talk to a guy I’m interested in. I’ve been volunteering to make puppets for the Village Halloween Parade in NYC. There’s this guy there that looks interesting to me but I can’t seem to break the ice with him. Everyone else in this group is super friendly and easy to talk to. And I see him chatting it up with lots of people. But he hasn’t said more than two words to me. I couldn’t have done anything to turn him off since we hardly interact. I’m usually quite shy, which is why I got into online dating. But that’s no longer an option for me. I can’t seem to talk to this guy because I’ve built up this tension in my mind all based on…finding him attractive? Is this the beginning of fantasy building? I think I’ve been like this as long as i can remember. I want to change my approach. If I could just slow my roll and treat him like everyone else I interact with I’d be alright. He’s just not that special.

  46. nomatterwhat says:

    Hi MRWriter,

    Wow your post is amazing! You have a great, great life.

    Do you think it’s still the fantasy of what it might be like to be in love? BUT a good love? I, at 56, still think it’s possible, but I also wonder what it would be like to be rich, or to look like Raquel Welch, blahblahblah, and it’s possible too that I may never know. I too have had unbelievably bad relationships LOL and I’m talking about my behaviour inside one too. Sometimes I figure, ok this one is making me feel like I’m on drugs or something it’s so bad so why don’t I just pay for this school education up front because it teaches me in a way that I can’t get at myself otherwise.

    Don’t drink the Koolaid. Love is everywhere if you must…you can make your heart sing with the smallest of things. If your dark passenger is Miss Lonliness, then bring her in for a drink.

    Cynicism is not wisdom…it’s just cynicism.

    xo

  47. Alibi says:

    This post was very timely. I have read and learned a lot on here, having successfully divested myself of a horrible individual but ….. I did not study carefully enough the section on future faking and fast forwarding. I met someone last year who I believed to be genuine. He did put me on a pedestal, and I him. He rushed to get me to move in. I let my own property out long term, and we dismantled my life, got rid of my furniture and fast forwarded to living in his place. My failure to notice what was happening, and to think of him as the most special person in my life have resulted in this:one year on, I am homeless and living in a friend’s spare room. Three weeks ago, we woke up, he shagged me then said it wasn’t working for him any more and would I move out. Exceptionally callous. But every single thing that is written by Natalie on this site is true. I busted my own boundaries as soon as I moved in, because I thought he was special. He monitored every single thing I did around the house, making mi or adjustments because he didn’t think it was right. He started to criticise my appearance,he was resentful of my friends and family. And then he gradually withdrew emotionally, chucking the odd crumb, but I became so anxious around him, that I was no longer myself, which probably fuelled his decision that he didn’t feel anything any more. I left with my life in bin bags. So why, why why am on the verge of thinking the darkest thoughts I have ever had? He has contacted me since to say that he hopes we can be friends! But why would I want to be friends with someone who has made me homeless? Is he really that special. His reason for ending it was cold: he no longer saw me as a long term viable proposition! Who speaks like that? This hurts like hell …. I hate what he has done, but I miss the man I thought he was. Intelligent, attractive, caring, kind. It doesn’t add up, and I don’t know how to get through this.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Alibi… I am so sorry for all you have gone thru. I wish I had some great things to say to make u feel better. All I can tell you is to take one day at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other. U will have good days and not so good days. It takes time to heal and with time comes clarity. We all make mistakes and most of us on here have been hurt, confused, mistreated, disrespected ect…These type of men prey on unsuspecting , loyal,caring, trustworthy women. They know who,what,why & when and we suffer. I know for me I am so much wiser,stronger,can spot red flag behaviour so quickly and abort mission immediately..Be thankful it ended when it did and didnt go on for years, be thankful for this site & all the people that come here, And of course Nat for being our teacher and given us knowledge. Wishing you well …:)

      • Kit-Kat says:

        P.S. I also know all about missing the man u thought he was. Attractive, caring ,kind but u must realize that is really a very,very small piece of who he is and what he is capable of. There are many men with those same qualities that would not treat you the way he did. Flush him from you life & go NO CONTACT.

    • natashya says:

      oh, alibi.. big hugs for you. yes, this hurts like hell. and everybody around you will probably say ‘oh, be glad you got rid of him’, which is true, but it doesn’t really lessen the pain.

      after my split from my EUM, i wrote in my diary: ‘i don’t know how to heal’. repeatedly. i also had some really dark thoughts, but thank god for my friends. and i found this site. it’s been a godsent. and i’m not healed yet, it’s only been 6 weeks, but i am better than i was 6 weeks ago. baby steps.

      what worked for me was making a list of all the crapola i had to put up with. whenever i feel teary and weepy (unfortunately, with the last EUM i have not been able to get angry much, as i seriously think he didn’t intend to treat me as badly as he did, and is STILL not aware of how mean he was by withdrawing slowly but surely), i read this list.

      then i have another document, it’s called ‘strength’ and i think i’ve read every single article and comment on this site and i’ve copied and pasted things that give me strength, and hope.

      and as silly as this sounds… repeatedly reading this works. it’s a slow process but it does work.

      then i have my mantra: ‘i will stop crying, i will be fine. i will stop crying, i will be fine’. i repeat it as long and as often as necessary.

      one thing that i found on this site here, and i don’t know who wrote it (sorry) is this:

      “I can honestly say [your ex's name] was the most loving and perfect partner for me. He/she treated me like I was the most important person in the world, always with respect and without
      hesitation to place my needs ahead of his/her own. The time spent with [your ex] was the happiest I have ever been.

      So how did it feel to read that to yourself? Did you feel that statement was true? Or were you thinking some parts felt like a lie?”

      that one helped me a lot, too.

      alibi, for now, you are not homeless. you can stay at a friend’s. you have a safe place. take your time to grief. even if it doesn’t feel like it now, you CAN and you WILL move on. so what if it’s not today, or tomorrow… you CAN and you WILL.

      • Victorious says:

        “I can honestly say [your ex's name] was the most loving and perfect partner for me. He/she treated me like I was the most important person in the world, always with respect and without
        hesitation to place my needs ahead of his/her own. The time spent with [your ex] was the happiest I have ever been.”

        The only problem with this Natashya is that yes, in the first three months all of the above DID apply. I was indeed the happpiest I have ever been. I was literally floating around in a cloud of loved up bliss, security and adoration, with my self esteem off the charts. Hmmmmm, think I have to re-read Natalies post about “why can’t he go back to being that guy”

        • natashya says:

          yeah, that is one of my fave posts. in the beginning my EUM was also wonderful. he showered me with attention, beautiful words, even got me some gifts (surprising as i now know what a tightwad he is). he would hold me and hug me and tell me i was everything he had been looking for… i guess til i wasn’t anything he had been looking for.

          in nat’s words: Why can’t he ‘go back’ to being that guy? Because he’s not that guy all the time. The guy he is, is the one he consistently shows you over a longer period of time – trouble is, that’s not the one you want.”

          indeed. i don’t want the one who left me behind on a walk through the mountains knowing i was sick. i don’t want the one who pushed me away when i wanted to cuddle with him after sex. i don’t want the one who asked his ex back while we were together. i don’t want the one who kept on comparing me constantly to the almighty ex. her name might have been jesus. though that’s the one i was with after the honeymoon was over. and over it was.

          i didn’t understand why he wouldn’t want me. i was there, willing and ready to be in a loving relationship with him. only after visiting BR i realise he’s an EUM. i could have been angelina jolie and he still would have wanted his ex. it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t about me. i took the rejections so very personally, i left me in a spiral of confusion bigger than i could have ever imagined.

          i really am grateful that it’s over, but my self esteem has taken a big hit. i am working on that. and i’m working on making myself happy. putting myself first for a change. i really would like to be in a relationship again. but not like that. and with the help of those wonderful books that i got off BR and the posts and comments, i know i am on my way to a newer and better me. especially for me!

    • natashya says:

      you know… sometimes it really is a matter of waiting for your heart to catch up with your head. even tonight, after reading all these replies and KNOWING i am making progress, i started sobbing again because ‘i miss him’.

      why would i miss somebody who, after the initial very short lived honeymoon, basically ignored me and rejected me in one way or other. he did not treat me with the respect and care i deserve. i have never felt that confused and insecure in any relationship. i flogged a dead horse, but was in denial.

      why would i want to be with him? why would i want a relationship in which i feel bad most of the time? this makes no sense, AT ALL!

      my heart has not completely caught up with my head.

      moving through the stages of grief, i am now hovering between depression and acceptance, but it’s not a linear process. i just had several days in a row where i felt very strong again, then tonight i cried. so be it.

      baby steps, alibi… baby steps. you will be fine.

    • Grizelda says:

      Alibi, that’s heartbreaking. I cannot believe anyone could be so callous to another human being. At what point did we decide as a society that people can destroy others with impunity? “Ok I don’t like you now, bye bye and thanks for playing!” Nothing ever seems ‘wrong’ anymore. I’m not sure I care so much for this world as I used to.

      But look, as the others have already said, you’re digging yourself out now. You have a nice safe place to stay and recover. You will get furniture when you need it — ebay is your friend — and it will be nice stuff. You didn’t mention your work, but is that alright? You need your friends. They will help you.

      He was a brutal and controlling man. He was manipulative. He isolated you from your people and your place. Once he had you, he devalued and dumped you. This is not normal. STOP trying to blame yourself by saying it made you anxious. Of course it flippin made you anxious! That was his intention! He calculatedly made you more insecure than you could possibly tolerate. It’s all part of the same playbook that all the EU/psychos use.

      If your relationship was traumatic, which is sounds like it was, perhaps this will help you.

      http://phoenixsphere.com/category/how-to-stop-loving-someone/

  48. miskwa says:

    Sushi
    I really feel for you having to raise kids on your own. I had zero social life till I was in my 20′sface because, among other things, I was raising a brother. Motherhood is the hardest damn job there is. 24/7 and no vacation for 18 years. I too have friends financially trapped in crap marriages, this is why I own my homes, solo and also made it a priority in life to learn to chop wood and grow/gather my foods and even to fix a hand pump, use hand and power tools and to live in places where one can do so. When I go to visit and check up on my dad next month, I will probably live in my sauna, use the hand pump so I can be both warm and clean. Dealing with the AC also made me offload a couple of toxic friends. They were the only socialization outside of colleagues but it needed to happen. If I am offered the job, I will give Vermont a chance even though I have already seen postings that the dating pool is about as poor as here and racists may be a real problem. I do worry about what to do about my animals, many have special needs and no one will want them. I meed to buy another farm, build chicken coops, again solo. I am worried about my slowly dying father, his financial needs are going to increase. On the other hand, I can see I am dying inside by being in my current situation. I cannot fix a broken community that chooses to be broken. I cannot change it’s reputation to those outside. I cannot force myself to no longer want any meaningful human contact till I can retire. Dammit, I am human too. Doing some reading last night led me to believe that AC may well be a socialized psychopath. It makes sense and explains his disproportionate effect on me. True, trying to diagnose anyone isn’t a solution, but a rational explanation helps the logical part of my lil brain. He may really resent that I have overcome my family abuse, he may resent that I am much more admired by many here because I clearly live my strong environmental values. Before me, he was the only enviro in town. New girlfriend is vulnerable, coming out of a crap marriage, maybe not even divorced yet, he likes helpless. Yep, she will find out too.

    • sushi says:

      Hi Miskwa,
      You have had a lot to cope with and you are a very strong person. I think that difficult circumstances are not exactly conductive to getting a life we want and deserve. Sometimes it`s like peeing against the wind-sorry, bit gross but grafic.I also think that the AC`s have such a profound effect on us because we don`t have enough close and satisfying relationships with real friends and family, we are not in an emotionaly nourishing enviroment.Their crumbs become that only “food” we have, blown up out of proportion. I know my next step is going to have to be getting out there more and finding new opportunities to make friends,Grace is a great example of how grounding it is. I`m not even thinking of a relationship at this point even though I think I could handle one now. It`s far less difficult (I hope) than you uprooting, but bottom line, can`t be in a Sahara and hope to find oasis, ideally got to make the odds better than that. Natalie says, change what you do, try different things, get out of your comfort zone. Just important I think to make the changes for the right reasons, and not being chased out or into a new situation, whatever it might be to escape an AC, fear ect. And got to have faith. And, well , reading the comments to this post is quite depressing…Natalie…help please!

  49. great guy says:

    Checked out the sosuave thing. Sad, there is a place that trains people to treat others disrespectfully and manipulate by playing on someones insecurities. The people that follow these “techniques”, run a game because they have too long a list of issues to be themselves and wonder why they can’t find a lifelong partner. It confirms one thing I’ve always said, “whatever you do to attract a person, is what you have to do to keep them”. Meaning, if you are anything other than your true self, it wont work in the long term. People that come off as caring, respectful, trustful and loving (and actually are not) will soon show cracks in their shell (even AC’s grow tired of not being themselves). If you’re patient enough to remain YOURSELF and respect YOUR boundaries, their true self will be exposed.

    I am glad to see there are people here able to give themselves the time to be sure they are getting someone as true and real as they are being. For others, its a struggle to learn this but with practice and application, you will see it hurts much less to say “it didn’t work out because we had different values” than “I did everything he/she wanted and it STILL didn’t work out”.

    HUGE difference in those two statements

  50. Jane's Addiction says:

    Hi Alibi, I know what you are feeling as I’ve been there myself. And the first step for me in getting over it was recognizing that I was never in a relationship with the man I thought he was; I was in a relationship with a person with a personality disorder called narcissism. I started researching the disorder and found hundreds of woman just like me, hurting and wondering what the hell just happened to them (physically, emotionally, financially). There are many websites devoted to the topic of getting over the abuse and gaslighting of living with a narcissist. Please do yourself a favor and start to get educated. It is possible to move on, but first you have to lift the fog. Best, Jane

  51. Imagine says:

    Tinkerbell…I survived the ex-MM birthday and stayed strong…NC! I just keep reading these posts and it helps me to stay strong. HE WASN’T THAT SPECIAL.

    But I have two questions for you all. One I was a fairly confident, successful female before this. This past 16 months with the AC has taken a major toll on my psyche. I don’t know how to gain my self confidence back. I so relate to the feeling of sadness and not wanting to put myself out there anymore. Can anyone give me ideas to help me feel good about myself. I try to nurture myself. Take hot baths, drink tea, exercise and take myself to the movies but I still feel like a piece of crap. I’ve been trough alot. Divorce, sold my house, moved into an apt and got rid of the AC. But I fell so empty. I’ve been in therapy for years which helps but I need to find a way to take care of myself…maybe time will heal.

    Second…I think I already know the answer LOL…Does anyone ever want to tell their ex EUM all the things we’ve learned here? I read all this, including the SoSuave.com crap and it makes me so mad I want to say, “I’ve got your number!” A good friend of mine told me…”It’s like trying to get a blind man to see”

    The ex-MM will never get it.

    Thanks and love to you all

  52. miskwa says:

    MRWriter
    I too settled for a less than man in the areas of looks and education. This guy had a HUGE chip on his shoulder. Another man who is overweight in our racing group begins most conversations with a long vituperative diatribe against others in the group. There are better looking men out there that don’t treat womyn like crap. Last year I corresponded with a tall handsome guy on line and luckily he showed his racist, unethical colors early on. He doesn’t live near me so I never have to deal with him. I have really learned to avoid anyone near me, lest things go south. I too tend toward the intellectual and fit. Our standards are what they are because of lifes lessons. The first is because I refuse to dumb down for anyone. I fought hard for my education, literally loosing a home, a wonderful partner, community, because I told the truth about the mine waste as part of my research. The second, overweight men, a topic I often catch hell about is because I find it impossible to feel any attraction for an overweight guy. I have tried, can’t even force myself. This is probably because I have spent the past decade watching my dad, the last of my family, slowly die from obesity and alcoholism related causes. A grandmother literally ate herself to death rather than manage her diabetes. A cousin keeled over from a heart attack at 38. I am very careful to stay thin, in shape and expect others in my life to do the same. Dont wanna go down that road again and neither should you.

  53. araja says:

    This is why my AC is NOT special. The mail he sent me after he broke up with me over the phone after I confronted him about cheating on me. I keep this mail around so that I can read and re-read periodically when I think about him as a good but screwed up person. There are so many inconsistencies in this mail that sometime I laugh after reading it. Like bullet point 2 about his ex-wife, she cheated on him. WOW. Seem to have followed her example there. I later found out she was so desperate to get out of the marriage and hurt him that was her escape route. Understandable in hind sight.

    I’ve never shared this with anyone other than y sister but I’m hoping that it help other on this site and maybe I can get some healing and helpful advice on how to “let go” . I’m in NC and will be till the day I die but my heart still hurts from the betrayal. …..Apologizes if this is over sharing…
    My sister made a point that he could use this as a standard break up letter going forward.
    Here it is below:

    “Yesterday, over the phone, at work wasn’t the best way to talk, so I wanted to give you more than I think I did yesterday.
    You loved me, and I did not in return.
    Everything else below is just an amplification of that fact, but I want to take the time to get my words and meanings out of my head and in front of you. Its easier to do this way than over the phone, and I found a few moments today to get my head clear so I could be clearer with you.
    Some yes and no’s first.
    Yes, I am saying I do not think we should see each other.
    No, this does not have to do with any other person. This is a choice I’ve been struggling with for a while.
    Yes, I have been on a been on dates other people.
    No, I have not been intimate with any other person since I met you.
    Yes, I like and respect you, and yes you are entirely able to disagree with me on that point.
    No, I do not love you.
    Yes, this is something I’ve been struggling with.
    No, this is not as a result of anything you did, or did not do. This is an debate, and issue, internal to me.
    It has been increasingly obvious to me you did, very much, love me. In many, many ways we fit very well. But, and there is always a but in this kind of email, as you wanted more of me, I didn’t in return. If anything, the closer you wanted to be to me, the less close I wanted to be. I saw you needing and wanting more, and I saw my reaction to it and how much I did not meet your needs. At the same time, a feeling that something was wrong was plaguing me.
    Over the last few weeks that feeling got worse. It was easier not to voice it, both because it would hurt you and because I did not understand it. I wasn’t reacting to you the way I should, and I didn’t know why.

    A few random examples: You wanted time with me, a totally normal thing to want with somebody you are dating. Sometimes this was awesome, but sometimes it felt like an obligation. I didn’t post (or even take) photos of us on our trip. We’ve been dating for six months and when my parents come to town I did not invite you over.
    None of that is right. I realized that if I didn’t start listening to that little voice I was in mortal danger of doing three things I swore to myself not to do:
    1. I was in a relationship with the wrong woman for a decade because I failed to listen to my inner voice and feelings, and instead did what I chose instead of what I felt. I swore to myself I would never do that again, and here I was starting to do it again.
    2. My ex was that unavailable, retreating, sometimes available sometimes not person that I was being, and I swore to myself I would never ever become my ex.
    3. I was not meeting your needs, and I was not being very clear on why and where I was, and so was being cruel to somebody I respect. You deserve a relationship with someone who fully returns the love, attraction, and trust you give them, and I wasn’t doing it, and I know how much that hurts.
    I’ve been, obviously, getting a lot more busy and stressed at work with the new job. You’ve seen it, and you reached out to me to see me and care for me because that’s what a person who cares for another person does. Me? I retreated instead of accepting your caring. That isn’t right. A symptom of a right relationship is when hurt or stressed or scared one partner reaches out to the other and by doing so gives calm and energy and solace, not how I was feeling despite what you were doing.
    So that’s where I was when you called yesterday. Knowing it wasn’t right, I wasn’t right with myself or you, which means we were not right. I know from hard experience if you are not right, it is must easier (and far worse) to stay not right that do the right thing and change your relationship. I know from being on the other side of this that it hurts, and I really don’t like or want to hurt you but I believe a greater hurt is not to stop this.
    I apologize for the call yesterday, I was hoping to see you for lunch and talk to you instead of having a phone conversation, but when you asked I wasn’t going to lie to you.
    I hope this gives you more insight into what is happening, where I am, and why. I hope this, at least after a while, hurts less than just leaving it where it was yesterday.”

    I HATE HIM soooo much. He really really is not that special.

    • Demke says:

      Jeez… with the “yes’s” and “no’s”.

      That email that he sent to you, was to make himself feel better about it, that’s it.

      And I don’t know why he had to go on..and on.. and on… my goodness. He could’ve explained that in three sentences, lol.

      Overall… I wouldn’t exactly go so far as to call him a ‘total’ jerk, because even though he wrote all of that to ease his guilt, he was right. In a nutshell, You do deserve so much better and someone who reciprocates, and cares and respects you.

      However, he wasn’t totally being honest, he contradicted himself… how it had nothing to do with anyone else.. but yet, he admitted dating other people?? Umm.. I believe that was in fact a contradiction and a straight-up lie.

      If that were me.. I’d email him back and say, ‘wow, thank you. I respect your honesty. And I agree with you 100%. I do deserve soo much better. Take care :).

      Sounds like he really didn’t want to be an ahole the entire time, but he just couldn’t help himself. lol. That’s pathetic. Seriously, not worth your tears, my dear. Oh.. and let’s not forget.. he’s totally unavailable. Blaming his ex, blah..blah… man up already. He makes excuses, blames, and takes no real responsibility. If he can recognize how he’s been feeling with the last relationship, and with you, he needs to also realize how far his head is up his arse as well, and not date other people until he sorts out his issues. But he won’t. He’ll go on to the next and mess that up to.

      I wouldn’t waste to much thought-energy on this one… not worth it.

  54. araja says:

    Oh and All this “I not good enough for you” BS came after he met the red head. Convenient EPIPAMY!!!!

    • Grizelda says:

      Oh Araja, I could hardly read that. The lies, the manipulation, the selfish justifications. The pretence that he’s in no way at fault and he just turned around one day and… something dawned on him. And oh, the sudden epiphany did make him swoon like a sensitive princeling.

      His inner voice? His hurt? He didn’t know why? He was in mortal danger?

      Pathetic slime. All of it.

      Why didn’t he keep it to a simple 17 words that actually told the truth? “I used you for sex until I found someone different and I don’t care about hurting you.”

      THIS, ladies, is why we have NC!

    • Little Star says:

      Araja, thank you for sharing with us…WHAT a p””” of s””” he is! WOW, I cant believe it! IF I received letter like this, I would just said to AC: “GET over yourself loser, you are not that special!” Glad that you not in contact with him, you are lovely person, eventually you will meet a guy who will love and respect you:-)

      • araja says:

        Thanks Ladies: The bit that killed me the most was the fact that he basically putting the blame of break up on ME. I loved him and in return he threw me over the cliff……

        I read this mail as “I’m breaking up and cheating on you because you loved me too much.” WTF!

        I can’t believe that I cried over this man for months. I internalized his behavior and put myself through hell until I found and started reading BR. BR, NML and you ladies did save my life. I could not eat, sleep and my family was concerned over my mental state. I lost 30Lbs in a month and I was 140lbs to start off with.

        I no longer cry over him…I no longer want him physically, emotionally or in any manner. My emotions have changed from sadness to anger. I want to see him hurt. I want KARMA to catch up with him….Hence when I hear of ladies talk about their ex-AC getting dumped, I’m happy for them. I want Karma to catch-up with all these douche bags.

        Griz: He has always been (and will be) selfish. This is the man who looked me in the eye and told me he LOVED me. He knew from month 1 I was in love with him. The day he told me he loved me was the day it’s started to fall apart in my view. He is terrified and incapable of true love. He pushes women away when they get too close. He confused when “they always break up with me” happens. Well, buddy you are the common factor in this equation. The kicker line was when he told me verbally on the phone “I may regret breaking up with you in the future, but I don’t want to do this with you now. I’m not feeling it”.

        Hell yes, he’ll regret it.

        Little Star: That is exactly what I told him. “GET over yourself loser, you are not that special!”. I also told him that “I hoped for your sake that you learnt to recognize love one day and see what a beautiful thing it is” but warned him that it would be a cold day in hell when it would come from me. This is the reason I know he won’t come crawling back to me. He’ll move on to the next victim.

        Surprisingly after the whole debacle, I learnt the red head was his FBG. They apparently dated for a month last year around Oct-Nov while she was healing some wounds over being dumped by her then boyfriend while at the same time she was trying to get back with another ex-BF. She dumped my EX saying she did not know what she wanted in her life and was confused. Now she’s back (after some therapy) to see if she CAN MAKE IT WORK with him this time. She apparently felt she did not give HIM a fair chance.

        His reaction to her coming back was “I liked her a lot. I want to have a relationship with her”. WOW… Well she’s being treated like a princess now and still with him so I guess he knows how to behave himself when he puts his mind to it.

        The AC and the FBG. I wonder how that dysfunctional relationship works?? Hmm……

        Anyway, I wish I could wish them the best but I can’t. I want them to crash and burn…I want them both to her. Yes her too….However, I really don’t extend too much energy into thinking about them and focus more on myself but sometime when I see him/them I feel like salt is being rubbed again over a healing wound and it HURTS. NC RULES!!!!!!

  55. Lilia says:

    MrWriter:
    I agree with Awakened – have faith that things will get better. Sometimes you just need to let go, you know? Stop fighting your life as it is, stop looking for a new mate, date, stop thinking about it! A wonderful relationship isn´t something you can attain when you want it in the way that you want it, if it comes your way it will be in a way you´ve never imagined and at any given moment, not when you are looking for it.

    Even if you aren´t a believer, practice having faith and gratitude. I´m not a religious person but I got to some point in my life when I just couldn´t get out of the despair without accepting that maybe there is someone/some force out there protecting us and sending good things our way. I had to accept that maybe I don´t really know what I need – maybe things are as they are supposed to be.

    I truly think maintaining a spiritual approach to life makes it much easier to bear. My outlook has changed immensely since I learned to let go and I have much more joy in my life now. I just tell myself that yes it´s true I don´t have a significant other now but that there probably is a reason I haven´t met him and that some day I will and if I don´t, well that will be okay too.

    • Mymble says:

      Lilia
      I agree so very much with what you say.

    • shelah says:

      awesome response!! i needed that….

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Lilia… Yes, faith & gratitude. We only live once and I refuse to waste my life wondering about the what if’s. U have to believe in something. I pray everyday for god to lead me to where I need to be. I am so very blessed with many things and I am grateful for all of them.
      Yes, it would be nice to be in a fullfilling relationship with someone but for now I am enjoying all the freedoms that come with being alone. A year ago I struggled just getting thru my days after losing my mother & the end of my relationship with the commitmentphobic boyfriend simultaneously. I grieved both losses which wasnt easy but I am in a happy place in my life.

      • Lilia says:

        Kit-Kat, I´m so sorry for your loss… that is, of your mother, I suppose in the long run it´s best to lose a commitmentphobic boyfriend, right? But it must´ve been hard.
        There is this novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Missing Mom, about a woman who – in a nutshell – changes her relationship values after she loses her mother, I guess these sad experiences ultimately help us evolve. At least, in the best of cases. Hope that is your situation, hugs to you!

    • sushi says:

      Lillia, relieved to hear that, I think that`s the attitude to have.

  56. Sunny says:

    Hello everyone, I am in need of some advice. I have just found out my boyfriend is planning to meet up with another woman on one of his business trips next month. Yes, I looked through his emails which, if I. Honest, feel justified in doing. I have out myself through he’ll and back with this man. The usual, which you have all heard before of lies, broken promises, disappearing acts, communication with other women and now he s doing it again. How do I approach this? How do I tell him I went through his emails? Do I just disappear? Do I explain? How do I cope knowing he will be with this woman I’ve never heard of? I read this blog and bought the book for the last two years and as much as I’ve seen the patterns I’ve got no self esteem left so I’ve not been able to walk away. I want too, this is my chance. But how? This man has abused me physically, emotionally and in every other way possible just like my mother. How do I walk and not feel the pain….. Again..

    • araja says:

      Sunny:
      I’m sorry to tell you this (I really am trying to be kind here) but it will IT WILL HURT LIKE HELL when you walk away but you need to do it.
      Please WALK AWAY now if he’s physically hurting you. You are so much better than that.
      Go stay with a friend, family, anywhere you feel safe. You don’t have to mention the mail. It’s just one of many reasons you need to RUN AWAY from him NOW.

    • Fearless says:

      Sunny

      How many options do you think you have here? You can stay and suffer for the long haul or you can run away and then get over it and get better. You won’t feel better until you leave. Stop waiting to feel better while you’re in it. It won’t happen. You don’t need to say anything to him. Just walk away. Say nothing. Just cut him off. He’ll know why. You think he needs an explanation?! You don’t owe him one anyway, and he’s already wondering what the hell you’re still there for putting up with this crap. Flush him. And expect better in future. It’s allowed. Take charge of yourself.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sunny. Like you, I found thru looking at my EX’s email inbox that he was participating in an online dating site and meeting other women behind my back. He had left for work one morning & I sat down at his computer & his inbox was open and well thats how I found out. Got the password and read the emails he was sending back & forth. It made me so sick to my stomach. I also did not know how to approach the subject but I knew I had to do something. I knew the night he was meeting someone so I just waited to see what he would say or do. I was sobbing at the exact time I knew it was taking place. He called later & said he had worked late (lie) blah,blah.
      Long story short, I dated him a few more months (stupid), monitored his dating site mail ect. but it was always in the back of my mind. Then he met someone else at a bar one night while I was sitting at his place waiting for him.
      As he told me ,the connection with her was amazing from the moment she walked thru the door . Belch. I walked away then for good and I wil never look back. Went NO Contact immediatly against his wishes. U know he wanted to keep me in his back pocket in case it didnt work out.NO THANKS. Anyway, my advise to you is this. You can confront him now or you can confront him later but the end result is going to be the same. You will eventually have to be strong enough to walk away. He will not ever be faithful or give you the relationship you want. He just isnt capable. I read a book called “Men Who Cant Love” and it helped me alot to understand why some men cannot ever commit to one person or be faithful in a relationship. My ex cheated on his wife and I bought his reasons .I ignored alot of huge red flags due to my naive nature and always looking for the best in people.I had just come out of a long term marriage & trusted him with all my heart. I learned the hard way and caused myself more heartache & pain than I should have. Thank goodness I found Nat’s book and this site because I am not the women I was when I walked away. Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.

    • Demke says:

      Sunny- you know the deal by now with this pathetic excuse for a man. Why on earth would feel you’d have to “explain” or think about your “approach”?

      I could give you advice…and I’ve been in this exact situation, except I wasn’t living with him.

      I believe that things show up in front of us, literally… as ‘gifts/blessings in disguise’, you’ve obviously seen many displays of crap behavior (putting it nicely) by this AC, so it’s yet another “chance” and wake up call presenting itself to you.

      When we choose to be scared, and stay, and ignore these little ‘blessings’, it will just show up again until we finally ‘get it’.

      What on earth is so special about this ‘bleep’, that he has this much control over you?

      I would be quietly making other living arrangements. And when it was time to move all of my things out, I’d take the day off of work (without him knowing, of course) while he’s at work, and move my things. But before my final departure… I’d make sure I’d leave that email up in full view on the computer (oh, and I’d also send an email to the woman he’s meeting up with, about how the dirtbag used to have a live-in girlfriend, until, of course, you found out he was being a creep, again) so that when he came home and noticed the place a little ‘empty’, and saw what you left on the computer, there’d be no confusion. And, I’d block him from having any communication access to me. You don’t want to hear excuses or sobby sorry’s (or, he could blame you, and get mad which is total BS). I’d be done and never look back. But that’s me. You haven’t had good self-esteem since you’ve been dealing with his bad behavior, maybe you should get serious and try something different. Leave.

    • natashya says:

      sunny, you need to get OUT. he has already proven to be a useless AC who’s also abusing you. i get that you have no self esteem left and it is very hard. i got out of an abusive relationship once and it indeed leaves you broken and confused. but there is a way out.

      can you confide in a friend? arrange to stay with a friend for a while? your safety and sanity are more important than him getting an ‘explanation’.

      abusers don’t just stop abusing, unless – maybe – after they’ve sought out some heavy duty treatment. get out now, while you still can. and you CAN. *big hugs*

    • sushi says:

      Sunny, I would approach it by accepting how you feel about it – you want to leave. You have a confirmation of what he is and that he has not changed. I don`t think he deserves an explanation and matter of fact, it would be conterproductive. He sounds the sort that would just deny it, manipulate you and mess with your head and you might end up doubting yourself and stay for another round or even several of this. I have a t-shirt for that one. Just leave and go NC, I think that`s the only option, and the one that will hurt you the least.

    • Grizelda says:

      Put a lovely card into the post, addressed to him at his hotel. Do it two days before he leaves so that it arrives when he’s there. He’ll receive it and tear it open thinking it’s an “I miss you” card from the girlfriend he smirkingly duped.

      Ah! But it won’t be. It’ll be a card that tells him he’s dumped. That you know everything about his business trip. And that if he attempts to contact you ever again, you’ll report him to the police and get a restraining order put on him.

      Five’ll get you ten he reads that and suddenly has to rush to the bathroom.

      • Sunny says:

        Thank you everybody. I left without a word. I have been reading this site for two years now and it has helped me but I’ll be honest I’ve never been ready to follow the advice even though I knew I should have done. I was, as Natalie has said many times before, thinking I was the exception. It’s funny because the new post this evening relates so much to what I’m going through. It has stopped me from losing any more self respect. Thank you all. Really, thank you.

  57. swissmss says:

    I am so glad you revisited this, Nat. I moved three and a half hours’ drive from my MM. Yes, he did show up here, yes I caved in for a few hours and let him in, yes, I came to my senses and said no, I did not want to continue. I do miss the attention–the emails, texts and calls. He was skilled at making me feel part of his day-to-day life. Having lived many places, the sense of belonging was seductive.

    Then this morning I was out with old friends and they said, “You’ve always been charming and desirable. YOU are the one who is special, not him.” I was floored. Why didn’t I see myself this way before?

  58. Atrophy says:

    I will repeat this out loud to myself today until it sinks in.

    I started seeing my guy friend a few months ago and he was so affectionate and I thought he was equally into me. Then one day his roommate who didn’t know we had been involved blurted out that my guy had a girlfriend.

    When I confronted him he assured me he wasn’t with anyone else and that this girl was just a random he and fooled around with a while ago and he wasn’t interested. I decided to believe him.

    After I wanted more from him, he pulled the slow fade, went from hot to cold, wouldn’t call or make plans to hang and then just blew me off altogether. I distanced myself.

    However, last week he pulled me in close and I thought that maybe he just didn’t know how to go about things and did care and I was again hopeful. This week I saw him and found out that indeed he has been sleeping with that girl from the time he was originally with me.

    I feel so crushed and I keep telling myself that if didn’t value me enough to tell me truth then I shouldn’t care if we remain friends or not.

    He even said so himself, I’m just a regular guy, I don’t know why I’ve put him on a pedestal with a sad sign saying ‘pick me’.

    I feel pathetic for liking him as much as I do knowing that he comes with more baggage than anyone ever should. I am trying to avoid that Florence scenario. He had me fooled, I thought he was doing much better and ready to grow up.

    I realize now that this other girl is a distraction and on the same level as him (avoidance/booty call and that he’s still in love with his ex).

    I feel so weak, NC wouldn’t matter, we practically are already. I have liked him for such a long time, I feel used and like a nuisance if I bring it up to him again. It won’t change the outcome.

    I am incredibly heartbroken today.

    • grace says:

      Atrophy
      “NC wouldn’t matter, we practically are already”.
      You’re wrong. it would matter, and yes it would make a difference. If we could channel the energy we use to avoid NC to actually instigating NC, we’d all be a lot better off.
      Take it froms someone who “practially” instigated NC but didn’t go all the way, you could be stuck there for literally years.
      Cut him off completely and utterly.
      I cut them all off, the facebook, the emails, the text. Single best think I ever did.
      And now I got a new boyfriend and a good relationships which I wouldn’t have if I was “practically” NC with any of the exes. And even before the new boyfriend, I was way happier without these jerks in my life as a constant reminder of how bad things used to be.
      Nice is nice, affection is nice, but none of that points to integrity or character. Nice and affectionate isn’t that special on it’s own. Most people are nice, or can be for a certain number of hours a week or in certain environments. I’m sure Hitler was very affectionate to his dog and his girlfriend. Doesn’t make them relationship material or that special.

  59. Awakened says:

    @Sunny if he is physically abusing you; you already know the answer of what your next move should be and no its not to bring up the discussion that you went through his phone. Who cares who he’s getting ready to knock boots with on his next business trip!! Hopefully you will be packed(if you live together)and have exited by the time he makes it back. I would dissapear and he’s definitely not worth an explanation.

  60. Dave says:

    That first comment was exactly what I needed today. Very recently, I got out of what was kind of a shady relationship. It was more or less friends with benefits (not the smartest move, I know) and most of our communication was via email. I really liked her, and I thought I had a future with her, but every time I told her I wanted the relationship to be a bit more like regular dating, her answer was always no.
    Eventually, this came to a stop when I ended up meeting another girl at a wedding, and I asked her out. It was very hard for me to break the news to my now ex-(sort-of)girlfriend, but I think this might have been for the best. The new girl and I recently had a conversation where I opened up about a lot of my past mistakes, and even after that, she still told me she loved me. I told my ex I loved her several times, but she never once said it to me. I know it’s still very early, but I think this act speaks for itself.

  61. miskwa says:

    Rave
    Thanks for your good words. As was alluded to by Sushi, even in AC’s absence, the probability of finding a healthy partner here is slim. I do function independently quite well, even far better than most men but I’d really like a good partner again like I used to have. I want to be able to speak freely about environmental issues and against goddam mining with someone who loves and respects me. AC was the only person I could do this with; that’s a good part of my sadness, being silenced again. It’s the towns well deserved reputation as being trashy that keeps good, quality folks away. I will try for the Vt job, if it does not happen, it wasn’t meant to be. Yep, I have put a ton of effort into fixing this broken land, tried hard to fix this broken community and I have a number of special needs animals that no one wants, not to mention 32 chickens. They are as important as my happiness. Believe me, I sooo wish I could just kill my need for another, go emotionally numb till retirement. My primative lil brain thinks that HE oughta be the one that takes it in the shorts financially, has to be displaced and start over. I am not the one hurting people.

  62. Awakened says:

    @MRWriter yeah I have to agree with you. So many great points you can’t help but notice if you’ve witnessed it. My last encounter/date was with a guy who owned a huge a MAC computer but when our check arrives to the table on a dinner date he lets it sit there for a minute; waiter comes over to the table after when he thinks that he had enough time to slip his credit card in the black book. The waiter picks up the black book and the AC goes oh I hadn’t put my cc in there yet. The waiter goes ok i’ll give you guys a few seconds and come back. Waiter walks off and he jokingly says ok who wants to do the dishes? I was mortified. He was waiting to see if I was foot the bill. I had already paid for dinner on our first date the night before. Mistake #1. So I totally agree with what you are saying. Some guys (not all) now days are looking for a financial hookup; perks; benefits; 401K and a mortgage if you will be dumb enough to be Sign for one. Oh I was asked if I could buy him a house too after all of this so yes I can relate.

    • sushi says:

      Awakened,

      it`s just incredible how fast they “get” feeling intitled to a treatment that is too good…and they seem to develop a learning difficulty when you try to show/tell them your boundary.ugh…..

  63. Sarah says:

    6 months ago in the depths of despair and the worst feelings of rejection and desperation I googled “how to get over an ex”. It led me to BR and my life is forever changed. Nats words and the support of u wonderful ladies has forever changed my life.
    Thank you! For your advice,honesty,stories and support.
    Im sloooowly becoming a stronger woman everyday because of u guys and the work Im putting into loving myself.
    Hugs to everyone

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sarah. I can say Ditto to that . I am so much stronger everyday for the stories ,support,honesty I get from this site. It has been a godsend.

  64. Sophie Sun says:

    Hmmm…what a god-send Natalie’s work has become to me and all of her readers! I found her book and website when I truly needed an intervention. If you were to meet me, you’d wonder probably think I had my act together. I am a 52 year old grandma, 30 year teaching veteran, divorced for 3 years after 26 years of marriage. I have been dating my “soul-mate” for the past 3.5 years. We really do have similar values, likes/dislikes, and interests. He has become VERY important to me. I very cautiously told him I loved him after 1 year of dating. He broke up with me shortly afterwards. We reconciled within a week. Another year passed, he broke up with me again. One very long month passed and we reconciled again. I might have been 51 years old but I felt like I was going to die. It was devastating- much worse than my divorce. The past year has been wonderful- we spend every weekend together. We have so many common interests & compatibilities. However I am concerned because he has NEVER said he loves me during all this time & he makes no overtures about a future together. Should I push the envelope? I have been reading Natalie’s blog– such good information! Thanks for your consideration, Sophie

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sopie Sun, I can relate so well to your story. I am also 52. I have been divorced for 12 yrs now. Met the AC 2yrs after my divorce & thought I had hit the jackpot. He was everyting my ex-husband was not. Dated 9yrs which worked for both of us,raising kids as a single mom is tough,working full time ect. It just seemed to be a perfect set up for both of us. I thought we were happy. I was so wrong. Looking back I realize ALL the red flags I missed. He also would not say “I love you” back for a very long time but eventually he did.He would always respond with “your so special to me”.YUK..Anyway,I have learned over the past year about commitmentphobic men,AC’s and such. My ex’s name is on every page of Nat’s book. He cannot commit to anyone or anything long term.I see it so clear now.He was so good at keeping me at arms length, giving me just enough crumbs to give me hope. I was devastated when it ended. But I also know there was NO future with him. He just isn’t capable of having a committed long term relationship with anyone. It was so hard to go NC & let it go but I had too for my sanity. What is his past history w/relationships like ??

  65. Awakened says:

    Forgot to add @MrWriter I know that big ass MAC computer (which he probably didn’t pay full price for and bought it HOT off the street) was probably used to hook up with a slore of women from multiple online dating sites; to feed his Porn and online Gaming addiction. But he could barely pick up the check for dinner.

  66. vhs says:

    although I know I am making a bigger deal out of him than he is, although I know that he would never take any responsibility to his bad behaviour, of never making me a priority, of not knowing what loyalty is and ‘standing by your woman or man’ means, he called me many names and used so much reversed psychology on me it became ridiculous, WHY am I still doubting my own judgement? WHY do I still keep going forward and backwards on this, WHY do I still feel guilty even thinking of having an interest in somebody else, WHY am I still so upset when I think of him with anybody else, why can’t I shake this feeling of care and love for him?
    I get so mad and feel so powerless over my own misplaced attachment I have with this man.
    He never listened to me when I expressed concerns about our relationship or anything else really, just sat there, sometimes giving feedback but always making me feel like I was alone and lonely in my life, was always passive agressive and dripfeeded information thàt bad that after 3 years I really can’t tell how his friendships really are, with whom or how his former relationships have been. He sabotaged our relationship so bad by drinking too much and going out without me, being selfish and closed up, telling me I didn’t love him enough, he didn’t feel appreciated, I should be glad for him not cheating on me after not having sex for weeks instead of getting angry at him for staying out until morning with 3 other women friends of mine and doing drugs (not my friends anymore..) and all I can think sometimes is: why am I the bad guy here? Because that’s how it ended, with me being the *b*tch* and all kind of swear words because I called him on his behaviour for the ‘nth time and said I néver wanted to have anything to do with him no more.
    Why do I still care what he thinks of me?

    I can’t get past that, I try and I have succeeded to make my life sooo much richer than it was before, still, this aching emptyness and vacuum he left is so overwhelming sometimes.

    • natashya says:

      vhs, your heart just needs to catch up with your head. it will get there.

      it’s been 6 weeks for me now and this morning i had a big crying spell again. i miss him in my heart, but i also know he was not good for me. he didn’t treat me with the respect and care i deserve. and yet… an entire morning has gone by and i’m still shaky. can’t get anything done. then i get mad at myself for giving away my power to an EUM who strung me along, while he was still in love with his ex. my heart has started to catch up with my head. it just isn’t there yet. and it’s the same for you. don’t beat yourself up over this. it takes time.

      • vhs says:

        hi Natashya,
        thanks for your reply, I know when I read it, you’re right. It’s been 3 months of NC now and I have no trouble not reaching out.
        But I wish I could truely feel he’s the AC he really is, when I make a list of things that happened (even or mostly just the bear facts) I can see the inconsistencies and yet still part of me wants to believe or has doubts that he was lying about things when so many things just didn’t add up. (when somebody dripfeeds information that bad in a way you’ll never catch up with the reality of what you’ve left behind it makes your mind -well mine at least- do a subconscious CSI every other day…)
        I have to let go, but letting go of an investment you’ve put all your energy in, I guess that’s the hardest part. I know, it takes time…

  67. Tired says:

    in: hello not been on here for a week or to. but somthing as happened which has thrown me off guard completely . MM left his wife and returned home to his parents and his wife has found out about the new ow . i have remained nc. i have no intention of being the hareem that blows smoke up his bum. And yes i have no right to feel devestated like the wife but i do.

    • tired says:

      any help to get me through this would help .

      • grace says:

        tired
        what are you devastated about? and how do you know about this?

        • Victorious says:

          Tired, well done for staying NC. It must be really hard for you but DO NOT CONTACT HIM! Just think how awful this must be for his “real” family. That was never you (sorry) and you never will be. You will never be anything other than a fallback option when all other options have been exhausted. You know how that made you feel and you are getting stronger. This is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Be glad you are out of it.

  68. Aboutme says:

    I believe that on some level, Tired wanted the fairy tale, the happy-ending but not necessarily the man. Tired,

    Trust me, you are not missing out on anything, dont be devasted. Recently, a man who cheated on me almost twenty years ago return to my life to tell me that he really wants me. He is now getting a divorce because he repeatedly cheated on his wife.

    Don’t think that these women are getting the prize, think of it this way “you just dodged a bullet”

    Btw, I blocked my ex number, I am moving forward, I guess he thought that I was his fallback girl. Because as these men age, they don’t want to put forth the effort , time and money to meet someone new. So they start reaching back into the past…it’s easier. Men love convenience, i.e. the nanny, housekeeper, secretary…. so, don’t be surprised when he returns 5, 10′ 20 years later

  69. gentle soul says:

    I have been enjoying reading all the comments as well as the articles for a couple of months now. I recently broke up with my EUM of 3 years. I wanted to get married at some point and at least have confirmation of some sort of plan for a future together but he could not commit at all. He was uncertain of what to do with his life including working and where to live (he is from overseas and is thinking of going home after a number of years). He acknowledged that he could not be the man that I needed him to be and said that he is the one who was “f’d up” and needed to sort his life out.I was not strong enough to do NC so did a gradual fade out which worked better for me as he is also a friend. This is where it gets tricky.

    I read some peoples EUM and AC experiences and think my EUM was not nearly as bad as that. Infact I still think he is a really nice person but just EU. This is what makes it even harder as we are still friends and get on well. How do you get over someone that is difficult to villainise?

    • grace says:

      gentle
      You don’t have to villainise him but realise that having him in your life is holding you back. Are you going to continue to be friends with him until he leaves the country or meets someone new? If you would be genuinely happy for him to marry someone else (or at leat 80% happy) knock yourself out. Otherwise the friendship is too inequitable. it doesn’t make either of you a bad person. Most people, good, bad or indifferent don’t remain friends with all their exes.
      And many people marry someone from another country. Most countries have laws and systems (green card etc) to facilitate that. So that’s a red herring. He’s your bog standard nice commitment phobic bloke, not that special that you should be his friend until a) he moves on or b) you can’t stand it anymore.

      • natashya says:

        i agree with grace. my ex EUM was not quite an AC, just EU as well. i tried the friends thing and it hurt me even more. i found myself bargaining and hoping we’d get back together even though in my head i knew it wasn’t going to happen. it’s torture. we were traveling together when we broke up and remained ‘friends’ for another month. then i flew home. i had to.

        i am NC now. not because he’s a jerk, but because it upsets me to be in contact with him. once i’ve given all my feelings a proper place, maybe we can be friends. or maybe we’ll find that we have nothing left in common. we’ll see.

  70. k says:

    One of the things that stands out here in some of these posts that seems to be a running theme: “He was still in love with his ex and…”

    Um, noooooooooooo, a man who is still in love with his ex, doesn’t go booty calling other women…

    At least not a man that ISN’T an asshat.

    These men do not know how to “love” in any real sense of the word. People who are not over their past relationships, HEALTHY people, STAY OUT until they are over it and heal.

    Men are capable of this too. Maybe not very many, but I guarantee you, these men were not acting in respect for you, nor for their ex’s they’re still apparently in love with. See how ridiculous this is?

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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