I've been in a monogamous relationship with myself for the past 9 years

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about life, is that despite how much we may want something and know in theory how good committing to that something might be for our lives and wellbeing, we can still end up backtracking on doing the necessaries to make it happen. We may recognise that we’ve been accepting crumbs, or that a situation is toxic, or that we’ve not been stepping up for and representing our own needs, expectations, wishes, feelings, and opinions, and then feel temporarily galvanised to do something about it. We make some decisions and initial changes with gusto, possibly make some big announcements, and then next thing you know, we’re back up to our old habits.

The reason why we undermine our own efforts is fear.

While fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat, that doesn’t mean that the fact that we feel afraid is representative of the existence of an actual danger or that what we’re being and doing is wrong. We feel afraid when we have to get out of our comfort zone, even though that comfort zone may actually be an uncomfortable ‘comfort’ zone and the unfamiliar that we’re stepping into could actually hold something so much more befitting of us.

Sometimes we are our own threat and we use the fact that we experience discomfort at having to break habits, at having to get closer to ourselves and learn and grow, as an indicator that there must be something ‘wrong’ with our choice.

Our feelings are instinctive responses, as in, they happen without reasoning and knowledge – it is up to us to listen to ourselves and to be willing to reflect, and to also get a sense of what is going on outside of us, so that the reasoning and knowledge can be provided. Feelings aren’t facts.

We must distinguish between real and imagined threats. It’s the whole internal versus external fear thang.

It’s also important to note that instincts rely heavily on intuition and instincts get out of whack when we habitually ignore ourselves and rely too much on external validation and dodgy assumptions. This is why it’s important to build a relationship with us before we devote a significant amount of energy to trying to build a relationship with someone else, because if we don’t, we will get into relationships for the wrong reasons and possibly with the wrong people, which will only take us even further away from our true selves and have the undesired side effect of pain, which will only exacerbate the fear.

We fear stepping up for ourselves and treating and regarding us with love, care, trust, and respect, because when we commit to doing this, we’ll have to do it tomorrow and going forward, and when that reality sets in, it can be damn scary. What, you mean that by owning my own and taking command of my life, I can’t keep living in the past and avoiding my feelings and responsibilities? Feck that!

When we make these big decisions, we’re declaring both inwardly and outwardly that we’re worthy and that we’re going to step up.

At first we feel quite bolstered by these declarations, and then as a reality sets in and we realise that if we’re going to respect ourselves and have some healthy boundaries today by telling, for instance, someone who takes advantage of or abuses us to jog on, that in theory, we’re declaring that we are now going to be someone who is going to have boundaries in 3 days, 7 days, a few months, a year and so forth. We fear that not only will someone confuse us in the future about our decision and inherent declaration (and we then fear that we may not be able to handle it at that time), but we also realise that we’re essentially agreeing to basically do this whole being a person who treats and regards themselves in a half-decent manner gig, for good. That right there is a commitment.

This is scary when we have beliefs that decent people are hard to come by and that it’s ‘tough’ to have boundaries in this world and basically tough to have self-esteem. We all find it easier to focus on stuff that’s outside of our control than we do to focus on what is largely within our control – us.

If we think that we don’t have the advantages, background, strength, time, or even ‘blemish-free’ existence that we bullshit ourselves into believing that we need to have before we can stand a cat’s hope in hell of seeing this through, the fear will creep in and we’ll let this override the very good reasons and evidence that we have to support the fact that we need to make changes. We self-sabotage. We tell ourselves that we’re not good enough and then we slide back into the pit of discomfort that comes with the territory of going against ourselves and then feel even worse.
The thing is, we can’t really go around making decisions about how decently we can treat ourselves on the basis that someone might say or do something one day that we might not like.  That’s gonna happen anyway, good self-esteem or not, the difference being that if we treat ourselves as worthwhile and valuable people, these incidences aren’t going to break us. If we made all of our decisions on what somebody might do one day, we wouldn’t do anything, and yet we self-sabotage and let fear rule, because truth be told, we’re worried that people or even a specific someone, will think that we’re uppity or even fraudulent for staking a claim in our life and not only deciding to know our own line, but to live and act like it too. We think we’re laying ourselves open to criticism and conflict. We’re also making decisions on the basis of how we are right now in this particular moment, without accounting for the fact that if we truly commit, we’ll put in the efforts to help us show up as that person in the future, which means we’ll be far more empowered and more knowledgeable. I've been single for a whole and I have to say, it's going very well. Like... it's working out. I think I'm the one. It’s why I stress the importance of taking a dating hiatus when you’ve had a run of dodgy relationships and experiences, because if you truly throw yourself into knowing you and treating you with the love, care, trust, and respect that you not only deserve but have been running around trying to get others to do without having your own back, you will not balk at the business of being you when people don’t say and do as you would like and expect. You won’t date or enter into relationships playing a temporary role of Guy/Girl Who Has Decided To Have Some Boundaries and then the moment you feel horny, lusty, hopeful, desperate, excited, doubtful or scared (the new seven dwarfs…), back out of your commitment, because this is what so many people do who undermine their own efforts to like and love themselves, with fear. When you have your own commitment, you’ll recognise and appreciate these traits in others and will not sell yourself short on other people’s intentions, or even your own. Big squeezy hugs from me,Nat xxx

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243 Responses to We self-sabotage our efforts to do better by us, because we’re afraid

  1. Kay says:

    Love it! Right on point… so needed this confirmation!!! THANK YOU!!!

  2. cherry McGee says:

    You always say what I need to hear at exactly the right time. Thank you!

  3. Lisa says:

    I needed that! I have been in and out of dodgy relationships. I have compromised a little of who I am in each one. I actually went on a date with a “nice guy” this weekend. He’s employed, has custody of his children, complimented my eyes and not my arse. So – my initial thought were ugh – he’s boring! No! I told myself I was not getting anywhere with the hot exciting assclowns I have been seeing. A nice man who will teat me with the respect I deserve is just what I need! So I agreed to a second date. I was always so worried about him liking me. This time I am making sure I like him and that he is good for me – not just my urges!

  4. Brandy says:

    And this is where I’m at. I’m looking around and rooting out all those other relationships/friendships I have with others looking at everything and deciding what I’m putting up with or not going to, including how I behave. It’s tough to break old habits – but with being honest and thinking through feelings – sometimes it takes a while, but you get there. Whether its a conversation with someone and it takes you a day or 3 days to work it out what they really said and what you feel – you get there. And once you get going, it gets easier. Take NC for example, working on self-confidence also takes effect here- so that if an ex tries something on you, you are more aware of you, your worth, and what you expect/how you’ve been treated. Its easier to ignore them/tell them to take a jump. One last thing, in those moments of weakness – think on what you value about you and whether you want to give that up and likely get burned by the same AC-ways.

  5. Sparkle says:

    Awesome topic. Setting boundaries, self love, respect. Its such hard work, but worth it. I have been NC for 9 months. The exAC Narc is hoovering with lazy texts and pics. Things didnt work out with his new supply. Oh well, thats karma for you. I just ignore and no interest in his BS. My focus is on recovery and a better life.

    • HappyAgain says:

      Sparkle,
      My ex showed up at my house this week after 4 months NC. Last time I talked to him was Nov and after that conversation there was no way in hell I would ever contact him no matter what. He showed up telling me to open the door. I said no and after a minute he left. I watched him drive away and felt so much anxiety just from having seen him because really he doesn’t mean me good. I was mad he came because why bother me I’m not bothering you. Just leave me alone. I spent the next few days really feeling anxiety like I did when I was with him. I wrote alot about it and am feeling relieved finally. What is it about them that they come back? Why not just leave you alone? He crazy made me for months, years, broke me apart. I said to myself he was just seeing if the door was open (literally and figuratively lol) but I want peace. He was very mean to me the last time we spoke and obviously didn’t feel bad as its been four months. I also dont have time for his bs and I thought the same as you he has an issue w new supply and he probably drove to another house when he left mine. I am having my own back and that is definitely better than a bunch of fantasy and bs.

      • kayakgirl says:

        Omg, Happy! This is almost verbatim what happened to me when that jerk bus driver knocked on my door in January, after a year and a month no contact. I did exactly what you did, and felt exactly what you felt. Luckily I didn’t talk to him at all, just stood there in the cold while he knocked for over 5 minutes. Desperate much??? I did have a minor relapse afterward, when all those emotions came flooding back. But, it only lasted a month as opposed to nine. LOL And, I was sooooo right in ignoring him because I unblocked his Facebook out of curiosity, to see what was up, and sure enough the woman he’s living with was out of town. And not only that, barely a day and a half after knocking on my door he’s lovebombing her all over the place. If I had let him in and allowed him to feed me more bs, all the progress I’ve made this last year would have flown out the window. I would have seen that lovebombing (even though it’s all cake eating and manipulation to keep her and her house) and it would have broken my heart all over again. Now, if jackass decides to come back and try again, I can tell him what for, hopefully in a calm voice. He’s one of these jerks that can’t seem to take no for an answer; the sense of entitlement is off the charts. I’m praying that he doesn’t come back or if he does, I’ll either not be at home or inside so I can ignore him again. It’s not that I’m afraid of confrontation, I’m just uncomfortable confronting him because I know who and what he is, especially if he senses any consequences coming down the line and karma peeking around the corner. Hey, his guilt ain’t my problem. I believe he got involved with this current woman 13 years ago for exactly the reasons Nat stated in her post, and it’s very toxic. Too effing bad. To give you an example: Before I blocked everything on Facebook to move on, I saw that this woman had major surgery on her foot, and not 3 weeks later jackass made her go with him to an American football game, on hard seats, for almost 4 hours in very cold temperatures. She had said it was very painful but she was glad he made her go. But yet he lovebombs her???? wtf???? Stand up for yourself, darlin’! All he had to do, if he was a good man, was either go by himself OR, and I think this one is best, stay home and take care of her and watch the stupid game on TV. God, what a mess. I’m so thankful I don’t have to put up with that kind of abuse.

        Keep on keeping on, Happy! We can do this!

        • HappyAgain says:

          Kayakgirl,

          I dont know their deal and all I want is peace so I wont engage because I learned its short lived if i do as its all on his terms. I wish you the best and yes keep on keepin on. ;-) me too!!!!!! :-)

        • HappyAgain says:

          Well Kayakgirl, speaking of it guess who showed up again. I really truly do not get y other than testing you know but I guess I wont really ever understand via my own experience because I just would leave him or whoever alone. I dont feel anxious this time so thats good. I am just ready for no more visits because im going on with my life. Hopefully now he wont come again.

      • Sparkle says:

        Happy Again, good for you. No need to return to the drama. They dont change. And, you are right that he was certainly looking for comfort, a warm, familiar place. Showing up at your door is stalking. After all those months, he probably is low on supply and hoovering.

        I would rather be alone forever than return to abuse. If the exAC Narc shows up at my door, I will call the police. Hes damaged my car 3x and I am done with him.

        • HappyAgain says:

          Thank you for your words Sparkle. If you read my response to kayakgirl yesterday he showed up again. I dont get it but I dont have to. I dont want drama and being involved w that man brought a sadness to my eyes soooo that means no more! Crumbs dont seem like a loaf when we are treating ourselves well. I think it is a game for them but he’ll find a new victim because im happy without him. I hope ur ex leaves u alone too and stays away from ur car. He must be crazy. Have a good day!

  6. Selkie says:

    This post was a good reminder to stay true and on track. I think back to the mistakes I made in the past and wonder who the heck I was and what WAS I thinking!? Life is far better on this side of things. I am open to dating again with a positive attitude, but would still rather be alone than go back to who I used to be in terms of boundaries and self esteem. I do get a little hung up on the fact that I run into lots of toads though. I know decent men are out there, but where the heck are they? I’m not in a hurry to hook up with anyone, but it makes me wonder sometimes if I have the words ‘discount’ or ‘not very picky’ written on my forehead given the types who approach me. Still, I am optimistic.

  7. HappyAgain says:

    Thank you for this and everything else Natalie. I appreciate you and all I’ve learned while reading your website over the last year +.

  8. Wendy says:

    Amazing Nat! This is EXACTLY where I’m at in my life…I’ve been reflecting a lot on my most recent failed relationship (as I am now 27 days NC) and I’m beginning to discover that if I loved myself, I would have ended it A LOT sooner! I took a ME day today and went to an organic grocer that I’ve been meaning to go check out in forever and I had a great time with myself! Where I’m at now in 27 days NC is that I find myself still anxious if my ex and I do cross paths (being we live so close to one another), since my heart has a lot more healing to do. That’ll be the day when I cross paths with him and there’s no fear because I’ll finally have stronger boundaries in place! :)

  9. Rewind says:

    What an awesome article. I go over and over with thoughts of why I am so fearful. I’m slowly getting there, but I am damaged. Thanks for showing me that I can do this!

  10. Suki says:

    I think this is the best post from NL that I’ve read. The idea of committing to yourself and also why that is scary is really true. I’m afraid because even though I have made many changes in my life, many positive changes, the feeling of scarcity, the fear that it will go away, the hesitation in fully trusting myself that I will get through whatever is thrown my way, continues. And thats a really interesting thought too – that just as SOs let me down, that I was craving and demanding validation from a person that wouldn’t even have made me a cup of tea if I needed it, I also constantly let myself down by continuing in that relationship, by continuing to let myself be out of control etc. I knew in those dark days that some of what I was doing was avoiding responsibility for my own life, happiness etc. It was not laziness, but it was abdication. I need to think about this some more.

    • FX says:

      I definitely needed this NML post (as in 30 years ago LOL) and I so “like” and relate to your comment Suki.

  11. andie4 says:

    its uncanny how you write just what I needed to hear. Ive been in self sabbotage mode this evening about work this time as im having relationship break after a long line of aclowns and unavailables. the im not good enough negative self talk sizzle really needs to go..thanks for reminding me Natalie you give me hope :)

  12. Tinkerbell says:

    Thanks, Natalie.

    I need to read this repeatedly because your message is really ringing a bell in my life right now. Even though I think I’ve gotten myself pretty much together in comparison the where I was when I first got here. I can see now that a few of my behaviors have been caused by fear. I say I want a deep, close loving relationship with a man, but when I have it I’m doing things to mess it up. Now, I may have done that. I think I revealed too much about myself and now he may be ready to run. I’ve told him about being careless with the way I handle money, overdrew my bank account and asked to borrow a few dollars from him. Then, because I became very despondent over my daughter’s financial situation, have been sending her money which I cannot even afford, I asked him for a “break” of a few days didn’t say when I’d contact him but didn’t want to talk with him for awhile. Now, he’s angry and won’t engage with me. Looking back, I know I was not completely honest with him. The truth is that I started to feel burdened by so much attentiveness. Isn’t that crazy? How can a person believe with all their heart and soul that they want certain qualities in a relationship and then when they get it they’re ready to back off. I’m wondering if the fact that I had the OW experience and was able to settle for that for a time, and now my dear “Mr. Special” is not living that close to me, if these factors add up to my being EU. I know I am TERRIBLY afraid of getting hurt, having my heart broken and this behavior may be a way of avoiding any future pain. This is not any fun for me at all. AND, I’m too proud to try to have a talk with him because he has made it clear that I need to leave HIM alone now until HE is ready to engage with me again. I don’t know if it’s his male ego that I’ve bruised? He may be feeling that “What would you be so upset and depressed over your daughter that you don’t want to talk to me?” Being a man, that probably doesn’t make a bit of sense to him and that it’s just an excuse to break away from him for awhile. The sorry fact is THAT is actually the truth. Although, I was upset over my daughter and how her life and that of my grandchildren’s lives are not going very well, that was not the real reason I wanted time off. I just didn’t want to talk to him so much and needed to “rest” my mind. I’ve said before that he is such a positive person and sometimes I get worried about bringing him down with my negativity and lack of faith. I feel this is not fair to him and that he shouldn’t have to deal with my having problems, only when I’m happy and gay and laughing. I know in reality that doesn’t even make sense because nobody is like that all the time. Anyway, I’m hoping this is not the end of US, because if it is it will be HIS doing, not mine. I think I have shown sooo much loving care and if he doesn’t know that by now, that’s his problem.

    So, I’m wondering if any of you have been in this situation in the past, or currently and what do you do about it? I’ve called him once and he flipped me off. He wouldn’t even express why he was angry but instead when I asked him if he was angry (I could tell by his tone of voice)he said, sarcastically,”Why would I be angry?” I think he’s not even fighting fair because he’s not giving us a chance to TALK. Any feedback would help. Should I make the first move AGAIN? Or wait him out? Tomorrow will be 6 days, which of course, seems much longer.

    • HappyAgain says:

      Tinkerbell,

      My opinion is…If you explained things to him and now he said give him time I would say give it to him and you’ll hear from him. You were honest about what you explained, so what more can you do now? You have a lot of good insight and positive insight into the experiences you’ve been having w this man (from past comments you’ve made). This is just one of those kind of days. I’m sure you will be alright. I read your words all of the time so I know you will be. It will all clear up and you will feel more peace. Vulnerability is scary but your attempting it continously with him (being honest about your needs, asking for help, explaining an issue you’re self conscious about). That’s being available, you’re being available, though it isn’t easy. I wish you the best. :-)

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Forgot to mention–I had requested the “break” in an email which probably wasn’t the best idea. A couple days later, not having heard anything, I called to ask if he had read it. He said, “I read it”, abruptly and didn’t offer any more comment so I quickly got off the phone. When I called the next day, I got his voicemail so I left a message for him to “Please call me.” He has not called. So, this is why I feel that he should call me instead of my calling again, since I’m the one who asked for the break, maybe he feels he’s giving me what I wanted and I should call when I am ready to talk. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to beg, but then maybe he was happy with all the phone communication and I abruptly requested to cut it off.

      • HappyAgain says:

        Aww the email probably caused the confusion. It would have been better in person or over the phone. I would apologize / clarify that situation if you haven’t verbally and then the ball is in his court. Be blessed.

      • Nat Attack says:

        Tinkerbell,
        It seems like he understands that you want to talk to him, but he’s not ready to talk. I don’t know, from my experience, dragging someone into a conversation never helps, even if it should happen. They need to reciprocate. You can’t do all the work… Seems like he’ll call when he’s ready and you can go from there. Who knows, by the time that rolls around, you may have gained more perspective on the whole situation that will be valuable for you…

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Nat attack,

          Thanks for your input. I feel as you do that not much is gained when you have to drag a person into a convo. But then, you know men (even good ones) tend to feel a bit uncomfortable discussing deep feelings which revolve around the progression of the relationship. That’s one of the reasons we have problems with them– the ego and reluctance to be vulnerable. Thanks!

      • RP says:

        Hi Tinkerbell,

        I can relate to your situation. I met a great guy 6 months ago after 1 year of NC with the AC ex. I am totally over the AC, and have no interest even discussing him anymore. After the year of strict NC and getting on with my life and passions, I definitely found myself in a better place to have a healthy relationship in the sense that I was no longer attracted to wankers. However, my self-esteem is still pretty low. My “plan” was to become a researcher and even though I got the PhD, I am nowhere close to good enough (too few publications) to get a postdoc at a university in Europe. Even worse yet, I am not able to get ANY job given my eclectic background (I studied animal behaviour and feminist perspectives). I am not even offered interviews when applying for secretary or customer service positions. So basically, in my mid-thirties I am living with my parents (another problem topic!) and working with my dad so I can at least pay my bills and put petrol in my car. I feel like such a failure and am so full of negativity that I worry it is putting a strain on my relationship. My boyfriend is always trying to encourage me and support me and sometimes I find myself letting out my anger and frustration on him, which is a bit crap. When I was with the AC it was all about his problems and Me having to put in all the effort (and admittedly at the expense of my career). My number one mission in life was to get the AC to value and respect me, but now that I have a real man in my life, it is like, oh crap, I have other problems too! Have to stop acting like a 6 year-old and deal with them..

        I am probably not the best person to offer advice and I don’t really know much about the guy you are with. It may be that you are not ready for a relationship at this point, or more likely, you are ready (we don’t have to be perfect to be ready for a relationship!) but struggling a bit get used to something that must feel quite different, especially when we are used to the AC dynamic. From my experience, if someone really loves you then they will be wanting to stick with you even if you are going through a hard patch and may act like a bit of a drag sometimes. I revealed a lot of my past “errors” to my current boyfriend and not once did he judge or devalue me for them. In the end, he lives his life and makes/made his mistakes too.

        If I am honest, then writing him an email requesting some space may seem slightly EU. If you had spoken on the phone then maybe you could have discussed your fears/concerns with him, making him feel more like a part of your life. I think decent men want to feel like they can support and help you if you are feeling down. Maybe cutting him off makes him feel like he is not good enough to help you out? Remember how ACs run as soon as you have some problems of your own but are happy to use up all your energy when it comes to fixing theirs.

        However, If the guy is really IN then I am sure he will give you a call soon, seems a bit drastic of him to disappear for good after one slight hiccup, if he does, then like you said, it is his problem not yours. Definitely do not beg!
        Hugs!

        • Tinkerbell says:

          I called him tonight. Got only voicemail. Now, I am pissed off because he is not making himself available so that I can even talk to him. I wanted to MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to speak to him in the morning, but I couldn’t even do that. I just left us a message that I’d like us to talk because “being in limbo is the worst.” I don’t think he wants to end things, but if he does just because he’s angry and confused that I asked for some space, then he couldn’t have been that much into me in the first place. Now, I the one who’s angry and I wasn’t before. I don’t think it’s helpful for us not to communicate for a long period because that just makes it easier to continue in that vein, without each other. I really messed up by sending the email. As much talking as we do over the phone I could have told him and given him a chance to respond. Oh well, no point in beating myself up over what’s already done.

      • Sandy says:

        Tink,

        You tell him you want a break then try to talk to him, his confusion is understandable. If you gave no reason at all why you wanted the break even though things were going well then his confusion and hurt are even more understandable…I think you need to think about what it is you are wanting out of this relationship, you don’t need to spend every day with him, if you are like me then you require a bit of space every now and then.
        You also should be able to show him the real you without the anxiety of him not accepting it.

      • Feistywoman says:

        Men generally don’t like and don’t deal well with being dumped so tend to throw their toys out of the pram so to speak. He’s probably sitting with a smug grin on his face because you’ve been trying to contact him and this is his way of punishing you. In addition he likely thinks you don’t know what you want and your behaviour has been contrary to what you said you wanted in the e-mail. Retain your dignity and go NC then after time he’ll be wondering what you are doing and come out of his cave. Then it is up to you to decide if he is worth it.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Feisty,

          I agree with every word. I will not contact anymore. I’m being punished for “dumping him” so now he’s giving me a dose of my own medicine. But, I know he’ll be back. It’s the depth of his feelings for me that I really wonder about, at this point.

          • Allison says:

            Tink,

            I don’t agree! You messed up and he’s trying to protect himself. This guy does not sound like he’s into games.

            • MaryW says:

              Sorry Tink, I tend to agree with Allison. You are doing pushing and pulling. He’s hurt and confused, and likely punishing you for that with his current behaviour.

            • lizzp says:

              I am just seeing your comments now on what has happenned here with your man Tinkerbell. Based on those, I have the same immediate gut response as Alison in her comment here (above)and also one further down thread. I also feel that you have somehow unconsciously arranged things so as you can say to yourself that “the ball is now in his court” therefore feeling comfortable when it appears to an outsider that you somehow worked for it so it would in fact turn out this way.

              That’s my opinion based on the way you present things. As Alison pretty much points out, your nemesis appears to be fear of true intimacy and the necessary vulnerability. I am no stranger to this form of self sabotage. As always I wish you all the best Tinkerbell.

    • simple pleasures says:

      ok Tink, take a deep breath.
      If someone came onto BR and said something like, I’ve been seeing someone and we have a lot of fun together and really care about each other. There have been some issues, but they weren’t insurmountable,but I found out this person hasn’t been totally honest with me and just emailed me for a break and didn’t say when they’d contact me again. This person doesn’t want to talk to me for a while.What should I do? What does the BR community think?
      And I suspect a few people would chime in Red flag behaviour, I’d be hurt and feel blindsided. This happens to the folks on BR who out of the blue get a cold shoulder, the other person disappears (and then presses the reset button-ok I’m ready to see you again).We’d tell that person it’s not you, it’s them and their issues, they are emotionally unavailable, and panic and split when things get too vulnerable. We’d understand why they would go NC and support them.
      If Mr. Special made that post how would you advise him? I don’t think he’s ready to run due to your financial concerns. He may be seeing red flags from you.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Yes SP., Sandy and RP,

        It’s red flag behavior. I should put myself in his shoes. He tries to come across as being so strong and nothing bothers him, but he’s had significant failures with women in the past. I’m sure he’s also
        He’s been reacting to having been hurt AND REJECTED in the past. He’s been such a positive force in my life and I don’t know how to handle it–this happiness. I know I’m a good woman for him, as well but I need to quit the childish behavior. My deceased husband took care of me in every way so being childish and not challenging him was right up his alley. But, Mr. Special is a very stable mature MAN who knows who he is and what he wants as well as what he DOES NOT want. I think I feel threatened by that and don’t want him to find out that maybe I don’t really measure up to what he’s looking for in a grown,mature emotionally secure woman. So what do I do? Tell him how irresponsible I am with money. If that’s not self sabotage, I don’t know what is!

        As I’ve said before, I’ve not reached perfection and never will. I have to work on my issues. Hope, I don’t lose him in the process. But don’t worry ladies, if he doesn’t act like he still wants me I’m not going to be hanging on trying to make something out of what’s dead or never was.

    • Pauline says:

      Tink,

      You wrote, “I know I am TERRIBLY afraid of getting hurt, having my heart broken and this behavior may be a way of avoiding any future pain. This is not any fun for me at all. AND, I’m too proud to try to have a talk with him because he has made it clear that I need to leave HIM alone now until HE is ready to engage with me again.”

      I know someone who is exactly the same, so scared of getting hurt again that he backs off at what seems to be nothing that serious, then disappears and goes dark on his girlfriend. She (a long time friend of mine) really likes this guy but is starting to get kind of pissed off with having to walk on eggshells and not being able to be herself just in case she triggers his withdrawal on yet another issue he can’t deal with emotionally.
      His fear factor is so intrusive and she’s about to give him the flick and quite honestly I can’t blame her. He tells her how much he loves her then he cancels their date at the last minute, goes dark and won’t talk to her for days at a time, WTF! I’ve been out with them socially several times and I know he really likes her and isn’t seeing anyone else. He’s sabotaging their relationship and can’t see it. She told me that he chased her until he got her and has now put her on a part time girlfriend status because of his fears of getting hurt again. After 4 months of his blowing hot and cold, cancelling dates at the last minute and trying to deal with his fears, she’s had enough and wants out.

      Yeah Tink, it sounds to me like this is being generated by your fears, not his. You chased him and now you have him you’re not so sure, you need some space and he has medical issues too so I get it! Get clear on what you want first because you sound confused and are using money and family issues as excuses to push him away when there is probably a deeper issue going on inside you that needs to be addressed where Mr. Special is concerned. He’s picked up on this (most men aren’t dead from the neck up you know and are very sensitive to what’s going on with their girlfriends) so let it be for a while until you know what you need to do.
      Take care Tink xoxo

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Pauline,

        Yes, now I’m afraid that I have to walk on eggs with him. Up until now, he’s been very patient and understanding with me. But, as I mentioned above this is not the first time I’ve wanted time out. We already live many miles apart. How much space do I need? I don’t know. I may be trying to convince myself that I want such a deep abiding love, but in reality I can’t handle it. Back to the drawing board.

        I’ll just let him come to me when he gets ready. True I’ve instigated the time out but I’ve let him know twice now that I’m ready for it to be over. If he feels I’m expecting him to jump to my tune, I can’t blame him. I’ll just let it be.

        • simple pleasures says:

          Tink, think about this, “this is not the first time I’ve wanted time out”. Natalie might say this is “flipflapping”. I am glad you can put yourself in his shoes you have empathy. If he knows what he wants, and also knows his limitations, he may not want to continue. But it seems you both have a lot of fears and are both self sabbatagging. It takes two to untango.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Thanks SP,

            Finally, he responded this morning with,”I’m taking time off. Back soon.” So the ball remains in his court. Obviously we BOTH have fear issues. I still don’t know what he’s going to say, but I’m prepared for whatever it is. I can certainly understand if he doesn’t want to waste time on a woman who is confused and flip-flapping him around. It’s not intentional (I’m afraid of these deep feelings and vulnerability) but that doesn’t make it any better for him. I think he’s been very open and straightforward with me. I’m the one who needs to get my act together. It’s hard, the older we get. The saying goes “We are the sum total of our experiences”. So true. I’ll keep you all posted.

    • Allison says:

      Tink,

      My Friend,
      First, I am sorry that you and your daughter are having financial difficulties. Have you considered a financial counselor?

      Second, how would you feel if he did the same to you? This is a man that you love and trust, but when a personal issue arises, you bail. This is not fair, and I don’t blame him for the way he has responded. Solid relationships are not only about the good times – you must be vulnerable to him also seeing your weaknesses – but also the difficult ones. Would you ask your husband to take a break if something came up. No! You need to readdress you EU issues, and learn to let people completely in, as you are not being fair, to him or yourself.

      You need to do what ever is necessary to see and communicate with this man. Time to break your walls down!!!

      HUGS XOXOX

      • Allison says:

        Lastly,

        Your actions are screaming that you do not trust him!

      • lizzp says:

        Tinkerbell, I commented above. Based on what you write, the sequence of events, please listen to Alison. I believe what she says is known as Nail Meets Head (of hammer).

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Just wanted to let you know my Dell desktop had to go into the shop to be fixed. its 10 years old and I’ve certainly gotten my monies worth. I won’t be able to post every day because I have to use the computer at the library for now.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Allison, Happy, Nat Attack ,RP, Lizzp, Pauline, SP, Feisty and Sandy.

            Update. He called last night. It was so ironic because I had just finished a handwritten letter to him and was getting ready to place a stamp on the envelope when the phone rang. When I saw his name, I was elated, to put it mildly. I picked up the phone and said “I must be hallucinating”. He said, “No, you’re not hallucinating”. To be brief, we had a great hour long convo and I could tell he was just as happy to be talking to me as I was. I’m glad that I wasn’t dumb enough to tell him I’d just finished a letter to him, or that I’d had any fears of a real end to our relationship. I’m glad I’m finally learning not to blab so much about everything that I’m feeling. One of you said something about when I’m having personal problems I don’t need to cut and run. He does love me enough to be concerned. He’s always supportive and give concrete advice.I’m the one who doesn’t want to show any weakness or vulnerability. And it’s true, I don’t trust him–not entirely. Regardless of his devotion to me, I’m still clinging to fear, not convinced, creating drama because that’s my comfort zone. Thank you all for your helpful advice and enabling me to put things into the proper perspective. I want so much to learn to RELAX accept peace and contentment. There is nothing for me to be wrapping myself up into a ball over. My anxiety sometimes gets out of hand. I’m lucky that he is a mature and stable man who understands. He actually had turned off his phone because he needed a break also. That’s why I wasn’t getting a response from him. I do think he got annoyed because of my flipflapping but he wouldn’t say so. Bottom line, we’re fine and we’re both happy. I have work to do on ME. Thank God for BR and therapy.

            • Allison says:

              Tink,

              Yay!!!!!

              Now, Gurrrrrl, don’t pull this shit again!!! It is time to trust this man, as he has shown you REPEATEDLY that he is there for you!!!!!

              Don’t screw this up, due to your own insecurities!!!! One can only take so much flip flapping and nonsense before they move on.

              You knew that I was not going to hold back! :)

              • lizzp says:

                Tinkerbell, Does the reason you experience difficulty trusting him stem from you not trusting yourself? If you trusted yourself would you have self sabotaging thoughts running through your mind. Thoughts like: “I’m glad that I wasn’t dumb enough to tell him I’d just finished a letter to him, or that I’d had any fears of a real end to our relationship”.

                I get the feeling that this has been about testing him. You may feel ‘safe’ in his love and validation for now but when your mistrust of yourself re-emerges down the track please watch out for a repeat performance. Own your own fears of not being perfect and then you may be able to tell him about them and keep them as yours rather than act them out. Being secure in our vulnerability sounds like a paradox, however if you want to grow and experience intimacy in a relationship both with him and yourself there is no other way to maintain your integrity.

                • Allison says:

                  Lizz,

                  Well said!

                  Tink, what would have been wrong in telling him about the letter, in fact I was a bit surprised you didn’t.

                  Time to believe in yourself, or no one else will!

            • LovefromNel says:

              Hey Tink, I’m really pleased to hear of this outcome. Wonderful news. And yes, it indeed sounds like you’ve found someone who doesn’t run at the drop of our intense emotions/anxiety/sabotage – whatever it needs to be called. The good ones stay, understand and appreciate. Best of luck to you.

            • Sandy says:

              That’s so good to hear Tink! :-)

            • RP says:

              Tinkerbell, I was sure he would call soon! If he loves you authentically then it will not be so easy to get rid of him (excluding disrespectful red flag stuff of course). It is really that simple.

              Wishing you happiness!

  13. Joy says:

    I am devestated. I am angry at myself so much. I broke the NC after staying strong and ignoring my EUM for almost a month. I got psychically ill during that month from not being able to cope with the fact that it is over although I knew and still know he is not and never will be right for me.

    I broke the NC, and was reliefed in one single second, from answering back to him and making a plan for this saturday to see him, that a shift of energy in me happened, the anxiety was gone, the pain, the aching, I was feeling good again and it was all that I wanted, even If I knew it is just one step further in to more pain, I gave in, I couldn’t stand the pain no more, I had to see him. And I did. We had sex. I am so ashamed of myself, so angry. He contacted me tomorrow, I answered and then no contact for 2 days. Same old story. I just don’t know how to to do this the right way!

    It seems I can’t cope and move on when I do the NC, and I can’t cope and move in staying in this situation. It’s like the same pain is on both sides. Any help, please?

    • A says:

      Joy,

      The only way to do it is to stick with it. We all make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up for seeing him – it gave you a chance to confirm that nothing has changed.

      Try taking it day by day. Find something that requires all of your focus and takes your mind off of him, even if only for a few minutes at a time. It’s the worst at the beginning, but gradually you’ll really begin to wonder what you saw in this guy.

    • HappyAgain says:

      Joy,

      Been there done that but honestly at some point if you don’t walk away while you have an easier chance you will lose more and more of yourself, more and more respect and ultimately at some point in time the pain of staying will be worse than the pain of leaving and you will. I wish for you to not have to lose more. Be blessed.

    • Australia says:

      You can cope and do NC! Look at your third sentence … “I broke NC after staying strong and ignoring my EUM for almost a month”. You were strong then and your strong now!
      You have two options .. keep seeing him, and getting angry and anxious after … or face your fears of being by yourself and dealing with all the emotions of your relationship. Don’t run away from the emotions and feelings, let them come, acknowledge them and deal with them head on with fierce determination, and you’ll notice you’ll have room for better, more positive thoughts after clearing out the negative ones!

    • Gina says:

      Joy you haven’t given the NC a chance i.e. one month is still very very raw and is simply the stepping stone needed to procure another next month which is prerequisite to gaining the following month and that month is beneficial for the proceeding month to come about… until you have at least a good six, seven, eight plus months’ worth of NC. During the NC it is important that you try and focus your energies elsewhere and most importantly acknowledge the issues within you that keep drawing you back, you do not need to act on your feelings. Heck I did and I went absolutely nuts each and every time, very exhausting it was lol. Rather sit with those feelings (befriend them until you find their source) and calm them down until they pass. Please do refrain from future booty calls/calling as that certainly does not get the guy back, for booty only yes but nothing else. You can do this (proof is the good month you have already notched up) but first you need to give NC a chance, it may not be what you are wanting but it will lead you to the right way which you desperately cry out for. Don’t go trying to figure out what that may be right now rather put yourself back into NC, refuel and that will give you much needed space to create a new story for yourself rather than keep going back to the same old you have been used to. Yes it brought temporary relief however the post anxieties certainly outweighed the former because deep down you are really wanting and needing that beautiful something X

    • lynn says:

      joy – I totally understand. its so so hard. The only way to do it – is to commit to NC 110%. I felt like I was splitting in two when I first started. Crying all the time and just sad/hurt. If I can do it you can! I was addicted to my ex. He contacted me 3 months into NC and I was mostly ticked off but then was ‘excited’ to hear from him and was on a high from it. I thought, I can handle this.yea right. The next day I felt terrible. Not only did he contact me to tell me that he was single again – but then a week later I made the mistake of telling him something exciting in my life, and he told me they were back together. Ugh my stomach dropped. Now I have no idea if they are still together, what he’s up too etc. I’ve been wanting to contact him lately – but I think i am just lonely and nostalgic and horny. haha You have to keep yourself busy and find some something new to occupy your time with. Something healthy. I started working out more and started watching tv series on netflix. Recommit to NC today. And when you feel the need to contact him – come to this site and post and read. Another great website to visit is gettingpastyourbreakup.com. Also a great book to read! Hang in there, we have all been there.

  14. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Joy,

    After my dissertation above I may not be the best person to advise. However, I CAN DO NC, that much I know. Yours is a very typical scenario. Sit down and make a list of why you need to go NC, in the first place. You need to be clear about this. Are you just wanting to punish him for bad behavior or are you trying to get him to be more loving toward you? Those are not good reasons. NC is supposed to be a last resort. It’s for when you are REALLY THROUGH. Trust me, when you have really reached that stage you don’t randomly go back because you can’t take the separation and loneliness. If you were so physically relieved when you got back with him, why are you so angry with yourself now? It’s probably because your instincts are telling you, you’ve made a mistake breaking NC. Is this the first time you’ve attempted to do NC from this guy?
    You don’t give any history so it’s hard to advise. That’s why I say you need to be ABSOLUTELY SURE you are finished with him. NC is a process. It’s not a joke. You can do it if you’re committed to being happier and at peace, in the long run. These pleasant feelings will not come right away. You have to tough it out. Good luck.

  15. Hina says:

    Oh wow – this hits me straight in the forehead! Well, I have told my story on here for the past 10 months now… And I have to say here comes the true ending:

    I have no love in my heart for Mr. UK. He is dead to me now. I got that message from his current girl which I never responded to a few weeks back. Then I kept getting calls from his land line to my land line. I knew it was her since he is an iPhone kind of guy (never uses his land line). I kept ignoring them, especially since no one left a message. Finally Saturday morning at 6 am, I get another call. I was furious! My last morning to sleep in before daylight saving time and this creepy crazy lune wakes me up! So I storm out of bed, not caring I am about to break NC and call the number back. It is forwarded to his cell phone voice mail. I leave a message like – I don’t know why you or your gf are calling me so early but please be an adult and leave a message as to why! Then I wrote down his number (his vm says ‘you’ve reached 714…) because I had deleted his info. Then I text him – why are you calling me at 6am?

    I fall back to sleep, he texts back. ‘Wasn’t me, I deleted your info. What number was it?’ I say ‘just call me’ so he does. I have to say, no real emotion in hearing his voice again, other than being annoyed at this whole thing. It was just weird to hear nothing behind his voice really. Anyway, I’m like your girlfriend must be pretty desparate to talk to me since she’s been calling many times over the past few weeks. He says – I have no idea why. I’m sorry. I’m out of town now but I’ll have a talk with her. I say – yes you should. Then he asks how I am, I answer with a short ‘fine'; same for my kids. We hang up.

    But I just want to get this over with, so I go to check my caller ID and call her (she called from her phone once). She says “who is this? Hina who?” I’m like- I think you know who I am since you called me at 6 oclock this morning! Then she says “Do you know who this is?” I say -yes pretty sure I figured it out!

    I guess I won’t go into every word by word, too long. But she says how *I* hurt her so badly… yada yada. And how she wants to change her ‘skewed’ vision of me. I ask why she even needs to have a vision of me one way or another. Well basically she just wanted info out of me. And I gave it to her. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so candid, but I was honest. I have nothing to hide. I wasn’t the cheater. He was… And was he ever!!!

    It turns out as she’s asking about this ‘timeline’ she wanted figured out that he was dating another woman for the first 5 months I dated him. I had NO idea! Then he started dating DR psycho 2 months before he broke up with me. My stomach just twisted on those facts. And he apparently had a rendevous with another woman before he dated DR psycho, so that’s three other women he slept with while sleeping with me that I know of. SICK. She was quite put out when she found out I didn’t know of her for quite a few months and that I slept with MR. UK for 8 months more than she knew of. Apparently she must have found some evidence and he told her we only slept together once and that was because they had gotten into a fight, but we argued and he ‘threw me out’ of his house afterwards. Well yes we argued but then he invited me upstairs to ‘snuggle’- not quite the same story.

    What made him dead for me was that she shared he presented me as ‘trashy’, ‘drinks too much’ and ‘gold digger’ which made me laugh aloud because I had no idea he had any money and was not interested in the least when we first met. *He* pursued me. So not much of a gold digger. Anyway, then he apparently told her some pretty nasty things about my children, predicting one would soon be pregnant and one would probably commit suicide. That is when he died in my heart. I don’t know if my blood boiled or went cold. But man, that was it.

    Well, being the me I am, I wished her well. She said thank you for being honest. I have read over and over on here other ladies telling about narcissistic men. I really never gave it a thought Mr. UK was one. I knew he was an EUM and maybe even an AC. But now after googling narcissistic personality disorder, I know that is exactly what he is. I think I felt shocked, sick and sad all at once. EVERY single word he said to me was a lie. I fell in love with a made-up person. I felt so stupid that I could have been so duped by such a psycho. Now, I look back and like Nat says, I know I ignored all of my intuition. I would get physical symptoms- stomach pain, anxiety… and I would wonder why I was so jealous and insecure. He did nothing to earn such mistrust – boy was I wrong! My body was telling me all along that he was screwing another betty on the side.

    I have not dated anyone since December. I told myself I’d take three months off until Spring. Now, after this info and reading this post, I really think I need much more time. Obviously, my lack of ability to make healthy choices in men is way more off than I ever even thought. I don’t know how I can ever trust a man again, ever trust myself again. Well that’s what I thought at first, but I know I am in the midst of self-healing. I know I will be able to value myself above all else and listen to myself someday. Maybe not tomorrow, but someday.

    Thanks all for listening. Fuck, if I had had this information it would have been much easier to get over him! So, although it was painful and horrible to talk to Dr. Psycho – oh I forgot to mention he has asked her to marry him! I guess that’s why she was so desparate to get her timeline of women figured out – well, the good thing that came out of it is that Mr. UK truly does not have a hold over my heart in any way whatsoever anymore. FINALLY!! If freedom comes from an ugly, raw dose of the truth, then so be it!

    Thanks again girls, Nat and the occasional male,xoxo

  16. Peanut says:

    Tonight I visited my grandparents and dog. I can’t express how much I miss them, though I know I made the right decision; It’s not safe for me to be there any length of time.

    I have gotten wind that my uncle (the man that charged at me) had not been limiting his rage to just me. I won’t go into it, but this man is terrifying.

    When I made a decision to leave, I did something that would set the precedent for the rest of my life. I don’t feel ready. I feel scared. And alone. Very alone.

    • Sandy says:

      Peanut,

      I know it’s not as good as having someone there to give you a hug but you have us on BR, you know you made the right decision for YOU, can your grandparents not visit you at all?? Rather then you have the anxiety of possibly running into your uncle can you not arrange to meet them on neutral ground?
      Big virtual hug Peanut, my thoughts are with you.

  17. Debbie says:

    This is exactly what my marriage counselor stressed I should do for a year after the divorce. Both you and she were 100% correct. Learning to care for and about oneself takes time but makes such a difference in quality of life.

    • AlmostThere says:

      Hi Debbie,
      I totally agree. It took me 1 year (exactly to the day) to hit rock bottom after the divorce. I thought that year after the divorce was me healing and dealing. Oh heck no! Talk about bad decision followed by bad decision. I spent a year running away from facing the ‘real’ issues – the AC ex was just the icing on the cake. I had abandonment issues and self worth issues long before him, but never acknowledged these. His treatment of me compounded them. I’m now truly taking time to love myself and work my way through to that place of self love. No dating since November (boy, was that guy a LOOSER), no contact with the ex AC for 10 months. No beating myself up for a year of bad decisions (well, I’m working on that). Wish I’d listened to the advice to look after me first – but I don’t think it’s uncommon to need time to actually hear that message.

      Taking myself out of the crazy hamster wheel of drama, dating for attention as any attention felt better than none, running from my fear of being alone and unloved was SCARY. But I’m very glad I did it.

      Wishing you all strength and peace.

  18. DeflatedLady says:

    Yes, fear is what keeps me going round in circles too.

    Sometimes its fear of going NC (even though I managed it before, for 3 months befroe relapse)starting over, being alone, other times its fear that *maybe* he’s right about the things he says – that I annoy him, that he wants an easy life but I give him a hard time (a hard time in his dictionary equates to me asking about the status of our relationship, or if we’ve had a fight and I want to talk baout it – thats giving him a hard time) anyway, I have this fear that if he is right and I *am* giving him a hard time, then its my own fault that I feel this way and I should not have asked him about us or wanted to talk about the fight. I should’ve just got on with it.

    I’d say my boggest fear, though, is when he meets someone else – what if he reverts back to the ‘nice’ side of him and keeps it that way , for this new person. What if he can easily give her his time and love – the only things I ask him for which he tells me he’s ‘too busy’ for. If he can give them to someone else and not me – then surely the problem WAS/IS me… and that will just result in a whole other line of fear!

    Or, even, what if he never realises what I’ve contributed throughout the relationship. From the small things to sticking by him through the lies and the deceit, to giving him my trust again and him and breaking it, for always being the one who wants to fix it … He doesn’t see that. He just sees me as ‘her indoors that gives me a hard time’

    Fear is a horrible thing to live in.

    • Stephanie says:

      DeflatedLady,

      There is nothing wrong with you! But the problem is the relationship you have with this person. You know what you want, your just trying to get it from the wrong person! You maybe annoying him, but you have every right to ask question about the status of your relationship or concerns about his behavior. The fact that he feels uncomfortable with this doesn’t make you wrong.

      The thing is he may or may not change, but one thing for sure is you are trying to control the uncontrollable. Once you realize that you CANNOT control another persons behavior, you can take away a lot of fear. He is going to be who he is going to be with or without you and you need to decide whether you want to continue living in fear for find some peace with yourself first and hopefully with a suitable partner.

    • lynn says:

      deflatedlady – leopards don’t change their spots…there is no way he will be different with a new woman. He may fake himself for awhile to reel a victim in but his true colors will emerge again. If trying to talk about the status of your relationship means you are giving him a hard time – he isn’t worth it. Most normal people would be willing to have that converstion, not say you are giving them a hard time. He sounds like an AC and EU. Are you NC now?

      • DeflatedLady says:

        @Stephanie

        ‘you know what you want, youre just trying to get it from the wrong person’… this is my problem. He spent so long ‘wooing’ me and convincing me he is the right person for me that I fail to see he is not right for me. He cant give me what I want (he says its cause he’s too busy, has enough on his plate with my hassle) and I have to accept that – its just difficult for me and I dont know why :(

        @lynn
        Oh Lynn, I have often said that out loud ‘ a leopard never changes its spots’ and I do believe it. I think I suffer from wanting to be the exeption to the rule when really I should be running, fast.

        Yeah, I dont think asking on the status of a relationship is too bad (i only ask because its been mixed signals for the last few weeks) not only does he refuse to talk about it,he EXPLODES with rage saying things like’I dont need this!’ and ‘why do you always give me hassle’ then he’ll storm about the place and start an argument on a whole other subject, By the end of it im called every name under the sun. He is defo EU and AC.

        I am bad at NC ive gone NC twice in the last 3 weeks then broken it after 2 days. After our recent explosion today, I am now 3 hours NC. What is wrong with me? :(

        • Sandy says:

          Deflated Lady,

          Nobody can help you except yourself and you know this…he is not going to change!! You keep on going back to the same shit different day.
          All we can do is advise as we have (or most of us on here anyway) have been through the same thing you have been and are going through.
          Yes it is extremely fucken hard but as Tink said above “No Contact” is if you are really, totally sure that you have finished with him and you don’t seem to be.
          For years I did the rinse, lather, repeat with the AC until I couldn’t stand who I had become any more, I found BR, got the support and advice I so desperately needed and I am finally coming out the other side, yes it has taken a year, but it is a year not another five years of putting up with a man who treated me like crap.
          You can do this but only when you finally realise that you are done.

        • Pauline says:

          DeflatedLady,

          It’s called Relationship Insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
          Consciously realise that if you keep going back NOTHING is going to change.

          That great big dog with the big sharp teeth (your dude) who is snarling at you will bite if you go into his yard, you already have the scars to prove it as you’ve been there before.

          Going NC is tough as most of us on here can confirm, we start second guessing ourselves, maybe I am a bitch and hard to get along with maybe everything he said about me is true, blah blah blah! Don’t fall into that trap. You have a right to your own feelings, opinions and beliefs. You have a right to be treated decently and not be denigrated and abused by anyone.
          You have a right to dump anyone who doesn’t treat you with respect or care, use it, and dump this sorry guy’s ass.

        • A says:

          DeflatedLady,

          If someone refuses to discuss your relationship and where it stands, it’s never a good sign. This is not a man who is treating you with love and respect. I suspect he knows that if he was honest with you, it would make it easier for you to leave.

          If nothing has changed and this man will not even have a conversation with you, what else can you possibly do to try to make things work? It sounds like you know you should walk away, but it’s your decision and only you can make it.

          • DeflatedLady says:

            I really do appreciate all of your advice. I know Im not the first woman to be treated this way or feel this way, but I am really struggling. Its day 2 of NC and all I can think about is me being a failure.

            When I look at the 4 years of my relationship with this AC EU- most of it has been this way. I have tried to be more loving, less ‘annoying’ but I am now thinking I could have done ALL the things he wanted day in day out but he would still find something to moan about/berate me for.

            He has lied from day one, keeping in contact with his ex for the first 18 months. He has told lies throughout and generally acts as if he is wonderful and I am not. He cant answer simple questions. He verbally abuses me during arguments but yet its me who always tries to make up and fix it. The only time he tries to ‘fix’ anything is when I leave and cut him off. and THEN in my own head and heart, I struggle with the CONFUSION of the texts and calls whenever I leave ‘i love you,’ ‘please come back ‘ etc etc. I just never understand WHY a person can say these things yet act the complete opposite…or blow so hot to get me back then as soon as I go back he reverts to normal.

            WHY do they DO this? ok…I sound pathetic. And I feel pathetic. But 2 days of NC is a start, right?

            • Allison says:

              Deflated,

              Your focus should be on the fact that you knew who he was. If you knew he was lying from day one, and still communicating with the ex, why did you stick around?

              I am equally guilty, that is why I am being tough. If you do not recognize your part in this – leaving at the first sign – you will continue obsess, and probably end up with another creep.

              Understand why this situation was OK, and then you will move on and grow. You can only change your own beliefs and behavior!

              • DeflatedLady says:

                Hi Allison

                Thank you for your reply. To answer your question, i didnt know he was still with his ex (spending time with her/day trips/ weekend away etc) until I found out 18 months into OUR relationship! He gave nothing away – he was affectionate, attentive, non stop communication , falling for me bla bla so I didnt think anything was wrong. I thought we were amazing! He moved in with me quickly and I only found out about the ex by accident. By that point, it was the day before we were due to move into a new house, which he bought, and I was devastated.

                So I left him, but he kept contacting me wouldnt let it go so I gave it another shot and its now just almost 4 years together – most of it filled with lies (on his part) and tears and forgiveness (on my part). That is why I am struggling because I always thought that we’ve been through so much (of his wrong doing!) that I thought we would survive anything!

                But he’s just so difficult and all he does is put me down, push me away, call me names when arguing, and then when I leave he chases again, almost to the point of obsession. I managed 3 months NC then broke, and as of Jan this year I have been ‘back’ . However, there was an argument and its currently 2 days NC. But I am struggling!

                I just want to feel good again

                • Allison says:

                  I apologize for the mix up!

                  But, you now know 2+ years on, that the dude is no good. He is emotionally abusive, a lier and a cheat. Please don’t waste any more of your precious life on an individual that does not have your needs at heart.

                  You must address why you have stuck around knowing of his involvement, the facts are there. Please ask what you are getting out of this. If you’re honest with yourself, I think you will see that you are not in love with the man, but the thought of the relationship.

                  Deflated, this man puts you down and makes you feel less than, it sounds awful.
                  Have you sought any counseling for emotional abuse?

                  Please stick to NC, as there is no future with this man, but only a boatload of pain. I’m so sorry for your hurt, but you must begin to take care of you!

            • ThreeDLife says:

              DeflatedLady,

              If it is any comfort to you, I can totally relate to your situation. I was also loving and caring with my AC, but he thought of many of my traits were “annoying.” You are right. You could have done ALL the things he wanted but he would still find a bone to pick.

              My AC also lied to and deceived me, but thinks he has integrity. WTH? My AC also emotionally and verbally abused me, but I was always the one trying to make it right.

              The reason for the “I love you” and “Please come back” responses is that he feels out of control. He wants things on his terms. My AC also blew hot when he thought he didn’t “have” me but then reverted to his old ways when I gave him yet another chance. It is amazing how much these ACs fall into a similar pattern of behavior. We just need to recognize it and get off the rollercoaster!

              You are right, 2 days of NC is a start! I can say from experience that it definitely gets easier as time passes. Stay strong! You deserve better. Hugs,
              ThreeDLife

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Deflatedly Lady,

      You have a right to know the staus of your relationship with him. You’re a human being, a woman. Not a dog who will love unconditionally even when abused. Hell, no! But men, on the average seem to find it difficult to discuss relationships. They can talk on and on about general stuff but ask him about the relationship between the two of you and he suddenly lost his tongue, or physically removes himself (even worse). That’s the way it is. If we’re going to be bothered at all, I guess we have to learn how to handle them in such away that we do not give away ourselves.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Deflated,

        I was talking about a good man, not an effin’ AC like the one you can’t get out of your system. You either stay and like it (the shite he’s dishing out to you, or you go because YOU respect YOU more.

  19. Alba says:

    “We may recognise that we’ve been accepting crumbs, or that a situation is toxic, or that we’ve not been stepping up for and representing our own needs, expectations, wishes, feelings, and opinions, and then feel temporarily galvanised to do something about it. We make some decisions and initial changes with gusto, possibly make some big announcements, and then next thing you know, we’re back up to our old habits.”

    This is me. I don’t know what I’m doing. People always tell me I’m very wise, have a very good understanding of emotions, situations, intentions, etc. Even my boyfriend tells me he when he bullshits me I always know what’s up within one minute. Yet, he still does it and I speak up, but in the end nothing changes and I stay in this ‘comfort zone’

    • A says:

      Alba,

      Recognizing someone’s bs, or even calling them on it, doesn’t change who that person is. If he’s someone who is going to feed you lies, then you need to accept that about him and make a decision accordingly.

      • Alba says:

        Thank you for your comment A.

        We broke up last night. He finally, after so many months was honest with me. He told me he loves me, but he knows he cannot gives me the relationship that I want. He kinda admitted he knows he’s an EUM and that he treaded me badly and distanced himself, but that he thinks it will ‘go away’ when he gets older and he proposed a break instead of a break-up. I told him that I can’t and won’t settle and we decided to break up and go no-contact for a while.

        Even though I know that this is best for me, it doesn’t feel like it.

        I have moved lately to another city, quit my job, looking for an internship an stessed because of my studies and on top of that I’m so sad right now. And I’m angry with myself, this is the time that I have to choose *me*, this is one of the most important times of my life, I should be working on my future instead of crying my eyes out, getting nothing done.

  20. gruvee says:

    Excellent
    Excellent article.
    Thank you.

  21. welshwonder says:

    thank you for this post, it really hit home for me today as I have been struggling with my confidence at work – I had been forwarded for management and like you said -I was initially gunho about it,tried to live up to it, but doubts kept nagging me. I buried my lack of commitment and of course didnt do well in all areas. The day was a disaster and as it was an uncomfortable comfy feeling, I buried it till the review.
    It bought up my really good points- and highlighted my confidence issues- I responded with the final barrier of my age 58…. I was shot down in flames and I realize I need to step up and be totally free from these burdens I carry (did carry!)I vow now to get to the next part of my life hopefully management, with confidence- that has come from you Natalie. Thank you -I have been following you for 3yrs now and you and all who post here have empowered me to know All my issues with my life relationships can be sorted in my own small baby steps, but I am coming to the independant me and I love it. xxx hugs to you all

  22. Stephanie says:

    I think that having a little fear is good. I feel you should have a balance of fear and comfort zone emotions. There are things that I fear because of experiences I’ve had with ex/AC that I won’t allow myself to engage in again, but at the same time I don’t let it keep me from stepping outside of my comfort zone. I just learned that the a little bit of risk analysis helps to reduce the anxiety when making decisions that maybe a little scary.

  23. lynn says:

    I needed to read this today. the last few days I have really wanted to contact my ex. I think I am very nostalgic and miss certain things from our time as friends/relationship. I haven’t contacted him and after reading this probably have some underlying fear of fully letting him go I have self sabotaged myself alot in the past with him but I need to continue focusing on acceptance and letting go and ME. I have been NC almost 6 months – with brief texts in january from him. I guess I thought I would be over him by now…but I am not.

  24. Rachel says:

    It’s been just over a year since I broke up with the EU/AC ex who reduced me to a trembling, depressive, anxiety ridden mess – and it was roughly about this time last year when I first stumbled across this website. I can say without a doubt it has changed my life…

    This article resonates with me because in the last 12-13 months, I knew I needed to make my life all about ME by staying authentic to ME, taking care of ME, seeking help for MY depression/anxiety and upholding MY boundaries. It’s been a long and lonely journey at times, but I believe it was needed in order for me to get to where I am now.

    Certain ‘friends’ (they were toxic anyways) haven’t liked this change in me much and I’ve lost some along the way, however, what I have gained in the last year is so much more than I could’ve hoped for:

    – I’ve come off anti-depressants entirely
    – Completed my last CBT session today
    – More assertive and confident
    – No more people pleasing
    – Know who my real friends are
    – No panic attacks in the last 9 months
    – Learned to enjoy MY own company
    – Stable job, income and home
    – Started eating well, working out and lost weight
    – Started writing again
    – I look forward to the future and live in hope

    I’ve also started dating again and found it much more enjoyable this time around now that I have clearly defined boundaries (no more f**k buddies or spontaneous hook-ups) and can trust my instincts (AC/EUM identification and immediate flushing).

    This has led to me dating a guy who wouldn’t normally be “my type”, but he has so many good qualities that are polar opposite to any that my ex possessed – he’s hard working, no kids, no babymama drama, successful, well educated, intelligent, kind, loyal, caring, supportive, consistent in his behaviour, and most importantly, he accepts me – flaws and all! I don’t have to second guess him, or walk on eggshells or pretend to be someone I’m not around him. This couldn’t be further from my previous relationship where I completely sold myself out for crumbs!

    So, I guess what I’m saying is that we need to give ourselves adequate time and really heed the lessons that Natalie is teaching us. My life is by no means perfect, but compared to where I was this time last year, it’s looking pretty damn good!

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Rachel

      I remember replying to a post of yours around Christmas time last year. And we kind of bemoaned society’s perceptions of being single in our late 20s/30?

      I am so proud to read your list of recent accomplishments since finding BR. They are so similar to what I could have written.

      – Walking away from poor friends
      – Less people pleasing
      – Better eating and more exercise
      – Treasuring good friends and family
      – Studying nursing
      – Feeling less sad

      And like you, more confident and assertive. I want to wish you my best wishes for the new man that you’ve met – not someone who you would normally go for. Again, I could be in these shoes. I listen to my feelings too much – the pangs in my tummy, the physical attraction – despite glaring red flags which I ignore mentally.

      I think it’s a promising sign when we of BR-land find someone who is ‘not normally our type’. Because, surely, this reflects how far we have truly come?

      Best wishes to you and the relationship.
      Love Nel

  25. M says:

    Tinkerbell, write him a letter and tell him what you told us. I mean a real hand-written letter, not an email. I think it’s easy for people to say “ah, it’s his loss if he does not call back, etc.” Perhaps if he is all that, he is worth some effort to pursue in a nice way?
    I don’t agree with Natalie’s general teaching “nobody is that special, love yourself, etc”. They are. Somebody not-that-special for everyone may be the only very special for you. As much as I like this blog, I do know the feeling of giving good advice when my personal life is in order. Changes when you lose that special one, for whatever reason.
    Give him time, but write that special old-fashion letter (if you think it sound like a good idea)

    • Stephanie says:

      M,

      I think you need to go back and read Natalie’s blog on a person not being that special. She never said that you shouldn’t try to contact a person, but don’t break your neck for a person who didn’t show love, respect or trust. If this gentleman did all those things then by all means she should call him back. But if this is not the case, he in fact is not that special and she should move on.

      • M says:

        I was referring to someone who said if he does not call back, it’s his loss, move on, etc. According to her he did show all those nice things and my point is that doing something beyond sending an email and a phone call,could show him how special he is to her. Sometimes in our quest for ‘space’ we distance people and it seems like we don’t care as much. It’s a delicate balance, of course.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          M, and Steph,

          Thank you for your responses. He is worth the effort. I called him tonight and only got his voicemail. He may have been sleeping. He’s an older gentleman and I’m sure he was home. In any event, I’ve left the message that I’d like us to talk. I just have to wait. That’s all. Patience is not one of my strengths.

          • Sandy says:

            Tink,

            You seem to have lost your way a bit…why? Why all of a sudden when things were going so well for you…just because you admit to having a problem with money doesn’t make you unlovable, stop putting him on a pedestal, he isn’t perfect just as you aren’t.
            You do seem to be self sabotaging at the moment and as you have said to me many a time on here, get a grip, although you were a lot more eloquent I must admit :-) you just have to believe in yourself and know that you are deserving of happiness and to be accepted for who you are now and who you were then. A man who truly loves you will accept all of that and more.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Oh Sandy,

              Thank you so much for those comforting words. My life has been drama, drama, drama and more drama. That’s how I’ve always lived. If there is none, I will find some because it’s easier to function in that element than in one that is quiet, calm, and relaxed. You’ve touched a nerve–I don’t feel that I deserve to be happy. But why not? That’s the question.

              • LovefromNel says:

                Tink, along with feeling that I don’t deserve happiness, I also fear that I don’t deserve love. And I self-sabotage this too. Please remember you deserve both happiness and love. You are such a wealth of knowledge here that I don’t feel I can offer any wisdom of my own for the situation of yours, but please let us know when he calls back. Patience is not my best trait either, and one of the cruellest things men can do is ignore. I do hope this is not what’s happening. I really hope things work out. Love Nel

    • Tinkerbell says:

      M,

      I, at first was going to write a letter but decided to call him instead, as I’ve explained. So, now there’s nothing more I can do. The ball is in his court. Thanks for the suggestion, anyway.

    • Allison says:

      M & Tink,

      Totally agree with you.

      A letter shows time and thought, and is a great way to go- Tink, tell him, what you have told us; open yourself up to him. Then, it is in his court, but you will not look back without knowing you did what was necessary.

  26. Chutzpelady says:

    Such a nice selfie, Natalie :)!!

  27. Lost Hope says:

    Last week my therapist recommended a book to me. The english translation of the title is ‘Marry yourself’. It’s about radical self love and entails a lot of exercises. One of them is a marriage ritual with oneself. I think that’s a wonderful idea.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Lost Hope,

      Thanks. I’ll check it out on Amazon and see if it’s one I’d like to read.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Lost, or anyone?

        On Amazon there are two books. One is by a man and the other is written by a woman. They’re both 5 star rated, so which one?

  28. On the other side says:

    Natalie reads my mind again!! Amazing post. I have been enjoying me time and time today with my lovely lil sis, we had a spa morning followed by lunch. I felt so relaxed taking time out for me. NC changed me, it helped me to take time out to find me again and to let go of the fear of the unknown the fear of being single. To finally believe that I deserve better, for changing my life and beliefs and for having the courage to wait for that special relationship, instead of returning to crumbs and pain when faced with uncertainty, if I can achieve this in a year, anyone can x

    • Pauline says:

      On the other Side,

      I does feel so good to finally come out of that dark tunnel of crumbs and pain from all kinds of toxic relationships.
      I have my own back these days instead of relying on shady people as I always did in the past.
      I’m happy for the first time in years, not worried about what the future may bring because I’m never going to abandon me ever again.

  29. Brandy says:

    Sometimes it’s tough to do the right thing- it does feel awfully lonely. But love is not supposed to hurt like this right?

    And love is supposed to be about someone having your back & not using your fear against you. Just really tough trying to keep it straight with all my relationships/friendships. I guess I’m trying to ‘get comfortable being uncomfortable’. Today was tough trying to deal with all the practical aspects of what my ex left me to deal with in addition to his emotional abuse. Positive self talk: I’ve got my own back- I can do this! Believe it.

  30. solitaire says:

    I don’t know how to deal with this, and i need the hivemind.
    For the past 4 months I have been seeing regularly a man who is in a long term relationship. I feel weird about it.
    We have a good relationship. We first met about three years ago, and came to meet again by a freak series of events last november, and we have been practically inseparable since then.

    He has never lied to me nor has he hid his situation from me. I am a pretty suspicious animal by nature, and as we have common friends, I investigated pretty much all of his statements about his family situation… and they turned out to be true.

    He has been with his partner for 27 years. They have three grown kids- son who lives on his own, two daughters who still live at home- working part time and studying. He has- confirmed by common friends- a very strained relationship with his partner who seems to be deeply uncaring- several incidents when he was ill and had to prepare his own meals because neither his partner nor daughters cared enough- one when he hurt his back and he was dragged out of the house to go shopping albeit was supposed to stay off his feet and rest his back.

    I am not being kept a secret. He introduces me as his girlfriend, our relationship is very public, he is honest and affectionate and even his kids are aware of our relationship.

    WE spend time together, do things together and the agreed position is that he is trying to solve the financial issues in order to ensure his partner and daughters would be financially safe.

    His partner was aware of my existence – as a friend- and lately, as expected, the details of our relationship have gone back to her.

    And things have become weird. Because the whole stress of the situation has made me stupidly sick, and he has been caring for me with unparalelled dedication.
    Yet it appears he cannot have an open discussion with his partner… and sometimes he seems uncertain as to what he wants.

    I offered to leave him alone to go back to his family… he offered to let me go because this situation is stressing me and making me sick… yet we continue to work towards our goal.

    I know he attempted to have the discussion with his partner several times. He has had it with the kids who aren’t necessarily happy about it… but at least one of them (the son) seems accepting and somewhat supporting of our relationship.

    I’m not being stood up. I’m not being lied to. I am being treated with love and respect. I’m not being kept a secret.

    Yet as his partner has found out and has been intensifying her efforts to get him to stay… I am starting to wonder why can’t he have that honest discussion with her.

    Yesterday he told me that he woke up to find her giving him a blowjob( they had apparently not had sex in years). This weirded and freaked him out and made me feel very hurt… I had told him several times that if he had sex with her we were over.

    I was upset and it made me sick. he was very upset and sad about hurting me… it was deeply unpleasant.

    He has not hidden from me that he still has feelings for her due to the long term of their relationship. His children are very important to him. he says he is scared and confused.

    We have both decided to stop having sex for time being to try and clear some things out.
    We spend time together. We enjoy each other’s company. When my illness was so bad I could barely stand he would come to my place daily, did my shopping and cared for me.

    Sometimes all we do is just sit together and cuddle and talk… then he goes home. We communicate by text and phone, and see each other daily except for the weekends which he spends fully with his family… yet even during those we communicate at length by phone and text.

    This is the first time this is happening to me. I do not have a pattern of chasing emotionally unavailable men- and I am unsure what is happening.

    I have met his partner. albeit she has been starting to act possessive towards him ( she depends on him financially as she only works part time and has little in way of skills)… there’s nothing there. we were in a group for his birthday… and each time she stopped talking… we both forgot about her existence.

    WE are friends and we work together on some projects. She asked to meet me. I have spoken to her several times.
    At his birthday party, at which she wanted me to come…i think we unintentionally made it very obvious we are together.
    According to our common friends and aquaintances… their relationship is cold and unaffectionate and they constantly argue. He is being shown very little care and love. They argue a lot, in public and private.

    I’m sad and confused and do not know what to do.

    This has gone on for almost 4 months now. I’ve done my homework. I’m not a very trusting person. Everything he has told me has checked out.

    As his partner has found out about what is going on, like I said, she has increased the pressure. Stress, arguments… 2 weeks ago she spent 3 hours in her car parked in front of my house…

    I feel bad for her and i am unhappy about this situation.

    I am a honest person. He is a honest person as well… and this is why everything is so stressful. We both gave each other the option to step out of it… yet we can’t.
    I wish the three of us could sit down and discuss things openly. he is telling me that this is not an option as it would imply that he would have to immediately leave… which he claims he is not yet ready to do due to financial reasons… and the kids whose approval he wants.
    Crazy that things could go so far in only 4 months but here we are.

    I don’t like drama.

    • Stephanie says:

      Solitaire,

      What have you gotten yourself into? This man is the defination of what an assclown. At the end of the day you are seeing someone who is in a relationship with someone else. Of course he going to tell you negative things about her that’s what they do to get what they want! He is a cheater and you are aiding and albeiting in this behavior! Come one! “He woke up and she was given him a blowjob and he felt uncomfortable” WTF! What man do you know is weirded out by a blowjob! He is taking you for a ride that at the end of the day you are going to lose. He is given you all the classic signs of a cheater, liar and disrespectful to her and you and you’re falling for it hook line and sinker. Let me say this – He is not going to leave her for you!!
      How can you say you and him are honest when you are both cheating! Go back and read Natalie’s blog on cheating and being the other woman because you are fooling yourself if you think that this faux relationship is going anywhere.

    • Supercherry says:

      Soitaire, why would you knowingly be a part of this disastrous situation? Bottom line is he is attached, it doesn’t matter the reasons/excuses why he chooses to stay with her, he’s having his cake and eating it! They aren’t having sex anymore, so that’s not your problem to fix it he should have chosen someone whom he was sexually compatible with. As for the financial reasons, lots of people have to bite the bullet, separate and have less.
      Seems like this situation can only lead to hurt for you, you are being used. Knowingly at that. How can you trust a man who would do this to his partner after 27 years? They do it with you, they do it to you.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Solitaire,

        Please take the advise you’ve been given. If he were to leave her and be with you in a ?monogamous? relationship, how can you really trust him? He will be doing the same thing to you that he’s doing to both of you, now. This is not a healthy relationship. In fact, calling it a relationship is a stretch. Bootycallmania. Please end it for your own sake.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Solitaire,

          Also. He stays married because he is getting SOMETHING OUT OF IT. Some men really don’t mind being provided with a comfortable home, etc. He tells you all this negative garbage about his wife. That is ultimately disrespectful to her. You are asking for real TROUBLE that will only escalate with time. Get out now. Years ago the MM told me, that I didn’t love myself enough. This is a man who was a liar, cheater, reformed heroin addict who was still living his life by manipulating others. He knew I had no business being with him and had to have had very low esteem to be involved. Your guy may claim that he cares, but frankly it doesn’t look like he is capable according to his past and current track record. I feel badly that you are complicit in his efforts to make his wife look like some pitiful, pathetic soul and after 27 years! Just because she may not be right for him is really no business of yours and it certainly doesn’t mean that you are any more right for him than she is. No woman is right for him because he is a sick deviate. LEAVE!!!

    • Nat Attack says:

      Solitaire,

      Don’t wreck your health for anyone. It’s just not worth it. Your body may be trying to send you a message: It’s time to leave. Good relationships don’t make you sick. True love is empowering, not disabling. When people really love you deeply, they give you their full presence. I recommend reading “Teachings on Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh.

      I am lonely these days, but I’m really trying to be thankful for my health. I’ve gained some weight. I exercise. I sleep. That is worth more than a million guys, even the nice ones. I try to be thankful that my ex left me and has stayed out of my life.

      Good luck…

    • A says:

      Solitaire,

      If he wants to leave, he’ll leave. There will always be some excuse as to why he can’t or why it’s difficult. I suggest that you step away and let him make a decision – you can let him know that you’ll be there if and when he leaves (assuming that you’re willing to wait for him).

      Natalie has a number of articles on the subject if you’re interested. Here is one:

      http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/how-to-cope-with-being-the-other-woman/

  31. Susanna says:

    I just wanted to thank Natalie and all the people on here that make it easier for me day by day. I don’t think I could be this strong without the support of this site and reading comments. It helps me feel less alone in this whole process. I truly appreciate it because I was to the point where I was falling into a deep depression and I didn’t want to go there. Thanks again.

    • LovefromNel says:

      I can absolute relate, Susanna. BR is a beautiful online circle of friends and Nat is the terrific teacher. The pick of the crop! (Sorry if that’s an Australian saying). The best girlfriends you could choose worldwide, is what I mean. Stay on here and you will stay strong. Grizelda said to me one ‘always come back to BR, it is like the North Star, if you continue to follow it, you can’t go far wrong.’ Keep BR your North Star, and you’ll keep on getting better. Love Nel

  32. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie,

    I must agree with Chutzpelady, your photo looks great. Imo, it’s the best so far. Your hair! Oh my!

  33. Asia says:

    Thank you for this website. I just came across it not long ago searching for some guidance on how to rebuild myself after being broken from the breakup of my last relationship. I’ve read most of your posts and it’s seriously helping me change my life in this very moment… Committing to yourself (especially when you’re a people-pleaser in relationships like I tend to be lol) IS scary, and i AM doubtful at my progress at times – but it’s nice to know there’s reasoning behind that and I’ll be okay.

    Thanks again :)

  34. Misstee_83 says:

    Thanks for this Natalie. You’ve given me so much insight into my situation. After working on my lack of boundaries and taking a dating hiatus I expected things to miraculously come together. With the first relationship I had I fell right back into my old pattern, backtracked on my boundaries and commitment to myself like you’ve described. I’ve ended up pregnant by a first class AC. I knew he had crossed too many boundaries and abused me as felt more destroyed by the relationship. I only really got strong enough to tell him to “jog on” when I realized I was pregnant and wanted the best for me and baby. Thanks for highlighting to me what I need to focus to make the change stick this time around.

  35. AfroK says:

    Tinkerbell,

    You are one of the veterans in here when it comes to offering encouragemets and constructive advice. Personally, I have valued your advice at different times, that I feel giving you advice is like advising Natalie or Oprah.

    So I would like to give you a hug in this difficult time, also hope that things between you and your special man settles for the best, as I’m aware (from your posts) of how you love and value each other. Xx

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Afro K,

      Thank you so much. It means a lot when posters take a minute to say something encouraging. I think this is a hiccup that will be resolved. But, if it’s over I can say it was wonderful while it lasted. I have a very good life with or without him. This is much more than I ever could have believed 3 years ago.

  36. AfroK says:

    Solitaire,

    “I don’t like drama”

    Well, that sounds like a lot of drama you have got yourself into, and it has only been 4 months. That man isn’t available and it seems like you need to remove yourself from the picture before you are turned into a fall back girl/other woman, if not yet.

    You speak negatively about his partner as if she is interfering in your relationship while it is the other way round.. Put yourself in her shoes, you might have not behaved differently, when you discover your partner of 27 years, a father of your children, is having an affair.

    That man clearly has no respect for his partner, his children and you. He sounds selfish and like he is enjoying the attention of two women’s battling it out to win him (special prize he is…not).

    You are saying that you have evidence from his friends etc that their relationship is not good etc. When the relationship isn’t working, people break up permanently, then when ready they get in new relationships.

    I feel it is a red flag this guy is wanting to be with you while he is still with his partner. Actually he is openly cheating on his partner. He is shady…and must have enjoyed the reaction after sharing blow job news, what a tool!

    You need to ask yourself why you are ok to be in this kind of a relationship and what are you hoping to get out of it. Four months is not a very long time. If you exit now, you will rescue yourself from years of confusion and eroded self esteem as a result of being a fall back girl. He needs to come to you when he is fully available, if you will still be there waiting for him. Good luck.

  37. happy b says:

    I so needed to hear this, I haven’t done right by me the last few days. I was warned off an unavailable man by BR readers, he’s in a committed relationship, but have had to work with him. He encouraged me to think we might have something, that he wasn’t happy with his life. I know this is wrong, I wouldn’t cross the line unless he offered commitment and exclusivity, but it’s hard to fight the feelings. What we’re working on is important to both of us and I’ve put that first, been professional and friendly, but I realise he is very inconsistent. At critical times I don’t get anything back from him and I’m wondering what I did wrong, raking over the thoughts, actions and words that might have been wrong or taken wrong, what I could have done differently, was I too generous? Do I seem too controlling? Am I putting him under pressure?

    Then I realised how ridiculous this kind of thinking was. I am just how I am, I work hard at everything I do, throw myself into projects, and it works for me, and I’m thoughtful towards others. I’m co-operative, ambitious, I listen, I get things done. Why would I change it or try to be anything else? If anyone didn’t like it, it would be their problem. There are parts of me I’m working on but this is something I’m good at. I’ve been thanked and encouraged by everyone else involved with the project, including him before he disappeared at a critical time.

    Then I see he most likely doesn’t have a problem with anything I’ve done and that this is my baggage from the past, trying to fill in the gaps where family have let me down and work out what is wrong with me and I’ve carried it into my life. It’s useless thinking. It was their failure not mine, it takes me more than 30 years to realise this simple thing.

    He has shown me a very clear pattern of behaviour. He initiates something – working on something together, meeting up, etc., I respond, he ignores it and disappears, then he comes back stronger, completely on his own terms. I have no idea why this is, if it’s about control or playing games, or if he really is naturally unreliable as he makes out. It is upsetting to me because it really spoiled a few days, the frustration of his silence. The project has been very stressful, very hard work and out of my comfort zone, and his behaviour has made it much harder, when working together should mean the opposite.

    It’s tough to see I’ve got myself in this situation of weakness again, of depending too much on someone else’s actions, but I know that now I have to do right by me. It’s a test, it’s tough to have to work with him intensely and I need to guard myself when he ‘comes back’, it’s a challenge. This is exactly what I was hostage to for many years and dammed if I’ll let it happen again.

  38. Peanut says:

    Sandy,

    Thank you for the hug :). In lieu of some recent events, unfortunately I cannot have my grandparents over. I cannot let anyone in my family know where I live. According to a relative, my uncle kicked in the doors to an aunt’s home.

    Also, I suspect bed bugs in my new apartment. I stayed up sitting on my floor crying most of Monday night, until out of exhaustion Tues. morning I went to my bed and slept for a good while, only to wake with a new welt. Still, I haven’t left my bed for 24 hours. I have no fight left in me.

    I know I need to tell management ASAP. I’m just scared of what all this means. I’ve done quite a bit of research and the outlook does not look good.

    I’m heartbroken because I don’t have a lot of money and used my savings to buy some furniture I really love.

    I’m just lying here missing my family, (grandparents & dog), my home with them, being bit when I nod off, and feeling really sorry for myself. I know it could be worse, but telling myself that isn’t even helping.

  39. AfroK says:

    Peanut,

    It’s tough what you have been and what you are going through at the moment. Just sending my support your way. I believe you will fight and come out of it even more stronger. You have done it before, you can do it now. Xx

  40. Peanut says:

    solitaire,

    When people want to leave a situation, they leave–and stay gone. He stays married because he wants to be married to her. Some people value manogamy–some people do not. He doesn’t. Now would be a good time to sort out your values on that.

    I lived in a nice home with my grandparents for five years. There was a serious situation that lead me to see I didn’t want to be there anymore. I found an apartment in a day. I am unemployed, and, yes, the place might be crawling with critters that bite me at night, but I’m not going back.

    As for the wife? She’s a human being. Her husband of 27 years is cheating on her…with you.

  41. Wendy says:

    Today is NC day #29!!!

    Me and the ex passed each other driving yesterday and I was surprised I wasn’t bothered by seeing him. I gave a quick wave after he waved (that will be the day when I don’t pay attention). I thought it interesting where he was driving and the time. He knew he might see me. Made me think he still thinks about me and I had an epiphany right then! The whole relationship I focused on him, his needs, his wants and I put mine to the back burner. I didn’t really love myself then. My focus is changing and it’s all about me. I am a beautiful person inside and out and he was a fool. I have had so many great me days lately and I’ve been spoiling myself instead of punishing myself for ‘messing’ up the relationship. I have a feeling this failed relationship is going to be a huge blessing!

    • Lorraine says:

      Wendy,
      I’m so happy for you! You sound great. It’s always about their needs, and focusing completely on them. Leaves us feeling exhausted and empty, right?

      I’ve been having a bad week. Depressed. I feel like if this AC didn’t see my value and was so beneath me, why would anyone else see my value? It’s 40 days NC for me. Five months since we broke up. The betrayal is what still hurts most. I’ll get there though. I haven’t lost hope.

      Anyway Wendy, I say, good for you. You’re on your way to not even noticing when he passes by.
      Hugs,
      Lorraine

      • Wendy says:

        Hi Lorraine,

        I’m sorry to hear you are having a tough week. I woke up this morning (30 days NC today) feeling sad too. I think I will always wonder why he never made love to me…I adored him and he withheld making love to me and I just don’t understand why and that hurts, but I guess thinking about it will make me go nuts! I’m trying not too…I never loved a man more than him, that’s why it stings so bad…Hang in there and when you start feeling depressed, just think of something that you are thankful for and spoil yourself a little, buy your favorite coffee/tea or something that makes you feel happy and comforted! Hugs!

  42. Unlike says:

    my self-sabotage is, even though I’m sure it’s hurting me, I continue to check what is VERY limited access and info on social sites of ex and his new g’friend. There’s enough there to see their relationship progressing towards marriage (she adds to her “wedding” board on pinterest daily). He moved her in immediately, asked her to marry him, went on a major trip(never went ANYWHERE with me and I pleaded)and he wouldn’t live with me after 3 years (even though he asked me to marry him, have kids, live 2gether…never happened) She came out of nowhere and jumped in full force…I had too many doubts and problems with him and his behavior (and mine)to agree to move that fast like he wanted to.
    I know it’s pathetic of me to keep looking but I can’t stop. I guess my fear is not knowing if his new relationship is going to succeed or fail. And why is she getting what I wanted? And I should have jumped like her then I would have what I wanted.

    I recently saw what I think is evidence of trouble and it made me giddy (i know, sick) to know that she was experiencing some discomfort due to his selfish ways and maybe that will be the launching point to their ultimate doom or maybe he’s different with her. (I’ve read “why her and not me”)

    Clearly I’m too invested in their relationship, and I barely know anything about it. The switcheroo happened so fast and he had NO remorse at all and didn’t believe I even had a right to any feelings about it. It was awful. I’m still reeling from it and it’s been 6 months.

    I read BR a lot…but it’s like I have this dirty little secret of looking at their crap online and apparently I don’t want to stop. Then I figure well, I’ll stop when I don’t care anymore, but how long might that be. Why won’t I force myself to stop? Fear of fully letting go and not getting to be right (I knew it wouldn’t work out, he moved to fast, he’s messed up etc.) even when it’s OVER? Maybe it makes me feel less alone.

    • Lorraine says:

      Unlike,
      I know exactly how you feel. It’s so hard to get over these guys. I don’t look at his or the GFs pages only because they don’t have one. Sometimes I check his brother’s page to see if something is posted about an engagement or pregnancy or something. You’re definitely not sick, just to consumed with an AC.

      I’ve also read the why her not me article and I keep telling myself that he’s no different with her, but sometimes its hard to really believe that. What we should be wondering is why do we care?

      My head knows this AC is beneath me, doesn’t deserve me, would never have fulfilled me or made me happy, but my heart still hurts for him? He was my best friend for five years and I miss him.

      You have to keep yourself occupied. Do whatever you need to in order to stop looking. There is nothing you can do about it, it will only hurt you to see these things, so try to focus on you and not them.

      Unless you stop, you won’t be able to stop caring. I know it’s hard. It’s five months for me but I’m still not over it. I wonder what’s wrong with me? Why am I obsessed with him? I want to hear they’ve broken up so badly. I don’t want to care anymore too.

      I keep ready BR articles and postings and they do help. I find myself moving forward and feeling great for a while, then suddenly I’m in a pit of despair.

      We’ll do better, we have to. We have to be stronger, focus on us, know we will be okay. Letting go is the easy part, moving on is the painful part…
      Hugs..

      • Lynn says:

        Unlike & Lorraine – I totally understand where you both are coming from. I’ve been NC for almost 6 months from someone who I thought was my best friend and then boyfriend later on. He was a HUGE part of my life for 2.5 years and you can’t just get over the hopes, dreams etc you had right away. I think my ego is hurt mostly. I sometimes still focus on why he doesn’t want me instead of me not wanting him. And even though I fantasize of him showing up at my door sometimes and saying he made a mistake…would I really take him back? the relationship would be the same. he can’t give me what I truly want. he doesn’t even know what he wants. He’s already been married and even though he did talk about us getting married…he would also say that he isn’t sure he wants to get married again.

        Unkind – you have to STOP looking at the social media. Its a killer. It will keep you invested longer then you need to be and keep the wound raw. Maybe look up Nat’s articles on fast forwarding/future fakers to understand what he/her are doing if that helps you. People moving that fast – just won’t last. You have to remember that these men do NOT change…and he’s probably caught up in some feeling right now that makes him think she is the one. Relationships in the beginning are never real (at least in my opinion). Its mostly lust and each person trying to impress the other one and reel them in.

        Lorraine: I know the same as you…that my ex is beneath me, I deserve better, would never give me what I needed in the long run etc but I am still struggling. This week has been hard. I have been wanting to contact him big time. I am not sure why – I think I am lonely and miss the comfort that was us (even when we were just friends). He was always the person I could contact to do something with. He is not that person anymore. I also was hoping I would be over him in a 6 month period, but I am not. It takes time. I have to stay to myself several times a day ‘it doesn’t matter (3 times)’ when I start thinking about him. Or him with his new gf. (which btw, is separated!!!) ugh he is so messed up. anyway, another site that is helpful is gettingpastyourbreakup.com. She has some amazing articles and her book is great. Look into it. I have stagnated on doing her relationship inventory and such but need to get better at that so I can keep healing.

      • Allison says:

        Loraine,

        Was he really your best friend? Please reflect upon the way he treated you, as well as all of the confusion, drama and lies. Do you best friends – or friends for that matter – really treat you that way? Just because there was time invested, does not always equate to a true friendship.

    • A says:

      Unlike,

      These guys don’t magically change for the next woman, and facebook isn’t a reliable gauge as to what their relationship is like – people can post all kinds of comments and photos to portray a perfect relationship, but you don’t know what’s actually happening behind closed doors.

    • Nat Attack says:

      Unlike,
      Your dirty little secret is actually not that strange. You may be over-thinking this issue. Instead of waiting until you completely understand why you stalk him before you stop stalking him, just stop, and see what happens to your mood. Try it as an experiment, if you feel it’s too much pressure to commit to giving it up completely.

      Seriously, I don’t know anything about what my ex is up to. He could be married with ten babies right now. I have no clue. And that’s great! It gives me time to just focus on me. So then someday, when I find out he’s married and has ten babies, I’ll probably either be a) happy for him, or b) not care.

      This is the strange quasi-stalker thing that I do: About once a month, I read his Chinese astrology on the internet. Every time I check, his love forecast has been awful. And I smile…Maybe that’s cruel of me but oh well, no serious harm done…

      Stop torturing yourself!!

      • Unlike says:

        I really appreciate these responses. I have been feeling so alone with this lately and now I feel some relief. Thank You Lorraine, Lynn, Allison, A and Nat Attack…so much good stuff here to consider and to be understood and supported..OMG, I needed it, bad :)

  43. Lilia says:

    Solitaire,
    There are people who are naturally more insensitive to others than average.

    Your story reminded me of a friend of my parents. He was a very nice, sensitive and caring man who was happily married with a seemingly normal lady. Then suddenly she fell in love with a coworker and started an affair. The thing is, she wanted her husband to know about this and to participate in her new found happiness. She just could not understand why he was hurt, why he was confused about their relationship, not even why he became jealous. She figured that if she was honest about it, it shouldn´t be a problem.

    Needless to say, there was a lot of drama. She wanted to keep the marriage AND the affair and did not think she was being unreasonable. Of course, everyone around her – nice husband and coworker lover – had a terrible time.
    Their friends, coworkers and family knew about it, it was all done in the open (imagine, even I knew about it and I was just a teenager then).

    In the end, nice husband managed to defend his boundary and she ended the affair. But though they stayed together, I don´t think they ever recovered from this. At least he didn´t. His wife must still be wondering what the fuss was about.

    So I guess the moral is when you´re faced with insensitive people like that, run for the hills.

  44. Peanut says:

    AfroK,

    Thank you. I spent much of my childhood broke, homeless, and helpless. As an adult, I have felt all of these things again this past month. It hasn’t been easy. I’m finding it difficult to even get out of bed. Hopefully I’m just recharging what fight I have left in me.xx

  45. Been there. says:

    Solitaire,

    I am guessing since you posted on here that you are asking for a weigh in…

    There is nothing about this site or the advice on here that should lead you to believe nothing short of run don’t walk.

    I don’t care if his marriage was or has been sexless, if his wife is mentally ill, or has issues or that one of the children seems to be accepting. They are in fact NOT. Even if he gets his divorce and the two of you separate during that time. You will Always be the other woman.

    The only thing worse than staying in for four months is staying in for four months and a day.

    Run solitaire run!

  46. Lisa says:

    This was a great read!

    Just had a mutual break up with my boyfriend of almost a year. I definitely lack in the self love department as to why I decided to end our relationship.

    I ask anyone out there to please respond. I’m in great need of advice or insight.

    1.) I still love him. He was great to me but I know I have too many issues to be with him. I showed too much resentment towards him for it to be a healthy relationship.

    Thank you guys :) Just a lost little soul here trying to truly find myself.

  47. M says:

    Yeah Solitaire, the cynical me agrees with the ladies: if you want a normal life and normal relationship you should quit this man and let him have his occasional blowjobs with the wife and not wait for his kids’ approval.
    Or the three of you can enjoy this book:
    “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” by Dossie Easton and see if it fits. There are people who live by poly rules and say it works for them. I know one, she swore by this book, then after having child and buying a house with her primary partner, they still split up for very similar reasons monogamous people do: he was immature, not helping, unsupportive, lying, loss of trust, etc. (She left him)
    Somehow I think you will make the monogamous choice….

  48. Been there. says:

    Lisa,

    I see the positive in that you are opting out (might just be temporary if he is a great guy) for you to work on you. We gotta truly love ourselves FIRST,then we have so much more to give in a mutually healthy relationship.

    You are worthy of all kinds of love including self love–yeah we won’t get it right some of the time we are imperfect and we know all our flaws. Sounds to me that you are very aware of yourself. HUGE!

    Great guy will still be a great guy but sounds like you want to be the best version, (maybe healed) of yourself for that great guy. Nothing wrong with that.

    You are already loved, more than you know with or without that great guy.

    If he is patient and kind, he will wait while you tend to Lisa. But don’t hinge anything on that.

    I’m pulling for you.

  49. Brenda says:

    Most beautiful post ever Natalie is all I have to say, just breathless and 100% Truth.

  50. round-and-round says:

    I do not know if I am self sabotaging.
    I have been angry and raging at the ex AC for nineteen months. The last eight months have been no contact.
    The trouble is I haven’t found a way to let go of my anger I keep over re acting to innocent bystanders and having over the top reactions to minor situations.
    So after 8 months of silence I contacted the ex AC to meet up so I can direct my anger where it belongs fairly and squarely at him.
    I don’t know if this is self sabotage I don’t know what I am doing any more.
    I feel like I can’t win. If I am in no contact I am angry if I am in contact I am back to square one with him playing stupid games.
    I contacted him last Wednesday and it is taking him till tomorrow Friday to get back to me. This triggered all my insecurities as to why he is sooooooo busy he can’t manage a phone call earlier.

    I don’t know what the answer or solution is.

  51. Peanut says:

    I called the suicide hotline for the states tonight.

    I didn’t have a plan to kill myself, but I caught myself thinking how nice it’d be to just not eat and waste away (I had barely eaten and hadn’t left my bed in two days).

    This was enough to trigger me into action. So I called. Just the feeling of wanting to die is merit enough to call.

    The woman who answered was just one year younger than I. She stayed on the phone with me for an hour while I cried and confided in her.

    Then we were able to do some rational work on expectations and plans of action.

    And the hurt over the ex came up more than I’d like to admit. There were so many times going through no contact where I felt like the pain would engulf me.

    It’s time to get this body a bath, a rest, some vitamins, a good meal, tell management about bed bugs, and schedule an ASAP therapy appointment first thing tomorrow.

    I don’t know what it is in me that keeps getting up, but it’s something. I hope Peanut’s back in the saddle. Xx

    • Lilly says:

      Peanut,

      I have no words of wisdom, but I’ve been in a similar place and can empathise and send you my love and encouragement. I remember being in the depths of despair and believing there was no way out as it hurt so much. Have that bath, a good rest, a good meal and tell about the bed bugs each is a great step forward. Make the therapy appointment a priority and remember you have people who care about you even if we don’t get to meet. Get right back in that saddle Peanut and hugs to you.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Peanut,

      I don’t understand. I know that you’ve moved out and not seeing your grandparents, but apparently there is lots more going on that is causing your implosion. I really think it is time for you to re-enlist professional help. You have far too much at stake to be in this situation. I thought you were doing so well with school and all. I know many of us tend to have extremes of moods, in which we’re in euphoria or the world is coming to an end. You seem to be feeling the latter. Please get help. We all care.

    • MaryW says:

      Peanut, I also have off days (or two) with total self neglect -eating a bare minimum, staying in bed – and my therapist calls these periods of disassociation. So things, feelings, the world, get overwhelming and we retreat to a place of safety. For me it’s not a happy place, but somehow I need it.
      You didn’t want to end your life thank God, but you did the right thing phoning the hotline.
      Look after yourself as best you can during these periods of retreat x

    • Pauline says:

      Peanut

      I can only add my own words of encouragement to all the others.
      Very glad to hear your seeking help and are going to take care of yourself.
      Dear girl, you are very special to all of us on BR and we wish you every good thing for now and the future.
      Take care Peanut and lots of love and hugs to you xoxoxo

    • Luisa says:

      Peanut,
      I’m so sorry to hear things are still challenging. I hope you were able to relax a little even for a few moments. On the topic of committing to ourselves, and providing a safe home/space for ourselves, and not believing we deserve to suffer- sorry to hear about your new roommates sabotaging your new place!

      I can tell you that if you are already not sleeping much, and now have the bed bugs to deal with, that is probably affecting your emotional state as well. Sometimes unwelcome guests are the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Been there, done that. But you can handle this!Bugs are easier to solve than other pests such as EUMs and ACs…:>

      If you can come up with any extra $ to buy pillow protectors and a mattress cover that zip shut or can make/sew something that shuts to cover those things(othewise their excrement stains all your stuff), that is a good start, once you are sure that you got the bugs vaccumed off of those items.(more below)

      One trick I learned is to get duck tape and put it around the top edges of your mattress, like a square-they often are found at the foot of your mattress underneath your sheets. Place it partially face up, so that bugs will stick to that, and you can see if there are eggs or bugs the next day, and it will help to keep track after you vaccuum to see if new ones are still coming. Put some in a ziplock bag to show the landlord or Board of Health inspector.

      I know you might not have a vaccum if you just moved, but perhaps your landlord does. Vaccuming every day is quite important until you get rid of all the old/new bugs because I guess they hatch fast. Just empty the vaccuum bag every time.

      Also if you can get trashbags, to bag up your clothing, linens, towels etc, after you was them in super hot water, that will help you to feel better about it. You can also put any clothing or items in a deep freezer for 2 weeks(if your landlord has access to one?)to kill them if they can’t go in a dryer or washer on high heat(like a winter coat, etc). Everything needs to go in the washer and dryer on hot/high heat-be careful with plastics or synthetic materials that melt!

      In the States, we have laws about the bedbugs and fumigation of apartments, so make sure that you document clearly the date that you inform management, and write it in a letter you have a copy of to be safe.

      They usually have a certain amount of time to respond and send a fumigator. If they don’t send someone within I think like 24-72 hours, you can call the Board of Health in your town, and they will start the claim They really need to spray in your apartment, and look for them in nooks and crannies to prevent new ones from hatching. really need to make sure to fumigate not just your apartment, but the ones next door/that share walls etc with you.

      Make sure you are extra careful in apartment laundry room/laundromats-ask that they fumigate there if there is one on-site and always use hot water and high heat, and don’t put your clothes basket/grocery bag/school bag on the floor in public building areas.

      I recommend hydrocortisone cream for the bites and/or an antihistamine if your doctor says you can take them, and keep those hot baths going for sanity!You’ve got this girl!

      Take care,

      Luisa

  52. Alba says:

    Thank you for your comment A.

    We broke up last night. He finally, after so many months was honest with me. He told me he loves me, but he knows he cannot gives me the relationship that I want. He kinda admitted he knows he’s an EUM and that he treaded me badly and distanced himself, but that he thinks it will ‘go away’ when he gets older and he proposed a break instead of a break-up. I told him that I can’t and won’t settle and we decided to break up and go no-contact for a while.

    Even though I know that this is best for me, it doesn’t feel like it.

    I have moved lately to another city, quit my job, looking for an internship an stessed because of my studies and on top of that I’m so sad right now. And I’m angry with myself, this is the time that I have to choose *me*, this is one of the most important times of my life, I should be working on my future instead of crying my eyes out, getting nothing done.

    • A says:

      Alba,

      Try not to be so hard on yourself. You should be proud that you refused to accept “a break” – most people don’t have the strength to walk away so quickly.

      You’re human – don’t beat yourself up for being sad. This is how we learn and grow in life, through difficult situations such as this. Challenging times can lead to insight and growth.

      Allow yourself to process this loss, but try to take good care of yourself and devote energy to taking care of you, finding an internship, and generally doing nice things for yourself that will make you happy.

      You’re strong, you will get through this and come out even stronger and wiser.

      • Alba says:

        Thank you so much!

        I know you’re right. It’s hard to -not- think about it. My mom can be very practical about it (you can delay your grieve because now isn’t the time, etc.’ but I know that’s not the way for me.

        I’m quite distracted but I’m trying to finish of my research project this weekend anyway and on top of that I found an internship and I have another interview next monday (might even get 2!) That makes me feel a lot better. It’s reminds me of one of the pins on Nats pinterest: The relationship is broken, you’re not.

  53. AfroK says:

    Peanut,

    Lots of hugs. It is tiring, also mentally and physically exhausting what you are going through. You have been fighting for so long, since you were a child, and you have done more than amazing job with yourself and your life. No wonder you feel tired, anyone would.

    You did a good thing to call the suicide line. I should say although you are down, you are still and actually sound to be aware of the situation and in control.

    Things are yet to get even better for you Peanut and they have to. Give yourself a good rest then continue from where you left at. I have followed your posts as you shared your life experiences until now. You are a very strong woman and very inspiring. Your resillience, with What you have overcome on your own to be where you are now, is beyond many people’s imagination. And you are very good at advising and encouraging others in BR, with your thoughtful posts.

    That crazy uncle sounds extremely unstable, please continue keeping out of his sight. If necessary, intervention order against him. I know how horrible it is to be in fear of a psycho like him.

    I wish you all the best Peanut and I believe not long we will be reading how brighter thingd are looking for you, because they will. Stick around BR for more support.

    Big squeeze. Xx

  54. AfroK says:

    Peanut,
    Lots of hugs. It is tiring, also mentally and physically exhausting what you are going through. You have been fighting for so long, since you were a child, and you have done more than amazing job with yourself and your life. No wonder you feel tired, anyone would.

    You did a good thing to call the suicide line. I should say although you are down, you are still and actually sound to be aware of the situation and in control.

    Things are yet to get even better for you Peanut and they have to. Give yourself a good rest then continue from where you left at. I have followed your posts as you shared your life experiences until now. You are a very strong woman and very inspiring. Your resillience, with What you have overcome on your own to be where you are now, is beyond many people’s imagination. And you are very good at advising and encouraging others in BR, with your thoughtful posts.

    That crazy uncle sounds extremely unstable, please continue keeping out of his sight. If necessary, intervention order against him. I know how horrible it is to be in fear of a psycho like him.

    I wish you all the best Peanut and I believe not long we will be reading how brighter thingd are looking for you, because they will. Stick around BR for more support.

    Big squeeze. Xx

  55. Noquay says:

    Peanut
    Get a small, easily cleaned mat and sleep on the floor. Totally clean any upholstered furniture with a vaccum. Pretty much sanitize the place and, yep, tell management. Your uncle is a friggin psycho, but you know this. Weird how families close ranks about such folk rather than face reality and deal with it. I wish you could have your dog. Used furniture is much better quality than anything new, check thrift shops, rummage sales. Other than power tools and outdoor equipment, I do not allow anything modern or remotely new in the door. I understand the specter of homelessness/poverty. I was there as a child except we had beaucoup roaches rather than bedbugs. I faced it as a young woman of 17 who’d bailed from her sick suburban family and again in my 40s when my marriage fell apart when I was out west. It’s friggin scary. Wish you could come here but theres no jobs to speak of. Have you considered talking to the law and pressing charges against your lovely uncle? This dude clearly needs to be put away.

  56. Lilia says:

    Peanut,
    I´m sending you a big hug! Please look for help, as the others say. And listen to Noquay, she gives excellent advice. I think cleaning, besides useful, is also very therapeutic.

    Growing up we had lots of mice, some would venture into my bedroom while I was trying to sleep, and jump into the kitchen cupboards to make tunnels in the bread and anything eatable. The nice result was that I got to have a cat and that I´ve never been afraid of rats, unlike anyone else I know.

  57. sadness says:

    I am really struggling

    I was seeing someone long distance for 4 months and they ended things with me about 3 months ago.

    I was so happy in the relationship, really showed up in a way that made me proud, and worked through my fears with a coach so I could show up really well.

    He had seemed so into it. Before he broke up with me, I had gone on vacation overseas. The 10 days before the vaction, he had called me 10 times, texted and emailed, and written me a letter about how great I was. While I was away, we spoke 3 times, and he had wanted to keep talking and set up the next call.

    I came home and he has not arranged his ticket to see me, he said he wanted “more”. I had just gotten off a plane from a 30 hour travel schedule. I was blindsided, and tried to convince him we should give it a try.

    Now I feel like he thought I was begging, and that I was pathetic, eventhough he wrote me a letter saying how grounded and compassionate I was as a person and that he was sorry it ended this way.

    I still keep trying to understand what happened. Did I scare him away?

    And I keep looking at his online profile and facebook, and I cannot stop thinking about him. He recently became friends with a woman on facebook, and now I am convinced they are dating.

    I have to forgive myself for trying to convince him, and have my head high because of how great I was, but I am mired in this obsession….

    Help!

    • sadness says:

      oh yeah, and he had started saying love you at the end of calls. I did not think he was in love with me, but we both seemed to be falling, and I figured we would solidify it when I saw him at the holidays…

      • Lilia says:

        Sadness,
        My idea is that he met someone else, you didn´t do anything wrong. The thing is, if he can jump into another relationship while being involved with you – it seems he was quite enthousiastic about the two of you – then this new relationship won´t last either. He is just not capable of a real commitment, and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it.

        The best thing you can do is break all ties with him and try to move on. Don´t look at his fb either, that´s hell.

        • sadness says:

          He was not seeing anyone while we were together. And I honestly believe he had not met anyone for the first several months we were not (I think it may have been harder to meet someone than he thought). And indeed, he might not be dating this person, they are just facebook friends and from what I can she liked one of his posts, not even a comment. I have made that into a whole story for which I have no facts to back up other than an overactive imagination. Not that he owes me anything. I am just still really confused about how he just changed his mind…

          She has a similar background to mine, but in my mind, better. I only went to the best school, and have a great job. She went to the best school and is a partner at the best job.

          I am not spending any time thinking about me. And prior to dating him, I was finally feeling sooooo confident. I really thought if we broke up, I would feel fine and move on. And I have not. I know that looking at his dating and FB are really unhealthy and only foster more time thinking about him, and making up stories….

          I closed down my dating site profile so I will not look, and I will block him on facebook, and swear never ever ever to look again.

          How do I just not care anymore, or maybe I just need to comfortable with the idea that he has moved on, even if I do not have any idea or proof either way…..

          This is sabataging a lot of work I have done, and really triggered my fears, which I am responsible for…

          • sadness says:

            oops, meant he did not meet anyone for the first several months we were not together anymore…

  58. Peanut says:

    Ladies,

    Thank you all for the support.
    Today I am much better. I am trying to pull together the best self care I can. Your words help.

    I’m off to meet a friend for lunch. (I relaized I had to give myself the break I need from stressing/being constatnly sad or worried).

    hugs hugs hugs

  59. Peanut says:

    Tink,

    I have been in therapy with a competent therapist for four years.

    What I have been through this past month would try/rattle the core of the healthiest/strongest of beings.

    I know I am cared about here and I am grateful for that. I am also doing the best I can in what has been a heartbreaking ordeal for me.

    Peanut xx

  60. Noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    People’s lives are messy. If someone gets mad about that, they are not well versed in reality. If a person cannot handle you as is, warts and all, they are either out of touch or looking for an excuse to distance themselves. While I have mentioned before that you are kinda enabling your daughter and yep, maybe you spend too much (I do too), the bottom line is that it’s your, and not his, money and yep, some of us feel obligation toward family, not because of who they are, but because of who WE are. Let him get in touch with you, don’t pursue him.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hi Noquay,

      Thanks for writing. Haven’t heard anything yet. I’m fed up at this point. I don’t think I deserve this. He knows how devoted I am to my family and my close friends. I do for others. That’s just me. His philosophy is TCB for yourself first. I agree that I’m generous to a fault, but I don’t think I should be punished for it. Noquay, you know the history. At this point, I don’t know if I can get back the same intensity of devotion that I had before. I’m a person who loves openly and very passionately, but at the same time I’m easily discouraged and self-protective. Things were going so well, but I needed to take a breather because we were spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone since our homes are not that close to each other. It got to be too much for me. I don’t understand this myself because I thought I wanted such unbridled closeness, but may I’m fooling myself. I’m not experienced with budgeting because I didn’t have to be for 25 yrs. He told me that this trait worries him because he is not near me logistically, speaking. I never should have divulged so much about myself because I feel it has come back to bite me. However, it seems to me that he’s using my weaknesses as an excuse to distance himself. He is not a wealthy man and actually our retirement incomes almost match. Yet, I’ve never told him that he buys way too much food for one person, that he spends unnecessarily at the dollar store and throws money away every week on the lottery. I feel he’s grown and that’s his business. He is not very close with much of his family so he doesn’t give/lend money or buy gifts. Anyway, I’m going on a tangent here. The bottom line is I’m VERY TIRED mentally and I don’t know if I even care anymore. I’m like a faucet that has been full on for two years and now I’m at a very slow drip. I’m not feeling depressed, more angry because this tit for tat behavior is just fair after all I’ve been through. I’m the one who has been watching the flame and adding the logs to keep it going. Now, I’m not sure I have it in me anymore.

  61. Noquay says:

    This being our break, I have had time to reflect, time to get stuff done (including fixing my furnace!), time to train my rambunctious dog, and dealt with some weird stuff. First off, I have decided to cash out one of my minor retirements, despite the tax penalty, and accelerate the home improvement process. I am scheduled to meet with my work supervisor next week and I intend to speak my truth; that I am totally burned out in my primary fields, I am present but not really present in the classroom, and frankly, I hate it. Since I do my job, and well, she cannot really fire me but just maybe she’ll find some temps to take over the night classes and let me spread my wings with new things. Have been allowing one of the local ski bums help with shovelling and some heavy lifting stuff because my arm is getting worse. Agree to share a glass of wine with him at a local establishment and I scarcely get a mouthful of Cab down the gullet when he declares his undying love. Maybe knew this dude for a month? He also disclosed that he cannot make himself care about his retirement, which is quickly running out, AND that when he feels he can no longer be physically as fit as he feels he should be, he intends to off himself and that he feels the need to tell this to all and sundry that are close to him. Add to this the fact that I am in no way attracted to him physically, saw him strictly as a friend and have treated him accordingly. He wants my heart and soul; I want his free climbing routes. I explained that I am having difficulty being here and intend to bail when I can and he said “no problem” he’d come with me. Jesus Christ on a pony. So third serious job of the week is to figure out a way to be direct but kind. I must have a tattoo on my forehead that says “needy guys welcome”. This is not self sabotage but recognizing red flags, incompatibility, refusal to settle, and taking care of Noquay.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay,

      It would be hilarious if this dude weren’t so sad. You need this, right? Of course, I can see you getting into this situation because you come off so strong and self-reliant. Maybe he thinks some of it’ll rub off on him if he stays around you as much as possible. That’s so funny. I know you’ll handle it with aplomb. More importantly, I hope you get your career particulars sorted out. Good luck.

  62. MaryW says:

    I feel a ramble/ rant coming on.

    I haven’t posted for ages but I’ve been reading Nat’s posts. I’ve been in a monogamous and exclusive relationship with myself since the drama of last summer and all the preceding disastrous dating and relationships. I quit on line dating, focused on therapy once a week, started my own meetup.com group to make new friends, and I’m definitely having a ‘dating hiatus’. Bar a single slip up, I have managed no maintain no contact with the last guy I dated (luckily he ignored my message, and I’d ignored a previous message from him).

    So far so good, except that a creep joined the meetup group and I felt awful acting on my gut feelings and barring him from the group. He crossed my boundaries with his behaviour but I wondered if I was being a control freak/ over reacting by barring him. Well today I found out he was kicked out of a local walking group some years ago after being given a police caution to stay away from a woman in the group. So my gut feelings were right, but this totally rattled me and my confidence. It sort of ruined the good things I’ve got out of starting the group :(

    Back to being monogamous and exclusive with myself: this is a struggle. I do have a sex drive, after all. I’m pretty much accustomed to being lonely, but I miss intimacy (I know that sounds weird, so OK I miss sex).

    An ex holiday romance/fling guy who I’ve known for 5 years and met twice (last time just over a year ago) told me he’s visiting Europe for work in the next few months and would I like to join him AKA for a “dirty weekend”. He didn’t put it like that but that’s what it would be.

    First reaction was a FEELING of excitement, swiftly followed by THOUGHTS of “no!”. I’ll get emotionally attached and feel used and cheap afterwards. But then I think, damn it, I could have a really nice long weekend in a lovely city and have nice company with intimacy (sorry if too much info but he’s the best lover I’ve ever had) and it’s not a crime (I have the Catholic guilt thing).

    I discussed this with my therapist, she pointed out that with my thought processes as they are, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. My overriding thoughts are to back right off but there’s the but. I’m going to regret whatever decision I make. (Quite rightly she won’t make the decision for me).

    I don’t want to self sabotage during my ‘healing’ or developing (though I don’t feel I’m developing much) but I just wish I was carefree enough of a person to see this as an opportunity for a mutually enjoyable experience.

    The last time I saw him, when we spent more time together, he was trying to bust my sexual boundaries (yes big red flags) but I held firm. He doesn’t have much respect for me, but the last 2 times I met him I didn’t have much respect for me, either. I feel that has shifted, I do have a bit more confidence and self respect and am confused as to whether I prove this (to both me and him) by not meeting him, or meeting him but being more assertive.

    Told you it was going to be a ramble. Sorry, my thoughts and feelings are all over the place. And I’m clearly not thinking entirely with my brain. I haven’t committed to meeting him, but haven’t said no either.

    I think I need some feedback re my thoughts on why it’s not a good idea, and help with the conflicting feelings. It’s so complex that it will come up in next weeks therapy (and prob the next one after that) and meanwhile I should discuss it with people who know me better than my therapist … old friends. But any help from the wonderful BR community would be welcome.

    Meanwhile off to visit double emotionally unavailable parents for next few days. No wonder my head is in such a scramble :(

    • Wiser says:

      Mary W,

      Like your therapist, I can’t advise you on what to do. But maybe my story will be helpful because it’s similar to your situation. When I first became aware of my strong physical desire for the ex (we worked together and were friends, but were not in a relationship), I tried, I really tried to buy into the modern feminist mindset that: hey, I’m an adult, I’m mature, I’m carefree and independent, I can explore my own sexuality if I want to, I can have a mutually enjoyable sexual experience with this man and not get all emotionally hung up about it… I mean, I’m in my 50s for God’s sake, I should be able to do this, I should be able to get my sexual needs met, I don’t need this to become a relationship, etc. etc. Well, that didn’t work for me. My, how that didn’t work! As soon as we were in bed, my heart was a goner. For me it was a profound union of hearts and minds as well as bodies – for him it was a “mutually enjoyable experience,” and that’s all it was for him, and I’ve been irrationally angry at him ever since because he didn’t want more of me than that. Very quickly he was on to the next woman, and I felt dumped, betrayed, humiliated, forgotten, not valued, and so on… but looking back I honestly cannot lay all those feelings exclusively at his door. In truth he was much clearer and more honest about what he was looking for and expecting than I was. He offered sex with affection – he gave sex with affection. But that’s all. And for this I have blamed him for my unhappiness over the situation ever since. The truth is I thought I could handle a straightforward mutually enjoyable experience – but I could not.

      Now, I’m sure there are many women who can. Perhaps not as many as modern feminism would have you believe, but I know it’s possible. You’ll just have to decide if you are one of those or not. I have a strong sex drive too, but I know for myself that mere physical coupling will not “get my needs met” because my true needs are for an authentic experience of joy and love and union. In the end, it was a letdown for me, a letdown and a setback. A very deep disappointment. So I would urge you to think about this carefully and realistically, not romantically and in a fantasy, and try to picture the reality of what it will look like and feel like when the big weekend is over. Do you think you’ll feel fulfilled or just crappy? Is it likely to lead to contentment or disappointment? Even though there will be some regret no matter what you do, I think once you can answer these questions, it will become clear what you should do.

      • Mymble says:

        Wiser,
        You are very honest.
        I’ve had this experience more than once. Including with the MM I got involved in in 2011. That was a hard lesson.
        Sometimes, in some circumstances it is possible to have sex with someone you like but don’t love, enjoy the experience and be able to move on afterwards without self hatred or pain, but I think those times are the exception rather than the rule. Also those experiences were not really worth a lot. Without the emotional component it is pretty much a physical thing only (obviously) and just not very special.
        Dalliances don’t work for me, on the whole.
        The other thing to consider is the use of your time. That’s one weekend you’ll never get back, could there not be more worthwhile ways to spend it?
        Books to read, friendships (proper ones) to cultivate.

      • Allison says:

        Wiser,

        Fantastic input!

    • Selkie says:

      MaryW,

      Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I had an ex who I used to ‘visit’ every now and then but honestly, the whole thing felt very hollow and not what I thought I wanted. He was overbearing, and like your guy, tried to bust my sexual boundaries. I felt confident at the time and stood my ground, but looking back, I wonder why I gave a guy the time of day who purposely tried to push me where I was clearly uncomfortable. Because I wanted some intimacy, but I sold myself out by putting myself in the line of fire with a known boundary buster. I had no feelings for him anymore, so that wasn’t an issue, but the idea that he tried to bust my boundaries again and was the same controlling guy he was when we dated, made me feel like I was going backwards and lowering my standards of respect for MYSELF. I ended up feeling some regret, but it wasn’t soul damaging or anything…..just made me cringe a little.
      You’ll have to weigh which might feel worse, regret for missing out on some sex, or possible regret for having to prepare and stand firm in being assertive against a guy who doesn’t respect you just to get some intimacy. No sex for an extended period of time can be NO fun sometimes, but sex with a a guy who doesn’t respect you is worse in my opinion.

    • Pauline says:

      MaryW

      I have a rule I try to live by and most times it works.

      When in doubt … Don’t.

      Men in general don’t even have to LIKE a woman to have sex. In the meantime we women have to dissect every thought and feeling about whether we say yes or no to sex. All that angst over what? He wouldn’t even know what your talking about because he doesn’t have the same thought process as you about sex. He’s just thinking about whether you will say yes or no! If it’s a no, well, that the way the cookie crumbles. If yes, yeee ha! let’s go! He’s not going to feel like crap in the morning for having a great time with a real live woman instead of having a wank looking at dirty movies on the internet.

      So my advice would be to say “no thanks honey, sounds like fun but that doesn’t work for me.”
      At least that way you will avoid waking up thinking, oh no, now my itch is scratched, I’m not feeling that good about me and the associated guilt, remorse, trying to build up the self esteem again, do you really want to go there again?

      If in doubt … Don’t!

      Keep it simple.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hi MaryW

      I remember reading some of your posts from a while ago and being struck by them. I’m sure I’ve copied them somewhere in my BR word doc of wisdom!

      When I read your post today, my immediate thought was (because admittedly, I miss intimacy too and would also be tempted to meet up with him) – well, what would make YOU feel WORSE? So following on from your therapist’s words – damned if you do, damned if you don’t – yes, well I agree, but what would be worse?

      In my opinion, it would be seeing him. You expressed how I recently felt when I slept with a guy on NYE. Yes, I’d known him for years and he’d always told me he wanted a casual thing with me – and I’d maintained my boundaries. But, lo and behold, Nel gets a bit inebriated (well, possibly a lot inebriated) on NYE and I bumped into him and . . . well, y’know. Who’s in my bed in 4am in the morning!

      Being quite vulnerable at the time, it took me quite a few weeks to recovery. My feelings took a little hold, I felt cheap, I felt I’d gone two steps forward and ten steps back, I felt used, I felt like – “geez, Nel, you’re 28, you should know better than drinking too much and just sleeping with someone – it just doesn’t work for you.’

      My advice would be, if you’re going to feel worse afterwards – then don’t. We are too fragile to handle these casual encounters – however fun and appealing they may seem initially. If you have the foresight to sense the impending regret, don’t dip those toes in.

      For the weekend, can you go away and take care of you? I’m not sure whereabouts in Europe you are (and I’m in Aus so my geography is way off!), but can you go to the coast or a retreat – turn off your phone, read your favourite novel, take care of you?

      Good luck.
      Nel
      xo

    • Iain says:

      Hi MaryW

      I can’t really comment on your dilemma, but I just wanted to comment on something that struck me in your post. You said that “I don’t feel I’m developing much”; however, I remember one of your earlier posts saying that you felt uncomfortable attending a ‘meetup’ group, yet in your post above you’ve founded your own group. Surely that’s more of an achievement than merely attending a group and so is evidence of a fair amount of development on your part and something you should pat yourself on the back for rather than self-flagellate?

      Also, and on a similar theme, I don’t see why you need criticise yourself over your actions in expelling the ‘creep’ from your group. Clearly, it was the right thing to do based on what you’ve learned about his behaviour in another group. And even if that fact hadn’t come to light, surely it would still have been the right thing to do based on how you felt? So it seems that you trusted your gut and then were proven right later on. Surely the act of trusting your gut is ‘developing’ and the fact that doing so was proven to be the right course of action confirms that it was wise to trust your gut?

      I wish you well.

      Iain

      • MaryW says:

        Hi there Iain

        Hope you’re well, and thanks for taking the time to respond.

        You’re right, I have done better than I thought over the past months but it’s been hard work. I’ve met some nice people, some potential friends, and overall it’s been positive. The creepy guy was a fly in the ointment, a disappointment.

        I should give myself a bit more credit.

        All the best to you,

        Mary

  63. ThreeDLife says:

    roundandround,
    It is definitely hard to get past the anger. I know from personal experience; however, the answer does not lie in re-openeing old wounds.

    If you remain in NC, eventually the anger will subside. I was angry at my AC for a long time, but now, after 9 months, I just pity him and his next victim.

    My advice is not to contact him and stay NC. These ACs have a pattern, and as you say, if you contact him you will be “back to square one with him playing stupid games.” Please reconsider for your own mental health!

  64. Peanut says:

    Noquay,

    It baffled me that this man (my uncle) has never been to jail (as far as I know). He has a scary amount of money (maybe that has something to do with it/who knows). I think people sense something dreadful in him (possibly sadistic nature/rage) and an absence of something (empathy/humanness). I can say with certainty I’ve never been more afraid of anyone. Not even my father. Though my father has been physically abusive, he is a kitten in comparison to this man. This uncle used to torture my father when they were growing up.

    Someone told me that bad things happen to good people and sometimes it can seem bad things never happen to bad people.

    This man has no soul; I’m sure of that. I have plenty of soul, so I win. ;)

  65. Peanut says:

    Hiya all,

    Just took my time to soak in the comments and I feel loved. Thank you. (I have never been more convinced of the power of emotional support from another being).

    Today I took vitamins, ate the most nutritious meal I could think of, I have laundry and dishes to do, an apointment for a pedi at a nice place tomorrow (I’ve wanted hot pink nails for the longest time and haven’t allowed that for myself/for some reason it was really hard to do make the apointment and I’m really excited. I might get some glitter!)

    Tomorrow I will check out a really reputable consignment store, get myself some cake, and hit the books.

    Today I caught a glimpse of a portait of myself I had drawn that I am quite satisfied with and snapped out of my funk some more. I told myself I have work to do. It’s time to draw.

    So, here I go. I honestly hope I don’t fall as hard next time. But even if I do, it will be my job to come to the call of commitment to pick myself up again yet another time. I’m a fighter.

    Onwards Xx

  66. Peanut says:

    Oh! And I do have a therapy appointment tomorrow. (It’s probably going to be a heavy one). But then it’s off to get pampered directly after.

    And Nat, your hair is perfect. Please don’t change a thing. I’m so envious. And that necklace makes me happy every time I see it. Xx

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Peanut,

      That’s the spirit. Commit to gaining the greatest benefit from the therapy. And, because it is equally important, pamper and do nice things for yourself

  67. AfroK says:

    Round and round,

    You have done a good job of NC for 8 months. Try to use the NC to focus on you. Get a counselor if you can to explore the anger issue and why you are taking it out on other people.

    I can identify with the feeling of anger towards the AC, though I didn’t take it on other people. After unpacking, I realized the anger was more at myself because I let the AC get away with treating me like his door mat by pressing the reset button and went hot/cold whenever it suited him. It didn’t feel right but I didn’t stand up for me and call him up on his behavior because I was scared that I will scare him off and he will end the relationship. He still ended it. It took me time to get over the anger and hurt and constantly fought the urge to email or call him or meet and tell him off. I still sometimes wish he initiates contact so I can bombard him with my feelings about his ass clownery behavior. They know they are assholes, they don’t need us to tell them.

    You have mentioned that after 8 months yiu broke NC and contacted him so you can meet up so you can direct your anger at him. And now you are very angry because he is taking long time to call you back. Sounds like he is ignoring you-it has been 8 months. Try to focus on recovering from the hurt and anger. It is hard but doable, many here can testify to that.

    You should re-assess what you are hoping to achieve in meeting him and “tell him about himself”. He might sit there listen and a say a real or passive aggressive sorry (at best) Or he might say even more hurtful things to you which will crush your self esteem even more. Or are you secretly hoping that he will suddenly realize your worth and ask you back with him? It has been 8 months. I am not saying people don’t change, but with his ignoring your call, it doesn’t sound like he is that eager.

    Save yourself from more hurt from him and continue no contact. Delete and block his number, focus on recovering from anger and hurt and more important, on moving on.

    All the best. X

    • round-and-round says:

      Hi AfroK,

      Thank you for responding.
      I do see a therapist and we have discussed my anger issue a lot.
      I have actually made progress and my anger has come down many levels. But I don’t have peace I am finding it tough to forgive him for the circumstances in which he left me.
      I have tried very hard to focus on me and let it go but it gnaws away at me.
      It was out of sheer frustration with myself that I made contact.
      I do need to think very hard about what I am hoping to achieve I do know one thing I could never go back with him.
      Yes I think no contact works best even though I have fallen off the wagon I just need to work harder on letting go.
      Thank you again.

  68. Sandy says:

    Mary W

    “I’ll get emotionally attached and feel used and cheap afterwards” says it all really don’t you think and if this sort of thing doesn’t put your recovery back I don’t know what will!
    “He doesn’t have much respect for me” good grief think that says it all as well.
    So you have sexual desires, so do we all…doesn’t mean you have to act on them with any Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to use your body for their sexual gratification.
    As you said you aren’t the sort of person who is carefree enough to do this, so why are you thinking of doing it?

  69. Rosie says:

    MaryW- I no longer have Internet, have to use my phone so please bear with me…Do you remember my story from ladt summer? You know, “Futon Guy”? My thoughts were very similar to yours. I knewit wouldn’t lead to a relationshi & I wasn’t in a position to be in one anyway as my life was all up in the air. I loved the sexual chemistry I had with him. I thought I was much stronger, more self-respecting, wiser than last time I saw him. Well, if you remember the story, you remembered what happened.

    I haven’t seen or heard from him since. I regret caving into temptation, not only because I went against my values, but because I felt & knew I was being used for sex. I used him too for adifferent reason & it’s been really hard on me since because the whole using/being used set-up that is casual sex really goes against how women are wired.

    It just seems to me, based on my experience, that he didn’t respect you last time he knew you & you didn’t respwct you, either. How will sex show you are now respectable when all he wants is sex anyway? He’s not thinking, “Hmm, I wonder if she is somebody I can respect…” No. He’s thinking, ” I’m horny & she’s great in bed…”

    • MaryW says:

      Hi Rosie,
      Yes I do remember Futon guy. You’ve hit the nail on the head. If I meet him I know it’ll be mutual using, there is no chance of a relationship because he lives too far away, so it would be just a bit of ‘fun’ between 2 horny people with great chemistry.
      But not much fun afterwards … and that is the problem.
      Thank you x

  70. Peanut says:

    I am seeing a pattern of myself evading and trying to cover up my own loneliness. There is a strong current of depression under a lot of how I behave. And beneath is gnawing loneliness.

    I’m curious about specific strategies/things you all do to combat/deal with loneliness. It’s something I feel as a hurt and then go, oh that’s it–the loneliness. I don’t think it’s bad for me per se, I’d just like to be exposed to some positive ways of dealing with it.

    Also this would be a great therapy topic.

    It’s funny too–I think I have mislabeled missing the ex. Whenever I feel this pain deep in my gut, I’d attribute it to feelings of nostalgia for him. But I know now it was just cravings (already there before him/he’s not that powerful) for crumbs when I was starving.

    Just now I said some soothing words to me: “I’m sorry you’re feeling bad. You really deserve good.”

    It felt odd but powerful, like “I really do have the ability to be nice to me no matter what external things I go through?” And that feels uncomfortably powerful. In a growing way.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Hi Peanut

      I hope you’re doing OK honey. I was going to respond to you above but I think this is a more appropriate place.

      To be honest, I don’t really cope with my loneliness – or depression. Like you, it hovers in a pit within me, and I can’t get over it. I have better days and not so great days. I’m in the latter at the moment.

      I’ve been kicked out of my uncle’s house which I’ve been renting for a good price. I am meant to be going overseas to Scotland for a very good friend’s wedding in two weeks’ time. I don’t have the money (I have saved for my holiday but not moving out) or the time to find and to move.

      I live on my own, my close family is out of town, and I feel very alone. There’s not a lot around to rent that I can afford on my own, that has a yard and allows a dog. Yes I could get my family to take care of my dog but she’s what keeps me doing. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t survive without her.

      In any case, it all got a bit overwhelming yesterday and I spent most of the day crying. Like you, I’ve managed to get up and try to just get on with it. Unlike you, I haven’t had a nutritional meal and I’ve only had cereal for dinner tonight. It’s at times like this where I miss a larger circle of friends, and being in a relationship. I felt particularly sad/nostalgic about the EUM too.

      I really liked your quote. I am going to keep saying that to myself too. Big hugs from across the world. Nel

  71. LostInNYC says:

    I’m so angry, sad, disappointed, and frustrated with myself.

    I KNOW that he uses me. I KNOW that I need to drop him. I KNOW that he will never take me on a proper, normal, real date. He will never introduce me to his family and friends. He will never spend the night here.

    I will be strong and not text him for a few days and then I will see him at work (oh yea…he works with me) and then all my newfound strength, courage, whatever is thrown out the window. I was doing semi-ok the last couple weeks and I think he caught on and started texting me and giving me attention. I did a 180 and went back into my old routine thinking “goody! He does like me!”

    I had an image of us dating like normal people and I can’t get that out of my head even though it’s almost been NINE months. I keep thinking that he’ll eventually see how nice, considerate, and patient I am, but he never will. Right? That hurts.

    He wanted to come over today and we had sex and it lasted a whole 20 minutes. Every time we/I hit a new low I think “this has to be the bottom” and then it gets worse. I want it to end and I KNOW that only I have the power to end it and to change the way I feel. But how? Why am I wired this way? Why can’t I be strong like all the other women I know? Like you all? Why am I putting him before me?

    At this point I can’t even blame him for how crappy I feel because I allow him to treat me this way. My actions told him it was OK to ignore me until he wants booty.

    Anyways, I know there’s no magic pill and I can’t get self esteem and boundaries overnight, but I’m desperate. I want to feel better. I want to put myself first. I want to be like everyone else. I’m so angry with myself.

    He was so full of fake promises the first six weeks (this has been going on for almost nine months) and I hold onto that sssoooo tight, but I keep hearing Oprah in my mind saying “When people show you who they are believe them”…but can’t I do that with him? Why won’t I?

    Thanks for letting me express myself here. My friends are beyond tired of me crying about this guy.

    • Stephanie says:

      LostInNyc,

      The questions you are asking, I’m sure we all have asked ourselves at some point. But what you must do is be real with yourself. Which is painful, but necessary if you want to move pass the feelings that you are feeling know. By know means is it easy, but once you start to get real about him, you, your needs and his inability to give you what you deserve you can heal and move on.

      Forget about all the things that you did wrong and focus on starting over today and start putting you FIRST! We all make mistakes, but the good thing is you can learn move on. Because everyday you spend dealing with someone who doesn’t love, trust and respect you is another day you chip away at your own personal happiness.

      From experience it does get better, but you and only you need to make the decision when you want to start being happy and leaving people alone who serve to cause you nothing but pain and sorrow.

      Good Luck!

  72. Helena Hart says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I love your blog, and “Mr. Unavailable & The Fallback Girl” is AMAZING – I’m a Certified Relationship Coach and I recommend it to clients ALL the time.

    I completely agree! I see this in my clients (and in myself) often – that fear is the “gatekeeper” in a lot of ways, standing at the door to our new lives, and it’s only letting us through if we want it to.

    I believe that fear as the “gatekeeper” is just a piece of ourselves that WE’VE put there. My background is in psychology so this has always been something that interests me.

    Thanks for all the great work you do!

    Love, Helena

  73. dawn83 says:

    Hi, I’m in a bit of a mess, 5 years coming and doing with an eu, he disappears then reappears saying all this insighful stuff and promising it won’t happen again. Most recently we weren’t getting back together but I slowly let him back in and of course as always happens things got physical and he disappeared on me when he found someone else to interest him – nothing new here but now I have found out I’m pregnant, I’m keeping the baby but havent told him yet and know now more than ever that I need to keep him out my head while not denying the child the opportunity of a father

  74. Peanut says:

    Last semester there was a young man in my class that I just ached after (he reminded me of the ex, so I took it as a red flag).

    I wanted him so badly that class was painful sometimes.

    Then I just encountered an online post he was featured in via a local venue. He was bragging about his major sketchbook in hand.

    Truth is–he was a lousy student. He was rude to other classmates and students and barely showed up, yet expected to coast.

    At the moment, I can’t stand him and his attitude. He and I would be most awful together. But, hey, he has style and we have all these like interests/skills. Nope! It would be nothing short of misery/hell on earth.

    He really is a skilled draughtsman, but he’s snide and cold. And, yep, outwardly handsome, but with a heart of entitlement.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I am finally getting it with the dating and values thing. Like it’s becomig engrained. It only took two years. That’s nothing. I had been picking men via superficial patterns for 13 yrs plus.

    I was trying to pick mates off the back of feelings of lust and fear. Sure we can be excited initially by someone who illicits lust and fear, but that doesn’t mean they’re “the one.” (what a silly saying.)

    Also, what I thought I wanted was not what I wanted; I didn’t know me enough to know what I needed.

    Who cares if I don’t date for a while! I cracked the code and became neutral to a guy who had made me burn all over.

    Bath time.

  75. Peanut says:

    Lost,

    Oh you are strong. I promise.

    It’s okay to cry. Cry as much as you need.

    I have spent thirteen years of my life chasing unavailable men. I won’t go into detail with the things I put up with, but it was pretty much as bad as it gets. And I chased the pain for 13 yrs because it’s all I knew.

    I had to get uncomfortable and be as nice to me as I could (I still really struggle with this; no one has called me worse things than what I have told myself).

    Once you find you under all that pain, you will see these men for what they are and you will stay away.

    Get Natalie’s book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. It is better than any self help/relationship book you will find; I’ve ready twenty.

    Godspeed and you really are strong.

    Peanut xx

    and hugs to you

  76. Peanut says:

    And LostInNYC,

    You get to make mistakes. You are allowed that. You get to date shitty men like most of us do. Ain’t no shame in that!

    But I’d say get to a place where you can move on and do better for yourself; you deserve a good man and life.

  77. Tinkerbell says:

    Hi Mary,

    As you know I’m in a relationship that has been 90% fulfilling for over 2 years. Like you, I have a (VERY) strong sex drive which is not being met sufficiently. Now this is just an example, and certainly not one I plan to entertain. But, I think about the MM from time to time (moreso very recently) because he was the best lover ever, for me also. OMG! I was thinking not 48hrs ago that I could contact him, for JUST ONE TIME. This comes up for me after 3 years? Damn! Then, I told myself that there’s no way I would settle for ONCE and then back to NC, so then I told myself, “once a month”. I’m very horny. But, you know what Mary? I’m stopping it right here, because I know I would feel exactly like Wiser and Selkie. Sex for solely the physical gratification just isn’t enough for me. I’ve evolved to a level of feeling that I am better than that. I would be disrespecting my own self after I’ve worked so hard to get to this stage of actually liking myself. far be it loving ME. We’re not, for the most part, made up like the male species. The physical experience is over so quickly, but the lingering self-abasement lasts a very long time. For me, it’s just too high a price to pay. So like many, many other women in the world I will have to continue putting those thoughts of sexual delight, which are transient, out of my mind.

    I see so much growth in you since you first came to BR. I have faith in you that no matter how strong the urge may be you will realize that regardless of how strong the feeling is, it’s just a feeling that is doesn’t have to stay with you 24/7. You and the rest of us can overcome it because we love ourselves more.

  78. MaryW says:

    On my mobile phone so have to write a generic reply.

    Thank you everyone, Rosie, Wiser, Selkie, Nel, Pauline, Mymble, Sandy for your thoughts. They are pretty much the same as my thoughts, but I still have that FEELING of wanting the physical. I’m not making decisions, I’m sitting with this and won’t act hastily (if at all).

    Dear Tink,
    Yes it’s so very hard when the drive is so strong. I have been abstinent since that guy in July time – that’s a long time. I’m 38, and I have this (irrational) idea that I’ll never have sex again – because I am no where near ready for a relationship and maybe I never will be and don’t do ONS with strangers these days. So there’s a little devil on my shoulder whispering “go on, you already know him, you know he’s an amazing lover. Go meet him and just be chilled about it dammit”. Are your fantasies about MM the same/ similar by any chance?!

    I met this guy on hol in Central America and we had a ONS but stayed in touch (5+yrs ago). He then married someone, divorced and is single, so we met again just over a year ago (I was in his country again to visit family). When I got home, it was hard and I missed him. We skyped, messaged, had silly fantasy ideas of establishing a relationship. It didn’t work obviously so we fell out for a bit, then got back in touch strictly as friends. Then he comes up with this proposal.

    Since last time I met him, I had a pretty tumultuous time online dating, ending with the dreaded Mr Messiah. But I also learned a lot about myself through reading and feedback here and through therapy. I don’t put up with shit now (I actually have boundaries). I have changed.

    In all honesty I haven’t totally detached from Mr Messiah (we are NC but he’s still under my skin). I had a little theory that maybe having a fling with the other guy would help flush Mr M out of system. Is that totally daft?

    Anyway I think I’ve more or less realised which decision I’ll least regret. :)

    Thanks Natalie and BR community x

    • Lilly says:

      MaryW,

      I’m a little late, but wanted to say…….I also thought that having a ‘fling’ (or whatever it was) with the controlling overseas guy would help flush the exAC out of my system, but it had the opposite effect. When he left me at the airport and failed to see if I’d got back ok all the painful stuff resurfaced. It’s the disrespect that did it; it acted like a trigger and all those feelings of unworthiness came flooding back. This time, however, I wasn’t putting up with it so he is out for good and I feel great having made that decision. Don’t waste your precious time on someone who doesn’t respect you and good luck with your decision, xxx.

      • MaryW says:

        Thank you, Lilly. Sorry this happened to you. I understand that it triggered rather than flushed, and I’m fairly sure the same would happen with me. Thanks for sharing, it helps.

  79. M says:

    Hi LostInNYC, your story is exactly the same as the story of a friend I know for many years since college. She does not read BR even after I told her about it many times.
    Anyways, she had the EXACTLY same situation with a guy, also in a big lonely city, for two years. It was so clear from outside to see how she was doing it to herself. I tried “playing therapist” and ask her questions about it to make her see the problems, told her directly what she was doing and why it was never going to improve, etc. She always managed to find some explanation and excuse for the guy once I challenged his motives and the very situation she was so miserable about. It was hopeless to talk to her, she just needed to complain. Two years go by. I talked to her just a few days ago and asked about that guy. She is no longer doing booty calls with him hoping he will take her on a date one day even though he clearly told her he will not. But guess what? She informs me she recently met another man, who is very similar to the previous one, but WORSE! And she is NOT flushing as far as I could tell. I don’t know you,LostInNYC, but I know her well enough to see why she keeps doing it. She is kind of on a depressive side, and the men she picks feed those negative emotions she masochistically enjoys deep down. I think it is like an addiction. I’ve never tried drugs but from what I’ve read this is probably how withdrawal symptoms feel. I am so sorry for you, LostInNYC , it must be difficult, but the only way to get better is to stop taking the drug!
    There is a book I really like, perhaps it can help:
    “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person”
    by Howard Halpern
    Also, another thought: when listening to my friend I caught myself thinking that I was that guy to someone at some point, and it is so clear why she could never have him for real. For me, I only was in love for real just a few times and those women mattered to me a lot and I would never mistreat them this way, I wanted to be with them all the time and did lots of nice things and we had many good years together. I did behave in a different way after a loss of the real relationship. Well, at least I always treated my in-between lovers well, went on real and fun dates, always stayed over or had them stay over and really “tried to fall in love”
    Bottom line: this man will NEVER love you, will never treat you well even as a short-term lover, has no respect for you as his current lover. Sex only lasts 20min???? WTF? That’s lazy, babe. You’re just addicted to him for some reason. Get well soon!!!

    • M says:

      One more things, LostInNYC. Sorry I am not trying to make you feel better here. I don’t want to be mean, I think sympathizing will not help you to get over this. I wanted to tell you that being the source of a “person addiction” does not feel good for the man either. Don’t know that this guy is feeling. But being addicted can feel bad too, and it is also some kind of a unhealthy emotion when you almost feel pity and obligation to keep giving the “drug” to the addict to alleviate her pain, otherwise you may feel bad about “hurting” her hoping she will slowly wean herself and leave on her own, thus relieving you from responsibility of serving the blow while still enjoying some benefits of feeding the addiction. But when you try to get away, he feels “withdrawal symptoms” of his “addiction” to the unhealthy relationship you have. You see how perverse this unhealthy cycle can be? Somebody has to break this cycle, AND IT IS GOING TO BE YOU!

  80. nk says:

    I’m reaching out so I hope someone can comment, really appreciate anyone can relate. Some of you have seen posts from me in the past. I came here in 2009 because I was in a relationship with a eum. I then became more eum myself for a while. I’ve been in therapy since 2009. Moving counselors and psychorherapists due to different reasons. I had a depresssive period of time and was suicidal at one point. Eventually I became better, although everyday is still a relative struggle. I am in between counselors since my last psychotherapist moved on. I’m wwaiting for a new one. If I’m honest it helped but I’m still not at a point where a relapse doesnt ruin things. I currently have a supremely supportive bf who is keeping me upright. My issue is when I’m faced with a ttrigger, rejection, bad boundaries, pressure my core shatters. I haven’t had a long term job because I usually mess it up or get depressed. I’m in a good job bright now but working under my capacity because I can’t move Into management in this state. I have also started a counselling course, I’ve been fedback that I’m pretty good at it so far. I guess the mind isn’t thinking about me so I can focus on others and be very empathic. What seems to be my issue is I can be very abrupt, I tend to challenge certain situations and try to take them head on. I can’t stand it when people avoid or ignore me it makes me extremely anxious and I become a wreck. My brain doesn’t stop. I also think very deeply and it puts lots of people off. I can’t relate to people anymore unless it’s via a deep connection and this causes issues at work. Because if I can’t belike that then I’m overly controlling. I’m under fire for being aabrupt and making certain situations worse. Tbh I hate being fake and bull shutting but my job requires me to either be like or not quip back. Something I find hard. I guess I have no
    filter. I used to be better but after getti g depressed I didnt see the point. People sense this about me and lots of freinds are disappearing from life. Probably because I challenged them too much or was too deep? I also run from perceived rejection and get very defensive when faced with that. I have no poker face in these situations. I’m beginning to think I’m borderline, I’m certainly not wired right in some respects. I’m quite lonely tbh and my bf is one of three people who around. Because my playful sociable side doesn’t appear in the same way it used to. If someone spends a ling time with me then they usually work out in just too draining or hard work or something. I used to party alot and dont so much anymore I’m constantly real although not to extreme I’ve meet in others. I just don’t want this crippling shattering feeling to come back whenever I’m faced with situations. I’m unstable and I just wanna disappear because I dont see a way out.

    • grace says:

      Nk
      Recently read a book by a child psychiatrist “the boy who was raised by a dog” by Bruce Perry, who worked with a mother and daughter who’d had a rough time. Gradually, they were able to become more affectionate, more loving, with better lives. But he said they learned how to love late, and they are like someone who has learned a foreign language. They always speak it with an accent.
      That chimed with me. In times of “normal”difficulty and, yes, we all say the wrong thing at work, have jobs that don’t suit us, bad relationships etc, it’s natural for us to revert to thinking we’re no good or hopeless and to isolate than to practise what we have learned but is not in our nature, ie to talk encourage ourselves, bounce back, seek out friends etc.
      What you describe is not unusual.
      There is no magic bullet. Keep practising and don’t beat yourself up for not getting it and finding it harder than other people do. It IS harder for us, and there’s a freedom in accepting that. You can get off the treadmill of trying to be perfect and even allow yourself those times of extreme sorrow, that’s your right and it may not feel great but … it’s where we came from.

  81. Brenda K says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I came across your fantastic blog whilst looking for a definition of “assclown” because I am married to a particularly dramatic example of one (hopefully for not too much longer) and… BAZINGA! Talk about the scales falling from one’s eyes! Your post about boundaries (this one: ) and core values (this one: ) have set me right and shown me the error of my ways. I am working on it right now as we speak. This current post about self-sabotage is another one that explains a great deal to me.

    A wise person once said something like “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”. I’m really f*cking embarrassed to admit that it’s taken me nearly five decades to get around to learning about such fundamental things as this, but here we are. It’s a profound relief for my life to finally make sense to me, as in “how did I f*k up so galactically despite such promising potential??!” Thank you so much for your immense wisdom and gift for articulating it clearly and concisely (idiot-proof’ly?), and so generously sharing it with the rest of us.

    In case anyone would like to feel better with some schadenfreude, my personal tale of woe is extensively documented here: http://fiddlerchick.wordpress.com/

  82. Peanut says:

    Nel,

    I had a bit of a breakdown again too. I was getting ready to tell management about the probable bed bugs and decided to see if the lease said anything about it. It did. In this situation I basically signed my rights away to all my property and residence. Acccording to what I signed, I could be asked to destroy my things and or vacate and be liable for all expenses. (I know these things were here when I got here; they could also be coming from a neighbors’ or spread via the apartment laundry mat). But, even the case, based on what I signed, if I’m the one to report, I’d be liable to pay. And I have to say something; I can’t go on living like this.

    I can’t go back home because my uncle and I wouldn’t dare risk infesting my grandparents’ house.

    I’m terrified of being homeless again. My art porfolio is in the apartment, and from what I’ve read, might need to be thrown out. I’ve worked on it for a year to present when I apply for my masters.

    This situation could clean my savings out. And leave me with no place to go. I might just be thinking the worst, but I am devestated and scared. I’ve looked up attorneys, just in case.

    I just want to be happy and have a safe, calm place to live. But, I just keep telling myself they’re just material things and I have to keep going best I can.

    • Luisa says:

      Peanut,

      Please call the Board of Health in your city, and verify if the language of your lease is legal. Of course management would like the tenant to pay,and just because a lease appears to be a legit document, doesn’t mean that it is. This is an intimidation factor used to keep people powerless in their homes.

      I do believe in the US it is the management’s responsibility as owner of the dwelling with multiple units inside to take care of it. Everyone I know who’s had them-even with the meanest management-the building owning had to take care of it byu law-and quickly-or their dwelling can become condemned. Most likely, they are in other apartments as they spread so fast.

      Do you ever see your neighbors in the hall? You might ask if they have heard if anyone has had a problem with pests? Multiple tenants complaining is always better. If you brought them with you, you would have noticed them immediately, they hatch so fast, so I don’t see how they could destroy your belongings or evict you. There are also public defense lawyers who might be able to help you if it came to that-start with the board of health and housing board in your city and see what your rights are, and what the building owner’s rights are. You can get through this-and it might be easier than moving-that would be tricky if they won’t fumigate, and they are in your belongings now.

      Did you say you had a social worker? They should be able to help guide you through this as well if they assisted you in finding this flat. Social Services might also know where you can use a large deep freezer,if your landlord doesn’t get one for you, for say your art portfolio(although maybe you just need a new case, but the things inside are fine?)Just like you told NK, you have a right to be happy, safe, and bug-free in your home.

      You can do this! Hugs.

  83. Peanut says:

    nk,

    I cried very hard reading your post. I relate.

    When I was twelve I was institutionalized for trying to poison myself with alcohol and then trying to slit my wrists. A year later, my mother successfully committed suicide.

    You have to make a committment to yourself to live because you have a right to be here.

    Your personality sounds so much like mine it’s uncanny. I am very intense and in interpersonal relationships, I don’t understand lack of depth. I found a career path I very much fit in and even there I have been told I am intense, except this time it didn’t have a bad connotation.

    You said when you are triggered, your core shatters. So does mine. Sobs, flashbacks, fear… It all gets very bleak and messy emotionally.

    I called a suicide hoteline the other morning because I felt my will to fight (live) dissipate. It helped. I can honestly say I recocommend it.

    I have one friend whom I see and who cares about me. It’s funny–we are nothing alike, though we both value care. She is stable, has a good job, and takes care of herself. And she has really sturdy boundaries with me. But, yes, most find me interesting, but too unapealing.

    I choose not to date right now and with external problems, it’s the last thing on my mind. Prayer helps, I’m agnostic so it can be weird for me, but there might be something to it, though real human interaction with people who care are where it’s at.

    I hope you find a way out. I want a way out of my brain sometimes, too. It never stops; I’m all up there.

    Even though it hurts, try putting yourself out there in the community. I think yoga and joining the art museum club are good starting places for me–if I ever get there. Sheesh! I’ve had some obstacles.

    In order to not want to end our lives or give up and live half lives, we as humans have to have enough good and positive to look forward to. And it has to be consistent and mean something to us.

    But remember you can always say no and go in open to meet new people but with firm boundaries intact if you decide to try something new. I believe if we got far enough to BR, we are fighters. Don’t stop asking for help; it’s your right. None of us were meant to live in a box alone.

    Each and everyone of us has the right to live till we are old and grey (and at worst not being miserable/at best being happy).

    You deserve to be happy.

  84. Peanut says:

    And Nel,

    I totally get what you mean about your dog. Just now I had this unidentifiable deep down ache. I tapped into it and tears, like the floodgates of a torrential dam, came flooding down. I miss my dog. I ache for her.

    I have had her for eleven years. For the past five, she has been my very best friend. In lieu of recent events and the possibility there might be some heavy pest control chemicals in this apartment, I have to wait to bring her here, if I can (It’s very, very expensive to have pets here). I worry too because I don’t know how many years she’s got left in her.

    I feel your pain and keep rereading your words of support because they make me feel better. Hugs to you and, god, do I hope your situation turns out well, too.

    • LovefromNel says:

      Dear Peanut

      Thank you for your kind response. I was making dinner just before and didn’t realise I was crying. It is all somewhat overwhelming at the moment. I hope you are faring a bit better. Luisa had some wonderful advice about the bed bug situation. I’ve never experienced that before so am totally naive. Are places normally furnished in the US when you rent them? Here in Australia, most are unfurnished, which means all the furniture comes with us. So moving house is quite a monumental task when one is a bit depressed, about to go overseas, lacking in money, and just a bit over it. Anyway, time to keep on keeping on. I think I’ve found a place – just have to get approved. Big hugs gorgeous girl. We will be ok. And my dog gives you a big sloppy lick as well. She’s good for cheering away any tears. xoxo

  85. nk says:

    Hi peanut

    Thanks for the reply. I spoke to some good freinds yesterday. One in particular was quite helpful. Your post is inspiring to me. It’s just being successful in career and relationships takes a lot of nuances and politics and after my break down in 2011 I just couldn’t really do that stuff anymore. it’s like the filter got turned off.
    Anyway I’ll keep trying and in know you will to! Xxx

    • Mymble says:

      NK
      I have tended to have a “difficult” personality, very up and down, easily upset by others, prone to anger, and to say things I later regretted.
      When I read descriptions of BPD I recognized a certain amount of that in myself. (Not pleasant).
      This time last year I was about at the end of my tether and decided to go on SSRI antidepressants. I can’t describe how much relief I got from them and how much calmer my interactions with other people became. I didn’t lose my sense of humour either. It was just that the static of fear/anxiety/anger that permeated my consciousness was turned right down, and the relief was immense. I weaned myself off them at Christmas and am now off them. I feel that the good effects have lasted though; the habit of roundyroundy thinking have been broken. I also was able while I was on them to make the changes that needed to be made. If you have had a lifetime of this kind of problem the grooves it has worn in your mind can be hard to get out of. (I should say also that I’d had therapy, practiced meditation, read self help books and exercised regularly all to try and deal with it, but although worthwhile none of it was quite enough).
      Something to consider?

  86. Daria says:

    Peanut what you describe sounds like what I went through about 6 months ago, bed bugs and all. Though I also got into a fight with a cheating boyfriend and a lot of stuff escalated from there. I’m not out of the woods yet – I’ve had to re-evaluate all my relationships, even friendships, and my working conditions – what I am willing to put up with. You have to establish some dealbreakers!!

  87. Sophia says:

    Natalie, your blog and the comments have been keeping me going since after my breakup. You are a very wise person and I admire your call to help others like me and many other women to understand themselves, to better their lives, and to transition from the trauma of breakup to living our lives.

    People on this blog are very kind and helpful and I would like to share my story . It has been two months after my breakup (he broke up with me). Actually 2 months after the first breakup and 1 month after the second one (we decided that he needed a month to think if he is making the right decision).So it has been 6 weeks rather.

    No contact. From me or him.

    Here goes the story: I met the person on the dating site online. He is from a different country (Europe). I live in the US. He was 34 at the time, I was 35. We met and hit it off immediately. Great attraction, sparks, conversation, sense of humor, you name it. For 2-3 months it was great dating. Movies, restaurants, bars, sex. Perfect dating: consistent, he was gallant, attentive, predictable. Background: I was married before for about 8 years and I have a child. So I have been single now for 8 years. I dated right after my separation from my husband. Rebound big time, which I didn’t know back then. By the way, my husband , I understand only now, was the only ever normal man I had in my life. Loving, caring, AVAILABLE. I initiated separation. Young, impatient, non-committed myself. “Lost feelings” attitude.

    My rebound was an absolutely unavailable person which I understand only now. That was lasted two years and he left to another country. Then my dating life was sporadic. I would be alone for 6-9 months, then out of loneliness and horniness and desperation to be in a relationship, having a man, any man, I would go to the dating sites, and date again. One person lasted 2-3 dates. Another 3-4 months (discovered true psychopathic tendencies). Then there was another guy who lasted 3 months. He was very closed off and emotionally unavailable. Silent. Dead almost!. Then there were couple one night stands. Actually more than couple. 5 for sure in the 8 years of my “dating/single” life. So having that kind of background, last year I got online with an idea that I will take this easy now, I don’t care about a relationship, I give up, etc (exactly what Natalie is saying – avoiding commitment yet inside I was craving it because I was finally ready for a relationship.) Yet I didn’t want to take anything seriously because I was afraid it would not work out. Fears that no relationships ever work. It is only hurt and pain. The thing is I recognize now I didn’t know if I was wanting to get married/move in with someone myself. I got used to living alone and it was weird for me to share my place with someone else. And I have a child too, so that makes it more serious and complicated introducing someone into your life. So a year ago I was not sure who I was myself, what I needed, whom and why I needed someone…. Only now, after two months of thinking and thinking and working through all the feelings, only now I get this all.

    Anyhow, the person, now I see that, exhibited red flags, which I deliberately ignored and just turned a deaf ear to it. He said out loud that he doesn’t want a family right now (not sure what “right now” meant 1-10 years? Or ever?). He never lived with anyone. Never was married. His relationships last 3-6 months. The longest lasted 1,5 years and he broke up because she wanted him to move in and he was not ready and “we are too different anyway and we argue a lot.” (The same was said to me at the break up. Note: we didn’t even fight or argue. The person is very centered on himself and has hard time accepting , tolerating others’ differences and compromising is his difficult thing, he admitted himself). Anyhow: Fast forward 4 months into a relationship , the person didn’t even call me his “girlfriend.” Are you committed I asked, am I your girlfriend (things I was beating myself up about asking about the status too soon? After about 4 months? Was asking if we are gf and bf now? Later on , and you will see in my story, I asked him about the relationship status way too frequently. You will see why shortly). He said, no, we are friends. Special friends or something like that. I was shocked and said that this won’t work for me this way. I want a serious relationship, and if you are not into it , I don’t need this (did have some respect and boundaries at that point). He turned around and swore he loves me and he will stay in the US and won’t leave back to his country and he wants to be with me. OK. We had two good months together. Then, he started pulling away at about 6 months in a relationship. I have to say, he always limited his time with me, how much we spent time together. Everything was on his terms. When , how frequently. I always felt I was some 3rd priority in his life. Or 4th. Even during our “high” times, so to speak. Another thing, with him, it always felt like a permanent date. Like it never progressed anywhere. Always this fun and sex and casual and outings. Felt we got closer only because we saw each other more, but I felt I don’t know who he is. He never exhibited either positive or negative emotions too strong. Very neutral. Very judgmental. He lacked empathy and moral support, like I felt he was never there for me. . He criticized my appearance.My habits. My tastes in music, color of clothes, my movies, etc. Everything I had in my life, he picked on. Even if it sounded like teasing and joking, it brought me down each time. I didn’t have boundaries back then. I joked back to him. And thought, we are so great with each other, we joked all the time. But I responded with a joke about his jokes. I never teased or criticized him for anything. So then, after 6 months, I am asking, do you think we could move in maybe in 6 months or so, after a year? Do you see yourself with me? To try if you think we could make it work? He said, no way. I am not sure about you yet. I am not sure if and when I will stay here (notice change after 2 months). I am not sure if we won’t get tired/bored of each other. Feelings die. People separate, relationships don’t last. Look at yourself. You got divorced. People’s feelings change. Why you keep thinking about the future? I am happy now with you. I don’t know what will happen in two months. I was devastated and became 100% insecure about EVERYTHING. Myself, the relationship. Everything. So I started nagging him pretty much every month (PMS +hormones would push me that too and my internal and external fears – the fact that he really could leave any time, the fact I didn’t know if he loved me – although now I see every action or rather nonaction proved it). And he pulled back even more. I mean he was consistent with his permanent dating thing. That was always the same. Telephone calls, no disappearance. Very good and nice guy. Supposedly. Predictable. But there were so many red flags from the beginning, but I ignored everything, after I invested myself after 6 montths, of course I could not let it go, although I should have broken up myself then.

    Then, I became pregnant. Abortion.

    He influenced and pushed me to make this decision.

    He then became very attentive and caring, spending lots of time with me. Hazed by depression, hormones, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks after the abortion, I thought he LOVES me. No. He was feeling guilty. That’s what it was. After 1,5 months of nursing me, he broke up with me after I had asked an ultimatum question , nearing our one year together: Are you with me or not? “ Meaning – are we progressing, are we going to try to build a life together. He bailed out. He was not sure and he took a month after that to only let me know he made the right decision: you are not the right person for me and I don’t think I can commit. Perhaps I will be alone for the rest of my life. My feelings changed. I had feelings for you, then it changed, then I was not sure, then again feelings, yes. Then no. You are a great woman, beautiful smart funny and a great person. But you are not what I need. Something is missing. Really, something is missing? Yes, I feel that too because he never let me in his life. He never introduced me to his family or even friends in his home country. I asked him, but no . Another red flag. So please tell me, I tried to make it short but this is so long. I am sorry. , please tell me your opinion. The person is EUM or AC or just … fell out of love? But was it even there? Was he ever available? Really it doesn’t even matter. I am 6 weeks NC. Some days are better , some days are horrible. Like today I almost reached the phone. I am busy with my job. I have a child. I have hobbies. I have friends. But missing that relationship, him, is so hard. Yet, the strange thing I cannot even call us friends. What I thought I “connected ” to him through was sex. How wrong I was… he never opened up to me. I felt like I was dating a semi-stranger, closed off, guarding person for a year. He was fun to be around, but I felt it is all surface. Was it something because it’s me he didn’t open up with? Or because he just can’t get emotionally intimate with anyone? Well what’s the point of looking for an answer. But I still feel so good now that I wrote all this. And I think people like you, who don’t know me at all, can look at this objectively. You don’t know the guy or me, while people around me know me well, and can be subjective perhaps about the story. But their opinion is pretty much: “ he has always been selfish and non-committal.” Nothing I did or said. No pressing no pushing (I was beating myself up about it) would change him, because he was never really into it. It was and is hard to sort this out because he did seem like a great, nice, consistent guy, but yet I could never get a feeling of being a couple. Growing, progressing. I kept beating up myself thinking I did something wrong. Yet, I think, look at his history. He never even TRIED moving in with someone and sharing his space and life…. Doesn’t it tell you something? Well, now it all doesn’t matter. I am NC and will remain such. He wanted to remain friends. Told me call him anytime, he is here for me for anything. I said, I can’t think of it right now. He said he understands. Silence for 6 weeks now. Thank you for reading. My apologies this is too long.

    • Allison says:

      Sophia,

      It sounds like you’re having a really tough time, and I’m sorry for that.

      Hon, you’re saying two different things: he’s a nice guy, but he’s selfish and non-committal. I’m confused?

      My take: he was never available, and is a total EUM. I think that we need to forget about the terminology, and focus on the fact that he has jerked you around for way too long. This man has told you repeatedly that he cannot and does not want a relationship, with anyone. He simply cannot do it! This man is a waste of time! You shouldn’t have to beg someone to be with you.

      Also, you said he criticizes everything you do. Doesn’t really sound like a nice guy – sounds like a relationship on eggshells. I really think you need to address, why you stayed in this dysfunction for so long. For me, and I believe most of the followers, it is because we choose people that are incapable of following through, or are emotionally abusive, due to our low self-esteem and unavailability.

      Please consider some counseling, and staying single for a prolonged period, or you will end up in another relationship that will go nowhere.

      Lastly, when someone tells you they are incapable of a future, please believe them. Also, follow ones actions, not their words.

      • Allison says:

        One more thing I can relate to: being a secret.

        I too, was on the periphery of the ex’s life. If someone is not introducing you to their family and friends, they have not intention of having a future. They are simply string you along.

        Sophia, please take this relationship as a positive – I know this is impossible right now – as you can learn and grow so much in your behaviors. Not only did I change my romantic relationship needs, but all of my relationships. You will learn to instill boundaries, but also attract positive to your life.

        • Sofia says:

          Allison, right on about being a secret to his family and friends. After 10 months together I asked him if he could take me to visit his family or friends for holidays. I was denied this opportunity. I don’t know why in the world I didn’t break up with him then. It was just yet another red flag I chose to ignore. This relationship has taught me so much about me and how I relate to men and why my relationships have been unsuccessful. I am grateful actually now that this relationship happened in a way… Because if it had not, I would have not become who I have already become even if just in the last 2,5 months. I have grown so much.

      • Sophia says:

        Allison, yes, you are right. How can he be nice and yet selfish and non-committal at the same time. By “nice” I guess I meant he did these nice things on the surface to maintain the permanent dating: taking me out, consistently contacting me, daily conversation, taking me and my child to places, etc, etc. Predictable. No disappearance and sporadic acts like I read here about others’ ACs. Of course, this kind of “nice” doesn’t mean anything because it is all superficial really. There is no core value to it. Anyone can take you out, pay for dinner and movies, and be a gentleman on the dates. But doesn’t it mean they are in your life? No. The “niceness” about him is his behavior, the superficial again, no actions that would show any kind of progression about the relationship. It was consistently and predictably the same.

        You are right. Why I put up with criticism? I cannot believe I could. What was wrong with me? This was an epiphany relationship for me. I am looking back even 2 months ago and I can’t believe it was me. There is no way I would tolerate such a behavior again and there is no way I would continue going out with anyone who has this attitude towards relationship and tells me straight in the face, “I don’t know what will happen, I am just having fun with you now.” How could I POSSIBLY “misheard” these words? I fell in love so hard, I thought, but now I also think it was chasing the unavailable. I was repeating my childhood trauma. Unavailable alcoholic father and depressed suicidal and then alcoholic too mother. I never received love, affection and emotional support. What did I know about love? Of course my husband was boring to me. Because he loved me and I didn’t feel comfortable. It was an unknown territory for me. I felt comfortable when there was a constant stress with what next, will he stay or will he go? (my father who kept disappearing). Accepting the crumbs rather than demanding full attention and care (mother and father not able to express their love and feelings because they were dysfunctional themselves). The amazing thing that I do see already how this relationship was a positive thing that happened to me (except for the abortion obviously. this is something I have turned to the spiritual help recently and joined the church and met wonderful people who are introducing me to the spiritual life). About the relationship: reading and thinking 2 months – I have learned so much about myself. Resurfaced all the problems and fears from my past. My own problems and why I contributed to them EXACTLY choosing this kind of men. I used to think it was my curse that I meet such EUMs and ACs. I used to think that’s all I deserve and expected that every relationship will probably fail anyway, so I was myself cynical and half-way into it. This last one, I did dive into it and was ready to commit and make it grow. I was wanting to move in with him, start a family in 1-2 years. However,how could I decide that if I didn’t know who he was even? He never let me in. I kept waiting and waiting that he will open up and I will be that exception, Natalie talks about. There were several times I was about to break up with him in the 4-6 months relationship. He didn’t let me.He would come around more frequently, take me to a trip to another city, he would “prove” how much he cares about me. Then, I become all in love and into him, and he pulls away again.

        I wonder if he manages to live with anybody. He is so protective of his space and time. I always felt uncomfortable after our permanent dating time was over, staying longer with him. Feeling like he wanted me out. I cannot believe I was with this man. It’s almost like a devil occupied my soul during those times.

        The strange thing though NC is so hard. I don’t even know what I would tell him. I have no hope that we will be back together. Obviously, “I don’t see you as my wife,” he said. Now though, I don’t see him as my husband. First of all I don’t even know him well after 1 year!! And also, why would I want someone who treated me this way? So yes, strangely, if there is no point of contacting him, it is still hard. I am proud of myself I stayed NC for 6 weeks (drunk or hormonal at times). This week was really hard. I almost texted him. But stopped because I don’t even know what to say. And I know I am at this point where I don’t want anything with him myself anymore. Sex – I was wanting in the beginning with him. Now, it seems awkward to have sex with him because it would not be right (I posted in another topic that during the break up conversation I was so out of it that I MYSELF offered casual relationship since the real one never worked out. and the “real” one, I said, was casual anyway, I told him. Of course a day after I realized I was saying this purely driven by emotions and shock. Of course there is no way I would want this type of relationship now.)
        Allison, definitely I will be single for a prolonged time. I can’t even think about any man in a romantic, dating way. Forget about the intimate. This person has affected me a lot on many levels. It will take a long time to heal. I am doing my best to move on, but there are days that I just start crying missing his companionship. Remembering the good times. Yet I also try to remember bad times: his lack of availability, criticism, me not being his 1st priority, his lack of empathy and lack of commitment. I felt like I was seeing him for the 3-5th time in my life even after a year together! Sometimes I just plainly felt uncomfortable with him because there was this wall or something that he put around himself and I could never get through no matter how much I opened up, talked about my feelings, showed him my love and care, not matter how hard I tried , he was in control of everything. His feelings, timing, his life goals. He, he, he. Another thing he said during the breakup, “No, we shouldn’t continue seeing each other casually. It will hurt our feelings even more. Sex messes up with your head and feelings. We will continue this and get used to each other more and than I will leave, it will hurt so much more.” I said, “whom? me? it can’t hurt even more, or you?” He goes, “me too. I have feelings for you but because I don’t see myself living with you, I want to finish this relationship.” That was during the first breakup or a break rather I guess.. the second breakup (after he thought over for a month), he said even more gravely, ” I don’t see you as my wife. I care a lot for you and you are important in my life.But at this point I see you as a friend only.”
        Anyway, the end of the story. Thank you, Allison, for reading and replying. It really helps to see someone’s perspective.

    • Waltzing Matilda says:

      Sofia, your comment echoes so many of the factors I am familiar with from one of these bizarre experiences. The perpetual dating, groundhog day existence. Good for you for getting out after a relatively short time.
      I hope that you also hear from others on this site. The wisdom of the posts and comments is life changing. Someone here also mentioned a site called the happy sensitive, there is a clear and succinct article there about unconditional versus narcissistic love.
      Essentially, this explains how for a narcissist, all relationships are based on functionality. All the other stuff, and the responses you ‘forced’ in your attempts to have a normal, healthy relationship, were about blame shifting and managing/manipulating you. It’s horrible, but you/we need to learn about this, and why we engage with it.
      Your instincts sound pretty healthy to me. Much more than mine were. Take care, keep reading, and keep posting if you need to ask questions in a safe and helpful place.

      • Sophia says:

        WaltzingMatilda, I am glad to see I am not the only one who knows what a permanent dating feels like.

        Narcissist. I never thought about that. Perhaps he is. He is very beautiful. Like a model beautiful almost. And when I made him compliments (way more often than he did to me), he would say, jokingly, “That’s normal. Everybody says that.” (that he is so beautiful).
        Another thing I struggle understanding how some people can be SO AFRAID getting in a serious relationship. Sharing their life and responsibility for the mutual life together (but then I think maybe because I was not the ONE for him? But why he kept stringing me along this long??) I was married before and I know how being on a team works. I have a child and I know all about giving to someone and not living for yourself. Taking care of someone and loving your close ones is such happiness. How can these people be afraid of commitment and relationship. But I guess we are all different. I just wish, on the dating site, he didn’t put “Looking for a life time partner.” That’s confusing. But I should have known better myself. One thing what he said. Another thing what he did. Although he was very explicit with his intentions. It is ME who chose not to see and hear. My mistake definitely. He said many times when I voiced concerns about us that, “Right now it’s all good and I am happy with you. But do I see you in my future life? I don’t know. We will see. Maybe we won’t be together in couple months. Don’t make trip plans in summer. Maybe I will leave the country.” See… it was like this every time. How possibly I didn’t break up myself I don’t know. I had already been too invested and yes… sigh… sex messed with my reasoning big time. The great thing about this relationship that it has finally made me open my eyes. By 36 I finally see myself who I am and what I did wrong in every one of my relationships. It is very true, I am glad this was a short-term relationship, relatively. Imagine marrying a person who can’t be all the way with you. And then you invest more and more, and this kind of person bails out anyway. What I learned in these very hard heart wrenching 2 months, is that I am not the same person I was even two months ago. I have discovered so much. Mostly due to this site and also reading psychology on grieving, abandonment, breakup. I see how it goes: I have been crying over my other losses and separations too in these last 2 months. My dysfunctional parents, my divorce, my first long term EUM (right after divorce), and now this one, who I don’t know even know who he is. Reading yours and others’ responses I feel he is truly an AC now and I put him on the pedestal, covering up the real issues.
        Truly though, the good thing I started realizing that I feel relieved myself this is over. No more stress and obsessing whether we are on the same page or not. No more humiliation and self-degradation. I can’t believe a grown up woman, successful in other areas of her life, can descend so low and allow such disrespect. This must have not been me. This type of relationship or any similarity of it will never repeat to me again. The first sign and I am out. Sometimes I think… I wish I read Natalie’s blog during my first 2-3 months dating him. But I see now that to truly understand and grow, one really has to go through such experience at least ONCE in one’s life. You have to go through this to get to the bottom before you spring back up and spring back up for good. Reading along will not do it. You have to experience the pain with your heart in order to grow a new, better person for yourself.

      • Sofia says:

        WaltzingMatilda, I looked up the site and read about unconditional/narcissistic love. A lot of good thoughts and ideas. But it made me think ( and I have been analyzing everything a lot in the last 2 months), maybe while we are breaking our heads, losing sleep, and some lose health and their jobs, trying to heal and figure out what exactly happened, maybe these men were just not into us? They just didn’t love us and they will act differently toward someone else. That’s the painful truth I just thought about. While we are trying to dissect everything, partially, probably to stay in control of ourselves. I really don’t know what to think sometimes and seems like the most obvious truth is that “he was just not into me.” And that’s it. Yes, it is painful and you ask, “But why he kept sticking around for so long, being so consistent, coming back? if he didn’t love me? the whole year of consistently seeing each other.” It is so confusing. This board and website help a lot. One thing Natalie I remember said on this subject I am talking about that if he shows up for company, sex, whatever, it doesn’t mean that he loves you or cares about you much. They just show up because it works for them right now. Convenience. Once something changes like an ultimatum question I asked “are we together or not?” then they bail out. Perhaps and maybe someone new appeared on the horizon. I truly will feel like I will never know. Analyzing helps out to discover my own problems and issues and what I contributed to the relationship to not making it work out. I used to think it was because I asked about the relationship status too much. But would have I asked if I had felt confident he is in it? No. There would be no reason to ask. Anyway, sometimes I just feel I have to admit that he was never into me. Yet I go back and can’t believe that because in the first half of the relationship it was a honey moon phase. Then, once more routine things kick in, the dating passion is over, and it turns into discovery of each other phase on a deeper level, that’s where he bailed out already even without me knowing it yet. Wouldn’t be it easier just to admit “he never loved me as I did him. He will love someone else and will act differently, perhaps even marries that woman.” That’s too hard for the ego to admit though. Hence keep analyzing things. Maybe even self-deceiving? Not sure.

        • Waltzing Matilda says:

          Sophia,
          Just wanted to remind you of the quote (?) that goes something like “things should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.” If you are engaging with a user, the whole just not into you explanation seems to me to be an over simplification. That covers the interactions between decent adults who realize that the chemistry isn’t there, but treat each other with respect and dignity.
          The trouble is that narcissists are into us, but only for the use they can make of us. When we question that dynamic, as you did, then it’s invariably over. With the added bonus of blaming you, which is crazy making.
          Natalie has written a fabulous post about not trying to make sense of nonsense. By the way, our stories are so eerily similar that it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time when I read your comments.

          • Sofia says:

            WaltzingMatilda, or really, is your story similar to mine? Well, I imagine so! Some stories I read here and Natalie’s posts, I get goosebumps, thinking she or someone else wrote about me and my ex!!

            The strange thing is that I am still hesitant to confidently label my ex as an EU or an AC or a narcissist. But now, after reading several comments about my story, I feel like he is everything together! Being non-committed, controlling everything on his terms and time, faking the future (not saying nice things but saying “maybe, I am not sure, we will see, ” – every month), refusing to become a father and forcing me to perform the most terrible act I have ever done or will ever do in my life, and narcissist – by being a user and using my company and services only until it served the functions. Once it got heated and serious, all the affection and passion and care dissipated. It was, “I don’t see you as my life-time partner and the feelings are not the same. I still care about you and don’t want to lose you. Let’s be friends.” Note he didn’t offer casual sex ( I was the one who lost my head temporarily during the breakup conversation and being dark and cynical, offered it saying, “what’s the difference since this is what it has been”). He gallantly refused. Haha. Saying, no, feelings will get hurt even more for both, they will develop, it will be harder to separate later. What a confusing man. So I have been trying to be rougher with myself I guess just saying, well he lost his feelings to me along the way, that’s all ,instead of calling him names and all. But the truth is there were signs of his inappropriate behavior from the very beginning. I just refused to see. Many people told me he was using me. I refused to hear.
            I reread your post and you are saying that “just not into you” oversimplifies things. Maybe I am trying to see if I am not deceiving myself by putting all these labels on him. Maybe it’s as simple as him losing the feelings for me. But he kept stringing along for a long time then and break up only once I set an ultimatum. It didn’t come from nowhere really. I pushed for a breakup in a way (and grieved it even before he came over and broke up with me. I had a gut feeling he would) by asking him, “Are you in my life or not, do you see us together and the uncertainty of maybe or someday is killing me.” He bailed out. See, I kept blaming myself for a whole month after the break up that I pushed him too much. That I was insecure and needy and clingy. Yes, I was. Partially due to internal fears and partially due to well established external fears: his non-committal, his temporary contract position here in this country (with no set term – which I never believed that – he kept saying he never knows when he is going – although I think it was BS. Contracts say how long and whether it can be renewed), his lack of desire to have a family “right now or near future,” his avoidance introducing me to his family, his secretiveness about his life in his country, his aloofness, distance, barriers, control of dating times and schedules, and his lack of empathy and showing emotion. Everything was so … superficial. Like a played out romantic role that should have been ended at about 3-month mark but kept dragging on into a year mark. Why? I will never know. That’s why, because sometimes I get so tired breaking my head thinking about his label and why he did it or maybe he is even married in his country, or maybe he was just not into me or lost feelings later…or found someone and dropped me as soon as someone “better” came alone. I just feel I will never truly know the answer, the closure. Seems like I want to make it simpler to not blame him or myself. “Lost the feelings, not a woman for him, bye.” And then I go back to, “but why stringing along for a long time…” Sigh….
            The good thing I let him go. I don’t want him myself. I don’t see us together. I know he will not come back and won’t contact me. I won’t contact him either. This is letting go and closure. Of course I miss him, oddly… But time will help.

  88. AfroK says:

    Sophia,

    Sorry for what you have been through. I can’t begin to imagine how it felt to be pressured to have an abortion, + what you went through as a result of it. He sounds like a really selfish guy, who only thought of himself and what was convenient for him at the expense of your self esteem and mental + physical wellbeing. Be thankful he is out of you and your child’s life. You deserve better.

    Well done with NC. You come across as having incite and awareness of his behavior and who he really is aka Ass Clown.

    Please know that his behavior is about him not you. His “you are not right person for me…something is off etc” shyte, is just him trying to avoid responsibility for his ass clownery behavior and desperate attempts to shift the blame on you. No, you didn’t do anything to cause his behavior. That is who he is and he do deserve you. You deserve better.

    Wishing you all the best as you continue NC and permanent flushing of the AC. Hugs. Xx

    • Sophia says:

      AfroK,

      Thank you for your kind words. Abortion is a different subject altogether in this relationship. Only my child that I have kept me going. I had to get up to work, take care of her, function. The first month was a haze. I was driving and thinking how nice it would be to drive off the road and hit the concrete wall. Then I think of my child that I do have and it keeps me going. I am a bit better now, but this pain will never go away. I wrote earlier that I turned to the church and spiritual healing. I have been agnostic for years, but in the last 3-4 years became closer to God and even more since this horrible event in my life happened to me. This is something I will have to work through and live through.

      Yes, I agree. He said that he doesn’t want a baby. He doesn’t want to be a dad. This child will be a bastard (to call the unborn child a bastard already!!!) and he/she won’t have a loving dad, but rather a dad who rejected him (!!!). I said he/she would have a loving mother and a sibling. It was a week long making decision process. Most of the time I wanted to keep the baby. He said, if you do it, you will never see me in your life. I said, help me with the money, you don’t need to be present. He said, I can’t promise you even that. I just will be out of your life. Then he agreed one time to help, but hesitantly, but then I became scared that I can’t rely on him and being single mother already and having limited finances and no family support at all in this country ( I am from another country myself), I just didn’t think I could handle it all by myself. I raised my child alone pretty much, but my ex-husband is very helpful, with money and time too and he has family here, so I have had lots of help. But with this one, and me being not that young anymore I just couldn’t imagine how I could handle potentially no money, no support, no family support and a guy who already hates the child and me for keeping it. How would I manage sick days, sleepless nights, no maternity leave basically here in this country, and going to work, taking care of my other child. And also, limiting the resources and my time and sanity for the child I do have now??? I am sorry I am writing about all this here, it’s not related to the subject, but it helps to write it out here. I certainly take the responsibility for what I did. I don’t blame him only. We are both responsible for this. He said, he thinks it is the right decision (even during the breakup!!) and there is nothing morally wrong with an abortion at an early term. It’s just a pile of cells (!!!). After the abortion he smirked at me becoming spiritual. He said,I hope you won’t have hundred crosses in your place when I come over. I don’t agree, with your spiritual help seeking, he said. See, what I mean about empathy or rather the lack of it?
      You know, I can’t imagine how I could live for the rest of my life, knowing (and he does know) how much he hurt me, how much I was against the abortion but was pressured due to fears and lack of support, and how much it has affected my life. If I had been he, I would have not been able to sleep at nights knowing I have hurt someone this tremendously and affected their lives for good. Does it even phase him what he has done to me? But that doesn’t matter really anymore. I am focusing on healing myself and going through this all by myself. This board is really God sent and Natalie must be an angel. Thank you, Natalie and all the women on this board!!

      • round-and-round says:

        Sophia,

        I recommend that you read

        “He’s Scared She’s Scared Understanding the Fears that Sabotage your Relationships” by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol.

        I relate to some of what you wrote including being on long date with no signs of anything changing.
        Hopefully this book will help.
        All the best x

        • Sofia says:

          round-and-round: Thank you for book recommendation. I already looked it up online. Have you read it yourself? Based on the reviews, it looks like it’s about both people being non-committed. Interesting. I never thought I was being a non-committed one, but it makes sense. Why a person with healthy commitment would wait on someone who is not committed? Two are attracted to each other. I have read on this site about being non-committed yourself and started thinking whether I am non-committed too. I do want (or did rather, after the breakup I am taking a long break from dating) a long-term relationship, monogamous, and living with each other after some time. I wonder if these goals still don’t mean that I am committed. Perhaps reading the book will help me to figure it out.

          • round-and-round says:

            Hi Sofia,

            I have read the book I found it very insightful not only into the ex but also into myself.
            I was committed to the uncommitted we were in totally different relationships.
            I think and I have witnessed it from reading this sight for a long while, that when people first arrive their posts are very focused on the ex but gradually open to looking at and focusing on themselves and how they ended up in the relationship they did or keep on repeating patterns etc.
            I hope the book helps you and gives you insight too.

        • Sofia says:

          round-and-round: I read parts of the book yesterday and found it very helpful. He was an active avoider, I was a passive avoider. Everything exactly about him and me!

          Yet, why sometimes I stop and think, “Why I overanalyze everything?” I was replying to WaltzingMatilda and saying to her in my post, that maybe it is all simple as “lost the feelings after 6 months but could not let go immediately, was not sure, wanted to see (without telling me of course).”

          Why I am trying to simplify it? Maybe because I analyzed the whole situation so much and it just doesn’t give me peace. I mean what it does is to figure out how I contributed to my own failure in relationships by not watching out for red flags and having low self esteem. But it seems like even though I admit everything I did wrong, it still makes it “easier” to harshly admit that he might have fell out of love. Nothing wrong I did. Hurts but true. I don’t know anymore. That’s why I posted here my entire story and I do see people are telling me that he was definitely an EU and AC. Am I trying to defend him or excuse his behavior? No. I am quite an analytical person and perused this site and other psychology related information material quite intensely in the last 2,5 months. Loss, grief, abandoment, non-committal, avoiding, co-dependent, you name it. Recognizing everything I did wrong and he did too. But then I sit down, exhausted from reading and thinking and question myself, “Maybe it is all as simple as love is gone?” Hmmm… He broke up decently and with respect, if there is such a thing because it hurts. Face-to-face. Actually first break up was a break because he was not sure. I gave him a month. Then a second time was a real breakup. So that was kind of a fishy behavior. Who waits another month to think (given I am sure he had thought about it before). And then offers me to be friends and “call me anytime.” But that’s out of guilt of course. Well, perhaps I will never know the real answer. And that’s what I read in psychology books too. The good thing is that I learned a lot about myself and will never find myself in a similar situation.

  89. AfroK says:

    Sophia,

    Sorry for what you have been through. I can’t begin to imagine how it felt to be pressured to have an abortion, + what you went through as a result of it. He sounds like a really selfish guy, who only thought of himself and what was convenient for him at the expense of your self esteem and mental + physical wellbeing. Be thankful he is out of you and your child’s life. You deserve better.

    Well done with NC. You come across as having incite and awareness of his behavior and who he really is aka Ass Clown.

    Please know that his behavior is about him not you. His “you are not right person for me…something is off etc” shyte, is just him trying to avoid responsibility for his ass clownery behavior and desperate attempts to shift the blame on you. No, you didn’t do anything to cause his behavior. That is who he is and he do deserve you. You deserve better.

    Wishing you all the best as you continue NC and permanent flushing of the AC. Hugs. Xx

  90. Noquay says:

    Tinkerbell
    I am glad that he called; however I am gonna throw some more tough love at ya. It reads as though in your subsequent posts that you are damning yourself for expressing your emotions. You have a right to feel what you feel, and dammit, even talk about it with the one you love. I don’t know if your expression of self gets into too emotional/crazy/needy mode but I doubt it, you seem to have your act together much more than many. Remember too, that he was criticizing your spending. Maybe you spend too much but that is for you to decide and for you to rectify. So glad he is back; nows the time for some serious talking, eh?

  91. AfroK says:

    NK,

    I don’t have a lot to say but just echoing others’ support and advice. Stay strong and don’t give up on yourself. I should add that although our stories are different, I do know how it feels when friends dissappear on you or avoid you when you are going through an emotional roller coaster as a result of difficult experience. I know how some can be judgemental and think you are a drama queen, self pity, get over it etc. Some go as far as treating you like you in a less than manner and as if your quality as a human being has diminished as a result of what you are going through.

    What I realized though is that, good friends stay no matter what. It can be one or two, but they are your really friends as you have seen from your good friends who are supporting you. Continue valuing them as you make new ones.

    I wish you all the best. Things will get better. Hang around BR for support. Hugs. Xx

    • Sophia says:

      AfroK,

      Right on about the friends, who you thought you were the closest friends, disappear on you. As you know from my posts, I have experienced two traumatic events in the last 4 months. My closest friend (lives in another country. I have been friends with her for 20 years) disappeared. She doesn’t want to hear about either subject anymore: abortion or breakup. Her attitude: Get over it. Snap out. Ironically, she took 4 years of psychology training. Stages of grief is a staple in psychology for dealing with any kind of loss. And she told me to snap out of it. Needless to say, I haven’t talked to her in a month. Just “Happy Birthday” to her and her son. But no conversation. Really sad to lose a close friend.It’s like she doesn’t want to hear pain and problems. I am getting better slowly as I am working through my feelings. It’s not that I would talk to her only about breakup and him. At this point I can discuss other subjects too, but inadvertently, still being a fresh wound, of course I would mention my hurt. No. She doesn’t want to listen. Get over it.
      I do have 1-2 friends who do listen. And I post here and read others. It helps tremendously. Thank you all. We will get better. It takes time. My friend from the church told me yesterday that in spiritual teachings, it takes about 9 months average to get over sharp pain of grief and loss (doesn’t mean exactly 9 months, but approximately, and feelings of course might linger after but what it means I guess is that the worst will be over).

  92. AfroK says:

    Lilly,

    This is unrelated post, but I have read about your experience with the overseas guy. I’m sorry how it went, with him treating you as he did. What a controlling creepy AC! He doesn’t deserve you.

    It was so brave and couregous of you to take that chance to go overseas and give love a go. That needs some balls and you sound like you’ve got yours made of steel:). Most of all, I admire your maturity and how strong you have remained throughout the heart break and emotional pain due to how he dissapeared at the airport and after you arrived home. Girl..you have handled the whole situation like a BR Phd holder should! Hugs. And all the best in moving on with your life as you are already, with AC flushed out of your life. Xx

    • Lilly says:

      AfroK,

      Your comment just made my day,thank you. I’m feeling great about my decision to end contact with him. For the first time in my life I chose not to put up with any BS and as Nat often says he really wasn’t that special. Hope all is well with you AfroK and thank you once again.I’m now off to university with a smile on my face, hugs, xxx.

  93. AfroK says:

    Sophia,

    I am sorry for the pain you are going through. It is also good that you are seeking professional and spiritual help to address it. Hugs and I hope things get better.

    That man sounds so cruel, and have no empathy. Putting pressure on you to abort and not acknowledging the psychological impact it has had on you. Even daring to be sarcastic about it, he has no soul and you don’t want that for a partner/husband.

    As you are hurting, be thankful that you have dodged the bullet. Imagine if he had agreed to continue being with you, or marry you, you will have had to continue being treated like that for the rest of your life. That’s him, married or not, there is nothing about you that made him treat you that way.

    I can relate with how tough it is being in a foreign country, single mother, and having no family support. Extremely hard and challenging and i find not many people get it unless they are in the same situation. I was married to one of very controlling and abusive AC and I moved to his country. Unlike your ex husband who sounds supportive, mine has continued the abuse, threats and harassment after I have left. The feeling of being trapped is understatement. That, plus a couple of experiences with ACs, that’s why I am in BR and can’t emphasise enough why you should continue getting support here, for better and for worth. Do you also find some ACs would use your isolation or not having a family to take advantage of you? I have experienced that too.

    And girl…don’t get me started how friends can do a sprint on you. It really hurts when that happens, in some instances I have had to pathetically beg friends to stay and apologise for making them quit the friendship because of my talking about my experience. Some ignored and some we occasionally talk but I have to walk on eggshells and pretend all is ok, I’m happy and im control, because any sign to the opposite makes me a dramma queen, victim mentality, masochistic as in secretly enjoying the identify (what the feck!), and the list goes on. I also got told to my face to suck it up, move on, etc etc. It hurts. Such a blow to self esteem too. I mean whatever happened to “friends in need…” Anyway.

    But then I have learned to appreciate the few friends that have stayed, who haven’t judged me and have continued to be there and we mutually share our happy and difficult experiences. And to painfully acknowledge the other friends’ rights to dump me if they feel my life challenges mean I’m not in their league.

    Know that you are not alone. I wish you all the best in getting through it all stronger and more wiser, which already comed across in the way you are analysing your wole situation. 6 weeks NC, good start. You don’t need to tell him that you are doing NC. Let the silence speak. Snd when he attemps to contact and see the possibility of pressing re-set button, that should be the time to stand up for yourself by tightening the NC belt. Stay strong because YOU ARE otherwise you wouldn’t have survived all that crappola thrown your way, and be here to talk about it :).

    Big squeeze. Xx

    • Sofia says:

      AfroK, I am confident he won’t contact me and won’t hit the reset button. He is not an AC, I guess. Once he said he is determined that the relationship is not working out, he means it. I just know him. Or I think I know him. Does it make me sad? No. I don’t want him myself at this point. To want him we would have to start from zero and he would have to gain my trust. And that will never have happen because he will not contact to reset the button. Maybe to check how I am in couple months, but that’s about it. That’s why I was hesitant about calling him an AC because he exhibited normal behaviors at times, well in some ways. I still don’t know what a decent man would put a woman he cares about through an abortion and refuse to take a responsibility being a dad and help out at least financially. Well, that’s a different subject. I know I would never do this to anyone. I can’t imagine being a man, but this is a responsibility one has to deal with. Well, all I can say it’s left up to him to face the morality of this issue (which to him it was the right thing to do he said). I will deal with this terrible act my own way for this was my responsibility too.

      I have lived in this country nearly 20 years. I am independent and feel like at home here now, but I know what you mean. I dated couple men (for just 2-3 dates luckily – I sensed AC behavior right away and stopped seeing them immediately – I guess I had a hope even back then:) ) who knew I had no family support and were trying to control me and manipulate me, parent me, but I sensed that right away and said good bye to them.

      About friends: it is terrible when this happens. Part of me thinks that perhaps I talked too much about it the first month after breakup. But still, it was just the first month. I don’t talk this much or even half it anymore. I still bring up the breakup but not to that extent. Friends who are there for you should be there for you. If you complain beyond 3 months all the time, I think that might be a bit overwhelming. But the first raw months-two months it is normal. I would support my close friend through the roughest 3 months and as long as I needed. I think now truly first 3 months are the toughest ( I am in 2,5 months now after the break and 1 ,5 month after the final breakup).
      Thank you for your warm comments, AfroK. My best wishes to you too and please come back to this blog too and post away. This community is very supportive and non-judgmental. Very safe and kind.

      One day, I know I will come back and reread my posts and say, “Wow, how could I even waste my energy and time on that jerk!”

  94. Sodaude says:

    How long is too long for a dating hiatus? I’ve been on one for 2+ years now. But not fully. There have been intermittent dates or half hearted attempts at online dating. Anything that has steam terrifies me because it feels like I might be with an assclown and anything without just makes me feel pathetic for still missing my assclown and not having found something solid/stable yet. Should I be pushing myself to “get out there”, as they say, or is this a sign that I still need a lot more “me” time? Please help. I’m afraid I’m becoming a hermit.

    • lizzp says:

      Sodaude, Your comment interests me. One of my biggest fears is that of becoming a hermit. I believe this is mostly due to my perception that this was the fate of my father who never really had another relationship of note after divorcing from my mother. I was around 9 years old at the time and my father was 46/47 years old. I turned 46 this year. My father died 16 years ago when I was 30 years old. My last long term (years) relationship ended over 8 years ago. I have been the single parent of my nine year old son for all but the first few months of his life. His father and I have co-parented reasonably successfully since then and have both absolutely moved on from our past relationship. Since then I have had two what I consider shorter relationships, one with a psychotic assclown which ended three years ago and which I am completely over, and the second with a good man who left me after 4 months and moved to another city 5000 km away. That ended about 17 months ago now and I have been working through a barge load of crap ever since. Whatever excuses I may make from time to time, I understand that I am solely responsible for making the remainder of my life meaningful to myself/on my terms or not. I continue to allow myself to suffer from deep bouts of loneliness, meaning that I more often than not still refuse to nurture myself and do right by me when these feelings arise. When I choose to address this habit, amongst others, I may then be fit to consider what I have to offer in an intimate relationship and try dating again. As Natalie says, get your own house in order first. Thanks for listening.

      • Mymble says:

        I was a “hermit” while I was in my miserable marriage. I would have thought that one of the purposes of a dating hiatus would be to nurture other kinds of relationships – friends, family, community, and work, as it is from the totality of these that we develop self esteem and confidence.

  95. tinkerbell says:

    Noquay, Allison, Sandy, Nel and Lizzp. Yep, it’s time for me to get my act together pertaining to this man. I have to admit I’ve come to a point in which I really don’t know what I want out of the relationship. I think that asking for the break and then contacting him showed confusion as to what I really wanted and, of course, he felt hurt and angry. I will not be asking for any more breaks and try to be more trusting of his feelings. I just hate the idea of being in the relationship deeper than he is, but I have to remember he is not me and he is not going to show love and care in the very same manner that I do. Anyway, we’re talking. My old tendency to create drama and reasons to be anxious remain. It is so hard to get rid of this tendency. So I’ll continue being aware and working on it. Thanks ladies for your well wishes.

  96. Jemila says:

    Great post! I needed this.

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!