I wouldn't be ok with agreeing to buy a property where the seller was shopping around for another buyer behind my back, just as I wouldn't want to continue being with a 'partner' who's keepig their options open

Recently we experienced a lesson on the importance of honouring your values. Like many, I’ve been guilty in the past of sidestepping my values because at the time it seemed as if the situation ‘warranted’ it and that the gamble and squashing down inner concerns or even morals would be worth the perceived reward. I invariably ended up busting my boundaries and empty-handed.

Some of you may recall that we’ve decided that it’s time to move. We went under offer within three weeks and found ourselves having to choose between two bidders. Bidder #1 had been super keen but then bid significantly under the asking price and only decided to step up when Bidder #2 came along with an immediate solid offer, and although #1 equaled the eventual agreed price, we went with #2. The following morning while waiting on tenterhooks to hear if our offer had been accepted on a dream house, we were greeted with the news that #1 had made another bid that exceeded our accepted offer by ten thousand. A day earlier, we’d have been doing a jig but we’d agreed the price. It’s not that we can afford to decline that money but we would detest for what we were being asked to do to happen to us. We gave our word and in the UK, doing this after accepting an offer is known as ‘gazumping’.

We felt for Bidder #1 because we recognise that buying a property is difficult and that there can be an element of playing the game and trying to drive a hard bargain but unfortunately it meant that we didn’t have a great deal of confidence and it’s highly likely when a bidder does this that somewhere along the line, they’ll attempt to claw something back.

It’s not too dissimilar in dating and relationships where you get somebody who wasn’t taking you seriously before and wouldn’t commit or was treating you in a less than manner, suddenly making grand gestures and big promises as soon as you end things and move on. Watch out for the backtracking over the coming weeks and months. In some cases, it happens within hours or days!

In the meantime our offer was accepted and the seller’s agent claimed to share our sentiments on what we’d experienced with Bidder #1. Twenty-four hours later, our seller gazumped us. We were gutted over the disappointment but it didn’t negate our original decision – that would have been to decide that our decision was wrong because we’d been done over, when in reality, the two things had nothing to do with one another. We had to make the decision based on our values not on a gamble on either party’s behaviour. That money will show up at some other point or in another form in our lives and ultimately, we can’t miss what we never had.

We’re thankful that our situation unfolded early in the process – it would be oh so easy to focus on the outcome or act like this is the only house that we could ever have bought when it’s not.

I’ve watched a number of friends and many readers being gazumped both in property (gazumping is rife in the UK) and love and it’s important when we’re faced with making a decision to let down one party over another in this way, to ask the question: If they could always have committed / acted decently before, why didn’t they show up seriously before?

Admittedly some people don’t know that they really want something until they know that they can’t or are in danger of missing out on it.

Some are also sore losers and some don’t believe they could lose you until they do. While it can be an issue but a price boost with property, it can be very problematic with relationships if the anxiety of ‘losing’ and not being in control is mistaken for desire, because if that person doesn’t have the commitment to follow through on what they said and agreed to even if they’re no longer in that anxious state because they now ‘have you’, you’re likely to end up empty-handed. These people chase and you can find yourself doing things by their values. I’ve heard too many tales of people who have left numerous partners and even marriages for one particular boomeranging ex only to be left empty-handed. It’s devastating, especially if at the time, there was an element of green lighting code red and amber issues in pursuit of a fairy tale happy ending.

It can be hard in these situations because you can imagine what you could do with the money or you can imagine a future with the person in question, and while we can feel confident to a degree that we could find another buyer for a property if we agreed to gazump and it didn’t work out or we stuck with the original buyer and that didn’t work out either, when we’re faced with the decision to ‘go back’ to an ex or even to pursue what appears to be a better offer with somebody else, that can seem to be a scary gamble that we may worry about regretting. What if my ex has changed and somebody else gets the benefit? or What if this person who I don’t really know yet is The One and better than who I’m with now? What if this option doesn’t work out?

We forget to truly evaluate whether the decision we’re faced with reflects our values which encompasses our needs, expectations, wishes, and of course our beliefs on what feels good and right for us. I wouldn’t want to agree to buy a property knowing that the person was shopping around behind my back no more than I would want to continue being with a ‘partner’ who was keeping a foot out of the relationship and keeping their options and eyes open for someone else ‘just in case’.

If you’ve already decided to be done with the ex (and are supporting your reasons) or you’re not looking around for other options from a current partner, then a counter offer isn’t going to sway you because you’re committed to the existing decision. You value loyalty and trustworthiness.

Relationships do require us to be vulnerable and we do have to make choices that don’t come with guarantees. We can go back to the ex but it still might not work out or we can remain with a current partner or move on to someone new further down the line, but that might not work out either so in the end, we have to make the decision that best reflects who we are – our values – because regardless of how things play out, at least we can be sure that we made the best decision we could at the time. Some people operate with an all’s fair in love, war, and money attitude, but I hear from enough people in pain over affairs and doing people over to know that this stuff can bite, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow or soon, but eventually.

When you follow your values and make tricky decisions even if they’re a pain in the bum initially, at least you don’t have to deal with the regret that comes with having not listened to you or feeling that you weren’t rewarded for having compromised you.

Your thoughts?

PS We’re going ahead and selling our house and are going to rent for a few months until we find our next home.

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162 Responses to What being screwed over on a house taught me about living up to your values and commitment

  1. Karen says:

    When I sidestep my values, I may get a temporary thrill or some silly reward at the beginning, but it always ends badly and I always have to work like a mofo to get back my self esteem.
    Anyone who is complicit in helping me ignore my boundaries and destroy my values is not worth bothering worth. Liars lie and cheaters cheat. I have lied in the past and I have been honest in the past. Honest always ends up feeling better, so I choose that.

    • Nic says:

      Very true and insightful Karen, I am working like a mofo now and flip-flopping from clear hearted to fog headed.
      I gave a lot of value to someone who was very complicit in helping me ignore my boundaries. I love him dearly, but boy, he is bad news !

  2. noquay says:

    A great post: I never really knew whether the end of my marriage was the right thing to do or not: but I did act on my values which were: a. go elsewhere for a job rather than mooch on another as I was never going to be able to make ends meet in the situation at the time and b. if your work is resulting in threats to your and indirectly, your husbands life, remove him from danger by removing yourself from the area. Innocent victims are inexcusable. He had told me I had no choice but I still feel guilt to this day. I try my best to stick to my values here such as having zero tolerance for disrespect from men, colleagues, students, the community. I live by my environmental values even though it often means being rejected by those addicted to a life of television and convenience. I demand total honesty and if and when I find a partner is lying/cheating, they’re taken to task on their behavior and they’re gone. Yep, doing what I think is right has left me horribly alone but Nat had stated on a much earlier post that “doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good” – very true. Nat, the right house will come to you when the time is right; a lot of what you describe happens here a lot when house hunting, but you had a much nicer word for it than I did when it repeatedly happened to me.

  3. Sipo says:

    NO regrets! remember that, no matter how it turns out! Good for you and all of us when we don’t give in to an unworthy temptation!

  4. Lara says:

    This is an amazing post. I got this treatment from my ex. It seemed like he had what they call the “grass is greener syndrome” and always wanted to keep his options open. And in most cases like this, those who do this are not looking for a relationship because there just is no way that one can go into a relationship with this mindset — because this mindset will catch up with them even with the new person they are with. It’s a constant worry in the back of their minds: what if they can do better? And a lot of the time, they go for the instant gratification / what seems to be better in the short run / for now (mostly the ‘magical’ sex / sexual attraction), and it turns out to have been a very poor choice. These people, though, don’t want to face up to their bad “values”. I once posted on my facebook a graphic that said: when someone treats you as an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation. My ex saw that, and got mad. It was obvious that he took it personally, because he knew he was treating me like an option. It’s also why he came running back to me, like a boomerang, every time his momentary sex flings with various women (random women, exes, FWBs, prostitutes, etc.) did not give him the satisfaction. He ran back to familiar territory, and I took him back — ultimately rewarding his behavior and setting a pattern where he thought I was disposable whenever he had the hots for some other woman but that I’d always be there for him eventually. That was not the case after I found pictures and videos of his latest fling, on his phone. He actually ended the relationship for good after I confronted him about it, and didn’t boomerang again, I think because he realized that I would drop him sooner or later and never take him back — so he wanted to be the one to end things, at a time of his own choosing.

    Anyway, I think it’s really sad and pathetic when people do this. My parents themselves have always been like this, though not in relationships/marriage. They’ve always clouded my head by saying, what about that offer, what about that other one, you can always do better, if you wait it out! I told them that if I am interested in something, I have to make up my mind eventually and that second-guessing and wondering whether what I took was really the best offer because something seemingly better came up right after that, is just ridiculous and not conducive to happiness or to getting anything done. The same goes for relationships. I have never jumped from one partner to another because I felt that I could do better by jumping to another partner. I only stopped seeing someone because he was not satisfying my needs, and not because I felt the other guy would be better. That’s really despicable behavior, IMO.

    • Stacey says:

      Lara – did you date my ex? I am just amazed at how I feel like others are writing about my ex and how I felt. I always doubted his feelings…he is very much about the ‘magical’ sexual attraction and always said that we lacked passion, but I thought the physical part of our relationship was great. anyway – its sad to see how many EUM’s are actually out there.

      • Lara says:


        Yes, it’s sad, isn’t it? You’d be amazed at how many people’s post I’ve read here and wondered if they were dating my ex… Sad but true. It’s almost as if they learn their behaviors from an AC/EUM manual or guidebook or something…

        The funny thing is, my ex could not make up his mind about ANYTHING because he had grass is greener syndrome about EVERYTHING. He bitched about everything, and thought whatever he didn’t have at that particular moment, was better than what he had. For example, if he were in Canada for a job, he’d bitch about Canada and say that Turkey was great, then he’d be sent to Turkey and would bitch about Turkey and say Canada was great, and so on and so forth. He also never managed to buy himself a new laptop after his old work-supplied one broke down because 1) he was so cheap; 2) he couldn’t make up his mind as to which one he wanted to get, and always kept saying, something better will hit the market and then I can get that, but then, when it came out, he’d say, well that’s too expensive right now, I’ll wait til it gets cheaper, etc. It’s almost like they’re perpetually indecisive about anything and everything and it’s the same with women and relationships. And because they can’t make up their minds, they want to keep all their options open and available to them at their whim, so they have multiple women whom they dedicate very little attention to. A harem, effectively. This is why they do the hot/cold. They blow enough ‘hot’ to keep you interested and waiting, especially when they feel they’re about to lose you, but it’s never a constant “hot”. Then they go freezing cold on you, because they’re busy doing that with other women. Sort of like, grooming multiple women for sexual flings, and never settling for one. Sad, pathetic, disgusting, you name it!

  5. Mymble says:

    I struggle with decision making. I think I attach too much importance to them and imagine that the outcome will either be fantastic or horrendous whereas in reality neither is likely to be the case. Not many decisions have such drastic outcomes. I had two years of worrying whether I was doing the “right” thing by ending my marriage. My life in some respects is harder now but I am at peace with what
    I’ve done and in no way would consider reversing it.
    Also I recently saw an ex from long ago who I remained friends with and see about once or twice a year. To my surprise he made it clear that he is still interested. I’ve been feeling anxious about it; should I reverse the decision I made 25 years ago? I was more compatible with him than I ever have been with anyone else, but I feel very apprehensive about it. I think my gut is saying no.

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Mymble, are you apprehensive because he is an ex or because you feel you can do better?
      Are you apprehensive because you are on here and still working through things and are maybe not ready?
      It’s not easy that’s for sure you really have to work out why you are feeling apprehensive and do what is right for you maybe just go with the friendship for now..you never know what is down the line :-)

      • Sandy says:

        I’ve been doing very well with going with my values lately, going no contact because I felt he was devaluing me by constantly wanting me to be the bit on the side and then wanting to be friends after all the pain and misery he put me though, but the hardest thing with no contact is not the wanting to contact him because I don’t but the waiting game…of when will he try again…because I know he will. I can’t understand this sort of person and I keep on trying to work it out because that is who I am, why won’t he listen to me, why won’t he respect my wishes, what gives him the right to dip in and out of my life even after I have asked calmly, angrily and every other which way not to. I just don’t get it :-(

        • Stacey says:

          Sandy – one word: SELFISH. I know that my ex who I am NC with will contact me. He’s contacted me twice since I told him we were going NC. When I put my feelings aside and look at his core, everything he does and says is for his personal gain….and uses words to get what he wants. Its sad and he will end up alone.

        • Allison says:


          Unfortunately, our previous actions showed them that we would tolerate shoddy behavior – Been there, done that.

          If you really want to be rid of this dude, BLOCK HIM!

          • Tinkerbell says:


            Ditto what Allison said. I can never understand why so many intelligent ladies come on here saying (with a pretense of worry), “I know he’s going to contact me”. That’s what you want if you’re not blocking him everywhere so that he cannot reach you. And stop worrying about him being alone. Don’t worry about him period. You have enough to do to take care of yourself and get out of that mess. You don’t have time to worry about him. Is he worrying about you for any other reason than for what he can get out of you? Wake up and smell the coffee!

        • Rosie says:

          Sandy- I forget the name for it but it’s seeing pictures in the clouds. Really, I’ve seen alligators, turtles, happy faces…are the clouds really forming these pictures? No. My brain’s just taking what’s there & adjusting the images to make sense, to give these clouds some patter where there is no real pattern, no real picture.

          It’s just what the brain does when faced with nonsense–it tries to make sense of what doesn’t make sense.

        • Tanzanite says:

          Great opening quote and a great article.

        • 22goingon23 says:

          “why won’t he respect my wishes, what gives him the right to dip in and out of my life even after I have asked calmly, angrily and every other which way not to.”

          I’m guessing an over-inflated sense of entitlement, need to feel in control, etc etc

        • Pauline says:

          Sandy, I don’t get it either. The AC keeps dipping in and out of my life and I can’t figure out why. I ask myself what’s in it for him when I’ve ignored him, told him to feck off, blocked him on Facebook, email and my phone and he still won’t go away. WTF. I thought he was finally gone when I hadn’t heard anything from him for months. I had deleted his contact number from my phone and thought I was home free. Then last night my phone rings and there he was, chatting away nice as pie, sweet as sugar, how’s my house renovations going, how’s the family etc etc!
          There must be some massive disconnect in his brain somewhere or his ego that doesn’t seem to understand the word NO. I give up, I’ll never understand why.

          • MaryW says:

            Pauline, easier said than done but you DO NOT have to pick up the phone when he chooses to call. If it’s a voicemail, delete it without listening.

            • Pauline says:

              MaryW, when I deleted his number my phone deletes all threads, his name and including the block that sends the incoming call to voicemail. I have put him back into my phone and re-blocked.
              An out of sight out of mind thing on my part, I wasn’t expecting him to call and didn’t check the incoming call number as I was expecting a call from my daughter in response to a message I’d left her.
              Most ‘normal’ people would have got the message that if you’re not interested it’s time to leave you alone and move on.
              Assclowns aren’t normal.

          • Tinkerbell says:


            How did he get your phone number? You left him an opening. The question is was it unconsciously (you forgot how he could get through) or consciously (you want him to call you, but won’t admit it to yourself.) Be real with yourself.

            • Tinkerbell says:


              You deleted his number from your phone? You know it by heart anyway don’t you? You’re supposed to get HIS number blocked from YOUR number so that he cannot get through to you at all. In the US you can do it on your smartphone yourself or you can go to the telephone company. Find out how to get that done. Of course, he’s going to call you if you’re accessible to him.

              • Pauline says:

                Tink, I’ve had my number for about 15 years and it would be a real problem to change it. He’s just not important enough for me to put myself through all the fuss and bother. He’s blocked again from incoming phone calls and he’s given up texting as I never answer them. I got some really abusive and nasty texts from him when I wouldn’t answer, real heart warming stuff! Doesn’t everyone like being called an effing c*** and I’m so sick in the head I need a shrink. Funny as it may sound I laughed when I read some of the pathetic stuff he was sending, so immature and childish from a grown man.
                He never apologised or showed any sort of remorse for the things he said, just pressed the reset button and carried on as if it never happened.
                No thanks, I’ve got better things to do than let him back in.

      • Mymble says:

        We did have a very stormy relationship and while a lot of that was down to me, and I am a very different person now than I was then, I haven’t forgotten how it was.
        I have just struggled my way out of one unhappy relationship, i feel a sense of foreboding that this would be out of the frying pan into the fire.
        AND added to that he is in a long term relationship already…he never said what his position on that was. Again I don’t want to end up as his OW or start off with the guilt of having broken up someone else’s marriage. When we originally got together he left his then girlfriend for me (he did it before asking me out) but this is different, they have been together a long time.
        I feel that if you start off in that way, there’s too much pressure; you HAVE to make it work bc someone has turned their life upside down for you.
        Nope, it’s better left.

        • lizzp says:

          “To my surprise he made it clear that he is still interested. I’ve been feeling anxious about it; should I reverse the decision I made 25 years ago? I was more compatible with him than I ever have been with anyone else, but I feel very apprehensive about it. I think my gut is saying no.”

          Surely these original questions about being apprehensive have been answered with the additional ifo provided in your reply to Sandy?

          “AND added to that he is in a long term relationship already…he never said what his position on that was”.

          Married/in long term relationship = Emotionally unavailable.

          Married/in long term relationship = in contract with someone else.

          Married/in long term relationship and making it clear he is interested = seller (husband) shopping around for a new buyer behind owner’s (wife’s) back. He wants to keep his options open. This house has had some renovations in the last 25 years since you decided to opt out and what is on offer now has nothing to do with reversing a decision made in the pre-renovated past. It now has a new owner who doesn’t even know it is back on the market.

          • Mymble says:

            I know that is exactly what I would think and say if I were you reading my message.
            He has been part of my life since I was 16 and always behaved impeccably, as far as I knew. I thought he genuinely cares for me as a friend, but the truth of it is he behaved like a shark who smells blood in the water. I keep thinking he must have deep feelings for me, to have acted so outof character but unfortunately that probably isn’t the case.

            • grace says:

              It’s been barely a week since you separated. your husband can still make trouble for you if you start seeing someone you knew while you were still together. It does not look good. You’d have to keep it from the kids. This guy is married/in a relationship. More trouble. You only see him a couple of times a year, you don’t know him
              I expect you felt a certain euphoria after the separation,and then the reality sets in. Relationships take up a huge part of your life.
              When they end, there is empty space. I suggest you fill that with sleep, exercise, crying, hobbies, rather than a new man. I’m no longer one to advocate that it takes months or years to move on but this really is too soon, and regardless of that, this guy is not the one.
              I’m sure he does have feelings, good memories, nostalgia, fondness, regret, even love but it takes more than that. And when I know what that is, I’ll be sure to share it!

              • Mymble says:

                Actually 99% of my time is filled with work kids work kids etc etc. My hobbies have gone down the loo in the last few weeks. And my actual real life house that I physically live in seems to be falling down round my ears! Electrical, damp and plumbing issues are in urgent need of attention. House hunting of the relationship/emotional variety are out of the question.
                I would add that although he moved out of the house very recently , my husband I I have been legally separated for two years so there isn’t the emotional shock or grief that there would have been had this decision been made very recently.
                Thank you for your words though, I was thinking very black and White – either he is a lying using cheating AC or he really loves me, but I see that I don’t need to define it in either of those ways or analyse his motivation but recognise that this won’t work for me. Getting involved would mean signing up for being his option – my heart feels really heavy at the thought of how that would be. I don’t know how it is with his long term GF, but he did not mention that he would be leaving her. He’s off on a long trip abroad (he was trying to persuade me to go with him) so I won’t be having anything to do with him for quite a while. Got plenty of things to be getting on with and men/dating arent included in my plan ATM.
                I think it just made me feel a bit lonely, remembering how good the good times with him were, and wondering if that kind of experience is over for me.

            • Elgie R. says:

              A self-help book I am reading says that one of the mileposts of becoming older and wiser is the letting go of romantic fantasy. Another one is to give up the compulsion for wild passionate sex.

              She knows that most of us resist that thinking – we feel she is telling us to eat food without salt. She knows that most of us feel that life would be bland at best without the spice of romantic love and passionate sex. Her analogy is that – yes, at first food without salt tastes very bland….but over time, food begins to taste better, sweeter, and richer, without all the added flavoring. Staying with the food analogy, I know that I was a whole milk drinker and lover, gave it up for nut milk, accidentally had a glass of whole milk recently and it tasted like paint.

              So I kept reading, and her point is – love AND sex is BETTER when you take the time to get to know many aspects of your partner first. Romantic love is “Romeo and Juliet” – destined for disappointment. Her argument is that – FIRST – you need to find out if you like the person.

              Why are we constantly in “interview” mode when we meet a male? Going down our list, ticking off “yes” and “no”, evaluating his behavior/looks against our “who I end up with” checklist. Her point is, if you really want a quality relationship, stop approaching all men you meet as the potential answer to all the holes in your life. Just find men that you really LIKE as people. Get to know men in a non-potential-life-partner mode – just get to know him as a person.

              To the man who tells you on DATE 1 that “he really does not have a lot of time”….is that something you want in a friend? Don’t think so. How in the world are two people who just met going to get to know each other in any real way if very little time can be spent together.

              Her book is geared to both men and women. She says in her therapy practice, so many men and women “jump ship” out of a long-term relationship to chase that holy grail of romantic passion and passionate sex, only to later realize that things were really not so bad in the relationship they left.

              She says we have to stop seeing romantic love and passionate sex as some sort of birthright owed to us until the day we die.

              To those who say they miss the AC sex….I don’t buy it. We are able to satisfy ourselves sexually. BUT, we can’t feel “in love” without a partner. We can’t have “sexual passion” on our own. We can’t feel the triumph of winning his attention for a moment. We can’t confirm our own desirability without seeing it in his presence. When we give ourselves the big “O”, we can’t pretend that for the moment the AC loves us, or for the moment he is MINE.

              That being said, I did see a study that showed that when a woman “O”s with a partner she trusts and loves, more pleasure centers in the brain light up than when she “O”s alone…….but the question for all us BRs is – why do we have trust in the AC?

              Mymble, you obviously are justifying to yourself that your “old friend” is not going to be a bad trip. To me, it is looking/walking/quacking like a dick…oops..duck.

              • Tinkerbell says:


                “…..quacking like a dick…oops..duck” I love it.

                Please give me the names of the book(s). I need to get my hands on them. Nat won’t mind.

              • Mymble says:

                I did not “jump ship” from my marriage for frivolous reasons. The process took two years and I did question my motivation many times. I asked myself the same question in different ways.
                Could I be content within a sexless marriage? Yes, if there was affection, respect and supportiveness. It was not there, or at least not reliably so.
                Would I make the same decision if I knew for a fact I would never have another relationship? Yes, I would.
                Remember I did not go looking or pursue this man. Whilst I accept and believe it is possible to have a happy and fulfilled life outwith a sexual relationship we are also mammals and the desire for warmth, closeness and sexual touch isn’t just something that you can rationalise away. You are also suggesting that it’s somehow narcissistic, I don’t accept that and I don’t feel ashamed of wanting that. I get cuddles and kisses from my children, which I love, but it’s not the same. I cam choose not to act on what I feel, but I will not be shamed by my feelings for this man.

                • grace says:

                  It’s a well-peddled myth that women, or men for that matter, are leaving marriages for frivolous reasons. It is a very painful decision.
                  I will say that OFTEN we marry the wrong person (and sometimes we know that at the time, I know I did). I don’t know if that can me made right with all the therapy and self help in the world. It is not in the interests of the self-help industry to say that. Otherwise, I could marry just anyone off the street and have a good relationship by reading self help books.
                  I’ve nothing against self help books but we shouldn’t be too quick to apply them to OTHER people’s situations that we know nothing about.
                  The counter argument is that arranged marriages are more successful. Maybe. Done properly, the parties have the best interests of the two people in mind, those who know them best consider compatibility, the two do meet and spend time together, they likely share the same religious and family values. However, you could just as easily argue that the kind of person who consents to an arranged marriage is not going to go against their culture and divorce if it doesn’t work out.

        • Sandy says:

          Oh Mymble do not go there!!!

          • Tinkerbell says:


            PLEASE, he’s married. You know better. It’s one thing if you’re a young inexperienced girl who doesn’t understand the ramifications and consequences and only know she’s in LOVE. But YOU? You KNOW better, you ARE better. You’re ending you’re marriage. You’re not thinking clearly. Never make important decisions when you’re stressed like this, and certainly not a decision you know is the wrong one. PLEASE, resist him. No,No,No. Stay away from him.

          • lizzp says:

            Nat’s post explores not being ok with buying a property where the seller is shopping around for another buyer behind the buyer’s back as analogous with having a partner who is keeping their options open…and as one poster here has said this is about having the strength to apply these ethics to ourselves regardless of the situation or, put another way, thinking about others’ feelings and trying to DO RIGHT by others and not gazump (?) them even if we have ourselves been gazumped.

            In these terms, the PRIMARY issue Mymble’s situation (as she presents it) raises for me is: Should we be ok with considering buying a property when we know that the seller has not annulled his current ownership contract and in fact has the property up for sale illegally behind the back of his co-owner? Should we give HIGH, or at least EQUAL, consideration to the co-owner’S FEELINGS via our empathy, as we do to other issues of this possible purchase such as whether it may fall through, whether the seller may make us ‘an option’, whether the situation “will work for me” even if the seller and new buyer get away with it?

            Or should we have as our MAIN consideration how this potential deal carries an obvious risk (for us)to a successful purchase but maybe the seller is sincere in wanting us to have the house, so although the co-owner will have to either be told and then forced to sell her share or just suddenly wake up one day to the realisation that her contracted partner has used a loophole and actually sold behind her back, that will be ok because we know the seller is a good man and this dodgy offer is so out of character for him that he really must need us to be the new co-owner, have “deep feelings” about this and these cannot be denied ethically for either of us. But wait a minute, I know that this is unlikely to be true, I know enough about fantasising, I’m fresh out of an unhappy marriage, I actually only have memories of what an ethical seller he was back in the day but I have hardly seen him enough since I last purchased a house from him to assume he is motivated from deep feelings of me being the right co-owner now. No, of course I am mistaken in this. Thanks BR for keeping my feet firmly on the ground. I know I’m mistaken,thank God… BUT if I wasn’t mistaken and somehow all I have assumed about depth of feelings was true, then I would accept his offer and make mine. That unlikely scenario would “work for me”.

            • Mymble says:

              No lizzy I’m not good with that either.

            • Mymble says:

              Actually no lizzie it wouldn’t work for me even if he does have feelings. If he were single I might start again from scratch with him, taking it slowly.
              As things are he would have to do one of two things; either have an overlap where he was squatting in both houses simultaneously (not acceptable for me or her, the thought of that kind of triangulation again really makes me shudder) or immediately end it with her. And I don’t want him to do that because I don’t even know if I have a house to offer him at all; I would need to make a decision about that unclouded by the guilt of knowing that he’s made himself and someone else homeless. Neither works for me precisely because there is someone else in the picture. I see you took exception to the way I worded that, but part of the not working for me is discomfort and guilt about the other person – and him –

              • lizzp says:

                Mymble, I do have to own to taking exception with the’it works for me’ wording, but only because in my reading there was no explicit counterpoint of consideration that it may not ‘work for her’. Please know though that I do understand how difficult it can be to convey our meaning in 2 dimensional context. It’s not entirely clear to me the point I was trying to make.
                I guess I think that in situations as you described, the most ethical (?) point from which to begin to make a decision on what action or response we are going to have, or perhaps from which position within ourselves we are going to respond from, would include a high and explicit awareness of how she might feel about it (or imagine how we might feel if we were her). This doesn’t need to be exclusive to all the good work we do for ourselves in recognising that we will be an option etc. but it is a matter of degree. The fact that he is married to her and she has feelings, we do best to keep that in the forefront.

                On another point, if it’s been suggested somewhere that you need to deny how you feel about your old friend and ex then in my view that’s moralistic high horse rubbish. And I agree – dismiss it if someone asserts that you “should not” have these feelings!

                I wanted to also say that I think that’s a really wise place you have come to in your post above, ie the circumstances in which you would accept or consider proceeding into an involvement with him.

                I hesitate to say I understand, but I am mid- forties, alone with a tween child for quite some years without a committed mutual relationship of any notable length, and have periodical bouts of deep, deep, loneliness. I feel the lack of intimate connection, touch, kisses and caresses of an adult man in my life – of having another by my side to share with- and, yes, our children’s love and affection and ours for them is not the same thing at all. And I’m with you that it is natural to be bonded with another and to feel the lack when we are not.

                I appreciate your comments Mymble and thank you for sharing.

                • lizzp says:

                  p.s. “I cam choose not to act on what I feel, but I will not be shamed by my feelings for this man”.

                  Mymble, it was this sentence in particular that I admire. Dead right IMO. Got this mixed up with my point about not denying what you feel or taking on board any ‘should nots’ whether suggested by your self or others.

            • Tanzanite says:


              Just brilliant.Too late for me but your words might help many others.

  6. Spinster says:

    This is a good reminder about people running hot & cold, as well as properly weighing decisions. Thanks for writing this.

  7. alia says:

    What a wonderful post and thanks for reminding us
    that ethical behaviour should not change with circumstances. We should do the right thing even when others are not.

    There is saying that character is what you are on the 3rd and 4th try. It is easy to say we have certain values in theory; yet it is when we are put to the test in circumstances that are sometimes unfavourable and still stick to what we know is the right path that we are sticking to our values.

    I enjoyed your post and thanks for teaching me a new word “gazumping”. I hope you find a home that is even more lovely than the deal that fell through and you can take your time.


  8. AngelFace says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Sorry to hear about your Home-buying experience, but your attitude and actions are great and you will find your beautiful home. I suppose that if most people practiced good behavior and actions it would be a better world for us to live in. In the meantime, I savor each article and all the comments posted here. Thanks Everyone!

  9. Revolution says:

    Sounds like you’ve dealt with a couple of real householes, Nat. 😉 Sorry, it’s the best I could come up with on such short notice.

  10. CJ says:

    You’ve helped me stick to my guns. We’ve been in an almost 3 year relationship and have a son now a year old. Just before I gave birth he betrayed my trust sneaking out to another woman’s house ‘to talk’ (and in my car too!) He only admitted it because I could see somebody was in my car in the front passenger seat and I heard him sneak back in at about 4am that morning. But what could I do at that stage of vulnerability but stay with him. It broke my trust in him completely, questioning what he did and gets up to and everything he said. He never did anything to earn my trust back only complaining about the strain my lack of trust in him has caused. I have since regained my confidence and decided to face the truth I was before too weak to do, and began following up on all the things my gut told me was a lie – and I’ve caught him out in a lie every time. These are only the ones I know about! And each time, he has an excuse. He was ‘protecting’ me, ‘afraid of the fight it would cause’. Basically I’ve woken up to the fact that he doesn’t value my feelings after I’ve spoken enough to complete a Britannica on trust and what it meant to me. He would agree and promise to change, and continue to do his own thing anyway until I find out about the next lie. It has destroyed everything and I cannot move forward with him any more – no more hoping or benefit of the doubt. I have let go of my dreams with this man and now decided to stick to my guns: that above all, trust and loyalty are cornerstones to any relationship and family life – of which he demonstrates none. This will be hard especially given the son we share but it will be far easier than destroying my soul for the sake of the ‘bigger picture’ I’ve been living for.

    • 22goingon23 says:

      “complaining about the strain my lack of trust in him has caused”? “Protecting you”? “Afraid of the fight it would cause”? – Please flush him. He sounds noxious.

      • CJ says:

        You’re right. Flushed away. And the peace it brings makes me wonder why we fight so hard against doing the right thing.

    • Suki says:

      ‘Afraid of the fight it would cause’ is my personal favorite. It blames you for that person’s bad behavior. As in ‘I behave like a bleepity bleep because you call me out on it and so I’m forced to lie to you and its all your fault’. I love this one.

      • CJ says:

        lol “Yes I’m a d!ck but you don’t have to get so angry about it” … Can you handle the crazy logic – what do these men expect? Unconditional sweetness because as a woman you’re supposed to be soft? This man thinks he can say and do whatever he wants as long as he puts a sprinkle of sugar on it. What an AC.

  11. Swan Song says:

    When something or someone comes too easily, some people take it for granted. Then when they realize they are in danger of losing it, suddenly it matters. There are no do-overs so it’s possible to backtrack. But we cannot know what would have happened had we stuck to our original decision or revisit it. I have regrets but I usually made the best decision at the time and had I made a different one it may have had consequences I will never know.

  12. rita says:

    my partner and i are out for a year now. the reason was because she’s still in the closet and refused to tell her parents that she is gay. i went into this relationship knowing that but she told me in the beginning that she will tell them in time so i gave her the benefit of doubt thinking that if i make her happy enough that she will tell them eventually after a year being treated like a friend in front of her straight friends, not going to sertin occasions because she was shy of being gay i started acting up and told her that i am not happy with her choosing this lifestyle but keeps on keeping me a secret i decided i am going to end this.

    she was still part of my life after the breakup with many tears from her along the way i felt maybe it was to harsh from my side and wanted to give her another chance but before i wanted to give her a second chance i asked her for her fb pin because i saw flirting going on with her ex boyfriend and other men just after we visited the psychiatrist. i got her fb pin and was shocked to she how she denies being in a relationship and this to men that she knows from chat sites that she still haven’t removed herself from till this day and that was my deal breaker and i decided no second chance for her. she explained to me that she said so because it has got nothing to do with them who she’s involved with. the reason for not removing herself from the chat sites “there is nothing wrong with having friends” she went for coffee with one of the men and asked other men to come to her work to drink a beer. i heard about all of this after i broke up with her.

    She stood by her reasons and after about 4 months admitted it was wrong after speaking to a psychiatrist over the phone, it took her 4 months to admit that she was wrong for doing so but she still in her mind doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with doing what she did. she also said that she is a flirt but she knows where to stop, i was crazy with frustration.

    we stayed friends and in this year being single we talked about this over and over, analyzing the relationship, still doing stuff together and texting everyday but about 2 weeks ago she said that she still loves me after all this time and wish things could be different and i told her even if i wanted to give her a second chance i will still expect her to stop the flirting, to stop keeping me a secret and to remove herself from chat sites her response was “then its better to be friends then nothing” and this weekend she told me that she met someone its long distance but they like each other(crying while telling me this) i was like what the hell, she’s telling me she’s not over me and cries when she sees me after being on holiday but you want to give someone a chance that you only know for 2 weeks????

    now it feels like a break-up all over again, i am analyzing the cr@p out of this whole year that passed and don’t understand how she can just push aside what she feels for me and go into a long distance relationship that she knows doesn’t work for her because she was in a few of them and told me herself?

    i cut contact with her for now, shes still a good person but i don’t agree with her boundaries and values. she actually knows whats right and wrong when i listen how proud she is of her son not flirting with other girls because he has a girlfriend but when i corner her she just tells me she knows where to stop!!!

    i just feel, i don’t even have the words…frustrated,angry, like a fool again!!! i am angry because she can move on now and be happy after she messed up, i wanted to be the one to move on first but ja i also know she’s one of those who can sleep with different people and not feeling guilty at all so perhaps its good losing her as a partner but shes always helpful and i will miss that.

    i am going to take responsibility for not practicing the “no contact” rule but it still doesn’t make me feel any better about her being happy now! my question, was she keeping her options open while in a relationship with me or was her reasons valid?

    • grace says:

      Sounds like she tried to make it work but couldn’t. The pressure (real or imagined – and we all know that what we imagine/believe can be stronger than actual fact) was too much. And even if YOU don’t care what her parents think, you can’t project that onto her. When the facade started falling apart she looked elsewhwere for/was vulnerable to outside attention to make her feel better/escape. Yes, it was wrong of her to do that.
      You can’t undo the past but you can make the best decision for you at this time. Don’t beat yourself up for the decisions of the past. You didn’t know what you do now. People do get back together with exes all the time. Yes, it mostly doesn’t work out but at least you gave it a shot. I can understand you wanting to know the exact moment when it started to go downhill. You can’t pinpoint that with 100% accuracy. But when they are seeing/sleeping with other people – or when we are – it’s time to call it quits. That trumps everything.
      For what it’s worth, I don’t suppose she is as happy as you think she is. She exhausted your relationship as an escape option and is now trying something else.

      • Sally-Stress-Head says:

        “real or imagined–and we all know that what we imagine/believe can be stronger than actual fact.)”

        You made me think Grace: Catastrophizing! I’ve been treating everything like a crisis. I guess because I went through a period of real crises, and maybe one of my gears is stuck. Or maybe I’ve always had a crazy worry fish…rumination, magnification…helplessness. Ok, the dream about the giant worry fish chasing me around is starting to make sense now–I need to stop worrying so much about everything, … make distinctions… catch myself having cognitive distortions…. I know, I know: mindful awareness…, er, MINDFULNESS. I wonder what came first the anxiety or the cognitive distortions. “The chicken or the egg?” I think I’ll just hit the chicken with the egg, and see what happens. Ouch! I know this has been affecting my judgment…ugh, my boyfriend said…. Well, at least in the future I can work on not getting so riled ….

        Thanks Grace

        • lizzp says:

          anxiety has a way of snowballing in my experience. I sympathise thinking of my own rolls down the mountain!

    • Allison says:


      This will never work until she comes out to everyone! Unfortunately, this never had a chance!

      I’m certain she cares about you, but she has been very deceptive with all her lies. How can trust her?? You need to find someone who is comfortable with the lifestyle, and doesn’t make their partner a secret.

      Time to go NC. This is a total mind fuck!

  13. Tired says:

    Brilliant post ! .I was very unhappy in my marraige and had a affair . I went back to hubby but because i stay in contact with ac it never stood a chance. But there was things wring in the marraige that made me do a stupid thing . I looked for a boost eles where and i got my come uppance ! And rightly so . I left my husband and nxt yr will be three yrs . The ac went off with some one eles . I cut contact and went to councelling . Im now completely on my own but am doing fine that i no longer go councelling . I somtimes wonder if the affair clouded my judgement on my marraige but i was very un happy bf ac came along .My only wish was that i had had the strength to leave and not get involved in a stupid affair . Now im pottering along but the only thing i suffer from is feeling so jaded somtimes . I dont want to become bitter so .i have been on a dating site but it makes me feel so bla i have come off .

  14. Finally Free says:

    I recently discovered the flip-flapping EUM I’d been NC with for a month has gone back to his previously abusive ex, who he worshipped. She did him a lot of damage and I initially felt guilty about my decision to end our friendship/relationship, thinking that if I’d stayed around to support him instead of cutting him out of my life he may have found the strength not to go back and likely suffer more damage at her hands in the long run. Then I realised the truth, that maybe he would’ve still gone back to her, maybe he wouldn’t, but what he definitely would have done would be to continue to use me up and make me feel really horrible, so my decision to walk away was made for the right reasons. It’s hard because I care about him and want the best for him, but he’s caused me a lot of pain and it’s time for me to care about myself and want the best for myself first. Thanks Nat for teaching me the importance of being authentic and having appropriate boundaries.

  15. rita says:

    @Grace, thank you for you’re comment….ughh

  16. wanda says:

    This is one of the best Post’s or else it just came at a Time that I needed to hear this! Been struggling with NC with an off/on Relationship of over 30 Years. I have always been Independent but this One Man has always had a strong hold on my Heart…It is hard to face the Truth that someone you love so much is so Selfish and self centered. He is a Great Man. I keep saying it is our Age,we are Retires and set in our ways but I now believe we are just to different Time to Move on.

  17. Jamie says:

    I went back to my ex. He professed his love and said that he wasn’t at his best before, but loved me, and that should conquer all. I fell for it. Been back with him with the agreement that he would work at gaining my trust. I sent him a request on Facebook to which he laughed at because I had un-friended him when I broke it off before. So instead of feeling blessed that I was trying to let him back into my inner circle, he laughed. OUCH!! Then we were at lunch the other day and he was showing me how his smart phone works (I am in the market for a new one)and a few text messages came in from his ex-wife. One said “Hi” and the other said “enjoy your day”. I didn’t think much of it until his body language changed and he began holding his phone at an angle that wouldn’t allow me to see his screen any longer. Huge red flag for me!! So two days ago we had lunch and saw a movie…..had a great time. After the movie he asked if I wanted to come back to his place. I said no, that I wanted to talk about a few things. The look of annoyance on his face was all I needed to see. I’ve seen it before. He said “really?….Is it that important to you?” I just told him to forget it and I turned around and walked to my car and left. I haven’t spoken to him since. I now see that I have always been afraid to talk to him and rocking the boat, which is absolutely absurd. My emotional needs are important too!! He broke his promise of doing whatever it takes to gain my trust back yet he sent me a text insisting that he had done nothing wrong….which I ignored. I was compromising far too much of myself and my values to be with this man!! Thank you for this post Nat…..really hit home.

    • lizzp says:

      Jamie, thanks for an inspirational story showing how to exercise boundaries and value ourselves in the moment – which is just when we need to the most.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        You also provided an excellent example of how a little bit of BR, let alone a lot, makes us so quickly observant and cognizant of all their little tricks. So glad you didn’t waste and any more your valuable time. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us.

  18. M says:

    “why won’t he respect my wishes, what gives him the right to dip in and out of my life even after I have asked calmly, angrily and every other which way not to.”
    I have my answer, because I seem to do the same thing with my EX. I want to be with her, yet she lost trust in me because I behaved in AC fashion. I feel that I still love her and keep hoping she would see that I am not giving up and consider it as something that shows my love for her. Yes, I am trying to move on as well. But I keep realizing that I want to be with her not someone else and keep trying to reach out to her. So you say it is selfish. One can call “selfish” anything. Staying away is selfish too, anything we do for ourselves can be said to be selfish. I think I’ve learned a lot here and would do things very differently if I only knew this when I first me her. I am desperate for another chance and keep “boomeranging” but all I really want is to come back and never be without her again. It is sad but true. Easy for Natalie to say “ah, move on, flush, love,care, trust, respect”. Some of us AC men were simply unaware, which of course Natalie also wrote about and that “it is not your problem to teach/heal/etc.” Funny how anything I say or do has already been discussed here. Some women here say that they would rather be alone then with someone who misbehaved in the past. The thing is it is hard to classify who can be given another chance and who is just plain broken. I feel that I’ve learned some lessons. “Use the lessons with someone else” , you say. Honestly, I just don’t find love so quickly and even though I saw some very nice women since the break up, I still feel love for my ex-girlfriend and these nice ladies were faced with EUM in me. How do you move on without trying? And when you try and realize it’s not working for you how do you not come off as EUM? I told someone I was seeing that I did not want to continue. She still wants to keep contact and we met up as friends few time. I can see her interest but cannot just cut her off knowing how it hurts when someone cuts you off like the woman I am still in love with did. I think the right thing for universe to do now would be to give me my woman back so I can be happy and make sure the is happy with me by doing things right. The articles here are great, but Natalie, I see couples who mate for life by always working things out and that what makes them so dear to each other: the fact they know they will not cut each other out when things become difficult as they always do in long-term relationships.
    What you girls who consider whether or not give your ex-AC another chance point them to this site and make them spend good 6 month reading and discuss it with them and see if they see your point (and Natalie’s) of view and want to try implementing this behaviors in your relationship.
    I certainly would give anything for this chance with my woman who would not talk to me anymore. Please try it, it may give you relationship of your life or ruin it for good but at least you know there was nothing else to do.

    • Rosie says:

      M- How many chances do these bozos get? They’ve gotten chance after chance after chance. Have you not been reading the comments?? What criteria do you suggest we follow as to who gets another chance (yet again) and who gets flushed? How much time do we give these bozos to prove they’ve changed?? How much talking and evidence-producing do we need to do in order for these bozos to “get it”?

      It’s like what the therapist said in the post below yours: All’s well on the AC’s side until the AC experiences the pain of loss. Should the two get back together and the pain subsides, s/he’s back to his/her old behaviors. The AC is concerned with himself/herself but a relationship takes two. Yes, we are thinking of ourselves when we implement NC as we are reinforcing the reality that there is no relationship.

      Frankly, I don’t want to sit around and wait patiently and “teach” my guy how to love me. This isn’t an equal partnership. I am not his mother. I want a guy who is already capable and willing to love me and is capable and willing to put the effort out to show me consistently and he should expect the same from me. I don’t understand what’s so hard about “getting” this.

    • grace says:

      AC is quite a high bar (or low bar) which is different to being emotionally unavailable. I would consider AC behaviour to include cheating, especially repeat cheating, lies, deception. If you behaved that way, the trust may simply have gone and you best accept that than try to change her mind.
      EU behaviour may not be as “criminal” (blowing hot and cold, disappearing, general lack of commitment) but can be even more of a headf* and she may simply not want to go back there, especially if you have broken up before or it went on for a long time. That is her choice and while it may be worth attempting a reconciliation once (or twice), much more than that and it’s a boundary violation.
      Like you say, people do get back together and overcome all kinds of obstacles. I am trying to myself but I do not know that we will make it. It does take two people making the effort, and a following wind, and … luck. What I will say is that there are no other parties involved – we are not dating other people or even looking at other people, and we do see each other often, and it’s mutual. That’s the bare minimum to have even the fragile chance that we have. Yes, I will know there was nothing else to do.
      You’re right, love isn’t so easy to walk away from. But if it’s not mutual or there is no future, one day you won’t feel you have the choice, you’ll have to.

    • Allison says:


      I’m curious what you did to push her away? Did you know you were treating her poorly when you were doing it?

      • Allison says:

        Also, you’re not doing that other woman any favors by staying in contact. If you know she is interested and you do not return the feelings, cut her loose. You will only hurt her more in the long run!

    • Rosie says:

      “The right thing for the universe to do…” This reeks of entitlement and possessiveness. You are not “entitled” to be in relationship with her. She is not an object but a human being with needs, goals, ambitipns, and desires of her own.

      Maybe the universe/God/other higher power is giving you an opportunity to learn how to accept life on life’s terms. It’s a maturation process. Unfortunately, it’s a painful process and I am sorry you’re learning the hard way. I am too.

  19. As a licensed marriage therapist, this whole back tracking behavior has been an issue I’ve seen in the counseling I have done for 20+years. You know— the partner who doesn’t seem to care that you are unhappy, and doesn’t listen to what you need (because he/she is OK with the relationship), acts like YOU are too needy, and makes no effort. Eventually, you announce you’re leaving (or actually do separate) and suddenly/miraculously your partner makes all the changes you’ve needed for so long. What’s up with that? No big mystery. He/she is suddenly IN PAIN due to your actions and is scrambling to relieve that personal pain with the requested changes that will make you stay. YOUR pain did not count enough to spur earlier action. Do you really want to trust that when their pain subsides that the changes won’t fade along with it?

  20. M says:

    There is no sure way, of course,Pat. You are correct from your professional point of view. But then why do you have your practice? If your advice to not waste time trying to trust, then one session would be enough. There are so many situations in life and so many therapists working in the field. Don’t we all wish that everything in life was just right and we lived in a perfect harmonious world? I see this trend everywhere these days. Women say there are no good men to trust, men behave to justify their belief because they feel no trusted, women leave them and both get confirmation of their negative self-beliefs: men cannot be trusted, women are crazy and should not be committed to because they will mistrust and leave. So sad. On a case by case basis there are men who learn their lessons and should be taken back, I think. But how do you know? What if it will happen again? I have no answer, nobody does. There is only one way to find out: try again. And in many cases that does not work. So Dr. Pickett, you are right in your own way, just like Natalie is right. And yet, for some it will work given a chance. But you discourage that chance so people who don’t believe will never find out. I feel I want to do this not out of pain but because I actually want to do it better and do it using what I’ve learned here. Will I meet someone else eventually to apply my knowledge? I hope so. But now, more then a year later I still want the woman I loved to do it with. That’s all. I just so wish she would give us a chance to at least spend some time together to see if this could develop again. I don’t know what to do….

    • Sandy says:

      M, you are hurting and for that I am sorry, but I spent five years trying to make it work with an AC because I loved him so, he would promise to change and then after a few days would be back to his usual selfish self, I tried so hard believe me, but when you end up depressed, crying, told you are needy because you are sick of crumbs, your body breaking down because of the stress, being called terrible names because he could then there just comes a time when you have to say no more…it’s been 9 months and still he dips in and out of my life wanting me to be the bit on the side to the woman he was seeing behind my back…and yet I have still have feelings for him, if he was like you and could see what he was doing and making a real concerted effort to change then I know I would take him back, but I know that isn’t going to happen, so just pick myself up, dust myself off and just get on with things.
      I don’t want to be hurt any more that’s what it comes down to in the end.

  21. M says:

    Yes Grace, I pushed her away by being deceptive trying to avoid conflict knowing that she would be jealous of me communicating with an ex-gf who needed my help at some time. If I just told her and not lied break up could have been possibly avoided. There is no excuse for my behavior. The trust is gone, I am hopeless.
    As for this woman who wants to be friends, we both are a bit similar and keep contact with the EXes. I had no problem with her talking to her ex-husband or ex-boyfriend, but I can now see how most people would not be comfortable. It is so hard to just let go of good people in your life who you once had a romantic relationship. But I now understand why the woman I still love does not want to keep contact: she wants to build something real with someone else and having me in her life will not help. I UNDERSTAND!!! Yet, I still can’t give up hope that she could possibly see me again. I am trying to stay away, but then find myself trying to contact her again. Hence all the boomeranging. Not because I am not sure if I want to be with her or not. I AM SURE. And I can’t let go still…
    If you guys have someone who you may still love and they want you back, try it. Tell them to come to BR and read, read,read. Then see if they want to make some changes in their behavior. I am sure some will want to. Can they deliver on the promise? Natalie says people do what they usually do. I guess she is right. I believe I will do different. But she is not giving me another chance to find out.

  22. Cathy says:

    Patt Hollinger Pickett — SO TRUE! I am finally learning this now as I gear up to separate from my husband of 7 years. He said he was sooooo sorry and he swore to do better and I told him exactly what I needed from him in the future… and he never did any of it. Now that he’s noticed me withdrawing from him and acting more independent, he’s starting to do some of it… But even if he “means it this time,” it’s too late. I won’t live anymore in a marriage where I have to wonder whether my husband will be there for me when I need someone.

    And in case it helps anyone reading… my husband was never outwardly mean or cruel or enraged, and never physically or verbally abusive… he just calmly, quietly wasn’t there for me. I have had to learn that abuse and neglect aren’t always loud, roaring things. If you are unhappy, then trust that as a “big enough” sign that there’s a problem somewhere.

  23. Cathy says:

    M, it’s like Keri Hilson says, “every woman has a breaking point, y’all.” If the woman you love does not feel she has any more chances to give you, there is nothing you can do about it but take the lesson and move on. If you don’t like Patt’s advice then try Natalie’s: accept your role in what went on, heal yourself, and do better next time.

  24. Allison says:


    Why did you engage with him? Why didn’t you hang up?

    You can always threaten a restraining order and that should be the end of him.

    • Pauline says:

      I was curious to see what he had to say. I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of thinking his call meant anything more than just saying hi from an old bf, he did sneak in under the radar and I have blocked him again.
      As an assclown he didn’t apologise for any of the abusive nasty things he has said and done, no hint of remorse, nothing.
      In the past this was par for the course, he hit the reset button and then got hurt and offended when I called him on his crappy behaviour.
      This time I didn’t, no use telling him what an arse he is, he’s heard it all before and it’s water off a ducks back.
      Apart from asking me about family, house, work and friends he had nothing else to say and the call didn’t go that long as I didn’t ask him anything about what’s he’s been doing. He’s not my friend.
      I truly don’t understand why he keeps trying to stay in contact.

      • Allison says:


        Perhaps he keeps trying because he knows you’re still curious. Hon, you’re sending mixed messages. Either you’re blocking him, or your communicating with him. I hope you will choose the block and are longer curious about someone who has been abusive.

        I don’t get the curiosity when he’s said those really awful things!

        • Pauline says:

          Allison, I see where you are coming from and from his Assclown viewpoint the fact that I was even polite and spoke to him for 5 minutes means I’m ok with everything that happened before.
          What’s that old saying, curiosity killed the cat! You’re right, this little kitty doesn’t need to know anything else about this guy, he’s already revealed himself.
          A timely reminder not to get complacent when assclowns are involved. I let my guard down when I hadn’t heard from him for so long and assumed he was gone.
          The block is back on his number and he can talk to voicemail.

  25. Bubble says:

    You sound genuine. My ex did. He said he would never contact his ex again after I found out the first time. He did. Again. And again. And again. Probably many more times that I will never know about. What I do know though is it basically hurts to the core. Is that descriptive enough? I’m not actually sure I can express how much it hurts, destroys confidence, consumes minds, eats and eats and eats away at self esteem. The feeling of not being good enough, the feeling of being second best, the feeling of unworthiness. Geeesh M. I hope you have an idea of why she is doing this? Whoever she is, she deserves better.

    I will be honest in saying that I am probably being a bit emotive here because your words sound sincere like my exes did when he came back for the millionth time after another episode with his ex didn’t work out and I believed him. Future faking etc etc etc. I’m sorry I did because it only got harder and harder. I have been reading this blog for three years and even though I know what has been said on here is what I should have followed I didn’t because I thought I would be the exception to the rule. Natalie said that I wouldn’t be in many of her posts and she was right but I didn’t listen. My mistake, but I’ve learned from it, grown so much and made changes to myself I so many ways.

    May I ask. How long did this go on for? How much contact did you have with your ex? Did you see her? Did you play one off against the other? Is this your guilt that you need to be relieved?

    In fact, ARE YOU MY EX? That was a joke.

    I hate to say this and be abrupt but I admire your ex. Sorry.

  26. Trikywu says:

    “M” – I’ve been reading your comments, and there is a sense of desperation and regret over the one that got away. It’s been a while since your ex has allowed you in her life. Perhaps it’s time for you to move on. She probably has. It’s hard, but we all make mistakes for a reason. Life is a learning process. Somewhere in your notes, you mention that you’ve learned from your mistakes and you want to return to your ex to show her what you’ve learned. After all this time, perhaps it’s meant for you to take this lesson and apply it to someone else. If you’re talking about the Universe, then perhaps you should take this as a sign to find someone you were meant for, and let her move on and find someone who is right for her.

  27. M says:

    I know, I know, you are right, Cathy. Still I think this is quite new phenomena with western women. The world is changing and expectations and roles of men are changing. It is sad that men are not “up to par” yet or will they ever be? For that reason many women find themselves alone and saying they are “happy” on their own yet deep inside longing for a meaningful relationship which they may never find because most men are just not “up to par” yet. I don’t know if this will ever change. Some women seem to be ok with what they get. Cathy, 7 years is a big investment of your life. Don’t just jump ship because “it’s too late” Your feeling may change but once it is broken it is SOOOO hard to put it back or even impossible. Reading BR inspires hope in us that we WILL find exactly what we need and this magical man will come along and fulfill all your needs. If he does not, will you wish you had your husband with you? Look deeper perhaps you don;t recognize some of the things he is doing in his own way to “be there”. So easy to just say “I am not satisfied” and quit. Don;t give up yet, it IS NOT too late, give him more time, keep talking to him, send him to BR, go to counseling, do something. Somebody has to do this. Traditionally women were family keepers, men still believe that and may not know how to do it properly. If you quit he will become even more closed, perhaps if you stay and “work with him”, he may see the light at some point.

    • Allison says:


      I’m sorry. but this is not on Cathy. She cannot stick around in the hopes that he will suddenly have a revelation that he needs to change. He has to want to do this for himself. Women cannot act as parents to men.

      I know you meant this as a positive, but these attitudes need to change. Things need to be equal in the communication and availability department. This applies to both sexes.

  28. M says:

    Oh, Bubble, you are so right. I am sorry I caused my woman grief. I am sorry you had to go through similar experience. I have this problem: some of my EXes needed me and I just could not reject them outright. Yeah, made me feel good: I am such a great guy, blah,blah. I am so sorry but it’s too late.

    • Bubble says:

      M, I feel I was harsh but it was a reality check for you in the future. If she wasn’t important enough for you then, what makes you think she is now? The loss? Loneliness? Like you said you “helped your exes” because it made you feel good so maybe it would be an ego boost. I hope you do learn from this like others have said because it wouldn’t be fair to do it with another. An ex is an ex for a reason.

      It’s hard, really hard to have An honest conversation with yourself. I have and boy did it hurt. Probably hurt more finding out about myself and what i had been lieing to myslef about than the actual relationship but believe me it’s worth it. Go through this pain, you will benefit and so will your future relationships. Denial is a part of the grieving process but its a darn sight better when you rip through it.

    • M says:

      I mean “she needed me” for some help, advice, talk to someone who understands, etc. I told my woman about it, she was not comfortable, asked me why I needed it, etc. I think I have trouble rejecting people who were good to me because I don;t like to be rejected myself. So if my EX calls, I pick up. I understand why this does not work, just don;t know what to do: they were always there for me when I needed to talk. Just like Natalie describes. It’s awful, I am scared to have no one else who cares for me. This big city can be so lonely, I have many people I know, but the only ones who care are the people I had real relationships with which are my exes. Friends only care to a certain point

      • Patty says:

        I get it M, but YOU can give this caring to YOU. You can be there for YOU.

        I think your ‘woman’ asked you a great question, and now you are trying to answer it, and that’s a good place to start….

        I think most people feel lonely sometimes, but it’s how you handle those feelings, as you said.

        No one can fill that void in YOU but YOU.

        Good luck to YOU.

    • Sandy says:

      She’s not your woman M, hasn’t been for a while..and what has it to do with Western Women? Hello, this is to do with all women who just want the best for them selves not because men are just not up to par..come on what century are you from?
      Usually women come on here because of more then their men not being up to par, they come on looking for help because they have been abused, they have been cheated on, they have been walked all over and their self esteem is totally in pieces, believe me when I say that most of us in here have given them more chances then we should have, no contact is usually a last resort for us to pick up our shattered minds and bodies and give ourselves a rest to recover.
      Just because you have been on here “reading” and “learning” does not mean you can put it into practice..as Trikywu says maybe it is meant for you to be with somebody else.

      • Tinkerbell says:


        Thank you for what you said to M because I would have said it all, too. And, the remark about “western women”? What’s up with that? We are all women, we all have the same body parts, we all bleed red blood and just because one may be Native American, another caucasian, and another black does that mean that we’re not all facing the same kind of issues and have the same feelings and reactions to pain?

  29. Trikywu says:

    I read somewhere that there is this post-feminist phenomenon: as women have taken charge of their lives over a generation or two (or three), some men are finding it hard to keep up with a woman (or women) who are self sufficient and not in need of a man to take care of them. There is a whole subset of women who are entering their 40’s and 50s who can’t find a man who wants to share their life with them – not because they are picky, but they are finding the men they meet are actually picky themselves.The media has placed an over sexualized version of women in their minds that they strive for – rather than self reliant, regular ladies. So, nice ladies who have it going on in the money/career/life department – are being shut out of the dating scene, or running into ACs because some men (trying not to make a generalization here) are looking for a Scarlett Johansen – or, in my case, a Jennifer Lawrence because it fulfills their fantasies. Yes – the grass is greener syndrome. Maybe there are woman out there who are looking for their own movie star doppleganger. I never have, but I’ve personally set the bar a little low so I could open my mind to men who are not perfect – and guess what? They cheated. They lied. They’d make plans and not keep them. Some had no awareness of being conscientious about their finances or health. I’d give them chance after chance, only to find them looking for something I couldn’t give them: i.e. being 20 years younger or looking like a nubile ingenue who will look at them dreamily and make them want to write romantic songs or something. So, women are going to settle for someone like that? And be stuck in a bad marriage? “M’s” commentary is an interesting male POV and one gladly taken. But when you come in contact with AC after AC after giving them chances – why should anyone give them a seventh chance? The point I’m trying to make is – we seem to be in an age where woman are getting wise to what will make them happy. They’ve seen their mothers go through marriages where they’ve been stuck – letting their dreams slide – being at the mercy of their husbands, or having to make ends meet because the husband leaves. We are living in the age of awareness as woman – but stuck between the hope of an old fashioned romance – you know – the type where a guy will be a MAN and have your back, and having to turn away men who’ve aren’t there for you, have proven a lack of trust, who could possibly put you in financial and emotional, possibly even in legal straits? No thankie….I think we have “come a long way, baby”.

    • Sandy says:

      Exactly right Tinkerbell, my mum had a really bad marriage to my dad, and when I question her now she says she stayed because of us kids, HELLO, everybody would have been so much better off if they had separated. In saying that though I know it wasn’t as easy as it is now and the part time job she had would never have supported 6 of us. She says to my sisters and I that she doesn’t know why we are like we are (divorced etc, second marriages) and I tell her straight, it’s because of how your marriage was to dad mum, nobody wants to be putting up with a marriage that is that bad and we are very very lucky that we don’t have to.
      Theywere both products of extremely hard upbringings, but sorry when your mum has locked herself in their bedroom and your dad is taking an axe to the door and your kids are cowering in their bedrooms then you really have to start questioning things don’t you?

    • Tracy says:

      Trikywu: I get you! I am 49, been looking for someone for almost six years now (gave myself a year post-divorce, then went full-throttle dating scene), and have been disgusted enough to throw in the towel. Every guy I have met in the last year goes right to texting. Boring. I am also convinced that they feel they deserve Angelina Jolie, when they themselves are not much above Elmer Fudd. They plunge themselves into a ‘relationship’, only to freak out at the three/four month mark and bail. Then you find out they’ve been looking around on-line prior to their ‘freak-out’…hmmm…

      Recently I had broken my own rule and started texting back and forth with an ex. Why? Loneliness on my part, plus he’s really funny, so it was amusing. But then he started getting very suggestive and even said that we should make sure we get together. And while, a few months ago, I would have leapt at the chance to see him again, I got kind of grossed out by the sexual nature of his texts, especially since he’d only been texting me. When it became clear I wasn’t taking the bait, he stopped communicating. What this did for me was make me realize he was more of an EUM/AC than I had realized. I had put him on kind of a pedestal since he dumped me, but now he made it VERY clear who he really is. (PS, I also discovered a few days after he dumped me that he had been trolling around on line, so I still can’t figure out why I had put him on such a pedestal!)

      I have noticed more and more that there are women out there who have, especially if they have older kids out of the house, given up on the men and moved in with another woman friend. You may not get the sex out of the deal, but you are getting companionship and someone who understands where you’re coming from. It sounds more appealing every day.

      • Trikywu says:

        Hi Tracy – we’re actually the same age, and I understand your frustration. Men and women are so different, yet the one thing both sexes have in common is the ability to try and bond/fall in love and procreate (if they can, or so choose).

        Don’t be hard on yourself. Try to let go and not cling to wanting that man in your life so badly that you’re sad. Sometimes, just letting go will open your heart and naturally attract the right man. It’s the old belief that once you don’t care anymore – that’s when it all happens.

        I think being on your own for a period of time solidifies how comfortable you are with yourself. And seriously – This concept about us being picky – YES – we’re picky! Not because we want Ryan Gosling as a boyfriend (which I think is what men think because they want a Angelina Jolie), it’s because we want a MAN. You know? A MAN. Who’s not playing with your mind. Who knows what he wants – when he wants it – not playing the field or playing with one’s emotions, leading them on, when he’s just waiting it out for the next best thing. A MAN – who is responsible with his money, financial safety. I’m not talking “rich”, I’m talking not in serious debt, who uses it to have fun one day so he can enjoy life, but keeps some aside for the future.) Someone who has your back, who’s on the same page, who’ll pick you up at the doctor’s, who’ll be your advocate when you are not able to care for yourself. Who’ll love you. That’s it.

        I’m sure you’re a wonderful person who will find that right guy. Don’t let your sadness get in your way. Don’t settle for just anyone – man or woman – unless they will treat you with respect. (And don’t settle for a woman if that’s not what you’re feeling. You don’t want to be an AC to a Lesbian who is looking for the right lady. But I know – you were just speculating. 😉

        • lizzp says:

          “(And don’t settle for a woman if that’s not what you’re feeling. You don’t want to be an AC to a Lesbian who is looking for the right lady. But I know – you were just speculating. ;-)”

          Smiling!! I was passing though and saw this. I think Tracey was just pointing out that she has been living alone for quite a few years and having not had much success in meeting a potential partner, had thought about sharing with a female friend for companionship? Nothing there to suggest she’s speculating batting for the other side?


    • Lara says:

      Really great post, Trikywu!! Love it, can’t read it enough times!! Well said!! Here’s to empowerment of women, and to not settling for anyone who isn’t willing to be an equal partner! I am sick and tired of men who want to be babysat, but if you try to do that, they claim they want a woman who is not ‘clingy.’ Do men know what they want? Seriously, maybe it’s time they take a long hard look in the mirror, and decide what it really is that they want… though I think the bottom line for most of them comes to: sex. If they can get it without any strings attached, or with shoddy treatment of women, they will go ahead and take it. why the hell not? It’s up to us to assert our boundaries and not allow those people to use us.

      • Trikywu says:

        Thanks, Lara!

        I agree with you to the tee. What bothers me the most is the kind of man who’s looking for an ideal they can’t even live up to. I’m not a feminist or anything. I was a child when the feminist movement was in full swing, and the fruits of their battle just became something that was natural to me. It’s basic humanism. But there seems to be a post-feminist backlash these days. Woman have careers and have gained respect, but there is a generation (or two) of men, raised on video games, easy online porn, media and the internet, who long for the submissive, sexy hot chick in that dumb video they saw on YouTube or on the covers of Hollywood rags. In their mind it’s like “she’ll understand me. She’ll cook me dinner and listen to me like I’m a God, won’t question me, and she’ll let me motor board her big giant boobs”. So, some of them, enter into half hearted “relationships” with women who have a job that doesn’t involved a stripper pole, while they look for their “ideal”.

        That’s only one example. I’ve seen men who are not looking for a specific sexy type, just a certain kind of girl. Maybe she looks like his Mom, or his first love. That’s perfectly fine! But don’t play on someone’s feelings if you’re dating a woman who’s not “the one.” Don’t lead her on for your own ego, just to wait it out until someone who fits your ideal comes along. Ya know? Bugs me. I mean, I can’t with this.

        I think that ladies, no matter who you are in this time in history, deserve to be happy with the right man rather than settle for an AC. And that includes the hot, sexy ladies on stripper poles who are being objectified by certain men. Hey, they deserve a good man too!

        My dad was a terrific man, but he and my mom were of a generation where you had to be married and have kids. And you know what? I don’t think my mother really wanted it – or at least – not at the young age she was when she had her first kid and marriage. (My dad was her second time around). She loved my dad, but in exchange for that love, she pushed aside her dreams. She had the Betty Draper syndrome in a way. Stuck in a pretty home in the suburbs of NYC, longing to live in the big city and travel. She left her career as a business owner because she wanted to be at home to raise me. My mother was depressed all the time, and I saw that. And one thing I noticed looking back – is she never – ever push me to get married. Never. Neither did my dad, in fact. She wanted me to be the woman she wanted to be – free – successful – out in the world doing what I wanted to do. Yet, despite her depression, she loved my dad until the day she died. And he did as well – in fact, he passed away nine months after she did because – he was also ill, and without her – he had nothing to stick around for. Not even for me.

        So, what am I trying to say? I’ve looked at my life, and my parents. My mother did right by marrying my dad – who was a MAN. He us a wonderful life, and left me a nice estate. He wasn’t perfect. In fact, his old fashioned ways of dealing with my mom kind of turned me off to settling down too quickly. But he also had positive attributes that I seek out in a man.

        Their marriage also showed me that love is complicated. Finding the right partner will not always bring happiness all the time. So, finding the wrong partner or an Assclown? That just isn’t an option. Life is too short to be miserable just because you had to settle – or were pressured by individuals who laid a guilt trip on you about being “too picky”.

        • Trikywu says:

          Oh – and might I add: Those who are calling women like us “picky”, are most likely picky themselves – and not for the same reasons I’ve given immediately above. But, I’ve already touched up on that in my original message from yesterday.

          Okay! I’m done!

  30. Jamie says:

    M – My ex treated me horribly for 18 months……lying & cheating. He approached me a few months ago saying that he had “seen the light” and that he loved me and wanted to do better. I took him back. He has been trying, which I give him credit for. My breaking point was 2 days ago when I asked him if we could talk about some things that were bothering me and he responded with a look of complete annoyance. He even asked me if it was really important to me. Been there, done that last time we were together. I told him to forget it and got in my car and left.

    Gave him another chance…..he blew it. Difference is that this time around I’m not willing to put up with his nonsense for another 18 months.

    It’s just not meant to be. And I would guess to say that it’s not meant to be with your ex either. If it was meant to be, we would be with them!!!

    No more trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.


    • Trikywu says:

      Brava, Jamie! I applaud your open mindedness, which gave you more time to validate your feelings about this situation. I love reading comments from someone sure of themselves. It’s a nice end of the week message! Keep it up!

  31. mary says:


    oh my goodness, Natalie! I wish you could have bought the house you wanted! you acted with integrity and you’re right… the other people didn’t. so you were left high and dry.

    oh, i hate that!

    i’m a realtor and a real estate investor, and the buying and selling process is quite intricate. the money on a house is made on the buy. period. end of story. and many good investors have no qualms at all about throwing out a low offer, because they want to buy smart. this is actually a great thing to do, because many good buys are made. who knows? maybe the seller is just waiting for an offer, any offer! maybe the seller has had it with waiting. (i have actually bid really low and gotten a yes, and made money this way.) the risk though, is that in throwing out a low offer, the seller could be offended…

    the fact that this buyer bid more when there was competition makes me realize that he / she really wanted your house. not just for the investment, but to have and to hold and to cherish.

    and yes, probably the competition, and the pain of possible loss – as pointed out by the therapist above – made him or her want it more.

    i can completely understand why you went with the 2nd buyer. that buyer recognized the value right away and made a respectable offer. that buyer probably already knew there was an offer on the table. that buyer knew that he /she couldn’t bid low; there’d be no chance of getting the house. so that buyer seemed more solid at the time.

    about sellers looking for buyers… that’s a smart thing to do, too, just in case your buyer gets cold feet. but i’m with you. a deal is a deal is a deal is a deal… and people who stand by their word are the people with integrity.

    about dating:

    i’m just out of a long relationship. i find that when i get into a relationship, there is a high level of commitment, and it’s difficult to leave.

    so i’m going to do it differently from now on.

    i tried making an interim commitment of being a girlfriend, but that’s no longer for me. it lessens my degree of difficulty and therefore it lessens my man’s interest in me. people want what they can’t have, don’t they?

    so from now on, i will keep interest high while i’m being the person who chooses.

    men seem to want to win a trophy and bring it home, and it seems like they want to engage in some healthy competition for the prize. that competition makes the prize even more valuable to them.

    so, to let a men have some competition, which they say they hate, but really love, i don’t see any reason to settle on just one man, unless there are plans to get married.

    instead, i’m going to date around and have a nice time and not get sexual with anyone, because that would not work, because the guys would think i was doing that with everyone else. or i’d have to be exclusive, and that’s what i’m trying to avoid. so sex is out for now.

    (but wow. doesn’t that make room for more kissing? i LOVE kissing! did you ever notice how the kissing stops when the sex begins?)

    i believe that a guy who really wants me will not mind fighting for me. i believe that he will not be put off by my keeping my options open. i believe it’ll actually make me more attractive to him if lots of other guys are wanting to spend time with me.

    and i’ll be the one who chooses this time.

    i’ll no longer be the one waiting for one guy to pop the question. i’ll have options, because i’m going to create them and keep them open until my best option is to get married and settle down.

    think of it.

    i can go out with lots and lots of guys now, thanks to the internet. and see what kinds of characteristics i’m looking for. and watch how i interact. and learn. and smile. and have fun. think of all the different environments i’ll see and think of all the values i’ll hear about! THINK OF ALL THE CHOICES I’LL HAVE!

    i could go out and – at the first feeling of attraction – become a girlfriend. and settle in with that man. and wait. while he becomes complacent, because he has everything he wants, while he’s looking for that trophy, that prize that he has to fight for, that mountain to climb, that thing he can’t have… so easily…

    i want a man who’ll fight for me. and won’t be put off by my keeping my options open.

    it strikes me as a smart thing to do!

    catch me if you can!

    we’ll see how this plays itself out… ! !!

    i’m excited.

  32. espresso says:

    I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about passive aggressiveness in relationships…men who don’t express their feelings or anger in a direct way – but how they do it by just not “being there”, not being empathic, respectful, collaborative or appreciative. They are ambiguous, “forget” important things and never problem solve together. They take every conversation about distress from the women, even if it is carefully worded, as a personal attack and act accordingly by blaming and attacking. They are resistant to suggestions and lack insight. They see themselves as victims.

    There are some interesting theories about how these men have grown up in houses with ineffectual fathers who aren’t good models but they resent their mothers for “controlling things” – probably because they bloody well HAD to and they carry this on to their wives. This just describes many of the qualities of the EUM

    It was stunning when I read that these men don’t give women close to them what they want…what they stated they would like and appreciate. In fact they do not WANT to please the women they profess to love. When I began to understand this it was like a spear going into my heart because it was true for me. Because I DID feel I deserved appreciation I just couldn’t believe how I was often treated and was often bewildered. And then I believed his good intentions…which never materialized. He never beat me though (my therapist says her clients say this a LOT).

    As for changing when the game is up…it is only temporary. I have one woman friend who says her husband did do it but it was such grueling therapy and something like 3 times a week for over a year.
    What I don’t get is why so many men are permanently stunted like this. I didn’t do anything at all to deserve being treated like a “mother” which stripped away my humanity and my own personhood.
    As for me I “tried” again many times, for FAR too long. Have a deadline and stick to it. Being in such a situation can be very dangerous to your health.

    • shattered says:

      Espresso – I can relate to this. I was widowed when I met the AC and like you “tried” again many times, for FAR too long’. Going NC (several times I regret to say) was the only answer. The trouble now is, as I introduced the AC to several people I know, I find I’m meeting him at social events and he seems amused that I’m ignoring him. I’m polite to him and then walk away, but it really hurts that he just disappeared and discarded me like an old shoe after 2 years. Should I stop socialising with my colleagues so that I don’t see him or would this be cutting off my nose to spite my face? I don’t have that many friends! They think he’s Mr Wonderful of course. As I left an event the other night, I heard him making arrangements to meet up next week with one of my female colleagues. I feel so humiliated and angry, especially as he seems to find my ignoring him funny. I did try telling him that when you want to break up with someone and you’ve moved on, you do them the courtesy of TELLING them. That was met with a blank stare. I’m stunned that he could just forget about me so easily. I guess I meant nothing- just someone to pass time with and keep his bed warm. Where do I go from here? Any advice would be welcome.

      • Wiser says:

        Shattered, I pretty much had the same experience with the ex dumping me and never looking back, and still I had to run into him PLENTY of times at social functions and of course at work, for the following year until he retired. Like you I was stunned at being treated so crappy. Like you I was angry and humiliated. Like you, I think he saw me only as someone to pass time with until someone better came along. And like you I was obsessed with how he’d react to my ignoring him, and I’d fret that he wouldn’t notice at all, or that he’d be amused, or he’d shrug it off, or he’d barely even remember we were together, or he’d have some kind of a sick ego stroke from it, or he’d have contempt for me and think of me as a fool… and as you can see my focus was on HIM, as if I could have any control over his thoughts and feelings. That’s where you are stuck now. In the end, the only way out of this is to work on NOT CARING what he thinks, who he dates, what his life is like, if others think he’s a great guy, if he’s sorry about how he treated you, if karma is ever going to kick in and give him what he deserves… or any of that. It’s so freeing to realize that none of this matters. The only answer is to let it be and let go. That’s it. You have no control of what any other person thinks or does, and frankly the day will come when this will be a relief.

        For me, the decision to not let him have the power to decide where I could go or what friends I would have was crucial. He had already taken all the power from me in deciding to end the relationship (which I had no say in) and I was damned if I was going to let him have any more power over me and my life than that. Yes, I did have to endure some discomfort in social situations, but you see, this was empowering because the discomfort was MY choice, not his. In a way this was still putting the focus on him, but in time eventually I made the decision to go to an event or not go based only on my own feelings about it – not as a reaction to whether or not he would be there.

        So I urge you to take him out of the equation when it comes to your decisions – unless of course you’re still at the raw stage where it’s just too painful. You don’t say how long it’s been since you broke up. But keep putting the focus on YOU and how YOU feel about yourself, and less about how HE feels about you. His opinions are not Holy Writ. And he’s not that special.

        • shattered says:

          Wiser – thank you for your wise words. You are right, I’ve been too focused on what HE thinks and I know I have to let it go. I’ve been thinking about what to do in future social situations and I’m going to give them a miss for a while at least – for my own sake. I don’t want to feel humiliated like that again – although I also definitely don’t want him to think that its because of him that I’m not going to socialise with these friends for a little while. You’re right – he’s not that special – although he thinks he is! I’m still staggered that anyone can behave like that with someone they’ve been seeing for 2 years. I certainly wouldn’t -but then I’m not an AC!

    • Lara says:

      Excellent observations, espresso. My ex fits the description in your first paragraph! He was an extreme case of a passive aggressive man. I mean, I don’t think anyone can exceed his level of passive aggressiveness. I don’t know about his family situation too well, while he was growing up, but I know for a fact that he had a lot of resentment towards his family. His father was very uptight and Victorian, but I have a feeling his mom was really the one who ran the show. His father wasn’t a good role model. And he felt slighted by both his parents because they never paid attention to him and instead spoiled his sister (as per his claims) and allowed her to get away with everything. He had a lot of resentment towards women as a result, but at the same time, he had this Victorian element in him, that he should be all manly and not express his feelings and so he let go of all his anger, resentment, and pent-up anger, etc., on me, by being passive-aggressive… it was horrible.

    • Suki says:

      Espresso, I totally agree with you. I also stayed because I not only believed I deserved to be treated well but also I thought that it actually takes more effort to treat someone badly than decently. I just thought that its easy to behave decently and if I ask enough or in enough creative ways it will work. He had an absent father. He resented me deeply deeply and yet never made a move to leave. Even time spent together became something he was ‘giving’ me so it became negotiable, so that there was eventually no decency or companionship that was a given in the relationship. He didn’t want to please me at all – if I ever asked for anything, that thing was off the agenda of the relationship literally forever. It could be asking him to watch tv with me, and then he rarely did. Yes, such people cannot be given any more chances, they are terrible for your health, you feel always bewildered, always challenged and questioned about things you assume can be taken for granted, and you feel like you have to explain to this person how to behave well. You do become the mother in all the worst ways – the explainer, the enforcer, the teacher, the patient waiter for decent behavior, the one that gives in and the one that is expected to love unconditionally regardless of behavior etc.

      • Lara says:

        Mine complained I never suggested things to do / places to go to, and baited me into doing so. When I did, he would never want to go to that place. It’s as if he wanted me to make a suggestion only to turn me down. WTF! Total crazy-making!

        • JM says:

          Lara, my AC was the same way. I had a hard time making suggestions not because I didn’t want to, but because he never had any money to do anything. I’d always end up paying for everything. Plus, whenever I did come up with something, he’d shoot me down. Sighs. This man was and probably is still all kinds of messed up. I used to feel so much anger, bitterness, and resentment toward him. Now I just feel sorry for him…

  33. rita says:

    Allison, something weird has happened. My anger is gone, when i think of what she did i don’t feel that mad and angry anymore. i am asking myself now if it really was that bad considering what was good in our relationship. i am now convinced i made a mistake and want to ask her back, why where did that anger go? two weeks ago i could still say no to her, maybe i gave up to soon? what have i done?? that anger helped me stuck by my choices to not go back, now i don’t have that anger and only see why i should ask her back. what da hell, i am so confused now!!!

    • Allison says:



      She has clearly deceived you! Why do you think anything would be different?????

      Why are you settling for so little??? You need to find someone who is comfortable in their orientation. Are you going to share her with these dudes and continue to be a secret?

      Show yourself some love and respect!

  34. Peanut says:

    Hey Nat,

    I hope you and your family find a warm, safe, and happy harbor to call home. I have no doubt that you will.


    I haven’t gone back to the ex, nor anyone like him, and I never will.

    I’ve been busy working on drawing projects I never in a million years thought I’d be capable of doing and dealing with family stuff.

    Take care!

  35. Lavender says:

    A great post!

    A guy I have feelings for told me that he’s casually dating many women right now. I was kind of shocked. Would you forget about someone like that if it’s against your values to ever date someone who is also dating others or would you hope he stops dating them all and dates you?

    • grace says:

      Is this the rude and offensive one? At least he’s telling you who he is.
      I understand that you have feelings for him. It would be worse to date him and develop even more feelings. Your feelings will not make him any more suitable or change who he is. It IS hard – your feelings are not a separate entity you can just ignore. They are a part of you. But try to listen to rationality as well. At the very least try to understand why you find this rude, offensive, irresponsible, sexist, sexually immoral person so attractive (that’s if I’ve got the right person). And, yes, I’ve found that kind of person attractive too in the past so I’m not judging.

      • Lavender says:

        Hi Grace, thank you so much for your great advice. I really need it right now.

        Yeah it’s the same guy. I just can’t get over my feelings for him. They are so strong. I keep thinking that he just needs to get this playing around out of his system and then something might happen between us. I would never be with him while he’s even dating someone else, so I feel torn. He just got out of a long term relationship so I figure he’s sowing his wild oats etc. I just don’t know if I should keep hope or how to even move on.

        This isn’t the first time this has happened to me – liking someone so offensive. Terrible…

        • Allison says:


          This guy is awful! What attracts you to bad news????

          If you’re making excuses and hoping they will change, there is a huge problem. Why not wait for someone who doesn’t have to be fixed.

          • Lavender says:

            Thanks Allison. Yeah I don’t know why I like him. He has a lot of bad qualities, but I aside from really liking him, if so many other women want him, doesn’t that mean he has something to offer? I am so confused.

            • Allison says:


              No. Many women are attracted to creeps. The charming ones are the most dangerous.

              Hon, you’ve been on here for awhile. You know better :)

              • Allison says:


                Is this guy 15 years old?

                What guy boasts about the women he’s been with! Blech!!!!

                • Lavender says:

                  That’s what I was wondering as well. I haven’t had many boyfriends so I am pretty inexperienced with men. I really don’t know if the things guys do are normal or not, so I guess I am still learning. Once he tried to sleep with me and I rejected him and now I feel like he’s pushing in my face all of these other women. It’s very hurtful.

                  I didn’t want a one night stand so I said no and then when I asked him out on a proper date the next week, he stood me up and ever since then he won’t stop talking about all his women and I think it’s true too, since he’s constantly texting them and they also call when we hang out as friends.

            • Nigella says:


              Of all your comments, this one seems to be most useful in figuring out what is attracting you to him. In my view, the fact that he is desired by so many women is not a good enough reason for wanting him. Think of it this way: many people want to buy fizzy, sugar-laden drinks, does that make them good for them? No. The sugary drink is linked to the onset of diabetes II and obesity. The sugar-free drink is linked to memory loss. Each contains phosphorous acid that leeches calcium from the bones that leads to bone decay. Of course, such negative effects are conveniently not advertised in the marketing campaigns of such drinks.

              My point is that just as big companies succeed in marketing their crappy products to the masses, so too this guy is self-promoting – marketing – himself to you & other women. How? In marketing, this is described as “making people desire what others desire”. The product per se does not matter – as long as you can convince people that others want that product. It is the oldest trick in the book.

              This trick plays on our tendency to (1) mimic – ape – others, (2) desire what others desire without finding out much about the product, and (3) compete with others for the same product.

              It is not unlikely that this guy is using the same trick on other women. Like you, they also must be hearing that many other women want him. In short, this fellow is playing on your impulse for competition – and desire to be the *one & only* of a Casanova.

              Based on what you have said so far, I am guessing he is a “somatic narcissist” – someone using his sex appeal to get attention from others. To such people, the feelings of others simply do not matter. They are only in love with their public image – their empty popularity and desirability.

              It is up to you whether you want to chase this guy & end up as one of his many playthings – echoes that boost his empty ego. Right now, perhaps you are feeling negged & spurned by him. That sense of rejection – coupled with your sense of competition with other women – is probably making you want him more. The choice is yours: either focus on the way he (mis)treats you OR focus on the appeal he has for other women & become a member of his harem.

              Though I am not attracted to somatic narcissists, I have realized in the past five months that I am prone to falling for “cerebral narcissists” – people that build their success & social currency through the use of their intellect. If a person had great credentials and appeared to be well-liked by his peers, I automatically trusted him. Having been burned by an overachieving narcissist – who has mastered the art of deception & self-promotion – I no longer over-value the looks, achievements, credentials, supporters & followers of a person. These may serve only as starting points for my interest in a person. In fact I now proceed with caution in my dealings with people that have cultivated a charming persona and garnered the attention of many *fans, followers, friends*. It makes NO difference to me what X, Y, Z think of a person. If a person cannot treat me with respect, he does not deserve my time.

              The popularity and success of a person do NOT make up for his poor treatment of people in the private sphere. The fellow in your life is not *entitled* to your time or attention – only if you give it to him. The choice is yours.

        • grace says:

          Unless he expressly told you that he is going to have casual sex with lots of women until it’s out of his system, after which he will drop them and commit to dating just you, you have no reason to believe he will do that. And if he did say that, would you believe him and how long would you put yourself on hold while he’s on this “journey”? And I’ve know men do this for ten plus years, get married, and still do it!
          Have you read nat’s fantasy relationship book? It may help. I get that the guy is real but you’re pinning your hopes on thin air.

          • Lavender says:

            No I haven’t, thanks Grace, I’ll check it out.

            I just spoke to him and and asked him what he did last week and he said he spent the whole week off work sleeping with one of the girlfriends. Is he trying to make me feel bad/jealous? In the past I’ve caught him checking me out a lot and making sexual innuendo etc.

            • Mymble says:

              He is, Lavendar. That is way, way to much information in any normal social situation. That’s very yuck and would make me very uncomfortable indeed. You need to cut your interaction with him. He sounds like a mere penis with a life support system.

              • Lavender says:

                Sorry, you mean he’s trying to make me feel bad? Why do you think so? :(

              • Lavender says:

                He’s also not young – mid 40s, quite a bit older than me, so I am surprised at times that he’s so vocal about all his exploits. He got out of a long term relationship a few years ago and tells me he’s happy cause he can sleep with so many women.

            • grace says:

              What he’s doing to you he did to these other women. he told them stuff, flirted and checked them out. It’s not as significant as you think it is. They say everything is a learning experience but I think you can pass on knowing what it’s like to be in a harem.

    • Suki says:

      Lavender: If it is against your values, you should forget him. You should definitely not hope he stops dating them all UNLESS he indicates that he intends to do that [but ugh, like what is this, and are you going to be left feeling like you got picked last for the softball team? and whats the odds he picks someone else over you? and whats all this about picking? – this is not a supermarket or meat market – he doesn’t need to sample a lot of produce before he decides and you are not a box of cereal] AND if you are willing to also casually date him and others. Right now you are pinning all your hopes on one person that is running around and perhaps likes running around and does this all the time. Maybe he’s not being up front and there is already one single person that takes his fancy and he’s saying this thing to you about casual dating to keep you on standby. Either way – no need for all this drama. If you really enjoy his company, then fine, date him casually like those other smart girls. I think men that are dating a lot of women – they like that attention, they have time for that drama, they like playing women off each other. The rest of the women aren’t deeply involved with him I’d bet, you are.
      You see – you dont need to change him, or get him to pick. Why does he hold all the cards? You need to change you. Once you stop being so needy for him, he’ll either stop coming around or you’ll find how silly and shallow he is AND stop seeing him OR enjoy his shallow fun company for what it is [we all need a social life after all]. Good luck! Enjoy this – if you’re miserable something has to change probably your own behavior [I think its only in serious relationships that we should expect others to change for us and even then it depends what you are expecting from them].

      • Lavender says:

        Thanks Suki, your comment really helped. Fortunately I would never want to date someone who is dating others, so I either have to just forget him or wait, which as you said isn’t a good idea. Why do you think he keeps telling me this constantly? I don’t know if he’s trying to reject me/hurt me or what.

        • Allison says:


          Don’t read into it, he’s simply telling you who he is.

          I don’t understand why you would consider waiting around for someone, who clearly has no respect for women. He has shown you time and again. The reds flags are waving – you see them – but are choosing to ignore and make excuses.

          You’re are really setting yourself for a lot of pain. Why?

          • SoulFull says:

            OK Lavender….if you really want him, then have him. All you have to do is come on to him, he will be up for it…..

            there you go…you got his penis


            Now see you in less than a week on here with your tales of woe

            You know it to be true, hinny, you know where this will end.

            I have just flushed a similar AC male friend who wanted me soooooo bad, but was in truth an old lech. I cant tell you how relieved I feel at flushing this so called friend, I finally listened to my gut and GTFO of some deluded old man’s wank fantasy.

            Dont demean yourself to listening to this guys stories….maybe you should say you met a wonderful steady man, and you are gunna focus on this wonderful monogamous relationship 😉

  36. Finally Free says:

    rita, just a thought, but maybe if the anger has gone you’re passing into the bargaining stage of grief?

  37. 2Fearce says:


    You’re just at the point where u are romanticizing your relationship with her. Yup it was THAT bad. No u shouldn’t go back. You might not be mad at her about it anymore…. which is okay. .. coming out is really hard to do … but being denied or kept apart from their family/ friends is hurtful and you have a right to want to be fully integrated into the life of the one you love.

    You’re healing… It’ll smart for a while… but then the wound starts to heal and you remember how hard being where she is is…. you know that not every slight was intended to hurt you but rather arose from her fear about losing everything to say yeah this is my girl… you dont excuse it but you understand it… you still love her but you know you deserve better… YOU DO DESERVE BETTER. Being out doesn’t necessarily make a better person mind you but it alleviates a lot of the stresses and hurts being in the closet causes.

    After a period of silence and lots of anger and romanticizing backsliding I’ve lost YEARS waiting for one woman… she still isn’t out. I still haven’t met her family and friends… when i stop to think about it… it hurts like hell… its taken me over a year to really engage with someone else… without being in the place where if she said “I think i might be ready” didnt have me drop everything and come running. Crying out wolf only chips away at YOUR self esteem. … I’m finally dating and getting to know someone new. I’m scared out of my mind but its much better than wondering if she loves you enough to/ love herself enough to not be driven by what others think.

  38. 2Fearce says:

    On another note… please stop calling being gay a “lifestyle”… I have coworkers I avoid, I get frustrated in traffic, pay my bills (every dang month boo!), cut me and I bleed… think about it… everyone else gets a REAL life and I’m only worthy of a lifestyle? What the what now??

  39. rita says:

    Hi Finally, and could it be because it happened a year ago that i don’t feel that angry anymore? Yesterday i was still angry and still believed that i made the right decision when i got home with my own thoughts i started thinking how she still didn’t date anybody even after a year being out, i didn’t see her effort what she put in this last year, she still treated me with me love even though i wouldn’t give her the time of day. she still cant respect that i don’t like her flirting and i know as soon as she starts chatting again that i will make myself crazy and wonder if its the ex that she flirts with or maybe other people and is she also telling them that she is single. i know i must trust what i felt when all of this got out. i could not forgive her but suddenly i feel like i can forget everything and just ask her back, i feel i made the wrong decision. can one person be so confused. now that i know there’s someone else now suddenly i want her back and can suddenly make nothing of what happened..

    • Nigella says:


      One of my good friends happens to be gay and she was once going through what you are experiencing at the moment. Like you, she was dating a woman who was unable or unwilling to come out of the closet. Regardless of the good aspects of their relationship, my friend – I am sorry to say – experienced a lot of confusion and distress because of the flip-flapping behavior of her gf. From what I could gather, the dating pool is significantly small for gay women even if they are living in a fairly progressive, large city. Because my friend – a beautiful, successful femme – felt attracted only to unambiguously feminine, cultured women, this made her dating pool even smaller. Because of the small pool, it is not uncommon for people – gay or straight – to feel tempted to lower their standards and tolerate shady behaviors.

      Once I had a conversation with my friend that ultimately helped her swim past the muddy waters. I asked her: “If Saffron Burrows showed romantic interest in you, would you really care about this woman who is giving you so much grief?” She laughed & admitted that she would gladly bid farewell to the closeted woman for Saffron Burrows. However frivolous this comparison might seem, it did help my friend gain a clearer sense of her misguided reasons for holding onto a confusing relationship. Regardless of whether or not you can go fishing in a small or large dating pool, it is worth asking yourself (1) if you could date someone else would you give so many chances to a person keeping you a secret & flip-flapping on you, and (2) if you might be settling for crumbs – lies & betrayals – because you feel that getting something is better than nothing.

      Right now, your focus seems to be on her dating options rather than on your own. Even if you cannot date anyone else, is it really worth waiting for someone to pick you? Is she really that special? I understand that coming out is not an easy process. If that woman is not ready to come out, that is her prerogative. If you continue to wait for her to change & come out, that is your choice – but you are then responsible for living a lie with her, and prolonging a relationship that is hurting you. From my own experience, I can tell you that ultimately nothing hurts more than betraying oneself – and nothing is more liberating than recognizing where one is engaging in self-betrayal. Relationships cannot stand the test of time if they are built on lies and doubts.

      Please see, grief is not linear: you were feeling anger earlier and now you are experiencing denial. Maybe it will help to ask yourself: “In an attempt to note the good *qualities & words* of this woman, what sorts of troubling *qualities and actions* am I denying or downplaying?” By doing so, Rita, I think you might be able to lessen or dispel your confusion. For now, it seems to me that you are falling for her words rather than focusing on her actions. Plus – I repeat – you are not thinking about your own dating options – for this reason, perhaps you are overvaluing what she is telling you.

      If you take care of your mind & heart, no one can confuse or use you as a fallback option.

      Be strong. Be true to yourself.

  40. noquay says:

    You go girl! Nope, no woman “deserves” a relationship where one’s needs are being not only not met but ignored. Yep, we have the same desire for meaningful affection and physical contact as does any other human being. Nope, being with children, pets, family members, friends, is not the same thing. When are needs are not being met, we will start instinctively, look elsewhere. I’ll apologize for any typos right now.

  41. ReadyForChange says:

    To the psychopath I love.

    You lured my soul out of its shelter,
    with words so sweet, and visions of beauty.
    ‘Trust me, don’t be afraid’, you said;
    ‘I’ll be your port, and you can rest at last’.
    Like a timid stray, I took the morsel from your hand,
    and licked your stretched out fingers and your palm.
    I should have known
    there was poison in the bait.

  42. rita says:

    2 fearce,

    thanks for the comment it helps a lot and sorry for the “lifestyle” comment i can see where ur coming from. i am Afrikaans so i don’t read English as you understand it sorry hehee..

  43. Finally Free says:

    Hi rita, I feel for you because you’re likely in a similar position to the guy I referred to earlier. He stopped feeling angry about how he’d been treated, the depression stage got to him and he went back to bargaining and ended up back with the ex who’d hurt and left him dozens of times. It has to be said that he had a pretty tenuous grasp on reality at the best of times, but if we set our values and boundaries to one side we really can talk ourselves round to believing whatever we want to, a sad lesson I learned from him. I’m sure time does heal, to the point where the anger burns out and sometimes you can believe that it’s only feeling anger that’s keeping you away from the person who caused you so much pain. But the fact is that she did cause you pain and you walked away for a good reason. You deserve to be an equal part of someone’s life, not a secret that’s hidden away, how can that make you feel special and loved? How is it treating you with respect and integrity? Her words said one thing, and her actions said something else, a red flag as Nat has shown us all. You’ve said it all in your last message, that you know she can’t respect your attitude towards her flirting, and you know you’ll drive yourself crazy wondering if she’s flirting with her ex. Those things are real issues. You don’t have to feel angry to make the choice not to be with her, your anger wasn’t the reason you left her, you left because she wasn’t behaving like you were her girlfriend. Will that change? And if it doesn’t, what has changed about you that would make you more likely to be fine with that?

  44. noquay says:

    Passive aggressive is the tool of choice for the emotionally incapable. Again, my dad fits the pattern to a T. Absent father, extremely uneducated, abusive mother, dad is very bright but has/had zero self discipline. Women to him are useful for sex and taking care of his kids, that is all. He brought home a paycheck; that, he felt, was his only obligation. At some level, he hates women and all things more womanly, such as having ties with friends and family, wanting a beautiful place to live and keeping it up. He is rigid to the point of being illogical. When I was a child to teen, I hated his first two wives because of the extreme tension in the family, the fights, the alcoholism. Wife three came about when I was a young adult and I quickly tired of playing armchair shrink and marriage counselor. Now, as his caretaker-from-a-distance, I understand why they were that way. I think this lack of functional father figures is a big deal with men; a lot worse than a girl having no mother figure. I saw this in a brief relationship with a local, who later turned into a toxic friend, with “grizzly dude” in Montana, with the at work AC. Really sad.

  45. on the other side says:

    Hi M, glad you are reading BR and learning from this site and that you continue to learn and grow. I feel that the others are giving you good advice, move on and let her move on. I tried on and off for 4 years and he kept promising to change he kept promising to stop avoiding an emotional relationship with me by using all these other exs for his ego boost, it wasnt jealousy but when you are choosing everyone else except the one your with its crushing, exhausting and emotinally draining, I got to a point where I felt I was going crazy and finally I said the hardest thing ever ENOUGH! That I can’t do this anymore that I had nothing else to give and it was hard as hell to leave and walk away and I still think about him and hope he finds what he is looking for but I can no longer have him in my life, we all deserve so much more.

    Lesson is to love and treat each other like we would want to be treated, I wish you luck.

  46. noquay says:

    I wasn’t advocating going for a MM in my last message to you but rather complementing you on recognizing that your needs are being ignored and therefore taking action to end a toxic situation.

  47. on the other side says:

    And sorry M one more thing, you are still whether subconcious or not keeping your options open with this other women, as Natalie pointed out you cannot know the outcome of any relationship thats where being vunerable and being with one person comes in, yes its scary but how else will you ever truly know, I feel you still have alot of growing to do until you can give of your best in a relationship. The other thing in life is consequences, and I am afraid you are learning a hard but good lesson in life. All the best.

  48. rita says:

    Wow keep going, you just answered my question I was struggeling because I thought I left her for the wrong reason(my anger or jealousy) as she said before!! I am bargaining yes you’re right!! This relationship that’s she starting now can not be good news she’s not over me either but her words”she doesn’t want to miss out on THE ONE, she already feels like this could be the one only from texting and talking over the phone for +- 2weeks but its also convient she is adicted to chatting so the long distance is perfect, I would have been here for her in the week to keep her company and on weekends she can go off and get her loving that’s what went through my head and that why I decided to NC she can’t tell me stuff like “I am not over you, and is hoping for a miricale to get back together and then tell me she met someone! But yes its my fault to I should have done NC when I said I want to but she begged me not to do it. Yesterday I asked her again please can you just give me time for I want to end this chapter, she said nothing and ya makes one crazy! I’ll cope better knowing that she’s an AC. But she’s a good person, always willing to help anybody, nothing is ever to much if somebody. Would ask for help.

    • Allison says:


      She is not respecting you or your feelings. I’m sorry, but she sounds quite selfish. She knows how you feel about her, yet she tells you about this other woman. This is quite hurtful.

      She likes having you in her life, as it also provides an ego boost an attention. You deserve much better.

    • Nigella says:


      I can identify with what you say about the way you read your emotions. In a nutshell, you were doubting your decision to walk away from a toxic situation because you started to *blame* yourself for feeling anger & jealousy. For the longest time, I forbid myself to recognize such emotions because I focused too much on making others feel better. Instead of paying attention to my own emotions, I denied them and paid more attention to pleasing others. This is a self-destructive habit.

      There is nothing wrong in feeling anger or jealousy if the person you are dating – exclusively – is flirting or sleeping with others, treating you as an option, and essentially disrespecting you. To cut to the chase, just ask yourself closed questions that can have either a “Yes” or “No” answer. “Do I feel any or all of the following – hurt, angry, jealous, betrayed, frustrated, humiliated, confused, scared – when my partner flirts with others, shows more attention to other than me, sleeps with others, keeps me a secret, resists committing to me?”

      Yes or No? Keep it simple. If the answer is “Yes”, own the answer. Do not second-guess. Do not allow anyone to send you on a guilt trip or make you doubt your feelings. Then, instead of expecting the other person to change, look after yourself, walk away from the relationship, and never look back unless that person truly & consistently shows that they have changed for the better.

      Finally, at the end of the day, I think it makes no difference whether you can decide with absolute certainty whether to classify her as an “assclown” or a “good person”. It makes no difference. The point is that she is not honoring your feelings. It makes no difference the number of times she says sweet, comforting things to you. Her actions betray her lack of respect and care for you. She turns to you for a supply of attention – this is what narcissistic people do. It is not uncommon for narcissistic people to display a lot of care and concern for others – do not be fooled by this “persona”, this “false self”, this “public image”. Creating a “good person” image makes them look good and wins them more attention. But it says little about whether they actually care for anyone except themselves. It says little about their treatment of people in the private domains. So she may be helping tons of people – she may even get the Nobel Prize for doing good deeds for others – but that does not erase the fact that her treatment of you has been subpar.

      The choice is yours whether or not to be blinded by her “good” behavior towards others. I wish you the best in figuring out what you really want and deserve.

  49. ROCKET says:

    Can someone advise how me to deal with this issue.

    I have someone sending me harassing texts from the US, I believe she was with my ex or still has dealings with him. I am not sure what the situation is.

    The texts started shortly after my ex and I broke up. My ex is lame, he said he spoke to her but who knows for sure. She had quit for a while but I received another one last night after a couple months.

    I can’t report it because I do not live in the US.
    I have not responded to these msgs.

    How do I stop her? I do not want to change my number. I am asking because I am NC with my ex, furthermore he doesn’t respect me enough to put a stop to it. I need to deal with this myself.

    I believe she thinks that My ex and I are still together, should I respond and set her wise? Maybe this will stop the texts?

    • Tinkerbell says:


      I may be oversimplifying your concern, but can’t you just delete them and continue doing your thing? She’ll stop eventually when she sees no response. Of course, you don’t read them, just delete. She’s in another country so it’s not as though she can come and harm you.

  50. Penelope-Pitt's-Thoughts says:

    I’ve been thinking about one of my ex’s lately–feeling sentimental; I wish we’d shared a better ending: I expressed my displeasure about something he did, and I was right to do so, but it was the way in which I expressed my disappointment that sometimes haunts me. I wish I’d just told him how I felt without insulting him, but I couldn’t handle the vulnerability, and I lacked a certain amount of emotional maturity, so I went for the easy angry approach.

    Anyway, he has a temper, and for the first time he unleashed it on me to my surprise and great disappointment. The things he said to me were awful, and now every time I remember him, I remember the good times, but I also remember his lewd comments and gestures, and I vividly recall him railing at me.

    It makes me sad…that’s all, it makes me sad.

    I wish I didn’t know these things about him to be true. I wish things were different, but they aren’t.
    I wish he didn’t have a bad temper, but he does.

    I don’t want to deal with his temper; it’s too hard, and I’m afraid of him. I thought: one day he’ll bash my head into the wall. Plus, all those things he said to me, I can’t unring that bell, nor would I want to–he showed me who he is.

    I own my bad behavior; I could have handled my end better, but I won’t own his, and I know it wasn’t my ‘fault.’ I didn’t make him respond the way he did–that’s just how he chose to respond.

    He admitted he had a temper, but then he turned around, and blamed the loss of it on me, and he never apologized to me; I told him it was over between us, and I would never contact him again, and I never did, and he never contacted me.

    During his tirade, he attacked my values and beliefs , and I resented it. He crossed the line–I reached my limit. I tried to conduct myself with dignity, and not go down to his level, and I managed, but I wish I’d walked away at the first expletive, but I didn’t; for some reason, I stayed and tried to graciously and calmly respond to his insults. Afterward, I just wished I’d yelled back, but now I see the wisdom of DO NOT ENGAGE.

    Sure sometimes I feel sentimental about better days with him, but NO, I don’t ever want him to touch me; I could never touch him. There’s a movie, I can’t remember the title, but the guy says to his cheating wife without anger, “There’s just some things in life that just stick.”

    • A says:


      “I wish I’d walked away at the first expletive, but I didn’t; for some reason, I stayed and tried to graciously and calmly respond to his insults.”

      I did the same with an AC. I also wish I hadn’t bothered trying to be calm and rational in the hopes that he would de-escalate and stop being so out of line. It didn’t work. He’s the type who doesn’t care about being fair to someone else, it’s all about trying to manipulate the situation and convince me and himself that he’s the victim/in the right.

      I also recognize that this is exactly the same as my father: there is no reasoning with him, he will never take any responsibility. He won’t hear someone else out. He just yells louder.

      • Penelope-Pitt's-Thoughts says:


        My father never took responsibility for anything either, but he didn’t yell at us, he just ignored us and our pleas; My mother tried to yell him into compliance, but he just mocked her with a high-pitched, crackling, haggard voice, while laughing, and told everyone she was ‘crazy,’ and yes, he played the victim.

  51. rita says:


    Thank you just needed to hear it again, got a bit lost there. 😉

    • Allison says:


      Just remember, don’t ever settle for being someone’s secret, as it is soul destroying- my ex did the same.

  52. DiggingDeeper says:

    My integrity has really been tested over the past five years, and I’ve managed to do the right thing. Funny, I’m not even good at doing the ‘wrong’ thing; it’s just not in me. I always end of running out of the room screaming, clutching my moral compass.

    I’ve been blessed. God has been keeping me.

    I’ve got you in my prayers Natalie. xx

  53. 2Fearce says:


    Wasn’t directly aimed at you… just saying it out loud on purpose instead of thinking it n keeping it to myself.

  54. epsresso says:

    That’s quite a horrific description Noquay. My ex’s father was a womanizing alcoholic who creeped me out from the moment I met him. One of my ex’s sister believes he abused her. He squandered the family’s money and ended up with nothing but still managed to get married for the third time when he was in the rest home. I mean, how desperate can women get? The thing is, the really healthy thing about you is that you SAW this, you got the “truth” of it even when you were young and even though it was painful and unpleasant. Your instincts and boundaries were good.
    The family of my ex thought they were pretty okay in lots of ways and my ex feels entitled.

    I always encouraged my ex to look at this…but in some ways I see he is like his father…poor impulse control, not thinking ahead, a “dreamer”, no insight and unaware of how he affects others.

  55. rita says:

    Thanks to all of you, you helped me get perspective again,sjoh with all the analysing and bargaining one can loose it quick!*hugs*

  56. teachable says:

    To add to Trickywu’s post… generally speaking, married men live longer than single men but single women live longer than married women… so what does this tell us? that women w.out an overgrown baby’s bum to wipe (as in the case of those unhappily married) live longer! Bing bada boom!

    Also, I’m w Rev… Househat Nat… soz to hear & u & hubby handled tht like champs! Good luck w future search! x

  57. Finally Free says:

    Lavender, I think the reason this AC (I’m sorry, that’s what he’s showing himself up to be) is telling you about sleeping with someone else all week to a) demonstrate to you and himself that he’s desirable and has no shortage of women lined up who are interested in him – hence you should be flatted by any crumb of attention from him, and b) to provoke a response from you, be it jealousy or hurt, even disgust as an indication that you ‘care’ about what he’s up to with these other women. Either way he’s looking for an indication that you may want him, not that the response will mean you actually get anything from him. He’s after an ego stroke, regardless of whether or not he’ll decide to take it further once he’s got the confirmation he’s looking for. Anything he could even misconstrue to be a simple hint of jealousy would probably be enough for him.

  58. Sushi says:


    I don’t see how you can profess to still love your ex girlfriend and be desperate to be with her because you are seeing other people meaning you are looking for another relationship at the same time as trying to get her to give you another chance.

    This simply means that she is an option to you and your actions are not matching your words.

    Sorry, but if I were in her shoes I would do exactly what she is doing, rejecting this less than offer on your part.

  59. lo j says:

    Natalie … I’ve no doubts your family will find the home that is everything you want and then some!!

  60. espresso says:

    Suki…your description of the relationship dynamics that aren’t going anywhere was right on! It is hard not to feel disgusted with what I put up with and where I was coming from to do so.

    Penelope Pitt: yes it is interesting single interactions or events can bring everything into focus, particularly in my case, continuing denial about the relationship pre and post separation (I thought we could be “friends”) And we can never go back to where we were before. My ex did some things to me after we separated that I was shocked and hurt by given that he said he was going to show great care, consideration and respect for me and make the separation a positive experience for both of us. (his major goal he said)!! I now feel that the shock of his treatment was necessary for me in order to totally UNDERSTAND his character…and that he didn’t respect me, didn’t care how he affected me and doesn’t connect words with actions- ergo I could never trust him about anything. So I guess I should be grateful for the clearing of my vision. Pretty harsh.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.