couple of peg people with one talking about the Future

It’s understandable to feel very perplexed when somebody says one thing and does another. It’s all the more confusing when they literally told you something only hours or days before and then did something that ran so counter to what they originally said, that you wonder if you blacked out for a period of time and dreamt the whole thing. You simply won’t be able to fathom how somebody can do a complete one-eighty.

peg figure saying 'Shit. I've made a big mistake'

They don’t really feel all of their feelings and think all of their thoughts and connect them with their actions and words. They say something but they don’t think about what that means beyond that moment so they forget that what they said has some actions that need to go with it, along with some implications, or that it might totally contradict certain beliefs.

When somebody says one thing, does another, and possibly thinks something else, all that you’re going to wind up with is problems.

'Actions', 'Words, 'Thoughts' peg people

It’s as if you’re dealing with three separate people and none of them are communicating with one another or on the same page. Each one is operating in their own isolated little bubble and doesn’t seem to register that what each of them is doing matters to what they’re each putting out there.

When actions, thoughts and words are disconnected, a person lacks congruency. They end up out of sync and lacking in self-awareness.

They do something because maybe it feels good in that moment and seems like a very good idea. They’re reactive. They do or state something on day #30 for instance but don’t realise that as a result of this, each day after this needs to back up what was done or said. When they observe you actually believing what they’re saying, an unease sets in due to expectations created by their disconnected selves.

And then they have to find a way to manage down your expectations instead of being upfront and admitting that they’ve overextended themselves. It’s backtrack time.

If they privately have beliefs that undermine what they’re saying and doing, they will start to act in line with those beliefs, even if the words aren’t reflecting this new output. The seeming actions of what they’ve promised mixed in with the actions that reflect their thinking will confuse you. It’s why someone blowing hot and cold can literally leave you scratching your head in confusion.

When there are beliefs that are contradicting one another, they undermine whatever is being said and done. A person can say that they want a relationship but if they privately believe that they’re not good enough or that they’re afraid of being vulnerable or that a relationship is only ‘right’ if the person is ‘perfect’ all of the time or whatever, they can make certain noises and actions that appear to be going down the relationship path but at the same time they’ll also behave in line with their beliefs in subtle and not so subtle ways – code amber and red behaviour as well as signs of disinterest. Remember, if we didn’t act in line with our beliefs, we’d have to change them because it would mean that they’re no longer true for us.

It’s also important to recognise that there are a lot of people pleaser’s amongst us who will tell you what you want to hear or what they think you want to hear or what they believe a situation calls for. Ooh we’ve been on two dates; I should mention how I can see us being together forever. 

Romance and the fantasy of possibilities feels good. Unfortunately they get carried away and then have to backtrack to what they truly intended to be or do. Unfortunately the person who says one thing, does another and thinks another won’t be upfront. They’ll think that they are…and then they’ll say or do something else entirely. Exhausting. There’s thoughtlessness mixed with lack of application.

When we’re willing to put in the time to figure out who we are and to make sure that we’re being authentic by living our lives in line with our values, that in itself creates a great deal of self-awareness because we know who we are. It then feels strange to be putting different selves out there and forces us to act with more due consideration instead of just saying and doing stuff ‘in the moment’.

You won’t know where you stand with someone who is disconnected from their actions, thoughts and words, and you’ll know that there’s a disconnection issue because you experience a lot of disappointment with them. It comes with the territory. The funny thing is that a person like this actually expects you to buy what they’re selling in that moment and will get irritated that you’re hesitant or even calling them out on their contrary behaviour or past let downs. The key thing is for you to match what you think with what you do and with what you say because as long as you’re doing this, you’re being you.

Your thoughts?


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340 Responses to When somebody says one thing, does another, thinks something else

  1. Robin says:

    Another timely post! There was a guy I was sort of interested in but very wary of because I had the sense he wasn’t being himself, but one thing I was sure of (and because he said so) was that he wasn’t interested in a serious relationship. One day, he suddenly told me out of the blue that he was interested in marriage…but not now, later. Which was great and all, except that he still wasn’t actively trying to be in a relationship with me. It was confusing and I really wasn’t sure if he’d just changed or what, so I decided to cut to the chase and ask him out. I was disappointed, but not surprised, when he disappeared on me after that!

  2. Learner says:

    I sat down to catch up on the last 2 weeks of BR since I was on vacation with the extended family, and then had a conference, but I saw this latest title and had to read it immediately! It’s relating to what I am experiencing this moment!
    I was just at the last conference I have to be at with the exMM, and it was awful. On a bus ride to an offsite social event, he took it upon himself to tell me he still loved me, that nothing compares to me, that his life was “not what it seems”, and that he couldn’t be on the conference planning committee any more since his wife is getting more ill and he can’t leave her for extended periods. Her condition affects her mood, and she has been difficult to handle. I told him he is married and has a “friend” on the side, and I cannot be his friend. I was very direct about not talking to him ever again after the conference. On the last day, he actually cried as he left, after the committee members had told him how wonderful he has been in his role. He ran out, and then sent a very sentimental email to the group.
    For some reason, that whole thing affected me, and I sent him an email the next morning apologizing for being so dismissive at the conference, and asking if he wanted to talk on the phone. After “breaking up” almost a year ago, with NC for most of that time, I have now sent him a personal email! Which he has not answered. I told him if he did not answer, I would take that to mean “goodbye”. After saying all those things to me, why did he not answer? Now I get it – he is disconnected from his thoughts and feelings. He said things in the minute – either because he thinks they were what I wanted to hear, or because he wanted to see if I was still interested so he could keep me on as a fallback girl. Funny thing is, I do NOT want to get back with him, I just feel so, so sorry for him and like I was mean to him by rejecting his professions of love.
    I gave him that power back, which should belong to me. I feel like the last year of growing and distancing myself from his mess has been tarnished. That feeling of anxiety I used to get when I waited for him to text, email, etc has returned. I am beside myself with disappointment and find it hard to focus on anything. You are so right – it does feel like dealing with three different people, and I wish I had not become involved with any one of the three! How to get out of this triplet mess? Deep breath – heading now to catch up on the last few weeks of BR so I can get my BR frame of mind back on!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Learner… Your post is a good reminder to me why I can never talk too, see or engage with the ex-AC ever. It would be like throwing some pieces of wood on a fire that is currently just some hot ambers. Better to just let them burn themselves out. Like Nat says sometimes its 2 steps forward & 1 step back. Hopefully, being away from him will make you re-focus on you & your life. Don’t put your hand in that fire again. Its so not worth it .

      • Learner says:

        Yeah, the embers still have some heat left although they are slowly burning out. You are right, why start them ablaze when they can only hurt our hands AND our hearts?

    • Carolyn says:

      …”that feeling of anxiety I used to get when I waited for him to text”…oh, thank God that passes after a while. I spent over 3 years with that feeling with my exEUM, thinking that was how things were supposed to feel…with NC, counselling, and baggage reclaim for support that feeling is going away. I wish you strength and comfort for the time being, you have been strong in the past, and this is just a tiny bump in your road to recovery. We are far too good for these clowns. xo

      • Learner says:

        Carolyn, thank you. Sorry to hear you also had over 3 years in EUM hell.You have given me the idea that perhaps I need to return to my therapist for a session or two after this glitch xo

    • runnergirl says:

      Hi Learner,
      Deep breath my dear. I was wondering what was up with you. So sorry you had to endure the exMM saying one thing, doing another, and thinking whatever. In my case, I experienced precisely what Natalie describes and what you may be experiencing at the moment. It is a disconnect that is impossible to understand. So don’t try.
      I don’t really think you gave him that power back or that the past year has been tarnished. I do know it feels like that though…cos I’ve felt like that too. (I felt like I was being mean when I didn’t respond to his crumb Happy B-day email last month.) I’d suggest a long bubble bath, a deep steam, and getting your BR on. It’s just the universe giving you a little or giant tug to see if you’ll still answer that confusing, unavilable knock. So now you know in no uncertain terms, you ain’t answering. I loved Natalie’s last line: “The key thing is for you to match what you think with what you do and with what you say because as long as you’re doing this, you’re being you”. Get back to being you. As we say in softball, walk it off. You know the drill. Back on the wagon, girl. If he responds tomorrow, next week, next month or next year, DELETE!
      PS. How is your daughter? The exHubby???

      • runnergirl says:

        I’ve got to find Natalie’s description about ice cream. It goes something like at 3:00 pm their favorite ice cream is cherry. By 6:00 pm, they hate cherry ice cream and their favorite is chocolate. By the next day, they hate all ice cream. I’m not doing her brilliant description justice. The ice cream analogy always stuck with me and relates to when you can’t figure out even what ice cream to buy for dessert. It’s their disconnect. Leave the exMM with his sick wife and his OW. It sounds like he has a pretty full plate. And I’ll be following my own advice, BTW!

        • Learner says:

          Runner, you always make so much sense! Thank you for your reassurance that perhaps things are not as bad as they feel re: giving away power or the year’s worth of recovery. The line you quoted from Natalie is soo applicable to me here, yes. I told him I would never speak to hom again, then I emailed him. That guilt feeling is always so strong for me, and I allowed it to dictate my actions. No more. You asked about my exhubby – well I ran this situation by him last night, and he emphatically told me I am NOT a mean person, and he doubts the exMM will think that either. My exH is much more insightful and supportive than I ever realized! The exMM can buy whatever ice cream takes his fancy at whatever time he, his wife, and/or his OW decide to consume some! I am not that flavour, lol. As for my daughter – she has returned from her volunteer work with a new appreciation for her own life, ever increasing maturity, and she is handling her medical condition very well indeed. She even managed to avoid malaria despite being a huge mosquito-attracter! Thanks for asking! How are things going for YOUR daughter?

          • runnergirl says:

            Hi Learner,
            From your responses, it sounds like you are getting your BR mojo back. It is exhausting when you dip your toes back into the magical, mystical world of the creepy-assed triplets (to borrow Rev’s brilliant description). For me, once I starting aligning what I was saying with what I was thinking, being involved with a MM was impossible. So just keep your thoughts, words, and actions aligned. Having boundaries isn’t being mean.
            Good to hear your daughter is managing her health problem and that she avoided malaria as well as gaining an appreciation for her life. That is great. Things are still rather interesting with my daughter. She’s headed back to school, we found a cute little (expensive) apartment but we learned today that her loan will have to be used to pay her tuition because…you guessed it…she is an adult. Apparently the state of California is helping me set finanacial boundaries with my adult daughter. Very funny!
            It’s nice the exhubby validated that you aren’t being mean by not being sucked back into the drama of the exMM. You aren’t buying what he is still selling and you aren’t the flavor of the moment…these types don’t even have a flavor of the week. A week would require too much follow-through.
            Good for you Learner.

    • Fifi says:

      Learner, I know I spend a lot more time than i should keeping the ex’s behaviour in mind, not because I am obsessing or want him back, but fear that if i meet him again, i’ll have forgotten what he’s like and treat him with normal human compassion, and put myself in a position of getting hurt again – not by getting back together – no way – but just dredging up old stuff in conversation.
      It makes me wonder if long-term NC can keep the ex relationship alive in some way for too long.
      In a way, I think you’ve come out the other side of NC – you don’t want him back, and you’re behaving as you would to anyone you knew who seemed in pain – you’ve really let him go. You did a compassionate thing, he’s wherever he is and who cares

      • Learner says:

        Fifi, yes! That old stuff dredged up in conversation can hurt, too, when it involves one of these say-one-thing-do-and-think-another people. You raise an interesting point about long-term NC. Perhaps it’s time not to consider this as NC any more – just getting on with life without him distracting me from what’s most important. The thought that maybe I HAVE let the extriplets go is quite empowering. Thank you for that xo

    • Lilly says:


      Can you believe it’s almost been one whole year of this madness (June 26 wasn’t it?! I can understand you feeling sorry for him. You are a compassionate, caring person and it is natural to feel for someone when they appear to be hurting. Reaching out to be kind was understandable and I suspect I might have done the same thing. Him not answering is of course par for the course, bl..dy typical AC behaviour. Put your BR hat back on and don’t look back; all that has happened is that you have shown what a lovely, caring person you are and he has shown you what a disconnected, sad person he is.

      The exAC has recently contacted me again via the university (only way he can)and so far has only mentioned work. Maybe it will stay that way, but I doubt it, once an AC always an AC! I can’t help, but anticipate what he might try and will shamefully admit that I’ve been checking my emails a bit too often again (horrible – takes me back to the bad old days), but I’m definitely not buying anymore of what he is selling! I’ve gone completely off that particular brand of BS. I’m going to make sure I match what I think (he is a lying, unbelievably cruel, pitiful AC), with what I do (stay away from him) and with what I say (“no, I do not want to meet up/sleep with you”). I think I’m being me! Hugs to you sis, xxx.

      • Learner says:

        Lilly, my little BR sis,
        It’s good to hear you are still not buying the exMM’s BS. Yes, it has been almost a year. I think we both said “enough” on June 26 last year. In that time, you and the other BR posters have helped me to learn so much as we have supported each other through these messes. We always have to be careful, though, that we don’t get sucked back in, no matter how strong we feel. It worries me that “your” exMM is contacting you about work – that’s how it started for me, too. He got me all comfortable talking about the projects we have worked on, and then “boom”, out came the carefully crafted words to attempt sucking me back in, when I least expected them. Please don’t let him do it to you! Keep on being you, Lilly and I will keep on being me. Your phrase “once an AC, always an AC” is bang on – I don’t know why I thought ‘my” exMM would suddenly turn into a normal person if I showed him some empathy. You’d think a simple “thanks but no thanks” email reply would have been nice. I guess his disconnected, sad, non-response is best, though. Putting my BR hat back on right now. Hugs back at you xoxo

    • grace says:

      He is married. If he needs support he should turn to his pastor, male friends, or family, not to another woman. It is completely inappropriate.
      Husbands and wives do get sick, get dementia, get cancer it doesn’t give them carte blanche to go screwing around.
      You weren’t mean to him. You’re not a guardian angel, you’re a normal human being who does not hold the key to anyone else’s happiness. Continue NC, if you bump into him socially, say hello and move on. There is no need to get into any conversation that can lead to him professing his “love”.
      Just chalk it up to experience and don’t do it again.

      • Learner says:

        Grace, you are right as always. Problem for exMM is that he is an atheist so has no pastor, and has few male friends. He does seem to use this as an excuse to go screwing around, although he says it’s not just about the sex – he needs friendship too. Thing is, no matter how many “friends” he has, he STILL seems to be sad and overwhelmed. I love your comment that (I) “do.. not hold the key to anyone’s happiness”. When exMM speaks to me, he makes it sound like I am the only one who can make him happy, and yet what makes ME so special that I could do that for him when his wife and OW and goodness knows how many other sympathizers cannot? I will chalk it up to experience now, as you suggest. Thank you.

    • beth d says:

      Learner Boy did your post hit a nerve. One of the times post break up that I yielded to my ex was when he was going through a really hard time and tapped into my empath side. I was at my longest point of NC. He had a new gf by then and I was with someone new so I thought it was safe and just maybe we could be friends. I actually met him and we had lunch. I did help him through his hard time. Of course he threw in the “I will always love you” bs. It ended up being a damn nightmare. And yes I gave the power right back to him and he got into my head again to boot. He ended up calling me for the next few weeks like we were back together and then disappeared for two months! I went permanent NC after that except to tell him off once to stop contacting me. I really think deep down they engage us, get us back in the web and then they have their opportunity to get us back because we NC’d them for so long. Mind phukery at it’s best. It was a typical put your hand in the fire situation and get burnt!

      • Learner says:

        beth d,
        Oh my, I didn’t think of it that way! Your description of your ex-perience seems eerily similar to mine. Long period of NC, then weazeling their way back in using pity and professions of everlasting love, then disappearing act. Sheesh – mind phukery indeed! I will do my best NOT to let exMM take up permanent residence in my head again (which has happened to some extent already in the last 3 weeks). Thanks for this perspective.

        • BethD says:

          Yes eerily similar! Weasels! By not answering that email he def showed he was playing games. Not even a one word “Thanks” does tell the story.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            I think something we all would do well to remember is STOP AND THINK, first before speaking or doing. Oftentimes, we need to evaluate what has occurred, and give it some time before responding. I certainly have benefited when I’ve paused and asked myself, “What, if anything, is the best move for me to make, the best thing for me to say that will be best, on the whole, for ME in this situation. In that way, we can avoid regretting something we may have done, in reaction, without much forethought. I’m still learning this.

          • Learner says:

            BethD, yes, it DID seem like he was playing games, but now he has responded, apologizing since he had not checked his personal email for a while, and suggesting a phone call on Monday after work :s

            Tinkerbell,yes, stopping and thinking is great advice. I will be thinking lots in the next few days. We must ALL do what’s best for each one of us.

    • Suki says:

      Here’s my two cents worth.
      That anxious feeling of waiting for the call — is an anxious feeling of waiting for something that is not under your control. It indicates in my opinion a number of things [speaking from experience]. Fear of rejection, inability to manage anxiety, obsessive thoughts, giving too much power to the other person, not trusting yourself, not validating yourself but waiting for validation. I think meditation is a good option – watching your thoughts, not judging, but labeling these for what they are – they are not indications of your failure at anything, but are indications that you might be having trouble managing anxiety AND EUM is a trigger for these feelings. Imagine if your doctor or your taxman forgot to email you back: would you be in as much of a tizzy? No [unless you know it was two days from tax deadlines]. This guy triggers your anxiety. You can also ask yourself how it is that people with high anxiety end up with people like this who would heighten anyone’s anxiety. As long as you engage with him or with others that behave like this your anxiety is getting a little boost. Sometimes those of us who are conditioned by a lifetime of uproar and anxiety in personal relationships starting with childhood, we need those feelings, the emotional drama feels like home.
      So maybe next time you feel anxious, see the feeling, label it for what it is. Dont think ‘why wont he call, why did he do this, was it a profession of his love’ — focus on yourself, label your own feelings, tell yourself ‘I’m not affected by this, my feelings are not facts, and this is my anxiety talking rather than anything real’.
      THEN get some ice-cream, watch cartoons.

      • Mymble says:

        Yes, I kind of agree BUT the problem with what you’re saying is that appears to suggest that if you “managed” your anxiety and learned to relax then you could continue to participate in these situations without harming yourself. I have NEVER experienced before the kind of extreme debilitating anxiety as I did with the MM, and I think the anxiety was my gut screaming at me GET OUT. I actually did start meditating in order to try to cope but I now think that was “abusing” the very beautiful thing that meditation is and using it for harmful purposes (to continue in something that was intrinsically wrong). The Buddhist monk at the local meditation centre said something alon those lines (not directed at me as he didn’t know my situation but it spoke to me).he said meditation is not just for making yourself feel good but for DOING good to other people. It is a tool and like any tool it can be deployed to harmful ends. Like ice-cream.

      • Learner says:

        Suki, I agree with the EUM-anxiety trigger connection. You raise a great point about a late email reply being low stress in most other situations.

        Mymble, yeah, maybe we need to pay attention to over the top anxiety that comes from Relationshits with MM. No need to smooth it over, but better to heed it for the sake of self-protection.

        kitaly – yes, it seems even a good long year of NC may not be enough in some circumstances.

        Kriss and Revs, loving creepy-ass triplets from a safe distance is sounding very appealing right about now!

    • Kitaly says:

      Learner, Kit Kat is right, your email is a very good reminder to all of us to keep NC, even after a year…many years…forever! thank you for sharing, it helps all of us grow.

    • Kriss says:

      Hey, hey. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you have to see this guy for work you are not NC and there’s a reason NC works.

      You were tempted, you know what you have to do now. Don’t sit and berate yourself for one weak moment – just acknowledge it for what it is and move on.

      I started to get over my addition to ‘wounded’ men when I realised I could love them just as much from a safe distance :-) and it made about as much difference to them, while hurting me a lot less.

      • Revolution says:


        “I started to get over my addition to ‘wounded’ men when I realised I could love them just as much from a safe distance :-)

        Haha!!! YES! I second that emotion!

  3. Max says:

    I have had this experience. HE says Oh I care so much about you. He does not contact me for weeks at a time. His action – he shows up unexpectedly and is looking for sex. My action – I told him he Sucks and bed and he should F OFF!!! When men behave like AHOLES the only way to get rid of them is to SLAM them right between the eyes and honesty is key!! Have NO regrets and remember to PUT your needs first!!!!

  4. Lilia says:

    Yes, yes, yes, I found myself nodding all the time while reading this!

    An excellent description of my most recent non-relationship and the conclusion – “the key thing is for you to match what you think with what you do and with what you say because as long as you’re doing this, you’re being you” – is probably the only positive thing I´ve learned from this experience.

  5. Movingonin2013 says:

    I broke up with my ex A-hole at the end of April (we were together for 1 1/2 years) because I caught him trolling on On top of that, I found out he was dating someone while I was on a trip that my family and I invited him on.

    Anyways, I had conversations with him on three separate occasions after a year of dating, making sure we were still on the same page with marriage, kids, etc. Every time, he would tell me he still wanted to be with me. Then the bomb dropped when I caught him in his web of lies and secrets. During the middle to end of our relationship, he disappointed me in so many ways-I took off of my 2nd job a few times to spend time with him and he would bail out because of some excuse I fell for; He would often say he was “too tired” after work to spend time with me even after talking to him about making a concerted effort to spend even a couple of nights on the weeknights together. There were many more excuses I fell for that I can’t even list here because it would become a novel.

    “You won’t know where you stand with someone who is disconnected from their actions, thoughts and words, and you’ll know that there’s a disconnection issue because you experience a lot of disappointment with them.” Natalie-you are SPOT ON with this quote. When someone doesn’t “walk the talk” and it becomes a consistent pattern, it’s time to leave them behind and move on and find someone who will genuinely love, care and respect me.

    Your site had helped me heal tremendously a few years back when I was with an ex-EUM and it once again is helping me cope with getting over this ex-worthless sack of crap. THANK YOU for all your wisdom you constantly bestow on your readers.

  6. Kleo says:

    Very enlightening… brings many things into focus and clarity for me. And yes… line up MY thoughts, words and actions… seeing how I have been inconsistent with my own messaging… forgiving myself and chalking it up to more GROWTH … every time we stumble … we get back up and try again, we get stronger and stronger…think about watching a toddler learn how to walk… or a youngster ride a bike … or learning how to knit the first time … Say what you mean, mean what you say … and expect the same from others …and if/when you don’t get that … see it for what it is – and move on. Patient practice, one day at a time. Thank you Natalie!

  7. Carolyn says:

    My ex EUM got me back after a long break (this is PRE-baggage reclaim discovery) when I was sexually frustrated and he was reeling me back in after yet ANOTHER one of his disappearing acts. Like I said, I was sexually frustrated but knew I couldn’t count on him for a REAl relationship, so I said “you wanna f*@%”? because I knew that’s all it would be…but he got all sentimental and said “no, we don’t ever do that, we MAKE LOVE” to which I rolled my eyes…but ended up in bed with him being the most sensitive he had ever been, and he continued to be so for a couple months until I finally believed he might be and was falling for him once again………but you all know what’s coming next………he was seeing someone else at the same time….yeah, right, making love to both of us I am sure. Ugh.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Carolyn. Doesn’t it just make you want to puke? How do they even stand themselves?

      • Carolyn says:

        Yes. Puke. I am friends with another of his exes now and she (Donna) says he makes her want to vomit too (they have a child together). She was always cool with me being in her daughters life, and when he and I split (a couple times ago…ack…) she told me, “hey, we know how Jim is…we like YOU and we’ll keep you”, which has just been a blessing because their daughter and I have always had a special bond. I couldn’t understand why Jim was with this other woman, and I asked Donna, “why is he picking HER???” to which she wisely replied, “he isn’t PICKING her Carolyn, he is ADDING her”. Ahhhhhhhhhh. I get it.

  8. Tinkerbell says:

    Natalie. Very good post. “Ooh we’ve been on two dates; I should mention how I can see us being together forever”. Hilarious. And some jerks really think, say and do such shite. The MM was a classic in this regard. Forever flip flopping. I didn’t understand that it was all part of the master plan to keep me confused, with no demands or expectations, in short, managing me down. And it was difficult for me to get angry and call him out because I would second guess myself that I understood or heard correctly – mind f&*%king. Thank God I’m not still back there! Sadly, I thought I was in love!

    • Lilly says:


      We must have fallen in “love” with the same MM!You have just described it all perfectly.

      • jewells says:

        MM’s ARE all the same :) They just come in different wrappers. Same ol shite everytime….

        • gentle soul says:

          Agreed all MM are the same they are all married! that’s a boundary I am never willing to overlook no matter how many other redeeming qualities they may appear to have!

          • jewells says:

            Yeah, It’s front line data, it signals what all else he is beyond that no matter what sweet nothings he has up his sleeve, or excuses as to why he can’t quite leave the wife yet…

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Hi. Gentle Soul, That’s what
            “MM” means – married man. They’ve all read the same book, for sure.

    • beth d says:

      Confusion is one of their top manipulative tools. They try to keep you off balance! Mind phucking 101

  9. Little Star says:

    Thanks Natalie, another reminder that ACTIONS speak louder than words:)

  10. Peanut says:


    I look forward to and find your art work just as soothing as your posts.

  11. Rosie says:

    This post fits me perfectly. Yeah, I can point fingers at the guy who brought me here but, really, this post is all about how I got involved with the guy, how my actions, words, and beliefs didn’t match. The guy tried to use me for sex but I made out with him like crazy just a couple hours after meeting him. What else was he to think other than he would get really sexually satisfied really soon? Then I had to break the news that…well…no, he wasn’t and I, in fact, am religious…oh boy! Seriously?? But then our whole whopping two dates were still nothing but two horny people making out whenever wherever with one of the two people trying to keep her clothes on…he did finally get it that I was serious about not having sex and I did apologize to him for my actions and words not matching. He was an asshole but I believe I did owe him an apology for my own nonsense.

    Funny, but in hindsight, my character needed improving but I did demonstrate some morality there. I apologized, did come clean about where I stood on the sex issue, gave him opportunities to be honest with me. I still understand why he couldn’t take me seriously even if he initially was interested in a possible relationship with me (he wasn’t). But I showed a trace of my true beautiful self. :) Now that I’ve improved my character even more, more of my inner beauty is revealing itself like how the sun rises in the morning.

    • EllyB says:

      I don’t think you would have needed to apologize, because in my book, having sex is never part of a “deal”. You did not “owe” him sex only because you made out with him “like crazy”.

      We have every right in the world to opt out at any point… and anything else is simply sexist (and could possibly be used even as a justification for rape)!

      He tried to use you. That was a bad thing to do. You acted upon that knowledge a bit too late. You should opt out faster next time. That’s all. It’s okay to just cut him off without any word. No apologies!

      • EllyB says:

        I think this is a dangerous trap we really need to avoid. If we get involved with a toxic guy and then decide to go NC, OF COURSE our actions don’t match our (prior) words, but that doesn’t justify any kind of apology. Not to the guy, at any rate. Maybe we need to apologize to ourselves for getting involved with him in the first place though…

        Oftentimes, we make the guy believe that we are okay with being his mistress/friend with benefits/fallback girl/doormat or the like.

        Yes, maybe we are (secretly) hoping for something more serious/banking on potential. In that way we are being dishonest too. On the other hand, those guys tend to bank on exactly that. They don’t want to use a woman for sex who wants to use them simply for sex too!

        If subsequently we wake up and cut him off, that means our earlier words turn out to be “untrue”. But that doesn’t matter because the game was rigged against us right from the start.

        • EllyB says:

          Btw., this insight is relatively new to me too. In my late twenties, I had a one night stand with a 60 year old married man who had pursued me for two years.

          It was such a horrible and humiliating experience that I felt the urge to cut him off immediately afterwards. Anyway, I felt GUILTY and believed I had to apologize to him, because before I had pretended that I might be interested in some kind of longer-term affair. Turned out that I felt totally unable to became a mistress to this guy though (I could never bring myself to become a mistress to any MM even before BR, even if I often fantasized about this).

          Did I really have to apologize to him for my “inconsistency”? No. He had used and manipulated me (by pushing some of the “buttons” that resulted from my own childhood trauma) right from the start, and every interaction with him was soul-destroying.

          Would we apologize to someone for saying “no” after they tried to sell us some shady investment product? No. Then why apologize to such a creep?

          • Rosie says:

            EllyB- Thank you for your insights, thoughtfulness, and articulate way of putting it!

            I didn’t think of it as a game being rigged against me from the start but you’re right. After making out with him the night I met him, I had decided that I wasn’t going to see him again. But then he E-mailed (I know, I know but he also included a couple links to some community work he was involved in) and asked me out on a date. In my naivete I decided to give him a chance as I did like him (what I knew of him at that point).
            So he was counting on my betting on potential, huh? I guess so. Otherwise, why ask me on a date? Why not just ask, “When are you coming over to have sex with me?” Ok. I’ll remember this next time.

            I also appreciate your perspective that I just need to bail out sooner. Ok, I think I’m done blowing my behavior out of proportion in my head. Thank you so much!

            Good point about justifying rape!!! Yes, ok. I’ll re-examine whether or not to apologize in these situations but I still need to take responsibility for what’s mine, ya know? I don’t “owe” him sex just because I make out with him to the point of ridiculousness but it is leading him on, though. If I’m not intending to have sex with him, then I’m lying to him with my body. My actions and words need to match. :)

          • Mymble says:

            As a mistress, you don’t have the normal “relationship rights”, so of course neither do they. You don’t owe them explanations or apologies if you break it off. They dont expect them anyway; they understand perfectly well that they’re giving nothing, and it is only a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

            • Rosie says:

              Mymble- but what about cases where both people are single, just neither one is demonstrating maturity nor integrity? The game was rigged against me but I did choose my own behavior there.

        • jewells says:

          Very poiniant EllyB, Yes the game was rigged. They want our intentions of a ‘real’ relationship to solidify their supply, because for us to cut them off whilst having made it clear that we were ‘committed’ to them, puts us in the positon of ‘being the bad one’, the one who used THEM. THAT’s exactly it, one of the hooks – the exMM played that one to a ‘t’ with me. *hand to forehead*

  12. Revolution says:

    Point taken, Natalie. And those “Actions” “Words” “Thoughts” illustrations make for some creepy-ass triplets. 😉

  13. DiscardedFriend says:

    I am really irritated with myself.

    After months of just ridiculous behavior, I am still on speaking terms with ex-friend. I mean, the conversations we have are mostly fights, but they still exist.

    So, last Monday after a giant fight, we planned to go to a baseball game today. I do not care about sports, but will go with friends for the social experience. I rearranged my schedule to be available for this game. I texted him to tell him I was in the area and ready to go to the game, and he informed me that he was too hung over to go. I know he was hung over, but I am annoyed that a grown man got himself in such a state of inebriation that he couldn’t sit quietly at a game 18 hours later.

    I am mostly angry with myself, though. Why the flaming hell did I rearrange my schedule to attend an event I don’t care about with a person who has shown that he doesn’t care enough about me to be reliable?

    This is who he is. He wants to be the sort of guy who is helpful, caring, dependable, etc. But he isn’t. He over-commits to be the good guy, and then passive-aggressively opts out because he really wants to be a footloose teenager, even in his friendships. I need to accept that he is who he is, and stop arranging my life to suit promises of his that cannot come true. Jesus!

    Kicker? He wanted me to commiserate with him about the symptoms of his self-inflicted malady.


    • Swissmiss says:

      Oh boy, Discarded, does this sound familiar?

      Lately I have been revisiting the madness with the XMM, providing evidence to myself that nothing I said or did would have changed the outcome. I could only see by the light I had at hand, and I left when the picture was clear—next time it will be much sooner.

      The ONLY piece I was never sure about was my disappointment—if I hadn’t expressed my disappointment so much of the time, would the outcome have been different? Was I a perpetual malcontent? No! I was disappointed because I was dealing with three different people, none of whom ever delivered.

      I remember being at a party when women were hanging all over him. I awakened at 3 am, disturbed by what I had witnessed, and we sat up for hours discussing what it, and how to handle it in the future. By that afternoon, he was saying no, it hadn’t been that bad, I had over-reacted (red flag!), by the evening he was saying that women throwing themselves at him had never bothered his wife, and by the following day, he was saying he couldn’t think of a single instance this sort of thing had ever occurred in his wife’s presence. I had motion sickness with him a LOT of the time! Now I know why. A million Tx, Nat.

      • Allison says:


        I’m sorry, but the guy is married.

        I am always surprised when the OW is indignant when the MM is either flirting or actively having sex with multiple partners.

        There is no future with MM!

        • Selkie says:

          I agree Allison. It’s the ultimate in denial and wanting to be the exception. Cheating on his wife is the red flag that gets brushed under the carpet, but cheating on the OW, now he’s a bad guy? When you’re in it and it feels all emotional its hard to see the truth right in front of you, but it is there…cheating is cheating. No exceptions.

          • Swissmiss says:

            I agree, however, he had been out of the house for a year and filed for divorce. I, like many others here, did not realize that being in the midst of a divorce process means NOTHING…you are still married. I did not know about the ‘transitional’ phase and being a fallback girl. Thank goodness for Nat, her book, and this site: they have opened my eyes.

  14. Annabel says:

    Ow so that’s what happened when he (ex) asked me to move in with him two months after we started our relationship… After he actually said he wasn’t ready for one yet (I really hate that I believed he was at this point, but that’s another story).

    And that’s also what happened when I fell for an older man (18 years age difference) who didn’t like the age difference and then kissed me and then craved for attention all the time, but not wanted to be near me… (Certainly not in public)

    Very useful post! Thanks :)

  15. blue74 says:

    Thank you Natalie, this is a very good and consoling post. You described my ex.In direct conversations he always said nice things, but he acted completely different. It took me a very long time to figure these things/ his personality out. In fact just after he left. I´m still suffering and depressions. I didn´t know any person like this before persons who make you believe they care, but don´t at all.
    Thank you for BR!

  16. Drop says:

    Gosh, isn’t it the same what we have been doing?
    Saying one thing e.g. “I can’t take this anymore”, thinking another e.g. “This is killing me, but I will give him one more chance”, and doing another: i.e. putting up with this for a couple of years?

    We are exactly the same. Otherwise we would not have been in such relationship.

    If you can’t take it anymore, don’t.
    If you say you don’t want it any more, don’t do it anymore.
    If you keep doing it, say that you will keep putting up with it.

    Be one person, not three!

    • shelly says:

      I totally agree. I see what I am saying/doing/thinking and know that I am not being congruent. It takes two to be in this kind of relationship….just wish I hadn’t taken so long to learn it!!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Excellent point, Drop.

  17. mereanne says:

    My most recent ex-AC wanted to break up cos he wasnt ready for a relationship…I fully knew he wasnt ready so I agreed with his decision…2 days later he meets another girl and a month later, they are full on dating. It took he and I 4 months before we became official.ah well, thems the breaks, Im actually glad I got out of there when I did cos it was doing my head (and health) in.good riddance to bad rubbish.

  18. EUM-R says:

    exwife was like this in an extreme way, but that was the past. Now that i read this article today i can see how it described me. My actions didn’t match my words.

    so now I’m 100% single/celibate and plan to stay that way for a while. but what’s wrong with flirting?

    • Mymble says:

      EUM Roberto,
      That would depend on what you mean by flirting (there’s a word that is very open to interpretation) and also why you do it. The kind of “flirting” you described in your last post sounded like the kind of behaviour people do as a prelude to “hooking up” and finding casual sex partners. If that’s your interest then why do you read and post here? Most of us are trying to get away from that kind of thing and find better quality relationships.
      Forgive me if I have got it all wrong, but did you cheat on your wife while you were still together? You appear to have a big issue with sexual behaviour. I have sometimes wondered if that is why she is so angry.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      EUM. You just don’t get it? Flirting, by it’s very nature is insincere. Your sending a message of great things to come, but yet you don’t intend to deliver, because you’re celibate. Make up your mind and then act accordingly. What’s wrong with flirting? In your case, the action clearly doesn’t match the thought. At least what you SAY is your thought – celibacy.

      • Rosie says:

        EUM Roberto–Also, why can’t you be alone for a while? Even if you’re celibate like you say, you’re hanging out with somebody you previously had sex with, you’re flirting, which, by its nature is sexual behavior and, like Tinkerbell said, is insincere because you don’t plan to deliver what you’re communicating through flirting. Also, you mentioned flirting in front of the former fwb that you were hanging out with and she didn’t seem to like it much (if I remember what you wrote correctly). She agreed to your terms so that’s on her but why even be “friends” with a former fwb? Show some decency and basic human respect and cut her loose completely. You don’t need that kind of “friendship” and neither does she.

        You say you’re making progress and I guess you are if you’re keeping your pants zipped but that’s all the progress you’ve made. Your other behavior and mentality seem to be the same.

    • Selkie says:

      I like reading your posts, even though they make me uneasy, like revisiting the scene of an accident. It helps me to see the opinion of an EU and how unhealthy it really it is. Why do you flip flop between being conscientious and reckless? This post does seem to describe you, and you seem to recognize that but what do you plan on doing about it? The hot and cold behavior you describe in yourself is not only unhealthy, it’s not fair to the women you inflict it on.

      • EUM-R says:

        wow, yes – these valid points you make and well taken.

        Im temporarily EU because i’m coming out of a long term marriage. I got pregnant and married young (19) and missed out on the going out and socializing.

        I did not cheat when i was married and i don’t think exwife ever did either (but i never did bother to check and she frequently accused me of cheating – hmmmm.)

        I left her because she was physically, verbally, emotionally abusive and it broke me down. i was litterally shutting down physically not able to function at my job and was severely depressed. I feel that i almost lost myself. I fell down that rabbit hole by believing all the projection, blame, lies, and manipulation from ex-wife. I was isolated during marriage and most of her rages would happen at night, so i was also sleep deprived. I think she suffers from BPD from abuse/molestation when she was a child… but that is over/past.

        She couldn’t hold a job and couldn’t complete basic tasks. she was doing a lot of meth and was threatening to kill me in my sleep.

        I have to own my part that i enabled her and i need to work on myself and healing. More than half of my life has been with a mentally ill person and some of the twisted thinking did rub off on me.

        Fast forward to now and divorce has been final for 6 months. I did sexual relation with 6 women since divorce (and yes i did overlapped with 3 of them while recycling with ex-wife).

        I’ve been reading BR for a couple years already and really helped me get through divorce. Even after divorce BR is helping me rebuild myself into becoming EA. This is the hard part where i look inward and fix the parts that are broken.

        So now i’m just single and ready to mingle

        • kookie says:


          i’m gonna cut you some slack here, flirting is sometimes necessary for our sanity but just be careful who you flirt with (exes, attached ppl avoid) and be careful of flirting with someone you see on a regular basis, cos that person might actually like you and be confused by the flirting. as for a cute stranger you meet at the shops, on the train, on the dancefloor, go ahead, you only live once! have fun! dance, smile, flirt and don’t date for a while just treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

          • EUM-R says:

            Spending over half my life with a chopper has left me with extremely low self esteem. Flirting = validating to me right now. Eventually i’ll build myself back to not needing external validation. I definitely need to learn how to self validate and to love myself is hard to get the hang of it.

            I get more empathy here on BR than i ever got from marriage – thank you

            • grace says:

              I’ll cut you some slack too. It’s on the same level as women who get mixed up with MMs, get in touch with exes long after the dust has settled, send texts/emails/cards during NC. As women we can understand why we do those things. with men we assume it’s “just sex” and, to be fair, men tend to be more sex-orientated. It’s not always just sex,it’s also a need for validation, approval, distraction. If you can neutralise that need, life becomes much more peaceful. It isn’t about isolating yourself, or never flirting again, or not needing anyone. You can continue to mix with people of the opposite sex but appropriately. It’s aligning what you believe with how you treat others. And things become less of a “big deal”. It doesn’t matter so much if someone forgot to invite you to a barbecue, or your ex gets married, or didnt reply to a text because essentially you feel okay about yourself.
              I’m happy these days to think of myself as an ordinary person instead of feeling the need to be “better”. It takes a lot of pressure off myself and my dealings with others.

              • Revolution says:

                Great comment, Grace. And you’re so right. I think I’m in that place right now too, and what you say is so true….things stop being such a big deal because we are right at our core.

                Leave the drama to the A&E channel.

          • Teddie says:

            Just an attempt to explain what might be driving Roberto’s flirting: it is encouraged by so called relationship experts, so if he happens to read other sites, that’s exactly what he is being taught: “go out and flirt, this pumps up your masculinity helps you heal”, and BS of this sort. One of these “experts” is even telling women that “sexual behaviour aka flirting is no sex, you are not being a slut by flirting, emitting signals, etc.” I agree that sexual behaviour is what is supposed to lead up to sex and is nothing to play games with.

            • Lacy says:

              Teddie I agree I do believe that flirting most times does lead to sex, and if thats not what your looking for and the other person us you shouldn’t be flirting with them or anybody.Flirting in most cases sends out signals to the other person that your intrested in something further.

        • Selkie says:

          Nothing wrong with flirting, but doing it in front of a recently demoted FWB who you took to the event is callous and maybe a little bit on purpose? Of course she didn’t like it. Kinda mean actually. In trying to look deeper inside of yourself, why do you drag all kinds of new women into it? Slow down a little. Having been deprived of ice cream my whole life isn’t a good excuse to over indulge in eating it now just because I can. Moderation Roberto. There is no fire and you won’t find yourself through your penis. It doesn’t have a brain, contrary to popular belief.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            EUM. I almost replied earlier to your last post. I didn’t because I felt, “this guy is just hopeless. He thinks what he’s doing is cool and right, and there’s no point in trying to advise him anymore”. After reading what others have said to you, addressing you much more effectively than I could have, I’m revising my opinion. Flirting DOES indicate insecurity in the person who is doing it. I agree (as kookie indicated) that it’s harmless if it’s done to a total stranger who you are not likely to see again. But I think that you need to work on why it is so necessary for you, and why it must be multiple women who ARE NOT strangers, and, perhaps, at inappropriate times. That’s the problem. I somehow feel that your maturity has be stunted. You say you married at 19, and spent many years with a person who devalued you. Now that you are divorced, I do hope you will be able to learn more about healthy heterosexual interaction and grow into a mature, confident, man who can appreciate a mentally, emotionally and spiritually sound relationship with women, in general, before becoming exclusive once again. Slow down and smell the roses. And, good luck.

            • EUM-R says:

              The FWB met me at the party, we did not go together.

              So just last night I went out again and the FWB met me at the party last night. She showed up late and she made a joke to me that when she showed up to the dance floor there were 4 women circling around me like vultures! haha And that i was totally obliviuous to it and was just dancing with my eyes closed. FWB made some space for herself next to me, then i was surrounded by 5 women (and a gay dude) LOL. Then this really young girl shows up and they are watching me to see what i do because she puts herself right infront of me… I ignored the young girl and instead reached out for the hand of another of the older ones who danced with me earlier and brought her into the group.

              So it’s just dancing 95% of the time. Sometimes they sandwitch me, even triple sandwitch if they can make room for each other. And only a couple times i kissed.

              But I have faltered once more… after last night’s party the FWB met me at my house and I allowed her to give me oral.

              • runnergirl says:

                Scratches head.

                • Ms Determined says:

                  “I allowed her to give me oral.”

                  BWAH HA HA HA HA.

                  Obvious troll is obvious.

                  • FX says:

                    It occurred to me there is another explanation for this “FWB” woman to keep trying to please him sexually. Maybe, she thinks that the FWB situation would/could morph into an actual r/s. I imagine EUM-R is such an attention whore he strung her along with enough crumbs to keep her engaged for his own ego which she interpreted as hope for a real r/s. Thinking along these lines to herself as she did the deed, “He may be dancing with others but we have an intimate r/s and I’ll show him what he has/will have more of from me if makes me the exception.”

                    So demeaning to contemplate. I’ve been in situations where I was strung along to be used because I received just enough encouragement to meet their needs based upon my fantasies… I need a shower now. Ick.

                    • Lilly says:

                      FX, your comment triggered some awful memories relating to my various attempts to secure the AC affections. All of them as a result of the encouragement and crumbs (big and small, but crumbs nonetheless) he threw my way. Not just sexually, but emotionally and intellectually. I worked so hard for him to see what a wonderful, kind, intelligent, person I was. What a futile endeavour and did I ever sell myself short hoping and fantasising that the situation would morph into a proper relationship. Yes, how demeaning. Never, ever again.

                  • kookie says:

                    ok, i think he is trolling us. haha, had me going for a sec there. disengaging…

              • Lacy says:


                Omg I think u are related to a certain jerkclown.

              • Lacy says:


                OMG,I believe u are related to a certain jerkclown I know no offense towards u.I don’t know u but I just bussed up laughing at what u said, u are celibate in one post but now your getting oral from fwb? How are u celibate?

                • EUM-R, there’s a line and you’re over it. I’m uncomfortable with you using the comments as a way to feed your appetite for female attention and validation. One minute you’re changing your ways, next you’re back like a naughty child announcing your latest misdeeds. This isn’t healthy. BR also isn’t a place where you can keep pressing reset and doing a Britney, Oops I did it again. I don’t want to hear anymore so don’t post anything else. This isn’t a forum and while disrespecting yourself and others, you’re also being disrespectful to readers here, who want to escape this BS and who also keep believing you and your declarations of change. This is not the EUM-R show. I understand that you’ve been through a lot but I fear that we are all inadvertently contributing to your destructive cycle. Enough. We must stop feeding you with attention. This ain’t a harem!

                  • paolo says:

                    I’m glad you stommped on him Natalie..I started to suspect that moron a while back. I hope for any ladies in here that read that man’s garbage that you don’t tarnish with the same brush other men that may post in here.

                    • runnergirl says:

                      No tarnishing on my account paolo. I really appreciate when gentlemen post here because EU/AC issues cut both ways. He has issues for sure. It was kind of interesting to see inside the mind of an EUM/AC. Although, it’s just like Natalie says, it’s all about them. Absolutely nothing to do with me other than I have given these disconnected types the time of day. The minute I feel the 180 routine, I turn it into a 360.

                  • I just want to add everyone that in order to draw a line under this whole thing and so as not to cross boundaries, I’m not posting anymore comments regarding EUM-R, so if you’re wondering where your comment about him is….

                    I appreciate the frustrations but as I’ve asked him to zip it, it’s not really fair for me to then have a stream of comments pulling apart his behaviour or questioning the authenticity of his prior experiences. Let’s move on please!

              • Selkie says:


  19. sushi says:

    People who are disconnected in that way may act in the moment and that implies that they have good intentions in that moment but that is not good enough. A grown man or woman can`t walk all over other people and their feelings without being accoutable for their actions ( or verbal diarrhea), not in my new BR enlightened world, anyway. Natalie, how brilliantly spot on; if our actions match out thoughts it really becomes irrelevant what it is that they do, they simply won`t be in our lives.

  20. grace says:

    I think we very easily get carried away ourselves and place too much value on what someone says who we hardly know or barely see. It’s not unusual for someone to overestimate themselves, you, or the relationship. And it’s not unusual for us to do the same. Without acting like amateur detectives, we can slow down and discover what they are like and what WE are thinking and feeling. You don’t know until you are living and breathing it.
    A lot of our disproportionate disappointment is because our own fantasies have been dashed. The actual person and relationship is probably not all that.
    It’s very easy to imagine the relationship would be perfect if only …

    • Tabitha says:

      Yes Grace, this is me to a tee, thank you. But I have to admit I do love doing a bit of amateur detective work too!!

  21. Liz says:

    If I had a dollar for every man I encountered that behaved like an AC I would be a wealthy woman.
    I met a man recently via an online dating site who told me all about how he believed that integrity was his most outstanding attribute.. how he believed that having two feet in a relationship was so important to him and how we would be so good together. After 4 dates within 8 days he asked me to be his girl and we saw each other every couple of days after that. The honey moon lasted 5 weeks after which he went on a 4 week trip. When he returned, we continued our relationship but he was distant and aggressive during sex. During dinner one evening I mentioned that I would like us to plan date nights and week-end catch ups ahead of time instead of at the last minute. The very next day he texted me to explained that he had left his wife one week prior to meeting me and that he couldn’t continue with this relationship stuff because it was causing complications. I wished him well via text and have not contacted him since. The very next week he was on the dating site again, this time stating that he was looking for a relationship…. Poor AC doesn’t know which was is up. Onwards and upwards for me!

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Liz. He told you he left the wife before meeting you? Hogwash! He’s still with her. He sent you down the slippery slope when you wanted to plan dates. Sure. That creates “complications”, to use his word. MM’s are unable to plan ahead. And, weekend time? Hurry up and wait. Glad you flushed him.

  22. Liz says:

    Forgot to mention that a few days before he sent me the Dear John text message I had noticed that his supposedly hidden dating profile had been edited, so I mentioned that he should have said something if he wasn’t happy with me. He replied that he didn’t appreciate being spied on. Sounds very guilty to me. As I said, I feel sorry for the silly AC.

  23. anastasiagrey says:

    Wow, Natalie; yet another post that is so spot on for me it’s spooky. Thank you! I’m especially grateful that these posts come out just as I’m ready to succumb to nostalgia or wondering if N/C makes me as nasty, mean and cruel as the A/C pegged me as in the end. I especially love this line “irritated that you’re hesitant or even calling them out on their contrary behaviour or past let downs”. YES! The minute you tell this type of A/C that their flip-flop-flapping only-when-the-moon-is-in-Sagittarius-but-maybe-okay-on-a-Tuesday-afternoon words are contradicting their non-actions, YOU become the big bad disrespectful bully. The irony! Enough of that crap. If I really want to feel helpless and batcrap crazy again, I’ll Tardis myself back to my childhood or go on a reality-TV marathon, thank you very much.

    • Suki says:

      Thats because they are passive-aggressive. When you call them out, you are being adult but sometimes it can come out as aggressive. And either way, they perceive it as aggressive. Seeing their inconsistencies is extremely upsetting – and it might be upsetting for anyone, its just that most people are more integrated and responsible.

      • anastasiagrey says:

        Excellent points, Suki! Passive-aggressive, indeed. What I had forgotten to add in my initial comment was my utter frustration (and shame) with myself that this person’s (and others’ like them) flip-flap-flopping started to make ME say and do flip-flop-flap batcrap crazy things sometimes just to try to assert myself or do what I naively believed to be damage control. I was a firm believer of “if this makes no sense or sounds crazy, especially if someone says I’m getting it all wrong, it must be ME with the problem.” Maybe not! Last time I looked, “3 people in one” was the stuff of “Sybil” and my trainers are now set to “flee” if I see any red flags. Thank goodness Natalie keeps us on the straight and narrow with these posts!

  24. marie83 says:

    “They do something because maybe it feels good in that moment and seems like a very good idea. They’re reactive”

    This is my ex all over. His lack of accountability always baffled me – he could swear blind on a Monday that there was no-one else and that he was splitting up with me because he wanted to move away, focus on his eduction blah blah then on Wednesday I would see him with the girl I had accused him of seeing on the Monday and he could just walk on by with no explanantion – in fact he got rather annoyed that I wanted answers

  25. E says:

    This post rings so true for me and is exactly how my relationship ended…. Three months ago on a Thursday night ex EUM goes out with work colleagues visiting from Europe, I’m calling him from 4am frantic with worry and his phone is off. He doesn’t come home until 6.30am Friday morning (both of us are meant to be in work). Obviously I’m not happy and we have a deep meaningful talk when I get in from work he says he loves me more than anything, wants to marry me, have kids have a happy honest relationship – I forgive him.

    He then takes work colleagues out again for a meal that Friday night, he says he won’t be late and that very next night he just doesn’t come home, his phone rings out from 4am and at 11.30am on the Saturday I find out he’s been on a massive drugs binge at a friend’s house. I tell him to move out of my house, he takes his things, says he will change, cries and cries that he loves me but that this is the kick up the ar*e he needs to change his ways and not lose me – this behavior was quite common for him. The Sunday of the next weekend after a week apart he comes round and tells me that he isn’t ready for the responsibility of me and a relationship and it’s over.

    This is after 5 years together and finishing me twice before. I can clearly see that what he did to me was totally unacceptable but what I struggle with is that outside of the poor behavior towards me we were really happy together, he is the first man that I’ve truly truly loved with all my heart and connected with on lots of levels. He told me all the things I wanted to believe that he would be the husband and father of my children and now I’m left with the fact that he clearly isn’t the one and it’s so so hard to let go of the dream I’ve built in my head.

    To get away from the situation I’m moving 3000 miles away to a new country (drastic I know) but I’m struggling as feel like I will never have this connection with anyone else in the future and therefore won’t ever have children or get married. The one thing I’ve learnt through this and other amazing blogs is that love is an action and I shouldn’t have believed the words without the actions to back it up and I won’t repeat this in the future if there ever is a new man.

    I’m so glad I found this blog as it helps so much to read not only the wise words of NML but also everyone’s comments as I know I’m not the only one feeling the pain no matter how much I feel like I am at times.

    • E,

      I think most of us have been in the position where the “dream” we have spent so many moments creating comes crashing down, but I think it is at times like these when you have to remember that it is YOUR dream, not HIS.

      He was supposed to fit into the dream, but now someone else (someone more worthy) will fit into it instead.

      I had the same problem with the ex-cheating-AC who I kept going back to because he told me how he could imagine our baby and me playing with the baby while he brought me breakfast in bed after we were married. So trust me, it is not uncommon to fall for it and I honestly don’t know whether he said it to hurt me on purpose or he didn’t even know what he was saying.

      You have to believe that you WILL have that connection with someone else. There are 7 billion people in this world, do you honestly believe that he is the only one who “gets” you? Think about it – so many human souls who you could connect with: why waste more time with him?

      You moving to a different country is definitely drastic, but a change of scene, people and experiences will give you perspective and break the proximity-problem that others here (including me) have to deal with. You may find that the new place is more healing and you find who you really are and what you deserve – because you surely deserve a hell of a lot better than him!

      Also, “outside of the poor behavior towards me we were really happy together” sounds just like me! I’ve used that excuse SO many times to justify why he was the One for me. But it isn’t true. It means you had to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. You weren’t happy if you had to keep anticipating the bad times! And poor behaviour only gets worse unless he is willing to change (and his actions show this). You can’t keep putting up with the bad times just so you can enjoy the moments of fleeting happiness. You deserve so much more.

      “he is the first man that I’ve truly truly loved with all my heart and connected with on lots of levels” I can appreciate this too and again is something I have insisted on, and I believe it is always hardest with the first guy you fall for, but if you start at the bottom (and he was pretty low down in Prince Charming quality) then the only way you can go is up!

      It will get better and you’ve been proactive enough to take action which shows you are ready to change. Now you just have to give time the opportunity to transform your life and heal your heart. It will happen.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Wish. Please tell me that your moving to another country is not only because of him! Tell me/us that you have other valid reasons.

      • E says:

        Wish, thank you soooo much for your lovely words. You said something that totally clicked with me too: ‘You weren’t happy if you had to keep anticipating the bad times!’ This is so so true and really brought back the memory of how I actually & honestly felt when I was with him. Yes I was happy, but I was waiting for the next time he would treat me badly, finish the relationship or cheat on me again (my EUM was a cheater too – very early on in the relationship but he went back to her when we split and let her tell me all of this over a FB message without coming clean beforehand) as you say that is NOT true happiness. Thank you again for all your kind words. Sending you lots of strength and best wishes, E x

    • kookie says:


      Don’t forget that no matter how physically far you get from him if you don’t put in the work, your mind will be right back at home with him and you won’t even be mentally present for the new and exciting opportunities. I once moved across the world to get away from an EUM , but i still thought about him everyday, especially in the first months when i moved to a new country where i had no friends and no sense of home etc, it made my fantasy memory of him even more attractive Stay strong , but be prepared for the stress of moving countries that may trigger nostalgia.You can ride the wave though, all the best!

      • E says:

        Thanks kookie, I’m really trying to prepare myself for the feelings you describe through counselling, reading Baggage Reclaim, GPYP plus the books. I have just over 6 weeks to go so I’m hoping that time will help especially with my resolve to stay NC. Thanks again, E x

  26. Digs says:

    This was difficult and painful to read … because … this is … me. My most recent heartbreak, and almost obessive reading of BR, has made me realize just how EU *I* am, and how I have been lacking in intergrity. Ouch. I don’t want to be this way. No damn wonder my relationships have failed. Two people who don’t know what they want, can’t commit to being in or out, and knee jerk themselves all over the place. The smart men disappeared, the EUM ones stuck around for the dance. Either way, failure and heartache.

    How do I get real with *myself*, so that I can get real with others?

    • runnergirl says:

      Digs, your comment brought me back to the moment I realized I was as EU as he was. Ouch is right. Actually if you do the math, it’s like 6 people who haven’t a clue.
      How I started to get real with myself is by reading BR obsessively. Then I ordered Natalie’s books. For me, her books provided a context for the the posts on BR. Mr. U and the FBG was a bithday present to me and it was the best birthday present I’ve ever recieved. She described me to a “T” on so many pages. I was startled and stunned into awareness. Then I had to go on a strict BS diet, set boundaries, and enforce my boundaries, still working on that aspect. Most importantly, I had to start focusing on me and treating me with love, respect, and being honest with me…still working on that too. I think this post goes to the heart of moving beyond EU. If I say I want a committed, honest, respectful, healthy relationship and I am thinking that too, then I have to bring my actions in line with what I am saying and thinking. If what I’m saying and thinking is congruent with my actions, the AC/EUM’s get bounced to the kerb within a few hours rather than a few years. MM’s get bounced within a few seconds.
      I’m no where near where I’d like to be but I’m better off than where I was two years ago thanks to Natalie and the BR folks.
      Hope this helps. It was just my path.

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Runner, I’ve been wondering for awhile, are you still dating online? You haven’t mentioned it anymore in awhile, now.

        • runnergirl says:

          Funny question Tinkerbell. Yes, I’m still doing the online dating thing. In fact, last night I had a date with the “creepy-assed triplets”. I couldn’t get the pic out of my head all night. He was a real charmer online (and could spell) so I moved it to IRL after a few exchanges. We spoke on the phone on Monday and agreed to meet tentatively on Friday evening. He claimed to be a critical care RN and needed to wait to hear from his registry about a shift on Friday. Honestly, I forgot I hadn’t heard from him to confirm plans until Thursday so I emailed him and we arranged to meet. Amber flag but I did forget. When he showed up, late, he tells me that he had a great day roasting a boar in LA. I’m not kidding. He’s starting a catering business. Anybody want the recipe for how to roast and entire boar? Red Flag. He wasn’t working as an RN on Friday. His words weren’t matching his words. (Creepy-Assed Triplet #1.) It was like he totally forgot what he told me on the phone about his “shift” as an RN. He had to have known on Monday he was going to roast an entire boar in LA on Friday, right? Why couldn’t he tell me that? When I asked where he went to school, he dropped out of college. Don’t you have to recieve some type of training to be a critical care RN? (Creepy Assed Triplet #2…he talked about his college days on the phone but it was like he forgot about that too.) He is also an aspiring actor waiting for a call back at 61. Did I mention he’s also going to start a reality TV show about cooking. He’s waiting for a call back. There was so much disconnect between his words I wouldn’t dream of sticking around to see his actions.
          The upside: He did most of the talking and I got to enjoy my oysters on the half-shell and the sunset. And I got a good laugh thinking about the “creepy-assed triplets”…Thanks Rev and Natalie.
          PS. One of my dating rules is that when I know I’m not going to see the gentleman again, I pay half.

          • Tabitha says:

            Thanks Runner. Almost as good as tennis shorts guy :)

            • runnergirl says:

              Ah Tabitha, I forgot about tennis shorts guy. Too funny. That’s the thing about online dating, unless you meet them in person ASAP, some of these guys can write a blue streak. The problem with this guy is he apparently didn’t remember what he told me online and on the phone. It was like he said one thing then another both contradictory, then another contradiction. I checked out early on. This morning I got a long email about what a wonderful time he had…no doubt is all he did is talk about how wonderful he is. He’s got to be somewhere tomorrow and can’t say for sure if we can get together. (Who cares.) He’s sure he’ll be available around 9:30 pm. (Yeah, my ass. I can spell booty call.) Late Monday evening, I’ll let this 61 yro with shoulder length gray hair down gently. 61 yro players are totally funny.

              • sushi says:

                that is hillarious! I think you should start writing this up for a film script or better still a reality show. The stuff these guys come up with….I can totally imagine that long haired dude :)

                • runnergirl says:

                  Hey sushi, a reality online dating show based on BR principles would be totally hillarious. He was so into his shoulder length gray hair. It didn’t even blow in the breeze. It was like yuck dude.

              • Mymble says:

                It sounds like he has the attention span of a gnat.

          • Selkie says:

            Yep, any RN, not just critical care, has a specific degree and a state license ( in CA ) that requires a copy of your college transcripts, no way around it. He sounds like he doesn’t even know what he does and can’t stick with one version of himself. He also sounds maybe a bit manic or wishy washy. You dodged three bullets. One from an RN, one from a caterer, and one from an actor. Little does he know his acting isn’t so good.

          • Tinkerbell says:

            Thanks for answering on that score, Runner. One onliner I actually dated (and I only dated two – both bummers) accused me of only wanting a dinner after I told him I was not interested. Duh! Maybe I should have paid for half. LOL!

            • jewells says:

              I think that’s a great idea to pay half if you know you won’t see them again. Then they can’t use that against you. Unless of course it’s an expensive place, at their insistence, then they can take care of it. I think an initial date, coffee and cake would do, low committment, no misunderstandings. Some guys think that dinner pays for bootie, so expensive dinner = assured bootie. No way hozay.

              • Tinkerbell says:

                Hm. Jewells, now you’re making me think perhaps I did, unconsciously, use him? That was not my intention. Oh well, it’s water over the bridge now.

                • FX says:

                  Oh, please… Unpopular opinion alert! The convention of men paying for the first date is just that – conventional and any man who thinks that entitles him to anything other than the pleasure of your company is a dolt. The person who issues an invitation is the host/ess, the one who accepts is the guest. It is actually gender neutral. Check out Miss Manners, Emily Post, et al. Back to dating in my universe, a man is supposed to want to make a good impression on a woman on the first date and I would escape out the backdoor/bathroom window anyone who thought that involved a dinner/sex transaction.

                  But, just to paint myself into a corner here, I also believe that when a man spends as much or more than dinner to look presentable (hair, nails, waxing, make-up, clothes, etc., and women don’t make systemically less than men), maybe, I’ll revisit this… Not going to happen! LOL

                • runnergirl says:

                  The paying half is just more comfortable for me when I know early on it’s not going anywhere. If he’s tremendously late or a total jerk, he pays. The minute he contradicted what he said online and on the phone, I checked out.
                  I haven’t encountered this in the past year and would appreciate your thoughts. After I emailed and indicated that I wasn’t interested in continuing, he emailed a very lengthy response wondering where he had gone wrong. Nobody has has responded thus far once I say thanks but no thanks. Of course, I’m inclined to not respond and delete. Here’s one of the lines in his email: “I left our evening feeling that we had somehow connected and you enjoyed my company with the same energy and anticipation I did.” That about sums it up!

                  • ixnay says:

                    hey, runner,

                    you’re not interested, you said so directly, and you don’t owe him an analysis of his actions/words, a play-by-play of your thought process, or actually one more second of your precious life energy.

                    Once, seriously, I had a guy I’d gone to dinner with twice guilt-trip me into meeting for coffee to “talk” so he could tell me how good we could have been together etc etc. It was my only time to have been in the seeming assclown role, because I was detached, nonresponsive, wanted to end the conversation. Then I felt very guilty.

                    But he was acting like we had had a big breakup, when in fact we had 2 dinners that gave me a not-good vibe. And his insistence that the vibe was in fact good simply confirmed the uneasiness I felt, like I was being rushed.

                    You can’t win with this type; if you tell him honestly about your reservations about him you might end up in an infinite regression of all-about-him communications. Dude needs to man up and step off.

                    • jewells says:

                      Hi Tink, I’m not saying that you used him, just that AC’s can indeed try and use it as an excuse if they are so inclined, so I would say that a good policy is to pay half so that there is a clear line and they don’t feel duped…but then that’s erroneous as we are not responsible for their feelings and they will think and feel what they will and so it’s really up to the individual and what you want to do about it. I know too many men who’s attitude is ‘women this, women that, women just want to take men for what they can…’ and I guess I’m just trying to circumvent that attitude, but in hindsight, it’s not my fault and if a guy pays for dinner does not mean I owe him anything for it regardless of how he sees it or feels about it. So Tink, you did not use him, and he will think what he wants to think, it’ll be whatever backs up his beliefs rather than looking at himself or the situation at hand.

                  • Tinkerbell says:

                    So, Runner, if he drove an hour to meet you for the first time, and he is unfamiliar with your domain, and you decided to have lunch in a moderately priced restaurant, do you pay half or allow him to foot the tab? Just curious. This is assuming he wasn’t a turd and conducted himself like a gentleman? It just does not occur to me to pay when he asked ME for the date. But, I am traditional in my thinking.

                    • Tinkerbell says:

                      In my case there were no hugely negative vibes. The date was not awkward. I just was not into him, and he was a lot younger with a very good job.

      • Digs says:

        Thanks Runner. I am definitely going to have to order Nat’s books…reading this blog has been so helpful, I have spent a ton of time here, I am probably ready for the books now. I don’t think I was ready before. I didn’t see that the problem included me. I am starting to see that now.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Natalie. Please get us The Dreamer… in book form?

        • runnergirl says:

          Digs, It’s been a long road to hoe for me. I think I’ve read every self-help book on the market. I even read more than my therapist and could recommend books to him. Natalie’s books are by far the absolute very, very best. I cried, I laughed my arse off, and she finally got through to me in a way nobody ever has. When you say: “I didn’t see that the problem included me. I am starting to see that now.” means you are probably ready. The great thing for me was realizing how what I was saying, doing, and thinking didn’t match. I was so focused on his mismatching words, actions, and thoughts, I didn’t have time to focus how out of sync I was with myself. I was lacking in awareness. The fabulous take-away from Natalie’s work for me has been that I can change and live congruently with my words, actions, and thoughts. Natalie’s books and blogs changed my life. Hope you will keep posting Digs.

  27. noquay says:

    Really loved this post. So true, it is like such folk are two, even three different people who do not talk to each other. Towards the end, AC was like this to an extreme. At night, warm, affectionate, very flirty, then cold the next morning. Not sure if he even understood what he was doing. After the humiliating split, I noticed the same thing in his work life, acting uber responsible, volunteering for committees, then not showing up or even coming to class. No follow through. Now when someone shows the least bit of inconsistency, my Spidey senses go off big time.

    • Dashee says:

      It’s so important to pay attention to everything they are doing – not obsessively so, and not uber-judgmental but just quietly watching. If people are inconsistent with words matching actions, it will show up at work, in hobbies, how they take care of their living space, personal habits, etc. I worked with the ex and looking back I can now see many, many signals that showed him to be a careless guy who didn’t think he had to follow any rules. This trait showed itself at work, and certainly in our relationship. And why wouldn’t it? That’s who he was, no matter how he tried to pass himself off as otherwise.

      Also, afterwards I discovered that most of the people we worked with did not like or respect him. Another crucial red flag. Again, if I had been paying attention, I would have noticed this sooner, not later.

      • Revolution says:

        That is so true Dashee! This part especially:

        “If people are inconsistent with words matching actions, it will show up at work, in hobbies, how they take care of their living space, personal habits, etc. I worked with the ex and looking back I can now see many, many signals that showed him to be a careless guy who didn’t think he had to follow any rules.”

        I remember driving with the ex-AC “friend” and while we were driving through this one section of road where people were merging from three lanes to two, he said to me, “Oh, I always pass everyone on the right right here.” I looked over at him and said, “Wow. You drive like an asshole.” Kinda laughed it off, but for some reason a myriad of little things like that come back up in your head afterwards.

        • EllyB says:

          Well, as a fan of the “Late merge” method ( which is even required by law in some countries, I don’t consider this behavior as particularly selfish. Of course, most people aren’t aware of this because it’s a bit counter-intuitive.

          On the other hand, I’m astonished how everybody seems to agree that continuing as long as possible on the merging lane is “extremely selfish” behavior while most people seem to be way more hesitant to recognize other actions that are truly evil for what they are!

          I’m quite sure he was an AC anyway… guess he didn’t even know about the “late merge” approach.

          • Revolution says:


            Yeah, he’s a douche either way. And I’m fairly certain he was using, not the “late merge” but the “douche merge” method, which is basically just passing everyone on the right at high speeds (mostly a no-no in the States) and cutting off the last poor bastard at the last minute.

            I take your point, however, which is basically: “THIS is what I’m focusing on, when he’s shown in so many other ways that he’s a dickwad??!!”

            Yes, Elly. Yes.

            • EllyB says:

              Sorry, Revolution, I wasn’t judging you at all!

              It was just a bit triggering for me… because even in places where “late merge” is the law, some other drivers (who apparently don’t understand this law which is fairly new) “punish” me for not merging early. They intentionally block the road, thus not allowing me to merge late, they honk like crazy and make me feel like the biggest jerk on earth.

              It’s a double-bind: Either I violate the law… or I make them believe I am the most selfish person on earth. In such cases, I simply don’t know how to “do it right”.

              • Revolution says:

                Elly, no need to apologize girl! I totally understand your point, and took no offense! :)

  28. pinkpanther says:

    I have had all this happen to me. And I have also done all this to other people.

    I think this sort of thing happens because so many people are in a huge rush to “get” the prize. There seems like a lot of entitled peeps out there, treating people like objects. We do what we can to get what we want and delude ourselves in the process.

    I have equally done and been undone by this sort of thing.

    It reminds me of the capitalistic system at it’s worst. It’s the American way to:

    use people, lie to them, sell them sh!t they don’t need, poison them with toxic substances.
    Personal gain rules!

  29. still standing says:

    Mine wasn’t present. It all came down to that. When we were together, we had a lot of fun. Easy, warm, fun. He even told me he loved the way “we” were unfolding. That time was making him fall more into me. I was treated to grand future talk.

    But it was the forgetting what he had said. The actions only held up half the time. When I would call him on it; he would look at me as if I were crazy; or make the excuse that work was so all consuming. Of course, I was made to feel I had no idea how much pressure he was constantly under. Sex, on the other hand, never too much pressure for that. (Surprise!) Then he tells me I need to harp on him, he forgets! But if I harped on him, I was a harpie!

    After a particularly romantic weekend in NYC, (a week before my birthday, where my NYC friends gave me gifts, he was there, he saw) it was my actual birthday. He calls to ask if I can go furniture shopping with him. Sure. It dawns on me he doesn’t know it is my birthday. My cell phone is binging, friends calling from all over the world…I apologize to him and say “It’s my birthday, I need to take some of these calls.” He apologizes, he is so sorry, he didn’t know it was my birthday!(But, but, we were in NYC and…wow.) I had business/dinner plans that night…so…from him, I got nothing. I chalked it up to his stressful but lucrative career. Plus I’m not big on celebrating getting older, and all that, but it was disappointing.

    Months go by, still that feeling he isn’t present, he forgets, actions and words don’t always match, but we are growing as a couple. He mentions this frequently. Long story short, I was heading to Italy for a friend’s wedding, he had been invited months prior, but he never followed up and I didn’t harp. That isn’t my job! The night before I left, he comes over, is very sweet, is sad he isn’t going, tells me I should have reminded him more…asks what other men will be there…and then…asks me when my birthday is.
    “You were with me on my birthday”.
    “I was? What did I get you?”
    “You bought me lunch.”
    “Ohhh, sweetie! That doesn’t sound like me! I’m so sorry, next time I will make it up to you.”

    Anyway, I just broke it off with him. Because he is so good at his career, I’ve been thinking there is no way he can be this disconnected. But I also realize as long as I stick around for these crumbs, that’s all I’m going to get. If he really felt he had to pay attention to get me; he would. He got all of me without having to put out much effort. That is my fault.

    Sent him a break-up email saying we were in two different places, (honestly wanted it on paper because conversation would bring quizzical looks when he didn’t remember what was said or future faked), he responds that he is sorry I feel that way, but that I am right. He then goes on to say if I ever need him for anything, to please get in touch.

    Wow. Yeah, you’ll be the first person I call if I ever need anything!! (I didn’t send that. Just mind blowing. It’s NC now.)

    Thanks for this web site, and letting me vent.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Wow, Still standing. That sounds like a non-relationship if there ever was one. It must have taken an inordinate amount of patience on your part. He may be very capable on his job, but, nevertheless seems to be mentally challenged. You must be happy that you no longer have to raise a child who is a grown man.

  30. Wiser says:

    A painful post for me because it rings so true. I still can’t wrap my mind around the “say one thing, do another” mentality unless the person in question is a 14-year-old. But certainly not something I expected to find in the 60-year-old ex. I suppose I’m actually lucky to have made it to my mid 50s without encountering this kind of crap behavior before from any of the adults in my life – but the down side to that is that I was naïve and unprepared and didn’t recognize the red flags when they popped up. I found myself on the receiving end of the worthless “I meant it at the time” and didn’t see it for the shit statement that it is. He admitted that he knew his words and actions didn’t match and that this “troubled” him – and I remember I actually felt sorry for him, poor confused suffering lamb!

    I was angry at myself for a long time for being such a fool, but no more. Happily, I no longer even feel like a fool. I am a loving, honorable, trustworthy and compassionate person who would NEVER do to any person what he did to me. And I’m glad that I don’t even understand the mindset of someone who could act this way. If that means I’m naïve and vulnerable, then so be it. I’m basically an optimistic and trusting woman, and the worst tragedy of the relationshit would be to allow him to change that about me. Yes, I’m smarter now and hopefully wiser, but it would awful if I became just as wary, hard, manipulative and cynical as he is just in the name of protecting myself. I hope that if I had to interact with him in the future for some reason (highly unlikely, but there might be some work contact I won’t be able to avoid) that I could remain my kind, caring self. I can relate to Learner on this on. Yes, of course it was extremely painful to be duped, dumped and humiliated and I certainly don’t ever want to go back there again – but how much more painful it must be to be HIM and be stuck with his utter lack of character and integrity, to be a shit and knows he’s a shit 24/7! I’ll take being naïve and vulnerable any day of the week over that.

    • Learner says:

      Wow, he acknowledged the disconnect. An insightful EUM then! Yes, best to keep being YOU and let the users continue on in their miserable lives. Here’s to integrity and character!

  31. Selkie says:

    I love how these posts keep me grounded and on the right path. Even though I’m light years from where I was two years ago, I still need a lil nudge from time to time to stay true and not drift into the oncoming lane and blinding headlights of a fast talking EU.
    I have never felt so relaxed with my own company. Listening to myself and trusting what I have to say, and to how I feel is like a buffer/truth serum to the confusion that can come with a hot and cold person. I’m learning not take it so personal because it wasn’t about me, it was about them struggling internally with their own disconnect and dragging me into it. Not fair, not healthy and not attractive. Even if I did say the wrong thing, or failed some secret test they set up, it still doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. It just means I don’t fit into their twisted agenda, and why would I want to fit into someone’s EU life? Life is too short to struggle with someone who can’t be present consistently. It’s a waste of time to try and figure out the multiple personalities of someone who has no idea who they are or what they want.

    • EUM-R says:

      Bingo! in yo face – straight up!

      I like this description of EU.

      thank u

    • Maz says:

      wow, Selkie and Wiser your posts relate so much to what I’ve gone through. 18mths NC with my EUM and I’m still struggling with removing him from my head and heart. Been through a lot of health issues which, of course, have led me reminiscing and wanting some comfort so I turn to those “happier” times.
      But that said, so much disappointment from my PA EUM, for a long time I felt so much compassion for what he was going through and neglected myself. Not sure why we do this. What I do know is, I’m a person who will never stop caring whereas the EUM cares for all of 5sec “in the moment” and then moves on. Our own personal worth and creed is all we have to care about, in the end it’s the only thing we’ve got.

  32. Lizzy says:

    Great article natalie! At the end of my 10-year relationshit with the flip-flapping, future faking, gaslighting, actions-never-matching words assclown, a good friend summed him up: ‘the problem with Pxxx was that he had 64 different personalities and I only liked one of them’!

  33. Marie says:

    Oh my… this rings true for a situation I had a couple of years ago that REALLY sent me reeling emotionally. The quick story is: dating a father of two for 6 months, said he wanted me to meet his kids, spend more time, incorporate our time together (he had them 50% and did not introduce any new females into the picture for fear of confusion and upset). He talked to the oldest and the ex, prepped for a meet and greet. He then seemed quiet for a few days the following week, I asked what was going on, was everything okay. He said yes. I said “okay, if you need to talk about something, please do. I won’t press if you are sure you are okay, but I get the feeling something is up. Just know you can talk to me even when the talk may be difficult.” Two days later, he left my bed one weekday morning, went to work. A day later, when I hadn’t heard from him about the weekend plans (it was a “free” weekend therefore we would spend it together usually) he said “I can’t this weekend. I’m sure you saw this coming. Perhaps we can talk next week. I’m sorry.” I did not see it coming, but I felt it coming. I thought I had covered my bases with that attempt at talking. The red flags were there, but he couldn’t tell me his fears/feelings or whatever. I never heard from him again. The hardest goodbyes are the ones you never hear and never get a chance to say.

    What I know today is that I need to listen to those feelings. I was hurt that he didn’t care enough to treat me kindly and let me down properly. Coward behavior which I saw glimpses of during the relationship with regard to the ex. People show you who they are, listen and believe them. M

    • Tinkerbell says:

      That is just cruel after you gave him every opportunity to ‘fess up and tell you what was wrong. He deliberately chose to be hurtful in the way he exited. Who does that?

      • Selkie says:

        AC’s and cowards do that. I met one who followed the same playbook.

      • Allison says:

        Yes. That was very cruel.

        So sorry, you had to deal with someone like that.

        • Stephanie says:

          Marie I experienced the exact same thing he had two sons from previous relationship. He told me I could meet them when the time was right along with a whole load of other future faking stuff. He would have them every other weekend but on his free weekends he was was always “busy” I only saw him during the week. When he started blowing cold I got confused and asked him if something was wrong and he said nothing at all was wrong. We spent the evening together went to the cinema then he never called back or retuned my calls. Its cowardly and hurtful. Admittedly I pumped him up in my head and the relationship meant more to me than it did to him.

  34. Jenny says:

    Oh my gosh, this has so been me in the past! I am taking time out of relationships at the moment in order to sort out what I really want – and to have the courage to say what I want. In the past I was so desperate for love, and so would do anything/be anything/say anything to get it. BR has helped me hugely to learn how to love myself! My life is changing, and I love it. I will be more careful in future . . . Sorry to all those guys who were left hurting and scratching their heads!

  35. Atrophy says:

    Friends with occasional benefits = bad idea.

    “Friends” – we are acquaintances who know 40 of the same people, don’t know much about one another and don’t care to know more either.
    “Occasional” – if I’m in town and don’t have any other plans, monthly, after getting back from international vacations…convinience really.
    “Benefits” – sex, used to be great when we were genuinely interested, now we don’t even try, maybe just once, for the sake of it and not even attracted to one another.
    movies/dinner – occasional hang, low communication, pass the time
    concerts/dancing/drinks – get out of the house, too loud to talk/alcohol makes it better
    cuddling – contact comfort, we’ll take naps, just lifts the spirit (totally using one another to avoid loneliness) – this isn’t working
    Wasting time – instead of living our lives/planning ahead, we’re just getting through the hours of mundane

    We are both bored, I feel pathetic, uninspired by one another, don’t know how to stop it, both being too polite.

    I’ve decided today, acquainted is fine, we aren’t hurting one another since neither is interested, one of us has to pull the cord, and that’ll be me.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Thank God you flushed that relationshit. It was very primal and animalistic. Humans are supposed to have evolved higher than that. There’s got to be more than just a hug and a f%&K.

    • Mymble says:

      Your post made me smile, I recognise the ennui you’re describing and the reluctance to move on even when you know there’s nothing there.
      Sounds like there could be about a million better, more productive and/or fun ways to spend your time.

  36. DiggingDeeper says:

    I was really disappointed in myself for getting entangled with my ex-male-‘friend’-AC with a girl friend. We were both behaving thoughtlessly, carelessly, and like AC’s.

    I’m proud of myself for putting a stop to it, but I don’t want to do something like that again….

    I’m confident that I have a good moral compass; I’ve set a boundary with myself to use it, end of.

    I’m human, so I know I’m gonna make mistakes, but I just don’t want to make mistakes when I so clearly “know better”, want better…surely, I can do better…, so I do better, end of.

  37. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    “The key thing is for you to match what you think with what you do and with what you say because as long as you’re doing this, you’re being you.”

    Sorry Natalie, as Dorothy said to the Wizard, “Oh, I don’t think there’s anything in that black bag for me.”

    My thinking isn’t always clear, and the people pleasing,…eh…, my actions are sometimes driven by triggers, and/ or addictions,(I’m very reactive), and my beliefs, pffttt, some of them I’m not even aware of, some are still limiting…some aren’t even mine…insidious codependency, etc.

    But, I’m going to keep building, and I’m not going to give up, so yes, one day, …one day….

    That’s going to have to be a long term goal for me…something to think about though. :)

    <3~~On Leaving Sugarland

    • Tinkerbell says:

      On Leaving Sugarland. I always wonder why we choose certain monikers. Your above post inadvertently explains why you have chosen yours. I get it. All the best in reaching your goals. Peace and Light, Tink.

  38. Marie says:

    There’s not much I can add here only to say that I’ve endured a lot of the he says one thing, does another, thinks something different deal. I fell for it a few times, learned, and don’t listen to it.

    Just a thought though, is it mostly guys who do this sort of thing? I’m not saying we women don’t pull crap on guys, but I don’t think this sort of crap.

    I think usually if we women are seeing a person for a reasonable amount of time, we expect that plans will be made and kept short of a major interfering disaster. I don’t think even in the most casual relationships women are bothered by, “Hey, let’s go bowling next Saturday” and think that it’s anything more than bowling. The AC says, “Hey, let’s go bowling next Saturday” and then he experiences a crisis – uh-oh, first comes bowling, then comes marriage. NOOO!! Backtrack, I’ll lay low until she forgets.

    I actually do know a female AC. She was engaged to a very nice man who had driven her to Tennessee to see her folks. As the story goes, while he was in a convenience store, a family member picked her up while she wasn’t looking. FYI, the guy was very nice not a wife-beater like her previous guy. He was heartbroken.

    Still, 90% of the time, it appears to be the guy who pulls this “flighty” shit. I’m fortunate at this point I’m not looking for more than casual relationships, but I don’t plan my life around plans that never materialize either. I’m better at flushing, it’s difficult though because the smelliest ones are so hard to flush!

    • Marie says:

      The story is that she was picked up while HE wasn’t looking.

    • grace says:

      I think it’s equally men and women. I think men don’t share their experiences so much and (gross generalisation alert) women are capable of coming up with better excuses!
      My boyfriend is very reliable and so are my brothers. They’re all younger than me so it’s not an age thing.

      • Revolution says:

        “women are capable of coming up with better excuses!”

        LMAO, Grace!!!! 😉 True dat.

    • Allison says:


      There are a lot of women who are jerks! The behavior is not gender specific!

      We have to be careful not to male bash.

      • jewells says:

        Amen, I know I still have the makings of and have been a full on Assclown myself at times, so, yeah, not gender specific. If I hadn’t been able to justify and validate the exMM’s excuses, that shit storm wouldn’t have gotten off the ground, and I wouldn’t be here…

  39. truth=freedom says:

    This is such a timely post. Have been NC for 16 months, apart from very minor blips when exAC discovered my favourite coffee shop where I meet one particular friend and he always seemed to appear. I changed coffee shops quick smart. I bumped into him whilst shopping three weeks ago. We exchanged pleasantries, he commented on me now wearing glasses….how it made me look like a sexy secretary…PUHLEASE!!He has never made attempts to call, text, email,but seemed to find him lurking in or around my favourite places. A week later, answer the telephone and its HIM. Caught me totally off guard,He asked “Do you want a visitor?” I say politely, no its not a good time for me, and he replies that he is downstairs outside my security block!!!Waiting to press intercom. How sneaky checking I was home by phoning first!! He comes in and the conversation again returns to my glasses and failing eyesight. I happen to mention I have to see a specialist and have medical tests/scans for my eyes. He insists he wants to come with me. I strongly decline the offer telling him its totally unnecessary. He says, ” I know I don’t HAVE to come with you but I WANT to come with you and be there for support.” “I am going to take you, please accept my offer.” Well…..its been two weeks now….not a Dickie Bird Word from the AC since…had the scans and eye testing done already!!! Its all huff and puff with these assclown idiots, but thanks to my new found knowledge from Natalie, I knew the outcome of his empty words. I spent too long with this AC, and I didn’t dodge the bullit, but in the beginning I thought the bullit had hit a vital organ….through time I realise he had only grazed my pinkie toe,and I can dance again!!!!

    • Allison says:


      I’m sorry, but WHY did you let this guy in?

      • Tinkerbell says:

        Truth, I have the very same question as Allison.

        • truth=freedom says:

          Dear Tink and Allison
          I asked myself that same question later!!!! And was annoyed with myself for not telling him to get lost! He got me totally off guard, because I never expected that he would turn up after 16 months, who does???

  40. A says:

    I never understood what the AC got out of being a flake. One of the rudest examples, I think, was that he used to talk about us spending holidays together, only a couple of days beforehand, and then be nowhere to be found the day of. The first time he did it he also made a point of how I “had no one” in this city and that he was my only “family” here while he was suggesting plans. The day of, his phone was off. When I did speak to him, he said something about it being my fault that he didn’t call me earlier because I never left a message….oh, and I couldn’t be mad at him for spending time with his family. Another time it was something like, “if you wanted to spend the day with me you should have told me because I have so much going on”. When I told him that he was the one who had in fact talked about us spending the day together, he responded with an amused, “did I?”

    I really can’t fathom what joy he would get out of suggesting plans and then bailing every time (I never mentioned the upcoming holidays). Maybe he just liked the idea of me wanting to spend those days with him but didn’t want me to have any expectations that it meant anything.

    After he broke things off but was still stringing me along, I tried to get some clarity on what he was thinking and told him where I stood. He mostly refused to communicate with me at all, but one comment he made (angrily) was, “maybe in a month I might want to date you, I don’t know, today I don’t want that”. In hindsight and some BR knowledge, I now think that statement probably does describe how he lives his life–on whims, having no idea what he might or might not want on any given day or hour. Of course they need to keep us around as options because they have no idea whether or not they might want to be with us again! So bizarre….as though their thoughts and feelings are mysterious, unknown and completely out of their own control.

  41. espresso says:

    This post sums up the crazy making core of my long term marriage and is probably the most important one I have read. It brings me close to tears to read it because it took me years of frustration, CONFUSION (I thought you said, didn’t you say??????), anger, and such pain to figure out that congruency was SO important to me but that my ex didn’t act this way. I spent years being so confused and wondering what the heck was going on.

    He had lots and lots of “good intentions” and great “feelings” (he is a dreamer) but they never were translated into actions – he never observed and learned and he never applied and he never took a risk. He never followed through with real work and commitment in these deeply emotional areas. I think he would “dream” about what he was going to do or how he was going to be and get all excited about it and state it but when he walked away…he never ever thought of it again and what the implications of his actions would be on people close to him. When I ended the relationship he said (many times) in a very serious tone that he wanted to built a post marriage of deep trust and consideration with me – that it was going to be his MAJOR goal and that he was NOT interested in building a relationship with another women for a LONG time because he KNEW he needed to work on himself. He said that even though he knew our marriage was over he was going to show me that he could be the considerate and aware person he knew wanted to be! Less than 24 hours later he was fast forwarding a deeply intimate impulsive relationship with a stranger on a flight to France which was then thrown in my face in circumstances that were unbelievable in their insensitivity and carelessness. When I said I was surprised he was moving so fast towards an intimate relationship he told me I had the problem because he hardly knew the woman and it was NOT intimate as he carried it on etc. (Perhaps he should have mentioned that to her!) I found the whole event traumatizing and it really really set me back in my recovery from this marriage. BUT the reason WHY it set me back so much was the absolutely lack of awareness and stunning incongruency I saw in all its many colours, so DEEPLY and in a way as complete revelation…or in such a way that I couldn’t deny it. It had been there all the way along in our relationship but wanted to believe that when he stated an intent he actually was going to do it.
    This point about ‘managing down my expectations” is incredible. He was the master at saying ” I don’t know if I can ever give you want you want.” And he thinks he is being “honest”. But really it was taking no responsibility at all and putting the responsibility on me (see, I am telling you not to be in a relationship with me but if you stay and get hurt because I actually don’t DO anything then that is your problem!)

    I hope I have learned this lesson….we are still working out separation arrangements and now I try to get everything around these arrangements in written form and on paper. But I realize it will never be enough. A person who is not congruent can never be trusted and it explains why I was always trying to guard and protect myself because I “knew” I was emotionally unsafe.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Espresso. I can see that you really have had your hands full with this individual who (at this date) remains your husband. I can imagine the emotional trauma of dealing with someone that you can never believe a word from his mouth. You must be a patient person and I have to admire that. Most of all, I respect that you are extracting yourself from your marriage to him, little by little and with much precaution. I would imagine a person like him could launch surprising vindictiveness when you may appear to be vulnerable. I wish you all the best and hope you will soon be legally divorced from the creature.

  42. Oli says:

    Yep, sounds about right! This was my relationship to a T.

    My ex EUM said he was going to therapy, making changes, wanted to make an effort to work on the relationship after our two years together. Low and behold two days later dumped me because it no longer was “working”. I found out 2 months later I was dumped for another woman.

    The trend in my relationship was his actions not honoring his words. It stings a little knowing he’s moved on before me, but Im willing to bet he’s not honoring his words with her either. Either way who cares! All I can say is Poor girl. Thanks for taking the reins away from me on the (as Natalie says) the three legged horse I was beating to death. Glad that is over and moving on to much greener pastures!

  43. FX says:

    It often takes me a few visits to NML’s post and the comments to get the full effect of the amazing wisdom here… My experience related to this post was pretty twisted… Of course, the whole r/s was but I didn’t see it.

    This relates to the nostalgia post, too, because I do sometimes want so much for the false to have been true… The Ex Narcissist/AC was so generous and seemingly insightful about my desires and interests. He was always doing and buying in ways that seemed so in tune with my interests in needs and all the while undermining me. Early on my mother told me he was controlling and I sort of knew it but kept on believing my own lying eyes to hold onto the fantasy. LOL. If he was alone or took his children shopping, he would return with something for me that was so perfect that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed but became so. He would take pics on his phone of things to buy for my daughter I knew she would love. He made love to me like I was the most desirable woman on the planet, cooked me amazing meals, took me to out to the best places, picked me up from seminars across town at late hours as if it was his mission to please and care for me. All the time he was making himself indispensable, somehow I was subtly being undermined and made to feel as if I was a consistent disappointment in some way or that I was deserving of punishment. But, the adoration and generosity continued… After all, he does so much for me, what is wrong with me to doubt that his intentions toward me are honorable? As time went on and I lost more of myself and my old life, he became even more controlling and punishing. Then, I was so damaged, he had to start with other women, too, because I wasn’t the same anymore…

    To this day, I think he believes he is as wonderful through and through as was to me at first and intermittently thereafter and that things changed because I did. My belief now is that he is a completely self-centered narcissist and it made HIM feel good to be THAT MAN and he also knew the right hooks for me to see him that way. His actions and intentions never matched. He wanted to own and control me and he used velvet gloves that felt so good that I stayed for several years because they soothed the hurt of the raw wounds inflicted in-between.

    I have been NC for a year this week and I have to admit I am still pissed off that he couldn’t just be the part of him that made me feel so cherished and with whom I had such amazing sex and so many shared interests I haven’t even mentioned here. I know this is reality smacking me but it’s still hard to accept that if any part of the top line data is not true, then none of it is true. End of.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      I can relate. It is very easy to be fooled when a man is “perfect” doing everything for you and giving you everything you could possible ask for. I think it takes a very wise, discerning woman to see that there may be daggers paused to pierce the heart and mind. We are very fortunate when an older,wiser observer can gave you a “heads up” on what is really happening. My husband (God rest his soul) took great pride in being the “be all and end all” in my life. He did truly mean well without ulterior motives, which is why I continue to think of him fondly. However, he did not realize that his behavior was emotionally crippling for me. I did not realize it, either, until after he passed on and I was left feeling totally lost and not just emotionally. I get it that you wish he could have been the “good man” without the eventual cheating, etc. It can be very hard to come to terms that you are in an unhealthy relationship if the person is not beating you, cussing you out, etc. or clearly disrespecting in other ways. I had both situations in my two marriages. The first, was a beater, the second was extremely kind and deified me. BOTH WERE UNHEALTHY. So, now I’m insecure about what a healthy relationship really is. My boyfriend continues to be THE ONE but I still want guarantees. There can be none. So even though I’m in a relationship in which I find great pleasure and comfort, I remain insecure. I very much fear leaving the comfort zone in which I currently enjoy. This is why I remain very actively reading and commenting on BR. I avidly look forward to my weekly therapy visits. I know I’ve made great strides but I feel there is so much more. I post this because, certainly, there must be others in our population who are having these same feelings. i just want to assure you, you’re not alone. Tinkerbell.

      • On Leaving Sugarland says:

        Hi Tinkerbell,

        “The first, was a beater, the second was extremely kind and deified me. BOTH WERE UNHEALTHY. So, now I’m insecure about what a healthy relationship really is. My boyfriend continues to be THE ONE but I still want guarantees. There can be none. So even though I’m in a relationship in which I find great pleasure and comfort, I remain insecure. I very much fear leaving the comfort zone in which I currently enjoy.”

        I really get ‘this.’ I was married to a narcissist; he was diagnosed by our marriage counselor (a psychologist). As you probably know, codependents, I am a recovering one, are narcissistic-bait; hence, I have been in relationships with a few narcissists.

        Your comment made me think a great deal about *trusting oneself*: not valuing other people’s opinions over your own; trusting your gut, intuition, and judgment; knowing you will be there for you with love and compassion, no matter what happens in the relationship; knowing that you will be fine.

        Sure, you can never escape pain, but that’s ok because YOU will be there for YOU, and you know you can reach out to others for help when you need to, and there are so many kind hearts in this world.

        Ok, so good self-esteem in tow-check; good strong boundaries-check; …-check…-are you treating yourself with love, care, trust, and respect- check…-check….

        Ok, Tinkerbell, step outside of your comfort zone. I’m cheering for you!

        Blessed be,
        ~~On Leaving Sugarland :)

        • Tinkerbell says:

          On Leaving. Thanks you so much for your encouraging words. I remember your posts about trying to thrive while dealing with narcs. My boyfriend and I are doing much better than I’m indicating. I’m a born pessimist. Right now, we’re going from the “puppy love” stage to being more open, and revealing ourselves without trying to make impressions. So I question myself as to how much I’m really into him when I see things that I don’t much care for. But, it’s all good because you cannot maintain a healthy relationship living on cloud 9. That’s FANTASY. We’re just being ourselves and I have to trust myself that this is part of a normal transition that would take place whoever the guy may be. Fortunately, there are only infrequent little bumps or glitches, not craters in which I’m trying to avoid or dig myself out. Your words are spot on. Thank you.

  44. Liz says:

    I would like to add that if you are feeling anxiety in any relationship – it always points to the absolute fact that the relationship is not right for you. Flush and move on!

  45. runnergirl says:

    Just want to say, I LOVE your illustrations Natalie. Hugely powerful. You are so amazing and talented.
    Give the little girls and the hubby a hug.

  46. noquay says:

    Flirting for validation sends mixed messages which are very hurtful to those on the receiving end. Just like Nat discussed in this post, words, actions, feelings are not in line at all. You are trying to heal, you cannot offer a woman anything other than friendship right now. To suggest anything else is to use another for attention and validation. Right now, validating yourself can only come from you. You can socialize with friends but you also need to put in that grieving alone time. Feel the pain, embrace it, learn from it. That’s where insight into the relationship, into yourself is going to come from. When my marriage broke up, I had to go into the woods, practically deal with no one for a couple of months, saw a lot of grizzlies during that time so it wasn’t a total loss. After AC, I had to step away, be in the woods, work hard, avoid any attention for a long time. You’re going to have put in the time too. Sorry to seem so mean but there’s no other way to heal and avoid inadvertently hurting others.

  47. noquay says:

    You are so right. When AC and I would have lunch with colleagues, on Wed occasion there would be a very subtle, very cutting remark about him. I thought the person doing this was merely envious, as the commenter could be a difficult individual. It was a warning. I understand now that his not being very OK involved in community, not socializing with colleagues was because he was disliked and his reputation with women was common knowledge to those who had been there longer than I.

  48. Tinkerbell says:

    Sarah. And now you can stop calling him “my own personal assclown”. The word “MY” indicates ownership. Did you marry him? No, and from what you have written he was not even exclusive with you. So, wouldn’t you want to distance yourself from him and not call him “MY” anything? When was he ever yours? I’m not being hardass just on you. I’ve brought up this point several times on several other posts and a lot of BR women are no longer referring to an AC as “MY”. It’s ridiculous when you stop and think about it. Most importantly, it’s perpetuating your being stuck and unable to divorce yourself from his grip on you. Good luck and keep reading BR.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sarah, I’m sooo glad you got my point. I know instantly when someone says “My AC” or “MY EUM”, that it is someone who is new or reads BR infrequently because if they’re on here over time they will not continue to use that phrase, and yet it is still used so often. I’m glad you “got it”. I’m still cringing at least once per post. Hohum.

  49. Revolution says:

    Nat, I’m with Espresso in the sense that it takes me a couple of run-throughs to really digest what you’re saying in your posts (not that they are complicated points, but the flavor takes time to build on the palette, you know?).

    The writer in me wants to condense this post into a couple of words. And I think the words are: Disconnection and Cowardice.

    You are SO RIGHT, Natalie, about the disconnection within the ACs/EUs. Not that that is reason to mess us about, as if there’s an excuse for their behavior, but it does make sense. They really don’t get it. I remember crying in front of the AC the last night that we were hanging out (before I ditched him at the restaurant bar because of his shady ways), and you’d have thought I was just a toadstool to him, and not a friend who needed some comfort and a listening ear. I got the brush off. So much for “BFF”s.

    The other word, Cowardice, is the last part of the equation. I think that it is either part of the driving force or the result of their disconnection with their emotions. I’m not sure which, haven’t figured it out. But they are living a very flesh-oriented life (“what can I eat, drink, eff right now?”) that makes no room for the depth of connection with others, and the responsibility that it inherently comes with.

    Sorry to end on a preposition, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 😉

    • Revolution says:

      Oops, it was FX, not Espresso, that I should have referred to in my first sentence. :)

    • runnergirl says:

      Who decided it was wrong to end a sentence with a preposition?

      I agree. It may be the disconnect manifests as cowardice. “I’m not sure which, haven’t figured it out.” I hope you don’t spend too much of your precious time and insight trying to figure it out. However if you do, I’m all ears!
      You are one amazing woman Revolution and totally funny.

      • Revolution says:

        Yeah, runner, I spent about two seconds in my “AC quandary” before deciding to do something more productive with my time. Like stare at the walls or shave my legs or sharpen my mechanical pencils. Like one commenter said recently, “Ain’t nobody got no time for that.”

        Thanks for the kind words, darlin’. You’re pretty amazing yourself. Keep up the good work, turning “180”s into “360”s. Lol, that cracked me up. 😉

  50. On Leaving Sugarland says:

    I awakened this morning thinking, about how this post really triggered me. Yes, those creepy-a$$- triplets (as Rev said), serve to point to my own lack of congruency, and it is definitely a big OUCH. I had to take some time to feel those feelings.

    I’m not a quitter, and I’ve come this far, so I’ve been reflecting on this some more with chin up and ready to fight, coupled with a good night sleep. 😉

    I think I can obtain self-congruency from a position of SELF. It occurred to me that I have built enough space between my actual SELF and my thoughts, feelings, triggers, codependency, anxiety, OCD, people-pleasing (which is a strong codependent trait, blah, blah), so I can clearly see that these ‘things’ aren’t SELF.

    My SELF is different: it allows me to think about my thoughts, recognize my feelings, realize I’m being triggered, notice when I am people pleasing, and yes I know this is all my brain thinking, so I’m happy to report that I have been doing this already.

    I’m getting better at saying what I mean, meaning what I say, and acting accordingly; I just have to stay the course…be extra mindful.

    It’s kind of like getting a complex machine off the ground and running, calling in the maintenance crew every other day when it doesn’t seem to be functioning quite up to par, but it’s working.

    Also, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Sugarland’, you are “my SELF.” My SELF is myself is ME.

    It’s not some long term goal–I’m ME.

    Yes, with this outlook I know I am:

    Matching what I think with what I do and with what I say because as long as I’m doing this, I’m being ME.


    Thanks Natalie~~<3

    ~~On Leaving Sugarland

  51. Revolution says:

    Ladies, ladies.

    “Creepy-ass triplets (TM)”

    LOL! 😉

  52. Oc says:

    Sam Keen in The Passionate Life and Peck in his book The Road Less Travelled both make a very compelling case for the dangers and illusory quality of so-called “romantic love.” I mention this because I find the idea of keeping score that comes with backing up every thing you say or do in a relationship is IMO an unrealistic prospect, especially when those early stages of “gah-gah-goo-goo” kissy hand-holding where people bond starts to wear off. Its easy for a person to be thier own vaccum when they are single, but when they get involved in a relationship it becomes pretty darned dynamic. If I take a step toward you and you take a step away, I then take a step away out of self-preservation. Its exactly the same for men and women. As people change, there’s just no way ideas, thoughts, and feelings stay the same as they did a month or a year in the past. Thus, (as you’ve said in many a post) accountability is a full-time, 100% all-in responsibility for both parties and if one person starts waffling, the whole damn thing comes crashing down.

    Feelings are dynamic, people need to be too. The key words being change and compromise. Anyone, man or woman, that takes a my way or the highway approach to a relationship is going to find themselves without one when dealing with a self-respecting, authentic partner.

    Great post, as usual, you got me thinking. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Mostly falling into bed with people drunk or high and then using that “chemistry” as the jumping off point (no pun) to 6,9,18 months of weirdness, control, and bullshit ultimately ending in great personal wounding to my tattered heart.

    I guess I can thank my experiences for getting me to this point.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Oc.. Enjoyed reading your post & you made so much sense.. Going to re-read it a few more times :)
      “and bullshit ultimately ending in great personal wounding to my tattered heart.” yep, that’s me …

  53. espresso says:

    I have often been incredulous at the reversals of words to action of my ex. It accounts for his inappropriate behaviour with others too…he would agree that this or that work contact was a person he couldn’t trust and had to handle carefully and the next thing I would see is this overfriendly (and inappropriate) business email going off to this same person. Which of course ALWAYS undercut me because I am a formal person with clear work boundaries. The more he SAID he had problems with somebody the friendlier he seemed to get!!! People pleasing was a big part of his incongruity. I always saw it as a complete betrayal of discussions we had had in terms of handling business contacts.
    Which of course it was.
    Forgetting anything with emotional content (and a lot of other things too) was such a huge part of his mo. It kind of irks me that I can’t forget but he just would never remember anything about how his inconsistencies/incongruities affected my life and even the success of our business. He would even go so far as to take credit for things I did or that we had huge fights about in order to handle things correctly. It upsets me that he sails forth with kind of a blank clean slate while I struggle with the pain of what happened and my role in it and my sense of loss.

    Like the post says he regards/regarded himself as being a hugely honest person and with integrity- he would actually “believe” himself. In truth he is/was an impulsive person who never thought out what the implications and consequences were. And I aided and abetted him.
    Even now in the middle of a business type discussion he will break down and have a few tears (while I look stonily on) and tell me that I am the only person he has loved and ever will love and he will NEVER have a relationship with another woman no matter what. Just what he said a year ago! I know it is bs but it still bothers me that he keeps on saying(self) comfort from his tears, believing that they reflect his sincerity and kindness – sort of proof that he is a “nice sincere guy.” But even in this separation business I see no evidence that he has put one second of real work into actually looking at himself.

    Because this went on for awhile I have to really look at the compensatory mechanisms I made when I felt unable to leave the relationship. I learned to carefully protect myself, to be guarded, to try to “prepare in advance” for the next “unexpected attack.” And I still am….because there is a lot of pain there and I am experiencing every single molecule of it. I have been away and on the trip back I could feel my anxiety start rising again because I would have to deal with him. If I had my preference he would be out of my life entirely.

  54. Angeldust says:

    This is not the first time that I have felt befuddled in a relationship but I would like to think that this is the first time I questioned my actions…First, I have a boyfriend, let just state first that he is not “ALL” mine but (and there is always a but) his divorce is not final. With that being said – He informed me that a friend of his was coming into town and for me to hook him up with one of my friends (like I am a dating service) and I told him I didn’t have time to even talk with my single friends to see if they would be interested…then he calls me yesterday and tells me his friend had arrived in town early and he wanted to do something dinner,starbucks, etc. – His friend arrived a day earlier than he expected-and He wanted to hook up and he would see me later, I tell him I am out handling business and he says ok he is out himself – so I proceed with doing what I say I am doing – Dropping off my daughter at work, picking up and dropping off my grandbaby,taking my cell back, etc. Rushing because I just got off from a job also and I am running frantically to get everything done. So about an hour after our initial call – he calls back and says “Where are you” and I respond taking my cell phone back and I tell him since his friend is in town to enjoy his company and I will see them next time” This is when his total demeanor changes – Most men don’t want their woman around another unascorted male but his comment – No, you have other plans I know – I comment No, I don’t (Really, I planned to rest with Starbucks) but for him plans means out with someone; Then he totally gets bent out of shape and says I want you here with me…Now, this is when I am lost…Normally, I would have said – Later, I going to take my stressed, tired body and rest but Nooooooo! Because of the anger I detected in his voice, I go back home; change clothes (make myself available) mind you for dinner/starbucks – call him, tell him “I’m home” he comes over with his friend and a bottle of wine and they sit in my home; Now, I am dressed but I sit down and open the wine – and his friend and I talk – My boyfriend on the other hand; says nothing but gives me no indication that they have plans to leave my home- A couple hours past -they leave. Now, my boyfriend is not speaking to me and honestly I am not mad at him – I am mad at me…I am saying to myself, after having such a stressed out day – I should have sat my body down and had a starbucks and stood my ground when I told him to enjoy himself – consequently, I allowed my strings to be pulled for him to impress his friend. He usually calls everyday, today he didn’t – so I called him and asked what was the problem -his response; “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT” So this is not about him but ME>

    • Sm says:

      Angel, it will be interesting to see what he is angry about. From your post it could be a number of things. I suspect had you honored yourself you would have ended up with the same reaction from him. On a side note, anytime I’ve done a last minute hookup for a bf’s visiting friend, it’s been a disaster.

  55. finallygettingit69 says:

    First, I am loving the new water color pictures that accompany your blogs. I am dating again after taking a 5 month break to work on myself. I am without a doubt in the transitional phase and navigating my way as a healthier version of myself. I am learning to forgive myself when I stumble, slow my roll and to pay more attention to actions than words.

    I am dating a man right now who hasn’t walked away from me in spite of the fact that I won’t sleep with him until we are in an exclusive/committed relationship. And I can say without hesitation that not having sex right away changes everything. First, the men who only want to get laid will bail out immediately and secondly, it helps me maintain perspective and remain relatively detached. My anxiety is still something I have to actively manage as I try to decipher normal guy behavior (has his own life and isn’t declaring his love for me within weeks of meeting me)from EU behavior. I am not used to dating someone who isn’t smothering me initially. Time will reveal many truths.

    Now that I have been enlightened, there’s no going back. I started down the road to a better life 3 years ago after finding BR, I just had to pick up a few more EUM’s along the way as a good reminder to stay on course. I am a work in progress, the difference now is that I know in my heart whether or not this relationship works out, I am still lovable and worthy.

  56. Sarah says:

    I read this website and love NML. I still probably need a good kick in the teeth about this one guy. We got drunk the first night we met 5 mo’s ago and were definitely in to each other. He’s played the push/pull game with me and I even asked him early on if he was interested in dating but he basically blew it off because he was newly single and not ready. He recently invited me to a party and I went and we stupidly hooked up. Last week he was giving me a lot of attention but then Friday afternoon he walked in my office while talking on the phone to a girl “friend” making supper plans in this sing song voice. What the heck? Is that just his passive aggressive way of letting me know he doesn’t like me. I find it immature and a bit of a turn off, but it still hurts.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Sarah. He doesn’t work there does he? If so I would say “disengage now”. Hooking up with co workers is a very bad idea because when the relationship goes south, it is too hard to get over it all, seeing him every day. Workplace romances are very precarious.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sarah… I wouldn’t say he doesn’t like you. I would say he wants a relationship with you on HIS terms. When he is in the mood to spend some time w/you its all well & good but he leaves his options open. You are a typical fallback girl. Yes, disengage & tell him if your not interested in what he has on offer….Kick him to the curb A.S.A.P. !!!!!!

  57. Sasha says:

    I was in very deep with someone who said he wanted to be with me the rest of his life. ( but only in response to me askIng where I stood with him. Without exaggeration-not a single behavior supported this statement. We were together for 4 very painful years. I got reactive often – over his inconsiderate behavior-so eventually he started maintaining that he could be more commited if the conflict was reduced. He believed wholeheartedly that I started every argument-I would call him out on things he did that were hurtful because they indicated no true commitment-he invariably argued these points-denied-turned it back on me. Since I brought it up- I started the argument. ( are you getting anxious just reading this?) I got completely torn down over the course of this relationship. At the end I’d stand at the end of the bed and tell him I felt like I wanted to carve myself into one inch cubes-I hated myself and was not at all the person I was when we first met. He was impassive in response. I lost a tremendous amount of confidence-when I would get pissed and confront something he did- it got turned back on me eventually and the original subject -him explaining the discrepancy between words and actions- became me apologizing or explaining myself so we could reconnect. In loss of my confidence I can see that I lost the ability to accurately assess the craziness and destructiveness-I also lost the strength to leave. Somehow-I never really felt like my true self was ‘seen’ by him-and since I believed he couldn’t show up for me the way I needed him to was my fault-I worked tirelessly at conflict reduction skills. I know, I know-it is pathetic. I was pathetic with him. I’ve never been like this before in my life. I’ve spent the last 18 months healing- i sought professional help and I am so glad I did. I learned many things about myself that caused me to be vulnerable to this-however he had an exemplary resume. charming, handsome, wealthy and liked to be active-which I deeply enjoyed.
    I am older (57) and I notice that I don’t have any feelings of attraction toward any men I meet. I am not interested in dating at all. I’ve done none and do not feel I am missing out. I don’t feel driven by bitterness-but this change does surprise me. Anyway-I wanted to share my story. Maybe it will help someone. I know it has been good for me to write this out. I can see how far I’ve come and I feel good about that. It was not easily won.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Sasha. I am 53 & I feel the same as you. It seems strange but, I have no desire to date or meet anyone. Its been almost 2yrs since I ended a 9yr relationship when I caught him cheating. Went NC immediately which was the best thing I ever did for myself. If I would be attracted to someone I would run the other way because I know my picker is broken, always has been. My entire life I have chosen to spend time with AC’s one after the other. I know that has to change therefore I am taking some much needed time & space to work on me. It is lonely at times & then I start to reminisce which is dangerous because I now realize my mistakes along the way… Onward & upward I tell myself . Forgetting the past is difficult but I am getting there one day at a time & one post at the time. This site was a godsend when I need it the most…

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Thank you for sharing.

      You helped me, and I thank you. :)

      ~~On Leaving Sugarland

    • runnergirl says:

      Sasha, I just turned 54 and I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a year now. It’s been more of a learning experience than I ever imagined. It surprises me too.
      I’ve also been down the path of how when his actions don’t match his words, it becomes my fault. That is such a crock of shit. And yup, they’ve all come with exemplary resumes, except for the online guys.
      I guess with age and BR comes some wisdom?

  58. espresso says:

    I have really appreciated the posts others have written here and this post by Natalie especially. I think it is Wiser who made the comment that even though she didn’t see the incongruities of her ex and got “fooled” she still is proud of the qualities she had/has. I have become much more respectful of my gut reactions and have more perception about how my ex affected me and why. I still feel it would have been difficult to leave the marriage 12 years ago when I wanted to because of lots of illness (some serious) in our family, lacking money and wanting to protect my youngest. I feel more compassion for myself for making this decision although I wish it had been different. I know I suffered more than I had to but I am proud that I handled things with integrity and even that I tried to understand him and work things out. I don’t fault myself for any of that. I have more insight into the dynamic we were in and where he really is coming from and how it affected me. I see that he is impulsive and lacks congruency and that his unreliability really made me feel vulnerable. I had to make the major decisions (still do even in the separation arrangements) but watch out that he isn’t going to bust my boundaries. The situation was often confusing and difficult to understand. Anyway, just to say that I think when we are in the thick of these relationships we are often struggling to understand, protect ourselves and make good decisions. Sometimes we don’t make decisions that are best for us but we can have compassion and understanding about that even when we are trying to go forward.

  59. leah says:

    This came at exactly the right time for me. I met a man 2 weeks ago after chatting online for about 4 weeks. He was handsome, fun, intelligent, generous and sophisticated. At the beginning of the second week he started blowing cold and acting very cagey. When i pushed him for an answer he admitted that his wife, the one he had “left 5 yrs ago”, was on to him. WTF? I gave him a very big slice of my mind and then severed all contact. I was very angry but proud of myself for drawing the line in the sand and refusing to let him cross it. Of course I am very hurt but I’m glad this happened now and not 2 months from now when I really would have been in too deep and it would have been soooo hard to be strong.

    • Tabitha says:

      Leah they don’t give a shit. I am amazed he fessed up so early. I met a guy recently who really impressed me. Nice looking, funny, intelligent, great conversation, tall,own hair. He was all flirtatious with me and kissed me at the end of the evening, saying he was looking forward to seeing me again. I did my due diligence and found out that the fucker is married. No ring (of course!) and no mention of his wife, or the three week holiday they just enjoyed together in Australia. Funny that! Lucky escape but I was disappointed. I am just glad that I had enough spidey/BR senses to do the undercover cop style investigation on him.

      • Kit-Kat says:

        Tabitha. Kudos to you.. Not that you got sucked in but that you were wise enough to do some research to find the truth. Its sad that we have to also be a Private Detective to protect ourselves from the wolves in sheep’s clothing…

      • Leah says:

        Thanks Tabitha. It was disappointing. He had his own hair as well!
        Leah in Australia!

  60. 2fearce says:

    Sigh… Seriously dude?! This is just ridiculousness! If you aren’t going to even try to do the work, I’d prefer to be spared of reading about your “conquests.”

    Let me keep it short for you….

    Go sit down someplace. BY YOURSELF… for a while… A LONG WHILE.


  61. teachable says:

    my insides & outside are congruent. both look like hell. someone please send more supplies down the genie bottle chute. maybe some red cordial? im quite depressed & need a little pick me up!

    • Revolution says:

      Ah, Teach. It’s normal to have bouts of low moods after a big win, like you had. I don’t know if it’s that or something else, but let’s forget the red cordial and I’ll just crawl on down the genie bottle with you and make you a cuppa. Then you can sleep, darlin’. Sometimes, even the king (or queen) of the jungle needs to rest in between battles. 😉

    • On Leaving Sugarland says:

      Teachable,…my sweet-independent-strong Teachable, you are the lady who set me straight about the abusive AC who brought me here.

      It has been almost a year now, since you validated my feelings that I was being abused, and that was so crucial for me because I was wrapped inside of a trigger-pattern-trauma bond so tight I was doubting my gut at the time.

      Sending you love, peace, and so much joy your way,

      ~~On Leaving Sugarland

    • Tee says:

      This is a bit late, but sending tetley tea with sugar on the side. xoxoxo

  62. Lacy says:

    Wow I see I’m late on this post,the title speaks volumes.Nc started for me feb 2013 for 3 mths of th jekclown calling my home phone private or different num everyday or every other day most times twice a day and even Showing up at my house, lying to my daughter while I was not home so she let him in gr got my new cell num and called repeatedly, said if I think I’m moving in he’ll make it really hard for me.

    So I decided to give him this conversation he had been begging for 3 mths for.He said he want us back together he is ready to change he loves me can’t be without me, and if I don’t agree he just wantsus to talk because he needs closure.

    We talked he made plans, I agreed but wasn’t hopefully. We talked the next day briefly, and didn’t see him the weekend just quick text messages, so on sun my feelings got raveled up and I’m embarrassed to say I did send a few text saying how hurt I was that he lied.He came over that day and said I was pushing him away and he just wants unlimited sex from me now cause he can’t give me what I want or need, that he is not gonna stop calling me, or coming over he’ll do what he wants to do and he doesn’t care about police.

    He continues to call and text nude pic of himself til this day, he said its no need for me to change my num he will get it some way, we are in the same circle,just yesterday he said once again he wants unlimited sex from me and he’s going to take care of me if I stop nagging him.

    I don’t know what to do now? I don’t call him or go anywhere I know he hangs, the same circle of people we know I have cut the ones I know he has a lot of contact with, he thinks I’m a joke, I feel like one, I don’t know who I am, all I know is this doesn’t feel good.

    I loved him and at times I miss when things weren’t so bad between us, but I know those days are long gone, I want someone who lives and respects me, I know I have a lot to work on before that happens.

    • Revolution says:

      Lacy, girl. What he is doing isn’t love, it’s intimidation. And it’s DANG-ER-OUS. I would seriously suggest taking a few days to stay with a friend (someone unrelated to the circle of friends that this dude is a part of) and then call the authorities and arrange something with them. I don’t like the sound of this guy. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up, girl. He doesn’t want you, he wants to OWN you. You are TERRITORY to him, an extension of him. Guys like that get really unpredictable in their anger when their “property” has the nerve to set boundaries and/or break the relationship. Please, PLEASE be careful right now, Lacy. Take care of yourself.

    • yoghurt says:

      Lacy, I stand by my initial assessment of this dude in that he’s abusive and dangerous.

      Good for him if he’s not bothered by the police, but I’d give him the chance to test out that theory. He is stalking and harassing you and I would put as many people and barriers between you and him as you can.

    • Tee says:

      You need to run for your own sanity!

      Imagine him as a big snake wanting to swallow you and then shit you out. Protect your self!

  63. 2fearce says:


    Nc…. and go to the police. If any of this exchange is in writing take it with you. Seriously! That’s crazy stalker talk (not undying love). Clue #1– People who love u don’t disregard your wishes like that.

    Honestly, he’s daring u to do it. Counting on the fact that you won’t. Give him a wonderful surprise and an act of love for yourself… Ante up. Did I mention go to the police…cause in case I didn’t…. GO TO THE POLICE…do not pass go, do not go deeper into this with him.

    Point of clarity– I’ve bn stalked. Had to initiate a restraining order. It won’t get better; its only going to get worse. Mark your line in the sand n hold ur ground. If not for you, then for your daughter.

  64. 38yearstired says:

    well, well, well. this website was clearly written for women like me. its both sad and reassuring that i am not the ‘only one’ that gets herself into these messes. for starters i had/have a horrible relationship with my controlling, abusive, narcissistic father. I have had 4 relationships in my life that were serious and of a long term nature. 6 men that i have said ‘i love you’ to. and, surprise, surprise, there was only weeks between each relationship. Except for between number 1 and 2, which there was approx. a year. I am tired. seriously tired. and no wonder why.

    i am currently in a relationship, we have been together just over two years. we met, fell ‘in love’ and were engaged within 3months, moved in together within six months. I also have a 13 year old daughter from my second and longest relationship.

    we moved fast. slept together on our first date. he wanted me to meet his family on our second date, said his mother could help me with childcare! said basically between him and his family and friends all my problems would be taken care of. within a few weeks he would say ‘why doesn’t someone marry you?’ in a cheeky kind of playful way. then, he asked me to marry him, using a unset diamond. when we told his mother, she looked sad and said ‘i thought he might end up giving me that diamond one day’. WHAT? he later said he did not remember her saying that and that i should stop being in competition with his mother… clearly this was all my crazy and none of his.

    clearly it is some of my crazy for not recognizing the red flags and being able to extricate myself from the attention and the ‘love’. this was not my first time at the fair, as all my other relationship were pretty wrought with red flags.

    i need to hit the reset button on my life. but i am feeling overwhelmed with the thought of removing myself from this life that i’ve created. shared living space, friends… my daughter is currently out buying him a fathers day present…

    i do not think he is evil or even a bad person, just impulsive and confused. and i wanted the love and commitment (marriage) so desperately i was well, desperate about it.

    now what? i am at a low. i have put on weight (and am reminded of this daily by you know who), i feel old and tired. old as the earth. i feel so strange and confused.

    • 38yearstired says:

      oh, i forgot. at approx 8 months he told me that he was not a relationship type person and that he was probably meant to be alone, this coupled with the fact that he said none of his other girlfriends where as crazy as me. cut to me begging him to stay and work it out. then wash, rinse and repeat every 3-5 months since. arriving at now where he basically comes and goes as he pleases, while i hold my tongue as i know if i say anything he will leave…. tomorrow, he apparently has a moving company on speed dial and will take everything (as most of our stuff is his) and be gone from my life forever… this gives me so much anxiety and i am paralyzed.

  65. paolo says:

    I have to ask this question or i’ll burst…Where does everyone stand on dating someone that keeps ex’s as friends??? I find it gross, disrespectful and just completely boundary busting…But i am also finding it a very disturbing, insiduous trend amongst alot of single women these days..I don’t know if you ladies are finding it with guys too..Am i being completely unreasonable here? I don’t mean ex’s that have kids together cos thats different..I just mean ex’s that stay freinds for the heck of it…I mean what man worth a damn is gonna be ok with his woman having contact with a guy that had sex with her??? It just grosses me out but it seems to be rife these days…I’d love to know what you all think?

    • Lacy says:

      Paolo I see this type of situation all the time and this friends with your x thing is usually in most cases a fwb situation.

      You’ll know because those 2 people will experience some type of conflict at some point because they have a secret casual affair that they may have not let there current partner know the real deal.

      Thats just some cases I’ve seen, it may be possible but it sounds far fetched to me.I know once I’m at that place when my situation with the x jerkclown is under control and the day comes when we both are in a good place mentally towards each other, I will not want him as a friend.if we so happen to see each other we speak and keep it moving, sometimes its best to let the past stay the past.

      • paolo says:

        I can’t know if she had a fwb situation Lacy, but the answer i got when i told her it was unhealthy was that i was being ‘limiting’..I assumed this at the time that this simply meant having her cake and eat it..It was one of many red flags i ignored of course.

    • Rosie says:

      Paolo–My opinion only but I, too, see it as boundary-less. I suspect there’s a lot of approval-seeking going on: “I’m mature, healthy, independent, and “over it”, a bit of investment: “At least a friendship developed from all this pain…” and discouragement about the future: “My future looks bleak so I’m going to enjoy the present,” a type of, “If you can’t be with the one you love then love the one you’re with.”

      People are lonely, Paolo, and there is a lot of cynicism and discouragement out there! A lot of people are just living life as life comes, I think. I don’t know.

      • paolo says:

        @Rosie..I think so too..I think there was alot of need to emotional security that wasn’t deal with in regard to her…It’s probably one of the reasons i felt a cold distance from her even though she could only tell me she loved me online and not in real life..Yet another red flag..When i think about the number of red flags ignored it’s unreal to me..But really..This whole ex’s as freinds thing im finding rife at the moment and it’s a very scary trend to me that i want no part of..I can’t imagine being with a woman knowing she has contact with a guy she’s had sex with unless they had kids together..Its just repugnant.

        • Rosie says:

          Paolo–I’ve been thinking about this some more and I’m wondering if some of it has to do with the value a person places on sex? For example, because I value sex so highly, see it as such an intimate act where a woman literally invites a man under her skin, having all these friends who the person once slept with just sort of demeans the value of sex, at least on some level, at least to me.

          Should I choose to be sexually active (in my case, should I marry), I want that man to know that he’s the only one in all my relationships who knows that side of me. It’s about the most intimate relationship I can have with someone.

          Also, I once read that men say they would have a harder time forgiving their significant other if she had sex with someone else. The women surveyed said that they would have a harder time forgiving their significant other if he had an emotional affair with someone else. I can’t remember the source, sorry. But I’m wondering if this plays into it as well?

        • Furry White Dogs says:

          So what if the woman had a strong emotional relationship (love, future etc) but never had sex with a guy. Would it then be okay for her to be friends with an ex? I’m just interested at the emphasis on the sex aspect of the ex relationship being so repugnant.

    • sushi says:

      generally speaking, I`m in your camp paolo. Foremost, it depends on what people mean by friends though. Some people exes operate in their circle of friends/work enviroment and I think it`s ok to be pleasant and civil and even very friendly, providing that you include the new partner in that arrangement and there are no weird ex-vibes floating around- that`s most important. Having collections of exes as friends is an indication of a harem scenario, that would be a red flag for me. There are also people who insist that you accept their ex/exes as their bestest friends and make you feel excluded from all that cosiness- that`s when it`s best to run for the hills. Personally I think having too much friendly attachment to your ex is not healthy, been in that situation more than once and each time the weirdness and unresolved feeling of one pf the parties washed up to the surface in time.

      • paolo says:

        @Sushi..This is really just friend on facebook or phone freinds..But i mean..why be freinds at all if your not lovers anymore? In what ever capacity you were to eachother..Once two people have had sex, a line has been crossed..I guess I have to accept she can’t have known much about guys or love or wasn’t that into me or all 3..Either way..Iv’e learnt alot,,and a whole mountain load since following BR…I would have done so much more differently if id known this time last year what i know now.

        • sushi says:

          you found out first hand that it`s not healthy to live your life online…online friends, facebook, online relationships…it all screams EU. of course you are right, what`s the point.

          • paolo says:

            @Sushi..Your absolutely right..I need to do alot more somehow about making friends in the real world.

        • FX says:

          I would like to chime in as someone who stayed friends with a number of exes prior to the AC. These were normal r/s that just didn’t work out for some reason. I was still fond of them and cared about them as people and no longer had romantic feelings and the physical part of the r/s was over. One bf became a running buddy and I had no problem being his sounding board as he went through subsequent relationships. Last time I saw him before he moved away was at a party and he was with his fiance and I was with the AC. I think we both downgraded! I really, truly had no longer had any romantic interest in him, though. I think my child is now connected with him on a networking site. This same man was fine with my exhusband and his gf staying in the home the bf and I owned together when we were out of town and they were visiting our city. Yes, I was friends with my exhusband, too, and liked his gf. There were others, too, including one who drifted away mostly I think because he lost respect for me for staying with the AC.

          I didn’t hide or isolate these friendships from any current romantic interests because I knew I didn’t have anything of which to be ashamed. These were good men whom I knew still had my best interests at heart as I did theirs. All endings have sadness but, after a suitable amount of time, I don’t think it’s odd or untoward to want to be in each other’s lives.

          I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule that makes this a red flag in every instance. Over time these friendships faded the same as many of my female friendships from those times in my life did. Yes, perhaps I enjoyed the attention from my exes differently than that of other friends, but really not that differently. I know many other people – both men and women – who feel as I do. I see it as a red flag if someone doesn’t trust or respect me enough to believe I can choose my own friends for the right reasons.

          • Mymble says:

            Well put, that’s how I feel too.

            • Digs says:

              I don’t think the friends-with-an-ex has to be a red flag necessarily. Think of Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld ;o) Seriously though, some people find that a relationship is definitely not going to work, both people agree on that, but they have something, or a lot, in common and enjoy one another’s company, and are able to remain friends. The last guy that I dated is WRONG for me romantically, but I like him a lot. I want to remain friends with him, and he feels the same. We only dated for a few months, we both agreed that we loved hanging out, but that a romantic partnership would be disastrous, so we’re going to continue to hang out – as friends. Had there been a lot of hurtful behaviour, or drama, then no, I wouldn’t be able to do it, or want to. But that wasn’t the case. I went through a couple of weeks of crying about the ending of the relationship, but only because I have attachment issues, not because I want to make a romance work with him.

              This particular guy has a female best friend, who is an ex, and that should be a red flag I suppose, but I really didn’t feel any weird vibes about it at all. Neither of them appeared to be hanging onto anything. They dated for about 6 months, got on great, but were a complete mismatch in relationship style, so they parted ways. They reconnected some months later and became friends. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll hear of their engagement, lol, but it really wasn’t an issue for me when I was dating him.

              I would not consider myself part of a harem now, just because I will be another friend who he has dated, because I am not interested in him romantically – I am not hoping that he changes his mind about how great I am etc. and I will not be fluffing up his ego.

              I think it’s impossible to paint every situation with the same brush. Some people really are lonely, like someone else mentioned, and as you get older, it’s harder to meet new friends. If you get on well with someone that you’ve dated, and have things that you enjoyed doing together, and can do them without drama, why not. It beats sitting home wishing you could meet some new friends. Not everyone can do this, but if you can, why not. Again, if there was a lot of pain, games, drama etc, it’s a different game. But each situation is different.

              As for someone liking something on Facebook, it’s just a button. I have some Facebook “friends” who like **everything**. They must invest hours on there liking stuff. Facebook is a place where someone with a great imagination can get carried away. Be careful to make assumptions based on something you see on Facebook.

              • kookie says:


                i don’t think it’s whether people have dated before that makes their relationship a red flag but how they conduct themselves in the present. someone can have an appropriate relationship with an ex who is a friend but have a weird, waaay too close dynamic with a friend they actually have never dated but maybe has always fancied them but they never got together for whatever reason. so just judge on how they conduct themselves and not on their history, being an ex doesn’t automatically make you “unsafe” and being a non-ex friend doesn’t make you automatically “safe”

          • Wiser says:

            I absolutely agree. My best friend in the world is a guy I’ve known for almost 35 years. I was 20 and he was 22 when we first met, and we hit it off so well as friends that everyone assumed we were headed for love and the altar. And we even thought, wow, we really get along so well that there must be some kind of romantic interest here. So we sort of started “dating,” holding hands, kissing, snuggling in front of the TV…and we even had sex once too! It all felt so weird that we both gave it up, felt relieved and decided we’d probably be better off friends. Now he’s been married for the past 25 years to a great woman who totally understands our friendship and has no problem with it. I’ve gone through my marriage and divorce and other relationships – and this friendship has been a rock through all of it, and will be I’m sure for the rest of our lives.

            I’m very fortunate I know, and I think our friendship is somewhat unusual. It survived the dating experiment because, happily, our lack of interest was mutual. There was no heartbreak involved. There was no “dumping.” There was no disrespect. We both wanted the same thing. Without ALL these factors in place, I don’t think a friendship with an ex is possible.

    • Mymble says:

      In general I would agree, although I am friends with 2 of my exes. One ex knew my family very well and we were together quite a long time. However i only see them or communicate very rarely, they aren’t much of a presence in my life. If someone lives in the back pocket of their ex I’d find that strange and unsettling.

      • paolo says:

        @Mymble..I hear what your saying, but again, my question and redflag alert would be signaling with your situation. I’d certainly want to know if you had eachothers phone numbers but if you just bumped into eachother at random times because he is a friend of the family i understand that..I wouldn’t be accepting of the longevity of your relationship as a valid reason for anything though…That’s just me of course.

        • Mymble says:

          Yes I do have their numbers and we do meet up for lunch once every 6 months or so, if that. I have no uncomfortable feelings about that. I may have had sex with them but it was so long ago I can barely remember it and I know I have NO interest in revisiting, ever. I’m not going to be told there’s anything wrong with me or them for that. If I was in a relationship with a man who objected I might reconsider, I hope it’s something that could be discussed maturely.

      • grace says:

        I’ve changed my mind on this. I used to think it was impossible to be just friends with the opposite sex or with exes. In those days I only had experiences of EU and AC relationships. I still think it’s exceptional but I wouldn’t issue a blanket ban.
        I think what mymble says is reasonable. I met up with my first boyfriend for lunch when I was overseas. He knows all my family. My brother came as chaperone. My ex is probably a little fonder of me than he should be but neither of us is pursuing it. I suppose if I cared to I could spin it as being gross but I don’t think it was a big deal. I think as time passes and the feelings fade we stop making everything so significant.
        how much does it really matter? Sometimes it really is just lunch with a human being you still care about. It doesn’t need to be sexual.

    • Tabitha says:

      I think you have to trust your gut Paolo. If you think they are just FRIENDLY,then that is probably OK. By that I mean they say Hi if they bump into each other. They ask “Hows your mum/dog/job?” They might send a Happy Birthday text.
      If, however, you mean they are spending time together one on one, are in very regular contact, seek each others approval and seem in any way emotionally attached then that would be a huge red flag to me.
      What really matters is what you think and how you feel. If it bothers you then don’t deny yourself your own feelings. You need to be living in congruence with your own values and feelings or it will weigh you down.

      • paolo says:

        @Tabitha..Hi..I guess I just wanted to know if i was being unreasonable or some kind of jealous douche about it…The situation i had is that she had regular contact with the sister of an ex. No problem there for me….Occasionaal Facebook contact with a guy she was engaged with even though in her own words she reckons is a dick. So why stay in touch is my question to that??? After we broke up, I’d noticed he put a ‘like’ on one of her facebook photos..So i guess that says alot..He’s being used as validation or a security blanket, or she was still banging him.. Anyway..She was also freinds with another guy who she’d slept with who was a freind of the family. She had telephone contact with him..When we broke up she tried to make me her friend straight afterwards..It was amazing..Like she was reading from a script..Suggesting we’d go no contact for a while then be friends..It really was like she’d collected them..I’m glad i told her what she could do with her friendship in a not so gentalmanly manner..Although in hindsight..I wish i’d had more dignity and grace when dealing with the break up…I’m glad i wasn’t going nuts though so i thank you all..It validates my instinct that she was shady..Although i wonder if its on purpose or out of sheer complete ignorance..Either way..As time goes on, im more and more glad it’s over..Now iv’e just got to forgive myself for all the redflags i ignored.

    • natashya says:

      paolo, the EUM that brought me here was ‘best friends’ with his (ex) wife (they were still legally married). i tried to be openminded about it, but it came back to bite me big time. they were in constant contact. she even stayed at his place for weeks at a time when she was in town for work.

      while i was with him, she was still his number 1 and it was very obvious. what an insidious situation. if you’re ‘best friends’ and can’t live without each other… why not be together??? they did everything together except for sleeping together. or maybe they did that, too.. i don’t want to know.

      so yeah… no longer openminded about that anymore. i am not good friends with any of my exes. there’s no reason for that. their part in my life is over.

      • paolo says:

        @natashya..I’m very sorry about what happened with you and your ex assclown..That does sound like a massive redflag reading what you wrote. It amazes me the things we humans can play down when we like someone isn’t it? It’s like all our common sense shuts down and we go into love sick zombie mode that ignores all the red lights…I like you would never be open minded to someone im seeing having any kind of contact with an ex..It’s just shady and makes them dodgy in my view..No matter how innocent and sweet they may portray themselves..They’re either playing an act or they really are so naive that they’re too imature to be relationship material.

      • sushi says:

        that`s a bit like one of my AC stories. When I met him AC and his ex had been separated for three years, but still lived together, with her new boyfriend of 3 years as well, in a house which was separated into two flats on my ex AC`s suggestion. That I found weird and unsettling also- looong separation. He explained living arrangements away with money problems. So, hear this, he borrowed more money to convert the place so he can stay there permanently. I met her and thought she was a really nice person and I could see there were no feelings there, well not from her anyway. They were together for a long time and she was very friendly with his whole family. I had no problem with her initially at all.Then I realised that we were all talked out on the subject of our past relationships but he still talked about her all the time. He also made comparisons between us all the time, and with time it turned out he was still obsessed with her ( as well as a few other things). I didn`t mind their frienship, I didn`t mind him having the contact.I minded him still being involved. Wish I trusted my gut when it was shouting WTF?

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      As a general rule I don’t remain friends with exes. I’ve heard the argument that if you cared for them as a romantic partner then you can care for them as a friend but this seems to ignore that the relationship ended for a reason and usually not well. Even if you ended without animosity because you drifted apart it still begs the question why you think you still have enough in common to be friends.

      I do have an exeption in one ex. After nigh on 20 years we became friends because I was still close friends with his sister and then became friends with his wife. By then so much water was under the bridge and we’d both obviously moved on. It didn’t bother either of our partners and was the subject of the occasional relaxed joke.

      The ex whatshisarse didn’t bother to remember, or care, or possibly hear in the first place, that I don’t play friendly with exes as he was content to let me continue to run the finances and take care of general business all under the guise of us being friends for six months! Idiot. I was taking care of me and my dogs first and anything he got in return was incidental to that.

      Once I discovered (and unfortunately still discovering) his endless lies and cheating there was never any possibility of genuine cordiality let alone friendship.

      Thankfully I’m now NC for 6 weks and apart from discovering the occasional land mine life internal and external is improving.

    • MRWriter says:

      Throwing my two cents in here…I think when it comes to being w/ someone who is still friends with the ex, you have to trust your instincts. If you’re uncomfortable, even if it appears on the up and up then either there’s something validly triggering your concern or this is an issue YOU have and is a deal breaker (which is okay, just be honest about it with yourself and whoever you date).

      I don’t think it is black and white but it can be murky and potentially unstable ground. In my youth, I stayed casual friends with some of my exes but they weren’t serious to begin with and there was NO funny business going on. It was also light and friendly but not intrusive on my romantic relationships.

      As time went on, these exes got married, moved and otherwise we faded from each other’s lives. Technically, I have an ex from 15 years ago as a Facebook friend. He’s happily married, living in PA and has 3 children. Occasionally I like a photo of his family or say a congrats on whatever and vice versa. That’s the extent of it. I don’t even think of him as an ex.

      On the flip side, I too have noticed that folks have a tough time putting a definitive period at the end of their relationship sentence. A previous long-standing, living together, drama-filled dynamic and they still “hang out” is troublesome and amber to red flag. (Kids are an obvious exception however I’ve read many a story here about how even that can cross the sexual lines).

      I think you have to judge the context, the person you’re with and evaluate if this is a fear within you that needs further scrutiny or a foreboding omen of something fishy going on. I’m not much for collecting people like baseball cards and those that do can have insecurity issues or seek validation. Not good. But you also have to allow that given time, maturity, respect of each other’s space and romantic partners that lovers can shift into being platonic and this should have happened waaaay before you entered the picture. If it’s in process when you arrive then be careful not to end up as a transitional or rebound.

      I speak from experience there. It sucks when you discover that the guise of friendship is just 2 people flip-flopping over each other with you caught in the crossfire. The betrayal will make anyone look sideways when presented with it again so I don’t blame your concern but I would recommend you work on your own trust issues before generalizing that no one should still be friends with their ex because it does happen, genuinely, and you could miss out on a terrific woman who maintained a friendship with a former boyfriend from years past.

      My advice is to take each case individually and with an open mind. Extremism is very limiting. Only those who are on the far end of your beliefs will be a match. Be moderate but cautious and check in with yourself. Ask questions, do due diligence and listen to your intuition (if you’ve already made up your mind however then you might end up creating what you fear). Fear it less but be mindful in the discovery phase.

  66. Revolution says:


    Wise move, cancelling the “EUM-Roberto” show. Not that you need my validation, but good on ya.

    Paolo, no worries, mate. People who play nice–male or female–get a pretty receptive welcome here on BR, from my experience.

    • paolo says:

      I’m glad to know that Revolution..Think i remember pulling up EUM-noberto up on his BS before myself…Natalie was a fair bit more graceful and eloquent than i was though :)

      • paolo says:

        All in all..This friends with ex’s business just all sounds like excueses to be in eachothers lives for what seem like very unhealthy reasons once you scratch beneath the surface..I think alot of it is to do with not fully wanting to admit something is over or not completely wanting to go through the grief..Or as Rosie said, people are lonley so would rather have unhealthy contact going on in the background rather than completely start again..It just all seems like excuses once you pin someone down on why they have any single kind of contact at all…What’s scary is how most of the women that tell me this are so completely cool with it..What kind of man are they expecting to meet? A girly man??..Are there really men out there that are ok with this? It fascinates me and disturbs me at the same time…Again i say..completely different if the two have kids together,,but if not, then a very big WTF??.. At least to my mind.

        • Sofia says:

          Paolo I really have to disagree and your insecurities are screaming “red flags” to me. I have remained friends with my ex-husband and ex-boyfriends and I live in a very progressive culture where it is encouraged to be tolerant and peace loving. And yes best friends with my exes new partners too! It really is concerning how you can judge someone as “shady” when they have an attitude of compassion and friendship towards an ex. And furthermore, to judge a person based on any liking behaviour on facebook screams of EUM not on her part but rather on yours. There are those like myself that may argue that once a relationship is over it is exhausted in the sex category and I have been there done that don’t wish to go there again. However, with my male friends that I have not had sex with their is always the “fantasy of what if” the anticipation. So what I am saying is there are many ways to look at it. And personally I would never date someone who held your values as I view them as controlling and immature. We all grieve irrespective of whether we remain friends or resume a friendship down the road. For me, some of my best friends are exes and the only people whom I have not remained friends with are the unhealthy AC or abusive people. I know at least 6 real men that will agree with me as a real man is able to be mature, secure, and congruent in the sense that if she is good enough to be my woman she is good enough to be my friend when it is over.

          • paolo says:

            @Sofia..I hardly see how a man can be insecure when a woman is collecting ex’s…Surely its the person that’s keeping the ex’s that’s insecure..They can’t move on or they’re being shady about their motives for keepig a friendship..I doubt very much if you asked the men in your life if they’re cool with you having contact with their ex, if they were honest,,they’d tell you they don’t like it..These aren’t real men..They’re girly men…Sorry…They need to move on..What you have a situation that’s pseduo wife/gf swapping…It’s creepy and wrong and nothing will change my mind on it.

            • Selkie says:


              What is a real man anyway….one who can’t be compared to women? To be compared to a woman (‘girly’) is saying he is inferior or less than? I find that insulting.

              • FX says:

                Selkie, Thanks for flagging this! I think there’s a learning opportunity here… This type of put down to women is so pervasive that we have become desensitized. We don’t usually even notice it but I think it still impacts our self esteem. Thus setting us up to overlook and/or tolerate all manner of bad behavior as well.

                • jewells says:

                  Yep, at work I hear the occasional ‘you do (whatever it is) like a woman…’ I usually pipe in and say ‘excuse me?’ Cause they are even less aware of what the underlying message is…so I point it out. And they usually still don’t get it…and then wonder why I won’t date any of them…

          • paolo says:

            @sofia..And you don’t see it as shady and wrong that you have an anticipation fantasy with male friends when you have a partner?? How are you not cheating at least on the inside??..You represent everything wrong with societ today..There’s not progressive about you..Only demonstrably recessive.

            • Tinkerbell says:

              Well, this question has been exhausted from every perspective imaginable. Paolo, you have very strong feelings about this. It seems to be quite an issue for you as you won’t let it go. Actually, fwiw, I completely agree with everything you’ve said. When the relationship ends, I cannot see continuing to be friends. IMO, it’s two completely different circumstances. A friend is one thing, a former lover is totally different. When I read on Br that after a period of NC a woman extends the friendship card, it makes me cringe. Why would you want that? It takes quite a bit of emotional, not to even mention, mental overhaul to move on when it’s over. I’m not advocating that you have to make the person an enemy, but if you’ve successfully gotten over them you feel NOTHING. No hate, no love. Nada. So, in that case, I feel the indifference would preclude any desire to remain friends. Sofia mentioned that she believes in being loving and tolerant. We all do to a greater or lesser extent, or we would not be here on BR. What does “loving and tolerant” have to do with anything? IMO, again, it’s giving yourself an excuse to engage in shady behavior. And, at the very least, it’s unacceptable if you’ve become involved in another relationship. I feel it’s disrespectful to the new person.

              What I have said applies to continuing an ongoing, close, frequent contact, and phone conversations, advice asking, and other forms of seeking validation.
              I’m not talking about just saying “hello”, or “goodbye”.

              • paolo says:

                @Tinkerbell..I don’t think i could have put it better myself…I try to be a good person..Caring and considerate..And it’s exactly like you say..If you have no feeling for an ex, then why keep the friendship..At the very least it seems like attention seeking ego behavior to fall back on when attention is lacking at any given time..I don’t think these men realise how much they’re being used…And absolutely its disrespectful to the current partner..It’s got nothing to do with jealousy..I just don’t see how a man should be expected to NOT think of his partner having sex with their ex..Do these men have off switches in their minds??..I do beleive it or not, thank you all for your input on this topic..It’s be extremely enlightening.

                • grace says:

                  If you feel that strongly about it, then do not have sex outside of marriage. Otherwise, it comes with the territory.
                  For what it’s worth, I’ve had sex with many more people than my ex. He didn’t care. No he wasn’t girly.

            • FX says:

              Good grief! Even Jimmy Carter admitted to lusting in his heart. It’s called impulse control. We all have thoughts about doing all kinds of things and people that we would never act upon. Choosing to be monogamous doesn’t mean your inner life is dead just that you act in your outer life in accordance with your conscience, choice, values, etc.

              • Tinkerbell says:

                I was referring to Paolo’s story in which he said that she has a habit of “collecting exes”, using them as validation. Read what he said. It’s twisted, imo, and with all due respect.we’re all entitled to our opinion.

                • paolo says:

                  @Tinkerbell..You were agreeing with me a moment ago..Now im twisted? lol

                  • paolo says:

                    I get what your saying :)

                    • Tinkerbell says:

                      Paolo, Hahaha! I was momentarily bewildered that you thought I was saying YOU were twisted, until I read what I wrote again. Then you realized I was saying your ex’s behavior was twisted. She took advantage of your feelings and your patience. That is not a very nice person.

          • Allison says:

            I agree with Sofia.

        • Lau_ra says:

          Well for me an insecure man usually equals someone who isn’t worth keeping in touch with after the relationship is over, which is not possible in general, as they leave me in ugly ways, like vanishing, picking fights in order to blame me for being “not good enough” and etc.
          Those exes that I have in my FB account have shown a level of maturity and things between us ended in a respectful way, so they shouldn’t be thrown away because of some insecure guy, who will forget me in a minute after he will vanish on me.

          • paolo says:

            @Lau_ra..I don’t think whether or not someone remembers anyone comes into it..I won’t ever forget my ex,,and i won’t be forgetting her habit of hoarding men she had sex with and kept as freinds..To me that’s the height of insecurity..For me, it’s only moving on in superficial ways.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Rev, at al. I think what happens is that this blog, unlike any other, provides the opportunity to share our deepest heartfelt feelings. In that vein we want to get stuff off our chests, and/or seek validation from each other. I agree with Natalie, it is not healthy, and when it appears in black and white it’s up for interpretation. Some thought what he said was funny. I did not, took offense, and said so. I, myself, have been guilty of posting a negative remark, hastily realized it immediately but by then it was too late. It’s something we all need to watch out for because nobody is better than anyone else and we all need to be RESPECTFUL of each other by not posting inflammatory remarks.

  67. Lacy says:

    Talk about actions matching words.I know as time go by things change, people change and are well in there right to change there mind about staying with someone.

    Just last summer one day after we hadn’t talked for a few days.He text a pic of himself then I asked when was I going to see him for him to say never.I met with him to talk and he said he said was done with me I was boring I didn’t want to have 3 way or hang out all the time like he does.I was hurt and like an idiot I begged, but his mind was set so I got in my car and left.It was weird cause I felt relieved.Then he came over the next day said that he was joking.So my part is that I played the game way too long.

    I feel bad things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go with him.I am grieving heavily from this and I keep reliving and replaying over and over in my mind how, he left for a mth after I told him I was pregnant, saying he wants a relationship after 3 mths of Nc only to get me back talking.I am severely hurt but I will not continue to allow myself to be treated this way.

    I see now talking is not an option with him, so I will take the necessary steps to end this game for good.I do not contact him but I haven’t called the police either.I thought that since he added another baby mother,and start showing up less and less since the summer he was moving on.I thought that people who don’t want to be with u would eventually stay away especially with all the complaints he made last summer.

    Just yesterday he text that he was outside my job to come down and talk to him that he had the money he owes me.I was on break so I went down and went to the car he said to get in for a min I did and he rhode off.I told him this has to stop that he should be with the lady and his kid he said while I keep talking about her he’s not with her he has a new boo, a few others too.He says he just wants sex unlimited from me, its no need for me to change num or block him he got ways and it’ll be really ugly if I do it again,and that he hated when I didn’t talk to him after Valentine’s day,he loves me and why I don’t see.

    I know its not love its a game he wants as many women as possible. It eats away at my soul thinking about the times I didn’t know it was this many women until I went thru his phone.It eats away at me more that I haven’t gotten over him but I hate the way he treats me, I feel crazy, but one thing I do know is I had a good relationship or 2 and know this is not love or a relationship. Those pretty decent relationship I had. That ended didn’t have this much drama and pain.

  68. susanna says:

    I reread this several times–it’s so very helpful in figuring out how someone can behave this way. What I’ll never understand is how can you not be self-aware at a certain point and realize what you’re doing? In my situation, he said extraordinary things–and not in the heat of passion or under the influence of anything. Things like “I’ve loved and adored you for 42 years” and “this is ridiculously romantic and meant to be” and “I won’t let you down.” The last one was especially painful, because he’d let me down before and knew I was especially wary about moving forward with him again. Essentially, I trusted him and gave him another chance. But, he let me down again and this was after “future faking” me in great detail about where we’d live, what present he’d buy me for a wedding gift (my 1970 sports car), where we should honeymoon & spend our summers, how much money we’d have to live on…I don’t know how you do that and have different beliefs about the relationship. Just 2 days after begging me to come live with him and I agree, he ends it saying: 1) he couldn’t get past the guilt of how he hurt his deceased wife with our affair 20 yrs ago; and 2) he didn’t want to be the man I left my husband for (we were separated anyway).

    What I struggle with is when is someone just “playing” you and when do they sincerely have this belief/actions/words conundrum? I don’t really know what to believe. And, part of that is not wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt anymore;)

    Thanks, Natalie, for a thought-provoking post. You & BR have been a lifeline of support. <3

    • Wiser says:

      I don’t understand it either Susanna. None of us here do. Maybe some men think that all this future-faking talk is a normal part of being ‘romantic’ and is expected of them, sort of the equivalent of whispering sweet nothings in your ear. Maybe they think women like this sort of thing. Or they just get caught up in the excitement of the new relationship and say things that sound wonderful at the time (even to them) because they indeed are feeling wonderful and this kind of talk fits the happy mood of the situation and seems like the right thing to do. Then they realize they’ve overestimated their interest and/or capacity to follow through – and then they panic.

      Also, some guys just have nothing solid to them. They have little moral code beyond what feels good and fun at the time. They are not grounded in any particular beliefs or principles. I don’t know if that’s just immaturity, shallowness, lack of integrity, inability to focus, or something more disordered than that. Doesn’t mean necessarily that they are cruelly “playing you” but that they are so screwed up emotionally and stuck in a permanently adolescent way of thinking that their confusion is genuine. I believe that most of them don’t know what they hell they are doing or why. I don’t think these are bad people – they are just bad choices as partners and friends.

      Your case is rather extreme and I am very sad that you’ve been treated to such stunning thoughtless behavior. I can’t make heads or tails out of this guy either. I don’t know how to tell if his behavior stems from the callous cruelty of a truely cold heart or just from the hapless confusion of a poor lump who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, does it? The end result is the same – he’s not mature, he’s not available, he’s not solid, he’s not the man for you. You gave him a second chance and he let you down again. He showed you who he really is. Case closed. Please focus more on yourself now instead of making yourself crazy trying to figure him out.

      • Swissmiss says:

        There seems to be a complete disconnect between what is said and what is going on at a deeper level. When this happens naturally, we might be in a pub with friends who all decide to holiday together, and we get caught up in the emotions of the moment and pipe up, “Count me in!”, then after, when we’ve had time to reflect, we say, “I’ve changed my mind.” The incongruent people Nat has summarized here are impulsive like that with everything. Their rational thinking kicks in really late—if at all—and we are left feeling betrayed. Narcisstic? Attention seeking? Immature? Immoral?

        I experienced it as bait that drew me in. I have no idea if that was the intent. I only know that I was hypnotized by a roaming troubadour, and swooned like thousands of other women over the past 500 years. From the very beginning I said, “Stop talking like that or I am likely to follow you down the garden path.” He didn’t. I did. I have no one to blame but myself. Darn it.

  69. espresso says:

    When you said you lost your confidence and the ability to accurately assess the craziness and destructiveness of your relationship – that really describes me. I never felt my true self was seen or appreciated by him. I also worked tirelessly to try to make the relationship better. When there was an issue in the family or with me that needed to be addressed I usually got the “when is it MY turn to raise issues with YOU.’ as the first response. I worked SO hard to use the “right” wording, I initiated therapy to improve communication, but he never ever took the risk of raising things with me. When I would try to bring the focus back to our discussion he would switch into “I am such a bad person.” Then we would spend the rest of the time talking about how he could feel better about himself. I began to see that this actually was quite manipulative. When I finally tuned into this interaction he started arguments with me about how we were supposed to communicate, quibbling over the meaning of words etc. It is no wonder I just gave up and in the last few years was silent. He told me later he thought this was because “we were getting along better.” The man is/was completely clueless but was also manipulative, like yours.

    The worst was that he was/is passive and so I made the decisions and instead of seeing that I HAD to and that I made good decisions I just felt like I was an overpowering and domineering bit h. Again I felt I was almost manipulated to take on this role and then blamed for having done it. I am a collaborator and wanted real teamwork. … Anyway, just meant to say I feel it was almost like being brainwashed to be in this kind of environment. It is destructive and takes time to feel strong and stable again. Congratulations for what you are doing!

  70. Discarded says:

    I haven’t posted in a while on here, been doing alot better and happier, still read from time to time. But I have been working on myself and getting to a good place.

    Anyway short summary, he built me up and dumped from a great height in Jan. I went strict NC, as he made it clear I was painted black and worthless to him.

    He got in contact every 2 to 3 weeks until March, with immature and rude messages. I blocked the last attempt in March and haven’t heard a peep until last night.

    One pointless message saying. “Why wont ya jusy stop been a C**t and be woth me” (yep a drunk txt) and why the hell he STILL got my number?

    I deleted the text and ignored it, and have received nothing else.

    Just weird, confusing, and just pointless. Hasn’t set me back, but obviously has made me think of him more all over again. Luckily my heart didn’t race anymore, which is a good sign I think. Shows I’m getting there.

    Think it’s the arrogance and just sooooooooo selfish.

    Anyway rant over lol. Would like opinions though, don’t think it’s an recycle attempt? Just seeing if I’m still on my leash? Well I ain’t and I’m running!!!!

    • Tabitha says:

      Discarded (please change your name) I just cannot imagine how you could fail to be charmed by such an emotionally charged, sensitive and moving text from your ex?
      You did the right thing and you need to stay strong. If you had responded he would have been sitting there thinking, yeah, poor discarded, she still has the hots for me and I could pick up where I left off any time i like. And then you probably wouldn’t hear back from him.
      They are Yucky!

      • Discarded says:

        I think it’s a fitting name for how I was treated lol.

        I just don’t get why he sends messages like that?

        What’s the point?

        Thought that was the end of it in March. But nope. One pointless text. Probably thinks I’ve forgot about him. So sends a text to ‘remind’ me.

        Like I need reminding hes scum and treated me like nothing in the end.

        • Mymble says:

          How he treated you does not define you. There’s more to you than that you were on the receiving end of someone else’s assclownery.
          The text is just a text, he had a drink, he felt at that moment lonely, or horny or angry or goodness knows. It’s a big deal for you, but probably of little significance to him. He may not even remember having done it. Try not to ruminate on it too much and don’t even think of getting in touch to ask him! It does annoy them a little to be ignored but as soon as you respond they know they’ve still got you on a leash and that’s all they want to know.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          I agree with Tabitha, Discarded. If it’s over and you are no longer emotionally invested, a name like “Renewed”, or “Enlightened” would be more appropriate and in keeping with your new frame of mind. But, of course, it is not my business what name you choose to use.

    • Suki says:

      Agree! Your name [discarded] must be changed! Now that your heart isnt racing [which is a very very good sign] you must get a new name along the lines of rainbows and self-affirmation :) BR demands it.

  71. Lacy says:

    Paolo I don’t like to speak on things I don’t know much about. But to me its odd to still be friends with x.I was friends with my kids Dad after I had my daughter we weren’t together but remained friends 2 yrs later I haf my son, that’s how well of friends we were, not to scare u to thinking the worst cause everyone situation can turn out different. That was just my experience in staying friends with my x.

    We stayed friends for a while in which he lived with a woman and sge eventually left him.We stayed friends and got along really well he even took care if my living expenses and bought me a car he said it was for the kids.

    When I met my fiance is when problems beging to arise.I had no time to remain friends.He took away all the benefits lbvs.

    Now today we are not friends we co-parent, he still brings up the fact that I was engaged and how wrong I was for moving on.We weren’t even in a relationship, he has animosity and has even mentioned this to our kids,that it was my fault he hates me cause I moved in with my fiance and he didn’t want a man around his kids.

    So no friendship with x in my case is a No,negative,and Void.You have to trust your gut and I wish u well.

    • paolo says:

      @Lacy..I did stipulate i think a couple of times that if they have kids together its completely different.

      • paolo says:

        What is disturbing is the number that are remaining friends that DON’T have any kind of ties at all..Just seems like a load of extremely weird excuses to stay in touch.

        • Lacy says:

          Paolo you are true some people come up with anything to keep ties with each other.Example,she doesn’t have any place to live so she’s living at my house but we are not together romantically,well how long has she been there?6 yrs.Really how long does it take to cut ties if u are not together. also I really think if u have kids u don’t have to be all friendly friendly its a line to be drawn in those cases too,like I said my kids father and I broke up when i was 6 mths pregnant with my daughter.He had moved on and him and his girlfriend shared in ap,I was young at the time and i see now that i was the other woman and sadly to say with not knowing my worth or that it wasn’t worth it,I was content.We were suppose to be just parents friends but we were more and his girlfriend was fully aware because I got pregnant with my son 2 yrs later.I was with him first but when he moved on I should’ve let go,I didn’t know better and neither did she. I had my son and my fiance came into my life I did let go but at that point.But I wasn’t her problem it was a known fact that he had moved another woman into the house and was in a 3 way relationship.The girlfriend continuously fought and eventually they both left him.Wow what a story,so was it worth remaining friends with my kids father No.Nowdays he just send money pick them up when he can we don’t have to be chummy chummy just parents and be able to coexist in the same rm if needed but its not.

          • Suki says:

            Yes, and also whether that other person is a way to avoid real attachments. If your ex or some sort of substitute-gf housemate is in your house for 6 years, the odds are high that you are not going to have a real authentic relationship with someone else in those six years. I just dont see how you will.

  72. noquay says:

    Yep, online is becoming pretty much a BR testing zone. Did we learn our lessons or not? Wimpy, needy clingers, probably marrieds, playas, and the just plain weird. A week ago, after hearing how this dude is sooo spiritual, loves nature, yada, yadda, he decides he’s gonna drive to my lil mountain town to meet me, great. We meet that evening and he looks nothing like his photos and is a good 5 inches shorter thanclaimed (the incredible shrinking man, a common online phenomenon). He takes one look at me and immediately apologizes for his appearance and that he promises to get in shape pronto. He is already through a serious drink when I arrive. We tour the town after dinner and he only is interested in stopping at bars. He was yammering on about how he is gonna spend Solstice on a mountain (so am I but it will be a DIFFERENT mountain), I let him drive me to my house and he is obviously disappointed that he’s not gonna get inside (no hookup zone). This online stuff is so much fun.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay. Did you really think it fun? My (2nd ever) online experience was another huge disappointment – a typical “says one thing, does another”. We met halfway, distance wise. He complained about “starving” because my bus was late. We had lunch. He was inattentive, looking everywhere except at me – shifty eyed, Amber flag! He had pretended to be so confident and wordly on his frequent emails. After having been so romantic, attentive, talking about how he could not wait to get his hands on me during our online connection, he acted as if I had Leprosy IRL. I was dressed very nicely and appropriately, mannerly, friendly, conversing easily. He did not look much like his photo, and had a pronounced limp which he had failed
      conveniently to mention. We could not get any kind of conversation going while walking around trying to enjoy the sights and activities of Atlantic City. He was there to gamble, and supposedly to meet me since he was going to be logistically closer to my domain. I was there to meet him, but had NO interest in gambling. So, right away, there was disconnect from the get go. But worst of all, he leaped at every chance opportunity to bring up the ex-wife. Red flag! In summary, this guy was a mere shadow of what he appeared to be online. And, even though we communicated daily before finally meeting, and I thought I had some semblance of an idea what to expect, I ended up FOOLED, and wondering if he’d been a figment of my imagination the entire time. I had to insist that he see me off at the bus depo as he was making excuses about doing that. And then, the maximimum incongruity: after a mutually uninspiring day, he leans in to kiss me “goodbye” and I instinctively turned my head so that the kiss landed on my cheek. I couldn’t imagine he wanted to touch my lips when he didn’t want to hold my hand, and I had been turned off hours ago. Needless to say, we never spoke to or saw each other again. Wasted time, but then again, I learned a few things: no more online fantasizing. Words, thought, actions have got to match. Otherwise, I’m outta there. Fortunately, that experience has been followed by the one who professes to love and care, respect and trust is doing exactly that. For now, it’s a blessing, but I always keep in mind that there is no such thing as forever. Time passes, people change for a myriad of reasons. Best to be authentic and trust in yourself so that you can weather whatever happens down the road.

    • runnergirl says:

      Noquay, after several years on BR and always reading your comments,I’m starting to get your “not settling” for crap/crumbs. I know it is not as rough here in So Cal as it is in your small mountain town but…there’s the but…once I’ve established boundaries and a sense of making sure my actions, words, and thoughts are connected, it filters out a ton of these guys. I agree about the diff between what they present online and what they present in person. They are almost always shorter. Since I’m only 5’3″ or 2″, I can tell the difference between someone who claims to be 6′ 2″ and shows up about my height. No online guy has ever made it to my house…it’s a no hook up zone as well. So you are right, it’s fun. Sometimes it’s like oh dear god. Hope you have a nice soltice celebration on that different mountain!

      • runnergirl says:

        Opps, when I read that back, I realized the height thing sounded superficial. Actually, it’s that they report they are 6’2″ and then show up 5’2″. The disconnection or the bold face lie is what is important to me.

        • Little Star says:

          Runnergirl, I agree with you. WHY TO LIE IN THE FIRST PLACE?! It is not about height it is about being honest!

  73. 2fearce says:


    I’ll try this again.

    Plz stop putting yourself in harms way.

    Think of him as a big poisonous snake… u r endangering yourself every time u meet with him. He has shown u over n over that he will say or do anything to get to you n then all bets are off. Know that everytime his mouth opens there’s a lie just waiting to come from his lips.

    • Lacy says:

      2fearce I feel really stupid for ever giving him the benefit of the doubt.After so many yrs I finally Nc for 3 mths for him to call everyday beg me relentlessly and come to my house unannounced,after all these yrs I thought it was worth another try,as nat says suck it and see and i seen in 3 days it was bs.he said I had pushed him away within 3 days. It hurts like hell like someone is ripping my heart out,so I go nc again for him to come to the job with false promises.I asked him what does he want from me he said sex unlimited.That hurt even more,I am Nc and will stay thta way as much as it hurts to keep replaying the lies disappointment over in my mind. I know I deserve more but I keep wondering what is it about me that he doesn’t want more?where did I go wrong?Why is it that he can treat everyone else well and treat me with hate/I feel tortured.My heart aches I have mixed emotions but I know I can’t live this way.I think I am not perfect but lovable,I don’t deserve this no one does and I have hurt myself long enough.I want to live beyond my painful situation.I want to be happy in my life be able to smile so when the special person comes I will be ready.I have been on my knees praying for good to cleanse my heart,soul, mind and body.Thk you for your input I am a work in progress,I just wish it was a get over it pill lbvs.

  74. SM says:

    I would just like to say for the record(to myself anyway) that right now I am the one saying and doing two completely different things with a guy. The reason this is happening is because I am not doing a good job at honoring my own values, and the guy is so cute and fun that it is a bit irresistible. I do like him but it is apparent after only a few dates that he is not offering what I want out of a relationship. He is not ‘bad’ and is being honest about what he wants, so am I but neither of us even though we both know the truth, have put the kabosh to it. The time has come though because I dont want to end up down the same road I’ve traveled before.

  75. Feistywoman says:

    I have met too many of these assclowns to even be bothered dating now and am quite happy single. Just don’t need the stress and upset that goes with modern man’s idea of dating and haven’t been out on a date in 6 months now. Only had 3 dates in 2.5 years! Am also so cynical that the next man who may ask me out will have big barriers to break down thanks to the idiots that came before him.In such a situation if he is worth the time he will stay and fight for me if he doesn’t then he is another assclown. I also have a friend who is in the same situation and she is 20 years younger. So many people don’t think about their actions and how it might impact on the next person you meet. Don’t whatever you do let strange men take you to your home if you meet them online, that is plain dangerous. Trust has to be earned and safety comes first. My tip is if you are meeting someone for the first time and don’t know them well then tell a friend. I also have left a visible note in my home with their name and contact details in case of any problems. That way at least someone knows what you are doing. I don’t do online dating as it is a vipers nest and I consider it to be unsafe. Have never needed a man in my life to be validated as a woman and don’t intend to change that.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Feistywoman. Agreed. An online date is a stranger whose intent of whom you know next to nothing. So allowing them to even come to the street you live on is just foolhardy.

  76. noquay says:

    Feisty woman
    I don’t normally let any stranger drive me home but the damned fool waitperson at the restaurant already told him where I live as I was a bit late. This is a small town, both my home and appearance are unusual; most everyone who lives here knows where I live and who I am. The restaurant folk, the folk I had been running with that afternoon, all knew I was meeting someone that evening. I even left my smartphone unlocked on the kitchen counter with his email on the screen. Dude learned three things that night; I have boundaries, I am displeased when men present themselves as someone they are not, and most importantly, I am the proud owner of two very large and seriously protective dogs. I am far more afraid of my very fit but mentally ill neighbor that our county refuses to do anything about. Yep, I surely wish I had options right now other than the choice between chancing my hand online or writing off dating entirely for a good many years. Again, as I will probably have a good two decades alone in my old age whether I like it or not, I see no reason to
    go there prematurely.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Noquay. Your last sentence drew a chuckle out of me. It certainly helps to use a little (serious) humor in the telling of past experiences, or current ones in which we clearly understand the pros and cons. The upside in your situation is that were there ever a threat to your safety(God forbid) the closeness of your community is your lifeline. No way you could be missing 3 days without the alarm to the police raised.

      • runnergirl says:

        Noquay, your last sentence drew a chuckle out of me too. Just keep flushing the guys who show up who are not who they claim to be and keep your boundaries (and your very seriously large and protective dogs) in place.
        For me, it’s a matter of dating with my boundaries and self-esteem in tow no matter if it’s IRL or online. I have to go back and edit my boundaries after this last year. They have to have a steady source of income. I’ve never met so many unemployed guys who claim to be “retired” with no source of income. I understand we are coming out of a recession here in the states. However, iIt seems to me they may want to spend their time looking for work on rather than trolling the dating sites looking for a date. I’m in an affluent area of the burbs so it’s been weird to meet guys from 50-60 someting without jobs and no source of income who claim they are “retired”. If there is one thing I cannot do, it is support an unemployed 50-60 something. PERIOD. Once I get my daughter out of college, I don’t want to support anybody financially. If that means being alone, so be it. I’d rather be alone.

        • Tinkerbell says:

          AMEN, A hundred times. Agreed.

        • Tracy says:

          Runner: I hear ya. I live outside NYC, and a high percentage of the online guys here in the burbs are ‘retired’. Or they are ‘starting an internet company’ (read: no job, selling crap on eBay). I have tried dipping my toe back into online, but finding myself totally unattracted to most guys, reading between the lines in the profiles and aghast at how many get very specific about looks and body types, even when they look like they havent’ had a good haircut in 6 years, are 50 lbs overweight, wearing some hideous outfit…I could go on and on. But I won’t. If someone writes to me I seldom write back, I just can’t muster any enthusiasm.

          OR, maybe I’m finally just becoming a little more discerning and not jumping at anyone who emails me. Dunno

    • Feistywoman says:

      Is being alone in your old age so bad? I just think that on-line dating is a complete waste of time and I have better things to do with my precious life that waste it on losers. I have spoken to many women who have joined dating sites and not one of them have anything good to say. I also know one woman who is working her way i.e. shagging her way through the men and she is known as a complete slapper in the social group I am in. If it has a Y chromosome and a pulse she’ll bed it. Personally I prefer to meet men socially as that way they can be weeded out and in time they show their true colours so you don’t waste time dating them. I fail to understand why it is so important to so many men and women to be in a relationship rather than having a fulfilling life as a single person. As for friends with exs that says to me that people can’t let go and if there is regular contact and signs of a harem I’d be getting the hell out. Men seem to like having a few exs in the background to validate them as not being total shits but they feed women the friend line to keep their options open, nothing else.

  77. noquay says:

    Nope, I didn’t think the whole experience fun so much as funny. Classic case of “I am in no way who I said I am”. I was pissed about my address given away to a stranger. Was gonna have word with the waitperson this week but he wasn’t there. I do however, know the owner. Actually, the biggest threat to me here are some locals who have serious boundary issues with women, hence the equally serious doggies. That and hurting myself in the summer when no one at work knows I am missing or hurt. Believe me Tink, if you had told me 9 years ago I would have to resort to on line dudes or nothing, I’d have thought you were nuts. Ditto for going thru breast cancer, becoming involved with a colleague, barely putting food on the table in Montana, etc. I take nothing and no one for granted ever. This is why I have so many contingency plans in my life. I could loose this job tomorrow and no matter what else happens, I can feed myself and will have a roof over my head. Call me a pessimist, I call me prepared. BTW, you exhibited extreme patience with your Atlantic city dude. I would’ve bailed on that one long before you did.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Hahaha! Noquay. The only reason I had to exhibit patience was because I was stuck with him. I could not leave until the first bus out of there at 6pm. It was such a bummer. A awkward and uncomfortable wait.

      I agree, online experiences can be funny when they are not who they claimed to be. But, for me, it was only funny some time afterward, not during the experience (as you can imagine). It took me several weeks to stop asking myself why I had been desperate enough to take a 2 hour bus trip to meet the chump, knowing that I would be spending the entire day with some stranger. I’m glad the experience wasn’t any worse. Glad I can laugh about it now.

  78. noquay says:

    Having an ex as a friend is very dependent on circumstances. My ex husband and I remain friends though he is a lot more distant now that he is living with a woman. He used to spend a week every spring and we’d hang out and discuss lefties issues. I really miss that. Our split was due to circumstance, not incompatibility. However, when one party has been cheated on/lied to/hurt, it’s best that one never deal with the person again in any way,be it geographically, via mutual friends, or professionally. I will never be friends with the AC, a toxic male friend I had to offload here, nor my graduate advisor who indirectly was responsible for the events that lead to the breakup of my marriage. Unfortunately, some folk are beyond forgiving.

    • paolo says:

      noquay..I guess it never struck me as an issue until i dated someone breifly last year and how all her ex’s were somehow involved in her life to some degree or another. I still miss her terribly, but i think that is partly to do with the indignified way i behaved about it and online cyber cheating i did and told her about when i found out she had lied to me about another ex on her facebook page…This online relationship malarky was crazy making for me…It really brought the worst out of me.

  79. micheyl says:

    I have been on this website for a while, but have yet to leave a message. This post came at the exact right moment for me. I was with my EUM for 10 months. He did so many things natalie talks about – future faked (what would our kids look like? how many would you want?). It was my first relationship since my divorce 8 years ago.

    I felt I was finally at a point to allow myself time for a social life outside of my children. He was the one who pursued me. He was the one that said ‘I love you’ first. I told him I wanted to be cautious with my children meeting him but he even made the first move with that. He took us on ‘family’ vacations, made a “room” for them in his home so they could stay over comfortably.

    I started envisioning a future with him. He took me on a romantic getaway then when we returned he went away for almost a month on business. Then when he got back suddenly he freaked out. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a step-dad and I was too old, he feared, to have biological children with him. Hello? these were 2 facts about me I didn’t hide: my age and that I am a mother. You couldn’t figure out these were deal breakers before 10 months together?

    Anyway, we have been breaking up for 4 months. In which time, I have slept with him, went from girlfriend to booty call, then to the other woman as he started dating someone else. All the while his words have kept me on a string. I have had strong moments and weak moments and finally recognized his actions don’t equal his words. “I still love you. I pine for you. I can’t stop thinking about you.” Really then why are you f&cking someone else? So this week, he invited me to hike and lunch. During lunch he reveals he is taking a trip to England to see his family and has invited her to go along. Crushed at first, but then he says things like “Yeah, I have to have a talk with her about that; I have really messed up; I really enjoyed hanging out the girls, being a father figure to them; I just can’t get into her; I love you.” Then I told him I don’t like to feel I am second and he says “You are definitely not second.” So stupid me thinks Yay, he is going to end it with her.

    Then we meet two days later after I know he has met with her to talk. Yeah, they talked things over and he’s going to stay with her! WTF?! So he couldn’t talking things over and fix things with me after a 10 month relationship, but he can fix it with her after a few weeks? Whatever. I have tried NC so many times, but this time I have to follow through. I told him taking her to England to meet his family is the final FU to me. There’s no turning back from that. I have been feeling so sad and rejected, I can’t do this anymore. I have to have the strength to see through NC. He claims he wants to be my friend. I told him my friends don’t claim they are in love with me and then try and f*ck me.

    BTW, he is one that is friends with all his exes and has a harem of women of all ages who adore him. Gag.

    • Tinkerbell says:

      Micheyl. I sincerely hope you have reached your breaking point with this guy. When you love deeply, you put up with MUCH MORE than you normally would. But, when their behavior doesn’t change and they continue to hurt you, you FINALLY realize “that’s enough”. That’s your epiphany. I hope you have reach that point and will go NC permanently. Giving them second, third, fourth, chances does not work.

      • micheyl says:

        thank you Tinkerbell! I really need to hear encouraging words and understanding. It is hard because most of my female friends are married and in available relationships and don’t understand how hard it is for me “give up” on this guy. But you are right, I have had enough. We live in the same small town and I am so fearful of running into him over summer festivities, but I can’t keep putting my life on hold because of him. I did love deeply and that is why it is so hard. This is my pattern. How they can move on so quickly and easily has been tied to my self-worth for so long, I know I have a lot of work to do on myself. Thank you so much for caring!! I am about to block his number on my phone. I now have the courage to do so. <3

        • Tinkerbell says:

          Micheyl. Stay with us and read as much as you can. This is a very supportive environment and Natalie’s writing are very wise and full of insight. Someone will always find that their problem is light compared to what someone else has been through. The stories of success in increasing one’s self esteem and finding peace, are very inspiring. You begin to feel that if so many others can learn and grow and make changes for the better, so can you. I wish you all the best, Tinkerbell.

          • micheyl says:

            I will Tinkerbell! I have been reading this site a lot, and read the book Mr U and the FB girl. I saw so much of me and my past relationships! Thank you. I have also started reiki and absolutely love it. Letting go of stuck energy and getting stronger by the day. little by little

  80. Astriad says:

    Great post. Really timely for me… I really appreciate that this website is here – its great.

  81. noquay says:

    Yep, “semi retired” means deadbeat. We have a plethora of these dudes here, yep, 50s to 60s, smack dab in Noquays dating range. I understand we are in a recession but interestingly, there is next to no female counterpart to these dudes. Apparently the recession only affected half the work force, eh?

    • Peach says:

      Wow…never knew that semi-retired was the same as deadbeat. I am semi-retired, mostly retired, from a well paying job and support myself very adequately with my life savings and a professional teaching job instructing junior people in my field of expertise.
      Some guys may be semi-retired and have good finances. Some will lie and say they are retired when they are obviously unemployed and living on the dole or whatever.
      Find out which it is, but don’t label semi-retired or retired people, male or female, as deadbeats.

      • runnergirl says:

        Peach, of course you are correct. Some guys may be semi-retired or retired and have good finances. Unfortunately, I’ve met the ones who are unemployed and claim they are “retired”. Says one thing…
        Congratulations to you for actually being semi-retired and supporting yourself. I’m going to be there one day very soon as well. I think it is the deception that throws me for a loop.

  82. noquay says:

    Little Star
    You’re right, it’s all about presenting you as you truly are so that you find someone truly compatible with you. My dude talked ad nauseum about wanting a dance partner, I too want someone whom I can dance with. At my height, that means someone 5’10” minimum, otherwise the woman has a good chance of being smacked upside the head or having ones glasses knocked off during the twirls that are a big part of folk dancing. Why lie? It’s not as though we womyn are incapable of telling a mans level of alcohol consumption, height, and fitness level. We have eyes and ears, eh?

    • runnergirl says:

      You are cracking me up Noquay. I know we are in complete different geographic regions but it my experience is so similar. Why lie? Therein lies the question. It is amazing.

  83. Lezley says:

    Micheyl~ I just found this website this am via a fb page I regularly go to about narcissists. I really didn’t know much about that word until I found “I had one of those!”. Nothing to be happy about by any means. So, I know what you’re going thru. Here’s my pathetic story:
    Met this guy, both of us married but in bad reatliosnahips, (he already going thru divorce from her cheating?????) She did cheat. So did his first ex wife! (hmmmm) We were friends, that’s all, then mine left me, he and I talked more and more. We met for the first time out ever, and he told me he loved me! I didn’t at the time but was taken off guard and said I did too. I know… Then I moved to HI and all we had was text, calls, emails (of which he completely monopolized my time as to have control over me from a distance~silly me I didn’t realize this until lately)…I then moved back to the mainland after four months. Guess why? Here’s where it went wrong and I knew it and didn’t listen to my intuition. When still in HI during a phone convo he hung up on me for no reason. Seriously~no reason! Wouldn’t talk to me for two days (of which I’m stuck on an island and freaking out!) he finally responded to an email and all was forgiven. He gave me the I’m sorry I’ve never done that before it tore my heart out I’ll never do it again bs! After moving back, I got it three more times. Same thing! ONly one time lead to 7 days of nc. Always me reaching out. Not so long after the last ‘episode’ (that’s what I referred to them as because I didn’t know what else to call them???) he was in town visiting me (yes, it was also a long distance thing to make matters worse) and out of the blue after a wonderful dinner out we got back to my place and he packed and left. I stood there asking why? “I just can’t do this right now”, “Do what?! We just had a nice dinner and I don’t know what spurred you to leave at 10:30pm a day early!? ~now I”m bawling out of control) as he walks out the door he tells me, It’s not over. WTF is that? A day later i get a text, “I need to take a break. Trust me and go have fun. I have to take care of some things that keep haunting me blah blah blah” It’s been 66 days since we’ve verbally spoken (and whose counting?!) or seen each other. He texted me (as a buddy!) for a week of which he asked me to go on a weekend trip with he and his family (I thought this was weird due to the fact we hadn’t even spoken. I asked what he wanted from me in a text and never heard from him again! Again, WTF is that!? He never showed up for that trip nor let me know in any way shape or form he wasn’t coming. FYI…I wasn’t going to go, but wanted that opportunity to say it! Anyways, it was that day I called him (knowing he wasn’t going to answer) and dumped him on the phone. I’ve never heard one thing since. And, he still has some of my things of which he’s said he’d send but I know won’t because that gives him leverage. Or so he thinks. I too have had my heart ripped out of my chest, left feeling like a complete loser idiot!, questioning why me, I didn’t do anything (that I knew of cause I’ll own my sh(t), he said he loved me, wanted to marry me, family loved me, friends loved me, he can’t believe he got me, he adored and cherished me. I could go on…but how could someone now do this to me???? After saying all that? And, it was so different. LIke no other relationship before. (Hence the cluelessness about Narcissism)I’ve gone thru all the steps of grieving probably three times and finally doing ‘pretty normal’, whatever that is! NC is really hard. But, I”m hanging in there. Why? Because it’s easier to ‘not’ be hung up on for no reason, not wait in anticipation of any contact then waiting to be walked on again. Every time was worse then the last. You got to let go of this guy no matter the pain. It will ‘slowly’ dissipate I promise you that. And, you will see ‘you are a special person’ and deserve so much better from a healthy person. I feel your pain. One day at a time…

  84. Lezley says:

    A couple more comments (I’ve ranted enough): I am in my forties, he as well and going thru this! I thought at this age we were too old for these games.Someone tell me what ‘A Break’ is? My kids did that in high school!

    • micheyl says:

      Lezley, don’t beat yourself up! I am in my forties too and I recognize myself being attracted to Mr. Unavailables as far back as 5th grade! If you haven’t read Natalie’s book, I highly recommend it. I am reading through it for the third time now. Thank you for the kind words. It does get easier. I find myself so much more able to handle the sadness than in the beginning. Still feeling sad, but hopeful now. You always have to remain hopeful.

      And I remind myself everything is a lesson. I didn’t learn anything from my past break-ups so this one is a woozy of a lesson! I too was questioning my intuition – like physical feelings of nausea and such high anxiety, I would need xanax! Also, little things that I would ignore because that is what you do when you love someone right? You love all of them, and overlook questionable stuff. No! And what I think they mean by a “break” I got from Natalie’s book – I don’t want the responsibility of a commitment, but I don’t want to lose you completely so I will string you along and pull you out for sex, ego boost, etc.

      Good luck to you too. I wish the ladies (and gents) on here could all meet up for a glass of wine somewhere! haha!!

    • runnergirl says:

      Lezley, there is no age limit on this. I just turned 54 and went through hell with a MM who said one thing, did another, and who knows what he was thinking. We are never too old!
      You’ve got to hang tight with NC, otherwise lather, rinse, repeat. Then one day you’ll be 54 going, wait, this is high school, only it’ll be your grandkids.
      He said it to me too. Did something else though. Follow the actions.

  85. Fran says:

    I just ended a six month relationship with someone who did this very thing. For six months he had been pursuing me steadily and would get upset if I wasn’t at his house most of the time or if I took some time to be by myself. We were basically playing house and I started to feel like I was being used and manipulated. After six months of serious dating he suddenly tells me he only wanted a fun and casual relationship and not anything serious. His words and actions never matched and he was told to hit the road several days ago. He was upset that I did not contact him for days after our breakup, telling me it was “weird” to go to no contact . I was confused and hurt for some time, never knowing what to believe .

  86. noquay says:

    I didn’t mean to offend, but here, that’s exactly what it means. I don’t immediately dismiss anyone based on their retirement status; actually I am looking for a truely retired professional as a partner as there is no professional job market here to speak of. I do not reject a person as a deadbeat unless they have proven via their actions that they are. It seems as though other posters have encountered the same problem, in the same age group, and yep, predominantly male. Here, the term is synonymous with “middle aged ski bum” and women had better hold on to their purse strings and their credit cards when getting involved with one of these dudes. I am glad you are financially stable and responsible, so am I, wish more folks were.

  87. noquay says:

    I fully expect to spend my old age completely alone. No family and people just aren’t as community minded as they used to be. At this point in life, my 50s, yep, I would like a strong emotional, physical, and intellectual relationship with a good man. I don’t see as anything wrong with that. I don’t waste time on losers, and do not shag around with anything bearing a Y chromosome. I agree, that’s crappy and potentially dangerous behavior. The men in my region do not share my values, therefore online is my only option. Cannot change who lives here so I must try and import from outside. I spend perhaps 80% of my time alone so I am hardly a helpless, hopeless princess looking for validation. Yep, many men do collect exes as a sort of sick harem, I throw such men away.

    • paolo says:

      @noquay…Believe me..Pleanty of women collect ex’s too.

    • Feistywoman says:

      Noquay I am also in my 50s but on the basis that I have met men and still do who are complete losers in life, I feel that online is likely to yield more of the same. I appreciate that not everyone depending where they live can access a social life. It is women like this slapper I mentioned, who fulfil the expectation in so many men that women are seen only to bed and leave with a grass is greener mentality. There is no sense of values and commitment in so many men. I have given up dating and instead am concentrating on me and having a happy life. Having divorced two twats I have no need to find another and am now convinced that most men are total losers based on my personal experience, that of friends and the comments on here. Good luck with your search.

  88. Michelle J says:

    What is happening when a guy brings up relationships before you do by telling you he doesn’t want a relationship he just want to have fun, but then he takes you to meet his closest friends, takes you all over town with him (at his convenience of course but does take you out, is always on time and never cancels) – keeps reminding you he doesn’t want a relationship so you say ok, but then after your all day date, you go back to his house, have sex, you try to get up to go (because he basically keeps reminding you that you’re just a booty call) then he grabs you and wants to hold you in his arms all night until the sun comes up – what the hell is this?? But then goes out of his way later on to remind you that he doesn’t want a relationship?

    • grace says:

      He doesn’t want a relationship.

    • yoghurt says:

      What Grace said. He doesn’t want a relationship.

      …although he’d like the nice bits of a relationship, the romantic pre-dawn cuddling, the sex (natch), the kudos of having an attractive woman on his arm, the validation to his friends and family, the company and the excitement of dates. Those are fun, he can do those.

      What he DOESN’T want is the hassle of actually having to care how you feel, the obligation of looking after you if you’re ill or sad, the discipline to work through difficulties or the all-time absolute DEPRIVATION of not being able to have sex with someone else again.

      In the meantime, you get all the work of being a good girlfriend but you don’t actually get yourself a boyfriend. And you also don’t get to get on with your life.

  89. Muneca says:

    I love your site! Very good info – I have a “friend” w benefits who does this constantly! And I don’t call him out cuz I don’t want to pester him w petty Bs, but it bothers me for days on end. Then I See him on social media being attentive as if real life contact and our “dates” mean nothing, when confronted he just blows it off?
    – in love & confused

  90. Lori says:

    ….calling them out on their CONTRADICTING behavior…


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