Back in the summer of ’97 (jaysus that was a long time ago), I spent the summer living in Baltimore, partying it up and working. In typical me fashion (back then anyway), I clapped eyes on the team leader and went into instant lust. I was determined to, as we say here in the UK, ‘pull him’ and it took two days and a few drinks before my mission was accomplished. He was actually a Mr Unavailable with a very complicated history and quite the ladies man although I was too blinded to see it. After pulling him, he started blowing cold on me which only had me smarting from rejection and feeling even more interested in him.

We spent the whole summer ‘hanging out’ but we were just friends which really wound me up! I burned up copious levels of brain energy analysing ‘the situation’. He never explained what the hell had happened (I could have just heeded the signs and drawn a conclusion) and I spent the summer lusting after him. We hooked up again before the end of the summer which was around the time I discovered that he was hooking up with another girl who’d been lurking around, that sat about a stones throw away from me in the office. To add insult to injury, she had a boyfriend! Oddly, this was all I needed to give me the kick in the teeth wake up call that I needed. I instantly lost respect for him as well as the interest and adoration. In fact, I saw him through brand new eyes and rather than feel compelled to compete with this girl, I realised how silly, deceitful, and pathetic he was.

I almost cringe now at how I lurked around pining for him and waiting for him to throw me scraps of attention although it wasn’t the last time I was interested in someone who wasn’t interested in me. When I cast my mind back to that summer, I have to admit that most of what took place was in my head, trapped not only in the fantasy of him realising his ‘burning desire’ for me, but also trapped by the shackles of rejection.

What I can tell you is this: When you don’t heed the signs either direct or indirect that someone isn’t interested, you will disrespect yourself and do things that on reflection cause you to feel embarrassed or even humiliated.

When a guy is interested, you know he’s interested, not because he’s treating you like Dial-a-lay calling you up late at night arranging to hook up, treating you like a ‘mate’, emailing or texting, or burning your ears by relaying all of his problems from Me Me Me Land, but because guys who are interested don’t leave you in doubt about their interest and treat you with care, trust, and respect, ultimately followed by love. They don’t let you hang around on the fringes, let you watch while they flirt it up with other people, or tell you bullsh*t like ‘I’m not ready for a relationship but I like hanging out’ or ‘I’m not ready for a relationship’ while undoing your bra and making a beeline for the bedroom. We also know when someone isn’t interested and in fact, for some women, you’ll actually know when someone isn’t interested because you are interested – this is because what hooks you in to someone and has you feeling like you want to be with them is ‘disinterest’.

When disinterest increases your own level of interest, be very afraid because it is a red flag of unhealthy love habits because if you only want people who are not interested in you, you have to ask what type of people you’re interested in and why you only want people who don’t share your interest?

Often when this happens it’s because your pattern is to feel interested when you know that their interest is not there, going on to seek validation and getting trapped in feelings of rejection. This doesn’t mean you’re interested – it means you want to be right and chosen. In fact, if they do ‘choose you’, your own interest is likely to go ‘floppy’.

However you come to be in a situation where you are interested in someone who isn’t reciprocating, always remember that when someone is not interested in you, it’s a major red flag that signals that it’s time to come down to earth with a rather big bump. If I had spent more time asking myself why I was so interested instead of fantasising about what could happen under certain circumstances and trying to capture a ‘feeling’, I’d probably have lost interest a hell of a lot sooner.

We have to remember that feeling interested in someone doesn’t come with an IOU where you can slap a demand on them for their love. In fact, you will alienate them if you demand their attentions and affections when they are not interested.

To be fair, it is important to remember that sometimes we are up against mixed signals and people who lack enough integrity and conscientiousness to kill off an uncomfortable situation. This is why no signals or mixed signals are a sign that you need to investigate, ask questions, process information or even ask yourself what those mixed signals mean because someone shouldn’t be ‘mixed’ about their interest in you.

Some people will tell you that they’re not interested but still keep you around to feed their ego and enjoy the fringe benefits of your interest. This is incredibly confusing because on one hand the person says they’re not interested or don’t want a relationship but on the other they’re still calling you up, trying to sleep with you, or even still sleeping with you.

This is where stated disinterest trumps actions because there is no way in hell that you should still be sleeping with someone that has had the brass balls to state disinterest on any level.

Some of you will say, ‘But Natalie, actions speak louder than words’ and this is true and trust me when I say that the fact that someone has stated their interest but is still shagging you or trying to speaks volumes about their lack of character – it’s incredibly disrespectful.

There is no such thing as a level of mixed signals that justifies why someone would tell you that they’re not interested but still give themselves license to use you up. It’s a test that you’re set up to fail because up until the moment where you continue ego stoking, shagging them, and giving them the time of day, the test is to see what you’re prepared to do in an effort to potentially ‘win’ their interest. It’s generally an unspoken message that if you ‘play ball’ you may be rewarded with their interest and a relationship. However, it’s a trap, and if you give them all the fringe benefits of a relationship without them having to be 1) actually interested in you and 2) in a relationship, a signal will go off in their brain that you weren’t relationship material anyway but that they may as well stay at the proverbial table and ‘eat’.

They figure it’s on offer, why not take it.

A decent person who knows that they’re not interested and that you are, will not continue to lead you astray and this means that if you pursue them, you may encounter them doing the No Contact Rule on you – try not to put yourself in the position of needing to be shut down in order to get the message.

But it is our job to assess the risk and be 100% responsible for ourselves which means we have to act with love, care, trust, and respect towards ourselves and opt out of any situations that serve to detract from us. Period.

One of the foundations of boosting your self-esteem that also serves to protect you from damaging yourself further, is to apply limits to yourself.

Make a pact with you that the moment that someone states disinterest or shows disinterest through disrespect, you will opt out. This means that not only will you back away from them but you will back away from your interest in them.

One of the foundations of a healthy relationship is mutual love, care, trust, and respect – you can’t have a healthy basis to your interest in them if in spite of the fact that they don’t share your interest, you persist in wanting them.

From the moment that they say or show they’re not interested, and you remain interested, it has now become a fantasy relationship.

The only way this can end is by letting go of what you thought might be – that’s taking them off the pedestal you’re putting them on, seeing them in a real light, and mourning the loss of everything you thought could and would take place. You have to do this because it is natural when you feel interested in someone to start ‘picturing’ yourselves together. If you don’t divorce yourself from this picture, you will cling to the illusion of them and stall the process of getting over them.

Don’t rob your dignity by pursuing someone who has either directly or indirectly shown their lack of interest in you. You don’t need them to tell you to leave them alone or spell it out point blank that they’re not interested, although this is helpful albeit hurtful. You need to be able to take visual and auditory cues which is why it’s important not to love and trust blindly before you have interest confirmed – slow your roll. Don’t commit to someone before there is something to commit to. Keep those feet firmly in reality and by loving yourself you’ll learn to accept that when they don’t love or want you, you don’t love or want them either.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook on emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as the No Contact Rule and more in my bookshop.

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93 Responses to When They Don’t Reciprocate Your interest

  1. Bev says:

    A great post nat :) Great for me as I have just started dating again after being with an EUM/AC for 3 years. What I have realised from this post and your earlier posts was how guys who aren’t being faithful to your needs and/or respecting your feelings, often leads to ourselves being unfaithful to ourselves (probably because it hurts and we try to somehow make it not true that they can’t possibly think so little of ME and treat me so badly)! Just because we are not the one for them does not change who we are and how great we are! But why cheat OURSELVES with delusions? We don’t deserve to do that to ourselves. We are not like them (EUM/AC). We are honest people – and need to be honest with ourselves about the reality of the situation. Otherwise we are already painting a BAD picture of ourselves to them – but it’s not who we are! We don’t want to be our own future fakers. I decided its time to be loyal to myself, I am a loyal person and it is one of my own qualities I love – so in my loyalty to myself, I only now work with what IS. Moment by moment. What is REAL. Any effort wasted in future fantasies, hopes and dreams is wasted. It’s hard because I think we are programmed to set goals for the future in our desires, but we can be AWARE of what is realistic and what is not, and going for what is reaslistic is what will bring us what we want, go for the fairytales and dillusions and we are setting ourselves back by miles and miles with every disillusion. Be real and it’s getting closer all the time. It takes strength and patience I think but thinking the same old ways will only bring the same old results. It is possible to think differently. People do it every day. “It does not have to take months of torture to get over someone”, someone told me this and the next day I made a huge mental break from my EUM, just because someone told me it was possible. Time to be loyal to ourselves because WE DESERVE IT!!

  2. Findingmyself says:

    Welcome back Nat! I hope you had a great time in NYC.

    As always, another great post! The line that hit me the most in the entire write up was “Don’t commit to someone before there is something to commit to”..I want to make that into a bumper sticker! I wish I had had those words ringing in my ears years ago-it could have saved me a major heart break.

  3. Annie says:

    Oh boy is that right on the money! If I’d only heeeded that COUNTLESS times years ago, how much better off I would be!
    Thank goodness I found BaggageReclaim when I did.

    I just blew off a woman who I’d been frineds with for the last 4 years because she began to act disrespectful, etc. It feels really good to have healthy boundaries!

    She wasn’t a guy, but it didn’t matter – the bausc premise of respect, kindness, consideration and courtesy were being ignored by her, and so I was happy to cut her out of my life instead of making excuses and allowing myself to be walked on at a later date in the future!

  4. allie says:

    Excellen and just in time

    After a break up with my 1.5 years EUM and no seeing him for 4 months and NC for 2. I decided to give it a try to an older guy at work. He is single no kids in his fifties and I am almost fourty, still very atractive nobody believes my age. Anyway, he always has flirted with me so I befriended him on facebook and for around 3 weeks it has been mutual flirting.
    So after soo much flirting and me fantazying and some clues, and mixed signals, I proposed him to go for lunch and he declined, but very ungraciously, he said ” i have left over pizza and that would be my lunch” . I was shock!!!
    I told a friend of mine about what had happened and she said, give him time he has been alone for long…
    So now I know, this is a big red flag and really if he was interested he would not have rejected me.

    So now, he will be in my no-no list.

    But

    • Nikki says:

      Allie thank you for mentioning your friend who said “give him time” because that one has happened to me before also. I used Natalie’s information to evaluate whether I should stay in a relationship and all the signs were pointing to “get out” but then my friends were making all sorts of excuses for him similar to the one you mentioned. But if I think about it hard enough, it’s probably a no brainer because since my friends are not the ones in a relationship with this guy they don’t know everything. I also need to trust my instincts and not let their comments allow me to doubt myself…

      • Minky says:

        This happened to me too. I was going to dump the ex EUM about a month and a half in because he was doing my head in, but my good friend told me not to. I should have gone with my gut – would have saved myself months of aggrevation!

    • Allison says:

      Allie,

      If he had been interested, he would have done the asking. Looks like he was enjoying the attention on FB.

      Let them pursue you!

      • allie says:

        Allison Thanks

        Yes that was my mistake, my bad, I should have waited, but many people at work talked so good about him and that he is a great chatch whatever.

        I think he just like to have his fans ego busters in FB.

        I will not do it again,

        thanks for your feedback

    • Grace says:

      Is this facebook flirting? Cos it counts for nothing. Texting, messaging and facebook etc. is the EUMs saviour. They get to have a bit of fun without actually having to deal with a real person or commit any time to them.
      Been there, done that, never again!

      • allie says:

        Grace

        thanks, it was flirting first at work and then a lot of Facebook flirting, then when I met him in the aile I said something funny and he responded like “good morning” and I was like what a freak!.

        I thought because he was older and always claiming to want a relationship and hating being single for so long, yada yada yada, I thought he was a good candidate but not for me.

        The worst was not him saying no, but the way he said it, tottaly rude!!

        • Bev says:

          Hi Allie – this reminds me of the thought process I had before spending 3 years with my ex-EUM. Long story short – I discovered there was a reason he was 40 years old and single! He had had only 1 long term relationship in his life and his behaviour whilst he was with me explained why that was so! He didn’t want one, couldn’t or didn’t want to commit. Wanted a conformer who would accept his fwb of 10 years to still be in his life as a ‘friend’. It may be unreasonable to some but when I look at a guy who has never married or had long term relationships by that age to me is a red flag!

          • allie says:

            Thanks Bev

            Yes, before I started going on with his flirts, some guy I work had suggested me that I needed to date Mr. J and I said, he must have a problem, too long without a relationship, there is something wrong and my friend said ” oh no, he is a good catch he just hasn’t met miss right”

            Whatever, my first assesment was right, but I let peer pressure overcome my own judgement.

            not the big deal, just had a bruce in my ego :P

  5. Breaking Bad Habits says:

    I have been here….several times actually. I know I don’t have healthy love habits and the fact that I can say that today is accomplishment for me. In the past and even today (if I am not careful) I have found myself going after the ones that are not interested in me.
    I heard my cousin’s philosophy on dudes the other day: “I only like who likes me.” I thought how interesting and that makes good sense. Unfortunately, my philosophy has been the other way around. It may sound crazy, but I have I actually found myself interested in people only after they lost interest.

    Habits can be broken………… at least that is what I hear. Now if I find myself really into a guy I have to stop and put myself in check, because he is usually an unavailable.

    Natalie thanks for posting

    Sincerely

    Breaking Bad Habits

    • Aimee says:

      So are we just back to “he’s just not that in to you”?

      When I first started dating the AC – this should have been my first red flag – he was still friends w/ a girl we knew from HS 28 yrs ago. He told me he had slept with her 10 yrs earlier and the year before, I of course asked if he was still interested and he said no but she was. Ding DING DING DING. I asked how he could still be friends with her, that was not fair to her. He just grinned. He wanted to stay friends w/ me in the end – I said no that I still loved him – then would reel me in with he loved me too, future fake, etc. If I am truly honest with myself I should have bailed long ago – I even told him I was not going to be M*** (the girl from HS still pinning after him). Of course he said I was not M***. But he sure as hell tried hard to make me her – narcissitic harem.

      I will not stay friends with someone who is interested in me that way – I have had a few male friends I never slept with that wanted more and I had to go NC. I of course didn;t want to hurt them, but spoke the truth and said why I thought we could not be friends – it hurts people less in the end if we are HONEST. It is cruel to toy with people feelings.

      Very good article – but I start feeling like maybe he was not an AC then – I was just too stupid to not get that he “was just not into me”. I even told him that it was ok he was not – but he pleaded with me that was not the case. I gave him so many outs – why did he continue it if he was not interested, PA and wanted me to break up which I did but he begged me to come back? I am confused and just tired of it all!

      • Bev says:

        OMG – this is so similar to the guy I have just left but lived with the 10 year old fwb after 3 years of suffering his non-commital beahviour! His ex was def still attached him – and his stupid dog which was an excuse he often used to stay in touch with her. He just could not care about my or her feelings and took what he could from both of us.. It was a tortourous 3 years – a complete waste. He sounds like an AC to me! My ex said a mixture of commital and non-commital things to me so it was confusing and prolonged my denial. But thank God I am not suffering under his controlling abusive, manipualtive ways anymore! He gets what girls are willing to give – they see charm, hear the right words and then he is not interested when they want something more.. like RESPECT!

  6. Dee-Dee says:

    Okay, my question is what do you do after you have already humiliated yourself? I was that girl in a fantasy world, chasing after a man after he had already shown me he wasn’t interested. It ended horribly, so horribly. I felt like I had invested too much in the relationship to let him go. After what amounted to lots of begging and crying I was completed cut off, number blocked. Now I am ashamed and embarrassed whenever I come in contact with anyone who is familiar with our relationship. Unfortunately I didn’t have this blog when all of this was going on. But what do you do after you have made a serious fool of yourself for love? How can I feel better after not being able to accept his disinterest.

    • Fearless says:

      Dee-Dee

      Short answer is, don’t beat yourself up about it – most of us have been there and done it – put it down to experience and don’t let it happen again.

      NML – great advice, as usual. I’ve chased the disinterested guy a few times in my life – and his disinterest only fuelled my fire!

      Thing about my “current”/”ex” EUM is that he has been disinterested/mixed messaging for nine flippin’ years (how the hell can someone be “disinterested” for all that time and still be interested in being disinterested! If you see what I mean?) I got a text from him recently telling me he ‘misses me every day’…I stupidly texted him back asking him if he wanted his “stuff” back and he sent back saying he’d collect it in a few weeks when he was ‘back on his feet’ (after being ill with ‘stress’…blah… blah..me…me…me…btw, he didn’t ask after my welfare – and why would he?!!)… an interested guy, who was genuinely missing me, I presume, would be standing at my front door -now, today!! (in fact, an interested guy would not have me in this position in the first place…I know… it’s not lost on me…)

    • tania says:

      Hi,
      I saw your comment and had to respond…I think I have lived through an embarrassing relationship twice–one was very public and the other more hidden–both ended with me embarrassing myself quite a bit, but here is the kicker sometimes you learn the hard way. I sometimes still cringe at the fact that I had dated the first idiot and had to cut out people that knew me back then because they just associated me with it—I am a strong believer that people can change–hell I changed for the worse before and now am focusing on changing for the better. I say if you say you made a mistake and move on from your embarrassment that is the key–don’t let anyone else hold you back! As far as your head getting in the way that takes time and forgiveness from yourself so give yourself a break—you made a mistake–vow to never make it again and actually change your life and if you have truly good friends and family they will forgive you and understand your mistake as long as you don’t repeat it every six months…

      • jubilee says:

        I too cringe at the low level that I once stooped to to get even with my ex. He dumped me for a much older, and uglier “waffle” waitress. I couldn’t decide which hurt me more, his dumping me or dumping me for HER. My ego was off the charts and I was so hurt over it. It just didn’t make sense to me, but now many moons later, it makes perfect sense! She worshipped the ground he walked on!
        …however I am not proud to admit that I took my vegence via fish emulsion. Ladies do you know what that is? it is often used in gardens as a fertilzer and it is made up of ground up fish and stinks so intensly that it can knock you over when you remove the lid. Well, I took this stuff and poured it all over his car, into his air vents, it was absolutely vile and disgusting stuff for me to handle. I did it quickly and splashed it all over his car. He had to get rid of that car as he never got the stink out of the air vents! Well that plan back fired on me as he reported his car vandalized and the police got tape from surveilence across the street of my antics! Talk about being embarassed! Sitting across from him at the police station when he nicely dropped the charges was the MOST humliating experience.

        Revenge is always better in my head. Just had to tell you that you are not alone in being humiliated! I will never do such again. :) promise

    • shappadai says:

      Dee-Dee, you just pick yourself up and learn something. It’s not such a big deal after all (okay, I’ve been there and yes it was, but..), we all make mistakes. And bad decisions make for great stories :)

  7. NK says:

    Hey,
    This seems like common sense but we have all been there im sure!
    I have been thinking about a situation I put myself in and its to do with male friends….this whole old age argument whether men and women can ever be truly platonic friends!
    I have a male ‘friend’ who shares some commone interests etc…
    He was/is (im not sure I have a gut feeling he still is) with a girl for years. We started chatting more and more in 2008 and hanging out with mutual friends. Always slightly flirtacious, we spoke about a lot of personal stuff.
    Then one day I noticed that he is dis respecting his girl as hes cheating on her……he said that they were having an open relaionship sort of……???
    I told him about himself as friend, but since I dont know her well at all its not my business. Then one day tension built between to unbearable proportions and he went in for the kiss, I recipriated briefly but stopped it as it was not right. He tried again and then decided he was making a mistake too. I was appalled by this tbh and told him off. Stopped chatting to him for a while. Then recently we got chatting again and he informed me that he was now single because he could not treat his girl like that anymore. He then gave me more and more a attention. I got suspicious and after a house party he asked me for some lovin, I said no. But after this I was thinking about for a whole week almost! I eventually spoke to him and said that although I am attracted to him and he should stop trying it with me as its not a good move. He played it down saying I was over thinking things and that he wasnt really trying it……but if I said yes he would……..righty.
    i just said that it would be a bad idea and if he cant keep his dick out his brain we should keep our distance. As much as I want to get with him. I just see red flags and dont want a casual partner with him he’d try to play me liek a dog. In fact hes probably already done that a little!
    But im glad I’ve stopped it in its tracks.

  8. NK says:

    Are there any blogs about male friends?

  9. jennynic says:

    I just realize now that my ex AC displayed lots of mixed signals and showed disinterest after about 2 months into the relationship. Just when I thought things were good, he would throw a well disguised curve ball. In the beginning, I remember feeling uncomfortable with some of the things he did and his actions, but I was so self conscience and I didn’t want him see me as needy or demanding, I didn’t say too much. I guess, I didn’t trust myself and my gut. I basically showed him how much leash he had when it came to disrespecting me. When I started speaking up at abut 5 months, his reaction was very cold and not receptive at all. He blamed me for being insecure, which played right into my fear. The disrespect became unbelievable. Looking back it is so plain as day to me now, why I stayed for this bullsh!t for four years makes me feel stupid and ashamed that I LET IT HAPPEN for so long. He never took any responsibility for much and was so good at making me feel like I was an emotional basket case, then he would be sweet for a short while. I always thought I was pretty smart but this guy really got over on me. It is hard not to be angry at myself when I think of all I went through when the signs were clearly there for a long time. I wanted more to believe that the good side of him was the real him, but in the end the “good guy” I held out for was no where in sight. In the future, when I start dating, I will never sell myself out again. I have been NC for almost 5 months!!!!!! I was starting to feel a little melancholy for him in the last week but this post has brought me smack back into reality again. Yep, he is a royal creep. Thanks Natalie!

  10. AmyV says:

    “Often when this happens it’s because your pattern is to feel interested when you know that their interest is not there, going on to seek validation and getting trapped in feelings of rejection. This doesn’t mean you’re interested – it means you want to be right and chosen. In fact, if they do ‘choose you’, your own interest is likely to go ‘floppy’.”

    My question is what do you call the girl who continues to do exactly this? Is she EU too? When her pattern is pulling away from anyone who is willing to commit to her, but longing for, craving, and obsessing over the one(s) who won’t.

  11. Happiness says:

    I’m in a situation like that now, and I don’t know how to get out of this limbo. Met him at work back in February. Our initial banter started off slowly but by April, the flirting was in full force. My EU was always emailing or stopping by office to chat; however, it never progressed outside of work. Never certain of his feelings for me and being afraid of rejection, I’d only invite him to group events, which he always politely declined. That put me in a limbo. Thinking and over thinking the situation. Basically wasting away precious energy. In July, finally, we ended up going to dinner. I told him that he was sending me mixed messages and asked what he was trying to do. He apologized. Denied any intentional wrongdoing. Admitted he was extremely attracted to me but couldn’t commit to a relationship (to anyone) because of his career objective. I thanked him for his honesty and thought it was the end of it. Well, it wasn’t. His flirting and romantic rhetoric went into overdrive after that. The deluge of phone calls/text messages/emails. Acting jealous when another guy at work would stop by to talk to me. Calling me his dream girl and making comments about us getting married and having children…and plenty of more examples of this. He knew I wanted all those things in my life. Naturally, I began to enjoy the attention profoundly, thinking I can distinguish reality from fantasy. Well that line became blurry and I find myself trapped in a “relationship” that I can’t seem to escape. The “relationship” began to demise around September when I started to react to his subtle yet ambivalent behavior. As Natalie described it so clearly in her previous posts, I began to withdraw. He would then blow hot. You get the picture. Last month, we’ve became more distant as a result of my reserved behavior, and him taking another girl out to dinner. He claimed it was an obligation but I found it extremely disrespectful, given that, well, he had no interest in the girl. But mainly because I thought work was his priority. I have to work with this guy — luckily we don’t see each other everyday. I tried to apply the NC last week (for about 6 days), but he left a message asking why I hated him and refused to talk to him. Feeling guilty of my childish behavior, I returned his call two days later. Guess what? Only silence from him. I have guilt issues. I question whether I have a right to be upset with him since he had told me that a relationship was not his priority right now. We’ve never been physical. Our dynamic has been purely emotional. If I could stop feeling like the fool who fell for cheesy lines, and get mad at the fact that he was using me for his ego stroke, I can maybe garner enough courage to apply NC once and for all. Do I even have justification to apply NC with him? At this point, I don’t even want him, knowing I can’t trust someone who would be reckless with my emotions to get his needs met. I just don’t understand why I constantly recycle thoughts of him — its unbearable. I want out. I don’t care if he initiates the end. I just want out. If I could find the door, I promise to nail the door shut so there is no chance of him ever coming back again.

    • Nicole says:

      Happiness,

      I can relate to your situation. My ex-AC behaved the same way after he broke up with me. Called every day, sometimes more often, flirted, got jealous, etc. I believed his behavior meant he still had feelings for me, and regretted the break up. That dysfunctional relationship ended a year ago, and with the distance came clarity.

      Yes, you have a right to be upset with him. His words said he was unavailable, but his actions were otherwise. And I really don’t think you should feel guilty for having no contact (or limited contact, if work requires it). When a man says he is not ready for a relationship, he should not mess with your head like that.

      Our responsibility is to protect ourselves, to guard our hearts from being played with like that. NC is not childish behavior, because some people (like these AC’s) require us to have this kind of boundary, in order not to continue to get hurt.

      Believe me, I know how easy it is to feel sorry for them. They can act like little boys, all cute and clueless. And maybe, for some, it’s not an act, but either way, they are not good relationship material.

      After a period of time with no contact, you will begin to see his behavior more clearly, but it’s hard to do that while you are still in it.

      • Used says:

        Go total, 100%, complete, permanent NO CONTACT.

        This is an emotional predator.

        This is an asshole.

        This is a vampire.

        Stay the hell away from him!

    • allie says:

      to Happines

      you need to take care of you and your well being.Don’t worry about him, I am sure he is not worring about how you feel.
      If he gets hurt, well, I am sure it won’t be the first nor the last time. After all you also have got hurt.

      But You Need to take care of yourself

      that’s my honest opinion.

    • CC says:

      Happiness… this was almost my situation to a T. No sex (which I took as a sign that he really did like/respect me) and a lot of energy that he spent calling/texting and making sure to keep in touch and flirt. First red flag… he lived in another state. 2nd red flag… the weekend contact was spotty but the weekdays were almost everyday. 3rd red flag… when I finally got the courage to ask him what the hell was going on he explained that he had recently gotten back together with his ex and that he was very unsure of his decision to do so and that he was single when he first began contacting me, but since I never asked him he never told me the entire time he was getting back with her. What a jerk! Months later I let him reel me back in as a “friend”. This went on for another year, me being convinced that he was secretly in love with me but was now on the hook with the girlfriend since he had reeled her back in. Anyways… I could go on but you get the jist. It’s just embarrasing typing it out now because I’ve come so far… 8 mos of NC as well as therapy. It’s not that I never get nostalgic but coming back to this site definitely keeps me in check. My biggest fantasy is that he has also grown as much as I have in these past 8 mos, which we all know here is NOT likely. Anyways… I could never trust a guy like that and they are hard to get out of your skin because they know how to blow hot and give attention like no other normal, healthy man I’ve dated. The attention feels so good… it was my drug for sure. Happiness… you will get over this guy, he is a terrible choice for a mate and just keep reminding yourself of that. You deserve so much better… be the girl who wouldn’t want him even if he tried! It kills them and their ego. You can do it!

      • Used says:

        Forgot to add: he is a liar, too. Telling you he is too busy with work for a relationship, but playing with your emotions just the same.

        By the Christmas holiday, you will do two things:
        1. Send yourself flowers; and:
        2. Show interest IN FRONT OF HIM in other guys.

        You BE him. Remember, vampires don’t see their own reflections (themselves and their own actions) in the mirror. So you fight fire (him) with fire (hiw own weapons)!

        It will drive him craaaaaazy. :)

        You’re welcome.

      • Happiness says:

        Ladies – thank you all so much for the encouragement. I’ve driven myself crazy thinking this is all in my head. As if I had no right to be angry or upset because he caveated his position from the start. Therefore, it was all my fault. I look forward to the day where I can declare myself drama-free, and it will happen. I made that promise today. I’m just so fortunate to have found this place. Thank you! Thank you!

    • Fearless says:

      Happiness,
      have you tried just telling him to leave you alone, since he plainly has nothing to offer you? If you do this and he does not leave you alone even he cannot deny your justification for NC with him; if he persists with his flirtations, you then tell him you have asked him to leave you alone and since he won’t do that, you are doing it for yourself by not engaging with him. Don’t encourage him, or give him any reason to think he you are.

      Alternatively, ask him outright what exactly he is offering you and then say nothing more until he gives you a straight answer (which he won’t – he will blab about what he can’t offer you!… but stick to the point and don’t waver or digress) – you have only one question: ‘what are you offering me?’ Whatever he says, your answer will surely be… ‘well. that is not enough/not good enough for you, so just leave me alone’.
      The end.
      Easy!*!*! :)

      • Fearless says:

        Also, to paraphrase NML, when a guy tells you he is not ready for a relationship – believe him the first time!

        NOT READY – NOW OR EVER! – don’t fall into the trap of thinking his ‘not ready’ means he might turn “ready” any time soon! (this is their way of lulling you into thinking the “situation” is temporary – it’s not).

  12. Minky says:

    I’ve not had this problem since i was in my late teens. I am not interested in men that don’t reciprocate as, for me, being desired is intixocating. I have pretty healthy boundaries, but my problem was that i ingored my gut when i would get those niggling doubts about the ex EUM – i would make a huge fuss and put him in place, for him to push the boundaries yet again. i let this go on for far too long. I now have the same problem with men i’ve met recently. i know they’re not good candidates at all, but i find myself engaging anyway – but staying emotionally distant (casual flings). I am so EU right now it’s not even funny. Does one step back entirely and work on oneself, or just have a bit of casual fun while keeping your feet on the ground? i am going travelling soon anyway and don’t want to get into anything serious with anyone at the moment. Dilemma!

  13. RuthT says:

    “This is where stated disinterest trumps actions because there is no way in hell that you should still be sleeping with someone that has had the brass balls to state disinterest on any level.” My tummy did a back flip and sick feeling when I read this. Yeeeesss I see it now, but what happened to me that I didn’t walk away at that moment? Context is the key. I was vulnerable, dealing with a roof flood in the house, mother with breast cancer and for 3 months you have been fed honest, revealing communication, are referred to as partner (yep title we love that!) discuss dreams, creative pursuits, babies, marriage, homefront, plan holidays. Futures are fantasized together and then the serious back track begins. Suddenly and without warning, they do something, mine booked a 2 week travel to Israel with a bloke. No warning just told me after the fact. (days after discussing a trip to Paris at that same time) When you have the gumption to ask, well am I invited? Or how come you didn’t mention that before? You get the sword like response, I was only looking for a friend and suddenly I am in a relationship. OH REALLY?? Now at that point any good, self respecting woman would WALK, no RUN away fast realising they had been had…..nah not this duffer. You know something is wrong. Its a feeling, however something in you is so disbelieving and wants ‘more information’ that you stick around for more and worse. I write morning pages, (Julia Cameron Artist Way) so I can actually look back and read all the glaring red flags in their full glory AND my responses. Its pretty frightening. I would say right I must be more independent and give him autonomy (playing down my expectations of honest, non-with held communication). That was the beginning of giving my power away and tolerating consistently bad, uncherishing behavior. Well anyway my point is if you have not met these types of guys before, nothing prepares you for the complexity of games and push pull to and fro. Only once you have awoken can you say, from now on if I ever have any squeak of a doubt that NC is the way forward from an EUM, I get out that diary and with a big marker pen highlight the awful really, awful truth of that year. Because they have impregnated your mind to this extent, you get DOUBT even 8 months on when you are now this new informed being!!! Thanks NML. It is truely spooky that certain blogs arise on certain days. The collective conciousness in full swing. There must be a whole whirlpool of EUM’s going wtf where have all the skirts gone?

    • Gina says:

      Hey Ruth T

      Just wanted to say I loved your post and particularly the last sentence about EUM wondering WTF all the skirts have gone lol. I have a long history of dating EUM and am struggling right now with a recent break up and must try to keep my texting fingers superglued to the chair! Reading these posts and having found Baggagereclaim really does help, but I still have very weak moments…

  14. MH says:

    For me it was tough accepting that he was not interested. It still is. I want to believe that I meant something to him. I try to realize that he is not capable of giving me what I needed and wanted and that there is nothing wrong with me. That is a tough one because I go back and forth. I believe sometimes if I was worthy he would have recognized it and give me what I wanted. Like he is this girl now.

    When I had a thought in my head him and my friends would tell me I was wrong. He cares, hes attracted, hes interested, he will be there, he is still there etc. That is amazing women think being there is a good sign.

    When I confronted him he convinced me I was wrong. His explanations made sense. Or I wanted them too.

    I didn’t want to opt out because I didn’t want out.

    Just like now I am dwelling on the fact that he didn’t mean what he said.

    I am frustrated today because I am bitter. I left forgiveness and acceptance stage a week or a few weeks ago and I am back to the hopeless stage again.

    I am even angry that I am not really mad at him its more myself.

    I just have myself to deal with while he had a girl waiting in the wings for him who wouldn’t give up on him. Now they are together dealing with lifes stresses together, while I have to deal with it alone. He was the one always kind of helping me with lifes stress. We were both single for 2 years together and It felt like he kinda had my back and that there was always someone there for me, now I really feel alone.

    I even told him at the end that I think he is selfish and always talks about himself. He said his ex girlfriend said that about him and he didn’t believe her but if I am saying it it must be true. I guess I do have an issue with that. I said I think you made your ex to be such a mean person but I think you brought it out in her. He said all my friends always thought she treated me like crap but maybe your right I caused. He agrees with me and I can’t even get mad at him it is me I am mad at because he is agreeing that he isn’t the greatest guy.

    Even though he thinks he is a great guy. He is a mixed up guy, who I was stupid enough to get involved with. I knew better but I hadn’t been with anyone for years and I trusted him. oh well life is supose to go on but I don’t how to get past the dwelling and the not wanting to figure things out to 100 percent outcome, that is what I do, my pattern. I hate my job so he also acts as a distraction.

    • ramona says:

      Hi MH -
      Why do you think his new girl is getting anything different that you did? I am going through the same feelings and it’s very painful but another poster on here told me that she is 100% convinced that these men do not change because they found “the woman” and basically the new woman will soon see the “real” EUM/AC that we had to finally see.

      • Nikki says:

        It’s funny. True freedom comes when you no longer care or wonder if he’s with someone else. In fact, I look forward to it. It means he’ll have his attention on someone else and won’t be tempted to contact me. Embrace the concept of him moving on – men often do it quicker than women do – but also look forward to PEACE. My God, this is the first time I’ve had peace in over two years. It, he, doesn’t consume me anymore.

        • MH says:

          He still contacts me even though he has a girlfriend.

          I was in the picture the same time as the current girlfriend but she wasn’t the girlfriend then, she was the booty call and I was the friends with benefits and periodically he had other girls as FWB or BC. She didn’t like the title he gave her and she was fighting for girlfriend and now she has that. He told her we were involved at one point but it ended. That was a lie because it never ended until I ended it before she came back into the picture. I ended it few times periodically.

          He told her he wouldn’t commit to her and he told me in general over and over that he doesn’t want a girlfiriend. She spent the whole two years trying to convince him to commit to her.

          I met him first so there was a time where she wasn’t around. He ended it with her at another point, so again I had him to myself for a short period.

          Him and I like going away and he had a place for us to go away. I like going away with him, I don’t know why but I did. He offered me the place for a few days without him and the idea sucked and I never went. I waited until he could go with me the whole time.

          When she wasn’t in the picture he would give me more of what I wanted because he knew in order to keep me around he had to fake effort.

          With her he just had to breath.

          I convince him to stop lying to her and tell her that he was involved with other girls. He didn’t have to say who because he was telling her they are not together. Now they are together and I haven’t seen him since or right before she came back into the picture. I won’t because I don’t want to help him cheat because I am against that.

          When he confessed about the other women he did it so she would see that he is asshole he said. She told him she forgives him and wanted to still be his girlfriend, he declined and said she needs to go.

          They split she came crying back while him and I were away but I already decided to leave him and I already told him before and that just confirmed it for me that I need to get out of this mess. Maybe seeing how she had such low self esteem made me think I can’t stoop that low anymore.

          I knew I had commitment issues and I wanted to conquer them and I wanted to stop hiding out in him. All of this drama made me realize I deserve better. I have my life pretty put together and I needed him out of the picture because this seem to be the main problem in my life. I needed him out so I could improve on other things in my life as well. I didn’t know anything about emotional unavailableness and that is how I was brought to this site. I was looking for healing from my issues so I wouldn’t attract another guy like him.

          I had similar views as to Natalie and I was looking for something to help me through my grieving process.

          I get bitter from time to time because he went on about not ever wanting a girlfriend so I thought him and I could stay single together and use each other forever. The reality was that I wasn’t happy with this situation either because I really did want a boyfriend and I knew he would not make a good one and that I am wasting my time. He also told me throughout the two years that I better not get a boyfriend because then what I have with him would have to end. He told me that I don’t want a boyfriend because men are pains in the butt. He said this right up until he was comtemplating making her his girlfriend. I told him another reason I am leaving him is because I do want a boyfriend and I need to clear my mind so I can attract a more healthy guy. I was starting to clue in that my patterns were causing my current relationship issues.

          He said I don’t want a girlfriend still and as selfish as what he is about to asked me he is going to anyway. He said could I please stay so he could decide if he wants freedom (me) or a girlfriend (her). I said no this time I am really leaving and I did. I haven’t seen him since the day I said was our last.

          He tried to invite me to many things before her and him got involved, after they got involved and whether she is there or not. I have always refused to meet her because it would be too weird. I refused because I don’t want to see him.

          I flip flop between knowing he is not the right guy for me and I find going awhile without talking to him allows me to idealize him. It seems when I finally give into him and talk to him I feel better afterwards because he reminds me of why I don’t want him.

          I do get curious as to why a EUM would all of a sudden decide to be her boyfriend. One of my friends says its because his main fb girl left and he was realizing that this girl would do anything for him and now was crawling back to him even after he confessed about all the girls he had been with.

          He says she puts up with him and that is why he is with her and that he doesn’t have to comprimise or be affectionate or love her.

          He told me the other day that we both put up with him. I thought why does he want just be tolerated in life and not be more.

          • Aimee says:

            @MH

            Wow – she had to “fight” for the title of GF??? Screw that!! Poor girl!

            “I do get curious as to why a EUM would all of a sudden decide to be her boyfriend. One of my friends says its because his main fb girl left ” MH, MH he had to up the antie to keep someone around!!! Oh my gosh – I sure as heck do not want to go to the lengths she did just to get him to call me his GF. Where’s our pride girls?

            He’s thinking – wow – I don’t want to lose a girl who will forgive me every time I cheat on her – how any times do you think she’s going to get apologized to? Been there, bought the t-shirt.

            “He told me the other day that we both put up with him. I thought why does he want just be tolerated in life and not be more.” BECAUSE HE DOES NOT WANT TO OR HAVE TO CHANGE. Heck maybe this contact with him is helping you – what fricken toad!!!

      • MH says:

        Hi Ramona,

        The people that haven’t had our experiences have told me I should have cared more and fought for him. Someone else said he moved the girlfriend in that says a lot. My mom said it speaks volumes that he moved her in. Someone else said to me that no one is perfect and you can’t have all those things that I needed him to be. I said I was looking for a guy that listens and is affectionate and he said he doesn’t like doing those things and this girl lets him off the hook. The person that told me I should have taken up his offer when he told me I could cuddle with him for five minutes. I didn’t even asked him to ever cuddle with me because he always told me he doesn’t like it and do that with anyone. The girl giving me advice said I should have cuddled with him for the five and maybe he would have learned to like it. I was trying to say that he had fatal flaws so to speak. He was always avoiding things that would involved his emotions, but most people don’t get it I guess. She also told me that he is her match, just not mine.

    • Fearless says:

      MH – You could be me talking!! I know EXACTLY what you are saying and feeling. It’s a misery. I don’t have the answer except take it one day at a time and don’t look too far ahead. I too feel soooo alone – and I miss him, sometimes very sorely… but I know it’s hopeless – I know he is ultimately hopeless… which makes me feel hopeless. Just keep going; I’m told it get better…my guess is more that it just dims and fades, if you hang on and don’t fuel the situation or fuel your feelings – it’s like riding an emotional buckin bronco – one of us has to give in first!

    • Aimee says:

      Hi MH!

      Thinking of you girl. Sorry you are having a down day (I hope only a day!).

      “Just like now I am dwelling on the fact that he didn’t mean what he said.” You made me remember in the 3rd month I told my AC one night – say what you mean and mean what you say – his reply was ouch! I saw this in the 3rd month and stayed for 2 1/2 yrs – UGGHHHHHH

      You said it – “I didn’t want to opt out because I didn’t want out.” I wanted it to work soo bad. I loved this guy so much, but I was lost in fantasy – the HS crush that remembered me 28 yrs later.
      I too have been feeling angry that he has the FBG and I am alone, but MH – we have to remember that we were alone WITH these guys.

      Are you journaling at all? Do have journals from the relationship? I wrote my list of why I don’t want mine back – at least 50 reasons, big ones to boot! Read that list everytime you start blaming yourself, remembering that he is still the same guy and will do those same things from your list to her. Then remind yourself why your are a good person, what your values are – look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful and that you are going to be ok, that you are going to grow and change and find someone who will love you, respect ou, be honest, and value you. Hugs!!

  15. MH says:

    I never chased or pursued him I just believed the lies that he was interested in me somewhat. I knew he didn’t completely like me because he was also chasing other girls at the same time. He said they chased him. So I believe that since I was the one girl that he was pursuing that I was special.

    What lies we tell ourselves.

    The red flags I should have seen was it doesn’t matter who is chasing who he was admitting for the most part that he was accepting the vances.

    We were each other’s confidants and lovers at the same time. That sure doesn’t work, thats why I wanted out. Meaning because we were friends not actual lovers in a proper relationship with those factors. Telling each other about others while being intimate with each other. Well I didn’t really have anyone else he did.

    I tell myself now, Don’t get involved with mixed up guys. Mixed signals is a red flag and a guy not letting you know where you truly stand is not worth my time. Most of all don’t sleep with your friends. Learn to listen to myself and not everyone else. Words and actions need to match and I know this already.

    I have been living off mixed signals for years thinking it was a sign of interest not disinterest. Like everyone said where was this post 6 men ago.
    This was a fact I needed to register. Lack of them letting you know they are interested and giving you mixed signals is a sign its time to get out.

    I hope my next relationship I heed all this advice and love smart next time or get out and continue on.

    • Aimee says:

      @ MH

      Please don’t ever accept less than a commitment when sleeping with someone – I believe it is a set up for pain. Only each of us can answer this for ourselves – but I hate to see so many of us hurting.

      I grew up in the 60s/70s and tried to seperate my heart from my crotch – I had thought there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t and kept trying. What I found out for myself is that I can’t and I shouldn’t have to – it’s who I am, it’s MY value. I want to sleep with someone who loves me and I love them

      • MH says:

        Hi Aimee,

        I think your advice is bang on. Don’t sleep with anyone without the commitment because it is 100 percent against my values. When him and I first started hanging out. I was so against this. He said to me on several occasions how crazy that rule of mine was.

        I eventually trusted him over myself. I went against my gut reaction because even at the very moment of the encounter he was still trying to reassure me that everything would be fine by saying to me nothing is going to change. I guess for the most part this was the truth. Except then instead of convincing me about having sex this is when he went into withholding. He wanted to do everything else and I would say to him now we have graduated and I can’t go without it now. I don’t want to go find another guy I already started it with you and it has been five years with no one before him.

        Anyways, I went against my own values and life let me know when you do that it is going to bite you in the A$$.

        My major problem is I keep idealizing my EUM. I talked to him yesterday and actually that helped. He was boring to talk to and it reminded me of why I left him. I keep wanting him to be my entertainment because that is what I expected from him when we were hanging out because he has getta way places. However, my friends remind me of how boring he was. He would fall asleep when everyone was socializing. They would invite him to their birthdays and complain how he would sit like a bump on the log at the party. So I guess your right. I need to start a journal and write all this down as reminders.

        When I meet my next guy I plan to post on here to make sure I am keeping my eyes open and I am not trusting blindly. Right now I working out the kinks of getting past him. I am getting there it has all been a process. Today I feel much better than yesterday.

        • Aimee says:

          @MH

          “he was still trying to reassure me that everything would be fine by saying to me nothing is going to change.”

          I bet he was trying to reassure you! I don’t care what anyone says – EVERYTHING changes when you sleep with them whether they are decent men, EUM or ACs.

          Funny I was talking to a male friend once long ago about this guy I was dating – he asked if he was my BF and I told him I was not sure – he said are you sleeping together – yep. Then my MALE friend said than he’s your BF and do not accept anything less, he looked at me like I was strange. Hello Aimee.

          Oh MH I hope you go NC! NC contact speeds up the “eye-opening” process!

  16. So What's the Solution? says:

    Truly words of wisdom…

    I think we all pretty much are aware- conciously or subconciously- of the things that NML has pointed out in the above article- but sometimes formulating it into exact sentences, is what we need to truly realise it.

    I am so glad I found this article at this point of time. My situation is this:

    Girls meets boy and talks really with him. Girl finds out she is on the same wave lengthwith boy in so many aspects of life, it’s almost too good to be true. This ping-pong continues for 2-3 months and girls slowly develops feelings for him, so she invites him to some group activities, to which he shows up. Boy, however never really initiated anything himself and the one time he did, it was also a group arrangement and he subsequently backed away.

    He hasn’t shown me any disrespect at all, in fact he is very good at listening (although he is entirely cr*p at replying to emails and text messages) and truly seems empathatic… But this only goes to show that some guys have the ability to genuinely listen and offer advice/comfort… Which is great, but nothing that would really indicate any level of real interest at all.

    Because-as has been mentioned already- if he truly were interested, HE would be appraoching you and jump at any chance of contact … Not leave you hanging.

    My only problem is that I’m still going to see him at least a couple of times a week in class for the next month or two. And it’s especially going to be difficult for me, because usually we work together in groups (me, him and a third fella), so I’m a bit confused as how to back away from him in a seemingly natural manner. I’m thinking about the No-Contact-Rule, but that would just seem a bit abrupt and honestly even a little unfair, seeing as he might not even be (fully) aware that I’m into him (even though I’ve given some hints)…

    Any suggestions gals?

  17. So What's the Solution? says:

    “Girls meets boy and talks really with him. Girl finds out she is on the same wave lengthwith boy in so many aspects of life, it’s almost too good to be true.”

    Should have read:

    “Girl meets boy and talks really well with him. Girl finds out she is on the same wave length with boy in so many aspects of life, it’s almost too good to be true.”

  18. mina says:

    heeey ladies!

    so I’ve got a baaaad day today… and usually this is the time i get pretty self-destructing in a sense, that stupid things just pop in my head…
    so today, for the first time since no contact, or ever since the “break up”, i started blaming myself…

    anyway, a short story of my Mr. Unavaliable and me… we met in a club, i was there with some friends who also know him and this is how we met… i told him the first week that I’m not into casual relationships and fuck buddies and all that and he said that he doesn’t want a relationship just yet but we’ll se blah blah blah, red flag!!! and then i was talking with my girlfriends and they said i should give it a try since he was super nice and calling me all the time, and then he went away for a month on bussiness and was texting and calling me all the time, miss you and all that… and then he came back and we had another relationhip talk, he said that we’ll see and that for him this is super great, we spend time together, go to dinners, he told his friends about me blah blah blah…i said no, but yeah, a week later we were back together… and all the time a had to listen about his problems, his work, his life… major red flags, but I’m a stuborn cookie in a bad way:) anyway, once he told me that all his relationhips lasted for like 2 months, and then he broke up with them or made them break up with him, and his only long relationhip lasted for a year and a half after a while they were fighting a lot until he broke up with her… anyway, he went away again, this time for 2 months and he said that after he comes back we’ll be serious… i didn’t really believe him, but he was texting all the time, and writing emails, so i though ok we’ll see in the end of summer… when he came back home, he told me he has a major crush and that he was seeing her before he even went away… this was the first time i heard about her…
    anyway, i didn’t have much trouble with NC cause i was sick of all the drama and didn’t really thought much of him, but today i’m kind of feeling a bit guilty…
    so, one night some time ago, when i didn’t even know my Mr. Uanavaliabe, i was messing around with one of his buddies (not really a close friend, just a guy he from time to time), just kissing, no sex, and i thought that nobody knew about that so i didn’t tell my Mr. Unavaliable about it. My Mr. Unavaliable once said that he would be bothered if i was with one of his buddies, but i really though that it didn’t matter and i didn’t tell him…

    and now I’m thinking, ok, be was an assclown i guess, but i didn’t tell him about his too. And maybe he found out (boys do talk) and he was so nasty to be cause of that too… I don’t know, help me out here ladies:)))

    I can’t sleep cause this has been bothering me so much tonight.

    xoxo

    ana

    • Aimee says:

      @Mina/Ana

      My GF calls this girl brain – it sucks!!!

      What I gather from your post is that you were wanting a relationship pretty early on, is that correct? I think there were lots of red flags – his history, him saying he didn’t want a relationship “we’ll see”. That to me tells me he wanted to go slow, have options. He was dishonest with you by not telling you he was seeing other people and future faking about being serious when he got back, then gets back and finally gets honest – keeping you as an option till he figured it out. Not a good candidate – count your blessings and keep NC – how long has it been?

    • Minky says:

      @Mina – this guy was seeing people behind your back and you’re worried about him being upset because of something you did when you weren’t even with him??! Why aren’t you angry? You should be focused on how YOU feel about what he did, not the other way around.

      This guy messed you around and strung you along and would have done even if you had kissed a hundered of his friends. He never had any intention of being in a relationship with you – if he had done, you would BE in a relationship and not on your own, wondering what happened. Sorry to be harsh, but i think you’re focusing on the wrong things. If a guy wants to be with you, he will be with you – simple as that.

  19. jubilee says:

    As more time goes by I can more clearly see the red flags, and as I play the “movie” back in my mind I am seeing the clues I missed that were alerting me that something was not right. My issue with disinterest in my case is that some of these yahoo’s don’t have the balls to tell it like it is!

    My AC was the classic married liar. From the get go he was lying to me and portraying a false self and faking a future. When his lies started to crumble and he was about to be caught and found out, he dissappeared. He could not face the truth, and opted out before he could be held accountable for anything. I was swept up in a whilwind that involved his professing his love for me and chasing me and being so sure of his feelings for me and as soon as I started to feel love for him he split. I see now that he hurried everything along, wanting my love and trust almost instantly! He wanted, wanted and wanted and took, took, took! I had to find out about him and his current wife through my own investigation. It is amazing what you can learn for $39.95 on the internet! Not only had he lied to me and cheated on his wife but he went right back to his wife and within the same week as sleeping with me! Again, amazing what you can find out and confirm via bank records too (don’t even ask how!) But I learned more about him than he will ever know and it truely disgusted me and disenchanted me on future relationships. Want to know why? Because I had never in my life been lied to or treated in such a way. I never thought it would happen to me, I didn’t see this one coming -yet I did nothing to protect myself.

    Some of these guys will say and do whatever they think will work to get what they want from you (sex, ego stroke) and you BETTER be on the look out, and be ready to opt out ASAP and LISTEN to your gut. Do you think he told his wife that he slept w/ ME the same week he made up with her? no, don’t think so!! Do you think he told her that he professed his undying love for me within 48 hours of dissapearing and going back to her? most likely not. I don’t know what it would take for the “honesty” button to be switched on for him.
    At one point during this recovery period I was thinking about his wife and “how could he” do some many things. I am not jealous. I am so turned off, disgusted and loathe the person that I learned about. I feel sad that his wife is most likely in the dark about so much of what transpired. I wish her the best in getting out or her marriage, as he lacks all respect and honesty and true understanding of REAL love.

    If I had really known the true person, the real him, I would of never given him the time of day, and he knew it! I have seen so many commenters on here say the same thing. I kick myself for falling so easily into his grasp and falling for his lies. I care more now about how I can recognize this type of person in the future and protect myself from this happening to me again. What I greived was the picture and being the easy girl that he could get his was with, lie to and DUMP. I see that he didn’t have the integrity, nor the back bone for be real with me, and it hurts to realize that I was used.

    I will proceed with caution with the next person that shows interest in me. I will never trust so easily again. I paid a large price for my mistake.

    • Allison says:

      Jubilee,

      What did you learn from the bank records?

      • jubilee says:

        @Allison
        I learned specifics that made it very clear to me what exactly he was doing and it also provided a time line of events (through purchases) that showed me what he did immediatley after dissapearing (bought jewelry). I learned a great, great deal about him through those bank records. Funny how he withdrew cash and used only cash while with me, and then I put it all together and realized that he didn’t want his wife to be able to see what he was doing via card transactions when he was with me. This man was a master at covering up. When someone you love dissapears on you completely, never to answer a call again, provides no good bye…it was incredibly painful for me. I was beside myself with worry and confusion. I sought answers like a rabid animal. It was not the why of it at that point, but rather, who was this guy? REALLY?
        I didn’t even know who I had fallen in love with. I fell inlove with a lie. Those bank records cleared up everything for me, as did the back ground check which also revealed 2 prior marriages he left out when telling his back story – hmm. I thought he had been married once – not twice before – so he was now on wife #3. He also bragged about his financial status, which was revealed to be a complete lie, and he was actually in debt up to his eyeballs. He lied about pretty much EVERYTHING he ever said to me. I can’t imagine how much longer it would of took me to get over it had I not of found these answers on my own. His lying was outrageous!

        • Allison says:

          Jubilee,

          I know it was painful, but I am so glad you discovered who this man is. I’m certain your discovery of this con-artist has expedited your recovery process, and thankfully this did not go on for years.

          People say there is karma, well I certainly hope so!!!

  20. sule says:

    “To be fair, it is important to remember that sometimes we are up against mixed signals and people who lack enough integrity and conscientiousness to kill off an uncomfortable situation. This is why no signals or mixed signals are a sign that you need to investigate, ask questions, process information or even ask yourself what those mixed signals mean because someone shouldn’t be ‘mixed’ about their interest in you.”

    Once again, Natalie, you have captured it so well. This post resonates so loudly with me. What is it about their flip floping and hot/cold cycles that make them so appealing? Why, when confronted by someone who started hot then began to waffle, did I not just ask what was going on? Why would I even need to ask? If he wanted to be there, he would be, REALLY there, not just physically taking up space but giving no emotion.

    Far more important though is “did I want him”? Was he a good person? Was he honest, trustworthy and respectful? While I was wasting untold amounts of brain power trying to figure out what he wanted and what I hoped/thought was going on, I never once stopped to ask whether I liked him, trusted him, thought he was a good investment.

    You are absolutely right -if someone likes and cares about you, that feeling doesn’t come and go. It starts small and grows. If someone rushes at you ready to make an immediate commitment, only to turn around and lose interest, RUN!!! If the relationship isn’t growing, isn’t changing, isn’t mutual and isn’t what you want – walk away. Stop investing, stop trying, stop dreaming. I needed to learn this lesson and continue to learn it every day.

    It is common sense, it should be automatic and yet for some many of us, it isn’t. The reason it isn’t for me is what I am focusing on now, working on now. Where did my bad patterns, beliefs and habits come from, why am I holding on to them and what healthy alternatives can I replace them with.

    Bless you Natalie. It never hurts to hear it said as many times and as many different ways as it is possible to say it. I envy those who grew up knowing this or feeling this. I only hope I can come to learn this and have it be natural and instinctive for me too.

    • No longer waiting around says:

      “What is it about their flip floping and hot/cold cycles that make them so appealing?”

      Sule, I’ve been wondering about that too, but I have a background in animal behavior (don’t laugh, we’re not as far from the animal kingdom as we’d like to think ;)) and there is a training technique we use called Intermittent Reward.

      Intermittent Reward is used when you’re trying to train an animal to respond to a command reliably. The theory is that a performance reward given only once in a while and on an unpredictable schedule keeps the animal much more interested and ready to obey on command than a predictable reward given everytime they perform. Because they never know when it’s going to pay off.

      The reason I bring it up is because while reading your post I realized that that is EXACTLY what flip-flopping and the whole hot/cold thing is: a somewhat unpredictable, love-given-once-in-awhile system designed to keep us on the hook. I won’t go so far as to say that it’s conscious on their part; I would rather say that it’s a human response to a whole bunch of psychological variables.

      But it seems to me to be a good case for NC. Consistently ignoring their attempts to feed us our intermittent tidbits might, in theory, at least, make them give up and go away so we can return to the most important person to reward: ourselves.

  21. Audrey says:

    i love this article natalie, you’re just so on the ball. I fell so hard for my mr. unavailable. i have learned so much from you natalie. Now i think that actions speak louder than words and words are just words if they are not backed up with actions. Mr. unavailables are so good at giving mixed signals aren’t they. i broke up with my guy four weeks ago because about 7/8 weeks into the relationship, he kept talking about his wife eventhough they are separated for about a year, live in separate countries and when i first met him he told me there was nothing between them. so i believed him but it transpires neither of them have made the decision to not get back together. i had to question him on it and had to drag the truth out of him. when i broke up it was very amicable, i said i didn’t want to be hearbroken and couldn’t continue the relationship. then three weeks later he went on holidays and rang me from abroad, this was before i said i didn’t want contact. we were supposed to meet on the day he came back, i stupidly told him i’ll call (this was before i found natalie’s webisite and read her book). i texted him in morning to welcome him back and he sent quick reply with no mention of me calling. i heard nothing all day and then he sent me a text at 11.30 asknig what happened i was suppoed to call….. i was so gutted, i felt so disappointed and taken for a fool. now i see, he was smarting from the rejection and i think just wanted to see if i was still interested in him. i am trying to apply the no contact rule, it’s very difficult cos he doesn’t respect my wishes of not wanting contact. i’ve texted him that twice now. i’m in his choir, his a choirmaster, and i don’t want to leave the choir because of him cos i’m mad about everyone in the choir. i am very definite i don’t want to get back with him cos he ‘s still not divorced i’ve told him that. anyway i rang him last night to try and clarify things again as he is still texting me and i don’t want to leave the choir over hm. he wants to meet on saturday, he suggested it.. i have agreed to meet him so i can clear the air with him again so that i can still be in the choir. this is probably going to be a whole waste of time. i’m under no illusions, i’m not expecting a big declaration and think he’ll break the meeting. i’m so fed up with this whole situation. just as i was getting over him he rang me from abroad. i know what he’s playing at though, thanks to natalie.

    • grace says:

      Audrey

      You must stop texting him, calling him and meeting him. Maybe consider another choir. Or continue with this choir but have a break.

      Despite everything you think you are saying to him, his interpretation is, “She’s still texting me, she’s still calling me, she’s still seeing me. She knows I’m married. She knows my situation. Yet she still wants to see me. She must be okay with it.” You must see the irony of contacting someone several times just to tell them you don’t want contact. His actions speak louder than words and so do yours.

      There’s no need for you to call him to clarify anything. I know it’s easy for me to say as I am not in the middle of this but the bottom line is that he is married. Until he signs those divorced papers he is still married. And please don’t hold your breath waiting for that day. By the time you’ve cut contact and worked on yourself you won’t want him anymore.

      • Allison says:

        I agree!

        I mean if he didn’t listen the other times, why would he respect your request now? I think you need to question why you keep responding to this man????

  22. Audrey says:

    Help! Eventhough i said i would call to him on the day he was back, (which i know suggesting it was a catastrophic mistake). am i mad to think he should have rang me??? My feeling is he should have rang me. When he didn’t ring me he was showing complete disinterest. i guess this is the blowing hot and cold behaviour. he was blowing hot when he was away and when he got back, he blew cold. and contacting me at 11.30 was nearly the worst thing about it. he could contact me then but not during the day?? can i have some reassurance as i’m new to natalie’s book and am just learning about the eum phenomenon.

    • Allison says:

      He’s married unavailable and playing games with you. These things do not matter, you need to look at the big picture.

      • Fearless says:

        Audrey,

        Alison is right. You are focusing on the incidentals, which are merely symptoms of an incurable disease. I tend to do this as well and have to keep reminding myself that all the ‘small stuff’ that he does to really upset and annoy me is not worth troubling myself about. You can jump over all these hurdles that he puts in front of you, but there is nothing at the other side – except for more and more and more hurdles…he has an unlimited supply!
        Eventually you will wear yourself out if you analyse and fret over his every move – it is the bigger picture that you need to focus on. All that energy that goes into the incidentals, I think, is a way of avoiding having to deal with and accept that there is no cure for the disease – it’s terminal! You live with the symptoms till you run out of steam, or you walk. There is no third option, I’m afraid.

        And… yes… of course he could have called you… and I wonder if his trip abroad was to, or included, his wife (take nothing for granted)… but all of that is as said above – it’s is all academical, so to speak.

    • grace says:

      Audrey

      My married AC (I did NOT have sex with him thanks to this blog) would text me at extremely odd hours – like 3am. Why? Turns out he was watching porn at the time.

      Audrey, whatever reason he has for his behaviour, it’s not going to be good. He called late because he was (i) feeling horny or (ii) he was sneaking around behind his wife’s back or (iii) you simply did not cross his mind all day. Or all three. Do you really want to stick around for more of this humiliation?

      He’s married! And not to you!

      • Audrey says:

        hi grace, thanks for your reply. i just feel such a fool for all that has happened his wife lives in another country but you know what he didn’t call cos i didn’t cross his mind all day – i was just so gutted. but in a way, i;m glad he treated me badly cos it opened my eyes to him and. before that i actually trusted him and thought he was a good guy. was your guy separated or did he lie outright?

        • grace says:

          I knew he was married; he was someone I had a relationship with 20 years ago so my guard was down. He tracked me down on facebook. We exchanged the odd one-line message. This went on for two years before he suggested meeting up. I foolishly went along thinking he just wanted to be friends seeing he had a wife and child. He did behave very well actually but afterwards all the “love” and sex talk texting started, the blowing hot and cold etc etc. I finally had to instigate NC.
          I only met him that once, partly because of my reluctance to get involved with a married man and partly because he blew me off even though he started it all!

          • Audrey says:

            i know, it’s so enfuriating isn’t it and these eums blow so hot at the start and you think they’re really into you but really, as natalie would say, they dont know their arse from their elbow! it’s the emotional involvement that is so hard to disentangle yourself from. i wish you well. we’re both wiser now and we won’t fall into these traps again:-))

          • Aimee says:

            @Grace

            I just wanted to say good for you for having boundries enough to not get sunk in it further. This could be so much worse for you love. Not to minimize your pain! He cut contact cause he realized he was not going to get what he wanted – his cake and eat it too!

  23. ph2072 says:

    This is 1 phenomenon that I don’t understand for 2 reasons:

    1. I prefer to be pursued; I’m a little traditional like that; and

    2. I refuse to try to force someone to like/want to be with me.

    I’d feel like shit, to be honest, and it wouldn’t give me an ego boost at all. Good food for thought.

  24. Audrey says:

    to Grace, Alison and Fearless, thanks girls for feedback. i completely agree with all of you. i must look at the bigger picture and i don’t want him anymore now cos he is not divorced, he broke my trust and trampled on my feelings. i wont be going back to the choir in the new year. the whole situation is just so absurd i can’t believe it. if i had known at the start that his marriage wasn’t over, i wouldn’t have gone near him. but now i know that i wasn’t wise enough to ask the right questions and at the start he told me there was nothing between them and that she had left him cos she didn’t want to be tied down. what a load of bs!

  25. Anita says:

    Brillant and well timed as always, Nat. Thank you.

  26. ana says:

    heeey ladies!

    this is still Ana, Mina (my sister) was messing around my laptop, she thinks it’s funny and she wanted to post her comment but then changed her mind:)

    thank you for your responses Aimee and Minky, it helped a lot:)
    @ Aimee: the whole thing lasted for about 6 months, so not a lot, good for me!

    anway, since i really don’t have good relationship habbits (a loooong story, daddy issues, mommy issues, i think I’m the 4th generation of fallback girls in my family;) it’s quite hard for me to know what is right and what is wrong… i always say, if a guy does’t want to be with me, that doesn’t make him an assclown, but i do think that all my boys were Mr. Unavaliables or even assclowns…but i have this doubt about all this, it’s hard for me to say, this is the right way, this is a wrong way…and Natalie has helped me so much, I thank my lucky stars for finding her blog!:)

    My question here is, does that make a guy just a Mr. Unavaliable or is he an assclown???
    “There is no such thing as a level of mixed signals that justifies why someone would tell you that they’re not interested but still give themselves license to use you up.”

    thanks ladies, maybe you can help me with this, or Natalie, if she’s not to busy!

    thanks a lot, you’re like my wise sisters i never had:) (mina- my sister is younger than me:)

    xoxo

    ana

    • Grace says:

      Ana
      If a decent guy doesn’t want to be with you, he will break up with you. He will then stay out of your life. If you work together he will not make your life difficult afterwards. In rare cases the two of you may become friends after a decent interval (ie not a week). As your friend he will not try to have sex with you.
      EUMs will stick around and stick around even though they are not committed to you. They will be too scared to break up with you because they hate confrontation (ie being questioned). Eventually you will break up with them because you can’t stand it any longer. Then they try to make you their booty call/FWB or whatever dodgy scenario you will put up with. They will do this under the guise of friendship. Even if they don’t have sex with you, they won’t be happy with you moving on and get snippy when you meet someone else. They probably have SEVERAL exes in the background..
      Basically, with EUMs you never know where you stand.
      ACs are EUMs who are more blatantly abusive – cheating, beating, emotional abuse etc.

  27. ana says:

    heeeey grace!

    thanks A LOT! i really do feel like you are my big sisters, wise cousins, teaching me the ways of life:) i know it’s funny, but it’s true… all of my dating life i have been a mess, i think i have never ever dated a decent guy, i also have a lot of male relatives (all very protective to me from the very beginning, omg, ana is dating a jerk again, yada yada yada, dump him, but no explaining why they think this way:) 2 brothers and 4 cousins, and they are all players, maybe it’s hard to believe this… but I’m hoping they will change one day, grow out of this…

    so my question for you is, do habitual EUMs change, grow up, or “something big” has to happen for then to become connected??

    I found this comment here on the site and one of my exes did exactly the same thing to me… and since I’m not really an “angry type of person”, i was like, ok, so maybe he didn’t do anything wrong…

    “I was devastated and confused and he finally came clean, admitted he had chased me, had started something but later decided he didn’t want to pursue it and was trying to take the easy way out.Mine actually told me he had decided he wanted out weeks before he actually told me but never bothered to tell me…he thought he could just touch me less, email a little less often and I would “get the message””

    so, does doing this make a guy a Mr. Unavaliable, or an assclown??

    thanks a lot ladies! you’re an inspiration and rolemodels:))))) and thank you to Natalie, you rock:)

    xoxo

    ana

  28. tina says:

    I read this post again today because I needed support and reinforcement. After 5 months NC and endless work on myself, I thought I was getting over the AC. I had moved on, let him go, processed the whole thing and was finding a way to deal with him at work. We had to try and interact the other day and I have spent the day in tears, not because I want him or the relationship. I do not. He has nothing to offer and is a true nightmare. It was that the rejection became real. We had started as friends and then he blurred the line. I thought we were in a relationship but he later changed his mind and tried to convince me and others we were just friends. Then, he didn’t even want to be friends.

    After that, I had focused all my time, energy and attention on him: his problems, his issues, his baggage. So why the tears today? Because I finally came to realize that I really had meant nothing to him. Ever. We were never friends. I was never special. I was disposable and completely replaceable. Not only had I created the fantasy of the relationship in my head, I had made myself believe that he had really cared. That all the attention and energy was, in fact, emotion, care and love and it wasn’t. It was just a narcissist getting an ego stroke. When I stopped stroking, he stopped “caring”.

    So what are the tears today about? My wounded pride and ego, to start. Why did he not care about me? Why could he not see how great I was, at least as a friend? Why did he not want to fight to keep me in his life? But more importantly, for the very first time in my life (and I am in my mid 40s), I have accepted and acknowledged the rejection. Actually looked at it, stopped fighting it and called it what it was. Much like the fantasy of the relationship, I had told myself comforting stories at the end of each of my other relationships to minimize the blow and the sting of rejection: they had problems, they couldn’t commit. Today, I let it sink it. Yes, it hurts. Yes, its painful and sad. But in a weird way, its freeing. It didn’t kill me. It isn’t the end of the world. Its just rejection. He didn’t want me. I don’t need to tell myself a bunch of stories, like he’s a commitment phobe or an AC or EUM (he’s all three but that’s beside the point). It doesn’t matter why he didn’t want me. He just didn’t. As Natalie says in this post, why did I think I wanted him? Why did I give him the power to decide my worth, my value? Did I even ever really want him or did I just want him to want me? To chose me? What have I really lost here?

    I have been mourning this non-existant relationship since it ended. I have used the drama, pain and obsessive thinking about it and him to distract myself from myself. As long as I was working out his crap, I didn’t need to look at my own. Why was it so important for me to have this man acknowledge me? Even when he didn’t want the relationship, I desperately wanted him to want my friendship – why? I have many real friends, friends who love and care about me, which he doesn’t? What is so intoxicating about the idea that he didn’t want me? I have read this post and many of Natalies others that talk about our need for validation but I am still missing something. There is some connection I am not making. Why does this man, who was never really anything significant to me (we didn’t even have sex), continue to haunt my thoughts so? Why do I need so desperately for him to care about me? Why him specifically? My father was withholding emotionally when I was younger – is it really that simple? Why can’t I just let go? Where did I get the idea that ever relationship has to work, that if someone loves you, it’s supposed to be forever? If he never loved or even liked me to begin with (based on how fast he stopped and how completely he doesn’t care now), why am I clinging to the idea that he should remain a friend forever? I have let other people go much more easily in my life….in fact, I have never hung on to someone like this before. Why can’t I just let go? Why is it so important to me to have this man care about me?

    • Leigh says:

      Validation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I was validated when I saw my ex AC again, recently. It was painful for many reasons.

      There’s a deep part of me that has hope that human beings have a level of understanding or kindness. They are not all AC’s at birth, they are programmed like we are programmed an conditioned by our parents. And yes, it’s very simple – from relationship issues with parents and self esteem issues arising from that.

      You’re asking yourself is it really that simple? You’ve answered yourself there. What reading Nats books and emails has taught me is about loving myself, trusting my gut, setting my boundaries – I must do it what ever it takes however scary that feels. It’s sometimes easier to wallow in hurt that to fight against it.

      I asked myself this today: Would being with him make me happy? My answer was a straight NO.

      I think the connection you’re not making is the one with yourself. Like me, I’ve done that too for too long.

      I accepted his offer of friendship out of desperation to be recognised, to be validated, to not feel so rejected. When I saw him I saw two things. Pain and choice. His own pain which was raw and intense and covered up and his choice – that he wants to live that way. By seeing that I knew that friendship was out of the question because his walls were up where it concerned me and possibly all the people that have ever loved him.

      I made a decision to close the door and concentrate on me and really accept the rejection I felt – yet again. The first time I felt it was three years ago. This time it’s easier to deal with.

      I think in your position I would take a leave of absence or change my job if I could. Seeing him just that once killed me inside and messed me up.

      Hang in there. You don’t need his friendship. You need to be a friend to you first just like me *hugs*

    • Fearless says:

      Tina,

      This may srike a chord with you as it did with me (it’s from Nat’s blog, – I paraphrase due to poor memory! – ‘why doesn’t he want my love?’):

      “It’s important to note that when we express sentiments like ‘I can’t believe they don’t want my love’ you have to be real with yourself and recognise where the disbelief comes from, because more often than not when these words are uttered, it’s because they’re attached to someone who you’re punching below your weight with. You could do better, but you’re not…”

      It’s the “punching below your weight” part that struck home with me… that is what you are doing even wondering why this guy is turning you down as a friend – you don’t want to be a member of his club, believe it! The reason the club won’t have you as a member is because you are too good for the club, not the other way round!!

      I have “dumped” a few EUMs in the past fairly swiftly; not because I recognised them consciously as EUMs (I never heard of such a thing until very recently reading Nat’s blogs), but because I could see they didn’t seem that bothered, were happy for an occasional sh*g, and so I dropped them and moved on – painlessly. And why could I do that? Because I recognised that I was “punching below my weight”, that I could do much better. I didn’t think I had “failed to get their attention or their love”; I didn’t care that I had “failed” to get them to love me – I wasn’t trying to get them to love me or want me, so it didn’t matter to me that they didn’t – it just meant they were not the men for me – not nearly man enough!

      But my “current” EUM is a different story. I fell in love with him. But I do see the sense of trying to realise that these guys not caring or not wanting or giving a shit is not a “failure” on our part – we are just “punching below our weight”, we just don’t see that, yet! It is US who can and should be doing better; not the other way round!

      Tina, the guy you are talking about is just a waste of space – so, he doesn’t even want to be friends?! Well, you are allowed to feel exactly the same way! And you have more cause than he does! He is too small a man for you, and he knows it – he can’t be friends with you; you will puncture his over-inflated view of himself. He has his warped ego to preserve and you would have his ego on a shoogily nail! He is defending his false self-image, and to do that he has to pretend you don’t exist / don’t matter / are not important. You can’t be “friends” with these people – they don’t know who they are! They have constructed an imagined, or ideal, self (based on wishful thinking); they don’t actually exist in any authentic form.

      Start looking to bigger and better. Stop looking down and start looking straight ahead – start punching at your own weight! These people only hurt you cos you have bought into their la-la land view of themselves. In reality they are, quite literally, nobody, and somewhere deep in themselves they are aware of their own charade – this is their eternal struggle.

      Good luck! x

      • tina says:

        @leigh and fearless – thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful and supportive words. I have begun asking myself what, exactly, it is that I think I am losing by not continuing any kind of relationship with this man? I have stripped away the illusions and pictures and hopes and got down to how he made me feel, not in the “golden beginning”, when it was all about the chase and trying to get my attention, but at the end, when he was indifferent at best, and completely lacking in empathy. Was he a good friend? He was a superficial friend. He bought me lunch and hung around but it was always about getting the ego stroke. I had over 150 emails in a folder from him (his primary means of communication) and I realized, not once in a single one of them does he ask anything about me. No interest in me whatsoever. They are all just about him and what is going on with him. I was a good listener and I cared about him. It was not reciprocated in any meaningful way. I confused the attention and energy of his securing me as an ego stroke / supply source for actual feeling.

        On three seperate occasions, I very clearly state that he had hurt my feelings, pointing out how and why and asked for an apology. Not only did I not get one, each time he came back with a more hurtful comment and tried to convince me his way of seeing things was the only way (and of course in his way, he was not at fault in any way).

        I had bought into his version of himself as being great and special. I felt I had lost something by no longer being his friend. I no longer felt special. The last time we spoke, I told him he had no empathy, that he had hurt me and didn’t care and that I didn’t see much point to spending time with him. I had meant it when I said it but then began to have doubts and missed the “guy I thought he was”. It’s like I need a booster shot every now and again to remind myself that my gut, my instincts and my opinions matter, not his.

        Thank god and Natalie for this site and all those who come here. I cannot thank you enough.

        • CE says:

          Dear Tina – One of the most painful things is realizing that someone doesn’t return your love. As a child of a narcissistic father, I had to learn and accept that he never really loved me. I desperately wanted him to, and thought he had or at least had tried to, but coming to understand that disorder, I now know he couldn’t. It was unbelievably painful. We are taught that humans love and need each other and there is nothing wrong with expecting to be loved. The only problem is when you insist that that love must come from one specific source, one particular person. Your love is valuable, your friendship is worth a great deal. Don’t waste it on someone who doesn’t want it, can’t treasure it and can’t reciprocate. It’s like throwing emotion into a black hole; you just never get anything back. There is something really compelling about getting those few scraps of what looks like love from the utlimate in unavailable people – narcissists. It feels so special, so hard won, so real, but its not. It’s a very cruel trick that creates a very real scar and a deep wound that takes a long time to heal. Be kind to yourself. Realize you deserve so much better and more. You weren’t wrong or bad for trying to care about this person, you just trusted that your care would be accepted and returned. Sometimes it felt like it was, I am sure, and that is why it is so hard to let go, to think it was all fake, all just about them getting their needs met. Find people who love and care for you and feel the difference. Remind yourself what healthy reciprocal love feels like and you will quickly see that there is nothing this man is going to offer you that is worth your time or effort.

          Please take care of you. My heart broke when I read your posts. I know exactly how you feel and my heart goes out to you. please take care.

        • Lesley Binnie says:

          Tina, just had to post to you,resonating with me what you and others have said in reaction to this article. Fearless’ comment about these guys authenticity(or lack of ) spot on. Like trying to hang the tail on a donkey that doesn’t exist,isn’t even pinned on the wall… I feel for you and in my own experience with you. I feel sorry for them,in their struggle to feel,to commit,to be engaged with another human being on a deeper level..but my empathy for them,we have to realise it’s truly not reciprocated.
          They do not experience their life this way. Like throwing a tin of tomatoes at a wall if we continue. Messy, useless,could be used to make a good bolognese!!!
          They do hold onto their way of being as being the only way…the alternative is hell? Confrontation of themselves is hell for these men, particularly as they get older.
          They prefer to refresh the woman and begin the dance again I suspect?
          Their way of being,not ours though….
          I feel for you cos of the e mails,very enticing,though ultimately EUM way of communicating. I too enjoyed the dance of the flirtatious,intellectually stimulating e mails. They were never followed up by real statements,looking into my eyes however. They too are not real, but as a woman,this is truly painful…a great loss.
          Your opinions do matter. Mine too. Thinking of you tonight x

  29. snowboard says:

    I have a HUGE problem with turning my ex-boyfriends into the Unobtainable Irresistible Fantasy after they dump me.

    After my EUM dumped me, the desire/need for him was buried so deep in my psyche for years that I couldn’t feel attraction for any other guy. This pain only started to ease when we began hooking up on a regular basis again, and I realized how unsatisfying our relationship was. I remember feeling particularly relieved when he said, “We can just continue to hook up until you find a husband.” Then, he transformed from being the Unobtainable Irresistible Fantasy to simply an unsatisfying situation that allowed me to restore the dream of finding someone new who could satisfy me.

    But now I’m in exactly the same situation with my ex-AC. We were together such a very brief time, but I have idealized him as the best se of my life and I really feel like I could never have such a strong attraction for someone as I have for him. At the same time, I don’t think he would ever hook up with me again, so I worry I’ll never be able to get him out of my psyche.

    All this means I guess that I always want what I know I can’t have, and my strongest hook is rejection. GAH

  30. Findingmyself says:

    I had a dream last night, I very RARELY remember any dreams. But this one woke me up. I wrote down what I remembered. Basically, I was in my bedroom getting ready to leave to go somewhere. I walked out into the family room towards the front door. There was a man standing there. He seemed somewhat familiar to me, but I didn’t know who is really was. I asked him “what do want, what are you doing in my house?” He grabbed me and said “to just go with it”. He pushed me into my bedroom forcefully. I started to panic. I said to him “please don’t hurt me”. When I looked at him his face started to change, like it was melting off. The melting face only made it down to around the eye area when I saw my ex’s eyes looking back at me. At that point I woke up.

    When I woke up and went over what I remembered the only thought was my ex. The man in my dream seemed familiar, I thought I knew my ex but I never really knew him. He told me to just “go with it”, like my ex expected me to do with all the bad treatment. I asked him not to hurt me, my ex promised over and over again not to ever hurt me again. The melting face, the mask coming off. My ex’s eyes underneath that melting mask. The person who he really was coming to the surface.

    The fact that it woke me, and I remembered such detail and what I can connect to it in reality—WOW!

    In thinking over the relationship today, I started to think about why so many of us “love” even after the hurt, lies, cheating, etc. How we continue on even after the bad treatment, disrespect, lying, etc.

    As most of us here say “we still love him/her” But why? Do we just love being “in love”? Was it just that we loved who we “thought” they were. Like most relationships that fall apart, there is always that honeymoon phase. Eventually, we see who the partner really is, there true character.

    So I started thinking, no one can truly love someone until they have revealed their characters to us. Why is this? Because character comes with the true actions that are shown to us with consistency.

    Until we know someone’s character/true actions we can not say in truth that we know or love who they ARE. This explains why people fall in love with their imagined version of the other person and don’t become acquainted with that other person’s character until enough time has passed for the consistency of their characters to be revealed, or in our cases when they reveal their true selves.

    We each have a will. How we exercise our will means the choices we make. The choices we make affect our behaviors. The consistent behaviors a person exhibits is the truth of who they are. Behaviors are the revelation of character. Behaviors reveal what has been happening in the unseen realm of someone’s thinking. He/She revealed what their character truly was. We have a sudden, horrific revelation of what their thinking and choices have added up to. This forced us all to see what an evil character had been developing quietly step by step and choice by choice while we were unaware. We often heard our ex protest after being caught in some bad behavior that “it isn’t like me to do this, or I will do xyz again, or I love you-I can’t imagine my life without you in it”. No, it is like you, it IS you. They chose to do what you did. They revealed who they were, not who they aren’t, when they cheated, lied, they were showing us exactly who they are.

    If, after having a clear view of someone’s personal character traits, did we ever have respect, admiration, feeling secure and trust in that person? Only then can we state that we loved who this person really is/was.

    When we have finally gotten to know the personal characteristics of an individual, and we find that we can not say we love those characteristics. Yet we insist that we still love the person. Never mind that this person lies to us, cheats on us, slanders us to others, even physically abuses us…we insist we hate their character traits but we love the person. It is this so-called “love” which justifies why we are still holding on after leaving it. Whatever the reason for it , this is describing someone who has created a fantasy around the objectionable character. We are not in love with the person…we are/were in love with the idea of who we’ve decided this person is in spite of the evidence to the contrary. This is not reality. To insist a person is “good” despite what bad things they actually do is an exercise in imagination only.

    Perhaps we insist that we love what this person could be if they only tried (been there a hundred times). This too, is a refusal to live in reality. To keep insisting that we love the rotten character, is our way of holding on to what/whom? We glaze over their true character in order to convince ourselves we need to stay connected to them.

    When I finally stopped pretending that I loved a person who was actually hateful towards me was I finally able to “let it go”. The key component of mental health is the mind which insists on living in reality/in the truth. We are not doing our mental health any favors by engaging in these mental games which allow us to stay in a bad place. If we don’t love what a person does then we can’t accurately state that we love(d) the person. When I was basing reality on his web of lies and finally wanted to break free to be healthy again–why was I concocting my own web off lies? I allowed myself to stay “connected emotionally” basing my feelings that were all based on lies, the mask, the fantasy, mixed with a lot of bad treatment. After removing myself from his web of lies, I needed to undo my own web of lies that kept me emotionally hooked to him.

    I’m in my own internal therapy mode today. There are some days I read and want to say something and just couldn’t get it out in words. Maybe my dream helped me over that next hump of healing. The moving past it all. The excepting reality. Just doing a lot of thinking and wanting to get out my thoughts and share with those who understand what I am processing.

  31. whathappened? says:

    I have known this guy at work for the better part of 2 years. He has asked me to lunch and to one of his shows (he’s a comedian) and both times I did not go. Iam recently seperated from my husand for a little over a month now. 3 weeks ago, I finally gave in and went to lunch, dinner, spent the day with him, spent several nights with him, met his closest friends (all women), etc… and we had sex at least 3 times. When i finally gave in to him, he tells me that he never imagined that i would ever go out with him. He said dating me was like winning the lottery. 2 weeks into our ‘dating’ he cancels a date via text and this upswets me. I try the better part of the night to contact him by phone call and texting without any response. I stupidly end up going to his house the next morning, not knowing why. I think I wanted to see if he was with someone. He wasn’t, but we ended up having a argument about how we are just dating and that he breaks dates with friends and they never complain. This is after i begin to tell him that i was falling hard and fast for him. since that 1st cancellation, he has either managed to make himself not available and cancelled twice when we had plans. Last week he tells me that he I need to give him time to “like me the way I like him” and the he promises me we will “hangout” again. I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him again, but then apologized to him and told him that I didn’t mean it. Since that time I find myself waiting for him to invite me to “hangout”, because when I suggest it, he always has plans to “hangout” with another female “friend” He tells me “he likes me” and not the females he “hanging out” with. He wants to remain friends. I know eveything happened fast, but I could see myself in a relationship with him. It was like being picked up for a ride and then kicked out of the car before you reached your destination. I have cried over this man and to add to the stress, we work together in the same building, though not on the same floor. He has neve really called and likes to email and texts me everyday. What should I do? I am trying to adopt the no contact rule starting today, but feel weak to him. HELP!!

    • Fearless says:

      What happened is you handed over your emotions (free of charge) to Mr Don’t Go There ( EU/AC Narcsissist) and you are now perched precariously on a slippery slope… Run away. Fast. And don’t look back.

      Good luck

    • grace says:

      whathappened
      Please don’t see him again. I’m guessing that you are beautiful. To him you were unattainable (maybe cos you were married) and he got a kick out of seducing you. I expect he likes you but he also likes a lot of other women. He DOES NOT WANT a monogamous relationship with you. If you pursue that with him, you will find yourself on the slippery slope to being his FWB, booty call or, at best, his “secret” girlfriend that he cheats on.
      He’s a 100% classic player. I had a “relationship” with one a few years ago which ended with me on anti-depressants and with severe anxiety. It took me three years to get over it, and only after I had instigated NC.
      Spare yourself more pain and don’t hang out with him. His idea of hanging out is no strings sex. And you work with him. That can only make it worse.
      I’m not trying to rain on your parade or boss you about, I really don’t want you to get hurt even more than you have been already.

  32. No more EUM says:

    Thank god I found this site

  33. No more EUM says:

    I feel like a bit of a pleb as i havent even been with this guy, its all been game playing – both of us,and i’ve become a player myself – Its going on over 3 years and i’m caught up in it – so today I had to cut all contact and start loving myself again – I’ve had therapy last yr helping me deal with fantasy relationships, and my own fear of intimicy is one of the reasons I attract OEM’s – We havent even kissed – My god please someone tell me this happened to them too !! Now after cutting all contact ( because the pain got too much ) I dont feel it for him anymore. Which is great I know, but feel an emptyness, it was like that was my drug ( not him ) the game was my drug for the last 3 years and I’m done with it I cannot put myself through this anymore. I deserve an emotionally available man, and yes I can see my part in this dance, but its time to cut it.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

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