wolf being upset that the pig is mad at him for blowing down their house and robbing them

Sometimes we can find ourselves in situations where we feel compelled to say something about what someone has said or done, possibly because it’s aimed specifically at us or because we’re part of a group of people who are affected by it.

Most of us have some level of discomfort with conflict, especially when we have to raise concerns, assert boundaries, try to respect our own feelings and at the same time are afraid of upsetting the other party. I hear from so many people who remain desperately uncomfortable due to trying to leave other people comfortable with what can be at times shady behaviour. We can be so bad that somebody could be robbing us right before our eyes and we’d think, Jaysus, I can’t raise the alarm and ask them what the feck they’re doing because I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable about being a thief.

There are millions of people tormented at this very moment due to feeling bad about having called someone out on something that they’ve said or done. Now granted, it’s never easy to relay concerns or even criticism and we have to be conscientious about the way in which we do things in order to be as respectful as possible, but there’s a big difference between representing ourselves with respect and being rude.

The natural consequence of saying or doing something that crosses the line is that on occasion, we will be called out on it. We might not be called out on it each and every time, especially if we’re doing it to the same people / person as the likelihood is that they won’t want to feel like they’re riding our arses like Zorro or that they’re parenting a naughty grown up, but we will be called out on it. Er… how else are we supposed to know our own boundaries and those of others? Yes it’s not easy to say or hear this stuff but it’s not easy to remain silent and continue to put up with something that’s really bothering us.

Respecting a person doesn’t involve never having a conflict or criticism with them. Respecting a person doesn’t involve bullshitting them by sparing them from the truth of their own actions.

It’s not disrespectful to raise an issue with someone although there are people who will accuse you of this and so in turn, make themselves a ‘victim’ and ultimately distract from the real issue. I’ve seen adults throw tantrums or sulk and skulk until people back off. Even my 4-year old who will pull a Grace Jones and cut her eyes, stare us down and sulk is having to learn that it doesn’t mean that I’m going to cave and backtrack.

When a reader told me that she was afraid to go into work due to having upset a coworker who had then taken to creating a hostile atmosphere, I was curious as to what she’d done. Brace yourself – this man was brushing his teeth at the communal kitchen sink and spitting and gargling all over the gaff with cups and all sorts in there with it! Jaysus! In typical fashion, despite other coworkers griping, a collective silence on the issue ensued until sick of remaining silent, she took him aside to a meeting room and asked him if he could brush his teeth in, you know, the bathroom instead.

Now look, I get it that he will probably have felt a touch (or a lot) embarrassed but not only did he tell her that she was rude for mentioning it, but he also denied that it was an issue and proceeded to gripe about her to her coworkers. He didn’t recognise her concerns – if he’d empathised and considered how someone might feel about him hacking into the sink (yeuch) instead of taking on a sense of entitlement, he would have considered how uncomfortable it was for her to have to even bring it up in the first place.

Some people go into combat mode when they’re in C-situations (conflict and criticism). They’ve become quite skilled at shutting these down by being aggressive and/or passive aggressive. They might also choose to suddenly unleash a list of complaints and criticisms that you were entirely unaware of and even contradict previous sentiments expressed, in ‘tit for tat’ style.

The more successful they are at going on the attack when called out on their behaviour is the less that they learn, and from our perspective, the more that we fear flexing our C-situation muscles and responding, is the more that we get how we truly think, feel and act squished into a very uncomfortable role of being a people pleaser.

It’s easy to see why many a communal zone has terse, caps filled notes stuck around the place –  I get regular belly laughs out of the site Passive Aggressive Notes. Or after collective silence has gone on for too long or a person just gets tired of their own silence on something, there’s an eruption. Remember that episode of Friends when Ross goes ballistic over his boss eating his turkey sandwich?

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things that help me to deal with these tricky situations.

Stick to the facts of what was said or done. Avoid making assertions about their character – it means they have little ammunition. You may find that you have to repeat the facts a few times if they keep trying to change the subject. Sometimes a person doesn’t recognise how over the line they are until it’s spelt out.

If you can avoid it, don’t go in there all guns blazing or geared up for a showdown as it will gee you up and get their backs up.

Don’t mix the two of you up. They have to take care of their feelings and you have to take care of yours. You can empathise and use that to consider how to broach the topic but don’t project or forget the actual issue or say nothing at all. My acupuncturist gave me this great mantra that’s brilliant for mentally bouncing back baggage that doesn’t belong to me. “That’s not mine, that’s yours. Take it back.” It also works really well when you keep playing back something that someone has said or done to p*ss you off. Also, if you keep in mind that some people don’t react well to conflict and criticism, you will not make it personal. It’s not about you.

Try to stay calm. Not cold calmness but just do your best to stay steady because the type of person whose going to try and turn it around will only feed off of your upset and attempt to up the ante. Breathing (a lot of us hold our breath when tense) and stepping back a bit helps with keeping your emotional and physical space. If you stay calm and they just get louder or more aggressive, step away. Remaining calm helps you to listen and to step back from mixing up your respective feelings or perspectives, especially because you’ve been sticking to the facts.

The reader with the sink incident took him aside again and told him that she had felt that she could go directly to him but that she could always take it up with HR if he preferred it that way. He started using the bathroom and she was OK with him not liking her because at least she liked herself.

People who react badly in these situations sometimes apologise when they’ve cooled down so don’t allow how they react at that moment in time or even in the aftermath to become your outlook on all types of C-situation.

Only some people behave like this but it’s not worth being a people pleaser all of the time just to appease the people who scare you or to be ready for the prospect of conflict and criticism some of the time.

In the end we have the choice between the short-term discomfort caused by speaking up versus the medium to longer term discomfort of saying nothing and hoping that we’ll nice them into a change of behaviour. Not.Gonna.Happen. Also remember that people are going to think what they’re going to think and do what they’re going to do regardless of how much you try to control that with people pleasing behaviour, so don’t lose your voice.

Your thoughts?

 

 

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

204 Responses to When we’re afraid of upsetting someone by calling them out on something

  1. starshine says:

    I just had to do this today. Had to confront my bf of three months about why he can never afford to take us out anywhere…I mean even for a drive. If I don’t pay for things (and I refuse to now!) then all we do is sit in his livingroom and watch DVD’s. We can’t ever do anything. We have a great relationship otherwise, but we don’t do a thing. I’m tired of it.
    He won’t change it seems, so what choice do I have left? Leave an otherwise great relationship or sit in his apartment every weekend watching DVDs?
    So frustrating. I talked to him about it today and as usual, got no real answers other then “I’m sorry”.

    • A says:

      Starshine,

      This will get especially old over time–if this guy isn’t making any effort at this stage when one usually puts his best foot forward….not promising. If you’re sure that it’s down to stingy-ness, I would consider walking away. Being with someone who takes but isn’t willing to give will breed resentment over time.

    • Tracy says:

      Starshine: Doesn’t he have a job? Why doesn’t he have any money? I hear you saying it’s a great relationship, but it can’t be that great if you’re upset about something pretty major. I would re-evaluate the relationship and see if this is just a temporary thing, or if he really doesn’t take the reins in courting you. I have to tell you if it doesn’t change, you may be looking at a long life ahead of you doing all the work. No one wants to live like that.

    • Allison says:

      How about picnics, hiking, bicycling etc…. There are so many free activities!

      If money isn’t the issue, then you may have a problem.

    • stacey allam says:

      how great of a relationship could it be if hes not willing to listen to you and compromise

  2. jk says:

    Starshine: what about suggesting doing more “free” things? music in the park or a talk at the bookstore or SOMETHING besides sitting at home? maybe he’s embarrassed to tell you he’s broke. AT least then you’ll know if the problem is with leaving the house or if it’s with MONEY. So far, it sounds like he’s just a movie addict…

  3. Kirsten says:

    Very good points here. My latest relationshit broke up in Feb after how he spoke to me when we argued or disagreed. Weeks and weeks of nasty texts and being called every name under the sun (never said to my face of course, big and brave behind his iphone though LOL). Didn’t matter whether I responded or ignored his man drama, the texts would still continue until he got bored of it, then thought by texting nicely again that I would forgive and forget…*pfff. I just don’t roll that way anymore FLUSH!! I’m even laughing as I type and I may have just inhaled some coffee. Jeez there’s some idiots around, pity it took a year to show his true colours though and wasted my time for that long

    • lizzp says:

      The comment above and so many others that recount full blown break ups/arguments/significant-relationship conversations occurring via text messaging has got me thinking. Nat has blogged about saving any serious relationship discussions for phone or face to face, but if we’ve previously ignored an over-reliant-on-text red flag then we have problems because by not standing up to it earlier(in my case in the psst this has been more out of carelessly and ignorantly participating than fearing a conflict, now -in all areas of my life it IS about potentially having to deal with conflict) we have already told them we’re ok communicating like this. We have been willingly participating in the ‘flirty’ and ‘fun’ text chat that has replaced phone calls.

      I remember about a year ago asking a well-meaning friend what it meant when I got a good morning and good night text everyday for three days following a first date that had been mutually enjoyable but he hadn’t actually called. She said “You’re in! Texting is the new phone call”. Well…er…not

      I wonder…..If only every woman and man involved with a text reliant EUM/EUW could somehow get together and have a collective agreement to refuse to use text messages/respond to them (and email while we’re at it). What would these men/women, who so use technology to further their EU ways, do then? I feel certain that technology, especially text messaging, has changed the relationship dynamic between EU people and their dates/partners in profound ways compared with the days when all we had were land lines. Perhaps those who before would have only had ‘mild’ EU tendencies are now able to fully indulge because of text, whereas before they would have been forced to put in some ‘real’ action in a relationship or dating relationship and subsequently had real opportunities to grow and evolve. Perhaps all those fully blown EUs now have a means for establishing psuedo (sp?)connections (the connection you have when you’re not really having a connection – just like light beer haha)whereas before they would have been the never-leave-the-house-but-have-phone(land line of course)-sex-with faceless-strangers\house-calling-prostitutes types(boy, that is harsh…floundering round to ‘justify’ that statement – nup coming up blank, oh well I still like me).

      I recently made a decision to put a hold on dating until next year, but I think when I re-enter the arena I will explore refusing to communicate by text message beyond “I’m running late” type messages and see what results I get. When the time comes for me to get back out there I’ll think out ways to respectfully communicate this boundary/expectation from date one, possibly at the time that my date first sends a message designed to chat or banter with me…anyway the joys that my future dating life hold for me, I can hardly wait…;-)

      • MaryW says:

        Kirsten, I had something similar with a guy I dated briefly, but he actually said the words to my face. He lost his temper and told me to f@ck off for no valid reason whatsoever. It took me two days to absorb this – I was so shocked – and then I flushed. I couldn’t even confront him at the time (probably for the best actually given his temper).

        Lizzp, I agree with you completely about this theory about text reliant people. But it’s happened with all but one of the guys I’ve dated recently – and the one who did phone was also EU. Maybe everyone I’ve dated is EU…. The most recent guy, well we didn’t exchange a single phone call. Not one. I did raise this with him, fruitlessly. I did see it as a red flag but also tried to stay open minded about it.

        After having problems with not being able to delete numbers from my phone (it’s true, I’ve tried everything) and having a past history of tipsy-texting, I have pretty much decided to have a date-phone. I know that might sound a bit odd, but it will help not to have these numbers lurking on my phone (stored under names like w*nker, respect, f@ckoff, etc). And it will also help when I’m going through utter turmoil – like now – to be able to leave the phone with someone else, or at work, and have some headspace without worrying about will he/ won’t he phone… will I be able to resist contacting him when we are NC.

        I like your idea of limiting text communicating when dating. I think I’ll do the same. I did read some advise from someone here who advised to reply to a chatty/ bantery message with “sorry can’t text now, I’ll be home from 7pm if you’d like to call”.

        • Sm says:

          Mary same thing with me, the one guy that didnt use texting at all was eu as well. It was so refreshing to date him though and I want more of it. I recently met a guy at the supermarket who chatted me up, asked for my number then said ‘I’ll text you’. In my heart the deal was over as soon as the words came out of his mouth. I ignored his texts so he did end up calling but while I tried to steer him to calling he tried to steer me to texting. I only saw him a few times but got a real uneasy feeling that he was hiding something. I told him I wasn’t interested and to stop texting and calling, he still continued to text good mornings and how are you doings and only called after every 4th text message went unanswered (I didn’t take his calls either). I thought if I ignored him he would go away but didnt, so after 3 weeks of this I sent him a text basically accusing him of harassment, then he stopped. And just like Natalie’s article here, I felt bad and wanted to sooth my harsh email but didnt. Now that I’ve read this post, I’m glad because his behavior was shady and why should I apologize for calling it out. I can guarantee he has done this to others with favorable results to himself, it was like his pattern wasn’t even personable to me. It’s nice and weird now to sit back and watch this crazy behavior in others go on and the sad part is they aren’t even aware that it is crazy. Here’s what I love the most about this particular situation, I realize when I was trying to shove a relationship down the throat of an eu, that I was acting no different than this dude trying to shove a booty call down my throat. They either told or showed me that they didn’t want a relationship but I ignored it and proceeded to act like and demand reaction from them like we were in one, same as this guy did to me about the booty call. The only difference between myself now and these eu guys was that this time I backed my words up with action. I don’t even think bad about this particular guy, I’m just sad for him that he thinks so little of himself. Whew that used to be me.

      • Lara says:

        My AC ex was like this. He would want to do everything via text, avoid talking to me on the phone or skype (when we were long distance). It was his way of keeping my expectations low, but not low enough (in his eyes!) for me to consider moving on. I played along for a year, but things broke down. Three times in a year. He never changed though. And in the end I was exhausted. Simply drained. I couldn’t keep playing ball in his major game of mindfuckery over text messaging. He ended things anyway. The only regret I have is that I wasn’t the one who finally ended things….

        Anyway, he did the breakup by… texting as well.. surprise surprise. He refused to even respect me enough to call me or to pick up the phone when I called him after he texted me the breakup text… Not just an AC,but also a coward.

        Anyway, I recently met this guy, and I told him from the get-go that I do not text back and forth about stuff. I only use text to coordinate anything that we cannot do via phone conversation. He had given me his number, but hadn’t taken mine (due to circumstances of where/ how we met, he just wrote his # down on paper and handed it to me), so when I texted him back, I said, don’t text me back, call me if you’re interested in meeting again. He texted me that night. I ignored. Then, the following day, he called me. Left me a voice mssg. He was quite nervous , by the sound of it. Anyway, we went on a date, and it so happened that I ended up sleeping with him. After that, he started treating me like a booty call (I do not believe sleeping with someone so early would change their opinion of you if they were interested in you beyond just sex, in the first place). Kept texting me late at night, asking what I was up to. I didn’t reply, and in the morning made sure to send a text saying that I was having a quiet night in, watching a movie — to basically signal that I would not accept being treated as booty call. He pulled this a few times. Didn’t ask me out on a proper date. Then, I found his profile on an online dating site where he was basically advertising that he’s new to the city and wants a woman to take him around town, show him places, etc. (he did pay for everything, mind you, but that’s besides the point). Anyway, all this is to say that my little experiment with not texting back and forth didn’t really have a positive outcome. But I wasn’t ready to live a relationship on my phone as I had done with my ex. It felt so liberating to be doing this with another guy, to not feel like I was attached to my phone. I can now live without my phone. Not a lot of people call me, I rarely expect any calls, and if a guy wants to reach me, he can leave me a voice mssg. I don’t have to check my phone all the time to see whether or not I got a text from a guy. In fact, I don’t even pick up the phone much, because I am usually always busy with something or another and am not within hearing distance from my phone. Good. I like this new arrangement. Previously, I used to carry my phone around with me , even when going to the washroom!

        • Tracy says:

          My last relationshit was managed down from several emails a day to several texts a day to not responding to my texts for hours on end, yet if I didn’t respond to HIS texts he would write “Hello??” if I didn’t respond to within minutes…as if I have no life. After dating several months tried to dump me, out of the blue, via email with a sob story and when I called him on the sleaziness of that he did deigned to call me back, but only as a scheduled appointment call. He tried to make me feel guilty for making HIM feel guilty about disposing of me in such a casual way (after he future faked me like a champion).

          Recently dated a guy two times. He made me pay for my share of each date (hmmm…), went from phone calls to texting pretty fast, and today, after not hearing from him for days, texted me to ask me to go out tonight. Texted while I was at work, teaching. As if I have time to respond to a text while I have 17 8 year-old remedial readers in a room and as if I had no life other than waiting for him!

          I mean, seriously. This guy is in his late 50’s, and if he’s already so lazy and cheap as to have me pay AND try to manage me down to texts so soon, FLUSH. In this case, I did email a ‘thanks, but no thanks’, because I feel that after only two dates, if I am treated this casually, he doesn’t deserve a phone call.

          • Lara says:

            Wow. Yeah. Totally been there. THIS rings a bell: “My last relationshit was managed down from several emails a day to several texts a day to not responding to my texts for hours on end, yet if I didn’t respond to HIS texts he would write “Hello??” if I didn’t respond to within minutes…as if I have no life.”

            Yup. My AC ex did this so many times. He would accuse me of being moody and of giving him the silent treatment if, god forbid, I did not respond to any of his texts within the minute. Literally. I am not joking. He’d then send off an email “looks like we’re finished”. It almost felt like it was an email template he had saved in his drafts, to send out at any minute that things didn’t go his own way.. It was creepy. He was SO weird in that way. His behaviour was so scary in a “omg, how can a sane person, who is not mentally ill or totally fucked up, say that, or do that?” sort of way. OMG, what a weirdo my ex was. I am seriously counting my blessings that I got out of this in only 1 year, and that I didn’t catch an STD in the process. Major learning experience, and unfortunately, it really shattered my ability and willingness to trust men.

          • Lara says:

            And GOOD for you for flushing those men! They don’t deserve a second of our time!

            The other guy you mentioned, by the sounds of it, was treating you as last-minute-alternative-plan / booty call type person. This has been done to me so many times, in the form of men cancelling dates on me, for a flimsy excuse, when really, I think they had something better that came up. Then they tried to do a last-minute “plan” with me the following week or the next day or whatever. I told them, thanks but no thanks. Actually, most of the time, I just flat out ignored their text, didn’t even bother replying. Flush.

            Today, I was supposed to meet up with a friend of mine (a guy). A week ago, we had scheduled to have drinks today. Yesterday, he sent me a facebook mssg saying, he won’t be able to make it, because his buddies had changed plans and had moved up their weekend plans to Friday instead of Saturday, so he couldn’t make it to our meet-up. I was so pissed off, at this blatant deprioritization. If you won’t prioritize me, do not expect me to change my plans to fit you in (he requested rescheduling). This was the only weekday/weekend that I could afford to meet up, since I am incredibly busy as of next week. It just pisses me off when people treat me like that. I have always been flexible, always shifted my schedule around for other people, but now I realize that I shouldn’t. They don’t. And this really teaches them that they can easily deprioritize me. Nope. If you find me interesting and want to carry on a friendship with me, treat me with some respect.

            • Allison says:

              Lara,

              So agree!

            • Tracy says:

              Relationshit guy, before he dumped me, once cancelled a date late in the day, but did it by email. I don’t always look at my email, I’m a single working mom. I DID see his text…when I was on the train (he lived in NYC, I live outside) going to the date! The text asked, “Did you see my email?” I said, “No I’M ON THE TRAIN!” He didn’t even have the courtesy to call to make sure I didn’t get on the train. He claimed he had an emergency work meeting (on a Friday night?). I said, “No problem, when are you done (he said it would be over at 8 or so), I’ll just zip around and see a friend.” He said, “No, I’ll be too tired…” Too tired? At 8:30 on a Friday night in NYC?

              Again, getting back to the topic of the post, when I called him on the rudeness of cancelling by email AND that fact that I was inconveniencing myself by taking the train into the city and he couldn’t be bothered to give me the time he just kept pulling the ‘I’m sooo tired’ card, ignoring the fact that I, too, have a job, kids, etc. yet I was going out of my way to be with him.

              The more I write about this guy, the more I can’t believe how taken in I was with his future faking, yet reading his ACTIONS I am appalled that I put up with so much disrespect.

            • Tracy says:

              Maybe I’m old, but sending facebook messages to cancel a meetup seems really childish. My teenagers walk around with their phones in their hands, but I DO NOT. I am a grown up with a job and responsibilities. To think that I am constantly looking at my facebook page, so then it’s OK to cancel via messaging, is immature at best.

          • Allison says:

            Tracy,

            He didn’t even pay for the first date! Flush!

            Any dude that asks you out the day of, has either gone through his list, or had a cancelation of plans- he neither cares or respects.

            Good riddance!

            • Tracy says:

              Alison: I sensed we weren’t off to a good start when he asked me out, but then had ME decide on the time and place, and so willingly took my money on the first date. So I figured maybe he wasn’t all that interested, that’s OK. But then he called for a second date, I assumed he was interested in something more, but then, AGAIN, wanted me to pick the place to go AND had me pay. So I figure he put me in the friend zone, I was a little annoyed for him wasting my time, but then he leaned over and kissed me. Seriously? And the final blow of waiting until the day he wanted to go out and texting to ask me out? As I said, cheap and lazy.

              • Allison says:

                Tracy,

                Yes! Cheap and lazy!

                Girl, he asked you out, he should have paid. It doesn’t matter that you chose the restaurant. Leave your money at home next time.

                The other guy sounds like a real creep! His actions show he was already out of the relationship.

  4. Crazybaby says:

    Ugh I have had to deal with this issue so many times. My birth mother was a spiteful cat who used to bitch about me (and my kids) on my (and their) Facebook wall. I was not alone in confronting her about it, yet she wouldn’t stop, and then said she wanted nothing more to do with me. She died without ever making peace with me.

    My son’s GF was a spiteful cat to me (again on FB). I told her off for being disrespectful and not even having her facts right, and she boo-hooed to my son, he wanted me to apologise to her, I refused, and he still isn’t speaking to me two years on.

    Now I didn’t say anything offensive or insulting in either case – I simply stated the facts and how hurtful, disrespectful, and unacceptable it was to me.

    I did the same with an EUM and he disappeared, and the same recently with a guy who seemed really decent, and he too has gone off the radar for nearly two weeks now. I’ve left two husbands because of their unreasonable behaviour towards me and unwillingness to change when I pointed it out.

    My adoptive mother has said and done so many things to hurt me, but with her I’ve taken the opposite approach of just backing off. Essentially the results are the same.

    It seems that whenever I confront someone about their behaviour towards me they just kick off and / or walk away, or I’m forced to walk away.

    It really hurts that I’ve lost so many people I care about from my life because of their unkind behaviour towards me. I don’t understand how they can treat me like this and not feel bad when I call them out on it, and want to make amends. I’m an extremely loving and forgiving person. I give people loads of chances before I reach my limit. I know I can’t control other people’s reactions, but it saddens me that people would rather walk away, or drive me away, than being a big enough person to admit their behaviour was out of order, and apologise.

  5. Getting it! says:

    A few months ago, a friend was rude and abrupt towards me. I didn’t say anything at the time but gave myself a couple of days to think about it. I then raised it with her and she didn’t acknowledge that she’d been hurtful and put it to me that I had misunderstood her, in a passive aggressive way. That response caused me further hurt.

    It is her birthday shortly and I’ve been wondering whether to wish her or not. If I don’t wish her, it will be noticed and this will effectively end the friendship. But I would feel fake to wish someone when they have been so very rude and dismissive of me. I will probably not wish her. I’m already mourning the end of what has been, for the most part, a really nice friendship but these last 6 months have not been so nice…

  6. Kirsten says:

    Oh, mine was always broke too…despite earning $20,000 a year more than me, having no kids to support and his job paid half his rent. Do they not realise it’s nice to go see a movie or out for dinner, just every now and again? And the hell I’m paying every time

  7. Jamie says:

    18 months of playing it nice with the AC….allowing my boundaries to be crushed time and again. I thought If I played it “nice” then he would stop trolling for other women online, cheating AND lying. If I could just hold on through all this BS with a pleasing smile on my face until he realized just what he had in me then the happy life would begin. Oh yes, there were a handful of times when I spoke (although it dripped with sugar) up and actually stopped speakng to him for a few days…..but he would then send me a classic passive-aggressive text message somehow turning his trolling for women online into my problem by stating that I wasn’t spending enough time with him so he was lonely. This of course made my blood boil so another text message war would ensue where I was again explaining why his behavior was not acceptable and he had to treat me better. Then he would pull out the big guns and make me feel bad for having boundaries at all and I would go back to him. And can you all just believe that he actually told me that when in a relationship it is our duty to forgive ANYTHING our partner does!! Well sure douchesicle, since I’m the only one having to do the forgiving!! I was so fearful of upsetting the applecart and losing this “prize” of a sociopath…..oops, did I just say sociopath? Guess that wasn’t very nice of me!! The past few months have been such a mind screw for me in that I KNEW I needed to get away from him but the manipulation pulled me back. My self esteem was in the tank because I put up with his stinky doo for far too long. The straw that broke the camels back came in the form of a text message from him on July 5 that said “I think we should just date without the commitment as I need my privacy”. I thanked him for the message….I know, still being nice…..then blocked him on FB and my cell phone. I went true NC!! I don’t care anymore if he hates me, loves me, misses me or is even indifferent about me. And when the memory of catching him with another woman 3 weeks ago pops into my head…..I’m no longer angry. I just don’t care anymore. What I have learned from this experience isn’t completely clear at this point but I do know that I will always listen to my gut AND hold tight to my boundaries because some days that’s all there is to hang on to. Too bad I will never have the opportunity to tell him that the “nicest” part of him is his…..well you know. LOVE THIS SITE!!!

    Jamie

    • MaryW says:

      Jamie, he sounds awful.

      He must have done a *good* (terrible) job on you to think he could get away with the “I think we should just date without the commitment as I need my privacy” proposition. Why did it take that rather than catching him with another woman to walk away, though?

      Well done blocking him and going NC. He must have got quite a shock….

      • Jamie says:

        Hi Mary,
        Good question!! I caught him with the other woman getting ready to take his boat out for the day, after he had told me he was working that day. He hit me with the “you aren’t spending enough time with me so I’m lonely” excuse AGAIN and I took it. Not sure why him trying to manage down the relationship is what broke the camels back…..it’s apparently what I needed to hear at that very moment to make the decision I needed to make. You know, all the planets aligned correctly type thing…..lol. I’m just glad and feel so much better since going NC.
        How are you doing?
        Jamie

        • MaryW says:

          Jamie, I am very glad for you that all the planets aligned correctly! Maybe it was the last straw after all the other shenanigans. Either way, well done.

          You are a step or two further than me, haven’t yet really implemented NC but encouraged by you saying how much it’s helped you, and of course from reading Nat’s post on moving on after a breakup.

          Glad to hear you are doing so well after what sounds like a bit of a soul destroying relationship :)

          • Jamie says:

            Hi Mary,
            Thanks so much!! What I find interesting is how “clear headed” I feel after just this short time of NC. I have gained better perspective by NOT being caught up in the 24/7 angst that was my life with the AC.

            I have read your posts and am so sorry that you are going through this. I wish you the strength needed to do what is best for you.
            Jamie

            • MaryW says:

              Jamie, I do believe that NC sets you free. It is a huge relief because the 24/7 angst is absolutely exhausting, draining. I am shattered. NC definitley helps give perspective.

              But yes, sometimes the planets have to be aligned (or whatever) for us to get to that point. There is a tipping point.

              Without being officially NC, I haven’t contacted him or vice versa all day but I must admit that he’s been on my mind all day and I’ve looked at my phone a hundred times.

              I am so glad you feel clear headed and free of this person. You didn’t deserve his shit.

              Tomorrow is another day: of NC for you and for me.

              • Jamie says:

                Mary,
                You certainly don’t deserve what this AC has dished to you. You are an incredible and lovely individual with so much to share with a man who will appreciate you!!

                I will send good thoughts your way to provide strength to uphold the NC. And it’s ok if you look at your phone 200 times today….I’ve done it too. Even though I have blocked the AC on my cell phone one of his text messages slipped through the day before yesterday. I deleted it immediately……felt good!! LOL!! You can do it too sweet lady!!
                Hugz

                Jamie

                • MaryW says:

                  Jamie, thank you so much. I’ve been thinking of you; you helped me kick start NC.

                  I can’t block him on my phone but upgraded to a new one so at least I wouldn’t have his number … but guess what, lo and behold, despite having deleted his details, they are now there in my new phone (long boring story about Apple phones).

                  He hasn’t tried to contact me though so I’m OK and if a message comes, I will follow your example and press delete. Well done! And thanks for sending positive vibes my way – so far, so very good!

    • Lara says:

      Hey Jamie,
      I feel for you. :( I went through an almost similar experience, and mine lasted for a year, during which time he did cheat on me, lie numerous times, kick me out of his place several times, yell at me on the street in front of people, threaten to leave me on an almost daily basis, break up with me 3 times, make me beg him to take me back several more times, and basically, make me spend thousands of dollars on him and NOT say a word in complaint or anger or frustration, because I was afraid of upsetting him or the delicate balance I was trying so hard to maintain. Walking on eggshells is seriously an understatement as far as my AC ex was concerned. I really took a massive knock-out hit from this relationship. It really knocked me off balance, made me make bad career decisions, etc. I was constantly mind-fucked and felt like a zombie the whole time, especially towards the end. Luckily, it did end. He finally decided that I was too devalued to serve as his narcissistic supply, so he just dumped me and moved on, probably already to the next one. Actually, he has a Thai prostitute-gf/mistress already lined up, had her on the hook all along while running this pseudo-relationship gig with me. I found pics of her (both naked pics and pics of them kissing outdoors) on his phone. My instincts had been right all along. Anyway, that was, sadly, not what ended the relationship, though it should’ve been. Actually, no, even that shouldn’t have been the end. The end should’ve come much sooner, when he repeatedly disrespected me, abused and mindfucked me, shattered any semblance of boundaries I had, etc. But live and learn, I guess.

      • Lara says:

        Mine even suggested being friends after he ended it. I accepted, because… well, I don’t know why! We stayed “friends” on facebook, but when I posted some pics of myself, and added the caption that I had never felt this good in the past year (which was true and wasn’t a dig at him btw), he immediately deleted me off facebook and skype and just completely threw me out of his life. Good. I am glad. I don’t want his filthy STD-infested cock anywhere near my stuff or my facebook profile(probably at this point, it is STD-infested — thank god it wasn’t when we were together and having unprotected sex!)

        • lizzp says:

          Lara, Lara, Lara!! Thank you!!! Thank you for expressing your self so frankly. Guts and Spunk indeed. God, I just had the best belly laugh – the stuff about his STD infested cock. ‘Inappropriate’ response? *Note to self- for eff’s sake Lizzp, just woman yourself up, stop the eff trying to ruin your own enjoyment.

          Cheers Lara.

          • Lara says:

            Haha, lizzp. Glad I got you laughing. That’s seriously how I feel about that man, though. I am still incredibly traumatized and disgusted by the pictures I found on his phone, as well as the number of a “bangkok pimp”. I knew he traveled to Thailand a few times a year, but I was stupid enough to think that a sex-obsessed narcissistic AC like him wasn’t going there for sex tourism… Though deep down I had my suspicions, which is why I ended up checking his phone. Anyway, he had no intentions of stopping his regular trips to Thailand, or contacting his prostitute-gf and the “Bangkok pimp”, obviously. Otherwise, why keep their contact info on his phone? I mean, even his prostitute-gf wasn’t safe, obviously — he could just as easily get a new prostitute-gf by calling up the Bangkok pimp. Yep. Anyway, when he broke up with me, his last “dig” at me was with him mentioning that he was going to Thailand in November. Great? I told him, have fun (and in my head continued the sentence “may you catch a lot of incurable STDs!). I really tore him a new one when I found those pics he had taken on his trip to Thailand (with his prostitute-gf), and on another occasion I had retorted (after his abusive comments to me) that I am not a submissive woman like the ones he thought he could get in Thailand (he kept saying Asian women were great cos they were submissive and wouldn’t complain, wouldn’t fight, etc.). I told him I am not a Thai woman and if he wanted a submissive woman he should go to Thailand then! I think him mentioning that he was going to Thailand in November, after breaking up with me on June 22, was his “revenge” over those 2 episodes lol.

        • Jamie says:

          Lara,
          Holy moly!! I’m so sorry this piece of crap excuse of a human being did this to you. When you wrote “walking on egg shells” I sat here nodding my head…..YES!! That’s exactly how it felt to me. Interestingly though, this is the only man I’ve ever allowed to treat me in this manner and I’m 47 years old. Some say that we must meet men like this to remind us of how we deserve to be treated….hard lesson if you ask me. My ex AC was actually my first relationship after being single for almost 9 years. Had I simply forgotten the ABC’s of respect and boundaries?? All I know is that I once felt that I needd to hold on to the AC like my life truly depended on it. Completely absurd!!

          I also liked your “zombie” reference. So true!! And don’t you just love the whole facebook thing? Well he certainly showed you by un-friending you!! What a total jerk!! Treats you horribly then has a problem with you actually enjoying your life “post” his douchesicle behavior. How dare you Lara!! LOL!!

          May I ask how long you have been NC with this ass-hat?

          Jamie

          • Lara says:

            hahaha. Yep. How dare I move on with my life, after HE dumped me…. Yup. Typical narcissistic douchebag. Or as you refer to them, douchesicle! LOL! That term made me laugh out SO loud.

            He broke up with me on June 22nd. The following day, he sent me a mssg on facebook, asking me if I was ok, and telling me that he had plans to go out sightseeing with a few of his co-workers, and that he could show me pics later on if I wanted to see. Haha. Yeah, because I should care why? I don’t usually take a look at pics of friends who go sightseeing, unless I come across them on my facebook home page. I told him, that’s nice. Didn’t volunteer any information about how I was doing. None of his business, and he doesn’t deserve to get any information about that, after the manner in which he treated me and the way he dumped me out of the blue. Anyway, a few days later (totally NC on my part, except for him being on my facebook friends list, that is), he mssged me again, asking me “how it was going.” I said, “ok, you?” He said, “yeah, good, going back home (he was working abroad) tomorrow.” I said, “cool.” He then asked me what I had been up to. I told him I was starting a new job in a few days. That was it. He didn’t say anything in reply to that. Probably kept checking in, to see if I had moved on from his awesome to-die-for self…. LOL! His very first message to me after the break-up, he ended it with “I hope you’re ok, take care of yourself, x”.. Take care of myself? And you care why exactly? If you loved me and cared about me so much, why did you treat me like shit, why did you treat me worse than you treat your prostitute-mistress (she really is a prostitute, btw)? Anyway, a few days after that last mssg, I posted a picture of myself with that caption (this was on July 7), and he almost immediately removed me from facebook and deleted me from skype. Since then, I haven’t heard anything from him, nor have I cared one iota to contact him. Good riddance! I suspect that at some point he will contact me again, out of the blue, and ask me what I was up to. I never imagined that he’d do this last December, after a seemingly “final break-up”… He did, though — he texted me on my phone, and when I replied, he wanted to get back with me, told me he loved me, etc. Man. Too much drama, it was so suffocating and toxic. Worse than today’s 115 F weather here in Montreal!

            • Jamie says:

              Hi Lara!
              Wait a minute….he breaks up with you then sends you a message asking if your ok?? NO EFFING WAY!!! Sure douchesicle, let me turn around to give you a full clear shot of shoving that knife right in my back!! Add insult to injury!! It’s like he wanted to revel in what he assumed would be your pain because he broke it off. OH MY HECK!!! This guy certainly loves himself in a sick, sick way. And why would you care to see pics from his life?? LMAO!!! What a steaming pile of cow shit!! Please take some delight in the fact that one day soon, when he urinates, it’s gonna sting like 1000 razor blades traveling through his urethra……I hear that’s what happens when sleazoids sleep with dirty prostitutes.
              :)

              Jamie

              • lizzp says:

                “What a steaming pile of cow shit!! Please take some delight in the fact that one day soon, when he urinates, it’s gonna sting like 1000 razor blades traveling through his urethra……I hear that’s what happens when sleazoids sleep with dirty prostitutes.”

                Bloody hell Jamie, I am laughing so hard I almost wet myself! (* passive-aggressive note to gynecological parts – thanks post-baby pelvic floor for being sooo consistent in our relationship. You haven’t changed your tune and it’s 8 years and counting).

                • Jamie says:

                  LOL Lizzp…..glad you had a good laugh!!

                  After three kids, I too, must be careful when laughing, sneezing, coughing, jumping on treadmills, running……ah, the joy of bringing life to the world!!

                  Hugz

                  Jamie

              • Lara says:

                AHAHAHAHAHA! I just choked on my dinner, Jamie! Thanks for the laugh!! lol. I sure hope that in the near future it will sting like a 1000 razor blades traveling through his urethra when he pees. BWAHAHAHAHA! That’s what he deserves for shitting on me for the past year, then shitting on me some more after breaking it off.

                “It’s like he wanted to revel in what he assumed would be your pain because he broke it off. ”

                Yup. I definitely think this was the case. At first I thought he was just doing it because he felt bad about it and wanted to alleviate his guilty conscience, but nope, I really don’t think he feels any guilt whatsoever about this. In the year that we were together, I saw no sign of him having any feelings whatsoever. He was a cold, frigid, zombie-like son-of-a-bitch. That’s how narcissists are — they have no emotions and empathy and they view feelings as a sign of weakness, something that he kept repeating to me day in day out. Anyway, I definitely think you’re spot on, he wanted to make it look like he was such an awesome person that I’d be crying and nearly committing suicide over him, because he dumped me. lol! I suspect he wanted to see me weak and suffering, because that would confirm his self-worth, somehow. What a low-life.

                “And why would you care to see pics from his life??”

                Yeah, exactly. That was my reaction when he sent me that message. Really? I care that you were out and about with your co-workers the day after you dumped me, why exactly? It was his way of rubbing it in, IMO. Basically telling me that he was out and about and enjoying his life and that he didn’t feel an iota of guilt about it. Trying to twist the knife a little bit more.If I had been a little more enthusiastic about seeing the pictures, he would’ve been content with the fact that I was hanging on to every pathetic breadcrumb he was throwing my way, so as to keep me on the leash and on his list of possible free-fucks around the world. I bet you, he has now convinced himself that my lack of enthusiasm was not because his offer made no sense and I see no need to be a virtual part of his pathetic life, but because I was in “pain” over his precious self leaving me. Aww. Anything to keep his self-obsession and self-love going. I mean, this is a guy who, upon hearing that my uncle had passed away, responded by… changing the topic and bitching about how women did not pay any attention to him in the country where he was stationed for work at that time. LOL! The world owes him infinite attention, and if people just go about their business, not singing praises to his pathetic self, drooling over him, yearning for his presence and company and friendship, they are evil, bad, stupid, shitty people. Yup. He kept bitching non-stop, any time we were together, about people not paying attention to him. He kept bitching about every city and country he had visited, etc. Non-stop. That man bitched more than all the women in the world combined (I am making this comparison since he always noted that women always nag and bitch). LOL! A master of projection, that’s what he was. Apparently, the only place in the world where people do pay attention to him is Thailand. He told me that’s where he wants to move. He wants to retire at 50 (he’s 40) and go live in Thailand (yeah, because in this day and age, people get to retire at 50, rather than work their asses off until they’re 80 or something — his parents are nearly 70 and still work). Anyway, yeah, in Thailand, he gets all the attention he wants — from cheap, dirty prostitutes. He wouldn’t get that attention if he were to go outside the sex tourist areas/red light districts, but then again, he’s happy frequenting the red light districts and having a “relationship” with prostitutes who get 15 dicks in them per night. He even told me that he wants to open a bar in Thailand when he retires. Bars in Thailand are pretty much another word for a brothel. He basically wants to become a pimp. I can totally see him doing that, fits perfectly with his personality and character. Really, it does. A total sleazebag. Soon enough, he will probably become yet another statistic, one of thousands of men who return home with HIV and/or other STDs,or one of those thousands pf sex tourists who “accidentally” slip and fall off balconies in Thailand. Or, even better, he would put in shitloads of money into buying a bar in his prostitute gf (or wife)’s name (because foreigners aren’t allowed to own property in Thailand), only for her to dump his sorry ass and keep the property/money. lol. You can’t imagine how many idiots like him have fallen for that age-old trick. I sure hope he’s stupid enough to do that.

                Am I bitter? I guess so. I can’t be anything BUT, after all that shit I went through. I really think “karma” bites him on the ass, since he was such a big fan of Buddhists and Buddhist culture. Would be poetic justice, really.

                • Lara says:

                  Correction to my previous post:

                  I really HOPE* “karma” bites him on the ass, since he was such a big fan of Buddhists and Buddhist culture. Would be poetic justice, really.

                  • Jamie says:

                    Hi Lara,
                    It’s ok to be bitter my friend. I believe it’s those feelings that allow us to make it over the hump. May I ask how you met your AC??

                    I met mine on an online dating site. I just knew the first time I met him that he was ALL WRONG for me…..as a matter of fact my gut was screaming it. I’ve often wondered why I chose to ignore my gut and give 18 months to him. We had some great times but the bad times completely overshadowed those.

                    I had lunch with a new guy on Friday. Had a great time and he asked me for a future date. Said he would call me Friday evening. And don’t you know that it’s now Monday morning and I have yet to hear from him. LOL!! Wow, just wow. Not sure how to handle this one yet. Any suggestions?

                    Jamie

                    • Lara says:

                      With my ex, the “good” times were too few for me to even remember at this point. It’s funny that when I was still emotionally invested in the relationship, I kept looking for excuses to justify his behavior, and come up with examples of how we had great times together. Now that I think about it, those “great” times were pretty pathetic and boring, at best. They were “good memories” at the time, because they weren’t “as bad” as the rest of the times we spent together. It has to do with how much he had lowered my expectations, to the point where even spending time on the cheap, watching some shitty movie with him day after day — which bored me out of my mind — made me feel like we were having “good times.” LOL! Thanks but no thanks. If I’m going to watch movies every day for the rest of my life, I’d rather do it on my own and watch the movies that I like. haha.

                      Anyway, I met my ex at thet local pub where I go with friends (or alone) every now and then. It was last summer, June 20th to be exact, when I met him, having beer with his co-worker. We went out a few nights in a row (he came on rather strong) — but only for drinks (he was too cheap to ask me out to a real dinner date), and then we had sex (my first time). There is a long story to be told right there. Since I was a virgin, it was very stressful for me, and I was in a lot of pain as he tried to penetrate, but he then got mad at me, and kicked me out of his place, on the grounds that, if we can’t have sex together, we can’t have anything meaningful going on.. WOW. Way to go, asshole. Being so selfish as to not understand that I was nervous and in pain, and give me enough time and attention to make it as easy and enjoyable for me as possible. What a selfish, self-centred prick! Anyway, at that point, I considered it to be over between us, but then I saw him at the local pub that Sunday, while I was out with a group of friends, watching a soccer game. He came over and asked to talk to me, and asked if I wanted to meet up later that evening. I said ok. Anyway, long story short, he took away my virginity eventually. The prick dumped me two days after our first anniversary of being together. He had conveniently disappeared a few days earlier, so as not to have the “first anniversary” talk brought up by me. What a coward.

                      As for your new guy — lol, FLUSH! He didn’t call you Friday evening because he probably had other plans — with another woman. If that hadn’t worked out, you can be sure he would’ve called. I’d consider this an advance warning and flush him. Don’t give him too much thought. Just because we have a great time with a guy doesn’t mean he’s right for us, or that he’s a decent person. I had a guy do that sort of thing with me a month ago — come on real strong, chase me, set up a dinner date, had a great time with him, had sex, then he started bootycalling me. When I didn’t play ball (didn’t accept being his booty call), he didn’t make the effort to ask me out again. He told me he was out for dinner with co-workers (I think it may have actually been another woman) and that he’d call me later and maybe we could do something that evening together. This was at 5pm. His “dinner” drug on for 6 hours, during which he messaged me once saying that he was still there and that he’d give me a call later. At midnight, I get a text from him, asking if I’m still up. Didn’t answer until the next morning and said that I was up, was watching a movie. He replied and said “cool”, then disappeared into thin air. Never heard from him again. I did come across his profile on an online dating site. LOL! He was inviting women to spend time with him, and show him around the city, as he was new here. Key word for “I’m looking for fuck-buddies.” Anyway, my fault, I should never have slept with him in the first place. He probably would’ve bailed on me after the first dinner, like that guy did to you, if I hadn’t slept with him. Instead, I got booty-called. At least you didn’t get booty-called.

                      BTW, with this last guy, after we had sex, he asked me why I hadn’t picked him up the first time we met. I told him I don’t do that. And that, besides, I was interested in dating him. He said, “ahhh, dating… I wish..” That should’ve been enough for me to figure this guy out, but I still held out hope that he wasn’t a douchebag like my ex. Maybe I wanted to believe it because it would’ve sucked to realize that I had gone for yet another douchebag. Oh well. Nowadays, I don’t even try to date anymore. At least with one night stands, you know where you stand, both sides know what they want out of it. These days, dates are mens’ way of getting a one night stand, while we end up expecting more because it was a “date”.

                    • MaryW says:

                      Jamie, how to handle it? Please just flush. A nice, decent, respectful person phones when they say they will. I flipping hate it when a date appears to go well and nothing materialises … but it’s much worse when they say they’ll call and don’t. It’s cowardly. Hope you’re not feeling too disappointed. X

                    • lizzp says:

                      Hiya Jamie, thought I’d pitch in here. Yeah, barring some real *reason* should he get in touch and explain, and I guess by that I mean that you can establish that he REALLY WAS in a car/train/aeroplane crash, came down with a serious illness,or there was a death in the family, disappointing as it might be I’d say you’re best off just flushing. Anything else, ANYTHING, and he could have made a quick call – stuff like unexpected/forgotten busines trip; had to see family member; upset friend etc – he said he would call and an upfront and open man would in these circumstances. Should he call now and come up with any of this calibre of reason – they’re not reasons, they’re excuses. It’s just a bad and shitty start, it’s just not right and old fuddy duddy that I am I’m gonna say it,- it’s extra wrong for men in their mid 30s, our age group and beyond (unless of course Jamie, you old ‘silver fox’ you, you are dating men in their 20s! – the Demi Moore experience killed that idea for me and also any man under the age of 40 (I’m 45) once and for all).

                      Over the last 7 months, I’ve found experiences like this, along with having my hand on the flush almost permanently when online, frustrating. I have been consciously practicing being available, up front etc, however as jedi mind trick article points out, this may make me ‘available’/willing but it doesn’t make them so. The main reason I’ve stopped trying to date for now is due to the level of my frustration when I assert my boundaries and I or they walk. I have discovered my high frustration is testament to the fact I haven’t quite expelled my ex from my system – that is accepted that I did love him, but cannot and do not any longer and that he chose to continue on his life without me. Just writing that still makes me teary and want to cry.

          • Lara says:

            Also, I had already emotionally checked out of the relationship a few months before, when I found those pictures on his phone, along with the phone numbers of his Thai prostitute-gf and her sister, as well as a “Bangkok Pimp”. When I confronted him about all this, he told me he had told me that he hadn’t done anything in Thailand (sex-wise, that is), because if he had, no woman would’ve slept with him. Wow, so much respect for the woman he claimed to love! That really was the end for me, though we “agreed” to “work on” the relationship. I should’ve left him right then and there, honestly. I was too weak and traumatized, and he was staying at my place, on a visit, so I couldn’t just tell him to fuck off, in a country that was foreign to him, although it was fitting and deserved. He could’ve just gone to a hotel, free of charge, as he has a lot of hotel points from his job travels. But I just couldn’t do that to him, couldn’t have that sort of behavior on my conscience. So I let him stay, and wanted to work things out, maybe because not agreeing on working things out would’ve made the next week of staying together living hell. Anyway, I knew that was the end of the road for us, even though he promised to come back and visit me, and book his return ticket as soon as he got back home. He never brought it up again, for the next 3 months, and I could feel he was managing down my expectations and phasing out of my life. It started with him turning off his phone and not sending me morning texts, or any replies to my texts. This was some time in June, a week or two before he broke up with me. Maybe he had met some hot chick in his new work country, who he thought could replace me as narcissistic supply. Maybe. Who knows. I don’t much care at this point. He has pulled too much shit on me. He even told me he wasn’t into Valentine’s Day, then told me he had been set up on a V-Day date by his co-workers. Kept telling me about all the prostitutes in bars, who would sit on his lap and touch his thighs.. Supposedly that was meant to make me feel more attracted to him because he was “so wanted”? If that’s his idea of being “wanted” — by prostitutes looking for money — I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. Anyway, back to the main reason I am writing this reply: when he broke up with me on June 22, I didn’t much care about it, but I still wanted him to take me back. I don’t know what came over me. I didn’t care about him at all, or anything like that. I just felt incredibly lonely or depressed or scared, or a combination of all three. I can’t believe I begged, despite having emotionally checked out. It makes no sense, and yet I did it. I want to slap myself every time I remember that. I’m so ashamed of my behavior. He was adamant, though. I think he kinda got an ego boost from the whole thing, though. He was the type of person who would get a kick out of a woman begging a guy to take her back. He thought that was a woman’s proper place to be. He was very anti-feminist, and resented women in general. Anyway, maybe that’s why he was checking where my head was at, on facebook. He had thought I’d go back and beg him again. When I just stopped doing that after that initial round of begging, and didn’t contact him for nearly 3 weeks, he started wondering, I think.

            • Lara says:

              I certainly think him removing me from facebook and skype was an attempt at “getting back” at me for daring to say that I felt good. There was the implication that if I hadn’t felt so good in the past year, he wasn’t so great for me after all… Apparently he found that too much for his narcissistic douchesicle self to accept. He wanted to get back at me, definitely. “I’ll show her! If she thinks I was so bad for her, I will punish her by withdrawing my friendship!” lol! Maybe he thought I’d contact him after I realized he had deleted me off facebook, and beg him to add me back… Yeah. Dream on, dude!

              • lizzp says:

                Jeeze Lara, you’re on the ball, you’ve got this horrible, dangerous, reprehensible, narcissistic (eff me, what a psychopathic narcissist)nailed to the boards by this hands and feet. Yuuuuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, how good is it to be free of that mind-effing excuse of a human being? And how insightful of you to see that your served the function of narcissistic supply until you clamped his feeding tube.

                The whole Thailand prostitute gf bizzo the pimp etc, is DISGUSTING huh? Men like him just really effing disgust me to the bone, to the core. No wonder that was the point where you emotionally checked out from this pig (actually that is an insult to pigs, which contrary to popular belief are actually very clean animals-stink though-are at least as intelligent as dogs and are capable of empathy and forming bonds with humans – unlike your ex horror show).

                Luckily for you, the way you describe this microbe, he sounds more on the pathetic cowardly side than violent (correct me if I’m wrong though). Full blown narcissists like you ex fuck head who are prone to violent reactions, have been known to go ape shit when they realise their narcissistic supply aint having none of it no more.

                I’ve got my own story about a close encounter with an AC whose MO was also narcissitic. This was three years ago now and only, thank the lord, for around four months. I’m not in a space where I want to tell it right now though. I appreciate your frankness, I love reading your posts, it’s quite an education, and your are hilarious (in a good way). Do you find it cathartic? Anyway, just want to say thank you for the frankness, good laughs and insight. You take good care of you ok?xo

                • Lara says:

                  Hey lizzp,

                  Yeah, I guess I can consider myself somewhat lucky in that, while he was a narcissistic douchebag, he was never physically abusive. He was massively emotionally and verbally abusive, though, perhaps more so than physically-abusive narcs might be. He channeled all his issues and resentments verbally, whereas others might do so physically as well. He did get close to hitting me once, but instead ended up kicking me out of his place. He was a cold-hearted, cruel bastard. If I cried at any point, he’d accuse me of being abusive (!) and trying to play games with his mind.. Talk about projection. And total lack of empathy. I have NEVER met anyone so cruel in my entire life. NEVER. This is a guy who started bitching about the city he was working at, a second after I told him my uncle had PASSED AWAY. Didn’t even say sorry, didn’t ask me if I was ok, just changed the topic and started bitching about how he was so sick of that city/country and how none of the women even look at him… Wow. I felt so loved right then and there. I didn’t talk to him for a week when he did that. Things were already looking a bit rocky at that point. This happened like 2 weeks before he officially dumped me, and I had been suspecting that something was off. He had been behaving even worse than ever before, or not talking to me at all, always coming up with excuses, or sometimes just disappearing for days on end. This man also always talked about his job problems, etc. and never asked me about how mine was going. Not even once. I could’ve volunteered updates/information, and sometimes I did, but it felt like he didn’t care/was bored, and I felt like at least every now and then he should’ve taken the initiative and asked me how things were going at work. If only out of respect for me.But… respect? That’s too much to ask of my AC narc ex. You know, for some reason, I seem to be a magnet for narcissists and players. I had another narc/player try to weasel his way into my life. He luckily disappeared after I ignored his numerous attempts to treat me like a booty call. He just wouldn’t get the hint, for a long time. Unfortunately, I did have sex with him, but only once. Maybe I should just be grateful I had a lucky escape. Now, I don’t really engage in conversation or exchange contact info, etc., with men who, even remotely, show any sign of having bad behavior, being disrespectful, or showing other red flags. If I want sex, I do one night stands, and send them packing early in the morning or even right after sex. I don’t want to deal with narcs. One experience was traumatic enough. Maybe I am hyper-sensitive now, after that experience, but I know that when someone treats me right, I will know it, and will be able to tell it apart from narc behavior, despite the fact that my protective walls are up all the time now. I know good when I see it. One guy I met last week, asked me for my phone number, then texted me, asking me if I wanted to go out for drinks. He seemed like a nice guy, but going out for drinks sounded too casual to me, it sounded like a prelude to a one night stand and a string of booty calls. So I just ignored the text message. Maybe it was bad / wrong of me, and maybe a tad disrespectful not to respond, but I have to do what is best for me, and my instincts, if I think about it, have never truly let me down. They have ALWAYS been right. Even though my AC ex always gaslighted me and made me believe I was just paranoid, now that I think about it, I always could tell that something was up, from little things/changes in his behavior. I should give myself more credit than I tend to do. I am very attentive and observant, not paranoid. I struggled with this for a long time, because for a year, my narc ex gaslighted me and made me feel like I was a paranoid nutter, seeing things that weren’t there, etc.

                  I really cannot even think of anything evil that wasn’t done to me by my ex short of actual physical violence, or any bullshit move that my ex did NOT pull on me. He did it all. Right down to yelling at me in the middle of the bank, because I asked him how, in his opinion, I had managed to exceed my credit card’s credit limit, rather than being blocked from purchasing the item. He told me I had been stressing him out, that he was here on holiday and he was getting stressed by my question. Meanwhile, I was worried that there was a major problem with my bank account/credit card, etc., and he was telling me I was stressing him out. Wow. What a selfish narcissistic douchebag. It was ALL about him. ALL the time. ALL the damn time. NEVER about what I wanted to do. NEVER about how I felt. Even when it came to sex, if I was in the mood for sex and he wasn’t, he would not even say no, he would push my hand away, violently, and yell at me for trying to initiate something. I was supposed to have read his mind that he wasn’t in the mood, I guess. Meanwhile, if I wasn’t in the mood, well, I didn’t dare say no, I had sex anyway — talk about “voluntary” rape, because I was afraid of his reaction. He had, at the very beginning, warned me about this, told me that women always start getting to comfortable in a relationship and end up not “giving him” sex much.

                  Now, I really need to take my power back. Even when he’s gone for good, I just feel like he has this hold over me, because of all the gaslighting, etc. I feel like I am no longer the independent, strong woman I once was. I am now afraid of upsetting people, etc. I wasn’t like this before. I was a very opinionated, “take it or leave it!” type person, who always stood up for what she believed in. I am trying to reclaim my power back. I think this is why I have done a few one night stands since we broke up — I wanted to do what *I* wanted to do, when *I* wanted to do it and not get into another abusive relationship or get fuck-buddied or booty-called.

                  I mean, if you think about it, my ex had really “fuck-buddied” me, except that fuck buddies are, well, buddies, and treat one another right/with respect. Mine treated me with utter disrespect, which convinces me that, for him, I was more like a temporary placeholder/ free fuck. He was so cheap that he probably thought that, for a while, this was a cheaper arrangement than having to fly all the way to Thailand and PAY for the services of his prostitute-gf. My self-esteem has dipped below zero in the past year. WHen you are treated like worse than a prostitute, for a whole year, it makes you wonder, if you really are that bad. Believe it or not, I struggled with this. I kept wondering, telling myself, that maybe he’s right and I deserve this sort of treatment, maybe I was doing things wrong. But then, deep down, I knew that I was a nice person, that my only fault was that, maybe, I was too nice for my own good, that I was letting someone walk all over me and that this was my only problem. Lack of boundaries. Now I feel better. I don’t wonder about that much, unless someone else treats me the same way or disrespects me. Then, I keep wondering, why do I always get disrespected, by default? Do I have a stamp on my forehead that says “No boundaries, feel free to disrespect”? It’s just bizarre. Maybe people are just rude and disrespectful in general, these days. Maybe I need to develop a thicker skin, though I’d like to believe that this is not the case, that if anyone has to change their behavior, it’s those disrespectful people. I don’t even know what I do sometimes to invite this boundary-busting behavior from people, even friends. I think maybe I should stop being so nice and sweet and so flexible, maybe that’s my problem.

        • Brenda says:

          Same experiences I was wanted around if I was in tears and feeling like sh*t by the so called freind, but find any happiness for myaelf after getting dumped and lied to?

          Well then I am a b*tch, but I was not such a b*tch when I was in tears while he flaunted his dates and girls and then finally his new wife in my face, How dare I stop crying and get back my dreams according to him with his “Actions”.

          Once you let a guy know you have feelings even if they did not want you.. Then your not allowed to move on and (REALLY) be friends.

          Happens every time.

  8. KatheM says:

    What comes to mind is Hannah Horvath in “Girls.” As she told the beautiful, kind (sometimes) Marnie: “Maybe I’m not the BAD friend. Maybe YOU’RE the bad friend.”

    A friend once barged into my office when I was on deadline wanting to talk about something. She was so overpowering in my space, and the fact that I disagreed with her set her on fire. This was on a Friday afternoon and I didn’t want to get into this while completing a project, so I said, “Let’s talk about this on Monday.” Finally she left.

    Later, she came up and said she thought I had been aggressive. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her she was the offender and I just said, “Sorry if you felt that way.”

    I avoid her like the plague. Not interested in her drama. If you call her out on anything, she says, “I’m Italian, I’m emotional.”

    Good-bye girl.

  9. Jenna Ryan says:

    This is GOOD STUFF!!! Thank you so much. :)

  10. Suze says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I stupidly got involved with a guy at work then I found out he had a gf so I called him out on it..via text. He just didnt answer. For two weeks…. Inevitably we ran into each other at work (as he was being dropped of by the gf). He immediately asks if I had changed my number, saying he forgot what it was and tried to text me an “uncomfortable text”. He had already been texting my new number so I just sarcastically said “um, yeah” and continued on with chit chat while he tried to compliment my hair, etc. He started to try I touch my hair but stopped himself. He knows he’s wrong but I didn’t have a backbone and feel I let him off the hook. Perfect article for me, just wish I would have applied the principals then. I feel it’s too late to do anything now or missed my chance.

  11. Suze says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I stupidly got involved with a guy at work then I found out he had a gf so I called him out on it..via text. He just didnt answer. For two weeks…. Inevitably we ran into each other at work. He immediately asks if I had changed my number, saying he forgot what it was and tried to text me. He had already been texting my new number so I just sarcastically said “um, yeah” and continued on with chit chat.
    He tried to compliment my hair, etc.
    He started to try I touch my hair but stopped himself. He knows he’s wrong but I didn’t have a backbone and feel I let him off the hook. Perfect article for me, just wish I would have applied the principals then. I feel it’s too late to do anything now or missed my chance.

  12. noquay says:

    Originally I had intended to simply initiate NC with the at work AC, not confront him at all on his humiliating behavior. It was HE that asked why I was angry (I kinda thought showing up publicly with another woman, who had been kept a secret was a good basis for anger myself), so after a decent intervalggiving myself time to cool off and reflect, I wrote him a well crafted letter with no accusatory language but that spells out the facts from the beginning of our non relationshit and if shown to a supervisor or anyone, would’ve made him look like an absolute bastard. Yep, he probably hates me for it but I am glad I stood up for me. The following school year he hit up a number of attached women and as one was a good friend, I warned her about him. No one should go through what I went through with this person. That year I also found out that numerous women in our system had been treated in much the same manner, even when he was married. Three of them had their lives and future plans completely derailed. They took the doormat approach, I did not. There was no way I was going to change his behavior but I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with it.

  13. noquay says:

    Starshine
    He either is very poor, cannot manage finances, or simply doesn’t want to go anywhere. It’s difficult when a couple has a large discrepancy between their finances. I’m sorry but his “sorry” doesn’t cut it. I would find out what the root of the financial issue is, if there is one, and decide if a lifetime of DVD watching is for you.

    • paolo says:

      I’m a guy that doesn’t work at the moment and i put my efforts into getting my degree. I can tell you that having little money has nothing to do with not going out and doing things with your gf…I don’t have anyone steady but ive dated and it only takes a bit of imagination to date. A picnice..A movie, even a cafe and walk around town into shops trying clothes on, buying ice cream and generaly having a laugh. These are all fun things to do with a date..Having little money is no excuse.

  14. dancingqueen says:

    Thank you for this, this could not have come at a better time. I WILL be sending that email that I composed as ll morning today. Would like to say it in person but it will fall on deaf ears. Does not matter. It is being said for me.

  15. Lara says:

    My ex (AC) always pulled the passive aggressive trick on me any time I even mentioned anything remotely perceived as a criticism. Most of the time, it wasn’t even a criticism, more like an expression of opinion. Guess he didn’t want me to be a separate person, but an extension of him. He (a narcissist) apparently likes his women that way, that’s why he goes to Thailand 4 times a year and purchases the services of a prostitute for 2 weeks at a time, and thinks that is representative of what a real woman should be / act like. Because I loved him, and wanted to avoid these situations (he also always threatened to break up with me after situations like this), I stopped saying anything that might potentially upset him. Towards the end, I felt like I couldn’t say ANYTHING because anything might upset him (and he had gotten progressively grouchy with me). Anyway, in the end, I just decided to let go of him. This is a guy I gave another chance to, after I found pictures of his prostitute-gf on his phone — he had cheated on me with a prostitute.

    • Brenda says:

      “Guess he didn’t want me to be a separate person, but an extension of him.”

      Yep, too many of them around.

      Well he is PAYING for those sex services and I guess to him it’s worth it to have something FAKE over something real, becasue they are so FAKE themselves.

      Passive aggressive types are the worst, They come across at first as being so kind and gentle BUT then will do nothing but pull a LOT of shady shit on you with their “actions”.

      F*ck any man that is NOT man enough to communicate like an adult – becasue I sure as hell am not goring to BABYSIT another ass clown.

  16. Lara says:

    Starshine,
    Your bf reminds me of my ex. He used to do that because he was rather stingy. He could afford to spend money, but didn’t want to pay for both of us. Mind you, I usually covered half the time (we alternated in paying for meals rather than split the bill), but apparently even that was too much. At the beginning of the relationship, he would go out more, but after a while, he just wanted to spend time indoors doing stuff that I found rather boring. We once spent the entire weekend in bed, watching depressing TV show after TV show, about drug addicts and alcoholics needing intervention. It got on my nerves and when I mentioned it, he had a big outburst and got mad at me and kicked me out of his place. I don’t want to give bad advice or a wrong interpretation, but I suspect your guy doesn’t really care about you (it’s not about the money but about doing things together, even going for a walk — unless you are the one who is insisting on going places that require spending a lot of money). Yes, I know that men usually get lazy once they realize they’ve won you over, but this is way too much.

    • meandthebump says:

      Just paying for stuff and taking you out is not necessarily an indicator of good treatment. My ex AC/EUM would always pay for my meals and drinks, but every single time he would complain about the price. I would be sure to thank him for treating me, but there was always the passive aggressive sting to his generosity.

      He would ask what I want, be cool about it, but when the bill came moan about the price. I would try to counter-balance the mood by agreeing, or saying yes but how delicious it was and how kind he was. But it was kind of pointless as the begrudging comments left a sour taste in my mouth!

      This was before I knew about signs and patterns of behaviour of EUM, which now make sense of it all.

      When he would stay over at the weekend, and I would buy delicious all-butter croissants for us to enjoy, he would even moan about that – that I could’ve got a tube of ‘jus roll’ croissants for half the price, and just to prove it next time we went to the store I bought some and they turned out to be half the size too… Or why was I buying myself ready-made porridge pots, when I could buy a bag of oats and make my own for much cheaper… why didn’t I have the correct pans for cooking… all criticisms to chip away at me in a passive aggressive way that I didn’t stand up to because I didn’t / wouldn’t recognise it for what it was, and just tried to write it off as his being grumpy or thrifty, when really it was his narc way of putting me down every time we tried to do something nice. Even the style of bedsheets I used came in for criticism! Yet I said nothing, just absorbed it all, doormat style, so as not to be arguing

      • Tracy says:

        I was with an AC narcissist very much like that for 18 mind-numbing months. He hated everything about me, but would let me know via “constructive criticism”. When I once got annoyed when he asked me, if I had money, what ‘labels’ I would buy, and I responded “Whatever looks good on me” and I was clearly annoyed by the comparison to the designer clothes his sainted ex-wife wore, he accused me of calling him shallow and only interested in appearances. WTF? You ask me what ‘labels’ I will buy (because, heaven forbid, the neighbors might think I shop at Walmart…) and you aren’t shallow?

      • Lara says:

        “Just paying for stuff and taking you out is not necessarily an indicator of good treatment.”

        Oh, no, not at all. I mean, I never implied that, did I? What I was saying is that if he doesn’t do it at all, and if he, moreover, just acts lazy all the time when you’re together, then he doesn’t respect you and your needs enough (and you know, he probably would get up, get dressed and get out of the house if his buddies suggested going out for drinks or whatever!). It’s also common courtesy to treat people every now and then, to dinner or a drink or two. Let alone in the context of dating someone or having a relationship with them! Sure, a man who pays for your meal all the time might still be disrespectful, but that’s a different kind of disrespect. I had a guy who did that, and yet treated me like booty call, for example. I assigned him to my “player” list, and flushed him stat. Your ex sounds extremely rude! Mine didn’t complain much, but he made sure to always take me to the same cheap place. He also left very little tip. I am used to less stingy behavior. I don’t make much more money than he does (heck, I am a student, whereas he has a job in a big, well-known company and gets per diem in addition to his salary), but I tip at least 15%-20% regardless. And I ended up paying for BOTH of us about 80% of the time anyway.

        My ex, whenever he knew he’d have to pay, took me to the cheapest restaurant in town. $8 a dish. Sometimes didn’t want to go out at all — he’d claim he had already eaten, after having told me earlier in the day that we’d go out. So I ended up having snacks for dinner because I had gone over to his place on an empty stomach, assuming we’d go out for dinner. And other times, he’d come up with the excuse that he wanted to cook for me (which at first sounded great and romantic!), but the real reason, as it turned out, was that he wanted to save money. Also, he always made me go to his place, and never dropped me off in the mornings. I had to walk home, even though I was about a 2 minute drive away from his place. I know it’s not much of a walk either, but it’s common courtesy to drop off a woman. Or to at least offer to. Meanwhile, he told me he used to drive 1.5 hours a day (each way) to meet one of his ex-gfs after work. I have to wonder why he kept telling me those things. I am wondering if it was a passive aggressive remark, basically telling me that I wasn’t even worth the effort that he put in for his exes.

        My ex also bitched about anything and everything I did, and put me down all the time, mostly in public. Sometimes he took direct hits at me, and other times he was more passive aggressive. He kept telling me I should get a car, move in to a house and not the small apartment I had, etc., because he found it uncomfortable for two people to hang out in my apartment. I should’ve told him to chip in, if he wanted me to get a bigger place, eh? What a douchebag.

  17. Michelle says:

    Natalie, I love your articles and your website and your books. You’ve helped me through some rough times! And I’ve learned so much from your clarity… Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  18. Artemis says:

    This is such an important topic! I think it’s probably the biggest cause of relationship failure. I personally think that giving feedback is a huge act of love. It says you care. If I’m doing something that hurts someone I love, I want to know about it.

  19. Mrwriter says:

    I ended it with a cheap ass mooch bf this time last year. Sorry JK but if a man is over the age of 25, he can spring for something. Doesn’t have to be expensive but he needs to show initiative and care. A man puts his money and time where his heart is. I spent 10 years arguing against this to my own demise. This screams casual relationship. My ex was all too happy to take walks around our neighborhood, watch DVDs and because we get free tickets in our industry, we went to shows HE wanted to see. In 4 mos he never took me out to happy hour, dinner, not even bought me a cappachino but stood back and let me pay for dinner and drinks, the works.

    I used to be liberal about going Dutch etc but low maintenance can be confused by these EUM men as No maintenance. They don’t reciprocate. They don’t have gratitude. I did tell the ex that it bothered me but in reset button style he went back to his cheap assholery ways.

    This from a man who gave me a dozen roses but only let me take one home. He kept the rest at his place and took a photo on his iPhone and sent it to me saying how beautiful they were in bloom.

    I sincerely doubt this is a great relationship. Just a hunch. Easy, sure. A gentleman that has serious interest will inquire within 3 months as to where and what the lady would like to do. He will treat. There are fun, low cost things in every city. At best, this guy is lazy and at worst he doesn’t want to put forth any real effort. You will feel used. I did. And to those who suggest she take HIM out on a proper date…I did and did and did to no avail

    There’s a nasty little game out there. The one who imitates pays for the date, outing, coffee…et al. Okay. Except, when one person is left to prod or suggest to do something and the other party doesn’t…see how one-sided this becomes? Now I am all for treating a man and he treats me and it volleys naturally back and forth. My friends and I have no problems with this.

    What I experienced lately until I had more than enough is that to do anything beyond DVDs a few short feet from the bedroom, or walks around the block, I had to initiate and therefore was expected to pay. He certainly didn’t. I’m a grown woman in my 30s and this man was mid forties. I’m not 22 and I’m not 70. A man should be able to take a woman he has a serious interest out to something. If he’s so broke that in 12 weeks he’s been merrily content with this status quo, frankly, he overestimated his ability to date and should spending his DVD movie nights either alone or carving out a little play money.

    I will leave links to previous comments I have made about this issue. All I can say, is men don’t value a woman so cheaply won. I thought my modern sensibilities would be appreciated, instead they were abused time and time again.

    I don’t do the DVD BS anymore and have been pursued by grown men with greater care, respect, consideration, thoughtfulness and generosity since I established my No Mooch Policy. I had a lovely dinner out and my share cost $13. Is that too steep a hill to climb? I was delighted and later paid for our late night coffee. Very civilized.

    If DVD man needs a cattle prod to take you out I would take him out to the nearest Redbox and deposit his sorry ass there. Let him find a girl satisfied with dating the equivalent of a high schooler. You should have had a proper date by now. I know how frustrating and disappointing it is but please save yourself and your wallet unless you think you can settle for so little. I couldn’t.

    Oh, and how in the blue fuck is a woman supposed to see how a man treats servers, tips, drives or handle himself socially if he never takes a woman out? I read all sorts of dating tips that say pay attention to these scenarios but if you’re never in them, how can one observe?

    Also, to any man that pisses and moans in my general direction, I paid the equivalent of alimony when an ex bf mooched on me for 2 years. Bled me dry while I was in college and he had no job. But men should take women out to observe how they behave, how they appreciate being treated, if they reciprocate, etc. Better to see her character early on too than hide her inside your proverbial basement watching Netflix. Just a thought.

    • Lara says:

      Wow, Mrwriter! Those were some incredible posts!!!! Amazing! My AC ex pulled the same EXACT BS on me ALL the time. He was just using me, and was treating me as a free fuck, free meals, the whole deal. There was nothing serious about how he viewed me. It was just a casual fling and mooching off me as much and for as long as he could get away with it. He actually was very anti-feminist, and from our very first time out, he kept whining about women being golddiggers (yes, he stated that about women in general). I should’ve dropped everything and RUN for my life at that point, but I didn’t. I wanted to believe he was just referring to a subset of women, which do exist… But nope. Apparently, he hated the fact that he had to buy women drinks in pubs, and a few drinks later, the woman would just pack up and go home without having opened her legs for him… Amazing. He said this, in different words. I cannot believe I stayed with this guy for a whole year. I was bored to tears on many occasions. If I brought up going out, I would have to pay. Usually, he didn’t even want to do that because he knew there was always the pressure or expectation that he’d pay up at least half the time. One day, he told me we’d go out for dinner, and I went over to his place with an empty stomach because I didn’t want to have a late lunch that would kill my appetite. He told me that he didn’t want to go out to dinner anymore, that he’d already had late lunch/dinner at work before coming home, and we just sat there watching a movie. I was starving. He didn’t even ask me if I was hungry. I should’ve just left his sorry ass there and gone out to have food, and dumped him stat. But I just sat there and thought it would be rude to go off on my own, and because I wanted to do things together, as a couple. He never thought that way. He always thought of himself and only himself. In fact, he regularly referred to himself as single! In front of me…. Man, I don’t even know why I kept ignoring those red flags. And any time I mentioned anything, he’d accuse me of “being just like my exes”. Obviously, there was the implication that if I were like his exes, he would dump me, too. It was a passive aggressive/veiled blackmail/threat. What a lowlife asshole! So glad I am rid of him. I no longer continue engaging a man in conversation, if he does not pay for my share as well, when we go on a date, at least at first. It is true that it has swung in the opposite direction. In fact, most women have never done this sort of thing out of “golddigging” but because it was tradition. But a lot men nowadays? They ARE TRUE golddiggers unlike the women they accused of being such. I wanted to “prove” that I wasn’t a golddigger, that I was liberal and independent, but that was abused. I realize now that I didn’t have to prove ANYTHING to ANYONE. Take it or leave it, this is what is on offer! I spent thousands of dollars on my ex, and saw nothing in return, not even love, respect, or anything of the sort. On my birthday, he was out of town, and he called and wished me happy birthday, then told me he had been set up on a “date” with a woman by his co-workers (he claimed he had said no, but that they had insisted)… that was my birthday present. Then, when he got back, he brought me a bunch of his used nerdy tshirts that he no longer wore. Supposedly that was my birthday present. I was so offended, but I didn’t throw them in his face. He had even managed to sort of “train” me to appreciate even that little, cheap gesture (insulting as it was). I guess I was supposed to feel grateful that he had made the “effort.” Wow! Meanwhile, I spent $130 on two designer shirts I got for his birthday, a few months into dating. And no, I am not a rich person. I am a student and can barely make ends meet, but I know how to treat a person and I love giving gifts. I am generous like that, and he abused my generosity. I am so angry at myself over this.

      • Lara says:

        I must add that he did make about as much money as I did. So it wasn’t like he really couldn’t afford it. In fact, his company paid him not only a salary that equaled mine, but also per diem ($50 a day) for lunch, dinner, etc. He only spent a few dollars out of that a day, mainly buying lunch at work and a pack of cigarettes every now and then. The rest, he “saved” — for his trips to Thailand (4 times a year), during which as I found out later , after snooping on his phone, he fucked a prostitute-gf that he has on the hook there. This happened even while we were together. And he was clear that he wasn’t spending his per diem money because he wanted to save for future Thailand trips. Man, it was all my fault. I mean, he couldn’t have been clearer, that he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He wanted me to keep spreading my legs open for him, while he made zero effort. I was desperately in love with him. Maybe not in love, maybe it was obsession. I had lost my virginity to him, at 29. I suspect he knew that because I lost my virginity to him, he now “had” me on the hook, and abused that.

    • Lacy says:

      I had this situation with the eum we were invoved off and on since 02, we usually went out for drinks only he would pay but we never did anything extravagant. He would always say he didn’t have any money when I would suggest we go out to the movies, dinner or bowling. At that point I stopped suggesting wow I feel like such an idikt to have settled for crumbs.One night of him asking me what I was doing on a sat night after he had left my house from a quick rendezvous and me not wanting to here the no money line, I replied I would be in for the night and later seeing on his facebook he posted he would be at this famous bar and drinks were on him if anyone cared to join him.My mouth dropped to the floor but as usual I kept it to myself and withdrew contact and for him to turn it on me and say I was crazy for not speaking to him for no reason.

      I tried to avoid conflict and in turn I looked like the crazy person because I didn’t confront him with the issue.I really do feel if a man wants to date u properly he will put effort and it is plenty of things to together that is free or not too expensive.Its about spending time together making each other feel special.

      A walk on the beach, walk around downtown, grocery shop together, train ride anything,but it was stuff we never did and I stopped suggesting trying to be considerate of him saying his finances were at a standstill which drug out for a yr or so, and the excuse before that was our relationship wasn’t close enough so he felt it was ok to lie and send me off and which that also drug on for a few more yrs, until I stopped it with Nc.

    • Tracy says:

      If he was giving you roses and only letting you take ONE home, what the hell was he doing with the rest of them? Throwing the petals into his bubblebath after you left? Handing them out (as they withered up) to other dates as the week went on? Trying to return them to the store for a cash refund? How bizarre!

      • MRWriter says:

        Tracy —

        You’re not far off the mark. LOL! As I said, he took a photo on his phone and sent me the picture of them in bloom. So if he just wasn’t thinking, that was the moment when he should’ve been like “wait, this is weird.”

        The next time I saw him, he had yet another bouquet of roses sitting in the same vase mixed in with what was left from the aforementioned batch. These roses were still budded but WILTED! The blooms pointed downward. The stem completely curved. I asked, “Where and when did you get those?” He said, “Today.” He admitted they were beyond saving. I even got a twisty tie for garbage bags and tried to ties them up to stand erect. Uh, no, doesn’t work.

        He insisted that I take these sorry ass, wilted things home. I held my ground. Pulled the petals off of them and put them in Ziplock baggie.

        “You can strew them about your bath.”

        He balked. I refused to take them home and put the petals in his fridge. Apparently, the only time he wanted me to take home roses he got for me was when they were wilted.

        Needless to say, the relationshit like the roses wilted. Who does that?

        • Lara says:

          “Who does that?”

          Wow. That post above just made me wonder if this guy may have been a cannibal or some sort of weirdo along those lines. I don’t know why I make that association — maybe cos of the rose petals in the fridge? — but it just gives me the chills that he kept those flowers for himself. I tend to think that people who have bizarre habits like that, are not right in the head, and might have more skeletons in the closet than we would like to think.

  20. MRWriter says:

    This comment was on Natalie’s article:
    http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/criticism-isnt-the-same-as-rejection

    REPOST FROM JUNE 2, 2013
    I am so sick and tired of mooches and cheap ass men I could scream. I think this is yet another red flag (or amber depending on their current situation) that frankly isn’t be addressed enough.

    Part of the reason I think the issue of money or usury isn’t dealt with is because it immediately goes to the other extreme of the stereotype “gold-digger” which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    If you were a “gold-digger,” you wouldn’t have been messing around with this broke ass bloke? Right? So can we all agree that it isn’t the $ spent but the intent, the reciprocity and the generous spirit indicated or lack thereof?

    I have PAID dearly over the years. I might as well have been married and paying alimony for the first and last clear cut mooch I supported and what I got in return was bad credit after a decade of stellar ratings. That 2-year relationship drained me while I was supporting myself through college. And I will have to live with the bad marks against me a lot longer than that while he found a woman who filled my shoes and supports his ass. And he’s not particularly handsome or charming. He’s lazy.

    Had I not been so “understanding” so willing to “help out” after all it was just a few bucks here and there with groceries (never took me out on real dates — oh, wait I did) and it wasn’t all at once. It started slow and insidious and built up over time with speed.

    I told him he had to get traction in his life (a steady job) before we could continue on as a couple. His solution to the debt I now owed was that if I would marry him, his parents would pay off the debt. I took the hit instead because I’m young enough to survive the credit rating and rebuild later. I am now after 7 years in the process of doing just that but it has limited me and was a costly lesson.

    My parents offered to pay it off. I refused. No one held a gun to my head, it my choice, my fault and my responsibility. I took my lumps.

    But I thought he was the exception. No, no, no! I’ve never seen so many men expect me to pay for every little thing ALL the time. And once they see you’re a modern, liberal woman whose willing to pay her fair share or contribute, instead of being grateful they go whole hog and take advantage. Suddenly, you find yourself always the one at the cashier paying. You find yourself eventually keeping track because you can’t afford to keep paying both ways ALL the time.

    And then they have the temerity to complain about your working all the time when you’re paying for yourself at the very least and both at the very worst. Lose/lose.

    I’m driving a 10-year old Civic. I’m a struggling artist. I don’t live in a condo. I don’t wear bling. I’m not coiffed or dripping or even have a diamond. So how in the world the gigolos are zeroing into me is anyone’s guess. I think the numbers of moochy men are on the rise. My sisters in arms are starting to at least admit it openly in a way a couple of years ago they were trying to hide the fact. I think this money issue is NOT nearly as complicated as these AC men would lead us to believe.

    Why? Because I use my friends (similar financial bracket as mine) as a yardstick. It’s incredible to me how I can go out and have fun with my friends (male & female) and money isn’t a hot-button issue. Sometimes we cover the other because we can, and then the other returns the favor when they can. I was supposed to go out last night. My brother-in-arms admitted that with the end of the month and all, he was too tight to go out. So was I and I was relieved to stay home. We made a plan to see each other on the cheap (him w/ tacos & a movie, me with wine and ice cream). I also find it incredible that I have better “dates” with my gay and straight but mainly gay male friends who guess what…??? AREN’T GETTING ANYTHING! No BJs here. I even offer as a joke when they take me home (hell they even drive too) if they need a “lil sumptun sumptun” and of course they always laugh and same damn, girl, it’s that bad? It’s the running gag w/ all of us. They enjoy my company, they want to have fun and if it means treating me to a Mai Tai, they are all too happy to do so. They can’t quite figure out how a girl like me who is quite content eating fancy hot dogs and drinking beer and is not high-maintenance keeps being treated like no-maintenance? I’m not a snob. Not expecting fancy dinners out. I just want a guy to offer to buy me a cappuccino or a gelato. Seriously.

    Just my reoccurring experiences. And frankly, I’m done with being the one always to pay. DONE! I’m not that girl but boy howdy have I been made to finally be discerning.

    And yes, there’s been marked improvement with the men I’ve dated since the last cheap ass mofo. I don’t really enjoy being such a hard ass but I can’t argue that the quality of the men have 100% improved so there’s something to this whole cheap EUM/AC thing.

    A man puts his time and money where his heart is. I think that’s true. If he doesn’t have much, he strives to do more and goes out of his way to do what he can with what little he’s got. If he’s too happy to let you whip out your wallet ALL the time then he’s a mooch and probably means the woman paying no good.

    I’m listing my warning signs of a cheap ass AC. I’ve experienced all of these. Take from it what you will and proceed with caution.

    1) He’s separated, recently divorced, filed bankruptcy, jobless or his current employment wouldn’t feed a cat. He has had some other setback to curb his finances. (Not necessarily a cheap ass. Suck it and see but pay attention if suddenly the shift of paying falls on you. It usually stays there.)

    2) Doesn’t have his own place. (He can rent, have roommates but he needs to have his mail sent to an actual address he resides in)

    3) Doesn’t have a car or other means of reliable transportation. (Been there twice. You are the chauffeur. Doesn’t throw in gas money. Also doesn’t mind you picking him up at HIS convenience)

    4) He has children. (Okay…might take some flak for this but bear with me…be prepared to accept if said kids are young that a chunk of his $ goes and SHOULD go to the kid(s). This may infringe on future plans and investments. What if he loses his job for example? If you’re married, his allotment comes out of your paycheck one way or the other. Ask sooner than later if you can live with that. My friend is currently divorcing her husband because she paid for EVERYTHING to do with his child from a previous marriage for 10 years and received nothing but headaches, heartache and the kid (now teenager) is none the wiser and thinks she’s the bad guy. I mean really. Also, be prepared to sacrifice for his other child(ren) if they need something and you would like something but have to make a choice. A good man will find a way to negotiate. A loser will shrug and say, “Sucks to be you.” Can you live with that?)

    5) He never takes you out on real dates. (By this, he never offers [even in the wooing stage] to take you out to dinner, movies, festivals, whatever your thing is if $ is involved. He’s very happy to offer you to a lovely stroll around the neighborhood or other free activities all the time but if it costs him $10, he’d rather stay home and watch a DVD.) More settled couples may prefer this. That’s something totally different.

    6) Mr. 50/50. He splits everything down to the absolute penny.

    7) Mr. Disappearing Act or Mr. Hands in Pockets. (You order XYZ and he suddenly runs to the bathroom or his wallet is in his car in Siberia, or he actually defiantly sticks his hands into his pockets and looks at you like…well…even though you’ve been paying and a little throw back would be simply good manners.)

    8) Mr. ‘I’ll get you the next time.’ Probably won’t be a next time so just kiss that $ good-bye.

    9) Mr. Money Shouldn’t Be an Issue’ True dat because it’s never his money that is an issue but yours.

    10) Mr. Priority. When whatever it is costs $ that he likes or is wont to do, you might, have him come through or dutch it. When you want to do something that costs a bit, you pay your way and his way.

    11) Your Idea. (Kinda goes with the above but I’ve seen this slick game played whereby if you suggest “Gee, it’d be nice to do XYZ [a movie, a gelato, a coffee — seriously, just a coffee), then because you suggested whatever it’s implied you’re paying. Now I will go along with this halfway but what these ACs then manage is never to suggest anything that you might enjoy. Ever. Their motto is ‘Keep them mean, keen and pulling out the green.’

    12) A borrower and lender don’t be. If you’re not even invested 6mos to a year, I don’t care what the situation is DO NOT BORROW OR LEND $. Go hit up everyone else but not the new love interest. It’s bad form. It sends red flags either way. If he’s controlling, ladies, and you “borrow” money you are borrowing trouble and a feeling of indebtedness. Don’t do it! If he has to borrow $ from you then he’s tapped everyone else or is looking for a Sugar Mama. Skip the sweets.

    13) He cooks. This really is getting overly used, abused and is insulting to a grownup woman. If by cooking, he is going the extra mile, lighting candles, soft music and the like, without you washing the dishes or cleaning up…fine. He better be dishing up something special too. If he’s just sharing whatever meal he would’ve made regardless and plopping you both down in front of the TV a few short feet from the bedroom this is dating on the cheap. If you’re cool with this some of the time, great, just watch out that it doesn’t become the all-encompassing ritual. Once it does, kiss seeing other than your respective domiciles good-bye (this is a very red flag in the very beginning).

    14) He already has had women support him in the past be it an ex-wife or a live-in gf. Take note. You’re probably next.

    15) He comes into your home and evaluates your assets. He doesn’t take an interest in anything personal or unusual but on what kind of TV or other possible high value items you own.

    16) He gives you a bouquet of roses (flowers, candies, whatever) and only lets you take one home. Not sure WTF that is but it is withholding and passive aggressive. He can brag or defend himself to all his friends that he got you roses but if they are at his place and he’s sending you a photo of them in bloom on his iPhone…um…that’s just weird.

    I have suffered ALL of these and more but these are the ones that kept coming up repeatedly so there’s a commonality.

    The worst one was the smallest but most indicative slight. Not sure what to call it so forgive my editorial. I was seeing this guy for a couple of months. He was cheap (see above). We had been out all day walking around an outdoor mall. It was July. Hot day. We had been holding hands when suddenly he took off like a rocket and said something to the effect, “I’m thirsty. I’m gonna get some…jibber jab as he was already running (I do mean full sprint) away from me. I stood there, confused but okay. I waited. After a few minutes he comes strolling back slurping a large sized lemonade. Slurping. A contented expression on his beatific face. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he didn’t get two (one for me, one for him). It didn’t occur to him that we had been together all day and if he were thirsty I might be too? He walks up and I assume, well, he got the big one for us to share. Nope. Takes my hand and we proceed to walk with him slurping this shit down. I keep telling myself it’s just a little thing. Don’t make a big deal out of it after all I didn’t say anything (not that he hmmm…gave me much chance without screaming across the park). We got into a trolley, sat down and I proceeded to stare at him in wonder. At what point would he offer me some of his lemonade? Finally, I said “You know, I’m kinda of thirsty too. You think I could have some of that?” He looked at me like I was asking for his liver. He handed it over and said, “You can have a sip.” I thought as I took my sip, “Surely he doesn’t really mean that.” Oh no, he did. He snatched that drink out of my hand and slurped that whole thing down as if he were on fire. I tried to get past it. I tried to not care. Such a small thing I told myself. But I actually cried later that night because that’s the point. It’s such a small gesture, a small consideration and when there’s not even that…what do you possibly have? This from a man that claimed to have loved me. Love?

    I broke it off for several reasons, but I think that was the singular moment of clarity for me. I told him how his behavior made me feel and he admitted that he just didn’t think about getting me one or sharing what he had with me. We had been together a few months. I said, “That’s the problem. Right there. In the lemonade (not nutshell). You never think about me on even the tiniest of levels how can I ever trust or expect you to consider me and my feelings when it’s something significant?” To that he had no reply and is still known among my friends as “The Lemonade Man.” It still hurts all these years later because I know what I did was right, but it is laughable too and yet so telling about our future.

    That’s what my chief complaint about these moochy men ultimately comes down to because it isn’t spend X amount or I won’t be satisfied. It’s showing effort and care, consideration I afford my friends that I would like to believe a bedfellow or a lover could at least show me the same basic courtesy. Sadly, they’d rather have their 300 + cable (because soccer is so important) and their fancy gizmos and everything else but brother, can you lend me a lemonade. Sorry, they’re all tapped out on lemons.

    Squeeze in this case, not flush.

    • paolo says:

      mrwriter..you leave mayhem where ever you go lol

      • MRWriter says:

        LOL? I guess. Not sure how to take your comment. In the best possible light…you’re damn right I do LEAVE mayhem…I don’t stick around for crazy-making behavior or gaslighting.

        What I long for now is not to endure any more “mayhem.” Granted, I have a treasure trove of pretty spectacularly funny stories but alone in my memory recall, I’m not laughing. Superficially, they are ridiculous but the truth in the jest is my hurt.

        I would rather have less “funny” anecdotes about the bizarro world of EUM/AC men and more non-salacious tidbits that are testaments to general care, respect, compassion and reciprocal treatment.

        That day cannot come soon enough! LOL

        • Mymble says:

          MRwriter
          I was not amused by the lemonade story; I felt for you the sadness, weariness and disappointment of that moment; I recognise the feeling.
          The red roses too, just awful. How the hell did he explain that to himself? What part of the verb “to give” did he not understand?

        • lizzp says:

          Hello mrWriter, Likewise, the lemonade story made me feel sad. It’s just so sad – how someone can be so clueless and careless. Can I ask you if you consider/ed Mr ex Lemonade as intelligent in general – not necessarily only thinking of so called ‘emotional’ intelligence? I just get this feeling from the way you describe the incident and how it made you feel, you know that sort of dumbfounded feeling (or at least that’s the way I read you as having felt, “I stared at him in wonder’ – wonderment/dumbfoundedness),that there really didn’t appear to be any sense of empathy in him, at least at that point in time (ie you may be thirsty, what he is doing might appear selfish to others). But also you say when you raised it that he just couldn’t explain why etc. You don’t really describe him as feeling entitled? – anyway that’s the way I read it. Perhaps he was a bit on the autistic side? Don’t know, but I agree that it’s just so sad and it’s also really pretty goddamn odd given his reactions to you when you raised it.

          Thank you for the posts. They are a great read.

          p.s. I get it, how humour covers the pain. The legacy of amusing anecdotes doesn’t compensate.

      • lizzp says:

        I don’t get what this comment is meant to convey either.

  21. MRWriter says:

    I have another comment (not about money) but about choices that I think relates to this article.

    Hihgly recommeneded read taken from Natalie’s: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/choices-weve-all-got-to-make-them-so-why-give-you-a-hard-time-for-not-living-a-fantasy/

    REPOST from April 30, 2013
    Like Jule, your experience is eerily similar to mine HAD I stayed. This was the future that I was signing on board with and I knew it but I kept hoping against hope initially. I gave “benefits of the doubt,” I justified, rationalized but in the end, he showed all these behaviors within the first 4 months–how much worse would it have been had I stayed?

    We too had a lot in common. But his selfishness, lack of interest in me, disconnected sex, victim mentality (his ex was a ‘psycho’…uh-huh), stinginess and passive aggressive actions kept unfolding in the discovery phase. I discovered who he was and while I was deeply disappointed and sad at the realization, I knew I had to make a decision that I could live with.

    I made a choice to leave the relationshit and accept the aftermath. It is very hard to unattach and not go over our decision a thousand times. If we truly care about the other person, have fantasized, see the potential and invest a healthy amount of love, sex, time and money, we don’t want it to have been in vain. We cleave out of hope, desire, or even desperation.

    Doing what’s right for you is right, being alone is simply a byproduct. I remind myself that had I stayed for another day, that’s just one more day I wouldn’t have been with someone who had my best interests at heart…one more day of giving and receiving with little in return…one more day of potentially not meeting someone who can treat me with care, respect, compassion and healthy intimacy. One more day adds up if you don’t take in account the days in front of you or your future self.

    It got to the point where I wasn’t willing to sacrifice one more day let alone my future by being with someone who wouldn’t enhance my life but detract. I want more for my life than that and I want more from a potential life partner than crumbs.

    Our lives are a gift and who we share out lives with says more about how we value ourselves than it does about the person who accepts it with entitlement.

    The choices I make today impact my tomorrows. Who I choose to stay with, can effect my future. By staying with someone who is undeserving of my present, I am actually limiting myself.

    I have no idea what my future holds. I do know that what you described above would’ve been my future. I see that as counterproductive to success and joy. Being alone means I am in charge of my life and who I want to share my life with and who I don’t. It means being free, it means options and possibility.

    It means I can go it alone and be responsible for the good and bad rather than be with someone whose just plain bad for me.

    Whenever I reflect over my choices and making a decision, I talk to myself (out loud) as if I were talking to my future self. I ask the older, wiser impression of my self what she would have me do as if talking to a friend. It sounds weird but in those discussions I often find my future self (someone I project strength, confidence, wisdom and success–the someone I am aiming to be in essence) basically telling me that who she is cannot exist if I continue down my current path. She will not exist because I will have sold her short in the now. I like this self I’m trying to reach. I want her to have the life she deserves in a way that I can’t always see for myself in the now. I’m more protective of her than of me sometimes.

    Hard to explain but I guess what helps me make life-altering decisions is picturing myself near the end and who I want be and I look at choices and choose the one that I think best reflects that aim and how to get to that place within myself. Oddly enough, the choice actually becomes pretty clear, even if it is still painful.

    I’m glad you chose yourself and I think at some point your future self will agree and be thankful too.

  22. Kriss says:

    I had a lasting fall-out with a friend because she wanted me to apologise for upsetting her… by telling her how much her behaviour had upset me. She passed on some personal information to someone else at a particularly sensitive time, effectively interfering in my private life. It meant that I lost trust in her, wondered what else she’d made personal judgements about the very personal things I had told her over the years, and passed on or not according to how she felt. She wouldn’t meet me to discuss it and when I told her by email she apologised then got angry because I didn’t apologise to her for hurting her feelings by telling her that.

    I sympathise in a way, because she is a highly critical perfectionist and it hurts to accept you have done something wrong (or to feel you should say you have, even if you don’t mean it!). I didn’t apologise, and that was the end of our friendship.

    I do sometimes wonder whether it was immature not to try harder to reconcile with her, and it’s a good reminder that that impulse is at least partly down to people-pleasing and hating the idea that someone doesn’t like me.

    • Allison says:

      Kriss,

      You did the right thing! There is no reason to apologize to someone for telling them the truth, especially when she broke your trust.

      Three important reasons this woman is not a friend:

      You cannot trust her
      The relationship is not one based on respect
      She is incapable of accepting responsibility

      Good riddance. Please don’t settle for people who are not your friends.

  23. Valerie says:

    waving hi to you Nat all the way from Africa. You will not imagine the impact your write-ups have on my life and everything in between. Ever heard of human angels? I cannot thank the gods enough for bringing you unto my path.

    Keep it up..love

  24. ellie says:

    See i am a conflict avoider. I will be in situations where i feel so wrong footed and hurt or upset by someone taking advantage of me and I will be terrified of saying anything for fear of upsetting them.

    Most recent situation has gone like this- a male friend has been engaged for a number of years. He has children with his fiancee which is the main reason they are still together as they live very seperate lives and as she is 14 years older than him they have very little in common. Well according to him anyway. As time has gone on he has become more and more unhappy. Me, as his friend became his confidant, ie the person he moaned and whinged to about how he wanted to leave her because he was so unhappy. A job opportunity came up for him which would involve moving abroad and he saw this as his get out clause. I was the only person he talked about this to and there came a point were suddenly i was the most important thing in his life- he spoke to me constantly, always wanting to see me and expressing his frustration when he was at home with “her” and couldnt see me. I have been through an awful time with an ex and i am slowly (with the help of this amazing website) trying to figure myself out. I am self aware enough to know i lack boundaries as a result of zero self esteem. So instead of telling him to man up and sort his life out, i was always sympathetic and would listen to him even at times when i found it really feckin boring. It was becoming quite obvious he was starting to depend on me alot- he spoke to me all day every day- i felt he was almost sub conciously detaching himself from his family life at home and attaching himself to me to make leaving her easier.
    He was also making it obvious he wanted more than friendship with me. I resisted and resisted- even though as someone with no boundaries and self esteem issues i found his attention flattering whilst my friends said he was becoming obsessed- he would show up all the time when i went for lunch with friends during the work day claiming he just wanted to see me for 5 minutes. My ever so sensible head would say to me”ellie dont get involved this situation is fecked up”, but my heart would be thinking oh poor guy, trapped in a relationship, he is so unhappy yada yada- is this how us ladies become the OW?? because we are too soft hearted? And i wouldnt want to anger him or upset him by saying well listen buddy, if you are not happy, if you feel the things for me you say you do, then why wont you man up and leave? because that would be too much like causing conflict and when i think conflict, im running the other direction because i cant handle the thought of annoying or upsetting people.
    The situation came to a head last week- he and i went out with our group of mutual friends for drinks. And he was telling me he had a hotel room so he didnt have to go home, would i come with, etc. I was not drunk i was sober and said to myself “walk away now.” So i made my excuses and left and he ran after me and in a very OTT hollywood style moment in the middle of a busy street he told me how he felt about me, how its only been me, he thinks of me 24 hours a day and when he thought of going abroad for his new job he wanted me to come with him etc. And i being a big soft hearted fool was completely bowled over by this and agreed to have a drink with him in his hotel bar and well no one needs to be a genius to work out what ended up happening. So last week i became an OW albeit very temporarily as over the weekend his fiancee found texts between us and mr “big brave, i am leaving her” became mr “i dont want to know who you are, my family comes first and i never want to speak to you again except between 9 and 5 when we can talk but not when im at home”. In the meantime his charming fiancee has been bombarding my phone with nasty texts and writing on my facebook wall and generally saying im the person who led her blameless man astray. i have not responded to her at all because i dont see the point.
    In my hurt, upset state i decided to man up, speak my mind and tell him that how he has acted is wrong and that now he is letting me take the blame for a situation that whilst i was not the innocent party i wasnt the only person involved. And for my troubles did he apologise or see my point of view? nope, he has told me to leave him alone, to never speak to him again that he loves his fiancee and family and i mean nothing to him. What a frickin mess :-( and i am so sad, firstly for letting myself get pulled into a situaton i recognised as dangerous a long time ago and secondly because i no longer have a friend whom i did enjoy spending time with, who i did become very close to and who i did alot for because i wanted him to be happy. Gah i am such an idiot and a soft hearted one who cant stand up for herself at that :-(

    • lizzp says:

      Ellie, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it’s so good that you recognised your part in this and even though you know it is hard for you that you’re aware that it pays to stand up to what you need and want and your boundaries earlier rather than later(in your case, maybe when he started to really talk your ear off and your natural inclination was to tell him to man the eff up and sort himself out instead of using you as an emotional air bag).

      Having said that, I find it so, so flabber-ghasting (if that is even a word) that there are men out there who behave like this. Boundaries or boundary-less or something in between, I think that in general women ingest and use words in ways very different to men, in a general sense we communicate and rely on words and trust in words with each-other. Men use words, sure, but again in a general sense they are more inclined to make decisions and assess situations and others on the basis of action. I think this is why we really need to heed the action matches words thing when interacting with men, even though it may be counter intuitive(?)to our natures.

      But grown men are not children,know the difference between a lie and the truth and what I say above in no way excuses outright deceptive behaviour. And your guy had no qualms at all about feeding you that bunch of BS on the street, knowing – if not admitting – to himself that it was likely to pierce your defenses. I know you had your part in it. I just want to say, and I’m thinking of a genuinely emotionally healthy friend of mine, that many women would probably have a hard time dealing with that verbal torrent of ‘I-love-yous’ and ‘your-the-one’ BS he spouted (*digression*, do these selfish and self-centred guys digest their lessons on how to pull this stuff off from ‘chick flicks’? – now there’s a good reason NOT to bother cajoling our other-halfs, dates and guy friends into watching that film with us,just take your female pal already!) even while recognising the red flags are a-flying.

      Wow,that guy takes shameless emotional manipulation to a level that…dumbfounds me.

      I know saying all this won’t make much difference to the devastation. Thanks again for sharing.

      • ellie says:

        “I think that in general women ingest and use words in ways very different to men, in a general sense we communicate and rely on words and trust in words with each-other. Men use words, sure, but again in a general sense they are more inclined to make decisions and assess situations and others on the basis of action. I think this is why we really need to heed the action matches words thing when interacting with men, even though it may be counter intuitive(?)to our natures.”

        so frickin true! Oh my gosh thats so perceptive and if most of us are honest with ourselves we have prob held on in situations where we justify things to ourselves by saying “but he said….” whilst knowing full well the guy in question may be saying the right things but he sure as hell isnt acting the right way. And in line with what Natalie has written, we are probably afraid to pull them up on this because we are afraid of upsetting the applecart.

        The thing is I do know this- i work in a very male centric industry with some major fck wits and i hear the BS they spout when trying to get a girl into bed. I should be able to spot one of these assclowns from 100 paces- the guys i work with often comment on how well i handle them and dont give them an inch but always have a quick witty reply for them and keep them in line. But outside of work in my personal relationships my simplistic heart hears flattery and empty words and promises and goes into overdrive thinking this MUST be a good guy because of what he is saying to me. Maybe its because its stuff i would only say to someone important. And i apply this logic to other people, i was brought up to treat others how you want to be treated but i think all us ladies on this website know that no matter how well you treat some people you will see very little in return.

        But the guy in my situation- im not even sure if he was intentionally manipulating me. I do think he is unhappy at home, i do think he wants to leave and i think he got caught up with me to give himself a reason to do so. I know him a long time and he has never cheated before unless he has kept it v quiet from all his friends which would be unlike him. Its common knowledge amongst our group that he is there because he feels its his duty as a father and not out of love for his fiancee. Indeed in this instance he had told his friends that he was leaving her to be with me and they spoke to me about it and said they hoped he would as he has seemed so happy recently because of me. And i hate to say it but i found that all so flattering. Even though i said that i didnt want him to leave her for me and truely i hadnt even considered a future with him and his baggage in the form of kids, etc, i still found it flattering he was putting me on this pedastal. But whatever his reasons are he has decided he isnt leaving now and im mourning the loss of my friend more than anything. And maybe licking my wounds because I let myself get caught up in a situation i knew wasnt healthy and i knew would hurt people and im not proud of that. Especially because my long term relationhsip broke down when the same thing was done on me. Its maybe a blessing that it was found out so quickly and it wasnt given the chance to develope further- its proven to me i lack the strength to say no even when my head is screaming at me to do so but if it hadnt been found out i could have ended up in a much worse situation.

        • lizzp says:

          Hey Ellie, re the second half of your comment above, I think you may have your rose coloured glasses on about this guy and the situation (understandably I might add, I would too if I was in a situation like this, thankfully I’m not. All this happened, what, a week ago?).

          Your guy’s not the exception to the rule, you’ve seen what the guys at work say, maybe your guy has a different MO and you’ve known him longer. But anyone really COULD behave the way he did, it’s just that most of us choose not to.

          Consider again what you describe happened. Ok there’s all his pushy, over bearing, self centred back ground stuff and you not telling him to eff the eff off when it may have been advisable to but moving to the crux: He declared you were ‘the one’ and lovey stuff on a busy street Hollywood style after spending days pushing while you resisted – sure part of you was screaming warning AND another part of you was overwhelmed by it, the soft hearted, compassionate, loving and caring part- the poor guy, so desperate and un-happpy (I’m not being sarcastic, this is a legitmate way to feel when we are worried about and care about someone, no crime there); you went to bed with him after ‘falling’ for his words of love, his words about how he felt so strongly for you (it’s every woman’s dream – we all want it, all of us I reckon, we just love beautiful words, again no crime there. You also know you would not say such beautiful words to someone unless you really meant it right?);….

          Fast forward a day or two: the situation goes arse up ONLY AFTER fiance busts his (un-sorry) ass; you need to talk with him about what in effing hell is going down(a completely rational, legitimate and reasonable expectation); HE cuts you off, doesn’t offer any sort of explanation, doesn’t offer an apology of any sort, doesn’t own any of his part of it; Instead he, and I quote “told me to leave him alone, to never speak to him again that he loves his fiancee and family and i mean nothing to him.”. I’ll say that the average person will recognise that as highly reprehensible, cowardly, unethical and hurtful behaviour (no, not no crime there, but yes, crime there).

          Ellie, re-read your second paragraph in your second comment above. I could summarise it this way – excusing and justifying him at one extreme, and whipping the crap out of yourself with a cat-of-nine tails at the other. Yes, indeedy you played a part in this but so did he. And like a good old apparently (from what I read elsewhere above) modern ‘dutch’ date these days, when you’re ready you’ll see it as at the very least 50-50, not like you do now where it it’s you 90; him 10. Doesn’t add up.

          Ellie I’m scared that you’ll think I’m being ‘harsh’ and I feel a little ‘harsh’ which is uncomfortable for me to feel, but in the spirit of Nat’s post here I simply can’t read that second paragraph and just say nothing. It’s just so much harder for us when we relentlessly whip ourselves through taking on every single iota of responsibility as if the man is an effing two year old.

          I’m remembering a funny comment somewhere on BR where the writer said she was no longer using the term EU but was switching to ER which signified “Emotionally Retarded”. In the context and with he tone it was effing hilarious…however in your situation I wouldn’t want to use that term to describe your guy because (and I know it’s un PC- truly no offence intended) a ‘retard’ was once a term used to describe what we now refer to as ‘intellectually\emotionally disabled’ (or wait, maybe it’s ‘special needs’?). Anyway the point is, this guy is a grown adult man, he’s NOT a retard\intellectually disabled or brain damaged and believe it or not his ‘needs’ are no more ‘special’ than yours or, for that matter, anyone else’s.

          • lizzp says:

            Ellie, also I agree with Allison. When you’re ready to look through the right lens you will realise that this man was not your ‘friend’ or, in your platonic relationship, ever ‘being’ your ‘friend’. He was the guy who used you as an emotional air bag, and you were the woman that allowed it BUT you did the best you could at the time (and Ellie, you saw that and really did want to act on it, and you RESISTED. I salute you for putting up a good fight with yourself. Even though you ‘lost’ this time, give yourself a pat on the back for having the spunk to put up that fight-see your first post). Imagine the day when you no longer think of him as “lost friend”. I wonder what replacement terms you might use?…W**nker, User-Loser, Pig, Just-Plain-Fucking-Pathetic, Eff-Head-Who_Makes_Me-Want-To-Gag? …wait a tick…those are terms that describe how I see him! You’ll have your own(probably more colourful)when the time comes.

        • lizzp says:

          In my big reply/response to you Ellie, where I say “the second paragraph of your comment” I mean the Third Paragraph, sorry about that.

          • lizzp says:

            jeeesuuus, Ellie disregard that third paragraph rubbish above, when I talk about you whipping yourself whilst justifying him, it’s the last, long paragraph of your response to my first comment. God be damned digital communication!

    • Allison says:

      Ellie,

      This man was not your friend, and used you terribly- in many ways.
      He sounds draining, selfish and boring, it must have been exhausting to listen to all that crap all the time. Big user!

      Please see him for who he is: A creep!

      • Allison says:

        One more thing. Don’t you find it suspicious that she found out so quickly, and had been checking his phone? Most people do not check their partners phones, unless there is reason. Ellie, it sounds like this guy has been cheating for a long time.

        • Linden says:

          Exactly. And what does it mean when a man has been with the same woman for years, they have children together, and they have been engaged for years but never gotten married? It all adds up to EU.

          • ellie says:

            Ladies thank you for taking the time to read about my situation and post your thoughts here- i really do appreciate it. And Lizziep you have in no way been harsh to me- i think the conversations i have with myself about the situation and the self berating i am currently doing is far harsher!

            I dont want in anyway want to justify his actions. He has a fiancee, kids of his own with her and is step father to hers from her first marriage aswell. And he has spent the past few months deceiving all of them by chasing me. But i may need to explain more. Until 8 months ago i was in a very serious long term relationship with a complete sociopath. If there was an award for Emotional “retard” of the year he would win it. Every year at that. And yet to meet him he was charming, personable and sucked everyone in to believing he is an all round great guy. I really saw the worst of human behaviours in my relationship with him and leaving him was the hardest thing i have ever done but i had to for my own sanity and personal safety. B (the engaged guy) was a great friend to me through the break up and in the months afterwards. At no point did he make any moves on me he was just a shoulder to cry on and someone who made sure i went out with our group of friends and didnt stay at home crying. Hence when he was having problems i felt i should return the favour. And i think he came to rely on me and maybe confused these feelings with something else and thought he was falling in love with me. When i realised this initially i asked him to back off as i didnt want anyone getting hurt and he did respect my request. However with mutual friends we inevitably ended up speaking again and it was business as usual- talking all day everyday and seeing each other either alone or in our group of friends. Just to note his fiancee is not part of our group of friends- she is 14 years older than both him and i and finds us all “immature”. All this time he did say he was falling for me and i said no thank you, i dont need this situation. And he would apologise but i suppose he never really backed off because he said he valued too much as a friend. The day after we slept together for the one and only time, he told me it had made his mind up, he was leaving her because he wanted to be free for a relationship with me. I told him quite clearly that he has been with her since he was 18 years of age,he has not been single for 10 years so he needs to go see some of life and that i didnt want him to go from her to me. He said he completely understood but would hope i would at least let him take me on dates, etc. We spoke Sunday morning then by sunday night his fiancee had found texts on his phone and the proverbial poop hit the fan. The reason she was looking at his phone was that he has been very distant over the last few months and she was suspicious there was someone else. And i suppose she was right as i was the cuckoo in the nest to a point even if nothing had happened i was still becoming more of a focus in his life than his fiancee and family which was not fair. So she found the texts and called me and left me voicemails and sent me messages- none asking to hear what happened but all to call me names etc etc. And Monday he called me and spoke to me and apologised for what happened, said that he didnt feel he could leave her because she was hysterical, the kids knew something was going on and were very upset and he felt such guilt at putting them through this. He asked to see me on monday, he hugged me, apologised again and said he wanted to stay friends and he never wanted to hurt me. I was upset- maybe not so much about me and him but more that he had a chance to tell her that sorry im not happy, i want to leave and he lost all backbone and didnt because she cried and begged him not to leave and then had a panic attack. Tuesday we spoke briefly and thats when he completely changed into someone i dont recognise and he told me to leave him alone, that he loves his fiancee, etc, etc and she has forbidden him to ever speak to me or see me again. And you know what, i cried Tuesday about that and i have spent this week missing him and our closeness. BUT its out of my control. I have learned enough about myself to realise i am only able to control myself and my own actions. And whilst i want to talk to him and shake him by the shoulders and say “what about all the things you said you wanted for yourself? all the things she stops you from doing with your life?” i have to accept he will make his own choices and what i say makes no difference at all. Our mutual friends have also said to him “what are you doing?”. but at the moment his mind is made up, he is staying put and i can only imagine will get even unhappier. She has given him an ultimatium that he must marry her asap. I only hope that he is happy.

            And maybe to make this all relevant to Natalies original post i need to realise that i do need to stand up for myself. But that i need to stand up for myself to myself if that makes sense? My head told me months ago that it wasnt right he was starting to have very obvious feelings for me and i needed to run a mile. But my heart trampled all over my head and led me into a situation where i got hurt and techincally used and abused. Its something that happens all the time. And if i cant even respect myself enough to stand up to my soft heart and face up to sometimes hard or hurtful decisions then how can i expect to stand up to other people who want to use and abuse me when i treat myself so badly?

            • lizzp says:

              Ellie, this info puts a different light on your situation and, if you haven’t already done this, you should read my responses with a critical eye bearing in mind the fuller picture.

              • ellie says:

                “Ellie, also I agree with Allison. When you’re ready to look through the right lens you will realise that this man was not your ‘friend’ or, in your platonic relationship, ever ‘being’ your ‘friend’. He was the guy who used you as an emotional air bag, and you were the woman that allowed it BUT you did the best you could at the time (and Ellie, you saw that and really did want to act on it, and you RESISTED. I salute you for putting up a good fight with yourself. Even though you ‘lost’ this time, give yourself a pat on the back for having the spunk to put up that fight-see your first post). Imagine the day when you no longer think of him as “lost friend”. I wonder what replacement terms you might use?…W**nker, User-Loser, Pig, Just-Plain-Fucking-Pathetic, Eff-Head-Who_Makes_Me-Want-To-Gag? …wait a tick…those are terms that describe how I see him! You’ll have your own(probably more colourful)when the time comes.”

                ah i missed this reply of yours lizziep. I agree- when i read how it played out i realise he was not my friend in the past few months when he was pushing for more from me. He was using me to dump his problems on and to make him feel better. A true friend doesnt do this. And thank you for the salutation- i did try to resist for a very long time which is impressive for me as i am a very weak minded individual at times.

                • ellie says:

                  oh my last long reply- it still seems like im trying to justify his actions. Which i cant on any level.He was a friend to me in the past yes. But as an attached man with a family he shouldnt have been chasing after me. and if he respected me he would have taken care of his own business before trying to involve me in it, knowing that it would only be more hurtful for all involved when the inevitable fall out happened. I cant deny that if i had given him the chance over the past few months he would have gone to bed with me and it was only me saying no that stopped that. That isnt a friendship. So whilst i dont think he is the emotional manipulator that my ex was he is still a selfish person who puts himself first with no respect for anyone.

                • lizzp says:

                  Ellie, Since I wrote that comment that you cite above, you’ve filled us in about the guy etc, and added some of his actions that you previously omitted etc. In the light of that I no longer feel so intensely angry at your guy and wouldn’t refer to him with the terms I used ie Plain-fucking- pathetic, etc.

              • lizzp says:

                p.s.Ellie, based on the additional info you give about yourself and how you’re feeling at the moment, particularly the way you present your thoughts on his “unhappy relationship”, there are an abundance of comments and posts in Nat’s blog about aspiring to and being the OW. The bottom line? He is engaged and in a committed relationship with his Fiance, NOT with you. His relationship is not your business, he is in contract with someone else and he is ‘off the market’.

                • ellie says:

                  oh crikey i hope i havent portrayed that i want to be the OW in his relationship? i definitely dont. My thoughts on his unhappy relationship only come from what he has said. Of course there are 2 sides to every story- my ex told his OW he wasnt happy with me whilst we were planning our wedding. I suppose i would have wanted to believe he wasnt telling me lies because that taints the entire friendship we had and he was a good friend to me back when i needed him to be. I never intended us to be anything other than friends until he wore down my defences. As i have previously said i am glad that this situation wasnt allowed to develop any further- it was taking me down a road i had fought hard to avoid. I really didnt mean to portray me as a wannabe home wrecker- the one occasion last week made me feel sick with guilt.

                  • lizzp says:

                    Ellie, I should have been clearer in my OW comment and I can see why you’ve responded the way you did. My comment was off topic too. I am truly sorry for confusing you. And you are correct, yes, I was implying that I thought your negative references (even though you were repeating the things he tells you)re fiance might indicate, after cutting to the chase I guess, the beginnings of an OW mind-shift. I do want to add that I wasn’t making a moral/ethical ‘judgment’ about you or any one else being/having been/wanting to be/thinking about being an OW. And of course, I recognise the MM’s part in OW scenarios.

                    What I should have said was I wondered about your sometimes emphasis on ‘faults’,if you like, of fiance – holding him back/being older/, hysterics etc. Yes, we know these things from what he tells us (it’s a very common behaviour of the MM), they may be accurate or not etc, etc blah, blah, but that isn’t really the point so much as we ask why we are mulling over (if indeed we are) *what he says about her*. Again, the OW posts etc explore all of this (the bizzo about the ‘bottom line’ is a paraphrase of a mantra (?) that many of the OWs and ex OWS use on this site as a reminder of why they aint in eff gonna go there again or as a support to help them get the eff out of there if their stuck).

                    Having said all that, Ellie I see now that I jumped the gun with my comment and it was misplaced. If my reply clears things up for you, I think we’d do best to move on from this because I feel like I’m going off topic.

                  • Mymble says:

                    Ellie
                    I was an OW and the MM told me many many things about his wife, their relationship and his intentions with regard to leaving her. I won’t repeat the things he said but I later found out that some were downright lies and others were questionable at best. Attached men will demonise their partners to justify to themselves and to the OW their shitty behaviour.
                    When you were urging him to leave his fiancée, did you give any thought to how that might hurt her and their children?
                    It is not always a picnic being a parent of young kids, and yes it does “stop you doing things” but that’s the reality and the responsibility of bringing a baby into the world. And BTW I’m not surprised she was hysterical. Why on earth would she want to hear your side, after all she knows you are not her friend.
                    This is very harsh but this is the reality – your friendship wasn’t any kind of friendship and never will be. He’ll be back for more of whatever he can get from you, once the fuss dies down, please don’t get drawn in again- NC him, save yourself and everyone else the pain.

            • lizzp says:

              I had some doubts about posting this owing to this being cyber space, not ‘real life’.

              Ellie, I’m referring exclusively to your two separate comments below.

              Comment 1:(yesterday?)
              “In my hurt, upset state i decided to man up, speak my mind and tell him that how he has acted is wrong and that now he is letting me take the blame for a situation that whilst i was not the innocent party i wasnt the only person involved. And for my troubles did he apologise or see my point of view? nope, he has told me to leave him alone, to never speak to him again that he loves his fiancee and family and i mean nothing to him.”

              vs. Comment 2.(today)
              “And Monday he called me and spoke to me and apologised for what happened, said that he didnt feel he could leave her because she was hysterical, the kids knew something was going on and were very upset and he felt such guilt at putting them through this. He asked to see me on monday, he hugged me, apologised again and said he wanted to stay friends and he never wanted to hurt me. I was upset- maybe not so much about me and him but more that he had a chance to tell her that sorry im not happy, i want to leave and he lost all backbone and didnt because she cried and begged him not to leave and then had a panic attack.”

              Ellie, first up, when I initially read No. 2 (above) I felt a very distinct sense of confusion. I quickly realised why and that is past. Second, I had some moments of WTF?, then feeling angry. That also passed after a short time. Third, I want to be as clear as I can about the reasons I am raising this.

              There are two and they are connected. The first is that you omitted information in your initial post and initial response which when slotted in, makes your first post appear as a deliberate misrepresentation (whether that was your intention or not). I’m referring to the omitted info from comment 1 above. I am left wondering if I responded to a misrepresentation.

              The second reason stems from the first. You write:
              “I dont want in anyway want to justify his actions….but I may need to explain more…” then go on to ‘ezplain’ (comment 2). Ellie, when I read that you consider that you ‘may’ need to explain more, it makes me think that you haven’t even thought about how omitting the information that you did in your initial post could reasonably be perceived by others as a deliberate misrepresentation and how that could potentially make readers feel. If we turn the spot light on the use of words by men and how that affect us, our trust, etc, we need to do the same with ourselves. None of that is easy, we are all prone to mistakes, set backs, denial etc etc.

              • ellie says:

                Lizziep i completely see your point. and believe me when i say i didnt say anything to mislead anyone on purpose. I feel like i have made things over complicated by explaining things but i omitted information in my very first post as it didnt seem initially relevant to Natalies posting. However there is no such thing as a half story and I realised that the man in question was maybe being portrayed more harshly than he deserved to be in that whilst he isnt completely blameless in all of this i dont want to point the finger at him as it wasnt my intention when i posted. i think i originally wanted to make the point that if i had stood up to him from the beginning none of this sorry mess would have happened. what i need to point out is that when he was apologising to me on the Monday i did not say a word in return except to express sympathy that he was now in trouble at home and it was partially my fault. It was then he said we could still be friends as long as i didnt attempt to speak to him after 5pm. Overnight i thought about this and realised that i had yet to say one word to him to point out how any of his behaviour was unacceptable. And that asking me to be a friend on his terms just showed what he really thought of me. So i decided to stand up for myself and point out that it was unfair his finacee was blaming me solely, that he should ask her to leave me alone, that maybe the situation would have turned out different if he had respected earlier requests to leave me alone isntead of persuing it and that i didnt want to be his friend if it was all on his terms and was a secret. This is when he turned quite nasty and said what i posted about originally. I think linking it to Natalies posting i was pointing out that i did try to stand up for myself finally even if it did back fire. Apologies to anyone who felt they were mislead or i was looking for undeserved sympathy- its taken a number of very long posts to put the full story across- i think if i had put it all in my first posting it would have bored you all to tears!

                • lizzp says:

                  Ellie, thanks for responding and addressing my concern. I can see the whats and whys. Thanks again Ellie.

                  • lizzp says:

                    Sorry Ellie, there is actually just one thing I want to repeat and re-emphasise as I feel you *may* have lost sight of it at times in your long reply. My concern was ONLY in relation to the two paragraphs I cite.

                    Having said that, I can see the whats and whys of what occurred and you’ve answered my concern. Thanks again Ellie.

            • Allison says:

              Elie,

              The guy is a cheat, coward, user and liar.

              If he is so unhappy, he should get counseling or get out- not chase his friends for sex and counseling.

              He is not doing his kids or fiancee any favors by sticking around, and pursuing other women. He will repeat this behavior over and over. It’s who he is: an asshole.

  25. Oliver says:

    I have followed the blog for months now and it has changed my whole perspective towards dating.

    Respect is such a subtle emotion to understand. If it is even classed as an emotion. I agree that respect doesn’t always just mean you need to agree with your partner. It goes so much deeper than that. I find more respect comes from speaking your mind.. In a respectful way of course.

  26. noquay says:

    MRWriter
    Yep, el cheapos seem to abound these days. You are obviously a good deal younger than I but I encounter these same things and I am in my 50s! I think it was Runnergirl or Revolution that first mentioned the “semiretired” phenomenon which at least here means “deadbeat”. I understandthatare in a Recession, that our nation may never truly recover. However, if one cannot maintain a vehicle in a region without public transit, is overwhelmed by the cost of their offspring, is living with roomies, cannot afford to take a woman out, then why in Hades are you dating?! Free sex? Free meals? Upgrading your living situation? Understand that I have seen these phenomena in men in their 50s and 60s. Most of them do cook which is good because I hate cooking; however, they fail to understand the importance of cleaning, doing laundry, getting firewood in, feeding the critters, home maintenance. None of those things cost them money. In some circles, women are not only expected to bring home the bacon, raise HIS kids, but also do everything else as well. Reason number 543 why I have limited my dating to older dudes who have proven they are financially on solid ground AND have a work ethic.

    • Tracy says:

      I think most of them do the “I’ll cook for you” meal as a way to get you to their house. I think cheapness is the second part.

      In my six years of off and on on-line dating, I came across many of the ‘semi-retired’. They lost their jobs in 2008 or thereabout and can’t find anything else. Wait, that’s not true, they often refuse to take a job they believe is ‘beneath’ them. Most of them were left by their wives who probably couldn’t take their laziness/entitled attitude anymore.

      Sometimes, I found that many of the ‘semi-retired’ didn’t really have great jobs prior to the divorce, and their wives were the main breadwinner in the house. Often, the ex was living a much more affluent life, not because he is paying mucho alimony (as they would like you to believe) but because she is a corporate rockstar or lawyer or something like that.

  27. Sunflower says:

    I’m in a heartbreak situation with a real shit. Today is the day after something happened and I’m fighting back the tears. His poor behavior as of late left me no choice but to say something. I’m glad I called him out on it out of my self respect but of course he didn’t do anything to apologize in any decent manner. In the past, I have been nervous about being too bitchy or high maintenance or naggy but really I was just denying myself the boundaries and the self love to speak up to him. General consideration and respect is all I ever wanted in the first place and I know I deserve it.

    This last round of poor behavior by him says a lot. Well I was stood up by this man-boy who is very careless with me and I’ve had enough. Sure we have had some amazing times and we are physically compatible and there has been some romance, but all of that washes away with the dirty water he pours into it. He has some sordid stuff going on the side he won’t tell me about so he frequently disappears and then comes back with a heat for me and pretends nothing happened or that he didn’t let me down. He stood me up for the last time. I must move on. It’s so hard because I had given him chances before and I let my guard down when he was starting to treat me like he was caring for me. Then bam, he’s gone and acts like I have no feelings. :( It’s been one mess after another with these blokes who lack manners and decency. I wonder why I even bother anymore. I sometimes think I would just be better off single and alone for the rest of my life. :(

    • Allison says:

      Sunflower,

      It’s not all men, but the ones we’re choosing.

      I know that I should have bailed with the first red flag, but chose to ignore, again and again.

      Give yourself some time to heal, and understand what brought you here. There are good guys out there, we simply have to chose them.

  28. Linden says:

    Thanks, Nat. This is what I’m going through right now with my ex. I’m about to open up a can of whoop-ass on him in family court because he wants to have the kids live with him in a sex commune during his custody time. He’s going to put me through all kinds of hell, but all I have to do is just keep coming back and saying “no.”

  29. espresso says:

    Many things were wrong in my marriage and over the years I think I lost my voice or chose to withdraw from the battle because there was no receptivity to what I had to say or what I felt – even though I practiced many of the “rules” of “good” communication, he never did and in the end I wasn’t able to maintain my calmness. He was never “onside” with handling conflict in a constructive way so I did all the work in this regard.

    In my relationship with my ex now over separation and business arrangements I have been able to step back a lot and have been really awestruck at how relentless and multi faceted his strategies were and still are trying to shut me down and out. They consisted of blaming, guilting me out, not listening and “forgetting” ( a BIG one) subtly threatening, attacking me (when do I get MY turn to tell you about what YOU did to me) deflecting me, cajoling me (“is it really TOO much to ask to do this one tiny thing?”) and most of all (what it always ended up as) self pity and playing the victim. (I guess I am just a very bad person). It always ended up being all about him. I know I was confused about this at the beginning- feeling that he was taking on TOO much blame for a small item and I rushed in there to reassure and comfort him about he was not a bad person blah blah blah thus silencing my own voice and needs. HE STILL tries all these strategies and I have to be very careful to stay calm and detached and manage the conversation. Knowing WHAT he is likely to do (so predictable) has helped me a lot in staying focused.
    My mantra these days is, “This doesn’t work for me” and I don’t go into the emotional wrangling. I write things down and send them by email. But he still always wants to make it all about him and how unfair I am to him and how much he TRIES blah blah.

    My point being here that sometimes it IS exhausting, confusing and like being in a war zone to stand up for yourself. I “thought” I was doing it but I do have a bit of compassion for how hard it was for me. I think he learned the helpless, hopeless stance as a child and so his multiple barriers had been constructed long before I came on the scene.

  30. Sanntay says:

    I’m a non-confrontational person, so I haven’t always let someone know that they offended me or hurt my feelings at the moment it happens. Usually I’ll take a moment to fully process what was said or done. In some cases, I will just shut down and limit communication with that individual. It depends on the person and the situation, I guess. Although this may paint me as a grudge holder or overly sensitive, I attended a close friend’s mother’s funeral back in the early 90s. I was really shaken up and after the service I sent flowers to my mother at her workplace with a note to the effect of: ‘I don’t know what I’d do without you.’ Well, she called to thank me for said flowers, we talked for a bit, and before we hung up, she said, “I hope nobody else has to die before I get some flowers again.” WTF? I immediately addressed that comment, asking why she would say such a thing and that it was uncalled for. Nearly ten minutes after the conversation ended, she called me back to apologize, but the damage was already done. To this day, I have never again sent my mother flowers.

    As far as expressing myself in relationships, I have called out a few guys on their behavior and made it known that I did not like what they did or said. They either got defensive or apologized. Needless to say, I’m not involved with any of them anymore.

  31. espresso says:

    To add – acs (romantic partners and friends) do not have any insight on how they stall and block people who raise issues with them – a few weeks ago my ex did not follow through on a committment he made to pick up some financial papers (he had offered to do this). When I suggested we pick the papers up at the bank he said, “Oh I forgot, sorry!” When I expressed my frustration about this his comment was, ” I SAID I was sorry, what do you want me to DO?” I said, “remember.” Then I got a full fledged attack about how I was always criticizing him.
    But just a few days ago he was mentioning how the head of the train company responsible for the horrific Quebec disaster had said to the media, “I SAID I was sorry, what do you want me to say?”
    My ex said he found that statement horrifying. He had NO recollection of having said the exact same thing to me and me getting very upset about it a few weeks earlier. In other words complete amnesia. So big problems there in basic listening, hearing and being empathic. All required if communication is to take place.

  32. Magnolia says:

    Wow, great post that clearly so many of us can relate to!

    A few years ago I showed interest in a dude who reciprocated by asking me to hang out with him in the common area of my college and watch a DVD. Okay, the first time, that was fine; it was like he was coming over to visit. But we barely talked. The second ‘date’?/visit was the same – was he just shy? Was he taking his time? When on the third visit he shuffled over closer to me on the couch to make his move, I was like, whoa: what has transpired between us that you think it’s time to get physical? Have you been “getting to know me” by observing my TV-watching posture? When I made it clear that simply sitting through three separate instances of staring at the idiot-box didn’t grant him entry into my pants, he stopped calling.

    MRWriter, that rose story makes me hoot!

    And as for calling people on shit, I’ve never had a problem with doing that. The thing is, I was so used to trying to talk to people about behaviour that bothered me, and it not making any difference and then BLAMING MYSELF for having not articulated myself properly, that it took a long time to understand how much calling out should actually be going on in a healthy relationship. God, trying to call out my emotionally-absent dad on his absence dominated my youth, then relationships where we talked shit to death became a norm.

    One of my aha moments came when my ex-roommate cried and locked herself in the bathroom after I tried to talk to her about … hmm, was it the passive aggressive lies of omission to me? Or the subtly racist stories of dating a brown guy, or being a white visitor in Africa, that she would tell trying to “empathize” with me about a racialized life in one’s own home country? I don’t remember anymore; there was more than once where I’d sit down to try to talk to her and she turned into the wolf Natalie draws so well above!

    For me, fear of confronting others with what I feel is their bad behaviour hasn’t been the issue. Knowing when the relationship is strong enough and trusting enough that such a confrontation might be effective at producing change has been: I.e. “I told him his staring at other women bothered me and was inappropriate – he still does it – didn’t I make myself clear?” “Why did my boss not appreciate me telling him that his sexism and gossip wasn’t appropriate?”

    Now I get that if someone strikes me as needed multiple “talkings to” then we’re a poor fit and I just need to step back and let them be … somewhere where I’m not.

  33. Peanut says:

    That arrogant man who took it upon himself to be gross and brush his teeth in a communal sink outside the restroom reminds me of my father.

    Growing up with him was hell. He was the smelliest, most inconsiderate and messiest human I have known. And he didn’t give a shit. Still doesn’t. A couple of years ago (I would never get into a car with him these days or any day in the future) I almost vomited from riding in a car with my father who only bathes sporadically because as he said in his own words, “What’s the point?”

    The irony was I was riding in his 60K car. He can afford a $60,000 dollar car but can’t wash his ass!!?? I’d take my ten year old car that rides like an airplane taking off and daily showers over that mans fancy pants luxury car any day. In fact I’d rather be smelly in my car than his anyway. At least it’d make a little more sense. Not really though.

    Some humans are grosser than others. In fact, I am seeing a lot of humans are pretty gross. And I used to date the grossest.

    I guess I was afraid of being left so I reasoned, “Come here you vile man, let me love your gross ass in exchange for you not leaving me.”

    I’m glad I’m single AND unemployed.

  34. Sushi says:

    Espresso,

    It’s definitely not amnesia, it’s the fact that ac’s operate two different sets of rules; one for themselves and one for the rest of the world. It’s plain selfishness. He just frustrates the crap out of you because he can, he knows you, the responsible one will always ‘pick up’ after him. Like a moody teenager, what a tiresome thing to be in. Are you planning on keeping the business together ? When you feel total and complete uninvested indifference towards him it’ll feel like the best holiday of your life. Keep going , think holiday, try to think of him like an annoying client you need to smile at but do what’s best for you anyway. Don’t put your your heart in his drama, it’s a waste.

  35. Sushi says:

    Ellie,

    Allison is right. He is a creep and a weasel.

  36. Selkie says:

    I told a friend once that she wasn’t treating me very well after many episodes of me tolerating her disrespect. Her response, “I’m a sinner, God knows this and he forgives me.” Wow…..what a clever attempt to exempt herself.

    • Allison says:

      Oh yes! I had a few that said, Jesus expects us to forgive unconditionally, but no accountability on their side. Shouldn’t it go both ways!!!! :(

  37. teachable says:

    Mulling this post over. I feel the need to set a boundary with or perhaps even extricate myself frm contact w my mother entirely.

    As previously stated, I was NC w her for some tears prior to.my (maternal) g,mther’s final weeks of life. Now my Mother is phoning me but nothing’s changed. She’s still totally inappropriate in how she relates to me & hurtful (one example is she play’s ‘king baby/the victim’ & I am expected to play the mother role leading to awkward ph conversations where I don’t say much.b.c I reject the ‘game’ & her manipulativeness. another is that she LAVISHES ALL of her attention on my sis, who is in a sick codepnd r.ship w her, & completely neglects me. eg my.mum earns $400+ per wk in disability paymnts & wen UPON BEING ASKED I admitted a while bk I hadn’t had milk or fresh fruit / veggies for mths, b.c I’d been surviving on NO INCOME & still was at the time, she immediately told me tht she couldnt & wouldn’t help. I didn’t even think to ask but WEIRD knowing yr mum is happy enuf so long as SHE’S alright, even if her daughter ie ME is so malnourished, I ended up losing 20 kilos. Seriously? This woman is missing a mothering bone yes? I find zillions of examples like tht just weird!)

    Anyways, I did tell my mother when she last called tht ‘wen she is ready’ I think it might be best if we sat down together w a counsellor to talk a few things through. Of course I was silently, quietly seething. I feel I’ve made a terrible mistake allowing this woman bk into my life. She told me at my g.mo’s care home that ‘she knew tht no matter what our differences I would b there for her in her own final hours.’ I was aghast & dismayed. Why? She’s WRONG.

    I realised today, thinking abt all the abuse & neglect I’ve exp’d at this woman’s hands, all my life, tht I don’t love her. It’s exactly the same as what happened with my now deceased ex AC. I didn’t love him either anymore by the time he died. In fact in his case, I swung between hating him & pittying him.

    So now, what to do abt this mentally ill woman who is so terribly deluded? I thought of writing a letter saying don’t call me, I’ll call you – IF or WHEN I feel the need but I also don’t.want to be cruel.

    She is relating to me like a child though & expecting my praise for things she ought to have done many decades ago (like finally getting counselling, ie I strongly recommended this REPEATEDLY over the past 20 yrs & NOW that she’s fucked me over every which way, over & over & over again, she wants me to be her personal effin cheer squad? What the?)

    I don’t know. I do know I need to get this woman out of my life. I find the inappropriateness of her presence, all be it via ph only (I’m not worth the effort to actually visit in person!), distressing.

  38. Confused at times says:

    Im having second thoughts about marrying my fiancé ….we have had a stop start 3 year relationship mainly due to the stress of merging lives with the step kids, dealing with a court case and a narcissistic and manipulative ex. We are all good if we are on the same page together and are working together as a team ie when he involves me and treats me like an equal partner and not his child or number 4 on the list.

    I do feel excluded when he makes decisions without me, and he has a hard time recognizing (empathising) with my feelings, and wont EVER apologise for doing anything that’s caused an upset between us…it seems to be contextualised that it is me (being the problem)and I need to back off as he is busy with work and has no time to acknowledge my concerns. Please, before you start claiming that I must be high maintenance for him to give me the emotional flick, trust me, I RARELY ask for anything and make sure I pick my times to raise things and Im very careful with what I say or it will upset him.

    But today Im starting to feel like Ive had enough. Long story short, he isn’t the only one who works (Im a FT teacher currently on break) and I think I do an awesome job being a STep mum to his skids despite Bio mum being absent without any thanks or acknowledgement from both of them. Its like he always has to be the hero, the hard worker, the martyr and everyone around him fits in around how he wants things to be (alpha male). Im becoming increasingly aware of how often he disregards my feelings with a one up-manship of his life\issues being way more important than mine. My attempt at trying to talk to him about things tonight (he has been shitty with me for nearly 2 days, sleeping on the couch and not saying goodbye this morning before he went to work as I put one of his towels in with the dog bed)- I didn’t know it was his per se as I explained I thought we were sharing all the towels now that we lived together! I said I was sorry, wanst thinking etc ( I feel for my elderly dog who is cold…Im an animal lover) but he kept going on about how I would hate it if he put one of my towels in with the dog ( I wouldn’t have cared to be honest) then started to criticize how he resents living in a zoo…(he met me having animals and knows I love them so what gives?) I was shot down with ‘Too bad, who cares…I don’t want to discuss it, Im going on and on about it so stop” (I had hardly said anything…he was clearly trying to manipulate the situation so I was the bad person and he wanted to punish me, so end of story.

    I fear for my future with a man who disregards my feelings despite being wonderful in every other way (when he isn’t being “challenged” by me) BTW I have never yelled or been hysterical with him…Im always calm when wanting to discuss things…so why he is angry and why does he prefer to pretend like it didn’t happen, and we go back like before and make mad passionate love like he is the hero and never raise issues to discuss? Its like he doesn’t have any accountability for his behaviour and expects me to just wear it. Any advice? He is obviously stressed and taking it out on me? But gee if I did that to him or even tried to speak to him the way he does to me, he would have been long gone ages ago??? What gives? When I try and discuss things with him he seems to turn it and make me out to be the bad one when it was his bad behavior in the first place that caused the rift….he isn’t always like this…only every now and then….other than that we are good. Is this normal?

    • Keetseel says:

      Oh boy, Confused; I’m right there with you. Correct me if I’m wrong; but it sounds like you’re living with Jeckyll and Hyde, same as me. I’ve been on the fence for several months about breaking up because when things are good they’re wonderful. But when he’s triggered about something (his horrible parents, horrible ex-wife, whatever), he goes into narc/ac/victim/crazy-making mode.

      Three years is a long time to put up with someone who does that to you.

      Confused, try being direct with him when he seems to be in an okay mood; maybe go for a picnic. Give him a heads-up that you want to have a serious talk and see what happens. With me, it took several times trying to raise the issue where he would get defensive that make a real discussion impossible. After we broke up in March then reconnected in June, he started to change. He started talking more candidly about his problems, starting to take responsibility for his behavior (not to the extent I’d like, but anyway going in the right direction).

      Your relationship sounds like a project, where maybe couples therapy wouldn’t be a bad idea. But even if he’s up for it, the benefits could take a while to manifest, and it sounds like you’re already getting to the edge of what you can tolerate.

      I hope you keep writing to BR after you talk to him about what you told us here. I would be interested in comparing notes. Whether you decide to stay and try to get him to work on things, or decide to give him up, I think we have some things in common.

      • Magnolia says:

        Confused and Keetseel, I’m with 2fearce. Sleeping on the couch and freezing you out over a *towel*?

        My mom once ruined an expensive parka with a fur lining of mine by putting it in the wash and I was bitchy to her for a few hours; I remember that and still feel ashamed that I made my mom feel bad over an object especially when she was trying to be kind by washing my parka for me.

        It’s a freaking towel! He can throw it back in the wash and drop a couple drops of disinfectant in there if he’s so worried.

        The kind way to respond would be, oh sweetie, ew, that kind of grosses me out to have my towel washed with the dog bed. Please don’t do that again, kay? And then to thank you for washing his towels in the first place.

        I’m focusing on that behaviour because it’s so clearly manipulative and controlling, but I think the answer to your own question is there in what you’ve written.

        Are you having some kind of good times with him that are more than you’re used to or more than you think you deserve? Because you know, good times with people you love don’t have to be earned by putting up with behaviour that makes you feel devalued.

        • FX says:

          Magnolia, this is spot on! “Are you having some kind of good times with him that are more than you’re used to or more than you think you deserve? Because you know, good times with people you love don’t have to be earned by putting up with behaviour that makes you feel devalued.”

          Ex AC was so amazingly generous, fun, passionate, etc. And, so controlling and devaluing. Per this post, I walked on eggshells and ignored my gut rather than risk losing the “good” parts. I lost myself by trying to live so inauthentically. I’m still processing how I could have sold myself out to the extent I did. I’m also still experiencing cognitive dissonance because I miss feeling so “special” (he was really good at the idealization)and know he is treating his new wife this way. I also know she married a crazy making narcissist and that, one way or another, devaluation accompanies the idealization and I am well rid of him.

          I sold my soul to the devil to hold on way too long… With my BR knowledge, in the future I will speak up and walk as needed. I do not have to “earn” affection and will not allow myself to be “punished” to maintain the status quo.

          • FX says:

            Also, Confused, This dynamic is soul sucking. Get. Out. Now. You will always be on the defensive and jumping through hoops with someone like this.

            I had been away for several weeks and everything was lovey dovey for about a week after I returned until the day before ex AC and I were to leave on a fabulous trip together. I ran out to the bank for 15 minutes and left the radio and lights on. He happened to stop home and called me to read me the riot act. In person, he exploded on me to the point that the next morning I didn’t even know if I was still going on our vacation. Although, we didn’t discuss it again, he felt entitled to treat me with contempt for this horrifying transgression the next day while we traveled. It was a lovely trip in many regards but I was now back on eggshells… You cannot reason with someone who thinks this is logical or acceptable and does not acknowledge the inherent disrespect of this behavior. End of.

      • Marie D says:

        Confused at times and Keetseel,

        This was almost exactly like a relationship I just walked away from. The good times were wonderful – he could be so affectionate, thoughtful and generous. Gifts, sweet text messages, weekend trips, dinners…the whole wine and dine experience! But he could also be so cold, distant and angry. He was always the victim and never able to take responsibility for his behavior. At first, the ex girlfriend, co-workers and friends never did anything right, let him down, were never there for him. Eventually it was me as well.

        Whenever I said something he didn’t agree with or didn’t do something he expected of me (by reading his mind, not being asked mind you), the reaction was so intense (withdrawing for days by ignoring my calls and avoiding face to face contact, blaming me, sending a slew of nasty text messages bringing up my past and negatively comparing me to his ex, ect.) that I felt like I was walking on eggshells. Afraid to say or do anything that would upset him and putting my people pleasing skills on overdrive to show what a great and supportive girlfriend I was.

        I couldn’t reconcile the sweet and generous man to the cold and angry one. It screws with your mind – you start trying to rationalize his response with, “well maybe he is right? I haven’t done enough.” or thinking, “Well, I can’t walk away, I mean things aren’t so bad all the time. There is a lot that is good about him.”

        After the last “argument” that again involved withdrawing from me, text spews, blaming me and avoiding our face to face discussion 3 times until I finally tracked him down to meet, I decided to walk away. Because no matter how good the good times were (and they were great), you cannot build a long term and healthy relationship with someone who cannot communicate with you on a respectful level, empathize with your feelings and acknowledge how their behavior could in some way be responsible for the situation.

        I can say that walking away was a really hard decision. There are some days that are easier than others, and times where all those good times come flooding back. But I feel so much less anxious and stressed as I did when we were together. My therapist said some people think that being single is the worst for your physical health but really it is being in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship.

    • Allison says:

      Confused,

      Honey, why are you defending yourself? It sounds like you have so little voice in this relationship. This man sounds manipulative, passive aggressive and downright emotionally abusive. It sounds miserable.

      Don’t continue to stay in, out of fear of lost investment. Get out now, or you will have a lifetime of misery

    • A says:

      Oh, Confused. I could relate to a lot of what you wrote.

      “I RARELY ask for anything and make sure I pick my times to raise things and Im very careful with what I say or it will upset him.”

      I remember thinking to myself how I was asking for so little with the AC….it’s a red flag. Why can’t you ask for anything? Why do you have to be *so* low maintenance? There’s a big difference between being a demanding person and being a human being with needs and feelings. How is it ok that he’s managed your expectations down and has you worried about expressing any concerns? It’s a relationship, you should not have to be walking on eggshells, worried that if you actually have feelings or wants that he’s going to punish you for it with his anger or silence.

      The double standard of how he can be so incredibly rude to you but would never stand for a fraction of such nonsense from anyone else? Typical of these guys. I remember incidents where the AC became *enraged* over absolutely nothing, yet he would treat me with such disrespect and I was supposed to be fine with it. It’s infuriating. You deserve to be treated much better than this.

      If this man recognized that his behaviour was a problem, wanted to change, was working hard at it and you saw progress, then maybe you would have reason to give him time to prove himself. But I don’t think this type of person often changes, and I really don’t think that just having a talk with him about it will change anything. Someone else has commented on here that AC’s have one set of rules for themselves and another for everyone else. He thinks he’s entitled to act this way-I don’t know that there’s any getting around that.

      • Lara says:

        Brilliant post, A! You’re right — these types NEVER change, and the overwhelming majority of then do NOT WANT to. They don’t see the problem with their behavior. In fact, they blame everyone BUT themselves for ANYTHING. They have double standards. If you have any needs and express those needs or feelings, he will call you needy. Meanwhile, he will demand and expect 10 times more than that, and he of course wouldn’t be needy. If you didn’t have the time to give him the attention he demanded, he would get enraged. If he didn’t reply to your texts for a few days, and simply disappeared off the face of the earth for a few days, and you asked him “what’s going on”, he would accuse you of being needy, of not giving him space, etc. Been there, had that done to me. TOO MANY TIMES. Once should’ve been more than enough for me to listen to my GUT FEELING and get the FUCK out of that “relationship” but I chose to stay. STUPID of me. In truth, I have no one to blame but myself. I knew he wasn’t any good for me, my friends did too, and yet I stayed. Thanks to this experience with my narcissistic AC ex, I have learned to listen to my instincts and my head more than to my heart. My expectations and standards had been lowered SO MUCH that even the tiniest thing would be seen as welcome change. Towards the end of my relationship with my ex, even the fact that he went for an hour without making a disrespectful / passive aggressive remark, made me grateful/happy. Imagine that.

  39. ThreeDLife says:

    From Natalie’s article above: “Or after collective silence has gone on for too long or a person just gets tired of their own silence on something, there’s an eruption”

    This happened to me and it was the final straw with my AC. The odd thing was, at the time, I didn’t know he was an AC. But he had all the traits: future faking – check; pressing the reset button – 3 times; amending the terms and conditions – constantly; keeping the status quo – yup; passive aggression – absolutely; lack of empathy – check; words not matching actions – he said one thing and then did the polar opposite. Somehow I gave him 3 chances. Each time, he begged me to take him back, telling me I was “the one”, and we would one day get married and buy a house together. He lied to me, deceived me, joined polyamory groups, and dated other women behind my back. He blew hot & cold constantly and confused the heck out of me as to whether or not we even had a relationship. The ring symbolizing his commitment to me magically morphed into a “friendship ring” without a word to me that he didn’t want to be exclusive any more.

    I tolerated all this in silence hoping he would turn back into the person who was so charming when we first met. I had somehow trusted him and convinced myself he had integrity – boy, was I wrong! We were both conflict averse, and our “communication” was awful (partly my fault since I put up with it). We were together (off and on) for over a year and a half in an LDR (2 hour drive), and during this time, he called me once a week as if he was doing me some huge favor. I used to get a feeling of fear when I saw an email from him, since I knew it would contain some type of bad news to manage down my expectations.

    The final blow came when he took down his existing facebook page, setup a new one and invited “only those I truly love” to be his friends. Of course, even though we were supposedly in a committed relationship at the time, he didn’t include me. I guess he thought I wouldn’t find out. After telling me he was “off facebook” (a lie), imagine my surprise when his new profile showed up in my suggested friends list. He had set his relationship status to “it’s complicated” but conveniently neglected to tell me of these “complications.”

    I cried many tears over all this, but in my conflict-averse way, did not mention anything to him until the final weekend. He had, as usual, changed plans on me at the last minute. We were supposed to spend 2 days together on a weekend trip to celebrate my birthday, and he knew I had been looking forward to it, but at the last minute, he canceled one of the days with the lame excuse of “having to go to the grocery store”, as if they’re not open any other time (LOL).

    I finally decided to confront him about his assclownery. It wasn’t pretty. As Natalie suggests, it would have gone better if I had been able to remain calm and retain my dignity, but I was overtaken with a turmoil of emotions – “an eruption” of past hurts. I told him how it hurt my feelings to find his new facebook profile, and it appeared to me to be his way of getting out of being in a relationship with me. He denied this, of course. His excuse was that he could call me or email me anytime, and he was going to use this profile to keep in touch with those he couldn’t reach any other way. This was pure B.S. but he didn’t back down or apologize (because he’s always “right,” at least in his own mind). And he couldn’t concede he had done something hurtful.

    He even admitted to using me as his backup plan. I now know this is the “fallback girl” position. He said he wanted to get together with me as long as it didn’t interfere with his other events (where he was going to meet other women), openly flirted with other women in front of me with a gleeful look in his eye, and said we could have a relationship “without any long term component.” How absurd this sounds to even type it!

    When we were in the midst of this conversation, he put his shoes on to leave and drive home, even though I was emotionally distraught. He didn’t try to comfort me or empathize – just wanted out of there as fast as possible. Looking back, I wish I had handled it better, but the end result was positive — being rid of the AC.

    It was fitting that the last thing he said to me was another lie – “I’ll call you mid-week.” I haven’t heard from him since that day 2 months ago. I am glad he didn’t call and I have had no desire to contact him. It is a relief to have him out of my life. I am no longer on a rollercoaster of emotions. I am still in NC and plan to remain that way forever. Thankfully, he is out of my life now. I appreciate Natalie’s wisdom. She has given me insight into this type behavior and the importance of setting boundaries. I’ve never been with an AC before him, and never will again! I am also going to try my best not to bury my thoughts and feelings, and express them at the time before they build up into an explosion.

  40. 2fearce says:

    Confused,/keetsteel
    That is NOT normal. That is called walking around on eggshells hoping u don’t do anything “wrong” to upset him. If ur being treated this way n ur not married, consider it ur warning. It only goes downhill from there. How many more silent cries do u want to have?

    There is no “good time”– u bringing up his ignoring or belittling ur ideas, emotions n opinions will prob piss him off anyway. Is this the life/ future u want? Hiding, crying n hoping he doesn’t go off on u again? He carefully training u to be what he needs.

    • LaPinturaBella says:

      Ditto. The “good times” are the hook. They will slowly diminish and continue to do so. MAJOR, HUGE RED BANNER!

      • Marie D says:

        SO true!!! Mine was so over the top at the very beginning with the gifts, trips, dinners ect. that it almost makes you feel guilty for feeling bad or wanting to leave when the silent treatment, anger, text arguments, blaming begins. Like, maybe I haven’t done enough for him, look at how wonderful he has been. At the end it was even used against me…he made it a point to list all the nice things he did for me to make me feel bad for ending our relationship. Again, he is the victim and I was wrong for leaving, but no mention of the text spew, blaming me, text spew, avoiding me for 5 days and bringing up my past all because I dared to say I felt uncomfortable he would be spending a weekend in another state with a female friend I never met. Yes, how dare I feel uncomfortable with that!

  41. Thanks to ex-friend, I am beginning to question my ability to communicate effectively in English. This is a bit distressing to me, since I am an English teacher.
    Sparks notes edition of tale:
    – He said he wanted to reconcile.
    – I asked why. He cited vagueness about “feelings”
    – I said, before I will even consider that, I need you to figure out what was going on with you emotionally that made it OK to kick me when I was down, and what has changed now that will prevent that from happening again. I can’t do that again.
    – He said he doesn’t know, he just doesn’t feel the same for me as he did in the past, and he doesn’t know why and since it wasn’t malevolence on his part, he sees no reason to dissect it.
    – I said “You said you would do whatever it takes to restore trust. Figuring out what happened so we can prevent it happening again is what it takes to start, and even then there is no guarantee because I have A LOT OF ANGER” Then followed with my complaints of fair-weather friendship, emotional abuse of a weakened person, and just general shittiness. Told him I don’t like him and haven’t in months, because his behavior towards me showed an appalling lack of fellow feeling and even possibly character.
    – He said “You’re saying these things to get back at me.”
    – I said “I am saying this so you know what you’re up against. There will be no Let’s get a beer and talk it out. If….IF you manage to figure out why you went ape-shit on me when I was already on my emotional knees, and IF you figure out why it’s different now, and IF I can begin to get past this anger, then we can talk about reconciling. Eventually.”
    – He said “I don’t want to talk about feelings because they might be different in a week.”
    – I said *meaningful look* “Exactly. You operate on feelings, and your feelings are changeable. I can’t risk it.”

    Now he wants us to possibly get an apartment together because it will save us both money.

    The fuck?

    • Magnolia says:

      DiscardedFriend,

      I had to laugh because my exAC made me feel the same way. I was always wondering if I wasn’t communicating effectively in English though I was working on my PhD in English at the time! Crazymaking!

    • Lara says:

      Discarded,

      “The fuck” is about right.

      And in multiple ways. As in, “What the fuck?”, and “he wants the fuck and nothing more.” He’s playing mind games right there. Can’t you see that? I can see right through these “characters.” My ex was one, so vague and shifty in everything he said or did. There is a reason for that. It’s not just an innocent “style” thing. Really. Based on my horrible experience with my ex, I’d flush this person and move on. ASAP.

      • lizzp says:

        “My ex was one, so vague and shifty in everything he said or did. There is a reason for that.”

        Vague and shifty, I’ve got a good radar for this these days too. I find it easy to spot. For the three and a half years that I was dating ‘this time round’ with the intent/hope of meeting a suitable long term man (post having my son and relationship break down) I encountered quite a few VS men (maybe enough to warrant their own acronym, haha). Just this week I decided to give dating the boot until next year because I have discovered I am still not sufficiently over my last (3 months, ended 9 months ago but last contact was January)relationship. Dating is not a healthy pursuit for me at the moment.

        But I will say, watch very carefully re this vague and shifty crappola- yes it does usually mean something. Don’t bust a gut wondering *what* the heck it means necessarily, the main thing is to check in with self and realise what it means to you. – “This dude is being V and S from first meet up (let alone date), this makes me feel uneasy, why is that?…well I just met the dude and all but ya know I don’t feel like I trust him”. If the feelings persists during date 1, I’m already serenely holding the toilet chain (isn’t it great when multi-tasking is actually effective).

        By the way, there are all sorts of games that apparently even men in my age group (40 to 50) play out there. It’s really VERY f**king annoying to put it mildly. One of these is apparently ‘vague and unavailable’. It’s pathetic to watch a 45 year old SUPPOSEDLY ADULT (OH MY EFFING GOD) man try to play this game with me. I just really can’t respect that and hE’s flushed if he doesn’t drop that shit a-pronto. Somehow I am apparently able to tell difference between men trying to play this vague and unavailable ‘game’ (for fuck’s sake, how old are you again?), and the more underhand vague and shifty man. Either way they are both amber and/or red flags for me, depending on the situation.

    • Kriss says:

      There is a difference between being good at English and being able to communicate what you mean when you don’t feel comfortable to.

      AND… there is a difference in understanding English and saying that because you don’t like what you’re hearing the other person must not quite be communicating properly :-)

      Good for you for standing up for yourself.

      (Ex EFL teacher…!)

    • A says:

      DF,

      First off, you sound like an excellent communicator. Secondly, to hell with this guy.

      “He said “I don’t want to talk about feelings because they might be different in a week.”

      Third, I think the above quote captures the essence of these men. Everything is on the whim of “what they feel” at any given moment. And somehow even feelings that one would expect to be relatively stable barring some unforeseen change are still a mystery to them. The AC once said something to me, post break up, about not wanting a relationship, but that “maybe in a month” he would. Again…WTF? There was nothing going on in that one month time frame. In hindsight I really just think he is a total flake who probably lives his life that way (“I don’t want to be with her now but that could change any minute on the basis of…nothing”.) Or maybe it was just his dick way of trying to keep me hanging around, though the former explanation may also account for his refusal to ever make and/or keep plans.

  42. 2fearce says:

    Discarded,

    Nothin is wrong with ur English. He’s just a character on the comedy sketch show “Crazy making!”
    Hopefully u laughed as much as I did about the apartment! If not, rewind the tape n note his “no I’m not gng to think about it or talk about it or change or do anything to reduce ur (well founded) fear. So when r w gon live together already?!”
    Ps–Best to cue laugh track… this dude has jokes!

  43. teachable says:

    Thanks Rev. I’m still working out how to make thr ground rule’ & bounderies clear. My Mother appears to be insisting that any form of r.ship w her make absolutely no reference to her life long litany of abuse & neglect of me & it’s (horrific) consequences. Reset button anyone? Pig’s will fly. I am extremely close to to putting her right back in her box – permanently. So over this woman. I haven’t lived with her since I was 3 yo & when I DID live w her she was physically &.emotionally abusive w me eventually removed under (very real) threat of infanticide. My sister has somehow turned out into the ‘victim’ & got the entire family pitying this woman! Of course, they have NO IDEA abt the truth of what this woman has done to me. I honestly wish she’d just accidently drop dead so I could finally be at peace. Sadly, I do mean this!

    • Revolution says:

      I get it, Teach. No shame there. You just don’t want to deal with her drama. Like the post says, we (the receivers of bullshit treatment) receive their treatment and then don’t want to upset the apple cart by calling a spade a spade. Sure, it’s easy to call someone out in our heads, but when the heart/family/history is involved…..well. Just tread carefully with her, Teach. Shit, the LAST thing you need right now is someone taking your energy for some sort of clandestine purpose. ((HUGS)), beautiful tough girl. :)

      • teachable says:

        ugh. thankyou for the reply oh sparkly one! ;)

        I’m tossing up whether to call her and request she stop calling me or not. I’m very close to doing so. I got another phone message today, which I found to be quite upsetting. The woman lacks an empathy bone. Because of her personality disorder though I actually am a bit fearful of her then retalliating by doing something to cause (further) harm to my relationships with other family members (her antisocial side.)

        I’m realising now what a dreadful mistake I’ve made in allowing this woman to have my phone number. She did not have it previously and it’s also slient after I changed to get ex now deceased AC out of my life.

        I definately know I don’t want to talk to her anymore. She’s just tpp inappropriate in the things she says / does and it’s too hurtful to tolerate. This leaves me now back in the awful position of feeling the need to screen all of my phone calls just to avoid her. Awful.

        When will I learn Rev? I’m 44 for goodness sakes and she didn’t just suddenly morph into worlds worst mother status. When you think about it, had she gone a step firther when I was little she would have been one of those mother’s we see in the media who does in fact murder their children. It chills me to the bone that she and my sister are thick as thieves and that my entire family think my mother is some sort of benign victim. My sister of course shares many of mother’s personaility traits which is why I have NC with her (at least) now.

        I’m sitting here with a ball of stress in my tummy as I type. Really worried. It’s not good for me. Wish I could just call her up and say what I really think which is, fuck off you horrible woman and stay away from me forever. You’ve done more than enough harm here already! (exzcept stupid dumb dumb here was in the back of my mind making excuses for her on the basis of her mental illness. even that though started out as a crock. she was just a woman who never wanted to take responsbility for herself or her children or anything else in her life. she pretended to be mentally ill so well and so long though that in the end she genuinely became such. ugh. my compassion bone is BROKEN!)

        • teachable says:

          PS look at me here scared to confront my mother btw ie exactly what this post is about!

          This harken’s back to a time where she was ‘well’ at least as far as my interactions with her were concerned, for some years and I had no issues getting along with her (i.e. before my sister got so overly involved. It was when this happened that things went downhill in my relationship with my mother – fast.)

          In a moment of what in hindsight turned out to be poor judgement I trusted my mother with personal information about myself which I did not want her to share with other family members. I remember at the time thinking surely it is ok for me to share this, as after all, she IS my mother and we hadn’t had any issues getting along at the time for a decade or so.

          Not too long after my sister got involved and things went to hell in a handbasket where my mother is concerned. I’ve since endured a decade of hell with carry on and BS initiated by her, all fed into and maintained by my mother’s codependent r.ship with my sister. My sister revels in the drama of this as it distracts her from the misery of her life which is that she chose to marry a man she didn’t love and remains in that marriage to the current time.

          I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired with these two people. I’ve spent most of my life not having much to do with either of them, and years of NC with both also, especially in the last decade. Both are highly toxic.

          I’m already NC with my sister and have resisted her attempts so far to try to break this (the latest was my sister getting my mother to inform me she thinks she has cancer. Really? Gee, it’s taking a LONG time for the yay or nay cancer tests to come back! If the Dr really thought my sister had cancer wouldn’t they be ascertaining that fairly quickly? ME THINKS PROBABLY SO!!!)

          Now I just need to figure out how to do this with my mother… whilst also not beating myself up too badly. I thought that after years of NC maybe she had changed due to her having had counselling for a while now for the first time ever in her life. She hasn’t changed though. Now she’s just a dysfunctional destructive person who apparently attends counselling! Ugh!

          Big breath out. I am allowed to make mistakes. I am allowed to make mistakes. I allowed to make mistakes. I am allowed to make mistakes.

          Perhaps if I just do nothing – a bit like NC really – this matter will fade out of my life and cease to be an issue (fingers crossed)…

          • Revolution says:

            Teach,

            I can say this to you with love because I know you’ll get it: you need to chill the eff out. Put down the whips you’re self-flagellating with. Shit: 44, 56, 87…you think we don’t ALL make mistakes and have some growing to do? You think all those people in nursing homes are sitting there, reflecting on all of their perfect life decisions?!

            Part of me had to laugh when you were describing these women (Cancer. As you said: REALLY? What next? Is she gonna tie herself to a stake and “light herself on fire!” Lucille Bluth-style to get some attention? The fuck?)

            Anyway: I think you’re onto something with the “subtle NC” plan. Learn from all of our cowardly ACs (though I don’t think it would be cowardly in your instance) and just do the “fade out” to avoid the drama and possible (very real– you’re right about these types) retaliation that could run the gambit from mildly annoying to first degree murder. Can you pull the “I’m not feeling well so I can only talk for a couple of minutes” card when they call? Hopefully they’ll be too self-absorbed to chance their arm much with you. You really need to focus on your health, Teach, and not these crazy bitches.

            Peace and love to you, my dear. Have some peppermint tea for that tummy of yours.

  44. Marie says:

    fuck this. I don’t want to be in this situation anymore.
    I’m in a relationship (1 yr) with a guy who has a lot of problems coping with his life.
    He has an ambitious plan to go to medical school, which i have doubts about whether he can handle. He has anger management issues and is very insecure, although he is in therapy for that now. When he gets angry he can be verbally and emotionally abusive, and although he’s never hit me, he throws things and hits the wall etc, and recently he threw a pillowcase in my face, hard.
    He also screws things up because of a failure to pay attention to “fine print” and makes assumptions, then feels like the world is against him when it backfires.
    He has a tendency to be very negative, and it often makes me feel bad/guilty even when i did nothing wrong. He also jumps to jealous conclusions about my talking to other people or not inviting him somewhere, or innocent things i say- always taking it personally. If I refuse to apologize, he gets mad and tells me i have “a fucking attitude.”
    Overall he really doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with his behavior, except the temper tantrums. He is in therapy but i don’t know how much i can bank on that. Anyway he tells me I don’t communicate with him, but I really just don’t want to cause more drama by bringing up a laundry list of everything he’s done wrong. What do I do….

    • Allison says:

      Marie,

      You end the relationship!

      • Allison says:

        Super-unhealthy situation.

        This man will not change, he has way too many issues.

        What do you get out of this relationship? it sounds awful.

    • lizzp says:

      Lara, Was getting too much like e.e. cummings poetry up there so I’ve had to come down here.

      “I don’t even know what I do sometimes to invite this boundary-busting behavior from people, even friends. I think maybe I should stop being so nice and sweet and so flexible, maybe that’s my problem”.

      It’s easy once you get the hang of it , and from what I read elsewhere in your comments, you’re quickly getting the hang of it.

      Lara, An AC of the proportions you experienced is, and this needs to be stressed, AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY DESTRUCTIVE MAN. HE’S A FREAK OF NATURE. YOU WERE HIT BY A TORNADO, A TSUNAMI BEFORE YOU HAD FINISHED BUILDING YOUR UNDERGROUND SHELTER. Get what I mean? I am, quite frankly, astounded at your strength, that you survived, psychologically, at all. Period.

      You say somewhere in your comments something along the lines of how pre-AC, you never, or seldom, felt unsure about yourself, your trust was intact, you were a happy centred person etc. Lara, there’s no going *back* to a past self, that would only be to deny our experiences, there is only going forward. It’s the same for every body, every where (This is a truth that I sometimes wish I had properly digested earlier than when I finally did). And by that I’m not suggesting that you will never feel like you are a happy, self centred etc person again. But it will be different, you will be different, you are different from ‘back then’ now.

      When you set your boundaries on the basis of knowing what’s good for you as you know yourself now or even simply knowing what’s not good for you as you know yourself now, people stop walking the eff all over you because they find that they can’t. Why can’t they? Because you are not letting them.

    • Ms Determined says:

      Marie! Marry this guy. From everything you’ve said above he is a total dreamboat and is intent on making it his life’s mission to make you feel nothing but cherished, happy, secure and loved.

      If you are having second thoughts I’d be happy to take him off your hands.

      SO I COULD STICK A FORK IN HIS EYE.

      Flush that fucker like the falls.

      • LaPinturaBella says:

        WONDERFUL advice, Ms. D. And I almost choked reading about your use for a fork!!!!!!!

  45. teachable says:

    What you do Marie is RUN THE HECK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF THAT GUY

    1. He is abusive. No if but’s or maybe’s. Dealbreaker! RUN, MARIE, RUN! ASAP!!

    2. Who care’s if he has an ambitious goal or is in therapy? Refer back to point 1.

    Do anything OTHER than the above & you will deeply regret it. Mark my words. This is the wisdom of exp talking.

    Back yrself. Yr WORTH IT! xx

  46. Sushi says:

    Marie,

    Bottom line; he is abusive. You need to get out.

    • lizzp says:

      Marie, when you came here asking what to do, you knew what everyone was going to say. You knew what you needed – some support for what you already know you need to do. I agree and I support you in the following:

      LEAVE THIS MAN. LEAVE THIS RELATIONSHIP. GET SOME SUPPORT OUT THERE IN THE REAL WORLD TOO. GO NC.

      AND,

      I can’t say it better than teachable above:

      “Do anything OTHER than the above & you will deeply regret it. Mark my words. This is the wisdom of exp talking.

      Back yrself. Yr WORTH IT! xx”

  47. Maddi2 says:

    This entire website could be dedicated to my “boyfriend” of 7 months…not a long time but long enough to make me doubt my sanity! As of this weekend I am NC following a week of flaky emails, one text and no calls despite the fact that I lost his number due to my phone being stolen. When I finally got the text and responded asking why he had avoided letting me have his number (by only contacting via email) I got the final passive response that he is “stretched” with his time. Such bullshit. He did it all over the 7 months, future faking…resetting…managing down
    My expectations and the relationship by only being willing to communicate on his terms. He refused to discuss anything….walking out or going silent every time I questioned his lack of effort. I feel so stupid for giving him chance after chance and accepting the crumbs he threw my way. He would tell me he loved me but was going through a hard time…that he knew he wasnt making me happy but could i just be patient…he had things to get through and then everything would be back to normal. Never again. Sorry for the rant, but I need closure on this and I know I won’t get it from him…! He is too spineless! This only finished yesterday so I am still pretty raw, I only wish he had let me walk away months ago when I first saw this coming, but that was my fault. I wanted to believe he was the man I first met who promised me the world, rather than the AC he actually showed me he was underneath.

    • MaryW says:

      Maddi, I have a good idea how you feel, and of the need to vent. Of course you are raw at this stage. I’m glad you found BR.

      Seven months is a fair amount of time…. my most recent experience was only 6 weeks (!) and it still hurt me a lot, caused me so much anxiety, doubt and confusion because I couldn’t understand how the person I first met became someone so different; how the amazing feelings of falling in love (yes, silly, ‘sandcastles in the sky’ me) became feelings of anxiety, disappointment, doom, shame, etc.

      I feel stupid not walking sooner when he said some stuff that sounds so shady in retrospect…and then for wavering when the evidence was all there… but there’s no point in either one of us beating ourselves up, as long as we can learn from the experience.

      It’s really, really hard to walk away when you’ve seen what they can be like, i.e. at the beginning, when you fall for them. But big pat on the back and hugs to you, because you’ve finally done it.

      I hope you will find NC relatively easy. I must admit, I’m not finding it very easy (though I am adhering to it). One lady here (Jamie) wrote that she felt so free after going NC, and I do feel free but also … well, just sad and disappointed. I miss the ‘nice’ him and feel sorry for the old git and his horrible life.

      Remind youself, it’s very early days and you’re doing well to have walked away and started the NC process. Please try to stop feeling stupid and berating yourself for not walking sooner – you walked, that’s the main thing. Well done!

      • Maddi2 says:

        Thanks Mary,
        It really helps reading this website to know that I am not alone in this! Im sorry you had the same broken dreams – the irony is that he moved so fast to start with, much faster than was comfortable for me…even saying he saw his future life with me. Like you say, its hard to forget those words, the hope and the promise that you have found someone who is offering a future. I spent the past 3 months wondering where that guy went and how I became stuck with daily “How are you” texts and a weekly date which always left me confused about his feelings. I knew at the time it was wrong but he kept handing me excuses – he was having a hard time, preparing for a new job, his ex was being difficult about their child…all code for not being interested enough to put in effort and keep me in the background.
        Good luck with NC – its hard…I have failed before and poured my heart out in an email the last time I almost left – and he didn’t even read it. He told me with a smile. He didn’t want the conflict.
        I now no longer have his number, blocked him on FB and have written an email I will never send because the title is “Remember he wont read this!!!” The hardest part for me has been that he ended this by text which just feels so undignified and unfinished, but I am moving on and like you, I kind of feel sad for him. He even told me once he didn’t need counselling (I had said nothing!) so he has his demons. I have never been involved with someone who changed so dramatically – but I am sure we will both be the wiser for it in the end, and go on to find people who deserve and return our love.
        Thankyou for your reply, it means a lot, and good luck to you on your journey xx

        • MaryW says:

          Maddi, how are you feeling today?

          Yes the chap I was embroiled with also moved extremely fast, too fast. That should have been a red flag but instead it was flattering and I fell for him. Hard and fast.

          Like your ex, he has all the excuses/ reasons under the sun as to why he can’t give more…and I genuinely feel sorry for him and his life, he knows he needs help.

          I almost broke NC this morning and I now I am beating myself up. I reinstalled WhatsApp to see if there were any messages from him. There was one from Saturday just saying “Hi, How are you?”. No I didn’t respond and I deleted WhatsApp (again). I spent the next several hours beating myself up. Not focusing on me, not even focusing on my work.

          Yes, we will both be wiser in the end but this is exhausting. Just when I think I’m turning a corner, I suddenly find myself in a painful, dark place.

          Thanks for wishing me luck. I also wish you luck. x

          • MaryW says:

            p.s. Maddi, I actually think it’s good you wrote an email – and didn’t send it.

            Nat’s post is about calling people on their behaviour. Now, since we are both NC, we can’t exactly do that (and we both tried in the past, with no good outcome).

            But we *can* get our feelings off our chests by writing an email and storing it somewhere; read it on days when we are feeling nostalgic or whatever, when we need a boot up the backside, when we are tempted to put the feelers out and contact them.

            Now, I am really going to get some work done and stop thinking about him and start thinking about me!!! And I am going to give myself a little pat on the back for NOT breaking NC, rather than keep beating myself up for reading a message from him.

            x

            • Maddi2 says:

              Hi Mary
              I know exactly how you feel – one step forward, 2 steps back. I woke up furious at 6am desperate to tell him what I think of him, so again I wrote it down. I still can’t decide if I will actually feel better for sending it. I know I wont get a reply, but he will know I think he’s a ****!
              Don’t beat yourself up re NC – these men take up extraordinary amounts of emotional energy from us and sleep like babies at night. They are a different breed, and we will never understand them. Just think – you now know he reached out to you and you ignored it. That makes you the powerful one now and that’s what they don’t like. That makes you strong – prepare yourself, he may try to contact you another way. Take care xx

              • MaryW says:

                Maddi, I’m sure he knows what you think of him already. Best to write it down but don’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that you are even thinking about him by sending the email. I think it’s good that you’re making a sort of journal for yourself – but he doesn’t deserve to be ‘in on it’.

                A friend told me today to text her (or myself!) if I felt the urge to contact him. So I did, I sent her a text. And got a lovely, caring, loving reply. It was really helpful. Likewise you and your email. Send it to a friend or even yourself.

                Barriers are up incase of contact from him. Though we were mutually honest about our fragile states, so I hope he respects my NC.

                Take care too, and stay strong x

              • MaryW says:

                Maddi,

                I was thinking of you just now and this topic of whether or not you should email him.

                When my ex BF of 18 months dumped me (I later found out it was for another woman) I was devastated and then furious. He lied to me about why he was breaking up with me, and I heard about the other womam from a mutual friend.

                When I tried to phone him, he wouldn’t answer. I knew he would probably delete an email without reading it. So I wrote him a letter and posted it (this was in the old days when people used to send real letters and cards!). I have no idea whether or not he read it, but I have never, ever regretted sending that letter. If you feel that it would help you (the emphasis being on helping you, not punishing him) then actually I think you should send that email.

                I just wrote an email to the chap I was seeing, with no intention of sending it, just for therapeutic reasons. It helped to summarise and consolidate all the very good reasons I had for walking away, and I feel more clear headed and less confused. I sent the email to myself. I will read it when I get the wobbles.

                All the best x

                • Maddi2 says:

                  Hi Mary
                  Thanks for thinking of me. I woke up so angry again yesterday that I decided I had to let him know what I thought for my own sanity. I wrote a short message using his favourite words like “honest” and ” fair” to tell him he was neither and why. It wasn’t angry in tone, simply stating facts about why he shouldn’t think he had behaved respectfully and that I deserve better. He replied immediately “you do, I’m so sorry”. And I also said he had behaved like a narcissist … That one he’ll need to google, hopefully he might learn what he is. He has made this so much harder than it needed to be, and I don’t regret emailing. I feel much better, and although today has been tough again ( had to go to the place I last saw him…of course I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last)and also drove past the venue of our first date. A tough tough day. Am allowing myself a few tears, but not for him. For me. I hope you are doing ok, take care x

                  • MaryW says:

                    Hi Maddi,

                    I’m glad you feel better for having got it off your chest, but be carefull about letting this turn into an email ping pong with him.

                    I also got the “you deserve so much better, I’m sorry” line (and more) and it made me hang around in case he changed his behaviour – he didn’t. He can’t. I ended up effectively finishing it twice in one week because he wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t walk away the first time.

                    Just be mindful that he could send you more emails and that his words may have you doubting your decision.

                    What I’m saying is that I hope you’ve made it clear that you’re finished and have gone NC. I was wishy washy, didn’t have the strength to say a final “goodbye” and I regret it. It is over but it feels there is something left undone, and I can’t even cry. I am not going to break NC to say a final goodbye, nor do I really need to because he knows this and he hasn’t contacted me either.

                    Sorry if the message is confusing (I’m a bit confused today) – bottom line: well done, don’t go back there!

                    Good luck, Maddi. Stay strong.

  48. ShepN7 says:

    I just found NML’s blog and the articles and comments are so affirming and eye-opening.

    I am feeling upset at recent events with various people. I had a very positive experience recently of realizing the dream of getting a new job and at a place I’ve wanted to be since 2005. I gave notice a few days ago and told a couple co-workers. One of them said, “Now I need to get a new job” which seemed rude to me. She then asked if I’d make more money, asked how I’d heard about the job, said she didn’t know how she missed seeing the job posting then told me to hurry up and tell others so she could talk about it with them. I was reeling and speechless at what seemed to me to be total rudeness and arrogance- like she should have gotten there first. I can’t stop ruminating over it. :(

    Another person I was dating dumped me without explanation- I called them on it- then they recanted everything only to recant the recantations etc. until I cut them off.

    I met someone new and so far he is decent and I enjoy our talks- after 3 dates and lots of phone chat, I see that he rarely asks about me or follows up previous comments/events I’ve mentioned or responds to things I say by asking questions about any of it. I don’t know what to make of this. I asked him about dating lots of people at the same time to see who you like best and what he thinks of that, and he said he didn’t have time for more than on person at a time. I don’t know whether to bring this up or walk away as far as his not asking about me… It was so glaring yesterday when he sat back and said, now what do we talk about? I say he is decent because we have great conversations about things like ideas but I’m not sure if his interest is in me since he doesn’t ask about me much.

    I want to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run…. and when to walk the middle path of staying and taking time to know people.

    • Tracy says:

      ShepN7: This is one of the reasons I flushed the last guy I went on two dates with (wrote about this a couple of days ago), in addition to him having my pay my share of each date. I had noticed that while we had fun talking about the absurdities in life, and our senses of humor were similar, as were many of our outlooks on politics, he never once asked a question about me, my job, my kids, things I like, etc. Anything he learned about me was from info I gave as a matter of conversation. I asked plenty of questions about him.

      Over the years this was a code amber I ignored. But looking back I realize that the people who I did wind up having a relationship with had a lot more give and take as far as questions went. And you realize that that is the kind of thing that can make things progress. I found with ‘two date guy’ that by the end of our last phone call I felt that I was running out of things to say!

      • ShepN7 says:

        Thanks Tracy. Yes, although he pays and whatnot, that is exactly it- I ask questions about what he has to say and follow up on things whereas he does not do it with me much despite the entertaining conversations and outlook similarities. I hesitate about this because I have a history of creating fantasy relationships and finding certain types I like so wasn’t sure if it was the absence of those elements here that was making me uneasy.

        My question is do I say something to him about it? At this point, I am tired of listening and having no follow up or interest shown in what I say. All he seems to want is to talk- and I do not want to become someone’s GF by default.

        • MaryW says:

          I don’t know, I’d be tempted to hang in there after only 3 dates… but by my dating history I am certainly no expert.

          If you do decide to see him again, I think you should certainly say something to him. If he says “now, what do we talk about?” you could respond “well, now’s your chance to ask some stuff about me!” (not aggressively, jokey-seriously if that makes any sense).

          That said, and with my most recent dating experience in mind – and the one before, come to think of it – it could be a flag that he’s a self-absorbed individual who will do nothing but frustrate you (at best).

          But if you decide to keep dating him and do say something to him, I agree with Magnolia’s response; be mindful of whether his questions are genuine, whether he’s really interested, listening to the answers or just going through the motions.

          • tinkerbell says:

            I’ve found that men who drone on endlessly about themselves are not inclined to take the hint. It doesn’t occur to them to ask anything much about you because they are self-absorbed and intend for you to serve a limited purpose. They’re not interested in a mature, loving relationship that progresses. Seems to me that it’s just common sense to know who a person is if you’re planning to spend QUALITY time beyond the bedroom. If he shows no tendency to be interested in who I am, I have not time for him.

    • Magnolia says:

      ShepN7,

      It means he’s not interested. My ex took me out, called me every day, wanted to do things with me, but it worked for as long as it did in part because I continued to carry the conversation.

      At the time, I was trying to pay attention to his actions, not his words, so I figured him calling me was more important as an indicator of his interest than the fact that when he called he only talked about himself. Wrong.

      At first I even tried to gently point out to him that he wasn’t asking after me. Quick-learning sociopath that he was, he eventually learned to ask me questions, but he never did learn how to be genuinely interested in who I was. He’d forget the answers to half the things he asked anyway.

      From him I learned that it’s not our job to raise an adult to be a better person. And I’ve been on many dates since with various guys who have a great time with me because they get to talk all about themselves. They perhaps wonder why I don’t follow up. I just take note – if by the end of the evening buddy hasn’t tried to find out more about who I am, what I like, some general history, etc. – then I have all the information I need.

    • Magnolia says:

      Oh, and I used to put that behaviour down to nerves – i.e. he must have been nervous, and that’s why he just went on about himself. Occasionally I’ve gone on second dates just to make sure, but so far, no guy has suddenly turned more inquisitive.

      • FX says:

        On the flip side of just talking about themselves are the ones who appear to hang on your every word and love to hear all about you – and then use this in depth knowledge against you, either subtly or not. Of course, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder also does this during the idealization phase in order to mirror you so he can morph into the perfect man for you.

        Speaking to this post, I now realize among the difficulties in addressing any issues was he could turn everything he knew about me against me or use it to obfuscate the actual topic at hand.

        • Mymble says:

          Fx
          That’s what I was thinking about – that feeling of being an insect under the microscope and his eyes boring into me, watching my every move. He was figuring out what he could get away with and what might present a risk, to him. He was particularly interested in hearing about anxieties, weaknesses and fears of mine.

      • MRWriter says:

        Shep, Magnolia and everyone else in this thread: CODE RED! CODE RED ALERT!!

        Like Magnolia just stated above, I used to think men who didn’t ask me any questions and only blathered on about themselves ad nauseum were preening or nervous.

        Looking back, the relationships I had with EUM/ACs were all about HIM 100%. They don’t inquire as to who you are. They don’t take much initiative in expressing a normal, healthy interest (not the microscopic tell me all end of the spectrum either). Frankly, it’s just good manners to have a conversation ebb and flow naturally.

        a person with sincere interest in another person (especially romantic) will want to know more about who you are and will want to present what they want you to know about them.

        In the beginning, we tend to put our best foot forward but if the man isn’t taking a genuine interest in getting to know you better, something is wrong. Either they’re self-absorbed, passing time, only want a booty call or are trying to sell themselves with a hard pitch.

        I ran smack dab into this phenomena with last year’s EUM/AC. All conversations were about HIM. If he did ask me anything, it was about my career or things that didn’t really tell him anything about me. It got so that I would inject personal details about myself only to have it literally fly over his head. He never took the bait. The natural flow of discourse ran only one way: His way.

        In the beginning, I chalked it up to his being nervous and preening but as months went by, I began to feel invisible. It hurt. I will site a few ridiculous examples below of just how loony tunes it got with Asscreep.

        After ditching his sorry ass, I entertained a prospective LDR. We spoke on the phone a handful of times. He was intelligent but a future faker. The reason I dropped him like a stone however was his inability to ask me anything about myself. He could kill an hour or two talking politics, history, world affairs AND answer my questions about himself but took zero initiative to do the same for me. I even tried to prod him a bit by trying to turn the conversation back to me and something fun I did he might appreciate like seeing a concert by a musician he liked. No queries made as to ‘How did you like it’ ‘What music do you listen to?’ Zippo! It was unbelievably one-sided and just to make absolute certain, I put him on speaker while I silently typed and he talked for 47 mins nonstop about himself without me saying anything more than “Uh-Huh. Oh. That’s cool.”

        After half a dozen phone calls, I got tired of listening to him drone on. A mutual friend tried to gently tell him why I wasn’t returning his phone calls by suggesting maybe you don’t really ask her anything. To this he replied, “Oh no. That’s not me. I totally do.” That is seriously how deluded they are. I was shocked!

        I’ll include my “funny” anecdotes below this comment, but I must say that after two or three dates/phone calls or whatever if a guy isn’t asking questions, jog in a hurry. It really is bad manners at the minimum and an indicator that all he wants is a warm body to sit and listen to his every word in spellbound, enraptured awe. Men do themselves a huge disservice too if they don’t bother to actually get to know the woman more. I’ve had some complain, “Well, I didn’t know about XYZ at the time.”

        I retort with “Did you ever ask?”

        “Uh, well no.”

        Maybe you should do a little homework too and find out early on whether your values are in sync. The EUM/AC men don’t want to be bothered. They are lazy and enjoy pontificating.

        It is not an amber alert…it is RED!

    • Allison says:

      Shep,

      Fold!

      • ShepN7 says:

        @Allison: hehe. :)

        @Mary: thank you for suggesting a somewhat more moderate approach. I do not believe in enabling people but do like to at least tell them something about what is on my mind, as the article discusses.

        @Magnolia: I appreciate your suggestions about navigating such discussions and assessing their interest and responses.

        Based on his response to a polite to-the-point email I sent him, asking what interested him about *me*, and saying that he did not respond to anything I said about myself with specific questions, I am pretty sure of folding being the best outcome. His answer was that I made him want to be a better person- which again, has NOTHING to do with me.

        • lizzp says:

          Good God and Holy Mojo! Is he a bit thick or what? What in hell is wrong with him? Reminds me a bit of mrWriter’s ‘Lemonade’ man.

        • lizzp says:

          Actually, you know what? His response reminds me of a number of replies I have received in the past from online ‘men’ on dating sites. I developed a strategy (outlined in another post)with the aim of getting to meet men who ‘approached’ me online ASAP in the real world with minimal ‘chat’ beyond logistics and basic questions not already answered in our profiles. As soon as I received an email/contact request, if the profile passed my code red alert test, I would shoot off a variant of a message which conveyed that – I don’t do online chat beyond logistics in cyber space with people I’ve never met in real life; I enjoyed reading your profile; Would be happy to meet for coffee – not a date- and see what we think of each-other in RL; let me know what you think. As with you Shepn7 all very “polite and to the point”. I would flush immediately any one whose response made no reference whatsoever to what I had said ie “Hi, I’m, Greg, so how are you? thanks for adding me, hope we chat soon..” (I estimated about 10% responded this way, about another 60% made some reference to what I said but upon follow up messaging ignored/diverted whilst trying to ‘chat’ – they also got flushed the hell away into the EUM sewer). But this is a man you’ve actually been on dates with for crying out loud. It just makes me think he’s living in a fantasy world made up of him and the role he’s allotted to you – sounds like maybe he’s cast you as savior or something like that, any way the point being who you actually are doesn’t appear to mean a goddamn thing to him and so he has the ability to simply ignore something as inconvenient as a question that puts his fantasy into question. I suppose my point with the unmet online guys is that whilst we haven’t met I can understand (and not like it and flush) that these guys are living in a fantasy but at least it’s online and I’m never going to meet them.

          • MaryW says:

            “sounds like maybe he’s cast you as savior or something like that” – exactly EXACTLY what the most recent guy I dated did.

        • MaryW says:

          Shep, I would also fold based on that response. He sounds self-centered with no self-awarness.

          Re my “moderate” comment: I personally find the problem with giving advise to others is that I’ve been hurt (hence why I’m here!) and therefore I am biased. So to counter that bias, I am concious not to jump to the most negative conclusions about a person, especially at such an early stage.

          But ultimately, if your gut feeling is telling you to fold, do it. And better luck next time :)

          • Tinkerbell says:

            I agree. My experience with the MM was so traumatic that I am biased, also. Instead of advising a quick flush I’ll say i.e try more than just one or two dates. After date three if you’re still disappointed, flush. You’ve given ample chances and the person is not worthy.

        • lizzp says:

          A late moment of clarity.

          Your question: What interests you about me? Why don’t you ask me questions so you can find out about me?

          Translation: As above.

          His answer: What interests me about you is that you make me feel like I want to be a better person.

          Translation: I am interested in my perception of you because that perception makes me feel better about myself. I have no interest in you as a separate person because I don’t view you that way.

          • grace says:

            lizzp
            that “better person” line comes from a movie, “As good as it gets” with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.
            Yep, I’ve been fed that line too.

            • ShepN7 says:

              @lizzp: Thank you for the suggestions on online dating- and for the translation piece (I got a smile from that). May I ask- how do you screen profiles for Code Reds?

              @MaryW: As far as this whole process goes, I relied more on past experience than gut instinct as mine is still developing in relationships. I too do not want to dismiss something too quickly or assume bad things are happening when they are not (I have done this before). I analyzed his words for ‘trigger phrases’ that I have heard before and thought about what happened with those people who said those things. In every case, they ended up blaming me for all the problems that arose and what they once said they ‘loved’ about me, they later said they couldn’t stand.

              A key clue was right there in my profile, where I said I do not want to be on a pedestal as it is a lonely place. I referred this particular guy to that part of my profile as one of the other things he said was that I would always be an inspiration to him despite only knowing me a short while. Ick. PEDESTAL ALERT!!!

              Anyway, the road from this sort of ‘better person’ line to ‘you deserve better than me’ is a common trajectory.

              • MaryW says:

                Um yes, the line that you’d always be an inspiration to him is a bit suspect. I don’t know what context it was in, but yes, seems off. You’re not there to inspire someone, any more than I was there to be someone’s “saviour” (yes he said that).

                I agree with your last statement about the trajectory from “better person” to “you deserve better than me”.

                One creep actually told me that I inspired him to be better at sex – to up his efforts in the sack – and he was still rubbish ;) How utterly disgusting that man was.

                Shep, I take it you’ve decided to fold on this one? As Tinkerbell says, if you’re disappointed by date 3 it’s probably best to flush.

                @Lizzp, I missed your advise on decoding profiles too. I am taking a break, but can you remember which article it was posted in, so I can bear it in mind for the future?

                • ShepN7 says:

                  @MaryW:

                  I replied to his message about being a better person referring him to my profile and such and asking a few clarifying questions and no response.

                  The sentence about always being an inspiration was in the context of his saying he hoped it wasn’t the end but if it was…

                  I do tend to think bad things are happening when they are not yet also to not catch on to stuff that isn’t right…. I am the X Files girl: ‘I Want to Believe’ and ‘Trust No One’ co-exist.

                  • lizzp says:

                    ShepN7,
                    “The sentence about always being an inspiration was in the context of his saying he hoped it wasn’t the end but if it was…”

                    After three dates…I dunno, from an outsider’s point of view this guy just DOES NOT appear to be living in reality and open to real exchange with another person. The way he ‘anticipates’ the end (as you put his reply above) annoys me. His reply/s seem really obtuse, off the point, lacking in awareness and responsibility. Is it deliberate or is he just stupid?

                    I am being blunt but I tend to think these days that if a man’s behaviour begins to take up a proportion of time in me second guessing what the eff he means, is he obfuscating (sp?), thick, playing games, autistic, an AC, EU then that in itself is code red alert (for me). If I begin to feel I’m spending too much energy trying to analyse what the eff is with him, I can end up losing respect for him, and not feeling much attraction. Luckily for me these days ‘good looks’ in the classic sense don’t interfere with this process, though I strongly suspect I am still struggling with a ‘type’ that includes some EU ‘qualities’.

                    Hope you’ll let us know ShepN7 what pans out here if you have the time and thank you for sharing as this has clarified a few thoughts/ideas of my own.xo (e.e. cummings kiss my @ss!).

                • ShepN7 says:

                  P.S. MaryW:

                  That guy who said that about being better in bed is a creep.

                • lizzp says:

                  Mary W, ShepN7 re: profile code reds, I think my online dating comment is either on the “Chipping In…” or “Jedi Mind trick” posts. I’m off online dating now but I used to identify profile code reds according to my own personal flags. I think I just give a few egs of what mine are (profile in bold caps is one of them). I think my post was more about outlining a quite clear series of steps that I used to take me from first digital contact to meeting in RL without wasting my time in fantasy building “chat”. I have to tell you I feel like I am almost phobic now when it comes to sites that use Instant messaging and don’t think I’ll go that route again when I return to dating.

                  • ShepN7 says:

                    Lizzp: If you want to share, I’d be interested in hearing what thoughts this clarified for you…
                    It’s certainly helped me to talk this out with you and others here.

                    As far as this guy goes, unless he’s one of those slow burn types who comes back much later with a response (wouldn’t surprise me), I think he’s done.

                    Honestly, I’m pleased to have sorted this relatively quickly, as a week or two is far better than past experiences. The equation of how much mental real estate someone occupies is another factor, which I can work on without the irritants in the picture.

                    At first, I actually liked it that he didn’t many questions as the last person I met had this all-or-nothing approach and bludgeoned me with questions and self-disclosure from the very first encounter. I swear, if someone ever again says to me, “it’s my hormones that make me this way”, I will run away screaming.

                    I notice at work, as I am preparing to leave this job for another one, that I have habits of patterned response built around expecting people to not do their part- which is easy to find at my current job. I tend to either fill the gap or act as if that is happening and above all, feel powerless. I do not want to carry this with me into the new job or relationships. I feel worried about this.

  49. Tulipa says:

    “It really is bad manners at the minimum and an indicator that all he wants is a warm body to sit and listen to his every word in spellbound, enraptured awe.”

    I couldn’t agree more, MRWriter.
    I’m sure the ex AC saw me as a groupie, only interested in him. It is embarrassing to think how long it took him to learn something as simple as how many siblings I have and what their names are.
    In fact I must have spoken up so he called me once and turned the topic to my siblings and their names, I said it sounds as though you are reading it out of a notebook and wow he was.
    It is a RED flag if they can’t recall basic information that you have told them MORE than once it really does boil down to they have no interest in knowing you and just want an audience for their oh so fascinating life.

    • Wiser says:

      I remember that after only one week with the ex EUM he asked me how old I was. HUH? This after I know I mentioned it on the very first date. He couldn’t be bothered to remember something that simple and that essential about me? Big red flag. I was annoyed. I remember telling him sharply, “I told you what my age was.”

      Oh and his response when I told him my age (52) the first time was “That’s about right.” This didn’t register anything at the time, which was pre-BR, but it would now. Meaning this 60 year old guy had criteria about the woman he wanted to be with and I guess I “fit” as far as the age thing went. Guys who are mentally comparing your attributes to some BS list they have in their head, instead of really wanting to know YOU – automatic flush!

  50. Heather says:

    Great article once again. I especially love this part: “They might also choose to suddenly unleash a list of complaints and criticisms that you were entirely unaware of and even contradict previous sentiments expressed, in ‘tit for tat’ style.”

    Yep. Here in America, that’s called “tu quoque”. It’s a defensive, nasty, intentional game.

    Refuse to play it with them.

  51. Brenda says:

    “Respecting a person doesn’t involve never having a conflict or criticism with them. Respecting a person doesn’t involve bullshitting them by sparing them from the truth of their own actions.”

    And that is exactly why the f*ck I don’t want to ever deal with a passive aggressive man again for as long as I shall live, They really THINK love = having basic things in common and NEVER having a disagreement, well.. good luck buddy when you discover she has a mind NOT completely in connection to yours years down the road.

    Then you will fall out of love with her or vise verse and the stupid cycle will continue with an all agreeable thing and the lesson never having been learned.

  52. ShepN7 says:

    This is my current boss, as in passive-aggressive.

    This morning, she had a going-away party for me; this afternoon, she was complaining about me to others where I could hear her.

    :(

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!
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.