i just called to be absolutely sure that you haven't changed

One of the biggest fears people in unhealthy relationships have, is that if they call it as they see it and opt out, that maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon or possibly in 2025, this person may become a better person in a better relationship, with somebody else. This scares the beejaysus out of them because they’re afraid that what they experienced was particular to them hence if this person ‘changes’, it’s perceived as rejection and/or being ‘wrong’ and a ‘failure’.

“I wasn’t good enough to make him/her change. Why this person and not me? I gave my all. I put up with all sorts of crazy sh*t and they had X years of my life – if anybody deserves this change it’s me!”

This is why some people ‘protect their investment’ and reject that it’s not working by remaining in the situation even if it makes them utterly miserable.

Often when readers share their stories with me about why they’re remaining in a relationship or why they’re continuing to engage with an ex even though this person may have moved on to someone else, what becomes apparent is that sometimes we prioritise our need to be right over our need and desire to be happy.

Sometimes we prioritise our need to be right over our need and desire to be happy.

If you’re in this situation where you’re continuing to engage, the fact that it is continuing and they’re participating no matter what the capacity, communicates to you that they haven’t changed and so you can breathe easier in your uncomfortable comfort zone.

It’s like, “Well if I’m going to continue being unhappy, I can at least rest assured that they’re not out there having a better life as a changed person because they’re still texting / sexting / emailing / trying to sleep with me / sleeping with me / borrowing money / making the same BS promises etc.” If you’re No Contact and they stop making attempts, you panic and reach out just to make sure that they haven’t changed.

In the relationship it’s, “We could break up but if we don’t then nothing really has to change and I can stick to dodgy solutions in my people pleasing repertoire and focus on them. If we broke up, I’d have to change but more importantly they might change.”

You’d rather be right about how effed up it is but not so right that you’d act upon the information. Even a little bit of doubt is enough to keep you hooked in.

You know that things don’t look or feel right but you’re blinded because you’re making it about your worth or what you think you might have done to ‘provoke’ their behaviour.

It may feel personal to you, like a special performance of their character for the undeserving, especially if you’ve accepted the unacceptable as a means to ‘get’ their love and validation and so are feeling more than a little ‘owed’.

You want it to be 100% awful / 100% wrong because even 99% in your mind means ‘reasonable doubt’.

And so the cycle continues and you keep engaging and it’s as if you’d rather suffer now and not make a firm decision for fear that some time in the future, this person will change and that even if that time is in ten years time and you’ve actually moved on, you can’t bear the thought of being ‘wrong’. You might even hate the idea that somebody else will come along and recoup the return on your investment. It’s this reason alone why so many people fall for the Returning Childhood Not-Such-a-Sweetheart fantasy.

Continuing to engage with somebody because you’re comforted by the fact that at least you know that they haven’t changed isn’t a healthy reason to remain.

You’re being territorial even though you can’t actually accept this person as they are and forge a healthy, mutual relationship with them. It’s like “Yeah you’re not over your ex / can’t be trusted / an assclown but you’re my rebounder / liar / assclown.” You have to be careful of feeling entitled due to some ‘debt’ that you think you’re owed – it would be better to have standards and boundaries by not accepting shady behaviour or just flat out recognising when you’re no longer compatible.

Hanging around because you want to be doubly sure that they really are effed up and haven’t changed is really effed up not least because you are becoming the barrier to your own happiness and growth. The funny thing is that you may well be confirming that they haven’t changed but they’re also confirming that you haven’t either. They know that you’ve changed when you stop engaging or match your words and actions.

If you’re truly intent on doing right by you, it doesn’t matter about not being around to reap the ‘reward’ of their change because you will benefit from your own. Sure you can make your life about being right, but it’s better to learn from the feedback whether you’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and apply it so that you can be happy.

Your thoughts?

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196 Responses to When You Hang Around Or Keep Engaging To Confirm That They Haven’t Changed

  1. miskwa says:

    I am pretty much the opposite; I want AC to go away forever. Whenever I have to engage with him professionally, it pretty much ruins the rest of my day. I avoid all social situations where he and current victim might be even though it means I am avoiding stuff with colleagues which has been raising a lot of speculation as to why lil Miskwa isnt around much anymore. So much for tbe better; not going to meet anyone Id wish to be with at these functions anyway.

    • Wiser says:

      Miskwa, I hear ya! My AC has finally retired, so I will no longer be running into him at work, which is a huge blessing. The odds of running into him and current GF at social functions are diminishing as well. There are even rumors he’s moving out of town, as in gone for good, which would be too much to hope for! Finally, the phrase “this too shall pass” has come true for me – and hang in there, as it can come true for you as well! Your situation will not go on forever.

    • McKenzieM says:

      Same here. I’ve actually thought of leaving my job for this very reason.

  2. Tired says:

    That was me big big oops . I walked but even though i hung around it was like i wanted to keep a eye on him and hope to see it go wrong or him cheat on new women . Wrong wrong wrong . All it did was make me feel miserable , i wanted to be proved right that this person would fo what hes always done . All it did was make me feel worthless because he didnt want me . Ive took the time from nc to just get better . I still if i was to be honest like to see him get his karma . But its just now and then and not the rage it once was . . I look at how far I’ve come maybe not great big steps but steps all the same . Still a shop girl plugging away but im doing things to change it and ill get there in my time . Don’t hang in and dont hang about , all you’ll get is regret :)

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Tired.. To see them repeat their behavior with someone new (especially the one they cheated on you with)would feel somewhat pleasureable but it still wouldnt take away the damage they have caused us. A leopard doesnt change its spots. In a way I pity the poor girl but hey, I learned the hard way :).. And yes, maybe someday they will get there much deserved Karma and maybe they won’t.. I will never know because NC is my bestest friend ever. It has given me so much PEACE. Last year at this time I was a pathetic mess.Heartbroken,Sad,Angry, & the list goes on but I have grown so much. I am happily single & enjoying it. This site is priceless in my healing.

      • Nancy says:

        I had a friend tell me once that it doesn’t matter if he has karma or not…who cares. Go on with MY life and work on MY happiness.

      • Pandora says:

        Really, Kit-Kat? You now have peace, thanks to NC? How long did it take you to experience that peace? As much as I long for it, I continue to keep the hope that maybe somehow, someway the AC will change. If there’s even a shard of hope ( which it now is), I continue to engage. I am really trying to work up the guts to completely go NC and reading your comment was an AHA moment. That’s what I want. It is not so much about HIM, its about ME and what I need to do for myself to heal and experience that wonderful peace you mention. Tell me more, please.

        • Kit-Kat says:

          Pandora…Its been 18 months NC after a 9yr relationship. Honestly it has taken me this long to be at total peace. I cant say its been easy at all, but to all , it is possible. I dont go to places we use to frequent by my choice. I got rid of everything about us. Gifts,cards pictures ect.I had to start fresh ,make new single friends and build a life without him…For me I think because of the way things ended I had to walk away & cut ties forever.I NEVER imaged he would be ok with his behavior. The fact that he never showed any remorse or said how sorry he was after all our time together. It left a deep scar on my heart but I am stronger-wiser because of it. I wouldnt want a man that was capable of hurting me that much in my life so NC is easy. Healing was hard.

      • Little Star says:

        Exactly Kit-Kat, that what we all wanted PEACE…I have my little peace, I am praying to GOD, that one day I wake up and no single thought about AC:)

      • Evolving_1 says:

        I have been reading for two years. This is my first comment. I too, was cheated on and have been “hanging around”. Part of it is probably the need for validation and the other part is wanting to see him/her get their Karma (she knew about me). I have basically gotten confirmation from his attempts to see me that he will just do the same to her, but it is not enough. I am trying now to get past the wanting revenge (By showing her his inappropriate advances) and need help. I know they are both pathetic and I don’t want to stoop down to that level but I just cannot seem to move on.

    • Confused123 says:

      Tired, honey. I hear you loud and clear. Hang in there.
      You are not alone shop girl.:) I tried to find out about him and even worse, as much about HER?!?! as I could during the first few months even though I was in NC from week 1. The more I found out about their relationship the more excruciatingly difficult it was.

      I never had much contact with either of them and I de-friended him from FB 3 days into finding out about the cheating (and basically him treating me like trash for months). Did that stop me from still looking and finding out what was happening with them with whatever info WAS available via FB? No…I saw pictures of them in Portland and Vancouver all lovely dovey. It made me feel worthless and used. I felt sooo rejected and useless. That day I felt like I got a bullet to the heart.

      I really want karma to get them both but I too have gotten a lot better with the help of BR and the lovely ladies on here. I also FB a lot less. Most of the time I don’t care what they do or even if they are happy anymore. My only solace in this is that he started something with her on such a negative note and her expectations and wants of him are so high that it’s impossible for him to give her what she wants and even IF he does he’d be thoroughly miserable. I can’t help but feel it only a matter of time before it all goes belly-up. Whether I am around to see it not does not matter to me anymore.

      • MissDelray says:

        Confused123 – Your post sounded like I wrote it. WOW. THANK YOU and DITTO.

        Stay strong. You are loved.

    • Lacy says:

      Most definitely hanging around makes you feel miserable.Great comment!!!

  3. Cindy says:

    I’m a 99 percenter type. We’re no contact, he’s cold and callous and there will continue to be no contact but I do wonder how long I have to wait to get this hook out of the roof of my mouth and the thorn out of my heart! Today I saw a grown man cry on Dr. Phil who was going to accept help for his emotional unavailability and save his marriage, and I went back into my depression because he has the same issues that my ex-love had. I wanted to drag him to Dr. Phil so many times, but noooo! I actually am doing work on myself to move on, but it’s one step foward and two backwards some days. Yet I know I can always count on Natalie to utter the logical and sensible words that my twisted psyche needs to hear, thank you, Natalie.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Cindy.. Funny Story . After my break-up with Mr Unavail I came across this fantastic book called: Men Who Cant Love..Anyway, it was my ex dead on in so many pages. Long story short I decided that the ex really needed to read this book. I had the answers for him, I could help him heal from this affiction. So I wraped it up and drove over to his house & stuck it in his mailbox,heart pounding, hyperventalating the entire way :) I wrote something stupid on it like wanted to share this with you blah,blah… So the next day I paced around my house wondering if you got it yet, didnt hear anything, paced some more. Went to bed that night and woke up out of a dead sleep at 3am with this “What the hell was I thinking” feeling. Jumped back in my car went to his mailbox and thank god it was still in there … Hallelujah.. I grabbed it out & took off.. I still smile when I think how thankful I am that he never knew it was there. We need to put the focus on US and our healing.. Who cares if they get help or not. NOT our problem..

      • beth d says:

        Kit that is a funny story LOL It’s revealing how we are trying to fix them and it does take the focus off ourselves. In the meantime we are waking up out of dead sleeps analyzing our actions. Can’t tell you how much that use to happen to me. It actually was the catalyst to me knowing how unhealthy my relationship had become. When I started to lose sleep I always knew I had to get out.

        • Revolution says:


          “When I started to lose sleep I always knew I had to get out.”

          This IS the litmus test, isn’t it? Brilliant.

          I sleep so damn soundly now. I wouldn’t give it up for anyone or anything.

          • beth d says:

            Rev This IS the litmus test, isn’t it? Brilliant.

            Yesss The losing sleep even helped me during post break up. At a weak moment I actually met him to talk post break up. He said all the right things blah blah I couldn’t sleep for 3 days. I texted him “I can’t do this” and went NC again LOL

            • sushi says:

              Beth d,

              your gut was waking you up :)
              I had a similar situation with a break up, except broke up, he talked me round several times and last time I agreed to meet up talk my gut was doing such acrobatics I not only couldn`t sleep I was having breathing problems and felt sick…so just texted ” Can`t do it anymore” and went NC, I know texting is really not on, but it was in self- defence, honest.

              • beth d says:

                I did it in text too. I didn’t want to talk to him and give him a chance to calm me down or anything. Sometimes text is the best way. It is amazing how your body reacts defensively to danger :)

      • Espoir says:

        What a great story !
        I actually wanted at some point to send him a book from Amazon and then it hit me : why should I try to open his eyes (Nat had an amazing post about it some time ago)
        I have a lot to work on myself ant this is what I should do. Apparently this need of fixing is also a sign of deeper issues for ourselves.

        Its all about me now ! Nightingdale days are over

      • Lacy says:

        Hooray for you Kit-Kat!! I stay off Fb book as much as possible.He has a page but rarely post.The woman has a page all summer I would go on there up until oct,the last I heard was her saying she was feeling overwhelmed and complaining about him in code.During which looking back I guess they were going through a break up.Although he still hasn’t admitted to just recently having a child with her but, during my break of nc around vday and being on a fantasy relationship vac, I asked him about her cause he had everything he owned piled in his car,he said that he hadn’t talked to her since around his bday dec. He had to have done something terrible.I say she has been in his life for at least 5yrs me guessing she came along when I was in a relationship with someone else I’m guessing he met her and after my Boyfriend past away I meet back up with him he and I had been apart for at least 2yrs.I’m piecing together this woman was already established as being his girlfriend at the time he and I got back on our fallback situation,they were going through somethings cause within their relationship he had a woman pregnant (DRAMA) she break up with him and thats how I got my part back into the game,or soap opera. I keep going in his phone seeing her text and he would say she just a friend nothing serious but he kept disappearing and one day I did the lowest and called her she said she doesn’t care what I had to say. I wanted to have answers that he didn’t come out and give me,i wish I hadn’t done that and I wonder if I should apologize to her cause it wasn’t her fault? But I am Nc from him and plan on staying that way.

  4. tgodin says:

    Boy oh Boy did this hit home for me! I broke it off with a man that was emotionally unavailable to me and I kept up emailing and picking up the phone because I want to keep him as a friend…and he’s in therapy..blah blah, blah..I didnt want him to hurt…but I was hurting! finally just cut the cord…Im happier, life is going on.
    Its amazing how appropriate and timely your articles are for me. Its like sitting in church and the sermon that week is directed right towards me!!!

  5. This post was such a slap-in-the-face.

    In December, I started proper No Contact with the my first boyfriend who cheated on me and then promised to prove himself, while continuing to see other girls. I tried to break contact with him several times, but every time he tried to get in touch again, I would go running back.

    I found out about his cheating when I suspected he had been lying and logged onto his Facebook to see he had been boasting about ‘getting with her’ and how I didn’t know anything about it.

    Since then, I kept logging onto his fb every time I thought he was lying or just to make sure he hadn’t moved on. I was so scared that he would just find the perfect girl while I stayed alone and miserable.

    I found excuses to run into him (still do) and brought him into conversations so people would talk about his current love-status.

    He last contacted me before Valentines saying he was still in love with me and was deliberating whether or not to send me a card. I ignored the message and received neither a card nor any message.

    I last logged onto his fb sometime in the weekend after Valentines. When I started no-contact in December I was able to avoid logging on for two whole months, then ruined it by logging on as soon as he sent me the Valentines fb message.

    I guess this post just proves that I want a return on my ‘debt’. I was his first girlfriend too, and I feel like I was used and abused simply for the ‘experience’ and then discarded, even though he claimed (and still does) to be in love with me, wanting a family with me, etc.

    I am so scared that he is going to have a perfect life while mine is still stuck on hurt. I have tried to stop caring, but this post just reminded me of all the reasons I still wanted to keep track of him – because I feel like only I deserve the best of him.

    Nevertheless, I now realise that I need to stop this because it is for all the wrong reasons, no matter how I try to justify them.

    Thanks, Natalie. :)

  6. Gillian says:

    OMG…I did this for months under the pretext of being “friends”. I figured that if I were making him dinner and hanging out with him then no one else could!! Many nights I would drive home from his place crying all the way, because I felt so humiliated when he went to bed and left me watching TV and then driving home after too many glasses of wine!! I’d try and check his phone and his email and I became a person that I didn’t like.

    I’ve been NC for 53 days today!! Finally, finally after so much heartache I am starting to feel like my old self and my self-esteem is returning and a sense of freedom. Controlling someone like that is awful and no fun at all! Thank you Natalie for the constant reminders of who I was and who I want to be now.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Congrats Gillian… U made me think of that song ” I just want to celebrate another day of living”.. Except we will change the words to “another day of NC”…It is such a powerful give we give to ourselves..

  7. Natasha says:

    “The funny thing is that you may well be confirming that they haven’t changed but they’re also confirming that you haven’t either. They know that you’ve changed when you stop engaging or match your words and actions.”

    This is exactly what I was thinking when I started reading this post! You know how I got to the point where I no longer have any assclowns randomly texting/Facebooking/morse-coding to see if I’m up for Round 896: Sh*t Is Totally Going To Be Different This Time? I stopped responding by telling them all about themselves/rehashing why they suck/telling them all about how I don’t suck and therefor do not deserve to be on the receiving end of their sucky missives. For serious.

    This is how they got the message that I was for real about, not only NC, but for real about moving on. In my younger days, I would do Faux-NC, i.e. I would not reach out, but I would bide my time until they did. My goal? To teach whatever asshat I thought I was crazy about that I was “worthy of respect”, i.e. “I WILL NOT put up with being treated poorly, but if you send me a text saying you ‘feel bad’ I will totally take your sorry self back.” *AHEM*

    Personally, I hope all my former assclowns are now Model Relationship Citizens. Whatever they do, don’t do, send texts about doing and then proceed to not do, tell themselves that they would totally do if they didn’t have so much going on/unresolved pain from a relationship they sabotaged in 2001/intestinal gas, etc….it has nothing to do with me. If you really take that on board, moving on gets about 2 million times easier!

    • Revolution says:


      Girl after my own heart. And that last paragraph? GOLD.

      Hey, I got an idea! Let’s get on a bus and drive into AC territory (wherever that is….*shudder*) and play “Love Hurts” over a loudspeaker for those poor, hurt souls. I’ll bring margaritas. :)

      • Natasha says:

        Giiiiiiiiirl, I’m in haha! :) Ohmygod, you are too funny lady!

      • beth d says:

        I am hitting my like button too Rev You r 2222222 funny

        • Lois Lane says:

          Totally on board for that bus. And margaritas all around!

          “unresolved pain from a relationship they sabotaged in 2001″…..Hahaha! No Doubt!

          • Revolution says:

            Aww, man! You guys are great! I never thought I’d get so many takers, but you’re ALL invited (Nat, you especially!) In fact, let’s ditch the roadtrip to AC-land and just have maggies all around! Sounds even better! :)

  8. Dori says:

    Love this article and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. My comcern is about recognizing my own shortfalls along with another’s and learning how-to work on them most effectively (like insecurity, comparing self, anxiety, trusting, being available too).

  9. margaret says:

    as always right on the money, Natalie. I have been NC since Feb 4, and feel great. No need to closure, no need for anything except my freedom and self esteem back. He has different core values that I do, which is his privilege, but bending myself into a pretzel to try to live with his juggling other women is over.

    Oh excuse me, I was supposed to call that what he does, “having friends all over the world”, ha ha!

    • Nancy says:

      OMG – I love that “having friends all over the world.” Exactly what my AC calls all his women….just “friends.”

  10. Nancy says:

    I keep reading the post – they all apply to me. This post is ME – exactly ME. I keep thinking he will change. I try no contact and I’m good for awhile and then he txt or calls and I go running back. Nothing is changed. He is a user and he uses me. I’m a nanny to his daughter, I clean his house, do his laundry, have sex with him……what the ‘f’ am I doing? Every time I go over to his place, I sit there while he’s sleeping, and think to myself “Why the ‘f’ am I here?” I know I need to stop, but like the post says, I’m afraid. He owes me – I’ve done so much for him, blah, blah, blah. I’m going to work at this, I want to be free to be who I am. I am so careful what I say, what I do – I just can’t be myself. This is not a relationship, this is an addiction that I need to break. I pray to God that I have the strength to stop. I NEED TO STOP, I WANT TO STOP. I’ll keep reading and hope that I have the strength to move on……..so very sad right now.

    • Allison says:


      Have you considered therapy?

      • Nancy says:

        Allison – sick as it sounds, at one time he was my therapist. You can see how I’m totally whacked out with this. Other areas of my life are good, conventional – work, family, friends, all good. It’s just this one area. My husband passed away in 2004 and there is a long history behind that. Then there is this ‘thing’. Yes, I should consider therapy again – with a female.

        • Mymble says:

          Oh Nancy
          That is horrible, you trust them so much, let them in..
          Last year I started seeing a male therapist who was about 10 yrs younger. He was paying me compliments, told me I was beautiful, said he would like to go for a drink with me sometime, told me about his dating experiences, was treating me for half price, let sessions overrun. In some ways he was the best person I saw but it was messing with my head almost as much as the MM. I stopped seeing him.
          I understand why you are so conflicted, there’s a good reason why therapists are not allowed to do this.
          I think you SHOULD talk to a female therapist.. Someone reputable, unfortunately there are many who show poor professional ethics.

          • beth d says:

            I have a better one for you. My ex Narc finally went to a therapist after our final b/u. He told me he was working on things and would do anything to get me back. When I asked him a few months later how it was going he sounded weird when he said I am not seeing her anymore…didn’t work out. After grilling him like Columbo (yes there was a reason he called me that) for awhile he told me she hit on him and he ended up having sex with her. She became a bit of a fatal attraction and he even sent me her email asking him why he was ignoring his emails and how much she missed him. I was crazed!!! I felt like reporting her I was so mad. I was so disgusted. I actually screamed your one chance to really get help and you blow it!!! I didn’t talk to him for months after that but of course went back for more post b/u mind fuckery when he pulled his pity please talk to me act.

            • Mymble says:

              I would question who hit on who..your ex sounds very manipulative. However she should definitely have known better, known that clients might develop feelings as part of the process but how important it is not to act on them. I found it a real mind fuck, he knew so much about me (I later regretted having been so open with him about certain things) and I knew very little but the snippets he would disclose. He would tell me all about his dating experiences etc but then glare at me if I asked him anything (like if he was religious).
              I was getting sucked in, obsessed, and experiencing the same butterflies, highs, anxiety,fear/pain/drama about the sessions, so I had to stop before i really derailed
              It was a shame, because he did have some helpful insights at times, and the other three therapists I’ve seen (female) have been different shades of lame.

              • beth d says:

                Very manipulative! Oh Mymble I did question that. My ex is as charming as they come. My guess is he started his charm routine and the flirting started. I read the email and she was over the top for him especially sexually. Funny when I read the email I thought to myself…oh honey you so blew it with him laying it all out there that soon. That is the kiss of death esp with a Narc/EU like my ex. I was never so disgusted when he showed me the email. My fault though cause I pressed him for details so I deserved the mind fuck. I also shouldn’t have been engaging at all and breaking NC for his pitiful hoovering. Yes I can see clients developing feelings for each other. BINGO As their therapist you are not suppose to act on them! I am glad you stopped and I am sure it had to be hard since you were enjoying him as a therapist as well.

          • amanda says:

            A few years back, I watched my neighbors go through an ugly divorce. The husband had a known chemical imbalance and had long been seeing a therapist. I don’t know the full story, so all I can say is what I saw, but one day, I learn that he left his wife (moved out) and immediately took up with the therapist. As soon as the divorce papers were signed, he married his therapist. Ugly. The wife was distraught for a long time, but within a couple of years, with this toad out of her life, she actually seemed happier than ever.

            • beth d says:

              Yea well I guess these therapists need therapy too. She probably needed serious therapy after being with him especially since he was really EU after our b/u. My question to him was did you interview the prettiest therapist you can find? What made you go to a woman? I don’t think his criteria for selecting a therapist was very good. Most reputable therapists would not risk their career for an affair with their patient. It is unethical!

        • Allison says:


          Please do.

          You have relegated yourself to maid and escort. What’s worse, it’s all free and home delivered.

    • beth d says:

      Nancy I know the addiction thing is rough especially when they are trying to get you back with charm, romantic dinner dates, gifts, promises of change but I am not getting how this guy manipulates you to return. Laundry duty, and cleaning wouldn’t be tempting to most. It doesn’t even seem that he promises you to change. Doesn’t his behavior disgust you or turn you off at all? If it doesn’t I do believe talking to a therapist would help alot.

  11. Valley Forge Lady says:

    The Toxic man from my past….has started to get in touch with me even though he is married. I am so over him….that I don’t even ask around to find out if he is still married. It does not matter….he was a jerk with me….he is a jerk with everyone.

    I am a bigger jerk if I even think about him!

    Bad men are like bad drugs….GET OFF!!!!!!!

  12. KK2542 says:

    Ladies, take it from me. After being on a roller coaster w my EU man of 4+ I am happy to report I finally am off the ride. In the past each time we broke up, we always got back 2gether. I have MUCH regret that I wasted my early 40’s on such a LOSER. It’s unfortunate that I work w him & on the same floor, but I’m staying strong. He sent me texts & all he can do is say sorry. Sorry is very easy to say showing it is the hard part. He wants to get together & talk which is never going to happen (I am SO done, I don’t even need closure – my silence is my closure). What is there to talk about? Too much damage has been done & I’m moving on with my life. While its not easy – it’s the right thing for me. My advice to all the ladies out there – the long you stay w him the lower self-esteem & self-worth will be. PLEASE get out now – men don’t change – you are the one that has to change. 3 years ago I found this site & never took any if the advice I hoped it would have been different – it wasn’t. He is a loser & I am sorry I ever got involved with him.

  13. Robin says:

    Often, people do change and move on…with or without you. Same goes for ourselves, whether we know it or not. The irony is, when we do hang around and keep engaged just to see if he/she’s changed, we’re holding ourselves and/or our exes back from any kind of growth or real change by staying in the same dynamic.

  14. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. It was a thump in the head. I have been reading your site for the past year as I have been going through the breakup from hell…you know…break up get back together over and over because I can’t face being alone but I know how unhealthy we are together. The last final straw was when he got into my Facebook account and printed off private emails and information so he could show everyone how bad I really am. That was after I forgave him for accusing me of belonging to secret sex groups because I belong to a hiking meetup group. Yes…we are both adults and yes, being treated like a child is humiliating.

    So now, I promise myself every night that I will not answer his emails or texts…he never calls…and I end up checking my phone hoping he will call or text knowing that him not calling or texting will cause me to panic and I will answer his emails tomorrow. It is all so maddening. When does it stop hurting???

    Thank you Natalie, for sharing your wisdom.

    • grace says:

      It stops hurting about x months after you stop engaging. You’re not feeling the loss properly because you’re still in it, but I’m afraid you’re just delaying the inevitable.

    • selkie says:


      Blocking their phone number and email works. Their calls and messages can’t get through so you aren’t sitting there waiting to see if the phone rings or checking it every five minutes. It made a huge difference for me when I was trying to go NC.

  15. CoffeeCat says:

    oh boy I needed to hear this today. Almost ELEVEN months NC and the last couple of days, for whatever bizarre reason, I’ve been all, maybe, just maybe, I could email and say hi. Or something. Still seeking validation, I think, wanting him to say that I was *right* (100% right) and he was *wrong*. Add it up, and the spreadsheet all comes out even. The very last line was for me, I want to be happy and free, not right. Thank GOD this came today, because I was really thinking about being stupid.

    “Sure you can make your life about being right, but it’s better to learn from the feedback whether you’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and apply it so that you can be happy. “

    • McKenzieM says:

      Agreed. I was thinking of breaking NC as well when I got the email notifying this post had been made, so I went to read it and knocked the stupid out of me.

      I just passed a month NC and have been doing well, but every now and then I find myself kind of wanting validation from him. I want him to get how he hurt me because he doesn’t see it. It’s like he has no empathy. When I tried to explain it to him before going NC, it was like trying to get blood from a stone.

      • jewells says:

        Hi McKenzie, Sorry to break it to you, but one of the hallmarks of an EUM is their lack of empathy. You were indeed trying to get blood from a stone, and if you continue to look to him for validation or empathy or anything else that he just does not have for you, you will be banging your head against a brick wall to boot. He will not validate you, that’s your job. His job was to point out where you are not honouring yourself, and he has done a great job of it just like the rest of our Eum’s have done. That’s why we’re here, this is were you will find the information you need to learn to love and validate yourself, so then you can find a partner worthy of giving your heart to. He’s not it.

        • McKenzieM says:

          You’re right, and I know this but it’s so frustrating that he will never get it. Even though the whole situation did me worse for the wear, I’m kind of glad it happened because it brought up a ton of issues that I need to deal with. I’m working on those things an am trying to make myself a better person (I’m even going todo a counseling program). It’s just shitty that I’m having to do all this work on myself and he goes on his merry way with no change whatsoever.

          • jewells says:

            McKenzie, look at it this way: he visited your life so that you could self actualize. His existence brought up all kinds of issues that you did and didn’t know about so that you can be more aware, work on them, become a better person and have a better life. He is on his merry way, still unsatisfied, unhappy and completely ignorant of what he needs to change to become happy. Which do you prefer? Personally, I prefer that I have become more awake aware and alive, and him being around is completely irrelevant to that now. In fact, at this point, if he were to show up at my doorstep and it was apparent he was the same person, I would have zero interest in any involvement as I have a better grasp of who I am and what my needs are and boundaries. He wouldn’t have a chance now. I’ve been doing a lot of work to get to this point, but it’s worth it to get me back. Lets see, reading here everyday, reading Nat’s book, psychology books, some light reading for pleasure, counselling (just for me), massage therapy, some other catch up physical caretaking, started working out, stopped smoking, started classes in personal development eduacation. I would have done little of this, or half heartedly had I not gone through the emotional meat grinder that was the exMM EUM AC Narc. So, I am grateful that he has carried on his merry way, out of my way to get where I want to be. He would have just been excess baggage…

            • McKenzieM says:

              That’s a great way of looking at it. Maybe I just need to change my perspective. I’ve started doing a lot of the things you mentioned, I just know it’s going to be A LOT of work. Thankfully, as you said, I’ll be a better person when I’m done so it will be worth it. Thanks, jewells. :)

  16. Jo says:

    LOVE this site. What Natalie has to say speaks volume in my situation. Have feelings for an EUM……I let him in……..have tried the NC but seem to always give in. It’s embarrassing that I’m even still involved with him at any level. It’s a vicious cycle. I realize to break the cycle it has to come from me. He’s not going to change. He’s never going to give me the relationship I deserve. This site makes me feel not so alone. I look forward to every post. Hopefully it will make me strong enough to maintain NC so I can move on with my life.

  17. MakeItGoAway! says:

    What about being no contact with the person for nearly 20 years and then having them make a friend a request on facebook and having all those old feelings re-emerge. I can’t stand to see the happy couple pictures, I can’t stand seeing their baby (I broke it off because he said he’d never want marriage or children) regardless of how successful my own relationship is or how content my own children are. I pigeonholed that person as a charming, manipulative user/loser and and that’s how they are supposed to stay. I have to argue with myself that I’ve changed and matured and moved on (I emigrated to get away from him) so why wouldn’t he?

    I feel so guilty about these feelings because I’m supposed to be happy for their happiness. I know logically his choices have zero to do with me (I do honest!), yet I struggle to pull my ego out of it. I keep thinking that I can’t watch their family fail, but honestly, I’d feel better about myself if they do fail. Admitting that makes me feel like a terrible person. I don’t know how to resolve my problem.

    • Fifi says:

      MIGA, I did resume a relationship, that I also emigrated to get away from, after 17 years. Failed for all the same reasons as before – basically we were incompatible (although he future faked etc and I just wanted to believe).
      If I were you, I’d just put it down to you being forever incompatible (nothing to do with maturity) and unfriend quietly on facebook.

      • Kleo says:

        I agree with Fifi… it’s a tiny step in the right direction. Unfriend. And be gentle with yourself, but firm in your resolve. I think all the posts on this site prove – you are not alone in your capacity to make judgement errors. We all made them. That’s why we’re here. Let go of that self-blame … it does no good.

        You CAN do it… one minute at a time…

    • amanda says:

      I think that the part of you that hurts and feels resentful is a 20-year-old-younger part of you, not the you who you are today. I bet that you HAVE changed quite a bit in that time, but sometimes, hurts from the past can reawaken our lesser-formed self. Be compassionate towards yourself. There is no such thing as perfect healing. Then, log out of facebook and go outside and embrace the richness of your life, today.
      Here’s an analogy. I recently went to a 20-year high school reunion. I had hoped to intersect with old classmates with an open heart, but within an hour of being at the event, I felt the same old yucky resentful feelings of not being cool enough. While I have struggled with love over the last 20 years, I haven’t struggled with making friends. I haven’t had to worry about being cool or uncool since my social life no longer has that pressure. But, bring me back to a time where things were less happy, less empowered, and I regress back into those old feelings. Be self-forgiving, and be grateful that your new life is as good as it is! Good luck.

  18. Kim says:

    Been there, done that. My ex AC treated me horribly during our 2 1/2 year relationship, and then immediately after I ended it because I couldn’t take it anymore, found a new woman, a presumably smart and together person, whom he is still with and is engaged to be married. They may have even gotten married, I don’t know, and don’t care. The point is, I have beat myself up over this for 3 years, I actually relapsed myself after being clean and sober for 3 1/2 years (back in recovery, thankfully and clean and sober again), and was repeating the same negative thoughts over and over again … “why does she get the “changed” man and not me?”, or “eventually he will show his true self and she will run for the hills, and then he’ll get his comeuppance,” or “why hasn’t she seen him for what/who he really is?” And then I worried that maybe it was me all along, and that it was I who was the crazy one, and that the guy he is now is really who he is, that I brought out the worst in him. Everyone I meet who knows him from work, or through other social situations, tells me what a great guy he is. However, I know that he treated his ex-wife similarly for 22 years, and she developed a prescription/substance abuse problem of her own, and finally got clean and walked out on him and sued him in the divorce and got his entire retirement. He used to say to me, when he was going through the divorce and had another contentious meeting with the lawyer, “why does she hate me so much?” or “what did I do to deserve such vindictiveness?” I would cluck and soothe and say, “Oh honey, it’s not you. She’s just an unhappy person.” Whatever. It just doesn’t matter anymore, because the more I worry over this, the more he wins, the more I stay mired in the past, and the more I am prevented from being happy. Whether he has changed, whether the new gal will wake up one day and realize what a mistake she has made, or worse, never really fully realize it and start blaming herself for feeling there’s something not quite right, or whether we did bring out the worst in each other just doesn’t matter anymore. It’s in the past, can’t change that even if I had the power to do so, and in regards to the new relationship, it’s really none of my business. I have made a conscious decision to turn over all of the pain and dark thoughts, and things I cannot change to my higher power, let go completely and move on. Nat, this blog and numerous other self-help books have helped me to come to that realization that I must love myself first, treat myself right, and teach others how to treat me. I am in a new relationship now with a man who knows how to communicate in open, honest, intelligent, productive ways, and every day brings a new “gift” in the form of this relationship. He lets me know how much I mean to him in little, genuine, and authentic ways that touch my heart. And one day with him is better than the 2 1/2 years I spent with the ex-AC and that is all I need to focus on. That is what matters now.

    • grace says:

      I was perplexed when the abusive ex went on to marry the next person. It’s not that I wanted him, but it was irritating that I was unhappy and he seemingly happy.
      However, looking back some years later and in a newish relationship, even if the ex stopped being abusive he couldn’t be the right person for me. He just didn’t have the depth of character that my boyfriend has. Whether he has now is immaterial … but I doubt it.

  19. Stace says:

    This is a timely and much needed post. After going on NC for almost two months I’m now starting to think about my AC and his whereabouts. Thoughts of the many ways to say hi and engage in conversation to check in to see if he’s changed or still an inconsiderate boy is starting to pop up. For every thought that comes up I ask myself why, what will I really gain by contacting him. What if he hasn’t changed, am I willing to go down that road again. What if he has changed and has a girlfriend now; would I want to subject myself to that slap in the face. I usually get a no to both answers. In the off chance that he has changed and wanted to see me wouldn’t he make contact and be sincere in his actions and words; I hope so. Since hasn’t contacted me then it’s safe to say he’s moved on or stuck (who knows), either way I’ve chucked this up to experience and a lesson learned. I don’t need to check in on someone who wasn’t or didn’t make an effort to even be a real friend….
    He knows I’ve changed and that’s satisfaction enough!

  20. kookie says:

    wow, nat it’s like you followed me home. just this very last night i bumped into my epiphany ex-EUM i was in an ill-fated casual arrangement that i didn’t really find out was casual( thought we were just in the ambiguous pre-dating phase and it was confusing cos unlike all my other casuals he would take me on dates, hang out nonsexually and introduced me to all his friends etc) til he told me he wanted to sleep with other ppl and that it had been casual all the while and i opted out ( at least he told me before doing it , ey?) he asked to grab coffee after and while i was hesitant at first part of me was kinds curious to confirm that he is still the same and we broke of amicably so i thought no harm. when i met him he was charming, alive and positive about life in general though he did admit he had been struggling for over ten years to well and truly get over his last girlfriend and since their relationship had broken down has not been truly emotionally available and i guess i kinda knew i wasn’t either so at the time it had worked for me.i know in a sense his whole ex-gf thing is an excuse but i do still feel sorry for him because i think he truly believes in how this is an insurmountable obstacle and after reading BR i see many women in similar positions with their exes for years on end so it is not beyond reasonable doubt. i do believe that he is not really cut out for the casual life he has chosen and of course he has no problem ploughing through women , i think it does have it’s toll on him. his solution to not ever trying to get over his ex is to increasingly increase his level of uninvolvedness in his words i “need to get out more” and maybe get to know more people in the hope that ( he actually believes this) he meets “the one” who snaps him out of pining for his ex and into a life of monogamous committed he claims to eventually want. he has dated in stopgap relationships that end quickly, had short lived flings with no others like with me, and now after me his “get out more”ness was gonna try full on lothario tons of girls on the go and it has exploded in his face. the man at coffee last night was a shadow of himself, after i broke things off with him i told that if what he wants is a full -on f-buddy he needs to cut out the whole making it feel like a relationship thing cos it’s confusing though i guess i am glad he didnt treat me disrespectfully or anything. sooo the next thing he did was start hooking up with his flatmate when he moved but told her straight up he would sleep with others. and he did, which led to increasing tensions in his new flat , despite her saying she was ok with it. i didn’t ask for full details on it but basically culminated in her quitting not only the flat but her job and the country. he has been on a steady decline psychologically, he looks much older than his 35 years ( he honestly looks like shit),seems tired and he said last night he feels “stagnated” with his life in general. basically his life has come to shambles since i left him which on some level i thought would make me happy but it didn’t , i just looked at his huge empty blue eyes and felt so sorry to see him in such a sorry state. i was well feeling bad for him when of course he ruined it by suggesting we go have sex, i asked what the point of that was and he said it’s a nice thing to do and he enjoys it. i asked if what he told me when we broke up had changed and told him that i still don’t wanna be on rotation. he said what he had said wasn’t happening in reality and he isn’t having all this sex i think he is after all. i told him that doesn’t change that that is what he wants and i’m still not down for it but i wish him the best. he then said he was glad i was upfront and did not sleep with him and feel bad after. ugh, he looked so pathetic, guys, but it still didn’t impact on my own journey at all. seeing him miserable did not make me less miserable about where i have allowed my life to end up and no matter his faults i honestly do not like the side of myself that was secretly laughing at the pain of everyone in this self-imposed fuckery hell. it is an ugly side of myself that i do not ever want to see again. i do not want my positive, happy end to have to come with a negative for him to see what he could have had. i want to get to a point where i don’t care either way what anyone else does with their life cos mine is so awesome.it’s so tempting to stay tuned to this trainwreck in slow motion but it will bring me nothing.

    • Gentle Soul says:

      Hi Kookie

      Good that you are finding new direction and not stepping back into the drama. Sorry but I couldn’t help but notice the large proportion of words spent talking about HIM. Hope you are trying to turn the off button on that and shift the focus to you.This will help you get to the point where you don’t care about HIM any more. Keep up the good work!

      • kookie says:

        thanks gentle,

        don’t worry i read this and wrote a comment right when i got home . i was still raw and shellshocked to see him after so long out of the blue.
        it’s me me me me me most days 😀

        • EUM Roberto says:

          thanks for sharing this Kookie. I appreciate the detailed write up because i can see myself heading in the direction in which you described.

          I agree it is a sad state to be in. For me it’s getting over my xwife and only been going on few months.

          I take what you wrote as a warning – thank you

  21. ssmith says:

    As always – on time natalie! No contact for almost 4 months, so glad. I have the wondering thought if they have changed? I realized that when I was in this unhealthy relationship, putting up with repeated shady behavior this was damaging my self esteem. They are who they are! Shady is their character and they have proven more than enough times – they are not going to change! Character flaws take time and effort, and shady is unlikely in my opinion, not too quick to follow through. It really is about ‘me’moving on, getting healthier, better self esteem. Who cares who they are with now. I/we are better off without someone who didn’t meet our standards or shared values! Be strong family – time heals

  22. stacey allam says:

    my ex when he contacted me wanting to be friends on facebook after 33 years said that before he left for college he struggled with idea of getting me a ring but did not want to give me the wrong idea about our relationship i told my husband who can resist such sweet talk and raised my hand right before i blocked him why would tell an ex something like that if you want to be there facebook friend its like saying was thinking about getting you a nice thing but decided i didnt want to give you the idea that you were worth it to me so i didnt wasnt that great of me i was being honest

  23. Earthskyguy says:

    ”Sometimes we prioritise our need to be right over our need to be happy”. I’ve spent years of my life following this idiotic need. I hope it’s a lesson i’d never need to learn again. Always choose love, care and respect for yourself over ‘right’…Natalie where were you in my 20’s and 30’s..oh and up to last year when i turned 40.. Your website could have saved me from some dumbass mistakes throughout my whole love life…I genuinly only just feel like im getting a clue since visiting your website daily.

  24. Warriorgrrl says:

    Crap. This is me. Just today I considered breaking NC because “hey I’m over it” and secretly wanting to show him how much I’ve changed (and my new fabulous haircut). After reading this i realized that I am: Seriously. Not. Over. Him. These were excuses to check in and make sure he was the same douche bag that would cuddle, woo, lie, use and sleep with me for his convenience. Duh. Of course he is -at least he probably still is – the point is that it doesn’t matter! If I’m moving on then I have to move on and acknowledge my own drama. This was perfect. I’m grateful I didn’t humiliate myself seeking validation. I’m fine just the way things are – sans douche bag. Master of my domain!

  25. walkingshoes says:

    This post was a wow factor to me. I like all the women who post have a love for a EUM. Funny thing is we were never bf/gf. We were just “Friends however we have had a noncommital relationship for over 10 years off and on. There were sooo many red flags way early on and I replay those hurts and red flags over and over because I just have left him alone along time ago. I kept hoping that he would change and maybe if I showed loyalty and sexed him the way he liked he would see that I loved him. Never happened I too have hung around and have had the no so pleasant pleasure of watching him treat Miss Boo way better than he treated me. I have been intimate with him and saw him out right after and either alone or with HER and he acted like he didnt know me or should I spoke to me very casually. I had to put my game face on act like I wasent broken inside but I cried funeral times all the way home. I am now getting the courage and strength to accept that he doesent want Me and to have my best interest and leave the on his terms relationship. Thank you Natalie for being all your blogs they are helping me to recognize I dont have to be ashamed or continue to stay in disfunctional casual relationships.

  26. TR says:

    I did this for a while last year with a guy on the rebound. And from what little I know of his previous relationship, I suspect his girlfriend did, too — she invested almost a decade with him, and he never married her, despite his claims that she was the one he was going to spend the rest of his life with. No way I’m wasting that much time on man! Now I’m glad that he was never very interested in me, because it makes NC so much easier that he can’t be bothered to check if I’m still interested in him. 70+ days and counting!

  27. Chris says:

    I ended a 1.5 year nightmare today with my assclown. After finally professing his love and asking me to not give up on him, when I told him I couldnt wait anymore, his answer was,”Fine.” Fine is all I get for almost two years of heartache and mental distress and loss of self esteem. Fine… always trust that uneasy feeling in your gut. Its telling you to run amd never look back.

  28. Peanut says:

    Testing the waters with unavailable men and abusive men you’ve had to cut contact with is not a good idea. Ever. I did this, albeit the motive was subconscious.

    I didn’t piece it together until the aftermath: near twenty four hours of me being in a constant state of hysteria and fearing that I had really pissed off a rageful narcissist and subsequently fearing for my life.

    Yes, my reaction was disproportionate. I’m not a child anymore and my father cannot hurt, intimidate, manipulate and abuse me like he did growing up unless I let him.

    The situation triggered that fear I lived with growing up that my father was going to kill me or that I would die as a result of his carelessness. He was full of rage, exposed me to drugs and drug abuse, shady people, and drunken driving.

    I am not a teenager anymore. Life is not hopeless. I can stand up to my father by exerting my right to say NO.

    No more manipulation, false promises, needless chaos, blaming and shaming me for things that are not my fault: No said through NOT ENGAGING. It’s not my fault my father is not capable of loving me.

    But I AM capable of loving me.

  29. NK says:

    I did this all the time with my ex narc. Up until last year from 2008!
    It was about having him in the background to show me what’s right with the world. That my world view hasn’t changed. Weirdly of he have chandd and turned decent or whatever I wouldn’t be going back go attention. It may force me to see things differently!
    Also this morning I dumped my boyfriend for the second time recently. He’s a good man and yet he irritates me to the point where I dont want to be around him. I think I secretly got back with him in the first instance because it was easier than trying to get a hold of my casual sex issue. I hope he finds someone worthy because Imot certainly ain’t!

  30. Tired says:

    I made the right plum descision of when being a plum , to asking him to block me in fb . He said he did not know how dont look . He nknew hed hurt me so it took all my strength to block him and i never looked back . I have healed quicjer by doing that than anything eles , it was a addiction to self bloody torture . Ive surprised my self that i havent unblocked and no desire to . Why hurt myself i have done enough of that . Its a year ago since i found out i was a fallback and i can see i have got stronger slowly , i been nc before xmas . He got in contact ( i never replied ) and told me about his new job etc and all it did was make me feel shitty but it made me glad i know bugger all eles . Just a few lines from this shady person brings all tgat toxic shit up to the surface , comparing , wwhy her etc etc .i dont need it . It has made me feel a little bit bla but talking to a good friend last night and im okay again and back on track . Still nc out of site really is good for our minds x

    • Earthskyguy says:

      Facebook should come with a relationship warning…It should me made law because i don’t think people realise just how damaging it can be after a break up…It’s a whole new level of difficulty in moving on when having to deal with fb bollocks…Even now i have to stop myself months later…I doubt she is…I wish fb never existed.

  31. Lilly says:

    I have no desire to hang around to see if the exAC/MM/Narc becomes a better person. If he does then good luck to him, but I am convinced he won’t because he can’t or doesn’t want to. I think he is a miserable, unhappy person who uses others for his own ends and will continue to be and do exactly the same. I accepted the unacceptable to try and ‘get’ his love and validation, but no more. His treatment of me was not a reflection of my worth it was who he is, a cruel excuse for a human being. Thank goodness I found BR. Now I can start to have some standards and boundaries. No more shady behaviour on my part either I never want to experience this kind of pain again.

    • Mymble says:

      Good for you Lily. Hold onto that thought. I went through a couple of cycles of cutting contact, getting 90% over it but in the process “forgetting” how awful it was, getting nostalgic over the “good bits”, wanting to show him I’d changed (whereas actually, as is pointed out here, I was proving I HADN’T) and breaking NC. And NO he had not changed, and although I had changed somewhat it was not enough. There was/is no silk purse to be made out of that pigs ear, as they say. You end up just crucifying yourself all over again. When you go back in, too, you have more awareness which actually makes it worse – part of you is watching yourself in disbelief, and noting how it unravels in exactly the same way as before, and wondering why on earth you are wasting your time on something so futile.
      I’d never actually thought of him being miserable, he gave the impression of being as happy as Larry, but on reflection I don’t think he can have been. His life has all the trappings of outward success but I think was inwardly empty and meaningless. He once said that his wife complained of his nihilism, which is perhaps a fancy way of saying he was a miserable energy sucking git.
      Back on the NC again. I’m done, and am going to stay done this time.

      • Lilly says:


        I agree, once a pigs ear always a pigs ear. It’s only been 15 days of proper NC, but each day is one more away from that inhumane creature. The thought of going back to square one and going through all this again is enough to keep me on track. Here’s to keeping away from these miserable energy sucking gits (lol). We can do it.

        • beth d says:

          You are doing great Lilly It truly is like going back to square one so stay the course. It is worth it!

  32. RubyTuesday says:

    I really needed this today. I have what I call an ‘interest’ in an ex, who is a MM. He has now run off with a new woman he’s known 3 months leaving his wife and children, something he ‘couldn’t do’ before. I’ve had a relapse and spent a while wondering what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t good enough, although I know deep down he is flawed, and a 3 month fling vs a 20 year relationship with his W or 4 years with me is nothing and probably lust. Whatever the reason, I needed this article today so I could stop analysing the situation and stop beating myself up for being unworthy. I won really, I’m not stuck with an ads clown that will lie, cheat and disrespect. Thank you NML. XxxxxxX

  33. natashya says:

    oh man… this one hit home. i have been NC for 3 months now and i want him to stay out of my life but i DO have crazy fears that the EUM will meet someone else and will treat her with the love, care and respect i wanted from him. i still have some work to do.

    • Natasha says:

      Natashya (great name, btw :)), let me give you some food for thought here. I posted a comment above about how I no longer have any assclowns bothering me. Well, it turns out I pulled a “Beetlejuice”, because lo and behold, this afternoon didn’t I get a text from the biggest assclown I ever drove myself nuts over. Now, I have not heard from this fool in well over a year and this is what he texts me:

      Hello Natasha
      What’s up

      Yes, he couldn’t even bother to punctuate properly. In fact, “B*tch couldn’t even be bothered with a question mark.” basically sums up our relationship. I was involved with this guy on and off starting when we were 24 and 26 years old. I am 31, which would make him 33. That is seven years’ worth of opportunity to get one’s sh*t together. I am willing to bet, based on those riveting texts, it still hasn’t happened.

      What I’m saying is, I could spend from now until I was 86 wondering if he’d changed into Prince Charming. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to enjoy the changes I’ve brought about in myself and the more fulfilling relationships that come with that? Clearly. Keep moving forward and you won’t regret it. Hope this helps!

      • natashya says:

        hi natasha… :)

        you are absolutely right. the focus should be on me and not on him. i’m trying and i’m getting better (very slowly, but surely).

        the thing is though that the EUM i was with isn’t an actual AC. yes, he did dance the periphery of assclownery by the way he faded out on me, but i know deepdown he isn’t a jerk. i think he thought he might love me, but then realised he didn’t and didn’t know of any other ‘way out’. so yes, that’s why i am actually afraid that he’ll meet someone with whom he will fall in love with and give her the relationship i had envisioned with him.

        i know this makes no sense. what matters is how he treated me. but aren’t most fears irrational?

        • Natasha says:

          Ahhhh yes my dear, most fears ARE irrational! I love that and I’m going to use it, btw :) I think with an EUM it’s more a combo of them (a) not knowing what/why/how they are feeling and (b)them knowing on some level that they don’t have the capacity for a loving relationship and jumping ship as a result. His loss. You sound like a very level-headed, intelligent lady and I have no doubt you’ll be where you want to be, sooner rather than later!

  34. Zoe Zoe says:

    Thank you. I have had NC for 10 days. Learning how to focus on (know about) my needs when I find it easier to focus on others. Keep saying to myself “When I think about him, I am not thinking about me.” And realising that if I bring the fun and energy to the relationship, it means I still have fun and energy in my life. Your blog has helped me considerably for almost a year now. I still make mistakes but I’m getting a better sense of myself. Truely, thank you.

  35. NK says:

    Insightful thoughts came flooding through last night and today – something i’ve spoken about numerous times and something I have tried and failed to do numerous times. I am giving it a go AGAIN. After breaking it off with my boyfreind whom my I realised that he still relatively naive and has codependent tendancies. He never initiates sexual stuff because he feels like he’ll get rejected, which has NEVER happened between us ever? its something he has from his own issues and I cant stand it. Anyways, I have known for a long time that I need an extended hiatus from dating, sex, male attention, flirting – ALL of it. I just completed this quiz from that man detox website. Confirms my suspicions about sex addiction and my tendancy in the past to be coodependant. So I hope this is my enlightening moment – the day I start to find the strength to go at least 6months to a year without ANY sex or dating or flirting, because I dont seem to go more than a few weeks without them. Even when i had a 3 month sexual hiatus last year I still had a male friend who loves me on my case.

    I’ll be committing to a blog to share my challenges and visiting here, FOLLOWING THROUGH with ideas, hobbies, work, productive stuff. It does seem that every time I try I do it better so…..

  36. Ellen says:

    This is perfection!!! Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. Love, love, love!

  37. Lau_ra says:

    Todays post struck me really hard…Just before seeing it I had this thought that the men I’ve been with seem to go into a longterm relationships or even marry in a short time after they are over with me, so it is difficult not to start wondering if I’m not suitable for a normal relationship or what. I also catch myself thinking that I was wrong saying they are jerks if they are able to create with others what I wanted with them. I do understand that its not logical to think that its only me who can change and they don’t have a chance of changing, yet when this change happens (or at least its how it seems) right after me and in a short period, and like all the effing time, its really upseting:( And I don’t really know how to fight this feeling of not being *good enough* to establish a relationship with at such moments.

    • Lacy says:

      Lau-ra I know the feeling all to well this is something hard to understand.I see it as,and I could be wrong,that no one is obligated to stay with anyone.Thats why its divorce and break ups,some people just view commitment different,they stay and work out their issues and don’t step out of that commitment. Some people don’t know what they really want and get with someone and say they want one thing out the relationship and find out they need more,maybe they are greedy or just an asshole or their expectations on what they want out of a relationship changed and they can’t or don’t want to compromise and give you what you need and want. It feels like you’ve been stabbed in the back when you see they turn around and love someone else,But then we can and need to do the same thing,one door closes another one opens,but now its hard to vision that happening but I believe it will!!

      • Lau_ra says:

        thank you for kind words. I do know we have to move on, its not like I want the guy back or smth.Yet its just so painful that after acting terrible with you he is still perceived as quite a nice guy:( today the mutual friend of mine and the latest AC, who simply vanished, posted a photo from the holiday, and there he was, of course…I thought I’m so over him, yet my feet went almost numb. I see it still hurts bad…

  38. Shyner says:

    Oh, for goodness sake – this is me all over, right now. I’m so disappointed in myself. I’ve been doing so well and I don’t know what’s got into me, really. I’ve been battling with the NC thing for the last few days. It’s only been 10 days but feels like longer. I’ve got the most enormous phone bill to pay from when we were in touch when he was abroad so perhaps it’s time I put the bloody book on ebay, seeing as it’s so f*cking valuable. I’m in a right mood. I’m better than this. I’ve got a massive emotional hangover from my dad going AWOL years ago and me being the last person to see him. Like it’s my fault he ditched the whole family. Oh, I’ll get over this – at least I know where it’s all coming from. I feel rubbish but I’m not going to contact him. One step forward, five back.

    • Shyner says:

      Today is a better day! Much better.

      • Allison says:


        You’re really dragging this out with this damn book. Why not send it to the friend, and be done with it?

        If you sell it or trash it, he may try to to come back with a lawsuit for the value of the book.

        Please return the book, and try to move on from this guy.

        • Shyner says:

          Yep, you’re right. Although, the whole thing is fading in my head. I’m not very good at the ‘just drop it’ thing, especially at the moment because I am making sure I deal with all of this properly and take care of myself properly. It’s painful, a bit cringeworthy, baffling, exciting and calming. What a mish-mash but overall, I am enjoying the process. There are ups and downs but I do think it’s worth hanging in there because despite the backward steps sometimes, my ‘relationship’ with him has served as an epiphany. You’re right to give me a kick up the arse, though! Occasionally, I have wondered if he has changed but really, why would he and so what if he has? I only have to mention one of the one hundred things he said or did and my friends remind me once again that he’s barking and cruel. The further along this process I get, the more it is clear that this is all about our relationship with ourselves. There’s no escaping that!

          • Allison says:


            It will take time. It did for all of us.

            I see the whole book thing, as prolonging the process: it’s your last tie to him. You’re making this into a much bigger deal than it has to be, simply give it to the mutual friend, so that you can move on.

            • Shyner says:

              You’re absolutely right. When something is a catalyst for change, even if you know it is a positive thing, it can still be scary because it is like kicking the crutch away. It’s a process, a process that’s much bigger than just the end of a relationship. It’s the start of something far deeper and longer-lasting. It’s interesting. The book is nothing more than what you say and it’s a bit sad, really. I really don’t want to get into slagging him off anymore; this is about me, now. I think the anger was a driving force that took me so far, but it’s not healthy to hold onto that for too long.

              • Allison says:


                You’re right! The anger simply eats away at you – been there done that.

                I think we work up so much unnecessary nonsense in our heads that when you finally let go, you recognize how destructive it was. When I decided to face myself and move forward, I felt peace, and knew I had given myself an enormous gift.

                Shyner, you’re the only who can help yourself!

                • Shyner says:

                  If you take the emotions out of the equation, it’s a very simple story/process. So, I guess that’s the sensible thing to do; don’t try and fight with the emotions, just engage with them, recognise them for what they are and that way you take the power from them to use in a more healthy and constructive way. Of course, it’s all very easy for me to say that now, what with allowing myself be completely owned and influenced by then for a while but I’ve got there. Now, the work begins!

  39. Tenneil says:

    I’ve been in NC with my ex-EUM (and AC) for around two months now and it has been the best thing for me. I have never experienced so much self-growth, knowledge and strength, and I never would have had my epiphany and discovered BR. I must admit, I did check his Facebook a couple of times to see whether he has changed or not, but it only made me cry. No new fallback girl or anything, but just the fact that he was moving on and forgetting about me. I knew it was time for me to start forgetting about him too, which is extremely hard, but I took it that extra step and I’ve blocked him now too.

    I have no idea whether my ex-EUM will change or not. I think he has potential and if he does change, it won’t be for me. He once said to me that he felt ready to settle down because he’s had all the fun he could, but it doesn’t the fact that he’s emotionally retarded and he’s never going to be happy settling down unless he addresses his issues. This guy can’t even see his best friend regularly because he’s too “needy” and preferred another friend over him because he was “easy”. I don’t even want to know what he thought about me! Even if he did come back to me a changed man, I wouldn’t take him back because the trust and respect for him is gone and could never be gained back. I’m better off meeting new people who I don’t have a history with.

    I was in a long distance relationship with this guy, which was his excuse for ending things with me. I’m so glad I only wasted four months with him and it didn’t drag on for as long as it potentially could have if we were living in the same city.

    At 24, I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced this at a young age and not ended up married to one of these disgusting men. I actually feel more confident than ever before and my self-esteem is boosted everyday by myself and not because waiting for validation from someone who can’t give anything but crumbs! I’m learning to cook, exercising and I’m actually applying for jobs and getting interviews instead of not believing in myself that telling myself I’m not good enough. I have plans to move to a new city at the end of the year and for once, I’m actually embracing change. Once I’ve found full happiness within myself, I know I’ll truly be ready to put myself out there and find real love in a real relationship. For the first time in my life, I’m not scared of growing up and it’s all because of this assclown and discovering BR. Reading all the comments has helped me a tremendous amount too and helps me to tell myself everyday that I’m better off without him. Thank you, Natalie and thank you, lovely BR ladies!

    • Lacy says:

      Tennile You are very wise to opt out of that situation.Delaying the process takes longer and then u look up and its 5 or more yrs or your married,and its harder to find yourself through the mist of all that confusion.Good Luck to you on your journey may you <me and every woman on this site find peace and love within ourselves and God bless us back with the same in return!!

      • Tenneil says:

        Thank you, Lacy! Contacting him or checking his Facebook would only bring more pain than he already caused, so it just makes sense that I would avoid those things! If he’s changed, he’s changed. I think it’ll be a while until he does change if he does and I kind of hope he gets his karma. At the end of the day, I can’t control him and the only thing I can is myself. In four measly months, I’ve already been through enough misery and I just don’t want to feel that way ever again. The only way to move forward is not to go backwards! I wish you all the best too and we’re going to come out much stronger and wiser women having gone through this!

  40. geekgirl says:

    I needed to read this. I’ve been really struggling the past few weeks.

    A couple of weeks ago the ex’s profile popped up on the online dating site I’m on (and where I met him, almost exactly a year ago). That was such a shock, and I broke NC, and said hello. We had some inane conversation, before he stopped replying.

    The thing is, if I look, I can see his profile. I know he will delete it, the moment he finds someone new (he did that with me too). And so I’m dreading that moment. And I know that’s stupid AND I HAVE TO STOP CHECKING.

    And also, his profile is full of lies, about his job, his age, and the fact that he says he is childless (he has a three year old son). These are the same lies he told me, and which were uncovered over the course of our relationship. And you’re right it makes me feel good, knowing he hasn’t undergone some miraculous transformation, and it still basically a crappy person. And again, I know I shouldn’t be looking for confirmation about this. The way he treated me should be confirmation enough.

    Its just that its EASY to KNOW all this, and harder to actually enact it, every day. But, I’m plugging on. And this post was a timely reminder.

    • natashya says:

      geekgirl, i so get that. after the EUM dumped me, he was right back on the dating site where we met (actually, he never deleted his profile). i had deleted my profile when i met him (i thought he was the love of my life *snort*) but i created a new one, basically just to spy on him as i was in no state to be dating. i would be online all day, checking to see what he was doing. if he had posted new photos (he did… ones i took of him.), if he was online, when he had last logged in… tiring, to say the least.

      i’m not saying this is what you’re doing, but i’m telling you to let you know that this is crazy making behaviour. you are going to have to stop this before it becomes a deeply engrained habit which will be very hard to break.

      i did the right thing for me, and deleted my profile. then i figured out that i didn’t need to have a profile myself and i could still spy on him. then this went on for a while (speaking of psycho) and then i finally installed chrome nanny and i blocked the site. i know it sounds ridiculous, but i need to protect myself from checking up on him. i have been tempted to unblock the site, but every time i’m about to do it, i get just those extra few seconds of time to think about what i’m doing. just enough to make me realise that i’m about to self harm and then i stop.

      • geekgirl says:

        Hi Natashya,
        Thanks. And I KNOW. I HAVE to stop, and yes I should just delete my profile. I thought I was ready to date again, but on reflection, I guess I am probably not. I wish there was some way of speeding the process along!

        • natashya says:

          it doesn’t look like you’re ready to date. if the ex AC still takes up that much head space, you might want to wait a little.

          there actually is a way of speeding up the process. it isn’t a glamourous one though: keeping NC, deleting your profile as the need to check up on the AC seems to be compulsive and don’t check up on him anywhere. install chrome nanny if you must. after i had just blocked any way of checking up on the ex EUM, i almost felt twitchy… like a crack addict pacing for her next ‘fix’, but this feeling will subside.

  41. KK2542 says:

    Lilly, AMEN. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    :-). May we find someone who will treat us like the good people we are!!! It’s refreshing to see makes me feel better that I am not the only person who put up w crumbs! Sad but I am stronger as a result and I’m not putting up w it. They say when a women is done she is done – I hope everyone on this site is done, because if you r thinking of going back – DO NOT – it will get you nowhere. It’s a waste of time. ALL you ladies are better than that.

  42. Discarded says:

    Love this. What I’ve realized though. He won’t ever change. He might be with someone for years, days, hours. The same end game happens. He is a narc and will never change

  43. Misty says:

    I can so relate to this post too! After a long fantasy LDR relationship. I went NC and broke it three different times in one year. Today is the anniversary of the date it all unraveled. Every time I broke NC I felt worse! He would say horrible things and I would torture myself by reading twitter or FB. In the end the perfect love he found in his country crashed an burned 3 weeks ago he emailed me but I can’t deal with anymore!!!

    There comes a time when you stop making full deposits into a relationship that is giving you partial withdrawals. Life demands full investment & if you feel your not getting your full benefits its time to evaluate if this the position you want. Don’t live your life pleasing someone else & not feeling the same in return. This is your life too!!! Big hugs to all you wonderful ladies here….such a wonderful site here!~

  44. Nancy says:

    What a timely article. I have been frozen with fear of letting go. When my friends ask me what it is I’m so scared of losing, I stumble on my response. This really does help clarify why I’m scared to go NC. I’m not there yet….but getting closer.

  45. Lacy says:

    Hey!!!!Nat you are speaking directly to me.I have been a fall back woman for at least 12 yrs,thinking but knowing I didn’t have a healthy loving relationship with this man,but yet didn’t want to walk away and feel like I’ve lost. My feeling was that I put so much into him.Actually looking back I really didn’t because I am an Euw and I don’t know how to love or show love in a healthy manner.He and I had a talk the day he dumped me back in Aug he said I was lazy I don’t want to do 3 ways,I don’t want to use the toys the way he wants to,I’m boring because I don’t go hang out with my friends at clubs all the time,also I’m not strict enough on my kids that I let them walk all over me and I need to be More strict on my daughter because she is trying to be too grown for her age,told me to come to church with him cause I’m crazy,I never made any plans to do anything with him like go out to eat or anything (which I have but he always complained about not having money)and we only would go out on Valentine day or my bday the other times I was busy practicing my False Nc thinking he would change. But he said all this and the next day was at my door saying he was just joking Wow.What a fool I have been.It all says that he and I are not compatible.Throughout the yrs I broke down after my Nc heist and called him twice but its usually him with his false advertisement and I go right back into the game so I am at fault it does take 2 people in this kinda situation. I am Nc since 2-14-13,which really he is showing me he doesn’t want me so Nc is my only option.He had already told me about him leaving on the 15 to go to the All star game but he planned this big romantic date for vday for us his idea.We went shopping on the 12 he bought me a ring for 4100 and earrings for $40 and I bought him earrings for $800,how dumb of me?so the day came and all I got was a Good Morning text.I cried all day I called him and he said that he was vacationing and had so much to do before he left that he will make it up to me when he get back and hung up on me. He text 3 days later at 5am said he on the way back he will be to see me,I told don’t bother something he bout was happy to hear cause he and no intentions on seeing me. He has been calling my home phone everyday twice I don’t answer,he texts my cell once and calls,he’s using different nums,calling private,and text me a pic of him and his daughter so I changed my cell num. This is just his plot to keep me as a once or twice a week pet an errand girl,an atm,cook,maid and Masseuse.All the while he has a girlfriend and has for the past 5 yrs made a commitment and they have a 6mth old baby together.The info came from an x friend who is friends with his sis but the friend never told me about the woman being pregnant,and he always denied the relationship but I knew the days he would seem like he just had to break away from me and stay gone til the next day I knew whoever she was he had feelings for her.also its about 3 to 4 other women,and 2 babymothers. Those are issues in his life that I wouldn’t be able to handle.Holding on to him and Seeing that he loves someone else and not me,made me so miserable. Its so hard now to reestablish myself but I’m working hard on it,I’m sticking to trying to make me happy.

    • Magnolia says:


      That man is a user and I’m sure he has made many of the ‘right’ noises in order to keep you there when he needs you. Good for you for seeing through his words and focusing on his actions, painful as it is, and acting on what you know.

      You’ve made a major decision for yourself by going nc – thanks for sharing your story with us.

      • Lacy says:

        Magnolia u a are so right.I have had a long battle with this man I give up.But I feel horrible inside to walk away but still I know I don’t want to be with someone who treats me like trash.The pain will go away hopefully soon .
        Today is a bad day sitting listening to women at work saying how good there guy treats them lets me know I can have a guy that treats me well too.
        I am suffering from being rejected, because I can say with all the shennigans and games I went through with him the love I have is only based on the fact that I’ve been around him so many yrs,and attached sexually to him, but its more to being with someone than just sex, He pushed me away so far my heart is emabarrased to love him and I’m hurting like heck everyday.
        Today I will cry I’m disappointed and embarrased that all I have is nothing right now lonely cause I wrapped my life around the twice or 3 days a week sleep overs, the false moving all his stuff in only due to the fact of learning now he was flat broke and nowhere to go.I feel like a clown, angry at myself, And wondering why me?
        I’m going to push with everything in me so one day soon I will feel happy and he is no longer a thought in my mind.Thank you for taking time to listenin and respond.

  46. Jana KM says:

    OMG Nat I laughed pretty hard at this one… dead on right… no I want to be right… no forget being right and get your head right… no wait another year to make sure you were right… lol eyeyeye! was I right?

  47. Work In Progress says:

    Yes! This is me. I’m so thankful I found this site and the books (on Amazon) because last week I had this moment of clarity where I realized something has to change and that is me. I keep repeating the same bad relationships and then find a way to cheat my way out of them or get caught so I don’t have to “end” it. It makes me the bad one which makes me feel even worse. Last week I was approached by a married “friend” because we have always had this great connection and he wanted to explore it in whatever way I was comfortable with–even it if meant lying to mutual friends and sneaking around to just have lunch. Everything about him is attractive to me except this offer and the alarm bells going off in my entire being. I started searching around on Amazon for books about “other women” and why I’m frequently approached like this. Ta-da! I discovered Bagage Reclaim. This site and book and all your stories have opened my eyes to myself and my past. Thank you!!!! I’m definitely a work in progress but you’ve got to start somewhere.

  48. tired says:

    How do you the other girls on here , get rid off those neg feelings that pop up. ? Im getting the day to day li v ing again just fine but the one thing that somtimesand only somtimes is the thinking ? . I get somthing t hat will trigger a thought off and i can push it away but somtimes it lingers ? Do you suffer the same and how do you fight it ?

    • Tenneil says:

      I think the worst thing is to fight it because it only suppresses what you’re thinking/feeling and it’ll only resurface again. It’s just time. I still think a lot about my ex-EUM, but I’ve only just started to realise that I’m finally thinking about him less. Find something to do that makes you feel happy and positive – see your friends, talk to them, exercise, find a hobby. For me, it was finally working on getting a new job and getting interviews that filled the void. I’ve been working and it’s a distraction from my thoughts that go back to him. It’s funny because I now sometimes say to myself, “Hey, I’m not thinking about him!” and if I start thinking about him, it doesn’t last long. You just need you fill your mind and your day with positive things! It’s honestly just time too. I thought I’d never get there, but I finally am and so will you!

    • Teddie says:

      Picture the thought as a blue-arsed fly, courtsy of Nat, and push it away!

    • Lacy says:

      I am having those same kind of feelings you are having,about that guy that I had the decade long situation with,I can’t stop thinking about him its like an all day event.I work,I go to the gym,hang with family sometimes,go out to dinner or movie,and even had 2 dates,yet and still he is on my mind all day. I know its not healthy and I’m taking the steps to block him out of my mind.i find myself longing for hi,then going over every detail of what went wrong and I come up with that it is me and if I would’ve done things different I could’ve had him. He is still making attempts but I know they are just empty calls and text so I don’t reply.My mind and heart is weak.Its so hard cause I keep going back to the game.Its been since Vday since I last talked to him so it is relatively soon,so I anticipate in time and work on my part I won’t be so consumed with thoughts of him,I hope you get through your situation too.

    • Peanut says:


      You don’t fight it. You ride it out, end up on the other side and are better for it. This capability doesn’t happen over night. If you want to, you will get there.

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Tired. I found journaling /writing all my feelings, thoughts out on paper really help me. No one really knows what your thinking or what is running thru you mind at any given time so journaling those things out is kinda release of some kind. I would write things about him, too him, and everything in between but it was very helpful for me. Not sure if it works for everyone but its worth a try… Sometimes we just have to process our thoughts and work thru them.. Good Luck ..U CAN DO THIS !!

    • Lilia says:

      I´ve found it helps to keep myself busy, especially with manual work. So whenever my mind starts rambling about the EUM or something about my sad relationships-history, I clean out a closet, paint a wall, do a puzzle or even some embroidery. After a while the thoughts become less insistent.

  49. digs says:

    Long time reader, first time poster :oD

    Hi, I’m digs, and I am everything Natalie writes about. To a T.

    My story, as everyone’s, is long, so I will spare you the details, but the bottom line is the same as most everyone here – I have been hurting over an EUM. I met him on the rebound from an assclown. I am telling you, Nat’s site is written about me! Assclown cheated on me (several times), my self-esteem was in the shitter, and I met EUM, who was *freshly* out of a long term relationship, totally not over his ex (nor was I over mine), and we were two EU people who decided that a GREAT idea would be to have a FWB setup. Great idea. Just great.

    He told me from the very start that he was EUM, that he could not offer me more, that I was great, but that he had healing to do, had to find himself, etc. He was honest, I will give him credit for that. I said that it was totally OK, because I was in the same boat and didn’t want more than FWB.

    Fast forward a month or so, and I was falling …hard. We parted ways a couple of times, because I was developing feelings, and he could only offer FWB. Each time, we managed to get back in touch, and start all over. That started almost a year ago.

    Just before Christmas, I ended it for good. Somehow, we have managed to stay in touch sporadically, under the label of “friends”. Last week he ignored two messages that I sent him about meeting for lunch to catch up (his idea). This is not the first time that he has ignored messages from me, and we have talked about that and he said that he wouldn’t do it again, but he did. I have been reading old articles about the bulloney surrounding being friends as well as teaching people how to treat me. I decided today that I am done contact with him. The end. For good. For real.

    I went out for lunch, which I don’t normally do, and instead of bringing it back to my desk to eat, where I normally eat, I decided to park in a parking lot and eat it and get some quiet/solitude. Guess who should pull up next to my car? Yep…EUM. What are the odds that he would see me driving on that street?? The one day that I go out for lunch?? And how was I supposed to go NC with him when he’s sitting there staring and waving, mere feet from me?? We ended up talking for an hour…catching up…and agreed to not ignore one another anymore. Aww…how cute.

    When I got back to my office, I slapped myself on the forehead. Now what. Do I send him a message saying that I do not want contact anymore?

    I will say that I do truly think that he’s a nice guy, but that he’s getting over a long term relationship and that he’s EUM from circumstance vs. character flaw. Not that it matters, because either way, he’s unavailable. But I do genuinely like him as a person, and sometimes think eh, why can’t we be friendly? Limited contact. I don’t have to see him, or be friends per se, but do I go no contact? I am in the camp if holding out hope for that 1%…if I am honest about how I feel. And maybe that’s reason enough to go NC. I am just not sure how to go about it, what to say.

    Maybe next time he texts, I can reply “I am in love with you and want a relationship” and let him do the NC ;o)

    • Little Star says:

      Digs, your story exactly like mine, I cant believe it!!! I dropped my current AC after he celebrated his Birthday and Christmas without me:) As you are, I started to feel in love with him even though we agreed to be only lovers ( he was recently divorced and I was in mess with my ex AC). They both contacted me (January and February this year) but I did not answer and they stopped bothering me, GOOD! I could not wait any longer for them to change, so I changed:) Start NC and you will never regret it, but please stick to it!!!

    • Kit-Kat says:

      Digs… My advise to you would be to go NC on him until you can get clarity of whether or not you want or can ever be just friends. For me there is just too much history w/my ex EUM to ever be just friends. It would never ever work for me. I know that without a doubt. Be truly honest with yourself. Dont hide behind the friends thing hoping for it to be more. You will not win that one …

      • beth d says:

        It didn’t work for me either. I found it to be torture more than enjoyable. There was way too much between us to be just friends. I did get along well with him as far as some common interests ie sportsfans, both gregarious, similar sense of humor, similar occupations but then the mind fukery starts….just as Nat explains…tugging at heartstrings, gaslighting, games, trying to make you the fallback girl. You think you are over them and then you will have moments when something they tell you bothers you so much you know you your reaction is not “friend” like. It just doesn’t work if you still have feelings. It is painful and hinders your truly moving on. NC is the way.

        • digs says:

          Thanks guys. NC is what I have to do. I am fooling myself. I want to believe that he’s just in a bad place (rebound) and that he’s afraid to fall in love with me, and that all he needs is time, and that if I be his friend, then when he’s ready, he’ll realize the amazing woman that I am, right there in front of him the whole time. The truth is that he was blowing hot when he needed something from me (validation, sex), and blowing cold when he felt that he had to give back to me. He’s ice cold now, because he has other sources of validation/sex.

          There is no friendship. Friends do not ignore your texts/messages. It takes under a minute to fire off a “super busy right now, lunch sounds great, will text when I’m free”. He mentioned another woman texting him to meet up for coffee, and he dropped everything to make that happen, so he’s not *that* busy. He also checked his phone the entire time we talked (it was constantly buzzing and beeping), and when it rang, he made a hasty exit. I have been blinder than blind.

          I sent him a text (that’s how the bulk of our “relationship” was carried out) telling him that I am not interested in being his on-demand ego stroke, and that I see no point in keeping in touch. I let him know that I deleted his number, and I wish him well. I do not anticipate ever hearing from him again.

          I am so sad, because I don’t know why he doesn’t think that I’m all that great…..my ego is bruised. I recognize that I am seeking validation just as much as he is. It still hurts though. But you know what, I have to ask myself honestly, if he came banging on my door, realizing that he was a dumbass that made a huge mistake, would I be interested? How much of this truly is my need for validation. If I am honest, he never gave me anything of value. He never showed me that he cared. He was never there for me. The “relationship” was completely one sided. So what exactly am I going to miss?? I am not mourning *him*. I am mourning the man that I dreamt him up to be. He had a couple of qualities that I embellished the hell out of, making them into something which they might not even be. I don’t even really know him, how could I possibly know that he’s faithful, and down to earth, and wants a simple life in the country. Because he wore cowboy boots and didn’t try to be in touch with me when he was in a relationship. OMG what the hell have I been smoking. The good thing is that when I write this stuff down, I get a HUGE laugh at myself. I mean, tears are rolling.

          So NC…here we are…and I don’t think it’s going to be that hard, really. The hardest part will be letting go of my fantasy. Why is it so hard to let go of someone who doens’t even exist? Oh well…once I bury him in the ground and plant flowers at his grave, I am going to start living in Real Land, and find a Real Man, with Real Qualities, and have a Real Relationship. It’s time.

  50. Nancy says:

    it seems that I am posting as “Nancy” but there is also someone else that is posting as “Nancy.” How does that happen? I will gladly change my user name, but not sure how. Can anyone advise me?

    • Allison says:


      Just change the name.

    • Magnolia says:

      There isn’t any rule that you can’t use the same name that someone else has. If you want to stop using the name you’ve posted, just type a new name in the name box over the one that usually comes up.

      Maybe if you identify yourself as the old “Nancy” now posting as “Nancy X” a few times, people will be able to follow the change.

  51. tired says:

    Tbh girls i ve hung around for four odd years . Ihad a affair it ended he got married and like a idiot i hung around for four years . Simple as . Hoping hed resume the affair he didnt he just used me and i let him . Instead of walking back then ,i hung in there . As soon as you not getting what you want you should bail . I believe new women stood her ground and left her husband and expected him to leave wife he did eventually six months later . So stand up for yourselves and walk from crap treatment however hard .

  52. Karen says:

    I’m stuck in this stage right now. I know it’s ridiculous since I should know from his history that it wasn’t just me. I’m sure his ex was watching us, hoping to see him be an AC to me and he was. I just can’t seem to let it go. I’m still hoping that as long as I’m around, he’ll NEVER change. I’m realizing that doing so only hinders my ability to move on. I need to stop and concentrate on MY own happiness.

  53. Demke says:

    Not to mention a complete waste of your precious time. I’ve learned that no matter what kind of a ‘connection’ you believe you have with your Assclown, when it finally ends (cause it will eventually end…) you’ll realize you really didn’t share that much, at least nothing good. And they won’t skip a beat when it comes to mogul g on. So ladies… Time to grow up, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually, and kick that bad habit to the curb. You are the most important person in your life. Take the blinders off, and be open to the good that life is waiting to offer you. Stop thinking negative, that no one will want you because of whatever negative excuse you tell yourself.

    • Munchkins says:

      Yeah hey. I cut all contact with my AC last week and already he’s tweeting about hooking up with other girls. I mean we used to be friends once upon a time so you’d expect a bit more respect.

  54. Leela says:

    One word: guilty.

    Now that I’m aware of this, I can modify my behavior.

    Thank you.

  55. Janesey says:

    Great piece in NYTs today on break-up app! Could help with NC and the whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ process:


    • runnergirl says:

      I can’t believe there’s an “app for that”! Why didn’t some 20-somethings think of this sooner.

  56. KK2542 says:

    Demke – you are right on the money!!! Everyone else PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE listen to what we are posted. I have lived it and those who ae just starting off listen to us! It’s not worth & pain & suffering in the end.

  57. Peanut says:

    Ah, ha. I put out some bait to see if I’d catch a shark again. I did. I will never put my toes in that water again.

  58. EUM Roberto says:

    HOLY SH_T!!! this is why i am still f&cking the xwife.
    OMG – you hit the nail on the head. I am floored with this information. I spent 16 years married tring to fix her and now that we are divorced she is pretending to be nice and i thought i was giving her sex out of fear or appeasement, but this article is it. I need to reread this one many times. THANK YOU.

    The poor girls i’ve been with since divorce I was just using to get over my xwife.

    I just f&cked the xwife and new GF in the same day
    ugh.. I am AC – DAMNIT! Im ashamed. Can you talk about codependent not sure if it applies to me

    • Munchkins says:

      At least we could reach one man :-) It’s good that you’re aware of your habits, now you can become a better person.

    • Allison says:


      Does your GF know that you are sleeping with multiple women?

      Have you considered celibacy while working through your issues.

      I dated a guy like you, and I can honestly say I had never known such craziness and pain, as he couldn’t deal with the divorce from the ex. Do you really want people to know you as a user and asshole?

    • grace says:

      I’m not excusing what you’re doing but neither do I judge you. I’ve done similar myself. At some point, even while you’re still confused, needy, hurting, guilty and feeling shite you just have to stop doing the wrong thing. Then, in time, the right thing will reveal itself to you.
      In case you’re confused, definitely stop having sex with the ex wife and consider ending the new relationship. At least tell the new person what you’ve been doing. From what I gather from your previous posts, she may already know but that still doesn’t make it right. it’s just too messy.

    • Peanut says:


      You’re having sex with your ex wife to make sure she hasn’t changed? I’m sure there are other ways to gauge where she’s at. But that’s not a good thing either. In any way.

      If you wanted healthy interactions you would be single and working on yourself.

  59. Paula says:

    I kept doing this last year hoping my ex AC would change into a better man if I wasn’t there – he didn’t and he started treating me worse than before.
    Lesson learned and I don’t do it now, I’m just wasting my time because he doesn’t really care about me. When I see him for what he is without the rose coloured glasses on, he’s just a pathetic, posturing, scared little man with not much character – death of my fantasy LOL.
    I care about me more than I care about him and I’m starting to understand what that really means.
    Thanks Nat your posts and the comments by other readers of the blog are invaluable in keeping me centered and real.

  60. Lilia says:

    While driving my car today I had lots of time to think and I came to the conclusion that if I´m really honest with the EUM I´d tell him (in my mind, because I´m NC) I lost all respect for him. After all the hot-coldness, ff, manipulations and lying, what else could I feel?

    This realisation made me very happy because in the past I wouldn´t even come to ask myself if I respect the other person or not, I´d be busy doing as this article describes.

    I also figured telling a narc like him that I don´t respect him would be a complete blow to his overblown ego.

    I´m so thankful for this blog, I used to be the person Nat decribes in this particular article, now I´m becoming a no-nonsense flushing lady with healthy self esteem!

  61. miskwa says:

    Once again, I am soooo grateful for BR. Got a call from a colleague saying an older, super cute guy was looking for me and gave me his number. Turns out the dude was indeed looking for lil Miskwa but actually just wanted to cop a ride to a scientific talk the next town over. Yep, he is tall, fit, and cute, a rarity around here but he also hogged the microphone during the answer session of the talk and didnt really seem to care much about Miskwa’s life and the vibe was really strange when I dropped him at his house. The old Miskwa woulda tried to get him to hang about, join me for a glass of wine. The new version was content to just let things go, not have any hope of anything further. BR and alas, the pain of dealing with at work AC has given me some harsh but nonetheless needed clarity.

    • Wiser says:

      Miskwa, good for you for paying close attention to how this guy behaved out in public. It is SO important to pay attention to how people interact in the world! And especially if they’re good at presenting a polished veneer and pleasing social persona. Watch for that mask to slip, because if one is there, you will see it if you are really observant. If they are controlling, annoying, insensitive, etc. in social situations, they will be controlling, annoying and insensitive with you. People are who they are.

      My favorite wisdom saying is: ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’ So watch what they do and how they do it!

  62. Peanut says:

    Congrats on letting it go! I used to run into these situations where there were good points, but something was off. I’d assume it was me and twist myself into a pretzel trying to change.

    My gut has never failed me but I’ve failed it plenty of times. If something feels off, something is off. It really is as simple as that.

  63. DD says:

    Wow Miskwa your words ring so true for me having failed my gut many times over also. This is my first time joining in the conversation. I am currently dealing with what I believe is an EUM. Who am I kidding he is an EUM. We were together a couple months fresh out of his last relationship and I see now there were many flags I blatantly chose to ignore. We were together for a year and a half before he pushed me away entirely. 2 Weeks later he was a changed man and we tried again for another six months. I had enough and left. I did no contact for a year and sure enough ran into him again. We have a lot of chemistry and there we were back into it. It’s been almost a year again and everyting was great until this past month. He’s retracted again now in the past 2 months and I’m giving my head a shake. I feel so stuck. We both have children from previous relationships and the ties go beyond he and I. I am having so much trouble with this. :(

    • Allison says:


      Please know, there is a reason it failed the first time.

      It may be time to get off the roller coaster.

    • shattered says:

      I’m having trouble moving on from the ex AC. He’s having a lot of problems business wise and phones me to discuss them. He sounds really depressed and I don’t want to kick him when he’s down. I know he won’t change – he doesn’t want a proper relationship, blew hot and cold, disappeared, came back, lather, rinse, repeat. He said he phones me because ‘we’re really good friends’ and how I’ve been a ‘good friend’ to him and he needs someone to talk to. I said as I’ve been relegated to one of his ‘good friends’ we should both move on. He replied that we’re closer than that and will always be friends. I find it hard to deal with, as I still have feelings for him, but know that it will never progress. It feels harsh to ignore him and keep NC. Maybe I’m too nice! What would anyone else do in these circumstances?

      • grace says:

        Ignore him. If he wants counselling and business advice he can pay for it.

        • Allison says:



          Did he have a lot of consideration when he was blowing hot/cold and disappeared on you – that’s absolutely horrible! Friends, do not disappear on other friends. Why do you feel that you owe him when he has been very disrespectful to you.

          Time to find a another shoulder to cry on. Remember, he wasn’t there for you!

      • Tabitha says:

        When he says you two are “really good friends” what he actually means is that you are willing to put up with his shit. You are great at discussing HIS problems, and being a shoulder for him to lean on. Please don’t think I am being hard on you, cos I have been there too, but you are just waiting around, in the friend zone, hoping he will suddenly wake up and see WOW! Shattered is sooooo great,she was there for me when I needed her, and even though I have told her repeatedly I didn’t want a relationship, she just hung about anyway, so I guess I will make the Great Sacrifice and marry her/whatever. Not gonna happen. He is just going to use you up and spit you out. The more you tolerate,the less he will value you. Come the day of the Glorious Assclown Revolution, he will miraculously recover from his depression, and his problems, and will piss off with some hard ass woman who treats him like dirt, or will choose a new victim who sees his pathetic routine with fresh eyes. You will be left sobbing into the apple pies you were busy baking him, “‘cos they are his favourite”….. Go NC and get on with your life. There is nothing for you with this man other than second class citizenship.

        • sushi says:


          you tell it how it is!

          The Glorious Assclown Revolution! Howling here.
          I remember waiting for that worried I`ll miss it and someone else will get the ” prize” That was such a waste of time….

  64. teachable says:

    Nope. Two people I have NO NEED WHATSOEVER to hang around ANYMORE to see if they have changed. My sister or my mother both of whom will NEVER change! Essentially BOTH the mentally ill fruitloops of my family! They DESERVE each other! Leave them to it & ME free to function in the REAL WORLD I say! Hooray 4 me! I’ve FINALLY set myself free once & for all!!! NO MORE ABUSE FOR TEACH AT THE HANDS OF FAMILY MEMBERS! The Berlin Wall has gone up! Tresspassers WILL be shot! LOL

  65. Bummedout says:

    I broke no contact today, it didn’t make me feel better. We go to the same university. I wrote that I have not changed my position, that I still think it’s a bad idea to even be friends, but that if we run into each other in the hallways, I do not want fights or hostility so I apologize for all the things that I did wrong because I do not wish to leave on bad terms, and forgive him but still cannot accept him back into my life because I can’t allow people to treat me like he did.

  66. Tired says:

    Tabitha was spot on. Friends but only on their terms . When i hung about that was it , he was never there for me my so called best mate . Then of course the ice cold treatment as soon as he had met someone eles . Fresh meat . Fresh meat with a big house and settlement to set him up in the lifestyle he wants .. Never ever hang about its wasting time x

  67. Misty says:

    I am so guilty of this but NOW I realize this:

    So many people spend so many years “waiting”
    Waiting for somebody to make up their mind, to change, to become the person you want them to be.
    And before you know it, years of your life have gone by and you did nothing for yourself. Just waited.
    Here is the key to a happy life.
    Live your own life, always.
    Regardless whether you are in love or not. If they love you they will come along with you for the ride.
    If they don’t….fine.
    It’s not done in a selfish way. Just carry on with your dreams and plans, your hobbies and other outside relationships.
    Don’t shelve anything you want to do.

    • paolo says:

      In all my experiences Misty..What you’ve just written is what iv’e come to learn aswell…At least our mistakes are our own, but living our own lives is the only way and doing exactly what you want. Not want the government or friends or family want, but what you want.

  68. shellbells7064 says:

    natalie how do you suggest letting go? cold turkey? even if it is more uncomfortable without them than with them? both are horrible… just dont know what to do. 3+ years of a relationship based off illusion and dreams.

  69. Tom says:

    Hey Natalie,

    This is a pretty simple one for me: life’s too short. You could gamble on someone changing but you’re more likely to find that they won’t. People don’t tend to change that readily/easily.

    Instead, why not go out there and find someone that’s right for you now? I know it’s easier said than done but I’d rather be single and on the right track than in a broken relationship in the hope that something will change.



  70. twistinmysobriety says:

    Wow! This is me now. I have just been following BR for a short while, and I have to say that this blog is a life-saver! I did come across it a few times earlier (when I was still pathetically googling things like “what does it mean when a guy says xyz…”). Back then I didn’t want to believe what Natalie was saying! I just wish I had come across BR much much earlier and had really let it sunk in.

    I was basically in a situation that changed from being friends to sleeping together, to him soon declaring that he couldn’t offer me more than “casual stuff” (after this we didn’t have sex anymore). He then proceeded to a mostly virtual relationship, chatting with me for hours on end in fb, and really opening up about his problems, innermost fears etc. all the while pretending and claiming to be single. I then bumped into him and his girlfriend and found out that he had, in fact, been dating her for 5-6 months!He said he didn’t tell because I didn’t ask (this is not even true, I did ask just a month before if he was seeing someone and he said plainly and clearly no!). I was crushed. Crushed that my trust was so betrayed and that I was such a fool (there was much more AC behaviour as well). I am sure he was not really sure of her either, and hence decided to keep one foot in the door with me just in case. I was used as validation, an ego stroke, a shoulder to lean on/armchair therapist, and possibly as a back-up option (yes Natalie, I really agree that a “relationhip”/communication that is based on excessive texting and online chatting is a HUGE red flag!).

    I have now sadly become a little obsessed about checking up on both of them online, and still after knowing what an a-hole he is I wonder why her and not me :(…It is like I need the validation and the proof that he is indeed a weak and insecure EUM/AC, who uses people. I know it is not good for me. I obviously need to build my self-esteem, learn how to set boundaries and walk away when my gut says so, and seriously work on my own unavailability issues. I am hurting, but however glad of this experience as it has served as a kind of an epiphany experience. Just need to find the strength now to stop this checking up to confirm that he is still an EU d*ckweed!

    • beth d says:

      To offer a narcissist/AC sympathy, compassion and trust is to paint a sign on your forehead that says PREY. They are predators, make no mistake. They are chamelions and masters of creating the facade of being whatever you may need including a wonderful friend. Feel sorry for his new gf. She will go on a roller coaster ride she won’t ever forget. You got out! You were the lucky one.

    • Evolving_1 says:

      I can sympathize. I have “checked up” on my ex online and now am discovering with certainty how long the cheating was going on. It hurts and the fact that she knew, but still pursued him pisses me off. I know for a fact he will do the same to her but for some reason it doesn’t help me feel too much better. I sometimes also wonder “why her?” as she seems to be more involved with his life than I was. I think it is the newness and the excitement of the betrayal which sociopaths crave. This blog has opened my eyes to seeing the relationship for what it was and not just an illusion but I still have a lot of work to do.

  71. espresso says:

    Late to this post…it is a fabulous one! I am one who has “hung around” because I wanted to believe words rather than actions. But I know there were deeper issues in ME which caused me to keep denying the truth to myself. I think I too wanted to protect my “investment” by trying to avoid action when I had put so much time and effort into trying to make things work. And then there was always this voice in me that said, “perhaps it reallY IS your fault, perhaps you ARE too demanding” (for wanting a real, emotionally engaged partnership with somebody who was a real adult and had boundaries etc). And then there is/was FEAR. And I haven’t dealt with that yet. Fear that he will find somebody right away and ease himself into another emotional airbag and in doing so will just be so delighted and happy while I will be alone. In fact I have a sneaking suspicion he is doing something like this with his female therapist He says he is “really working on his issues.” with her but was telling me a few weeks ago that she was not going to do therapy anymore because she was retiring but now has changed her mind and is continuing just with him. And he is “so delighted” because she is always letting him go over time (at least 20 minutes per session). Oh, she also told him that her ex was just like him. All not “ethical” in terms of therapy as far as I am concerned but he doesn’t HAVE boundaries so doesn’t have a clue. I just register this….try not to care – what IF he has a relationship with his therapist…it would be just another part of his impulsive lack of boundaries. On the other hand it makes me sick. So WHY can’t I just write him off? Not necessarily HATE him but why can’t I write him off? Just ACCEPT what he is and stop getting engaged when things are triggered. I think there is still too much pain yet and I am still working through it.

    One thing my therapist told me last week that was useful is that a very small thing (like a request to friend on FB) or an idle comment about a woman therapist, can’t be experienced as “one thing” when we have a lot of pain going back for years. And pain that has never been validated even by oneself. Instead it triggers ALL of our losses going back like a pebble skimming over the rocks. This is what is happening to me.

    • Mymble says:

      What is it with these therapists circling like vultures around dying marriages? I think your husband is winding you up, whether consciously or not. He senses that he hits a nerve when he talks about getting close to other women. Even the most clueless sometimes have an intstinct about where to stick the knife. I tend to think that if there were any real possibility of this turning into a relationship he wouldn’t be talking about her at all.

      That isn’t the point though. He may at some point meet someone. So might you, although you wont while you are still focussed on him.
      I really wish my ex would find someone else. Then I would feel less guilty. It would be nice if she had a house too.

      If hearing about all his stuff triggers you and re-ignites all the old hurts
      then maybe you need to stop discussing anything personal – anything beyond the bare minimum practicalities – with him.

    • beth d says:

      “I just register this….try not to care – what IF he has a relationship with his therapist…it would be just another part of his impulsive lack of boundaries. On the other hand it makes me sick.” Because the realization of just how disordered he is slaps you in the face. When mine admitted it to me I went bonkers even though we had been broken up for awhile. I think I was the maddest at him for crossing the line with his therapist in my whole relationship. I was furious at her but mainly him. It truly is sickening to realize just how low down they are and then for him to admit to me he was done playing with her and telling me how he was ignoring her emails! Ughhhh Even though he had never treated me that callously, the pain of looking at him with the rose colored glasses off was enormous! Who is this guy??? The frickin devil!!

  72. diademerouge says:

    The caption at the beginning of the entry made my day! LOL Thanks!

  73. espresso says:

    Thanks Mymble.
    I wish I could go completely NC – I have really reduced my contact and try not to raise or listen to personal issues. I don’t talk about my personal needs and try not to listen to his. I try to stay polite but detached. I have made tons of progress since the summer. However, it doesn’t take much to ignite my pain bomb. I don’t know how to dampen down the flames because they have been simmering away for so long. Although I want to stay in touch I am not sure, in the end, whether I will be able to once we wind up the work we are involved in.

  74. teachable says:

    Just trying to work out if I ought to send a letter to my sister explaining things properly or just leave things as they ended (badly, making me, as usual look terrible, even though I was only reacting to her BS). I dont feel like I have the energy to write her a letter but know she will now tell family members I have said ‘terrible’ things to her. What I said wasnt pretty but was the truth as I see it & in response to her audacity at holding her life up as somehow better than mine, referring to ‘not rubbing my nose in all she has’ (meaning her marriage & kids & by even saying this she WAS trying to rub my nose in it!), then telling me she hopes I enjoy my ‘lonely life’ without her blah blah. Needless to say I let her have it & reminded her she seems to have forgotten making an admission to me on her wedding day, just prior to to the actual wedding (when I pressed her & said, are you SURE he’s the one, do you REALLY love him because it’s not to late to stop this), which was tantamount to admitting she in fact did NOT love her husband! I then reminded her she’s complained over the years that he ‘paws at her’ wanting to touch her or sexual contact & that this is most likely b.c she doesn’t & has NEVER loved this unsuspecting guy & so instead he’s trapped in a marriage where she ‘doles out’ the bare minimum of this type of contact, let alone her later admission that she ‘thinks she might have had sex addiction issues when she was younger’ & ‘used kinky sex’ to lure her husband into marrying her! I know I ought not have said this but when she crapped on abt how ‘all her friends come to her for advice’ etc I said, yes, you, would give excellent advice dear sister. How to have SEVEN children, the first FOUR by THREE different fathers to collect ever increasing welfare cheques while you live in govt subsidised public housing & then how to successfully trap yrself in a marriage to man you do not love where you are essentially now living the life of a live in prostitute, all the while, never educating yrself to set an example for yr children, or working even a single day of yr life in paid employment. Just manipulate, manipulate, manipulate.

    My point was in relation to me I told her I realised she would NEVER change & it time *I* stopping hanging about expecting her to. I really cant be bothered writing a letter as it just takes up even more of my time. I really respect her hubby though & I know he will be hearing a very distorted view of what we have argued about. I’m not sure she would even admit what she told me on her wedding day & I dont wish to get involved in anything at all b.tween the two of them. He can take care of himself. I only commented on that issue when she tried to place herself ‘on high’ as if she was some sort of woman who had it all together. Fair enough if it was a real marriage but of course I know the truth & I wont have my sister putting me down in such a way.

    Do ppl think I ought to write a letter to my sister abt why Ive ended my r.ship with her permantly this time or just leave it? I really am so over dealing with her. Whenever she is in my life she plunders me for info which may be helpful to her or her children getting ahead & gives nothing in return. She also secretly appears to want to sabotage me in an effort to prove herself as somehow superior. I’m totally over it. She has borderline traits & is very similar to my mother (who she spends a huge amount of time with. My mother is a seriously ill BPD with narcissistic & antisocial sub types).

    I note the similarities here to our endings with AC’s. We look terrible but it’s due to their gaslighting (I wont go into the gaslighting event. Just yet another episode of cruelty from my sister…)

  75. Jemma says:

    teachable – I don’t talk to my sister either for various reasons, she doesn’t know why but at the same time she hasn’t made any attempts to reach out to me either. She sent one happy birthday text, I engaged with that but then nothing so I can’t advise on whether you should expklain to your sister but personally I would leave it, at least until the storm subsides a little. Reading this post struck me because the theme seems to be that ACs don’t change yet my ex AC’s ex thinks that he has and I’m certain that they’re now together. At first he was just sleeping with her probably to satisfy himself that she hadn’t changed or keeping tabs so that she doesn’t move on. Anyhow, the points that are also often raised on this site is it isn’t a reflection of our self worth. really? I can’t get my head round that. I just can’t. If it really was that simple then why did my ex run off with someone else? Why did the guy I really like tell me he could never go out with someone who works where I do (implying I have nothing to offer him) and why did the ex AC admit that he didn’t want a relationship because all he’d do is feed of me? Three men in my life cannot be wrong. Sorry.

    • grace says:

      All kinds of men will come into our lives. You “just happen” to pick the ones who aren’t over their exes, the ones who think your workplace is unsatisfactory and the self-confessed users.
      And it is about your selfworth. If your selfworth was bulletproof, you’d think “Screw you!”, not “something is wrong with me”.
      Three men in your life can be wrong if you’re the kind of person (as was I) who likes difficult men or drama.

    • Revolution says:

      Holy hell, Jemma. Three men, my ass. Sure they can be wrong. It’s easy. Here, I’ll give you an example:

      Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Benito Mussolini.


  76. teachable says:

    I think you might be right jemma.
    Until this period of illness I’d had no contact with my sister for some yrs.
    I wavered on this as being ill I became socially isolated & lonely.
    She did all the same behaviours I went nc for in first place all over again though. This time I tried to talk through the issues with her, instead of just cutting her off, (I’d tried this before but now was REALLY trying) as I was hoping to salvage our r.ship.
    Her manipulative game plan re my mother & her marriage ect has finally hit me this morning. I can see it very clearly. Although my mother’s mental illness renders her inappropriate to look after children, my sister moved my mother close by, so she would have a free babysitter on hand (& she admits to allowing our mother to babysit her kids. Our mother is so mentally ill mind you, our sister & I were removed.from her as small children due to threats of infanticide).
    Second, my sister will wait until her hubby has paid enough of the house off that she manage the remaining amount, leave.her.hubby, &.then.go on a sole parent welfare benefit & MOVE MY MOTHER OUT OF HER CARE FACILITY & in to live with her, so she ALSO will benefit financially by receiving a carer allowance for my mother as well as most of my mother’s pension.
    I don’t know why it took so long for me to join the dots as to what my sister’s gameplan has been all along.
    It now makes PERFECT SENSE as to WHY my sister has at every opportunity interferred in my relationship with my mother to the point that ever since my sister moved my mother to live near her, I have become completely estranged from my mother. Prior to this, I had a reletively healthy independent relationship with my mother, who lived a distance approx 1/2 way between my sister & I. Critically my sister taking my mother to live near her, took my mother a 2 hr one way trip away from me & even further away from all other family members. For this reason I was opposed to the move at the time. I was assured though that my mother would come to visit me on occassion & that I too would be welcome to visit her. None of that eventuated however. Quite the opposite. I have ultimately been denied knowing even where my mother now resides or her phone number & my sister is in the process of trying to get her legally declared incompetent to make decisions for herself. Once this occurrs my sister will have completed her master plan & have full control of my mothers life. It’s really sick as I saw my mother recently when my grandmother was ill & she is clearly not legally incompetent.

    Interestingly, none of this would have ever occurred to me if I had not become ill. I have posted before that I may lose my home. I owe only a very small amount on it & remember thinking, gee, if Mum moved in for a while, & paid half of what she’s paying that care facility to live here instead, even if it was just for a year or two until my situation stabilises, I would probably at least not have to worry about losing my home. With my work history including experience & training in working with ppl with personality disorders, I’m very well equipted to handle my mothers illness, & the bonus for my mother would be she keep half her pension in pocket each week instead of handing the lot over to the care facility.

    Moreover, when I chose where to buy my home, I bought it in the area where all of my mothers mental health support services are located, which she was linked into for many years, before my sister moved her, including a specialist personality disorder clinic which is one of the best available in the public health system & where they know my mother well. I also bought a place with a 2 seperate lounge areas, &.two bathrooms, specifically so two adults can live independent lives here, & not get under each others feet.

    When I got sick I mentioned that it would be mutually helpful if my mother would consider such an idea to my sister, who immediately claimed she was far too ill for me to be able to look after her. This of course is rubbish. I am home alone 24/7 with nothing else to do & well linked with local support services. You watch. In time my sister WILL leave her husband who she has used from the outset & move my mother in with her, so that she doesnt have to get a job to support herself.

    I was suggesting my offer more as a temporary thing until I figure out my next move. No matter though. Now that it is all so very clear as to just how.manipulative my sister really is I’m.not going to bother with the letter. I’d rather focus on getting my own health back on track & preparing for my next stage of life. As this post says, why hang around expecting ppl to change. They wont. I meanwhile have far.better things to be concerned with which I dare say will have far more fruitful outcomes. 😉

  77. teachable says:

    jemma someone elses behaviour is never a reflectiom of our self worth. WE get to decide that for ourselves. if I allowed my worth to be defined be others I would probably be dead by now. when we step away from abusive ppl & situations we start to see things more clearly. Moreover abusers want us to see ourselves as unworthy. dont do their dirty work for them. refuse to collude in the lie that you are not worthy. u are. we all are. of this I am certain.

    • Jemma says:

      I still need a lot of work, obviously! I hope you feel at peace with your situ soon, try not to dwell although I know it’s hard x

  78. Nancy USA Ohio says:

    I wanted to update anyone who is interested. And I added more to my name because there was another Nancy. Anyway, my ‘relationship’ was with my therapist from years ago. Well, with the support of some very dear and close friends, I’ve ended this toxic ‘thing’. I can’t even call it a relationship. This is the third time in the past year that I’ve ended it. I’m determined to make it stick this time. I deleted his voicemails, txt msgs and his contact information from my phone, email, etc. I’ve blocked him with cell phone carrier and put a red banner on my cell phone that says NO CONTACT RULE. I’m finally realizing what a user he is and I was letting him use me. I’ve loaned him ten-thousand dollars and I’m just accepting that it is gone – an expensive lesson to learn, but I’m taking time to heal and learn a new ‘normal’. Everyday is a struggle, but with each passing day it’s getting better. I’ve re-connected with my daughter and grandsons and I’m spending time with my mother who is battling cancer. I am somewhat ashamed that I put my family second to this assclown who only had contempt for me. Wish me luck everyone – the future is brighter today then it’s been in a very, very long time.

    • Mymble says:

      Money too:(
      He really is a toad, and I am hoping for your sake that you get away from him for good.
      I know what you mean about not putting your family first – when you’re involved in an AC drama everything and everyone else gets pushed aside to some extent. One of the things that has helped me more than any other is redirecting some of that energy where it belongs, to myself and my kids. They appreciate my love and care, therefore they deserve it.

    • Lilly says:

      Nancy USA,

      Third time lucky. You are right, the future is much, much brighter without these toxic people in our lives. Congratulations and big, big hugs for you.

    • beth d says:

      Good luck Nancyusa I can hear the determination in your tone. You are going to do it this time! xo

      • Nancy USA Ohio says:

        Thanks for the support! This time it ‘feels’ different. I really think that re-defining a ‘normal’ relationship is what hit me. This isn’t ‘normal’ – this is sick, toxic, poison. Would someone in a ‘normal’ relationship feel this way? Would your partner be so callous? And use your good nature to his full advantage? I think it has been like this for so long, I lost sight of what normal is. So, I’m working on that now and feeling so much better! I’ll keep everyone posted from time to time. Taking time to heal……..

  79. espresso says:

    Mymble – yes you are right…I have reduced the emotional content of my interactions with ex by about 98% – but sometimes stuff just leaks out of my heart/brain/damned mouth. It is partly old habits (when I was trying to make things work) and partly because some things still are so stunning in their insensitivity that I open my mouth and then I am into it. I really regret this because then I have to refocus and go through these mini-griefs again. I have been doing so much better at this though.

    It makes me very unhappy whenever I fall into any type of emotional engagement with him – even at the simplest level. I try to be compassionate with myself though…there is a lot of history here to overcome.
    My original wish was that we could stay in contact for a variety of reasons that would be helpful. I am locked into some kind of contact anyway because of work until the end of this year. I am beginning to explore the possibility that the walls I need to construct will never been strong enough NOT to be triggered sooner or later. I still have a lot of sh-t to work through. If I cannot handle it for ME then it will have to be NC.

  80. newmoi says:

    Sometimes I often wonder if I qualify for these discussions given my “relationship” involved my personal trainer and my settling for a so called casual relationship expecting friendship tendencies that existed prior to our 1st encounter. I was sadly mistaken and the mind fuckery astounding once the layers have been slowly, painfully removed over time. The constant request fro sex (on his schedule) only to renig. Hot one day, cold the next. The future faking before the 1st time in August 2012. Mind you we only had sex twice…trained with from March 2012 to officially April 2013 (for context).
    Constant red flags in the very beginning and carried over the time. He was a good trainer when focused so i’d excuse it saying that I had to find someone better ffirst and that I shouldn’t have to leave my gym and gym friends.
    Last time we had sex after he had constantly asked or offered after an argument over my money and sessions and disrespecting me by bringing this girl on my session(who no matter what he says was not paying) without asking and basically could never admit to it, I had called his bluff. I was the aggressor. I got him to leave his job, get in my car, take me to his house and fuck him in his own bed. He wasn’t going to tease nor was he going to take my 7 yrs of celibacy in only 1 night. Boy did that backfire. My ddesire for control… basically he was excited to continue doing this when in my mind I was done. He then started talking about relationships, etc & I’m just litening. He talks @ the one ex who “had his back” and how he’d be good to me financially if I had his back, etc. I asked for clarification. He stated that i’d have to have an abortion if anything happened. I honestly replied that I couldn’t commit to that (mind you I was not considering anything further). He slowly became livid and stated that the sex was a waste (paid $50 for nextday pill), hedoesn’t know anything about me (been training w him for a year), I didn’t like him bc I wouldn’t commit to an abortion and a slew of other things and all I’m thinking is I just want to enjoy the moment that he kept insisting we have and that I simply obliged.
    So basically, I take responsibility for my actions abd have finally cancelled my training officially. I kept thinking EVEN AFTER THAT ENCOUNTER that business wise we would be ok. He just started future fakin. After a small argument he still asked me for sex after he had said in the car that we’d not do it again!! I reminded him of that but all. He’d say is that he’s fine w that arrangement.
    Now since it’s official, he runs from me in the gym if I’m nearby. Depending on the day, I don’t care, today just thinking about everything I get sad and slighty depressed. I don’t want to leave my gym. I was there before he got there and built up his harem. So I just don’t know. I’m in pain and obviously still do not recognize my value to even move on or make changes for my mental distress. That I , celibate until marriage candidate, gave in to this man who I thought at least a friend…can’t shake this shit. I just want to talk sometimes… I’ve got such a gym rat habit for my health now that I just refuse to change my schedule for him. ????

  81. Daughter #3 says:

    Girlfriend … I have been there … and with my fitness instructor. Total future faker, married (but so was I), with kids. I ignored the signs and settled for his lies and compartmentalized affections. I struggled so hard with leaving the gym. I love the gym – it’s my sanctuary! But I needed no contact (and I was embarassed and terribly hurt), so I changed my schedule and workout routine. It’s been 4 years since we ended it and now I hope I see him so he can see that I am in a much better place, with a man who knows all my secrets and still loves me with my faults and flaws. These men are out there and I KNOW you will get back to being you and a good one will find you. Don’t stop doing what you love all because of this @ssclown. You might want to change your schedule so you don’t have to see him … but only if YOU want to do that. Try not to waste any more time on this guy (and I know this is easier said than done) – he doesn’t deserve you or your energy.

    • newmoi says:

      Thanks Daughter #3. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience. Since the last post, I took a mental break…an unofficial “no contact” if you will. I haven’t walked into my gym since May 3rd (the day of the post, just confirmed it…haha) and I have been better for it…mentally…not so much physically haha but I’m getting back on track. I was so addicted to my routine that I never let myself see what other opportunities were out there. I’m playing softball in the evenings…meeting new people and working towards new goals. Started running outside on the road again…got the new kicks and totally excited to break them in tomorrow morning. I’ve been in contact with some of my friends from the gym so I’m no longer anxious about “losing” friends…if you wanna know about me or check in with me, cool, if not, cool. I’ve been given advice on other places to try out. I was so caught up in this dude as if he was THE ONLY ONE worth my time and that he was somehow at the TOP OF HIS GAME IN THE INDUSTRY….oh, how we can lie to ourselves. Got some dates at some other facilities to try something new. Found a potential bootcamp that I can participate in and it will have an urban flair…so I’m excited to find out more about it because that was my greatest angst….I didn’t want to lose bootcamp and my friends…I was fine with losing the personal training with him….but he teaches the bootcamp which I loved. Finally realized, there’s plenty of bootcamps to get involved in. So, that’s my update. I intend to go back to my gym once I figure out my new schedule (bootcamp vs. outdoor cardio vs. any personal training once I determine if it’s necessary, working out to help a friend, etc.) whether he be there at the gym during those times or not…it will be based on when I’m ready to go back. I just want to make sure that he’s gone from my mind and that I won’t allow him to try and bother me or get in my head. If I don’t think I can handle it then I won’t ever go back. But yes…..that was my sanctuary. But just with Christ…it’s not about the building it’s about what’s within. Allowing myself to change and let go and move on. I’m so much more happier now.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

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